Soke Masaaki Hatsumi was born in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan on December 2, 1931. He was first introduced to the martial arts by his father at age 9 learning kendo. Later he went on to study judo, aikido, karate, boxing and numerous koryu bujutsu styles.
From 1957 to 1972, Masaaki Hatsumi studied with Takamatsu Toshitsugu, from whom he inherited the authority and position of Soke (headmaster) in the following nine martial arts traditions:
In the late 1970's Masaaki Hatsumi founded the Bujinkan Dojo in honor of his teacher Takamatsu Toshitsugu. From 1982 till 2003 he travelled world wide to teach his style of martial arts. He continues to teach the essence of these martial art methods at the Bujinden Honbu dojo in Noda City today.
Takamatsu-sensei was born on March 10, 1889 in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. He began studying martial arts at the age of nine and mastered various styles from Ishitani Matsutaro, Mizuta Yoshitaro Tadafusa, and his grandfather Toda Shinryuke. Takamatsu-sensei was already an accomplished budoka by the time he was a teenager, having won challenge matches against other martial artists and sumo wrestlers. As a young man in his twenties he retreated to the mountains of Kobe to continue his rigorous physical and spiritual practice. After leaving the mountains he soon returned to China, and for the following 10 years he encountered many life and death situations in true fighting. He reportedly fought many strong Chinese martial artists in mortal combat and used his budo to defend himself against even wild animals. In 1919, after mastering the combat arts, Takamatsu Sensei returned to Japan in order to master spiritual studies. He became the head monk at a mountain temple of esoteric Buddhism in the Yamato district. In the 1950's, he taught martial arts in Nara Prefecture; in 1957 he met Hatsumi Masaaki (Yoshiaki) and groomed the young man to become the successor to his rich martial arts legacy. Referred by Hatsumi Sensei as the "last true combat ninja," the venerable Takamatsu Toshitsugu passed away in May of 1972, at the age of 84 years.
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