View Full Version : Hojo-jutsu Vs. Torinawa-jutsu?

Paul Steadman
18th September 2000, 11:03
G’day Everyone,

A number of high level and highly respected exponents of koryu arts (and a number of not so respected exponents of questionable ryu!) have brought to my attention that the term ‘hojo-jutsu,’(art of the arresting cord) that I often utilize in my notes and Koryu Seminar promo literature is not the correct term or is non-existant in the Japanese language. It has been proposed that the term ‘Torinawa-jutsu,’ (or just plain ‘torinawa,’) is the correct term!

I have argued that both terms are correct, depending on individual ryu-ha/sensei etc. I have asked a number of prominent koryu sensei based in Australia, whom are registered at the Nippon Budokan or have a connection with the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai, through their sensei/soke and various respective ryu membership. All have stated that the terms ‘hojo-jutsu,’ and ‘torinawa-jutsu,’ are correct and are different pronunciations of the same kanji.

Besides the term ‘hojo-jutsu,’ having been used in print by prominent koryu practitioners/scholars such as D. Draeger and D. Skoss etc. I offer the following:-

* ‘ON,’ (Chinese reading) in capitals, ‘kun,’ (native Japanese reading) in lower-case.

‘HO / to (ru)’ = to catch, arrest
‘JO / nawa’ = cord, rope
‘JUTSU / sube’ = an art, artifice

Hence; hojo-jutsu (art of the arresting cord) and torinawa-jutsu (art of the arresting cord). It has also been offered that; hojo-jutsu is a more recent (ie. modern) term, while tori-nawa is a more classical (ancient) term.

I’m sure Meik & Dianne Skoss or Daniel Lee would be able to provide more details. Does anyone else out there have any info to add?


Paul Steadman

References: “Modern Budo & Bujutsu,” D. Draeger (Wheatherhill? 1972?). “Koryu Bujutsu,” Ed. D. Skoss (Koryu Books 1997). “Characters for Daily Use & Personal Names,” N. Naganuma (Chofusha Co. 1972). “Yohan English/Japanese, Japanese/English Dictionary,” Ed. F. Kaneda (Yohan Publications, Inc. 1983)

19th September 2000, 01:35
G'day Paul,
I am a student of Jan de Jong Shihan's in Perth. We use the term Hojo-jutsu to describe the "art of tying with cord" and it seems to me that Torinawa is also a valid term meaning the same thing.

Yours in Budo
Dale Elsdon
(Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu)

Daniel Lee
19th September 2000, 04:07
Interesting post Paul. I?fll offer the following since I was the one that questioned your use of the term several years ago.

Firstly, you are correct in that many people refer to the methods of tying and restraining using a cord as ?ghojojutsu?h, so it is a generally known word in the martial arts. Seiko FUJITA wrote a book called ?gZukai Hojojutsu", which I gave a section of to your teacher in around 1997, including sasai-ryu. HOWEVER, hojojutsu is not known by that name in all styles. Other names are hobaku, toritsuke, torinawa, hoen etc.

Unlike other arts such as kenjutsu, iaijutsu, jujutsu and others which developed into the level of an independent art, tying cord (torinawa/hojo) did not. It is an auxilliary art to either juttejutsu or taijutsu, and shouldn?ft really be considered as standing on its own – after all, how do you get your man to submit to the tying if it?fs not precluded by anything?

I suppose hojojutsu is satisfactory for most people?fs ends. If you are doing a koryu your style should have a formal name for this practice. I know the Hontai Yoshin Ryu, Yagyu Shingan Ryu, Takagi Ryu and Edomachikata Jutte schools do. Giving specific labels in this case may add fuel to the fire for people out there trying to make up their own schools or legitimize fake ones. Most schools of kobudo have a specific name for the tying methods of their school (see above), with notable evidence of this in the densho of the school. In some instances the traditional name for this and/or other aspects of the art (found in tens of copies of the densho) do not equate with the name given by a modern practitioner.

I don't see anything wrong with researching a school of tying and saying to people you will teach this to: "I studied this from these books, and I'd like to show it to you". Wayne Roy from the Bujinkan did this in the 90s in a magazine called Impact, in which he said he devised all the stealth and movement training he teaches in Roy Dojos (along with some help from Robert Bussey if I remember). Hats off to him - he's developed something worthwhile and is on the line as far as its origin. Good stuff.

Looking forward to more input with this thread!

Paul Steadman
19th September 2000, 09:47
Hi Everyone,

Thank you to Daniel for his knowledgable reply (a mutual friend of ours here in Australia said that Daniel is a walking Nihon Kobudo encyclopedia!). Anyway, thanks again. This gives further credence to my arguement that 'due to the diversity and nature of the koryu arts, they can not be lumped together under the general term "martial arts," (as used today)and subsumed within the newly established 'Martial Arts Industry Associatian Inc,'here in Australia!'

A very well known koryu practitioner here in Australia has stated that 'toritsuke,' ALWAYS involves tying the testicles! What do you think?

I can remember being taught how to truss up the apponent with ones' obi after downing him, by Inoue-Soke of the Hontai Yoshin Ryu in the last technique of Yoshin No Kata, during one of his Australian seminars in 1994. A very uncomfortable and painful feeling but a great honour.

Look after yourselves.


Paul Steadman