The Ryushin Shouchi Ryu is a branch tradition of the Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu, a system founded by Tose Yosazaemon Osamune (十瀬 与三左衛門 長宗, c. 1540- c. 1600) around the Eiroku Era (1558- 1570) specializing in iaijutsu and kenjutsu. Tose was a land-holding samurai from Hitachi province. While in his twenties he traveled to Katori Shrine to study the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu under the third headmaster, Iizasa Wakasa no Kami Morinobu. After five years of training he received a menkyo kaiden (license of mastery) and would go on to continue his studies at Kashima Shrine. While at Kashima, Tose became enlightened, and through an oracle, received a catalog of techniques from Takemikazuchi. It was after this divine inspiration that he created the Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu, taking the Tenshinsho (true and correct transmission from the deity of Katori Shrine, Futsunushi) from the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu, and adding the term “self-power revelation” (jigen) which had come to him after his spiritual ordeal at Kashima Shrine. He would later travel to Satsuma where he would meet his eventual successor Kaneko Shinkuro Morisada (金子 新九郎 盛貞, c. 1520- c. 1585).
The third headmaster, Terasaka Yakuro Masatsune (赤坂 弥九郎 政雅, 1567- 1594), was introduced to Kaneko at the age of 13 to begin his studies in swordsmanship for the purpose of avenging his father’s death. By the time he was 17 years old Terasaka had mastered the Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu and avenged his father’s death when he was 19 years old. Shortly after, he moved to Kyoto to become a monk at Tenneiji Temple of the Soto Zen School where he took on the Buddhist dharma name Zenkitsu (善吉, also read Zenkichi). In 1588, Togo Shigekata would become Zenkitsu’s best student, mastering the Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu in less than a year. Togo Shigekata (東郷 重位, 1560- 1643) would go on to combine the Taisha Ryu, which he had previously learned from the founder, Marume Kurandonosuke Tessai, and the Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu to create the Jigen Ryu. According to tradition, the Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu would remain a well-kept secret through the Jigen Ryu and Yakumaru Jigen Ryu lines and passed down through a series of dai (a line of headmasters not related by blood) for nearly 400 years.
The Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu would see a revival under the 27th headmaster, Ueno Yasuyuki Genshin (上野 靖之 源心, 1913- 1972), when he began instructing in Asakusa, Tokyo until his death in 1972. It was at this time that Kawabata Terutaka (河端 照孝, b. July 12, 1940) began his swordsmanship training at the Sogo Budo Shobukan, which was founded in 1963 by his father and was under the guidance of Ueno Yasuyuki Genshin. After Ueno’s death Kawabata would continue his training and eventually establish the Seiseikan in Akabane, Tokyo where he founded the Ryushin Jigen Ryu in 2006. In 2008, Kawabata’s best student, Yahagi Kunikazu (矢作 訓一, b. April 5, 1948), would become the second headmaster of the Ryushin Jigen Ryu.
In 2011, to clarify the purpose of the school in cultivating the mind and conditioning the body through rigorous training, the original name of the school, Ryushin Jigen Ryu, was changed to Ryushin Shouchi Ryu. The name Ryushin Shouchi Ryu was selected by the founder, Kawabata Terutaka. Ryūshin (柳心) means “Mind or Heart of the Willow tree” and invokes the image of a tree which does not lose its leaves even in winter; while Shouchi (照智) can be translated as “shining wisdom”. Together, these characters convey the sense of “establishing in the world an unmovable wisdom and everyday mind by means of a strong yet flexible body and spirit.”
Today, the Ryushin Shouchi Ryu is practiced across the globe with several schools in the United States, Europe and Japan. Every year, Yahagi makes official trips to conduct training courses abroad, where he receives the warm support of his overseas students. The Ryushin Shouchi Ryu also takes part in the Annual Kobudo Dedication Demonstrations (Kobudo Hono Embu Taikai) at Katori Shrine every year; an event that has been taking place for over 25 years.