Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jigen-ryu Kenjutsu

Jigen-ryu Hyoho Kenjutsu (示現流兵法剣術) was founded at the end of the 16th century  in Satsuma Province (now Kagoshima prefecture in Southern Kyushu) by a man named Togo Chui.

Jigen-ryu Kenjutsu is known for its emphasis on the first strike (during practice, a long wooden stick is used to hit a vertical pole or tree). During a hard practice, the wood is said to give off the smell of smoke. During the Edo period, at the height of its popularity, adepts of Jigen-ryū were said to practice striking the pole 3,000 times in the morning, and another 8,000 times in the afternoon... Can you imagine how your hands would be after just 100 full power hits with a big wooden stick against a much bigger pole...

To illustrate the power of the Satsuma warriors, it is said that after the Battle of Toba-Fushimi which opposed forces loyal to the Shogunate to forces loyal to the Emperor in 1863, the heads of many dead samurai of the shogunate forces were found with the back of their own swords driven into their foreheads. It seems they had a hard time defending against the attack of a Jigen-ryu samurai.

But Jigen ryu also had some influence on Okinawan Karate. 

In 1609, Shimazu Tadatsune, Lord of Satsuma, together with his 2500 well-trained samurai had invaded the Ryukyu Kingdom and forced King Sho Nei to surrender.

During the 19th century, Sokon (Bushi) Matsumura (1797-1889), a renowned Martial Artist and Dignitary of the Ryukyu government, traveled and sojourned several times in Satsuma.

According to Soshin Nagamine's Tales of Okinawa's great Masters, he was one of the few if not the only one among the inhabitants of Okinawa to be allowed to study and become skilled in Jigen-ryu kenjutsu. 

Bushi Matsumura taught shuri-te to Itosu Anko (1831-1915). He also was the maternal grandfather of Tsuyoshi Chitose, founder of Chito Ryu Karate, himself Teacher of Katsuoh Yamamoto, founder of Yoshukai Karate.

1 comment:

Brass Tacks said...

Is there a Jigen Ryu dojo in Atlanta?
Please if you can email me at

Thanking you