Takamatsu Toshitsugu was born on March 10, 1889 in Hyogo Prefecture Japan. At the age of nine he began studying the martial arts, and mastered the various styles from his grandfather Toda Shinryuken, Ishitani Matsutaro, and Mizuta Yoshitaro Tadafusa.
Takamatsu Sensei was already an accomplished budoka by the time he was a teenager, having won challenge matches against other martial artists and sumotori. As a young man in his twenties he retreated to the mountains of Kobe to continue his rigorous physical and spiritual practice. After leaving the mountains he soon moved to China, and for the following 10 years he encountered many life and death situations in true fighting. He reportedly fought many strong Chinese martial artists in mortal combat and used his budo to defend himself against even wild animals.
In 1919, after mastering the combat arts, Takamatsu Sensei returned to Japan in order to master spiritual studies. He became the head monk at a mountain temple of esoteric Buddhism in the Yamato district. In the 1950’s he taught martial arts in Nara prefecture; in 1957 he met Hatsumi Yoshiaki and groomed the young man to become the successor to his rich martial arts legacy. Referred by Hatsumi Sensei as the “last true combat ninja,” the venerable Takamatsu Toshitsugu passed away in May of 1972, at the age of 84 years.
SOKE MASAAKI HATSUMI
Hatsumi was born in Noda, Chiba on December 2, 1931. He heavily participated in sports during his school years, along with martial arts and theatre, including becoming “captain of the football team”. While attending the Meiji University, he continued learning judo and eventually rose to Yudansha or Dan rank.
He also began teaching Judo during his time at the university to American soldiers at the nearby Yokota Air Base. After graduating, Hatsumi began to search for a teacher to further his study of martial arts.
He began his Kobudo training under Ueno Chosui. When he was 26 years old he met Ueno’s teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu, known as “the Tiger of Mongolia”. Hatsumi was accepted as Takamatsu’s student and spent fifteen years on Honshu Island learning various ninjutsu styles from Takamatsu and other members of the Takamatsu family, also he continued to learn judo, Shito Ryu karate, aikido, and kobudo.
Takamatsu died in Nara, Japan in 1972 after advancing Hatsumi from student to Soke and bestowing on him “all the art of the nine schools”, and of course the grandmaster’s scrolls, three of which he indicated were ancient ninja schools and six samurai jujutsu schools of martial arts.
Hatsumi went on to found the Bujinkan Dojo in Noda, Japan to teach the nine schools to other students.
His first trip to the United States was in 1982 and he has since continued to participate in yearly Ninjutsu Tai Kai (gathering) around the world.
Hatsumi also worked as a Seikotsu (bonesetter) after his graduation and was chairman of the Writers Guild of Japan at one point in time. He was the writer of a martial arts magazine Tetsuzan, which was “distributed in 18 countries