Sosuishi ryu

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Sôsuishi-ryû 双水執流 (Older writings in certain densho from the Edo period show the name also written as 雙水執流) [1] is a traditional Japanese martial art founded in 1650, a bujutsu school that focuses on Kumi Uchi (jujutsu) and Koshi no Mawari (iaijutsu and kenjutsu). The title of the school is formally Sôsuishi-ryû Kumi Uchi Koshi No Mawari (双水執流組討腰之廻) as shown in a Showa 16 (1941) hand-written book "Sôsui no ryû" (双水ノ流) by Shitama Shusaku (Shuzo). In the Bugei Ryūha Daijiten, Sôsuishi-ryû is cross referenced and listed under the entry/title of "Futagami-ryû," (二上流) including a brief synopsis of the school. [2]

History of Sôsuishi-ryû

The simple legend

The founding of Sôsuishi-ryû dates back to Futagami Hannosuke Masaaki [3] [4] in 1650 CE. He was a district samurai living in the area of Bungo-Takeda, which was in the domain of Kuroda during the era called Sho-o. (now present day Oita and Fukuoka). Masaaki, was a practitioner of his family martial art Futagami-ryû and a high-level student of Takenouchi-ryû under Takenouchi Hisamori Nakazudayū. He felt the techniques of Futagami-ryū were far from perfected, so in order to improve them he decided to travel all over Japan and train himself by going on a warrior's pilgrimage (Musha Shugyo). At one point he went deep into the mountainous, rugged valley of Mt.Yoshino, where for thirty-seven days he trained and sought enlightenment. He refined the finer points of the technique of Futagami-ryû and honed the secret teachings that he had studied. He then assembled them into what he believed were the best of everything he had learned. One day, while he was gazing at the Yoshino river, he noticed the water flowing and swirling together steadily. The training of his mind, body and spirit converged at that one moment. This event, called satori in Japanese, prompted him to change the name of Futagami-ryû to Sôsuishi-ryû in remembrance of his experiences at the Yoshino River. [5] [6] [7]

A Problematic Timeline

According to the above legend, Sôsuishi-ryû’s founder Hannosuke Futagami was a direct student of the founder of Takenouchi-ryû, Takenouchi Hisamori Nakazudayû. However, there are some problems as the timeline does not match the legend. Namely:

  • 1) According to the Futagami family tree Hannosuke and his father Tokinari were warriors from the Fukuoka area who took part in the battle of Shimabara during Kanei year 14 (1637). Tokinari died in the battle during January of Kanei year 15 (1638) at age 70. Hannosuke was still alive but injured in the same time period .
  • 2) After the war Hannosuke moved back to Fukuoka for an unknown period of time, where he built a temple in honor of his father, Tokinari. Here it is recorded that Hannosuke died on January the 5th of Genroku year 6 (1693) at the beginning of the Edo era, 78 years after the Keicho era had ended.
  • 3) Based on the date of his death, it is safe to say that Hannosuke was born just before or right after the Keicho era, considering the average lifespan of a person from that time.
  • 4) In contrast to this, Takenouchi-ryû’s founder Takenouchi Hisamori died in Bunroku year 4 (1595).
  • 5) In the keizu (family tree) of Takenouchi-ryû which also lists the offshoot schools, Futagami "Bo" is listed as the founder of Futagami-ryû under Takenouchi Hisamori, having obtained a menkyo in Takenouchi-ryû and subsequently lists Futagami Hannosuke as "Bo's" son, (and an Inka-Kaiden in Takenouchi-ryû) who changed the name of the ryūgi to Sôsuishi-ryû in 1650. According to the research of the Bungo Takeda family records in the Sekiryûkan No Chôsen, Futagami "Bo", Futagami Hannosuke's father was Futagami Tokinari. Somewhere along the line, the two names were confused and the facts merged into one “enigma”.

This places Takenouchi Hisamori's death before Futagami Hannosuke was born or when Hannosuke was no more than a few years old. Even if Hisamori’s date of death is incorrect and he lived longer than the average person, it seems physically impossible for Hannosuke to have been his student.

The Shitama Family

Shitama Matashichi was a samurai originally from the Bungo-Takeda and a friend to Futagami Hannosuke Masaaki and extended an invitation to him to come and stay in Chikuzen (Nagota area). DUring this time, Masaaki taught his new school "Sôsuishi-ryû" to Matahachi. Since this turn of events, Sôsuishi-ryû has been handed down and instructed by the Shitama family.[8] On the five occasions where the Shitama family were unable to head the school, the ryū had to be looked after by another until a male heir, bearing the Shitama name, could step in and inherit it. On occasion a "yoshi" or "adopted son" from outside the family would be brought in to marry one of the daughters or cousins who had the surname "Shitama" in order to continue the lineage. After marriage the yoshi would change their surnname to the wife's surname and inherit the ryû, continuing the family bloodline for the next generation. The art and family line continues in Fukuoka city today at the Sekiryûkan.

Matsui Hyakutaro Munetada

In 1888, a Menkyo Kaiden (Shingen No Maki) of Sôsuishi-ryû moved to Tôkyô and began teaching the martial arts to the Akasuka Police in Tôkyô. His name was Matsui Hyakutaro Munetada. He was born native to Kyûshû, Japan in Fukuoka on February of Meiji year 1 (1868). As a boy he was fascinated with the martial arts and his family recognized this and sent him to train with his uncle Matsui Kokichi, a Shingen No Maki (similar to Menkyo Kaiden) and direct student of Sôsuishi-ryû under 11th generation inheritor Shitama Munetsuna and also a menkyo kaiden in Jigô Tenshin-ryû. In Meiji year 13 (1881) Munetada also began training in Tekiai-Hiji (one of the ryū's skill sets) and many years later, received a Shingen No Maki in Sôsuishi-ryû. In Meiji year 20 (1887), when he was 19 years old, Munetada completed the Senbondori (1000 matches) in Fukuoka. In the following year Meiji year 21 (1888), the Tôkyô Metropolitan Police Board invited Munetada a position training the officers of the Akasaka Police. He relocated to Tôkyô that year and began work immediately. In Meiji year 38 (1905), he was given "Seiren sho" (recognition of good training/work) and then was awarded "Yoshi-go" (head-instructor title) in June of Meiji year 42 (1909). He remained in his position for 30 years, until retirement. Afterwards he dedicated himself to Seifukujutsu and opened a private dôjô, the Shobukan in Fukuyoshi-cho, Akasaka to teach martial arts. The Butokukai awarded the title of Hanshi to him during May of Showa year 2 (1927). [9] This line of Sôsuishi-ryû is referred to as the the "Matsui-ha" or "Tôkyô-den" and it continues in Tôkyô today.

Sōsuishi-ryū in Fukuoka

The Sekiryūkan

The following is an excerpt taken directly from the Shadanhôjin Sekiryûkan website:[10]

Throughout its history, a decline in the popularity of Sôsuishi-ryû has often posed a real threat to its survival. However, the inheritors have always prevented this by learning and incorporating other techniques and theories such as Ogasawara-ryû and Kyûshin-ryû, so that the tradition remains alive and relevant, and that the technique of Sôsuishi-ryû is continuously developed. Today, this responsiveness to alternative disciplines is still maintained by the current 16th Master, Manzo Shitama, ensuring that Sôsuishi-ryû technique continues to evolve. The legacy of Sôsuishi-ryû from past masters comprises such a vast and complicated array of techniques that it is nowadays simplified to make it easier to learn. This was initiated by the 15th Master Shusaku Shitama, to make Sôsuishi-ryû accessible to as many people as possible, in recognition of increasing popular interest in classical martial arts.

Sôsuishi-ryû in Tôkyô

Seirenkan Sôsuishi-ryû

The Seirenkan (清漣館道場) is the dôjô which maintains the Matsui-ha lineage with a hombu dôjô in Tokyo Japan led by Yoshihiko Usuki.[11]

Edo-den Sôsuishi-ryû Kogusoku Koshi No Mawari

A school that branched away from the Matsui-ha, led by Manabu Ito in Tôkyô. The Kosonkai performs demonstrations at the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai embutaikai circuit.

Techniques and Characteristics

The techniques of Sôsuishi-ryû correspond with other ryûha founded during the Keicho and the early Edo period of Japan. For example: atemi (striking) is used to distract the enemy; a lack of overly complex joint locking techniques; weapons retention techniques (including the use of both long and short swords); defenses against armed and unarmed enemies; and the use of defensive and offensive tactics. There are several basic and advanced techniques in Sôsuishi-ryû,such as atemi, ukemi, tai-sabaki, kansetsu-waza and nage-waza. Some aspects are almost identical and directly correlate to those found in Takenouchi-ryû such as: torite, hade, kogusoku and kumi-uchi. [12] [13][14]

The kata in Sôsuishi-ryû encourages the practicioners to not only practice defensive tactics as the defender (ware or tori), but to also offensive and sometimes predatory tactics are used against the "attacker" (teki or uke). This method of learning is intended to create a heightened sensitivity, augmenting the awareness of body language and openings when attacking or defending.

Within the Sekiryûkan, the Sôsuishi-ryû syllabus consists of forty eight kumi-uchi kata, divided into five skill sets: Idori (seated methods) (居捕)- 8 techniques; Tai-Toshu (unarmed methods) (対通手)- 8 techniques with variations (henka waza); Yotsu-Gumi (armored methods) (四組) - 8 techniques; Tai-Kodachi (short-sword methods) (対小太刀) - 8 techniques; and Sonota (others) (其他) - 7 techniques. In addition to its repertoire of close combat methods, the tradition also contains a number of iai and kenjutsu techniques contained under the collective umbrella term, Koshi No Mawari (腰之廻) making the ryūha a sōgō bujutsu (総合武術) or "Comprehensive martial art".

Koshi No Mawari means "Around the hips" when translated into English. It refers to the concept that anything expedient around the area of the hips can be used as a weapon. As with most koryû, this would commonly be a kodachi (short-sword) or an uchigatana/katana (long-sword), however upon exploring this concept, other weapons and objects can be utilized. In the koshi no mawari syllabus, there are also three sets of kenjutsu kumitachi taught at higher levels.[15]


There are locations for Sôsuishi-ryû inside and outside of Japan:

Sōsuishi-ryū in Japan

Today, Sôsuishi-ryû has three schools in Japan. The main line of Sôsuishi-ryû is practiced at the Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan (社団法人隻流館). This is the hombu (本部) dōjō (home dōjō) of the ryu and it is located in Fukuoka, Japan. It is headed by the current hereditary shihan (head teacher) of the ryū, Shitama Manzo. The Seirenkan (清漣館道場) practices Tôkyô-den Sôsuishi-ryû and has a hombu dôjô in Tokyo, Japan led by Yoshihiko Usuki.[16] The Kosonkai, teaching what is formally named Edo-den Sôsuishi-ryû Kogusoku Koshi No Mawari (which is also from the Matsui lineage), is led by Manabu Ito with a hombu dōjō in Tōkyō as well. The Kosonkai performs demonstrations at the Nihon Kobudô Shinkokai embutaikai circuit. While these schools practice independently of one another, they maintain a respectful relationship. Manabu Ito and Yoshihiko Usuki have traveled to the Sekiryûkan to train with Shitama Sensei and view Manzo Shitama as the hereditary Shihan of Sôsuishi-ryû.

Sōsuishi-ryū Outside of Japan

International Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan branch schools (Sôsuishi-ryû Jujutsu Kai) are located in the New South Wales area of Australia under Pat Harrington & Betty Huxley ; the United States is led by Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan International Director and Menkyo Kaiden, Dennis Fink in the states of New York and Washington; The Seirenkan dōjō is led by Yoshihiko Usuki and are located in the Japanese cities of Tōkyō, Kyoto and Kuwana; Seirenkan International branch schools are located in Singapore, the United Kingdom in the city of London and in the United States in Chicago, Illinois & North Carolina. The Kosonkai Dōjō led by Manabu Ito has no international schools and is located solely in Tōkyō, Japan.


  1. N.B. The 'shitsu' (執) in Sôsuishitsu in the Japanese language is a more modern pronunciation from the Meiji-era, whereas Sôsuishi-ryû is the Bakumatsu-era pronunciation. Both Sôsuishi-ryû & Sôsuishitsu-ryû pronunciations are interchangeable.
  2. Template:Ja iconTemplate:Cite book
  3. Shadanhôjin Sekiryûkan
  4. The name Masanori appears in print in the English Language. The name "Masanori" is a mis-reading/mis-pronunciation of the name Masaaki.
  5. Template:Ja icon[Kiyoshi, Yamada & Tadashi, Watatani. 1978. Bugei Ryūha Daijiten. Tokyo Copy Shuppansha.]
  6. Template:Ja icon[Ryūchi, Matsuda. 1979. Hiden Nihon Jûjutsu. Shin-Jinbutsuoraisha.]
  7. Template:Ja icon[Masaru, Negami. 2003. Sekiryûkan No Chôsen. Published by the Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan.]
  8. Template:Ja icon[Masaru, Negami. 2003. Sekiryûkan No Chôsen. Shadanhôjin Sekiryûkan.]
  9. Template:Ja icon Usuki, Y. 2007. Matsui-ha Sôsuishi-ryû website. Matsui-ha Sôsuishi-ryû Kumi Uchi Koshi no Mawari (A History of). Retrieved October 9th, 2007 from
  10. Shadanhôjin Sekiryûkan
  11. Template:Ja icon[Masaru, Negami. 2003. Sekiryûkan No Chôsen. Shadanhôjin Sekiryûkan.]
  12. Template:Ja icon[Toichiro, Takenouchi & Akio, Jiromaru. 1993. Shinden No Bujutsu, Takenouchi-ryû. Mu AV Books.]
  13. Template:Ja icon[Takenouchi-ryû Hensan Iinkai. 1978. Nihon No Jûjutsu No Genryû Takenouchi-ryû. Nichibo Shuppansha.]
  14. Template:Ja icon[Yokose, Tomoyuki, 2000. Nihon No Kobudō. Shadanhōjin Nippon Budōkan - Baseball Magazine sha.]
  15. Template:Ja icon[Ryûchi, Matsuda. 1979. Hiden Nihon Jûjutsu. Shin-Jinbutsuoraisha.]
  16. Template:Ja icon[Masaru, Negami. 2003. Sekiryūkan No Chōsen. Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan.]


Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan:

Shitama Manzo & Yoshimura Masanobu

Shitama Shuzo

Seirenkan, Tokyo (Matsui-ha):

External links

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