Shōtō Tanemura

Shōtō Tanemura

nihongo|Shōtō Tanemura|種村匠刀|Tanemura Shōtō was born on August 28, 1947, in the town of Matsubushi in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. His given name was Tsunehisa Tanemura (種村恒久 "Tanemura Tsunehisa"), but he later took the name "Shōtō," meaning "Law of the Sword."

His father, Sadatsune Tanemura, was the 17th family head of a Samurai line,Fact|date=April 2008 whose roots extend to those of the Emperors Uda and SeiaFact|date=April 2008 as well as having blood ties to the daimyo of the Sasaki and Takeda clans.Fact|date=April 2008 He was an expert in "kenjutsu" (the art of the sword) and "jukenjutsu" (the art of the bayonet), as well as various schools of "jujutsu" (Shizen Ryu system) and "ninjutsu" (Takeda system).Fact|date=April 2008 Being a traditional father, Sadatsune introduced his son to the martial arts at a young age.

Early years

The younger Tanemura was taught from the age of nine by his father and father's uncle, Kakunosuke Yamazaki, who was an 8th dan in the Onoha Itto ryu. He practiced unarmed techniques and sword almost everyday. The training was always serious. It was conducted out-of-doors and the students went barefoot, regardless of the weather. He was regularly beaten up and knocked unconscious. When he was knocked out, a bucket of icy cold water would be used to revive him. Once awake, he was expected to continue his training immediately.

At the age of fifteen, he began to study Shindo Muso ryu Kenpo from the Seishiro Saito. It was during these high school days that his quest for true martial arts was beginning take form and blossom. At the age of fifteen, Tanemura also was fortunate enough to be initiated into the Asayama Ichiden ryu taijutsu along with Takagi Yoshin ryu jujutsu, Gikan ryu koppojutsu as well as other ancient schools of bujutsu (Japanese martial arts). His training was so concentrated, that he received his menkyo kaiden (full mastership) in Shinden Fudo ryu and Kukishin ryu at the age of twenty.

During his university days, Tanemura was introduced to Kinbei Sato. Even though Sato taught martial arts to many people, few (including Tanemura, at first) knew of Sato's training with Takamatsu. It wasn't until more than a decade later, that Tanemura (after ending his relationship with another teacher and starting the Genbukan) rediscovered Sato. He was given special kuden (secret oral teachings)Fact|date=April 2008 and by the winter of 1989, Kinbei Sato named him as the next Soke (Grandmaster) of Takagi Yoshin ryu, Bokuden ryu, Gikan ryu, Kukishin ryu etc.Fact|date=April 2008

Training and development

In addition to his classes at the dojo, he trained anytime he was free to perfect his skill and techniques. His bujutsu masters were all strict and closely guarded the secrets hidden within the kata (technique patterns), each movement was shown only a few times. Then, the students were expected to discover from experience, the special body dynamics which allow the waza (technique) to work in a real situation.

To truly master these techniques, Tanemura drilled each technique several thousand times. Eventually, he discovered many kuden points, and made the technique a natural part of his movement. Living nearby woods, rice fields and riverbanks, he used everyplace as his dojo. Having natural objects such as trees, stones, animals always available, he used everything as his training partner.

Trees and stones were used to develop punching and kicking power, and served to strengthen the hands and feet. He'd punch and strike a tree until his knuckles bleed and his toes were numb.Fact|date=April 2008 Takamatsu taught him a better way to develop an effective defense, Tanemura was told that a true martial artist passes by a crowd unnoticed, ff his hands are callused in a certain way, people can tell that he is some sort of martial artist. Even the way that different budoka (modern martial art practitioners) stand or walk, can reveal much about their training habits. In a fight, the less an opponent knows about your strengths and weaknesses, the better chance you have to survive.

On clear nights, the he would also practice with Yari (spear) and Rokushaku Bo (six-foot staff). In a rice field, with the crickets and the praying mantises, he'd thrust for the center of the moon to improve his accuracy, and pierce barely visible leaves, as they swayed in the wind. With animals (usually dogs), it was easy enough to get them to attack. As they'd leap to bite him, he used taisabaki (natural body movements, in this case, evasion) repeatedly, until the animal would simply give up.

Education and mission

Tanemura majored in law and graduated from Hosei University,Fact|date=April 2008 but instead of becoming a lawyer, he wanted a career that allowed him to be out on the streets using his Ninpo and jujutsu knowledge to protect and help others. When the he was just deciding what to do with his life, he was involved in a terrible accident, truck crushed his car, and the injuries Tanemura sustained (including large pieces of glass in his face) looked so bad, that someone mistakenly reported that he had died.Fact|date=April 2008 In the hospital, forced to consider that his brief life might soon be over, Tanemura asked for Heaven's help. He promised to change several selfish things about himself, and dedicated the rest of his life to protecting others and teaching them to protect themselves.

At the age of twenty-two, he joined the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, from traffic cop to detective, His skill was called upon on many occasions, and not once did it fail him.Fact|date=April 2008 Observing his talent, his superiors allowed Tanemura to teach ninpo and jujutsu to policemen at a special martial arts club,Fact|date=April 2008 and later, he officially became a professor at the police academy.Fact|date=April 2008

After fifteen years of service, he felt in his heart the need to preserve true martial arts in the whole world (not just Japan). So he resigned his job as a Lieutenant to carry out this mission. Soon after leaving the police department, he founded his Genbukan Ninpo Bugei Dojo and organized the Federation.

On November 28th, 1984, Shoto Tanemura started with just a handful of students in his Matsubushi dojo. Now his, instructors teach thousandsFact|date=April 2008 of martial artists in over 15 countriesFact|date=April 2008 as well as the he having personally taught seminars worldwide.Fact|date=April 2008

Official titles

*Genbukan World Ninpo Bugei Federation, President
*Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei/Federation, Executive Director
*Japan Jujutsu Federation, Executive PresidentFact|date=April 2008
*Japan Chinese Martial Art Federation, Saitama DirectorFact|date=April 2008


* Kimura Masaji
* Akimoto Koki
* Sato Kinbei
* Kobayashi
* Masaaki Hatsumi
* Fukumoto Yoshio
* Tanemura Sadatsune

External links

* [ Genbukan/KJJR International Headquarters]
* [ Genbukan Tokyo Shibu]
* [ 九鬼神流]

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