Iso Matauemon Ryukansai Minamoto Masatari, the
founder of Tenjin Shinyo-ryu Jujutsu, died in 1863 at the age
of 76. He mastered two styles, Yoshin-ryu and Shin no Shinto-ryu, and
travelled the country competing with teachers of the various
clans. He was never defeated.
After many years of experience and research, he was at the
Tenmangu temple in northern Kyoto when he saw a willow tree
bending in the wind and experienced a revelation. He took
the word “Tenjin” pertaining to the divine essence of the style, and combined
it with “shin and “yo” from the two styles
he studied previously, and created Tenjin Shinyo-ryu Jujutsu.
Iso established a fundamental principle of Jujutsu-that of
while maintaining correct posture and a flexible body, do
not resist your opponent strength, instead by breaking his
balance, and create weakness and use it to control him.
As Japan entered the Edo period (1603), the power struggles
between the various clans diminished in scale, leading to
less and less opportunity for fighting in traditional armor
on the battlefield. This lead to a rise in Jujutsu popularity
amongst the samurai class, as a form of physical and mental
training and self defense with minimal use of weapons. Iso,
because of his extensive experience garnered from his travels
around the country, realized the effectiveness of striking
techniques in combating multiple opponents. He developed striking
techniques (Shin no Ate- the striking or kicking of physiologically
weak points of the body) and combined them with throwing,
joint lock and strangulation techniques to create a powerful
Through his experience sparring
with teachers of various styles during his travels throughout
the country, the founder of Tenjin Shinyo-ryu learned that
the use of atemi-waza was very effective in combating multiple
opponents while dressed in formal attire (as opposed to armour).
He dedicated a great amount of time to developing and perfecting
stricking techniques (“shin no atemi”)
Sappou is the delivering of a blow by striking, kicking or
pressing physiologically weak points of the body to cause
bone breaks or fractures, render the opponent unconscious
or bring immediate death.
Kubota sensei, current
headmaster of Tenjin Shinyo Ryu Jujutsu
© Photo with permission. Courtesy of Koryu.com