Dr. Hatsumi meets Takamatsu for the First Time

by Masaaki Hatsumi

(This is from Dr. Hatsumi's 1983 book Ninja Submission in which he is writing about his first meeting with Toshitsugu Takamatsu.)

"I have always loved budo since I was very small. I attended many dojos to be stronger. I trained in Kendo, Karate, Aikido & boxing. I was confident with Judo, as I had a 4th Dan. I taught judo at the US army base when  I was in my early 20's. I enjoyed throwing those big Americans. However, one soldier held my arm with a Waza (technique)  similar to onikudaki. I pretended that it was nothing, but I knew he beat me. Since those guys actually fought in war, they must have studied various Waza. From that experience, I started to doubt what I had been doing. While I looked for a Budo which is complete and almighty, someone suggested a tremendous Sensei. This Sensei was Master Toshitsugu Takamatsu."

"I went to Kashihara City in Nara to see master Takamatsu. I had a match with him. Though he was in his 70's, I was thrown about like a child even though I was 26 years old and full of confidence. The pain his skill gave to me was different from any pain I had suffered before. I had only experienced cold pain, while he gave me hot pain. It was as if something would explode - I don't know how to say this, but it was as if my blood would be all sucked up and I felt as if  I would be killed right away. He didn't give me just one gyaku, but four or five of them at the same time, and  I could not tell where the pain came from. I knew that this was what I was looking for. I asked to become his student right away. This was in 1957. At that time, Master Takamatsu did not take any new students. Since then until he passed away, he did not teach his mastery to anybody but me. There were people who received menkyo (manuals, or certificates) and opened a school bearing a similar name, but they did not learn from him personally. I was chosen as his successor, so to speak. At that time, I was still living in Noda City , Chiba , and holding an office to fix broken bones. Therefore, I left my house Saturday evenings, learned from my master and came home Sunday evenings. I continued this way of training for 15 years until Master passed away."

"The more you learn about Master Takamatsu, the more you can tell that he went through very harsh training himself. For example, the thickness of his nails were 1/5 inch. He couldn't cut them with scissors. He used wire cutters. When he trained in the mountains at a young age, he hit rocks with his finger tips. He still used his nails to hit us. His nails were his weapons. In this way, his training was not as easy as sport. One cold day in winter, he suggested we go out for training. In this kind of weather, first we warmed up with Sake & went out. All of a sudden, he pulled his sword and asked me to catch it. When you work against real swords, you can not hesitate. So when the sword came to me, I just put my hands to it. I was able to catch it. Since it was so cold and my hands were numb and I did not try to grab it, it worked."

 

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