Welcome to the website of Toda-ha Bukō-ryu, Hokusei Dōjō.
Toda-ha Bukō-ryu is a martial tradition which specializes in the use of the naginata. Its highest teachings center around the kagitsuki naginata, a weapon with a small cross-bar, against both sword and spear. Other weaponry practiced include kusarigama, sword, spear, bō and nagamaki.
Toda-ha Bukō-ryu has its roots in Chujō-ryu, and it’s off-shoot, the Toda-ryu, founded by Toda Seigen (富田勢源) in the later years of the Warring States era in Japan. Toda-ryu became an enormously influential school throughout the Edo period, and up into modern times. Among ryu which developed from Toda-ryu are Ittō-ryu kenjutsu (the primary influence on modern kendō), Kiraku-ryu jujutsu, Saburi-ryu sōjutsu, and, of course, Toda-ha Bukō-ryu.
Toda-ryu was adopted by the Suneya family in the mountainous Chichibu region. Among other weapons, the clan apparently focused on the naginata, and its study, over many generations, was known as Suneya-kei naginatajutsu. In the mid-1800’s, Suneya Ryosuke and his wife Suneya Satō initiated a renaissance of the naginata. This became the Toda-ha Bukō-ryu.
From Suneya Ryosuke and Suneya Satō, Toda-ha Bukō-ryu was transmitted in two main lines. One line, in the Chichibu area near Mt. Bukō, died out in the early Showa period. The other was transmitted in Tokyo through two of the Suneya’s students, Komatsuzaki Kotō & Yazawa Isaō through their remarkable student, Murakami Hideō.
Murakami Hideō achieved significant fame as a participant of Sakakibara Kenichi’s gekkiken kogyō, martial arts ‘shows,’ in which many experts of traditional ryu, unemployed after the inception of the Meiji government, exhibited their skills on stage. Aside from presentation of kata, various participants took on challenges from the audience. Murakami fought with both naginata and kusarigama, and according to Toda-ha Bukō-ryu’s oral tradition, was never defeated.
Murakami sensei transmitted Toda-ha Bukō-ryu to three students. Only one of these successors is known: Kobayashi Seiō, the daughter of the renowned Hokushin Ittō-ryu teacher, Chiba Chosaku, one of the first modernizers within Japanese budō. (Paradoxically, Kobayashi sensei was the epitome of tradition). Kobayashi sensei then transmitted Toda-ha Bukō-ryu to Nitta Suzuō, the teacher of the current generation of shihan. Her successor, the 20th generation soke of Toda-ha Bukō-ryu, was Nakamura Yoichi. Regrettably, Nakamura sensei passed away after a long illness, shortly after his 40th birthday, on August 28th, 2012.
Toda-ha Bukō-ryu is currently under the direction of soke-dairi, Kent Sorensen, also head of Toda-ha Bukō-ryu’s core dōjō, the Nakano Dōjō in Tokyo Japan. Sorensen sensei is supported by a number of shihan (fully licensed instructors) throughout the world. This particular website is that of the Hokusei Dōjō, headed by shihan Ellis Amdur. It provides information, not only on Toda-ha Bukō-ryu Hokusei Dōjō, and also contact information for other Toda-ha Bukō-ryu dōjō throughout the world.