Gikan ryu

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by jameswhelan, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Troy Wideman

    Troy Wideman Valued Member


    I will back Paul up here. I joined the Genbukan in 1992, if I remember correctly. I was in the Bujinkan then and I had a copy of the video of Tanemura Sensei showing the Asayama Ichiden Ryu patterns back then and it was told to me as well that is was Gikan Ryu. Only to be found out later that it was Asayama, funny enough it was that video that lead me to train with Tanemura Sensei, so I am glad it was leaked out.

    It was common thing be passed out in Canada around 1989 or 1990, maybe earlier.

    Kind Regards,

    Troy Wideman
  2. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    I think situations like these were (and to some extent, still are) very common then, because of not only the language barrier but also because people want to appear as authorities and spokemen for Hatsumi sensei and the nine ryûha.
  3. skuggvarg

    skuggvarg Valued Member


    What is your opinion on the Gikan material? There is fore example a Houteki kata mentioned. Funny coincident or just pure strange?

    Regards / Skuggvarg
  4. Tenzan

    Tenzan Valued Member

    The stuff shown on the internet and in the denso only scratches the surface and is not shown with the complete kuden of course.
    I would describe it as Koto ryu with an aiki approach but that is of course a very limited explanation.
    Some of the kata have the same name and look very similar but are different in their own way.
    Tanemura Sensei explains this as the personal approach/interpretation by the Gikan ryu founder of the art(s) he mastered before.
  5. skuggvarg

    skuggvarg Valued Member

    Do you suggest the kata from the shoden section of Koto Ryu had allready been formed by the time of Sou Gyokkan? That is interesting in that case.

    Regards / Skuggvarg
  6. Troy Wideman

    Troy Wideman Valued Member

    Hi Skuggvard,

    As Tezan mentioned there are some patterns that have a similarity to Koto Ryu, however, there are aspects of them that have a different feel and movement. The book is a public format and put out with this in mind. The biggest difference is in the Kiri gami section. As Tezan stated, this has a definite aiki jujutsu feel.

    Kind Regards,

    Troy Wideman
  7. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    What Troy says also suggests that the Hatsumi/Tanemura lines of Gikan Ryû might be different - the little that I have seen of Gikan Ryû (which also correlates to what others that I know have said) of the Hatsumi line is very direct, with small movements and strikes and kicks. Not the Aiki Jujutsu feeling that has been mentioned and is seen in the published Tanemura line documents and videos.

    Also, interesting to note is that in the english translation of Hatsumi sensei's book "Hiden Ninja Submission", it says that Gikan Ryû was founded by Sosei Hankan Gikanbo of Kawachi in the 16th century. I do not have the japanese version with the kanji, so I do not know if it is a different reading or a different name, because in the Genbukan line the founder's name is Uryu Hogan Gikanbo. If anyone here could confirm that these are two different names, or different readings of the same name, or different names of the same person it would be great.

    Also, of course it is interesting that in the published Gikan Ryû documents of the Genbukan line, the resemblance of the forms compared to Kotô Ryû is so close, when considering that it supposedly comes from the Ishitani line - and Kotô Ryû comes from the Toda line. They have had completely different lines until they both came under Takamatsu sensei. So it is indeed strange that the forms are not just alike in name, but also uncanny coincidences such as:

    Shoden in Kotô Ryû:
    4) ****ô
    5) Hosoku
    6) Hôteki

    14) Kyogi
    15) Kakko
    16) Ura Nami
    17) Ten Chi

    Shoden in Gikan Ryû (Genbukan): (EDIT: Reference:
    4) ****ô (different kanji, totally different technique)
    5) Hosoku (same kanji, pretty much exactly the same technique according to published video and densho description)
    6) Hôteki (same kanji, pretty much exactly the same technique according to published video and densho description, up until the final step which is slightly different)

    10) Kyogi (same kanji, pretty much same technique again, even down to the same points of striking)
    11) Kakko (same kanji, again pretty much the same technique).
    12) Kyoha (different name, but pretty much the same technique as Ura Nami in Kotô Ryû).
    13) Kattô (different name, but very similar to Ten Chi).

    Of course I understand that there are different feelings involved in how the techniques are performed, and another obvious difference is that these Gikan techniques are started from what is referred to as ****en no kamae (according to photos, a kind of Hôko no Kamae with the hip opened up towards the opponent) or Hachihiku no Kamae.

    But it is indeed uncanny that two seemingly unrelated lines have such striking similarities. Not only techniques that are very similar, with even same names in some cases, but they are also put in the exact same order and in some cases at the exact same "number".

    One thing that I am pretty sure of is that the forms did not exist in their current way in the 16th century, but if they did, for them to have evolved in two different lines and come out so similar is pretty amazing.

    In the Genbukan published densho, it is written about the ryû's connection with Gyokko Ryû and it's founders.

    One explanation is that the different Sôke of Kotô Ryû held a strong relationship with the different sôke of Gikan Ryû - in as much that they shared techniques.

    But according to both the Genbukan published densho and what has been stated by Hatsumi sensei, Gikan Ryû has mostly been handed down orally without written transmission - and the same goes for Kotô Ryû. At least until Takamatsu sensei or just before.

    The little I have heard and seen of Gikan Ryû (Hatsumi line) is that it is closely linked to Kotô Ryû (and Gyokko Ryû) but not as a parallel study but rather as something much more advanced. (Someone even posted a well known story here on MAP earlier, about some westerner asking Hatsumi sensei to teach him some Gikan Ryû and Hatsumi sensei showed him the hard way that said person's skill in avoiding a sword wasn't up to the necessary level).

    Also worth noting is that both myself and Pankeeki on this forum have been lucky enough to view one of several Koppôjutsu densho from the Toda family, that included techniques and history from Gikan Ryû, Kotô Ryû, Gyokushin Ryû and Togakure Ryû.

    It would be interesting to see if anyone else - from any organization - has any input or theories regarding if these lines are different or not.

    One thing is clear - there's nothing clear about Gikan Ryû in the Takamatsu den... :D
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  8. skuggvarg

    skuggvarg Valued Member

    And Gyokko Ryu? Dont remember correctly but it seems Gyokko Ryu is also counted as Kopppojutsu at times.

    Regards / Skuggvarg
  9. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    Yep, of course Gyokko Ryû Koppôjutsu as well!
  10. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan


    In the Bugei Ryûha Daijiten (Edit: 1978 edition) there are of course several different Gikan Ryû, but on page 214 it speaks about Gikan Ryû (Koppô) as part of "Toda Shinryûken kuden" (戸田真竜軒口伝), and even refers to the Gyokko Ryû Sôke list. Yet strangely enough, in the next paragraph, in the Gikan Ryû genealogy, it comes via Ishitani Matsutarô to Takamatsu, who in turn gave it to Akimoto Fumio and Hatsumi sensei finally. No Toda in that list. Why would it be a Toda Shinryûken Kuden then?

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  11. Fudo-shin

    Fudo-shin Valued Member

    I have always been told by Tanemura Sensei that Gyokko ryu, Koto ryu, Gikan ryu, Togakure ryu all have a commonality by association and that a Soke of one could in essence be associated with one of the others due to that fact.

    Also I could be wrong, but I beleive the "aiki" feeling in the Genbukan is for the Shodensha level which feature some kukinage type air throws and not the Shoden level as that is more similar to a Kotoh ryu type feeling.

    The Genbukan Gikan ryu densho states that there are two lines of Gikan ryu and that they were both transmitted to Tanemura Sensei from Sato Kinbei Sensie via Takamatsu Sensei.

    The densho is only the shodensha section and there are videos of shoden level kata but I have not seen the list of shoden patterns for Gikan ryu in Genbukan anywhere for the public.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  12. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    Then how come only the Ishitani line is mentioned and shown? If we put the whole Sato Kinbei shadyness aside, where is the proof of two lines? Does this mean Mr. Tanemura is Sôke of two ryû called Gikan Ryû?

    Actually the Shoden "densho" has been officially released for the public as well. It's out on What I wrote above came from that - I should have made the source clearer.
  13. Fudo-shin

    Fudo-shin Valued Member

    Ok, I see Will and thanks for the heads up on DL market. That statement about the 2 lines of Gikan ryu is in the Kirigami/Shodensha densho portion and as you said, it shows the Ishitani line on the lineage chart, as to why, I have no idea.

    I also noticed the line of sokes for both the Genbukan and bujinkan are completely different names on the list.
  14. Kuma Shinobi

    Kuma Shinobi New Member

    While the Gikan Ryu Densho is still available for purchase here: 義鑑流骨法術初傳者型切紙伝書(日英版)

    It can no longer be decrypted using the included program. The file uses a deprecated DRM program that attempts to contact a server that no longer exists. I have verified with that this DRM program is no longer functional. They said they can't do anything about it, and they suggested I contact the seller.

    I contacted the Genbukan Honbu Dojo to ask them if there was an updated version of the file or any other way to read it. I received no response to multiple inquiries.

    Is there anyone on the forums who has a decrypted copy of the densho that they would be willing to share? I purchased it through the official channel, I just want to read what I paid for.

    Thank you.

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