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Founder Futagami Hannosuke Masaaki
Date founded c.17th century
Period founded Early Edo period
Current information
Current headmaster Manzo Shitama
Arts taught
Art Description
Kumi Uchi Grappling (unarmed or with minor weapons)
Koshi-no-Mawari Iaijutsu (Sword Drawing & fencing)
Ancestor schools
Futagami-ryū ; Takenouchi-ryū

Sōsuishi-ryū (双水執流)[1] is a traditional Japanese martial art founded in 1650 that focuses on Kumi Uchi (jujutsu) and Koshi no Mawari (iaijutsu and kenjutsu). The title of the school also appears in ancient densho (scrolls documenting the ryuha) as Sōsuishi-ryū Kumi Uchi Koshi No Mawari(双水執流組討腰之廻) and in the book Sekiryūkan No Chōsen, which was approved and published by the Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan in 2003.[2] In the Bugei Ryūha Daijiten, Sōsuishi-ryū is cross referenced and listed under the entry/title of "Futagami-ryū." It includes a brief categorization, history and description of the school.[3]

History of Sōsuishi-ryū[edit]

The legend of the founding of Sōsuishi-ryū dates back to Futagami Hannosuke Masaaki[4][5] in 1650 CE. He was a district samurai living in the area of Bungo-Taketa, which was in the domain of Kuroda during the era called Sho-o. (now Ōita and Fukuoka). Masaaki, was a practitioner of his family martial art Futagami-ryū (二上流) and a high-level student of Takenouchi-ryū. He felt the techniques of Futagami-ryū were imperfect, so in order to improve them he decided to travel all over Japan and train himself by going on a pilgrimage (Musha shugyō). At one point he went deep into the mountainous, rugged valley of Mt.Yoshino, where for thirty-seven days he trained and sought enlightenment. He refined the finer points of the technique of Futagami-ryū and honed the secret teachings that he had studied. He then assembled them into what he believed were the best of everything he had learned. One day, while he was gazing at the Yoshino river, he noticed the water flowing and swirling together steadily. The training of his mind, body and spirit converged at that one moment. This event, called satori in Japanese, prompted him to change the name of Futagami-ryū to Sōsuishi-ryū in remembrance of his experiences at the Yoshino River.[6][7][8]

The Shitama Family[edit]

Shitama Matashichi was a samurai originally from the Bungo-Taketa and a friend to Futagami Hannosuke Masaaki. Matashichi extended an invitation to Masaaki to come and stay with him in the Chikuzen (Nagota area). It was there that Masaaki disclosed the teachings of his school Sōsuishi-ryū to Matahachi. Since this time, Sosuishi-ryū has been handed down and instructed by the Shitama family.[9] On the five occasions where the Shitama family were unable to head the school, the ryū had to be looked after by another until a male heir, bearing the Shitama name, could step in and inherit it. On occasion a "Yōshi" or "adopted son" from outside the family would be brought in to marry one of the daughters or cousins who had the surname "Shitama" in order to continue the lineage. After marriage the yōshi would change their surname to the wife's surname and inherit the ryū, continuing the family bloodline for the next generation. (Note: This practice is common in Japan and is accepted today as a way of keeping family names from dissolving. It was established during, or perhaps well before, the feudal-era of Japan's history in order to keep family names intact after the loss of an only son). The art and family line continues in Fukuoka city today.

In 1888, a Menkyo Kaiden of Sōsuishi-ryū moved to Tokyo and began teaching the martial arts to the Akasaka Police in Tokyo. His name was Matsui Hyakutaro Munetada.

Matsui Hyakutaro Munetada[edit]

Munetada was born native to Kyūshū, Japan in Fukuoka on February of Genji year 1 (1864). He was the first son of Matsui Kakitsu who was the samurai of Fukuoka han. As a boy he was fascinated with the martial arts so he started to train with his uncle Matsui Kokichi, a Shingen No Maki (similar to Menkyo Kaiden) and direct student of Sōsuishi-ryū under 11th generation inheritor Shitama Munetsuna. Munetada also began training under Shitama Munetsuna and received a Shingen No Maki in Sōsuishi-ryū. In Meiji year 16 (1883), when he was 19 years old, Munetada completed the Senbondori (1000 matches) in Fukuoka. In the year Meiji year 21 (1888), the Metropolitan Police Board invited Munetada a position training the officers of the Akasaka Police. He moved to Tokyo that year and opened a private dōjō, the Shobukan, on the premises of Duke Ichijo's Palace in Fukuyoshi-cho, Akasaka to teach martial arts. In Meiji year 38 (1905), he was given "Seiren sho" (recognition of good training/work) and then was awarded "Kyoshi-go" (head-instructor title) in June of Meiji year 42 (1909). He remained in his position for 30 years, until retirement. At the same time, he dedicated himself to opening a Seifukujutsu as a business for all Judo ka. He was the president of the Dai Nippon Judo Seifukujutsu until his death. The Butokukai awarded the title of Hanshi to him during May of Showa year 2 (1927).[10] His line of Sōsuishi-ryū is called the "Matsui-ha" and it continues in Tokyo today.

The Sekiryūkan and Sōsuishi-ryū Today[edit]

The following is an excerpt taken directly from the Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan website:[4]

Throughout its history, a decline in the popularity of Sōsuishi-ryū has often posed a real threat to its survival. However, the inheritors have always prevented this by learning and incorporating other techniques and theories such as Ogasawara-ryū and Kyūshin-ryū, so that the tradition remains alive and relevant, and that the technique of Sōsuishi-ryū is continuously developed. Today, this responsiveness to alternative disciplines is still maintained by the current 16th Master, Manzo Shitama, ensuring that Sōsuishi-ryū technique continues to evolve. The legacy of Sōsuishi-ryū from past masters comprises such a vast and complicated array of techniques that it is nowadays simplified to make it easier to learn. This was initiated by the 15th Master Shusaku Shitama, to make Sōsuishi-ryū accessible to as many people as possible, in recognition of increasing popular interest in classical martial arts.

Techniques and Characteristics[edit]

The techniques of Sōsuishi-ryū correspond with other ryūha founded during the Keicho and the early Edo period of Japan. For example: atemi (striking) is used to distract the enemy; a lack of overly complex joint locking techniques; weapons retention techniques (including the use of both long and short swords); defenses against armed and unarmed enemies; and the use of defensive and offensive tactics. There are several basic and advanced techniques in Sōsuishi-ryū, such as atemi, ukemi, tai-sabaki, kansetsu-waza and nage-waza. Some aspects are almost identical and directly correlate to those found in Takenouchi-ryū such as: torite, hade, kogusoku and kumi-uchi.[11][12][13]

The kata in Sōsuishi-ryū encourages the practitioners to not only practice defensive tactics as the defender (ware or tori), but to also offensive and sometimes predatory tactics are used against the "attacker" (teki or uke). This method of learning is intended to create a heightened sensitivity, augmenting the awareness of body language and openings when attacking or defending.

Within the Sekiryūkan, the Sōsuishi-ryū syllabus consists of forty eight kumi-uchi kata, divided into five skill sets: Idori (seated methods) (居捕)- 8 techniques; Tai-Toshu (unarmed methods) (対通手)- 8 techniques with variations (henka waza); Yotsu-Gumi (armored methods) (四組) - 8 techniques; Tai-Kodachi (short-sword methods) (対小太刀) - 8 techniques; and Sonota (others) (其他) - 7 techniques. In addition to its repertoire of close combat methods, the tradition also contains a number of iai and kenjutsu techniques contained under the collective umbrella term, Koshi No Mawari (腰之廻) making the ryūha a sōgō bujutsu (総合武術) or "Comprehensive martial art".

Koshi No Mawari means "Around the hips" when translated into English. It refers to the concept that anything expedient around the area of the hips can be used as a weapon. As with most koryū, this would commonly be a kodachi (short-sword) or an uchigatana/katana (long-sword), however upon exploring this concept, other weapons and objects can be utilized.


There are locations for Sōsuishi-ryū inside and outside Japan:

Sōsuishi-ryū in Japan[edit]

Today, Sōsuishi-ryū has three schools in Japan. The Shitama family line of Sōsuishi-ryū is practiced at the Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan (社団法人隻流館), the hombu (本部) dōjō (home dōjō) of the ryu, located in Fukuoka, Japan. It is headed by the current hereditary shihan (head teacher), Manzo Shitama. The Seirenkan (清漣館道場) is the hombu dōjō of Sōsuishi-ryū Kumiuchi Koshinomawari in Tokyo, Japan led by Yoshihiko Usuki.[9] The Seirenkan is the member of Kokusai Budoin (IMAF) and performs demonstrations at IMAF embutaikai. The Kosonkai, is in Tokyo as well, teaching Edo-den Sōsuishi-ryū led by Manabu Ito . The Kosonkai performs demonstrations at the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai embutaikai circuit. While these schools practice independently of one another, they maintain a respectful relationship. Manabu Ito and Yoshihiko Usuki have traveled to the Sekiryukan to train with Shitama Sensei and view Manzo Shitama as the hereditary Shihan of Sōsuishi-ryū. Manabu Ito continues to currently train with Shitama Sensei at the Sekiryukan.

Sōsuishi-ryū Outside Japan[edit]

Sosuishi ryu is taught in several dojo outside Japan. Located in the New South Wales area of Australia under Pat Harrington & Betty Huxley ; the United States is led by Sosuishi ryu International Director and Menkyo Kaiden, Dennis Fink in the states of New York and Washington; The Seirenkan dōjō is led by Yoshihiko Usuki and are located in the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Kuwana; the Seirenkan also has International branch schools located in Singapore, Italy, the United Kingdom in the city of London and in the United States in Chicago, Illinois, North Carolina & in Portland, Oregon. The Kosonkai Dojo led by Manabu Ito has no international schools and is located solely in Tokyo, Japan.


  1. ^ N.B. The 'shitsu' (執) in Sōsuishitsu in the Japanese language is a more modern pronunciation from the Meiji-era, whereas Sōsuishi-ryū is the Bakumatsu-era pronunciation. Both Sōsuishi-ryū & Sōsuishitsu-ryū pronunciations are interchangeable.
  2. ^ (in Japanese)[Masaru, Negami. 2003. Sekiryūkan No Chōsen. Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan. Pages 200-210.]
  3. ^ Watatani Kiyoshi, Yamada Tadashi (1969). Bugei Ryūha Daijiten (武芸流派大事典) (Large Encyclopedia of Martial Arts) (in Japanese). Shin Jinbutsu Ourai Sha (人物往来社). OCLC 36964401. 
  4. ^ a b Shadanhoujin Sekiryukan
  5. ^ The name Masanori appears in print in the English Language. The name "Masanori" is a mis-reading/mis-pronunciation of the name Masaaki.
  6. ^ (in Japanese)[Kiyoshi, Yamada & Tadashi, Watatani. 1978. Bugei Ryūha Daijiten. Tokyo Copy Shuppansha.]
  7. ^ (in Japanese)[Ryūchi, Matsuda. 1979. Hiden Nihon Jūjutsu. Shin-Jinbutsuoraisha.]
  8. ^ (in Japanese)[Masaru, Negami. 2003. Sekiryūkan No Chōsen. Published by the Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan.]
  9. ^ a b (in Japanese)[Masaru, Negami. 2003. Sekiryūkan No Chōsen. Shadanhōjin Sekiryūkan.]
  10. ^ (in Japanese) Usuki, Y. 2007. Seirenkan website. Sosuishi-ryū Kumi Uchi Koshi no Mawari (A History of). Retrieved October 9th, 2007 from: http://www.sousuishiryu.jp/seirenkan/rekishi.html
  11. ^ (in Japanese)[Toichiro, Takenouchi & Akio, Jiromaru. 1993. Shinden No Bujutsu, Takenouchi-ryu. Mu AV Books.]
  12. ^ (in Japanese)[Takenouchi-ryū Hensan Iinkai. 1978. Nihon No Jūjutsu No Genryū Takenouchi-ryū. Nichibo Shuppansha.]
  13. ^ (in Japanese)[Yokose, Tomoyuki, 2000. Nihon No Kobudō. Shadanhōjin Nippon Budōkan - Baseball Magazine sha.]

External links[edit]