Aiki Budokai  of Boston
Aoi Koyamakan Dojo

A brief history of Tenshin Shintai Ryu Heiho

小山 (米 沢 信義小 栗 

Koyama (Yonezawa Nobuyoshi) Oguri, Soshi (founder)

(起 倒流, 九鬼伸流, 竹内流 & 真天流)

米 沢 ( 山)信 順

Yonezawa (Koyama) Nobuyuki

(天 真神体流, [小山伝] 九鬼伸流 & 気 楽流)

米 沢 松三郎 信直

Yonezawa Matsusaburo Nobunao

(天 真神体流 & [小山伝] 武芸)

米 沢 (中 山) 弥太郎

Yonezawa (Nakayama) Yotaro

(天 真神体流 & [小山伝] 武芸)

米 沢 信 成 文 雄

Yonezawa Nobunari Fumio

(天 真神体流 & [小山伝] 武芸)

中 山 (新免) 上る 

Nakayama Shinmen Noburu 

(天 真神体流 & [小山伝] 武芸)

中 山 (新免) 発働

Nakayama (Shinmen) Hatsudo

(天 真神体流気楽流九 鬼伸流 & [小山伝] 武芸)

Founding and Influences*

    According to family legend Tenshin Shintai Ryu Heiho (ten-sheen shin-tie rh[ee]-you) or Shintai, for short, founded (天明 八) by Koyama Oguri, a jizamurai (land-servant, a low-ranking retainer) and rather interesting character.  One example:  as an adolescent, Koyama Soshi convinced his tutor that rather than continue with calligraphy, he should be taught the acupuncture and herbology that the tutor learned while in China.

    Koyama was a student of the grappling and tanto (dagger) of Takenouchi Ryu and a member of the Shinten Ryu (it is unclear which of the two as both descended from 天 真正伝香取神道流), becoming proficient in ken (long sword), kodachi (short sword), nodachi (field sword), naginata (a glaive-like polearm), yari (spear), shuriken (throwing spike) and honesei (bone-setting.)  In addition, he was also exposed to some level of training in both Kukishin Ryu and Kito Ryu.

    Finally, instead of retiring in a socially acceptable way for a member of the warrior caste (even one of low-rank), he instead opened an inn.  It was during this phase of his life that he synthesized his training into Tenshin Shintai Ryu Heiho (literally: inspired/mandated by heaven divine body flow/tradition [of] strategy) as a means to preserve certain skills and attributes that he worried were in danger of being lost in the (relative) peace of the era.

    Due to the poor conditions for advancement in Yonezawa (probably made worse by the founder's retirement choice), the family moved south.  Settling near the thriving port city of Hiroshima, the Koyama/Yonezawa/Nakayama family found employment as prefectural police in the 19th and early 20th centuries- Shintai was further influenced at that time by Kukishin Ryu and Kiraku Ryu (this is likely when the torinawa [tying of rope], kusarigama [chain and sickle], kusarifundo [weighted chain], jutte [truncheon that was the symbol of police] and chigiriki [stick and chain] entered the system.)

Moving West to America

    From 1934 until his enlistment in the (Imperial) Navy in 1943, Nakayama Hatsudo, (1928-1994) Sensei was instructed by his grandfather (米沢 文雄).  Following the war, while studying to become a materials engineer, Mr. Nakayama began the Seishikokan Jujutsu Dojo [正視古館 柔術 道場.])  It was his work in the field of ceramics that brought him to the United States in 1980.

    At the request of coworkers, Mr. Nakayama began teaching Shintai shortly after arriving in America; by 1985, with retirement and return to Japan in mind, he closed the public dojo to focus on training a select group of students.  Wesley Tasker (中 山 竜 虎, b. 1971) trained at the Seishikokan Jujutsu Dojo from 1982 until 1989, when Nakayama Sensei left America.  Mr. Tasker, founder of the Bushinkai (武伸会) Dojo, is currently the only fully licensed, non-Japanese (Saito Sensei continues to teach in Japan) instructor of the system.

Preservation in the West

    Since Mr. Nakayama's return to Japan and passing, Mr. Tasker has worked ceaselesly to transmit Tenshin Shintai Ryu Heiho through the Bushinkai.  As of 2013, two members of the Bushinkai Dojo have nearly completed Okuden and received menjo (teaching licenses) through Chuden Mokuroku.

    Although Mr. Tasker no longer accepts new Shintai students, he does lead workshops and special events at the Aoi Koyamakan Dojo and continues to oversee the progress of all students of the art in his capacity as the senior teacher and practitioner of Tenshin Shintai Ryu in America.

*Note:  Because Mr. Nakayama declined invitations to join the
Nippon Kobudo Kyokai and the Nippon Kobudo Shinkokai (and did not participate in surveys for the Bugei Ryuha Jiten or the updated Daijiten), Tenshin Shintai Ryu's claim of being koryu (old flow, arts founded and practiced before the Meiji Restoration of 1868) has not been verified.

Visitors are welcome, by appointment, as are beginners and guests.  To schedule an interview, please E-mail or call us 617.501.3446.

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