Welcome to the official website of Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu – a traditional bugei ryuha made famous by its founder, the swordsman Shinmen Musashi Fujiwara no Genshin – more commonly known as Miyamoto Musashi.
Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu is recognised by both the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai and the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai as successors to Musashi-sensei’s teachings, and the school is the holder of the Jisso Enman no Bokuto, a Japanese national Treasure and the only certified bokuto (wooden sword) of Musashi’s that still exists today.
Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu is primarily a kenjutsu school, focusing initially upon Musashi sensei’s teachings of long-sword, short-sword and two-sword fencing, but in addition to kenjutsu, the school also practices juttejutsu (truncheon), bojutsu (staff) & yawara (unarmed combat).
Miyamoto Musashi is possibly Japan’s most famous swordsman, but in addition to his skill with the sword and his strategy of fencing, he is also considered one of Japan’s finest artists and practiced calligraphy, painting and sculpture. Due to his popularity, many modern adaptations of Musashi’s life have been published, both in book and video form. However, his life has been widely dramatised and much of the facts of his life are being lost in fiction.
Born in 1594, Shinmen Musashi No Kami Fujiwara was the only child of father Munisai and mother Omasa. Munisai was an accomplished swordsman and expert with the jutte (iron truncheon). It is believed that he taught young Musashi both weapons from a very early age.
Musashi started testing out his sword skills at the young age of 13, using single combat as a medium. He went on to fight over 60 duels, winning all of them – many (but not all) to the death. At age 30, he fought and defeated Sasaki Kojiro which was a pivotal time in his life. After this, he continued to fight duels, but only to demonstrate his skill, not purely to win. He looked very deeply into the purpose of his practice and the very essence of his hyoho (strategy). It was this depth of study which bought him to develop his own school of fencing called Niten Ichi Ryu (the Two Heavens as One school).
In his later years he wrote a number of treatises on swordsmanship – the most famous one being the Go Rin no Sho (the Book of Five Rings) which was given to his most senior students. He died on May 19th, 1645 – leaving behind an unforgettable legacy of a man often described as Japan’s best swordsman.
The curriculum of Hyoho Niten Ichi ryu is much like many of the classical martial schools (koryu) of Japan, teaching a number of weapons and/or techniques that would be used as required or to compliment other weapons.
On November 24th 2013, Kajiya Takanori sensei was formally presented with the title of 12th soke of Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu and is presented with Menkyo Kaiden, the ‘certificate of complete transmission’ and the Jisso Enman no Bokuto, the wooden sword that belonged to Musashi-sensei and believed to be the only original one left in existence.
Today, Kajiya-soke teaches at both hombu and around the world to those who wish to learn Musashi’s art which survives to this day thanks to the ongoing efforts of our Japanese teachers.
The Two Heavens as One School
The ryu, like many others in Japan, has been passed from teacher to senior pupil. The following lists all headmasters from Musashi sensei to the current head of the school:
1 Miyamoto Musashi Fujiwara no Genshin (founder) 1584-1645
2 Terao Kyumanosuke Nobuyuki 1621-1688
3 Terao Kyoemon Katsuyuki 1673-1747
4 Yoshida Josetsu Masahiro 1713-1747
5 Santo Hikozaemon Kiyohide 1756-1831
6 Santo Hanbei Kiyoaki 1792-1858
7 Santo Shinjuro Kiyotake 1824-1909
8 Aoki Kikuo Hisakatsu 1886-1969
9 Kiyonaga Tadanao Masazane 1919-1976
10 Imai Masayuki Nobukatsu 1915-2006
11 Iwami Toshio Harukatsu 1948-
12 Kajiya Takanori (current headmaster) 1957-
If you are looking to practice Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu kenjutsu, please click here to view the list of official practice groups around the world. If a group is advertising Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu but is not listed by the groups linked here, the group does not have the formal authorisation of Kajiya-soke, the 12th headmaster of Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu and therefore should be avoided.