View Full Version : point of interest (for me anyway)

10th July 2012, 00:08
Good day Mr Amdur,

I was reading your book Old School, again, and I was enjoying the chapter on Araki Ryu.
What I found of interest was the quote from Araki Muninsai "You make your practice a friend in the morning, and your discipline your pillow at night." What I find interesting about that quote is how it is very similar to a writing I received from my teacher Iwami Toshio of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. The writing states 朝鍛 夕錬 (chotan sekiren) "in the morning train and at night practice". I thought the nuance was very similar and even more so since it is a quote from Miyamoto Musashi.
According to Iwami sensei Musashi was just as skilled in jujutsu as he was with the sword. In Niten we have a jujutsu component and it would be interesting to see how, if at all, similar it is to Araki Ryu.
Well I thought it was interesting anyway!

sincerely Reg Sakamoto

Ellis Amdur
14th July 2012, 08:31
Reg - what a surprise - I don't log on to E-budo that much, and here's a note directly to me about my writing.

So, a couple things: That kuden in Araki-ryu could have come from . . . anywhere. It's not extant in any of the other <many> branches of the ryu, outside of the lines around Ise-zaki. Of the many shihan of the ryu (you can get a pretty good idea of lineage on my website, HERE (http://www.arakiryu.org/), I've not seen anyone documented as having trained in Niten Ichi-ryu.

In that same essay, I suggest the very plausible theory that Miyamoto Munisai, Musashi's father, was actually the teacher of Araki Mujinsai. And that he (the father) trained in Takenouchi-ryu.

So from that, we have what should be regarded as very tenuous connections:
1. It is conceivable that the saying regarding practice got passed down some three hundred years through Musashi on the one hand and within Araki-ryu on the other. On the other hand, it is very possible that this saying was a "commonplace," something like "a rolling stone gathers no moss" and that many others from other ryu - or even other disciplines entirely, from Buddhism to crafts - used the same phrase.
2. I think it would be very hard to tell what Musashi's jujutsu was like He would have learned very little from his father, who abandoned the family when Musashi was young. Also, consider the sword of current-day Niten Ichi-ryu. It is a very upright, keep the opponent so far away that his blood won't splash your clothes when you cut him. The grappling of Takenouchi-ryu is a quick in-cut-out, pin/trap, cut, reverse, cut - I suggested to Wayne Muramoto that it is the fighting strategy of a komodo dragon: bite until he bleeds, then move back and watch him bleed, finish him off when he's weak. It fits perfectly with the weapons techniques. Similarly, Araki-ryu (there are several branches, I'm only referring to my own), is like a wolverine, be it with long weapons or short - get low, use tremendous power, and crush/slash anything that is within reach and once you close, stay close. It, too, is congruent from long weapons to short.
3. I believe, from reading Go Rin no Sho, and reading about his tai-atari tactics, that Niten Ichi-ryu was far more brutal, even crude in appearance (NOTE: in appearance) than what we can see in the forms now. All that said, I think it's a fair guess that it resembled Takenouchi-ryu in some respects.
4. You say that Niten Ichi-ryu still has a jujutsu component? I'm quite surprised. Are they body to body techniques, or "arms-length? Are they yawara (locks and pins and throws) or torite-kogusoku (grappling with weapons)?
On a final, somewhat related note, I've almost completely sold out my print run of Old School. I've only about 30 volumes left. For those interested, I'm signing and sealing "hanko" the remaining volumes. I've started the process of a 2nd edition, with some rewriting, but I don't know how/when I'll have it in print, or if only electronic media. Anyway, for those who want the last copies of the original, just visit the website.

A. Fain
18th July 2012, 00:18
Mr. Amdur, here is link of a demonstration in France featuring Niten Ichi ryu Jujitsu.

I find it more similar to Muto-dori techniques similar to the Yagyu Shinkage ryu's, perhaps more composed and refined, than vicious and unrelenting.

However there is a note worthy anecdote in William De Lange's translation of the Bushu Denraiki, Origins of a Legend I "The Real Musashi." Referring to Musashi's bout with Takagi Umanosuke Shigesada; Holding his Tachi in a backwards grip Musashi stooped as Umanosuke lunged toward him and hit him hard in the face. Umanosuke was thrown back by the impact, but before he knew it Musashi was upon him, thrusting his thumb in Umanosuke's solar plexus and causing him to fall over backward. Umanosuke was terrified and the onlookers were dumbfounded.

However the footnotes specify that records reflect that Takagi Umanosuke wasn't likely
born until the year of Musashi's death, and it was more likely an unnamed retainer of Mori Nagatsugu. However it is apparent Musashi needed Jujitsu from time to time, as he instructs from his experience in the Gorin no Sho to break free or shake off opponents seeking to grapple. He doesn't continue to instruct beyond freeing oneself though in body to body combat, unfortunately.

Hope this helps! Also, Mr. Amdur an electronic version of Old School would be wonderful as I would regret cutting the spine off my copy to scan it!

Ellis Amdur
18th July 2012, 01:42
Hello -

Thank you for the video reference to the jujutsu of Niten Ichi-ryu. I think, like a lot of "kenjutsu focused" schools, the purpose of jujutsu was, as you write, to break free to cut, rather than to grapple to stay close.

The one concern regarding an electronic version is how poorly photographs and illustrations scan (at least in Kindle). I will need to do some research on this first, to see what my options are.

Ellis Amdur