九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術 Kuki Shinden-ryū Happō Bikenjutsu


Kukishin Ryū 九鬼神流 is the root family of Kuki Shinden-ryū Happō Bikenjutsu 九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術 is a Japanese martial arts system translated as the nine demons school. It is one of the nine ryū (schools) taught to current grandmaster of Togakure Ryū, Masaaki Hatsumi by Takamatsu Toshitsugu.

Upon closer inspection of the name ku (nine), ki (oni or demon, older translations meaning Oni-gami (holy spirit)), shin (god or spirit), and ryū (school). Remember, Japanese kanji can change meaning based on it’s usage and the surrounding characters. So the name would translate as the nine god god school and you can se how that would cause a bit of confusion so the name nine demons school because widely accepted. Kuki has been the more accepted pronunciation since the Edo period, but it’s actually Ku-Kami.

The Founder of Kukishinden Ryū

Characteristics Of Kuki Shinden Ryu

The Kuki Shinden Ryu school technical syllabus includes battlefield weapons with the sword, the long fighting stick (Bo), the lance (Yari) and the Japanese halbred (Naginata). Also practiced are techniques for throwing projectiles (Shuriken), armor wearing techniques, and the basis for this work, Taijutsu (体術), empty-handed martial techniques.


Kuki Shinden Ryu taijutsu

Goho no Kamae

Hicho no kamae

Hira ichimonji no kamae

Kosei no Kamae

Seigan no Kamae

Hira no Kamae


Musha dori

Muso dori

Omote Gyaku Ken Sabaki

Omote gyaku

Oni kudaki

Take ori

Ura gyaku

Ura oni kudaki


Fubuki no kata

Hosetsu kata

Iso arashi no kata

Kataho no kata

Kubiwa no kata

Seion kata

Suisha kata

Suiyoku kata

Tatsumaki no kata


Jugan no kata

Kasumigake no kata

Kata Nami no kata

Ryufu no kata

Shiho dori no kata

Shio kaze no kata

Tatsu no se no kata

Tenchi no kata

Tetsunami no kata

Tora-o no kata

Uranami no kata

Yama arashi no kata

Sabaki gata

Arakoma no kata

Chikusei no kata

Iso gaeshi no kata

Kasoku no kata

Kaze harai no kata

Kimon no kata

Kuruma dori no kata

Ranfu no kata

Suso sabaki no kata

Ukimo no kata

Ura kimon no kata

Yume makura no kata


Dofu no kata

Fu setsu no kata

Gongi no kata (Sagi)

Gotto no kata

Hane taoshi no kata

Iwa kudaki no kata

Kaeshi waza no kata

Oni kudaki no kata

Oni otoshi no kata

Ryu fu no kata

Setto no kata

Tachi uchi no kata

Shirabe-moguri gata

Gyaku Nage no kata

Moguri dori no kata



Born January 1, 1318, in Wakayama prefecture, Ryushin Yakushimaru (Yakushimaru Kurando Takazane) was a descendant of the Fujiwara clan who was very influential in Japanese politics and the navy from 794-1185. Ryushin’s mother Chigusa-hime had a brother who was a member of the Southern Imperial Court. She had problems conceiving a child and made a pilgrimage to Enryaku-ji temple at Mt. Hiei and prayed to Yakushi Budda that she may conceive a child. Legend has it that she conceived this child with a tengu (mountain ascetic), and gave birth to Yakushimaru named after the deity Yakushi Buddha.Name and Variations: 薬師丸, 蔵人, 隆真 Yakushimaru, Kurando, Takanao薬師丸 Yakushimaru – medicine man, chemical expert 蔵人 Kurando – keeper of imperial archives or a sake brewer 隆真 Takanao – noble truth – the same kanji can also be read as Takamasa, Takanori, Ryūma, Ryūshin and various others.Young Ryushin learned Shinden Fujiwara Muso-ryū (military sciences and martial arts), which was handed down thru family generations within the Fujiwara clan and taught to him by his grandfather. His father taught him Shugendo (The Way of Attaining power), an ascetic religious practice in which practitioners attained a spiritual awakening by realizing harmony with nature. Ryushin also learned esoteric Buddhism, from a monk at Sanmaku-in temple and studied martial arts on Mt. Kurama and mastered Kuji-hiho (the strategies of balancing electric/magnetic power fields) and Onmyo-do (the way of understanding the esoteric).

Ryushin Comes of Age

Ryushin celebrated his coming of age in 1335 at age 16 by joining the Northern Court under Takauji Ashikaga who was at war with the Southern Court where the young Ryushin was born and had a family. One year later, Ryushin led an attack against the Southern Court on Mt. Hiei where Ryushin was successful in toppling the Southern Court here and capturing the court’s Emperor Go-Daigo where he was imprisoned in Hanayama palace. Go-Daigo’s treatment was so heinous that Ryushin must have felt sympathy not only for him but also for his mother who was still heartbroken that her son led the attack against her family.

Disguised as a maid, Ryushin entered the palace with a small group of warriors, one of which being Japanese war hero Kusunoki Masashige. (INSERT PIC OF MASASHIGE) The Northern Court was alerted about the escape and sent ten thousand soldiers to cut them off and crush them. The small army caught them at Kuragari-Toge near Osaka and Nara, where they made their stand against ten thousand Northern Court soldiers. Ryushin armed with a naginata, charged at the soldiers shouting, “Who’s the sergeant?” cutting the soldiers down like grass. That sergeant was strong enough to cut off Ryushin’s blade, so Ryushin used the remains of the staff to keep soldiers away. It is said that Ryushin used the kuji-kiri, which he’d learned early in his training, to maintain a super-human level of performance.

Kukishinden Ryū Is Born.

Go-Daigo on Ryushin’s back, they escaped to Yoshino. Emperor Go-Daigo took notice of Rhyshin’s fighting techniques and later praised him and inquired about their origin. He told the Emperor that it was a secret technique passed to him from his family; the secret art of Kuji. The Emperor replied, “God knows your loyalty. You shall change your surname Fujiwara to Kuki”, and Fujiwara Ryushin Yakushimaru became Kuki Ryushin Yakushimaru.Ryushin created Kukishin Bojutsu in honor of his now deceased mother who died heartbroken over her son’s choice to join the Northern court. The techniques of Kukishinden Ryū Bojutsu came from the techniques used by Ryushin in the battle that ensued after their escape with the Emperor.Ryushin became a palace guard by the 1330’s and later a governor (shugo) under Emperor G0-Daigo. The Kukishinden school consisted of techniques using taijutsu, bojutsu, yari, shuriken, and kenjutsu. The movements are usually performed from a very low stance this is partly due to the service of the Kuki family who was heavily involved in the suigun (navy), and most likely permitted proper balance on turbulent waters.

The lineage chart shows Kukishinden ryū, originating with Yakushimaru Kurando, passing through Ōoka Kihei Shigenobu to Ishitani Matsutarō Takakage who then passes it on to Takamatsu Toshitsugu to arrive at Hatsumi Masaaki. Note here that in the Japanese article 大岡鬼平重信 Ōoka Kihei Shigenobu is written – usually, this person is 大国 Ōkuni Kihei Shigenobu – this may be a typo from when the chart was edited for the magazine…

There are 6 disciplines of Kukishinden Ryū

Taijutsu 体術

Taijutsu means ‘body art’. It consists of striking, kicking, joint locks, entrapments, and small weapons us like the shuriken.

Bojutsu 棒術

Kukishinden Ryū Bojutsu is a method of using a bo staff in order to trick opponents with weapons. The techniques use redirection and make the opponent believe one thing is happening when they are actually being baited into something else. Some of the same techniques of naginata and yari mirror those of Bojutsu.

Kempo 剣法

It consists of evasion, slashing, stabbing, blocking and countering. It also includes the use of bōshuriken. One of the signature movements of Kukishinden Ryū Kempō is the upward slashing.

Hanbojutsu 半棒術

The hanbō of Kukishin-ryū is used to parry, strike, crush and stab. It integrates with taijutsu as well. The hanbō is most directly related to the spear and staff, however, these influences are superficial.

Sojutsu 槍術

The Kukishinden Ryū spear has a total length of 270 cm. The 36 cm to 45 cm spearhead is connected to the shaft with wire, and it has three edges or “blades.” It is used to parry, slash, stab, strike and to unbalance opponents.

Naginatajutsu 薙刀術

The Kukishinden Ryū Naginata is 225 cm in overall length. It has a double-edged blade that is 21 cm long and is attached to the shaft by wires. It is used to slash, parry, strike, stab and deflect; the blade is also used to hook and arrest. Naginata is a weapon of primary importance in Kukishinden Ryū as the Bōjutsu owes its origin to the Naginata. It stands as another signature weapon of Kukishinden Ryū and it is perhaps the base of the ryu’s creation.

The Lineage of Kikishinden Ryū

Today there are older and modern branches of the ryū still active. The Kuki family maintains the family line, which is called “Kukishinden Tenshin Hyoho”, led by Eichoku Takatsuka under the supervision of the current 28th Soke, Ietaka Kuki. The Bujinkan teaches a branch called Kuki Shinden-Ryū Happō Biken under Masaaki Hatsumi and Unsui Manaka of the Jinenkan and Shoto Tanemura of the Genbukan have their own branches. A line also exists within Hontai Yōshin-ryū under Munenori Kyoichi Inoue, while the Minaki-den Kukishin-ryu is under Fumon Tanaka.