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Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu

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Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu

Traditional Japanese martial art
Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū
Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵 1584–1645
Date founded
Early Edo period Founded between 1604–1640
Current headmaster
There are three successors:[1]
*Iwami Toshio Genshin: 11th generation
*Chin Kin (Taiwan): 11th generation
*Yoshimoti Kiyoshi: 12th generation (after Kiyonaga Fumiya)
Arts taught
Japanese name Description Niten Ichi-ryu designation
Kenjutsu 剣術—odachi, kodachi Sword art—Long and short sword Tachi/Kodachi Seiho
Kenjutsu—odachi, kodachi Sword art—Long and short sword used together Nito Seiho
Aikuchi[2][3] Aikuchi roppo
JuttejutsuJutte[2][3] Truncheon art Jitte to jutsu
Bōjutsu棒術— Staff art Bo jutsu

Niten Ichi-ryū (二天一流?), which can be loosely translated as "the school of the strategy of two heavens as one", is a koryū (ancient school), transmitting a style of classical Japanese swordsmanship conceived by the warrior Miyamoto Musashi. Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū is mainly known for the two-swordkatana and wakizashikenjutsu techniques Musashi called Niten Ichi (二天一, "two heavens as one") or Nitō Ichi (二刀一, "two swords as one").


Around 1640, Musashi intended to pass on his art to three successors from among his thousand students; specifically, to Terao Magonojo, his younger brother Kyumanosuke and to Furuhashi Sozaemon. He considered Magonojo to excel in technique but to lack in reflection, while Furuhashi excelled at reflection but lacked technique. Magonojo received the treatise, the Go Rin no Sho. Hosokawa Mitsuhisa made two copies- one for Furuhashi and one for himself, which he transmitted under the name of Ihon go rin no sho. The best known edition today is this Hosokawa copy.

Magonojo then yielded the role of successor to his younger brother Kyumanosuke who had received the Hyoho San-jugo from Musashi. It was Kyumanosuke who transmitted this document to his students with seven added instructions called the Hyoho shiji ni kajo.

Shortly before his death, Musashi also wrote the Dokkodo ("Going My Way"). It seems to be a list of rules that one should try to follow in life; in essence each rule has very deep meaning steeped in Buddhist precepts.


Terao Kyumanosuke (Motomenosuke) had received the complete transmission of the School of Musashi, with certification and Musashi's two swords. He at first refused to teach and sent what he had received to Musashi's adopted son, Iori. Iori refused the succession, since the honor had not been bestowed upon him. With this, Kyumanosuke then agreed to take over as head—both his and Iori's actions were manifestations of their respect for Musashi.

Succession in the Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryū (the name given by Musashi towards the end of his life) does not follow a hereditary pattern. It is attested to by the bestowing of two artifacts: a scroll on which is written the name of the techniques and the approach to them that must be transmitted if the school is to be perpetuated truly,[3] and a wooden sword that Musashi made himself, with which he trained and used as a walking stick during the last years of his life,[3] today in possession of the city of Usa's Shinto Shrine.


The Gosho-ha Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū disputed the lineage claiming that Iwami Toshio Gensho is the sole legal representative of Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū until 2007. Miyagawa Yasutaka established a line of Niten Ichi-ryū that continues to practice and thrive in the Kansai region of Japan. Miyagawa Yasutaka and Kiyonaga Tadanao were both students of Aoki Kikuo during the same period. This "Kansai" line, currently under 10th Headmaster Miyagawa Morito, is an alternate but equal lineage to the main line.


The lineage to date is as follows:

  1. Shinmen Miyamoto Musashi-No-Kami Fujiwara no Genshin
  2. Terao Kyumanosuke Nobuyuki (Second name can be read as Motomenosuke)
  3. Terao Goemon Katsuyuki
  4. Yoshida Josetsu Masahiro
  5. Santo Hikozaemon Kyohide
  6. Santo Hanbe Kiyoaki
  7. Santo Shinjuro Kiyotake
  8. Aoki Kikuo Hisakatsu
  9. Kiyonaga Tadanao Masami / Miyagawa Yasutaka
  10. Imai Masayuki Nobukatsu / Miyagawa Morito (Current)
  11. Iwami Toshio Gensho/ Kiyonaga Fumiya / Chin Kin (Taiwan)[1]
  12. Yoshimochi Kiyoshi (successor of Kiyonaga Fumiya)[1]


Today the following sets of techniques (waza or kata) are transmitted:

1) Tachi Seiho—Twelve techniques with long sword:

- Sassen

- Hasso Hidari

- Hasso Migi

- Uke Nagashi Hidari

- Uke Nagashi Migi

- Moji Gamae

- Haritsuke

- Nagashi Uchi

- Tora Buri

- Kazuki

- Aisen Uchidome

- Amashi Uchi

2) Kodachi Seiho—Seven techniques with a short sword:

- Sassen

- Chudan

- Uke Nagashi

- Moji Gamae

- Hari Tsuke

- Nagashi Uchi

- Aisen

3) Nito Seiho—Five techniques with two swords corresponding to the five forms in the Water Scroll:

- Chudan

- Jodan

- Gedan

- Hidari Waki Gamae

- Migi Waki Gamae

4) Bōjutsu—Twenty techniques with a long staff (including techniques Bō Vs Bō and Bō Vs sword).

5) Aikuchi roppo, both [2][3]

6) Jitte to jutsu—Five techniques against a sword.[2][3]

According to Gosho Motoharu Hanshi, the Aikuchi roppo was constituted by free nito forms using fukuro shinai, not formalized kata.[4] However this waza was not taught by Musashi and is a later addition.

The Jitte techniques, also according to Gosho Hanshi, are modern addition, and were not practiced in the time of the eighth headmaster, Aoki Kikuo. The techniques taught had a direct relation and followed the order of the grades in the ryu:[4]

Shoden: Itto Seiho
Chuden: Kodachi Seiho
Okuden: Nito Seiho
Menkyo: Bojutsu
Menkyo Kaiden: All the curriculum of the ryu plus have a deep knowledge of the founder teachings.


Further reading

Iwami Toshio Harukatsu soke, 11th successor in Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu:

  • original text in French

External links

  • Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu in Nihon Kobudo Kyokai
  • Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu: presentation by Nguyen Thanh Thien, French student of Iwami soke, with dojos list
  • Hyoho Niten Ichiryu information-portal run by Hyakutake Colin
  • Site of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu under Yoshimoti Kiyoshi
  • Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu claimed lineage
  • Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu in KoryuWeb
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