The Mongolian Tiger
33rd GrandMaster of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu
The teacher of Hatsumi Masaaki
by Ilan Gattegno
Toshitsugu Takamatsu was born on March 10, 1887
in Akashi town, Hyogo province, by the name of Hisatsugu Takamatsu.
Later he changed his name into Toshitsugu, which is written with
the same Kanji, but is pronounced differently. His father was Yasaburo
(also known as Gishin) Takamatsu. He owned a match factory in the
city of Kobe. The name of his mother was Fushi. He spent most of
his time with his grandparents who also took care of him. His grandfather
was Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu.
Toda was a chiropractor and had a clinic in Kobe. He also had a Budo-Dojo in
Kobe and was the Soke of Shinden Fudo ryu. His family had a Samurau rank but
his ancestors were Ninja. That was of course a great secret, which became public
after Takamatsu died. He was the last member of Toda family, who inherited
their Ninja tradition.
Takamatsu was also called Jutaro. His father thought
it would be good for him to join the army. He was very shy and
that is why his father wanted him to try Budo as it would strengthen
him and give him self-consciousness. When he was 9 years old he
started practicing the Shinden Fudo Ryu. It wasn't really training.
Toda and his students used him to throw around the dojo. After
a year passed, he learned his first technique. From that point
on Toda himself started to train Takamatsu. When he was 13 he got
Menkyo Kaiden for Shinden Fudo ryu from his grandfather.
After Shinden Fudo ryu, Toda taught him also Koto
ryu, Gyokko ryu, Gyokushin ryu, Kumogakure ryu and Togakure ryu.
But Takamatsu wasn't really interested in Ninjutsu. Around that
time Takamatsu met Mizuta Yoshitaru Tadafusa, who taught Takagi
Yoshin ryu. Takamatsu used to train regularly with him also and
had received Menkyo Kaiden from Mizuta when he was 17 years old.
In those times, teachers used to give Menkyo Kaiden even if their
student wasn't ready yet. That forced student to train even harder.
This custom was called Sakizuke.
Also around that period of time he met Ishitani
Matsutaro Takekage who was an employer of his father. Ishitani
Matsutaro Takekage was well known in Japan because of his excellence
in Martial Arts. He taught Takamatsu Kuki Happo Biken no jutsu.
He was also taught various forms of Ninjutsu. Hon Tai Yoshin ryu,
Gikan ryu and Shinden Muso ryu. Ishitani was Soke of all of them.
At the age of 20 Takamatsu quit his job at his
father's factory and went to China to test what he had learned.
In Korea he met someone named Kim Kei-mei-a. He was a teacher and
taught Takamatsu. In the time he was gone he learned 18 Korean
and Chinese Martial Arts. Then he got ill. He went back home and
was cured by Yamabushi (mountain priest). After he was cured, he
went back to China.
Takamatsu got in many fights. He got the nickname
Moku no Tora, which means Mongolian tiger. He fought in nineteen
fights, out of which only seven were competitions. Mortal combats
were the consequence of teasing other Martial Artists, who heard
of his fame. In one of those fights Takamatsu lost an eye. It was
replaced by one made of glass.
Takamatsu then got into teaching others. He taught
over 80 people a day. He taught Japanese, Chinese, French and American
people. When he came back to Japan he became the head of the Nippon
Minkoku Seinen Botoku Kai (Japanese Martial Arts organization).
All of this happened before he was 30 years old.
In 1919 he came back to Japan and went into the
Tendai monastery on Hiei mountain near Kyoto and became a monk.
Later he became one of the representatives of the monastery in
an attempt to make up for the sins of his youth.
He was married to Tane Takamatsu, who was born
in 1896 in Hirakata region. Her maiden name was Uno. They did not
have any children of their own, but adopted 2 girls. Takamatsu
also taught a lot of students in Japan, although he was mostly
known as master of Ju Jutsu and Bo Jutsu. He was almost only known
for Kukishinden ryu. His first Dojo was Sukisha Dojo (place for
people, who enjoy Martial Arts). He trained Koba Koshiro, Sato
Kimbei, Hanaoka Nangaku, Ueno Takashi, Takeuchi Kikakusai, Kimura
Masaharu, Fukumoto, Akimoto Fumio and others.
His last and best know student was Dr. Masaaki
Hatsumi, who was also Takamatsu's only student for the rest of
his life. He also learned all Takamatsu's traditions.
Hatsumi started to train when Takamatsu was already
in his 50's. Takamatsu taught him things, he had never taught anyone
before. Takamatsu did not train when he was in his 80's, but still
watched Hatsumi's development. One year before his death, Takamatsu
told Hatsumi that he had taught him all he knew and that he has
repaid Toda Sensei, Ishuitani Sensei in Mizuta Sensei for their
kindness. Hatsumi had already been given the title Soke, but he
still stayed and trained with his teacher.
Toshitsugu Takamatsu died on April 2, 1972 at
the age of 85. He is buried on Kumedra cemetery near the city of
Nara, which was the last place he lived. He was a great man and
a living example of a true Martial Artist. He was the last of the
real Ninja warriors, who were involved in real combat. Members
of Bujinkan are very proud that we can be a part of the tradition,
which was came to us from this great man.