Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi

Soke Hatsumi was born in Noda Shi Japan, during Showa 6 Era - that is: December the 2nd, 1931, as Yoshiaki Hatsumi. He was introduced at first to Kendo by his father when he was about seven years old. Then to karate , aikido and judo in elementary school. He was always active in sport activites such as soccer and boxing. The soccer expirience helped Hatsumi to master a very good form of keri that is kicking techniques. He also danced beliving that dancing helps to master footwork and rytm for fighting-boxing. He wanted to become strong Budoka practicing in what was then called budo, and practically was a sport - such as: Kendo, Aikido, Karate (Shito ryu 6 Dan, and Zen-Bei Butokukai style), Okinawian Kobudo, Jukendo (fighting with gun and bayonet) and Chinese Kempo. Hatsumi progressed also in judo very fast - in his early 20's Hatsumi got his 4th dan and was asked to teach judo at the Yokota U.S. military base camp. There he tasted the reality of the fight for his first time. As Hatsumi recalles: "One day when I gave them training, I was defeated by an unexpected waza (technique). Since they were soldiers, they knew a lot of real fighting waza, and they maybe combined various waza and used it with their whole energy. When I faced it, I realized that one cannot survive by Japanese budo as sport. I realized if we (Japanese) continued this type of budo, we could not use it in a real battle." Once defeted, Hatsumi started his search for a real budo of ancient Japan - Kobudo. He studied everything that was called budo - changing many Kobudo instructors and spanding a fortune on that activity. Among others, Nawa Yumio was one of those expensive instructors. He was definitly one of the most important people prior to the training with Takamatsu Toshitsugu. Master Yumio Nawa did teach Hatsumi the art of Ninpo and Masaki Ryu - Manrikigusari (ten thousand power chain), Kusarigama (chain and sickle) and Edo Machikata Jutte Tornawa Atsukaiyo (Sord braker and tying cord) were thought by Nawa among other 18 Kobujutsu categories. Hatsumi finished his trening in three years. Hatsumi seams still to share common intrests with that instructor: both, Hatsumi and Nawa, are martial arts' historians, writers and T.V. network advisors.
Hatsumi Sensei trained also with Ueno Takashi (the 14th Soke of Gyokushin-ryu Koppo-Jutsu) before he met Takamatsu Sensei. Takashi tought him about old Budo arts, such as Asayama Ichiden ryu, Shinto Tenshin ryu, Bokuden ryu, Takagi Yoshin ryu, Kukishinden ryu and Gyokushin ryu and after three years of training with him, Takashi gave Hatsumi Menkyo Kaiden (licence, which states that the bearer has mastered cetrain martial art and is allowed to teach it). Hatsumi was also the leader of Takashi's group in Noda for some time. The group included some of later recognised teachers.
Ueno Takashi was himself a student of Toshitsugu Takamatsu. That was the link, which guided Hatsumi into contact with the only living Ninja warrior left on the world. Takamatsu Sensei took Hatsumi for his student.
In Showa 33 Era (March 1957) Hatsumi met and became a student of Takamatsu Toshisugu who was then a famous Budoka and a grandmaster of several different Kobudo and Ninpo systems. During that first meeting and training session Hatsumi realized that he finally met his master. Takamatsu had to be impressed by Hatsumi's passion for martial arts as well. According to a 1963 newspaper report in "Tokyo Sports", Takamatsu Sensei had handed Hatsumi the Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu scrolls during that first meeting (he gained his first Mankyo Kaiden from it just two years later). However, most of the sources state that the Sokeship of all nine traditions was given to Hatsumi somewhere between 1968 and 1972.

Last Updated Nov. 2nd, 2001 by Remi Pulwer