This style was founded by Hayato Takenaga about four hundreds years ago (at the beginning of the Edo era). He mastered Shinto style, Shinkage style, Shuso style, Toda style and taught martial arts in a hometown. He called his style "Shingan", which means own mind's eye.
One day he fought with a person of other country and tasted defeat. He realized his immaturity. Then, he went to Edo to train himself and became a disciple of Munenori Yagyu, a fencing teacher of a shogun. He trained in Yagyu Shinkage school of kendo for three years, and was initiated into the profundus teaching and skill. Munenori Yagyu commanded him to name his style "Yagyu-Singan". He returned to his hometown and taught to young neighbors and died. His teaching is to live and let live even if there can be many difficulties.He was worshiped as "Reijin" (a guardian deity believed that a high man of virtue became postmortally) by villagers.
Tradition of his teachings is; Ichirouemon Yoshikawa, Kyuzaburou Itou, Samon Oyama, Token Aizawa, Gonzo Kato, Teikichi Hoshi, Seiemon Hoshi, Hikojurou Hoshi, Kunio Hoshi, and Kunio Hoshi Jr.
Samon Oyama taught in Edo, and this style spread out in the whole country. Teikichi Hoshi was famous as an instructor of the art of the martial arts in the Meiji era. A person of Hoshi family acted as a representative of the style from Teikichi afterward. Nowadays, representative of our style is Kunio Hoshi Jr.
Fig. 1 Stone monument of Hayato Takenaga.
Characteristic of style
Three meanings are loaded in style name. "Yagyu" is the will going to achieve happiness of oneself and others. "Shingan" is the move which is active and freely. "Heihou" is the technique to use every tool. So the Yagyu-Shingan-ryu Heihou is” the synthesized martial arts which teach to live and work active and freely for happiness of oneself and people”.
Our style conveys jujutsu and much skill including weapon technique. There is a system by which students can learn many tequniques based on a principle without contradiction.
At first, a student takes a lesson with each teacher for several months and practices basic courtesy and movement. A person who intends to continue a lesson of our school does a ceremony of Nyumon.
Nyumon is a ceremony to learn our style. A student promises to following rules of the nation and the style, to learn skill justly, to do justice, and to get along with etiquette in front of a teacher and guardian deities. From now on, student practices twenty-one of jujutsu (Nijuikkajou) which are both the base and the secret. All skill of this style is born from this.
Fig. 2 Mukuri in Nijuikkajo
The first grade of Yagyu-Shingan-ryu is Kirigami. “Kirigami” means a cut paper which is the first section of the text. Kirigami is granted to the person who learned Niju-ikkajou justly. Lesson of jujutsu plays a key role, and it is demanded fast and correct movement.
Fig. 3 Zadori
When a student gets possible to work for aggression freely, Mokuriku is given. Mokuroku is second grade of Yagyu-Shingan-ryu. “Mokuroku” means a list of skills. Student take a lesson on fencing and stick fighting together with jujutsu here.
Fig. 4 Sanjakubou
The grade of third is Kacchu. In Kacchu, students learns powerful movement to bring enemies under control. They practices jujutus and various weapons technique in armor. We calls this "Kacchu jutsu". Kacchu jutsu is the methods of self protection when attacked suddenly in a battlefield. We use the tools which we have such as a small stic (Hananejiri), a helmet (Jingasa), a falx (Jingama) as well as a dagger (Yoroidohsi) and a sword (Jindachi). When one fights aginst a soldier in armor, places to attack are different from mordern martial arts.
Fig. 5 Hananejiri
Fig. 6 Jindachi
The grade of fourth is Kogisoku. "Kogusoku" means the small weapon such as dagger. In Kogusoku, one learns the fine movement. At this stage, "Mutodori", the self protection skill wearing no sword, is initiated.
The grade of fifth is Kaiden. "Kaiden" means that teacher have introduced all skill and the heart to teach. A man of Kaiden lives according to the teaching of Hayato Takenaga. Hayato Takenaga left words of "Tenchi Wago" which means nature harmony. All beings in the sky and the ground are harmonizing . We live and they live. An enemy is not an enemy. When we respects each other and lives according to the law of the nature, it is not necessary to fight anymore.