Jigen Ryu, Bushi Matsumura, and Shuri Ryu Connections

Makalakumu

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I've just finished reading Patrick McCarthy's 2008 translation of the Bubishi and one of the many profound things I learned in the book is that Bushi Matsumura, the Grandfather of Karate, recieved his Menkyo Kaiden in the Jigen Ryu style of Kenjutsu. Based on some of the research I've done, I've noticed that they do have empty hand lists that they still practice today.

Mr. McCarthy includes an interview with the head of the style where he asked the question, does karate influence Jigen Ryu because of Matsumura's presence? The Soke of Jigen Ryu replied, "Most certainly! The real question, however, is which influenced which."

All of this is intriguing because I've wondered for a long time at the connection between JMAs and Okinwan Martial Arts.

Also, I'm wondering about how this influence might have played out in the technical details of the various kata that were passed from Matsumura. McCarthy states that Matsumura blended various CMAs, indiginous Okinawan MAs, and Jigen Ryu into what he taught. Matsumura's students were people like Itosu and Azato (who is also reputed to have received Menkyo in Jigen Ryu) who were both Gichin Funakoshi's teachers. Thus it would seem obvious to me that you should see these principles the kata that were passed down that lineage.

Lastly, Jigen Ryu is known for its First Strike. This school of swordsmanship taught its students to emphasize the first strike above all others, up to a point where it did not teach follow up blows. I'm wondering if this connection provided the basis for Shotokan's emphasis on the first strike.

Like I said, this connection is very provacative and I'd like to discuss it. Tell us what you think. If anyone can find videos of Jigen Ryu, post them!
 

exile

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A point that Abernethy makes in his Bunkai-Jutsu book might be relevant here, m. He notes that

During the 11th century, a number of Japanese warriors fleeing from the Taira-Minamoto wars made their way to Okinawa. Many of the Minamoto samurai took Okinawan wives and remained upon the island for the rest of their days. The bujitsu of the Minamoto samurai had a large influence on the fighting methods employed by the Okinawan nobles. One part of Minamoto bujitsu that had an influence on the development of karate was the idea that all motion is essentially the same. Whether striking, grappling or wielding a weapon, the Minamoto samurai taught that all combative methods relied on similar physical movements. An individual would be taught a particular physical movement and would then be shown how that movement could be adapted to achieve varying goals.

(Abernethy, Bunkai-Jutsu, pp.16–17).

This seems to bear directly on the line of connection you were asking about. If IA is correct, Okinawan karate incorporated techniques, and combat perspectives which go back to weapon-based MAs originating in the castle-era Japanese warrior class.... a Japan-to-Okinawa shaping influence which antedates Matsumura by hundreds of years, and might indicate that the transmission of ideas from JMAs to Okinawan empty-handed combat methods you're thinking of might go back a loooong way.
 
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Makalakumu

Makalakumu

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I've used the above to justify the inclusion of Judo style throws into my karate curriculum. Technically, in some of the kata, the hand placement and footwork is exactly what you find in the kata form of several Judo throws.

This is a bit different, however. Here we have an actual lineage and documentation of training that we can look back and say he learned from him and he learned from him and so on. Matsumura taught the people directly in our lineage, Exile and he drew specifically from Jigen Ryu.

And, according to McCarthy, the influence can still be seen.

My guess is that a lot of the joint locking and throwing techniques probably come from the empty hand portions of the Jigen Ryu. My guess also is that the emphasis on the First Strike, probably also originates here.
 
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Makalakumu

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Here is a website from Harada Sensei. Anyone speak German better then me?

http://www.jigen-ryu.org/jigenryud.html

Here is a description of Jigen Ryu Jujutsu.

Jigen Ryu Ryu Jujutsu beinhaltet Harada Senseis Erfahrungen aus den Stilrichtungen Kodokan Judo, Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu und Takuma Ryu Jujutsu. Der st瓣rkste Einfluss ist aber sicher dem Hakko Ryu Jujutsu zuzuschreiben, in welchem Harada Sensei als direkter Sch羹ler des Gr羹nders Okuyama Yoshiji (Ryuho) die h繹chste Lehrlizenz erreicht hatte. Okuyamas Koho Igaku Shiatsu bildet auch die Grundlage f羹r das Jigen Ryu Shiatsu. Kennzeichnend f羹r das Jigen Ryu Jujutsu ist vor allem die zwingende Wirkung der Techniken, bei gleichzeitigem v繹lligen Verzicht auf die Anwendung von Muskelkraft zur berwindung der vom Gegner eingesetzten Kraft.

Mit Kampfk羹nsten wie Schwertziehen (Iaido oder Iaijutsu - die beiden Begriffe werden in unserer Schule synonym verwendet) und Bogenschieen (Kyudo) hatte sich Harada Sensei urspr羹nglich haupts瓣chlich besch瓣ftigt, um daraus Erkenntnisse f羹r sein Jujutsu zu gewinnen. Vor allem K繹rperhaltung und Atmung (beim Kyudo), ebenso wie das Greifen des Schwerts beim Halten und besonders beim Schneiden, sowie die Konzentration der Energie auf die Schwertspitze beim Iaido beeinflussten Harada Senseis Jujutsu.
 
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Makalakumu

Makalakumu

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Here is a website of their four empty hand jujutsu lists.

http://www.jigen-ryu.org/jigenryud.html

Can anyone help with the understanding of this? Some of these lists have the same name as the lists I learned in Danzan Ryu, but I have no idea if they are the same thing.
 

exile

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Here we have an actual lineage and documentation of training that we can look back and say he learned from him and he learned from him and so on. Matsumura taught the people directly in our lineage, Exile and he drew specifically from Jigen Ryu.

And, according to McCarthy, the influence can still be seen.

My guess is that a lot of the joint locking and throwing techniques probably come from the empty hand portions of the Jigen Ryu. My guess also is that the emphasis on the First Strike, probably also originates here.

If it pans out, this bit of historical sleuthing provides the perfect rebuttal to people (like Rob Redmond) who dispute the relevance of controlling moves, such as locks, pins and throws, for karate and related arts and who instead attribute the current movement to rediscover such moves in kata as a defensive reaction to the rise and popularity of MMA. To show the influence of Jigen Ryu empty-hand methods on Sokon Matsumura would be to vindicate completely the kind of bunkai you, I and many other people see as the optimal interpretation of formal patterns in the karate-based arts.

Well done, m.!
 
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Makalakumu

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Thanks, Exile. My german is not strong enough to get the nuances. Do you have a good translation site that you rely on? I've got family in Der Vaterland that could probably help also.

BTW - I can't believe someone would suggest that locking and throwing would NOT be part of the curriculum for self defense. Even a cursory look at the kata would disprove that. The sad thing about Redmond is that he runs a pretty popular website and he has the potential to influence a lot of people.

Alas, hopefully this will put the nails into that coffin. On the other hand, some people simply will never change. It doesn't matter what you show them or say. I think that for karateka, it comes down to ego. If you can't admit that you didn't learn something and you think of your self as an expert, you can't EVER let anyone think that something this obvious could be true.

Academics, martial arts, bells and ribbons becoming more important then the material. I see parellels between this and the way the scientific community reacted when Agassiz presented his findings on the Ice Ages.
 
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exile

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Thanks, Exile. My german is not strong enough to get the nuances. Do you have a good translation site that you rely on? I've got family in Der Vaterland that could probably help also.

Sorry, but I'm going to be useless here—wait, maybe not! One of my colleagues is German—she'd be happy to give me an idiomatic translation off the top of her head (since her English, minus the slight German accent she still has, is flawless). Lemme show her the passage and I'll post her translation as soon as I get it from her.
 
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Makalakumu

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Sorry, but I'm going to be useless herewait, maybe not! One of my colleagues is Germanshe'd be happy to give me an idiomatic translation off the top of her head (since her English, minus the slight German accent she still has, is flawless). Lemme show her the passage and I'll post her translation as soon as I get it from her.

Thanks for that, Exile. I have a cousin who lives in Hamburg. She married a Polish immigrant and bounces back and forth from there and Manhatten, so if that doesn't work out, I'm not up a creek without a paddle.

Just to keep this discussion going, here are some videos from one of their empty hand lists.

http://www.jigen-ryu.org/jigenryud.html

Video one

Video two

Video Three

Also, the photos are pretty helpful in understanding the list. If anyone practices Karate and Aikijutsu, I'd be interested to hear what you think of this.
 

exile

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Thanks for that, Exile. I have a cousin who lives in Hamburg. She married a Polish immigrant and bounces back and forth from there and Manhatten, so if that doesn't work out, I'm not up a creek without a paddle.

Just to keep this discussion going, here are some videos from one of their empty hand lists.

http://www.jigen-ryu.org/jigenryud.html

Video one

Video two

Video Three

Also, the photos are pretty helpful in understanding the list. If anyone practices Karate and Aikijutsu, I'd be interested to hear what you think of this.

Not to worry. My colleague Judith can do this in five minutes or less. Will post as soon as I get a translation from her.
 
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Makalakumu

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Not to worry. My colleague Judith can do this in five minutes or less. Will post as soon as I get a translation from her.

That's awesome!

Now, I'm seeing some close quarters applications from Naihanchi 1-3 in the vids and photos I posted. There is certainly more in those forms, but I can see the movements reflect there.

This is so interesting because this thread has the potential to pull in judoka, jujutsuka, aikidoka and all sorts of different folks that practice koryu arts. I wish there was a way to put out a clarion call to more people.
 

exile

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That's awesome!

Now, I'm seeing some close quarters applications from Naihanchi 1-3 in the vids and photos I posted. There is certainly more in those forms, but I can see the movements reflect there.

This is so interesting because this thread has the potential to pull in judoka, jujutsuka, aikidoka and all sorts of different folks that practice koryu arts. I wish there was a way to put out a clarion call to more people.

I agree. Why not send solicitations to participate to the relevant separate fora in the JMA section? Just include the link to this thread, pointing out that this is a great chance for some practical collaborative work across stylistic boundaries. I suspect Tom (morph4me) and some of the other JMA folk would be more than a little interested in this line of inquiry.
 
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Makalakumu

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Here is a general description of the Jigen Ryu.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jigen-ryū

Jigen-ryū (示現流) is a traditional school (koryū) of Japanese martial arts founded in the late 16th century by Togo Chui (1561-1643) in Satsuma Province, now Kagoshima prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.[1] It focuses mainly on the art of swordsmanship.

Jigen ryū is known for its emphasis on the first strike: Jigen-ryu teachings state that a second strike is not even to be considered.[2]

The basic technique is to hold the sword in a high version of hasso-no-kamae called tonbo-no-kamae (蜻蛉の構え Dragonfly Stance), with the sword held vertically above the right shoulder. The attack is then done by running forward at your opponent and then cutting diagonally down on their neck. The kiai is a loud "Ei!".

Traditionally this is practiced using a long wooden stick, and cutting against a vertical pole, or even a real 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-ryu were said to practice striking the pole 3,000 times in the morning, and another 8,000 times in the afternoon.

The style is still taught at the Jigen-ryu practice hall in the city of Kagoshima.
 
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Makalakumu

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Here is the wiki entry on Sokon Matsumura.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sōkon_Matsumura

This entry talks specifically about Jigen Ryu.

He was the first to introduce the principles of Satsuma's swordsmanship school, Jigen-ryū, into Ryūkyū kobujutsu (Ryukyuan traditional martial arts) and he is credited with creating the foundation for the bojutsu of Tsuken. He passed on Jigen-ryū to some of his students, including Ankō Asato and Itarashiki Chochu. The Tsuken Bo tradition was perfected by Tsuken Seisoku Ueekata of Shuri.[4]

Interesting. Perhaps much of the usage of the Bo in Kobudo comes from Jigen Ryu as well. I wonder how many other weapons, besides the sword they teach?
 

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Thanks, Exile. My german is not strong enough to get the nuances. Do you have a good translation site that you rely on? I've got family in Der Vaterland that could probably help also.

BTW - I can't believe someone would suggest that locking and throwing would NOT be part of the curriculum for self defense. Even a cursory look at the kata would disprove that. The sad thing about Redmond is that he runs a pretty popular website and he has the potential to influence a lot of people.

Alas, hopefully this will put the nails into that coffin. On the other hand, some people simply will never change. It doesn't matter what you show them or say. I think that for karateka, it comes down to ego. If you can't admit that you didn't learn something and you think of your self as an expert, you can't EVER let anyone think that something this obvious could be true.

Academics, martial arts, bells and ribbons becoming more important then the material. I see parellels between this and the way the scientific community reacted when Agassiz presented his findings on the Ice Ages.

Thank you, for a very informative post. It has been long understood by some, that traditional kata contain all elements of battle, as you point out, with you diligent research. It has always been said, in my GoJu training dont show me 1000 techniques, but show me a few principles of movement, that are inherent in all techniques. As shown in kata, movements overlap, and Bunkai has many different meanings, which constitutes many arts combined.
:asian:
 
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Makalakumu

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According to McCarthy, Toudi Sakagawa (Matsumura's teacher) and Sokon Matsumura both traveled to Satsuma in Japan in order to learn Jigen Ryu.

Here is some more information on Satsuma, the Shimazu Clan, and a possible direct connection to Aikijutsu.

The Shimazu were descendants of the Seiwa Genji branch of the Minamoto clan. The founder, Shimazu Tadahisa (d. 1227), was a son of Shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-1199) with the sister of Hiki Yoshikazu. Tadahisa's wife was a daughter of Koremune Hironobu, descendant of the Hata clan, whose name Tadahisa took at first.

What this information does is that it connects empty hand techniques in Jigen Ryu with actual instructors in the arts that formed aikijutsu disciplines. Ijuin Yashichiro is not on family tree I provided, but many other important people among the Shimazu Samurai were. In my opinion, from all of this presented, it can directly be inferred that aikijutsu and jujutsu had a direct impact on the devolopment of our modern karate kata.

Here is a more direct description of the Seiwa Genji branch and the people involved. These are the people who became the Shimazu and these are the people who passed on the techniques of Aikijutsu. I personally note the Takeda Family because my teacher trained extensively in Takeda Ryu Aikijutsu under Master Dale Swerdtfeger. It would probably be safe to assume that there would be similarities between Jigen and Takeda Ryu empty hand lists.
 

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Let me start by saying that this is a great topic! I tried to click on the videos but they do not link anymore. Anyone else having this problem?

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 
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Makalakumu

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The videos come from their first empty hand list Shoden no Maki. The link I provided takes you to the page where you can access the videos and photos.
 
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