濱地光一師範を偲ぶ - In remembrance of Hamaji
This webpage is an identical copy of the English translation that appeared on the late Ishida sensei's now defunct Misogi.org website. Republished with the permission of Ishida sensei's daughter and his menkyo in Nagoya.
“My teacher, the late
Hamaji Kouichi sensei, treated one and all equally. He taught with his whole
heart and with full sincerity at all times. In remembrance of those days, I would hereby like to impart some of the memories I shared with him.”
- Translation by Arun Roberts & Maiko Tominaga.
the event that left the strongest impression upon me happened shortly after
entering the ryu, when I was around 17. Although I have forgotten what it was
about, I once raised some argument in opposition to Sensei's teaching.
At that time, Sensei said: “Is that so? In
that case you must be a Menkyo Kaiden. I guess it's alright for you not to
train anymore then.”
tensed up, I was taken aback. Perhaps because he understood my reaction, he
continued teaching without a word.
that time Sensei said to me, “Shugyou is training of the Hara. Whatever it is,
do it once with your whole Hara, correct it, and from there you come to
understand it clearly according to your own efforts.” To me, at the time a high
school student, this was etched indelibly upon my mind as the most important
attitude for a practitioner to assume.
Then, during Sensei's final years, when he
was around 70, we were practicing Kage's Hosomichi at Isshinji Dojo, Sensei on
the jo and myself acting as uchidachi. When I went to cut the tip of Sensei's
jo, he evaded the tachi, and thrust the jo into my side. In that moment, just
before the tip of his jo made contact, I suddenly felt ill, as though the
strength had left my body. I felt a shiver run down my spine and without
thinking I stopped mid-kata.
I told all this to Hamaji sensei, who gave me a perplexed look, he said,
must have hit you with my “Ki”, I suppose, if that's even possible.”
offered: “I heard you say once said that you ‘felt a shudder run through you,
just as though it was the breeze of Miyamoto Musashi’s sword brushing by?”
“You might be right,” he said in passing.
Even now, that sensation is still
imprinted on my body as a good memory.
In regards to “Ki”, after finishing with
Honte-uchi during jo training, I remember he would often quote Shirai Toru's
Kakkijutsu: “To have Ki surging out from the tip of the jo, this is Muso-ryu's
Hamaji sensei always made a clear
distinction between Budo and sport.
“In sports, even should you lose you
don't die. In Bujutsu, losing entails either death or serious injury. With the
kind of selfish mind that seeks only to defeat the opponent, leaving oneself
unwounded, Bujutsu is impossible, because Bujutsu is such that if one loses,
one dies; if one wins, one receives permission to defeat the opponent. One would allow an opponent to cut through their own skin so they in turn cut their opponent’s muscle; one allows them to cut through their own muscle so they in turn break their opponent’s bone. And when, at last, after
endeavouring long with this resolve in mind, one breaks free of the concerns of
life and death and connects with Heaven and Earth, one arrives at true Budo,”
would often say this to highlight the differences between Budo and sports.
“Looking at the people of today, there is a trend towards taking no
responsibility, even should they fail and towards prioritising only what they
want to say. This is completely in opposition to a person's path. To create
beings capable of taking actions, responsible even to the point of staking
one's life upon them - this is Budo. Jo especially is a wonderful Budo capable
of guiding people without injury and is based upon the Tenjihoko, found in
Japanese classics such as the Kojiki.”
I requested to Sensei and his wife in 1975
to act as matchmakers for my marriage.
On the day of the ceremony, one of my
friends went to pick up Sensei and his wife. “I heard plenty of stories in that
car. You are attached to a remarkable teacher,” my friend exclaimed enviously. “It is
a rare teacher who thinks of his students that much. Moreover, his wife has a
refinement about her that is nearly divine, as one would expect of the wife of
a great teacher. You must be a happy man.”
Later, this same friend would come to perform ascetic training together with
Sensei at Kiso Ontake Mountain's Kiyotaki and
was surprised at Sensei's sincerity and power when performing Kongou-kyou
Dokuju, causing him regret at his own inexperience. He too was forever in awe
On 19th September, 1981, a party
was held to celebrate Sensei's 70th birthday at Ozan Hall in Nagoya city's Chikusa
district, with an invitation list of 20 people.
At the party, Sensei was overjoyed and
presented a gift of calligraphy of “Kyuu-shi”, the nine thoughts, to all the
At about this time, on re-reading the
Densho, Sensei began to think that training in accordance to what was written
there was a way to come closer to the founder, Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi. He
was in the middle of performing a hundred days training in the Kongou-kyou
Dokuju, a ritual found in the Gomokuroku's “Hyakka-nichi no Shoujin”. Those
gifts of “Kyuu-shi” he handed out were taken from The Analects of Confucius,
and the same as the “Kyuu-shi” of “Kyuu-shi Ichigen Omou-beshi” in
Gomokuroku. Also during his hundred days training, he acquired a copy of
“Shinto Muso-ryu Myougo no maki” and endeavoured to train in accordance with
the strategies written therein.
At the party Sensei told us all that the training of mental powers such
as breaking glass cups, disturbing water while in the glass, and balance
practice were achievable through the hundred days training as was written
in this Densho called “Shinto Muso-ryu Myougo no maki”.
At the party to celebrate Sensei's 70th birthday.
|Calligraphy of “Kyuu-shi” was given to all the guests.
Producing a one page memo, Sensei asked me, “Ishida, do you understand this?”
there was a recipe called “Hyouryou-gan (food pellets) of the Iga-ryu Ninjutsu”,
so I answered, “Sensei, I've seen this. Yes, I think this is the Iga-ryu
is the provisions included in the hundred days cleansing but I'm not sure I
understand how to prepare it. Do you understand it?”
To which I replied, “I will look into this
thoroughly.” Taking the memo from him, I returned home to investigate and was
shocked at what I discovered.
The memo was identical to the Hyouryou-gan
found in the Bansen-shu-kai (military strategy, philosophy and tactics) record,
exact down to the quantities and to the method of preparation.
23rd July, when a Keikogi which was given to Sensei as a present
from the students of the Dojo was ready, I delivered it to him along with my
research and he was so pleased he allowed me a look at this “Shinto Muso-ryu
Myougo no maki”.
As I expected, it was exactly the same as the
prescription in the Bansen-shu-kai records. When I explained this to Sensei he
said, “Hmm, perhaps there might have been some connection between Jo
practitioners and the Ninja.” He then went on to tell a story of something like
a “Ninja” martial art technique which was written in a Densho burnt to cinders
with the old Hamaji house. It told of a Jojutsu Shihan of the Kuroda-han arresting
a lunatic who was swinging a sword around on the roof of the castle with the
use of a single Jo technique, which was perhaps possible because the Shihan had
learnt some Shinobi waza, Sensei speculated.
However, when it came to making the Hyouryou-gan it was actually quite
difficult due to the ingredients and season. Sensei gave up making the
medicine and instead ate a wholly vegetarian diet, not touching a single piece
of any kind of meat and made Kongoukyou Dokuju and Jo practice his core focus
for one hundred days. Moreover, he attempted to train that spirit, namely
psychokinesis, required to achieve the complementary scholarly and martial
paths, as is written in the “Shinto Muso-ryu Myougo no maki”.
As a result, he received an inspiration:
“On the earth, there is an absolute power that equally affects all things in
accordance with their mass, namely gravity.
Obeying this power with no resistance, thereby acquiring a sense of oneness
with all things, collect the Ki of the heavens and the Ki of the earth in your
Tanden, sit straight, stand straight, and walk determinedly. I have discovered
that this is the fundamental phenomenon of all things.”
Furthermore, during this hundred days'
practice, he climbed Kiso
and had an unusual experience.
He went to Kiyotaki in Kiso Ontake
Mountain’s fifth station
and casually took a photo of the waterfall. When he got home and developed the
photos, Kiyotaki came up in the shape of what appeared to be Fudou Myouou.
Sensei was surprised and consulted with
the Ontake sect master, and was advised to return both the photos and negatives to
the waterfall. Therefore on 13th September we went together to
Kiyotaki and offered the photos, negatives, Kongoukyou Jukkan, and a money
donation to the altar at the Gyoushadou.
The force of Sensei's Dokkyou at the
Gyoushadou was awesome. Such a tremendous force, it was as though performed by
a completely different person to the normally calm Sensei. He was asked by
someone I'd not seen before, who had by chance come to pray, to perform the
incantation and Sensei, with composure, recited the Kongoukyou. I remember
being moved by the joy of having such a wonderful teacher of inestimable value
to be entrusted by someone with the recitation so naturally, rather than by
Nearly one month after that, on the 24th and 25th of October, 5 or 6 people went together with Sensei on a
Gasshuku to Kiso Ontake Mountain.
it might be best to tell the story to the Goji” he said, proceeding to tell
his story to Taki Goji, the chief priest of the shrine. The priest said that
there was nothing in the Gyoushadou and upon hearing Sensei said, perplexed:
“Perhaps they disappeared? Oh well. As it says in the Kongoukyou, 'The law of
all worldly phenomena is like a dream and an illusion, like bubble and
shadow, like a haze or lightning. The truth will be seen as such'. Perhaps it's
better this way.”
At the eighth station on Kiso Ontake mountain.
Centre: Hamaji sensei,
holding the jo.
Standing to the left, dressed in white, the author.
Returning home from the Gasshuku, I
dropped Sensei off at his house. Producing a copy of the “Shinto Muso-ryu
in pencil, he handed it to me saying, “The founder, Muso Gonnosuke may also
have trained in this and attained Satori. Being single-minded you might be able
to do it. Please try training according to this.”
I have continued this training contained
within “Myougo no maki” since then. After receiving it also I accompanied
Sensei to Kiyotaki once again, and this time I recited the incantation
of the “Myougo no maki” and performed ascetic rituals beneath the waterfall,
during which time, Sensei practiced Jo alone before the waterfall.
“Kiyotaki is thought somehow to be one
place the founder Muso Gonnosuke trained at. I feel that Kongara and Seitaka,
the two sprites before the waterfall are similar to the sprite that appeared to
Muso Gonnosuke in a dream the night he completed his 37 days of ascetic practice
at Kamado Shrine. Muso Gonnosuke is such that there are rumours of his
originally coming from Kiso, so he may indeed have trained here at one time,”
he said there. He told me that in an effort to get even a little closer to the
spirit of the founder, he once trained there in the Gomuso.
“Shinto Muso-ryu Myougo no maki” was
written concerning a jutsu acquired by one Nakamura Yajirou Kakuzan at the
completion of ascetic training on the top of a mountain, during the second year
of the Kenji era (AD 1276). The inheritor, Doushun, a monk of the Tendai Temple
sect, gave it to the Shinto Muso-ryu jojutsu Shihan Mr Takayama, and also
offered a copy to Suenaga sensei. The contents were: Preface, Rules of Training,
Method for creating Hyo Ryo Gan, Incantation, Watch-and-See, Preparation,
Manners, and the “the second”, within it the methods for training in
psychokinesis written in detail.
The spells written therein appeared to be
Classical Chinese. It was apparently thought to be an article of Shugendou, or
else of the amalgamated Shinto-Buddhist line. Upon investigation it was
revealed that it is a secret teaching called “Musubi no Kotoba”, found
within Misogi-ryu Shinto, a sect revived by the venerable Kawatsura Bonji who hailed
from Usa of Bizen during the Meiji era. The text is not pronounced in On-yomi
but in Kototama, an ancient Japanese language, reading, “Kaku
Remitoarahanitouraomote, kamimohitomo, yorozunomonomo...”. Also, within the
secrets of using the “Nusa” (purifying
staff) in Misogi-ryu, there is a technique for releasing possessed spirits,
containing the same movements as Shinto Muso-ryu jo's “Okuden no Suigetsu”. The
handle of the Nusa used is made of bamboo and round like a jo.
When I told all this to Sensei he said,
“That is interesting. You may be well advised to research that further.”
He went on to tell me of how one Hirano Saburou, or someone of the like, had
healed none other than a possessed spirit by inscribing the Kyuji.
“Do you understand this?” he asked me
next, showing me a copy of a text passed down to Hirano Saburou entitled
“Goshinhou kyuji juji no daiji”.
By good fortune, it was a basic incantation of Esoteric Buddhism and Shugendou.
Having also trained in this method, I quickly showed it to him. He was terribly
pleased and from then on included the Goshinhou kyuji and the Japanese reading
of the “Myougo no maki” incantation with his reading of Kongoukyou in his
When Sensei was around 20 years old, while at the residence of Toyama Mitsuru he
happened to meet an ascetic, one Harada of
Suwa, who was in the habit of visiting there periodically. On one particular
occasion, upon seeing Sensei's face Harada exclaimed, “Left as things are, you
haven't a month left to you. Please, come with me and together we'll cure you.”
Sensei indeed had an illness in his lungs for which he was receiving medical
attention. Dropping everything, he went immediately with Harada to Suwa to
The said treatment was derived from one of
the physical trials of the ascetics. One places a towel inside a boiling kettle,
then, removing it and wringing it out with one's bare hands, applies the same
towel to the back and chest.
Also, the staple for the period was
cabbage with the addition of boiled vegetables only. Anything else was forbidden.
Continuing in this vein for roughly a
month, strength began to return to his body and when he had recovered enough to
partake in regular walks the two of them went out to perform Takigyou at Harada's
training consisted of, after standing under a waterfall, putting on tall,
single toothed geta and racing up the mountain path; practicing swinging a katana
while holding it backwards; and doing chin ups on a katana hung between two branches,
among others. Training, of course, in the ways of the ascetic.
I had heard this story countless times from Sensei, after his hundred days
purification were over I said to him, “Just once, I would like to see that
place for myself”.
Sensei said, “That happened close to 50 years ago but
it is one memory I hold dear. Shall we take a look?” And so it was that the two
of us went to Suwa.
Sensei sent notice in advance and we set
off for Harada's house. But when we got there he had already passed on and the
site at which the treatment took place was also gone.
The current owner was the ascetic's elder
brother and a devotee of the late, venerated Touyama Mitsuru. As such, he had
at one time resided at the Touyama residence and regaled us with stories of
Touyama and showed us various articles written by him. Then, we asked to be
taken to the aforementioned waterfall. But when the brother guided us to a
mountain temple in the suburbs of Suwa, the waterfall under which Sensei had
trained 50 years ago had dried up with only a small trickle remaining.
was terribly disappointed. He confided to me that here he keenly felt the
transition of the last 50 years. I had been looking forward to, if possible,
performing Takigyou, but failing in that felt similarly let down. Seeing this
Sensei began telling stories of what he had done here and how he had done a
certain thing over there and how he had run along this path, as though thinking
back upon images of the past. He also said he would like to come once more and
try out some Jo.
I also recall that afterwards, by the
guidance of Mr Harada, we came to a practice ground for gliding in Kirigamine,
where he was coaching. I thought it odd when Sensei displayed a great deal of
knowledge about the sport so I asked and was surprised to hear that he had
actually done some gliding in his youth.
For me, Sensei's final teaching came after the Enbu at the 1984 Aichi
prefecture Kendo, Iaido, and Jodo Koudansha tournament. “We did well today,” he
said. “Last year was noisy with all the babble of those attending. But this
year, as soon as the Enbu started, the crowd went so quiet you could hear a pin
drop. That is because we grabbed the attention of those watching and that is
the way it should be.”
In the autumn of that year, the Jo and
Shinto-ryu Kenjutsu Enbu at Atsuda Jingu's Nippon Kobudo Taikai was to be my
last Keiko with Sensei. Sensei performed the role of uchidachi for me with an
unearthly intensity and such spirit I thought time had stood still for an
instant. It was Sensei's final gift to me.
Commemorative photo at
Atsuta Jingu Nippon Kobudo Taikai.
Practicing Keiko before the enbu.
Exactly one month before he passed away, I
received an unexpected phone call from Sensei. “Just drop everything and come
to my house,” he said, as though brooding over something. Although surprised,
when I went to see him, he told me various stories for two or three hours and then,
seeing as there was a meal prepared, suggested we eat together.
When Sensei and I began eating the meal,
which was prepared by his wife, I noticed there was absolutely no flavour.
Having eaten his wife's delicious cooking countless times I thought this very
strange. Seeing my reaction, he tried to assure me, “This is food
recommended for diabetics. It's flavourless, yeah? But occasionally, food of
this sort is nice too, don't you think?” But I could not help but feel
something catch in my chest.
Sensei passed away one month later at 3:16pm on 9th May 1985 but I
can only think that one month earlier when he suggested we eat together, he must
have been expecting his passing in the depths of his consciousness.
when I think what I must do in order to repay Sensei's kindnesses to me, I have
decided not to seek after traces of my late teacher, but to seek and to find what
he himself was searching for. But what was it he was searching for? I think it
Takaji sensei, the founder Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi, Shinto-ryu's founder
Iizasa no Yamashiro no Kami Ienao, and, going back even further, Japanese
Shinto, which encompasses all the ways of all things in nature, heaven and
In his final years, Sensei performing Enbu with Nishioka Tsuneo shihan
5th anniversary of the establishment of Kobukan
Dojo (20th March, 1980)
After his death, I received Sensei's last wishes, “Should anything happen to
me, go to Nishioka”. I therefore came to request from Nishioka Tsuneo shihan,
his guidance and teaching.
article is a reworking of parts of the book “Aijo”, released in 1988.
For more information and to purchase
please Click Here
【 Regarding the publication
of Shinto Muso-ryu “Jo no Hinkaku”. 】
the belongings of the late Gerald Toff a tape recording of an interview with
the late Hamaji Kouichi shihan (first generation head of Aijokai) has recently
been found, collated in the form of a manuscript with permission from his wife,
and has reached the stage where it can be published as “Jo no Hinkaku”
to the records, the tape was taken at the home of Hamaji Kouichi shihan, on 3rd
Toff was also a member of Aijokai and, while working as a university professor,
was well known both as a Kobudo researcher and as commentator on a Sumo
documentary aimed at the overseas market, airing on NHK's free-to-air network.
this book are glimpses of Hamaji shihan as one who has studied Jo through both
the Meiji and the Taisho eras, living in the style of a Bushi. He talks on the
history of the spread of Shinto Muso-ryu jo and the teachers who worked towards
it. Also mentioned are his requests to those who will pass on Jo to the next
order that those who will go on to hand down Shinto Muso-ryu jo, starting with
ourselves, are not pushed along by the present age and in aid of them
considering once more what the transmission of Budo is, this book is a work that
will certainly become an important reference for the present generation.
hope to contribute to the continuing growth of jodo by introducing this book to
the many practitioners studying Budo with the same fervour as enthusiasts of
Hamaji Mitsuo, President
of Aijokai, 25th August, 2008.