It is said that there are 6 samurai arts and 3
ninpo arts in the Bujinkan Dojo. Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu is one of the ryu that are considered samurai arts. What
follows is a history compiled to the best of my current knowledge and is a result of my research thus far.
Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu is the oldest ryu in the
Bujinkan Dojo and it is said that it forms the core style of the majority of the Bujinkan arts. Hatsumi-sensei
has said that Gyokko Ryu forms the basis for Togakure Ryu, Koto Ryu, Gikan Ryu, Shindenfudo Ryu, Gyokushin Ryu, and the Kumogakure
The basic principles of the Gyokko Ryu are
said to be founded in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). It is speculated that it was developed by a small
man or woman because of the evasive style of movement. When the Tang Dynasty ended in 907, many members of the Tang
nobility fled to Japan. Yo Gyokko (Yao Yu Hu) and Cho Gyokko are given the credit for first introducing this art
to Japan (it is also speculated that Yo Gyokko and Cho Gyokko were the same person). A man by the name of Ikai
is also credited with the founding of the Gyokko Ryu.
Tozawa Hakuunsai was the first soke of the "official" Gyokko Ryu.
His family name is of importance because it implies a connection to Hakuun Ryu Ninjutsu, which, unfortunately,
does not exist anymore. Tozawa became soke during the Hogen era (1156-1159), making Gyokko Ryu one
of the oldest documented martial ryu in Japanese history. Hatsumi-sensei has said more than once that koshijutsu
(as in Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu) is the basis of martial arts in Japan.
"Koshijutsu" literally means "to knock an opponent down with one finger",
so intense striking training was involved. This type of training focused mainly on the fingers, toes, and knuckles,
but also employed the rest of the body. Ripping, tearing, and piercing techniques, along with muscle-destroying blocks,
powerful stomping kicks, and close grappling characterize this ryu.
THE 9 RULES OF THE GYOKKO RYU:
1). The character "nin" means to guard the nation, even with 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 would 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.