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Koto Ryu Koppojutsu Happo Biken (Knocking Down Tiger School) is a ninjutsu school of unknown origin. It is believed that the techniques originated in China and were brought to Japan from Korea. It was later organised into a ryu by Sakagami Taro Kunishige in 1542. Sakagami was also soke of Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu.

The speciality of the school are very strong attacks known as koppojutsu (bone breaking methods). There are also attacks at the opponent's eyes, nose and mouth. It also uses metsubushi (blinding or distraction methods).

Due to the bone breaking attacks, as well as the other attacks using fingers, the practitioners needed extremely strong fingers and toes. This strength was achieved by daily training plunging the finger and toes into sand or gravel. Masters of this art could rip the bark off trees with their bare hands.

The current soke is Masaaki Hatsumi.

Another thing that is a specialty is to hit the top of the attacker's foot by kicking or stepping on it to control his balance.

The Koto Ryu stylist should be looking right between the attacker's eyebrows, so that the attacker cannot read the intentions through his eyes. The attacker will also believe that he has eye contact, which will be confusing for him in an unusual way.

Last, Koto Ryu is one of the very few Ryu that changed the grip of the sword by holding it with the left hand near the tsuka. This would totally confuse the attacker, and sometimes convince him that the Koga Ryu stylist was an amateur and an easy opponent.

One of the nine schools of ninjutsu.

The exact origin of this school, is unknown, but it was organized and formulated into a ryu by Sakagami Taro Kunishige in 1542, who was also the soke of the Gyokko Ryu, the second soke was Sakagami Kotaro, known as Bando. He, however was killed in battle in 1542.

With Bando's death the school was passed to Sogyokkan Ritsushi, he brought the Gyokko Ryu and Koto Ryu together, although they were still taught as separate schools.

The differences between Koto and Gyokko Ryu
Koto Ryu uses a shorter distance between opponents
Gyokko Ryu uses complicated techniques with more movement
Gyokko concentrates on throwing and locking techniques where Koto concentrates on striking.

They were brought together since both schools were able to complement each others weaknesses and strengths.

Typical within the Koto Ryu is Yoko Aruki (cross stepping), Toki (Stamping on the toes), and maintaining a short distance and striking hard.

It was taught that "The eyes are everything", one should make the eyes appear blank, so as no telepathic movement can be detected.

Another unique maneuver was to use the katana blade to reflect sunlight into the eyes of his opponent. Or if it is raining, collect rainwater in the "hi groove" which can then be flicked into the opponents eyes.

Ichimonji No Kamae
Seigan No Kamae
Bobi No Kamae
Hoko No Kamae
Hicho No Kamae

  1. Sakagami Taro Kunishige - 1532
  2. Sakagami Minamoto Masahide (Bando) 1532
  3. Sogyokkan Ritsushi - 1532
  4. Toda Sakyo Ishinsai - 1532
  5. Momochi Sandayu - 1532 d.1581
  6. Momochi Sandayu -1573
  7. Momochi Tanba Yasumitsu - 1595
  8. Momochi Taro Saemon - 1615
  9. Toda Seiryu Nobutsuna - 1624
  10. Toda Fudo Nobuchika - 1658
  11. Toda Kangoro Nobuyasu - 1681
  12. Toda Eisaburo Nobumasa - 1704
  13. Toda Shingoro Masayoshi - 1711
  14. Toda Daigoro Masayoshi - 1736
  15. Toda Daisaburo Chikashige - 1804
  16. Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu b.1824- d.1908
  17. Takamatsu Toshitsugu b.1887 - d.1972
  18. Masaaki Hatsumi b. 1931-

    Source: Paul Richardson

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