9 Schools of Bujinkan: Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu

gyokko ryu kosshijutsu

Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu (玉虎流骨指術), is another of the 9 Schools of the Bujinkan. It is one of the nine ryū (schools) taught to the current grandmaster of Togakure Ryū, Masaaki Hatsumi by Takamatsu Toshitsugu. It is one of the oldest documented forms of martial arts in Japan and forms the backbone for all Japanese styles. It’s specialty is “kosshijutsu” which simply means “bone fingers” and implies the use of the fingers and hands to defeat enemies by attacking weak points (bone structure and nerve centers).

Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu

Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu is translated as The Jewel (Jade) Tiger School and is characterized by striking techniques with the fingers, toes, powerful locks, and throws specializing in attacking the opponents bone, bone nerve centers and muscle structure. With emphasis on targeted striking in specific areas, piercing of the flesh and even tearing muscle from the bone is possible. The idea behind the attack of Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu was the use the least amount of force possible to carry out the technique, hence the name Jewel (Jade) Tiger. The tiger is known for power while jade is said to have healing properties by touch alone. Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu also deploys the usage of weapons using kenjutsu (sword techniques) and bojutsu (6 foot staff).

The path of Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu progresses from very basic movements that build upon a foundation of very advanced techniques.

Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu Levels

Kihon Gata
Torite Kihon Gata
Joryaku no Maki
Churyaku no Maki
Geryaku no Maki

Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu Lineage

The most commonly accepted history of Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu comes from the myth of General Ikai or Yo Gyokko arriving from China to the Ise province of Japan in the mountains of Iga. Ikai eventually taught students including Gamon Doshi who taught Garyu Doshi who began Hakuun Ryū Ninpo during the Heihan period which became the foundation for most of the ryū in Ninjutsu. Garyu Doshi taught Hachiryu Nyudo-Hachidō Nyūdō who was a master of kosshijutsu which is the foundation of Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu. The first Soke of ‘established’ Gyokko Ryū was Tozawa Hakuunsai who was Hachiryu Nyudo’s student. He was also known as Tozawa Kaneuji and retainer for Minamoto Tameto.

Toda Sakyo Isshinsai (1532), also falls in this lineage and was accredited for starting Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu and Koto Ryū which are the foundation modern Togakure Ryū Ninjutsu as we know it. The legendary Momochi Sandayu of Iga learned the techniques from Toda.

“Banpen Fugyo – be unshaken no matter what” – Tozawa Hakuunsai

The full lineage of Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu is as follows:

Tozawa Hakuunsai (1156-1159)
Tozawa Shosuke (1161-1162)
Suzuki Saburo (1171-1180)
Suzuki Gobei
Suzuki Kojiro Mitsu
Tozawa Soun (1288)
Tozawa Nyudo Geneai
Yamon Hyoun
Kato Ryu Hakuun (1394)
Sakagami Goro Katsushige(1532)
Sakagami Taro Kunishige (1532-1555)
Sakagami Kotaro Masahide (1532)
Sogyokkan Ritsushi
Toda Sakyo Isshinsai (1532)
Momochi Sandayu (1542-1555)
Momochi Sandayu II (1573-1591)
Momochi Tanba Yasumitsu (1595-1615)
Momochi Taro Saemon (1615-1624)
Toda Seiryu Nobutsuna (1624-1644)
Toda Fudo Nobuchika (1658-1681)
Toda Kangoro Nobuyasu (1681-1704)
Toda Eisaburo Nobumasa (1704-1711)
Toda Shinbei Masachika (1711-1736)
Toda Shingoro Masayoshi (1736-1764)
Toda Daigoro Chikahide (1764-1804)
Toda Daisaburo Chikashige (1804)
Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu (1824-1909)
Takamatsu Toshitsugu (1887-1972)
Masaaki Hatsumi (1931-Current)

The Nine Rules of The Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu:

  1. The character NIN means to guard the nation with even your life.
  2. Forget self; be patient and do not fear dying.
  3. In danger, say and show nothing.
  4. As a strong enemy comes, keep an indomitable spirit.
  5. Serve and protect the master, as you must your parents.
  6. Vices dissipate your proficiency.
  7. Being drunk affects your judgement.
  8. Destroy the enemy’s power but leave his life.
  9. Do not teach others without the master’s permission.

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