History and Philosophy Blog 

The Story of Jujutsu Pt.2

February 6, 2016

The Shibukawa Ichi Ryu Jujutsu(澁川一流柔術) is a style that was born and developed in the Edo era in rural areas of the Hiroshima domain, Japan. It was founded by Shuto Kuranoshin Mitsutoki in the last days of Tokugawa shogunate. He moved to Saka village, Aki county, Hiroshima domain with his uncle Miyazaki Giemon Mitsuyoshi from Uwajima domain.

 

Shuto Kuranoshin learned Shibukawa-ryu(渋川流)and Namba Ippo-ryu(難波一甫流)from his master Miyazaki Giemon, and he practiced Asayama Ichiden-ryu(浅山一伝流)elsewhere before he founded Shibukawa Ichi Ryu jujutsu. Therefore the name Shibukawa Ichi Ryu means Shibukawa Ippo Ichiden-Ryu.

One day Kuranoshin fought against six Hiroshima domain clansmen to keep his honor in the Hiroshima castle town. He won the fight with relative ease using his Shibukawa Ichi Ryu techniques. It happened that a Matsuyama domain clansman witnessed this fight and recommended that the Matsuyama domain samurai clan train with Kuranoshin (1839). After that, Kuranoshin started to teach Shibukawa Ichi Ryu in Matsuyama, Shikoku. 

After the Meiji Restoration the townspeople of Saka village and other areas in Hiroshima prefecture had serious problems with ronin (unemployed/masterless samurai) who would often commit robberies in order to survive.

 

The townspeople sought help from the military and local athorities but in many cases were told to fend for themselves. It so happened that Shuto Kuranoshin often came back to Hiroshima prefecture because he had relatives who lived there, in Saka village. Kuranoshin passed on Shibukawa Ichi Ryu Jujutsu to his disciples in Hiroshima and it was often used as a means of self-defence. So Shibukawa Ichi Ryu was used by the townspeople of Hiroshima prefecture as well as the Samurai of the Matsuyama clan in Shikoku.

In 1879 Shuto Kuranoshin died at the age of eighty-nine in Matsuyama. Shibukawa Ichi Ryu Jujutsu is different from modern schools of jujutsu. In the Edo period samurai carried swords in their waists and crimes such as robberies were committed using knives. So jujutsu in the Edo period was not intended for competing with bare hands like modern sport of judo. Instead, the basis of Shibukawa Ichi Ryu Jujutsu is self-defence. As practitioners progress they learn to protect themselves against a wide variety of weapons with their bare hands, including the sword, knives, staffs, short sticks and chains. Naturally, these techniques can be adapted to defend against unarmed opponents in modern situations. The style even has an unarmed sparring element called iji keiko, which is similar to judo's randori but it is important to remember that sporting contests are not the main focus of the style.

 Shibukawa Ichi Ryu has over 400 techniques including weapon techniques and is recognised as a legitimate koryu (old-style pre 1867) of feudal Japan. 

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