Antonis & Harry Mitrou Bujinkan Menkyo Kaiden Ninpo Bugei Ryuha

Extras - Issue 16

HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine had the opportunity to meet the two masters of Bujinkan Ninpo Taijutsu, Anthony and Harry Mitrou. We discussed with the two brothers while at their Martial Arts academy in Pagrati, where they were photographed. Among many other things, we talked about the Ninja, the Samurai, and the Ronin, the Irezumi and Traditional Japanese tattoo, the importance of SHU HA RI and the meaning of the title of "apprentice". They also referred to their tattoos by Horiyoshi III, Mike the Athens and Horimasa, their travels to Japan, and how they wanted to become "Ninja" since they were children, and how they succeeded their desire through a constant trip of many years. 

Photos & interview by Ino Mei.

Who were the Ninja and who were the Samurai?

When someone attempts to look back at a history that spans more than 1000 years, it is hard to separate fact from fiction and recorded elements, which support any theory regarding who a Ninja or a Samurai really is. When it comes to the secret art of the Ninja, many imagine and proclaim in a negative light, as spies-killers of feudal Japan. However, it is not quite like that.

During periods of great battles, some Samurais who lost the war or their master in battle were obliged to perform seppuku (ritual suicide). Those who did not suicide remained as Ronin, which means persecuted wanderers and hid in the mountains. That is where they met the Yamabushi 山伏 monks, who taught them how to survive with different tactics. So the Samurai acted under the orders of the master and had to balance the double obligation of achieving their goal, while maintaining the honour and prestige of the family name. Whereas the Ninja were common people, far below the high level and social standing of the warrior class Samurai. They were, therefore, free of the Samurai’s rigid code of honour and the predetermined ways they were obliged to follow in order to deal with any situation. The Ninja acted as shadows with their own code of honour. Women also took part in missions as female Ninja (kunoichi), who would infiltrate the enemy ranks as dancers, concubines or servants, using their beauty and charms to earn the trust of their victims.

When and how did you first come into contact with martial arts?

I remember us being very active when we were young, like all children of that age. It began with artistic gymnastics when we were five, a period of ease but also difficulties. Modern sports centres didn’t exist then, you could only find some Athletics Societies attached to Primary Schools. So we would begin our artistic gymnastics after school. We were very excited and had some titles despite our young age. It is a demanding precise sport.

I remember our father bought us our first video player when we were just six years old (laughs). It was an important event for us. We would go to the video club every Saturday to get our first films, which were of course Chinese, Japanese and American action and martial arts films. We were completely hooked on Sho Kosugi films – he always played the ninja. We regarded him as a teacher, even in his films. We liked him because he combined technique with acrobatics, which was something we were already doing in our artistic gymnastics. So as we became even more obsessed with martial arts we began applying them to our artistic gymnastics by climbing walls and ropes or going upon roofs etc.
We liked the fact that he made his own swords in his films so we started copying him. Lazaros Lazaridis’ studio was right next to our house. At the time, he designed all the sets for the theatre and Greek films so, little demons that we were, we would sneak into his workshop and use all his tools to make wooden swords, spears and our first stars (Shuriken).

How did you and Harry discover the arts of Shinobi and Samurai?

That same time around 1980, we found a magazine with our hero Sho Kosugi on its cover. We of course bought it and were amazed when we opened it. The entire magazine was about the art of Ninjutsu and especially Hatsumi Masaaki, the only teacher in Japan at the time. That was it. From six years old, we wanted to become ninjas. But there were no schools for it then... So we continued practising artistic gymnastics and creating our own wooden weapons, hoping to one day have our dream come true. 

FAITH. We believed and then it came true.  

In mid 1985, I visited one of the few shops selling martial arts equipment. There I saw an advert about a Ninjutsu seminar, which was to take place in Corinth. Our dream was happening but it was far away for us. We asked our father to take us so we could find the teacher and take part in the seminar. Let me note here that the rapporteur, a Swede, was one of the first western pupils of Hatsumi sensei.

We truly felt pride but also fear at what we saw. They all looked very serious and dressed in black, while almost all the weapons were laid out on the floor for the presentation… swords, chains, shuriken, rods etc.

When the seminar ended, we were standing in a corner watching and not speaking a word. That’s when the teacher came up to us and asked us if we wanted to become ninjas… We just nodded while staring at the floor. 

A year went by and our dream was unfulfilled. At the same time, we began saving up what little pocket money our uncle gave us for helping him with some plumbing work. We decided to go twice on a month, on Sundays, to Corinth to learn how to become ninjas without our parents’ consent. 

Picture this… Two kids, barely twelve years old, in 1986, secretly taking the train every second Sunday to go and do what they really wanted. So here we have a GOAL.

It wasn’t long before our parents realized what we were doing and forbade it. We were of course grounded, which thankfully only lasted for six months. To our great surprise, that same teacher 
we never asked how or why – opened a second studio right next to our house. So we happily went every weekend after artistic gym, which we never stopped doing of course, and took part in the children’s classes.

The years went by, we grew up and our second move was to meet the man who held all the knowledge of these arts. So in 1992 we travelled alone to England. In Europe, Hatsumi sensei gave open seminars for the promotion of the arts but also to train the students of the Bujinkan Organisation.

Let it be known that in general all the teachers were a bit secretive about these seminars. But we didn’t care what would happen if our teacher found out, we wanted to learn. Many things changed during that first trip, about the way we perceived the technique. We saw Hatsumi sensei and many teachers from all over the world and of course the personal pupils who followed him from Japan, such as Seno Dai-shishan, Noguchi Dai-shishan and others. We realized we had a long way ahead of us and that we needed to work hard to really know the art.

Harry left to study in Paris after finishing school while I remained back here in Greece. However, from 1993 and every year onwards we didn’t miss any of Hatsumi sensei’s European seminars. 

Harry then met in France the man who would be our teacher for the following years, whom we thank for his teachings and the knowledge he gave us. Even though I worked, I travelled to France four times a year for extra lessons and seminars. So, four times a year in France and two times in Europe generally, was a good number for then. A good step. 

I began giving my first lessons in 1996 at a local gym in Pagrati, which became our base of operations so to speak.

In 2000 we decided to open our own school and we have been officially teaching since then. In those days, Harry used to come three times a year to give seminars to the small numbers of students we had at the school. 

In 2001, with our teacher’s approval, we took the test for the 5th Dan, the Sakki Test. It is something only a few are able to complete. Hatsumi sensei stands behind the examinee, with his eyes closed and his sword raised, while the examinee is in front of him in the seiza position (traditional stance on the knees) with his eyes closed tried to feel the incoming blow and roll away in order to avoid it. It you were successful, you received the GoDan (5th Dan) and the title of shidoshi (instructor).

In 2003 Hatsumi sensei stopped his travels to Europe, giving his last European Taikai (grand gathering) in England. Therefore, our only option was now Japan.

How did you fund all these travels? 

Let me remind you of those two words I mentioned earlier: FAITH and GOAL. We preferred to travel around the world to learn, instead of going on a holiday. And we of course still think that way. We won’t go out. Instead we will save up so we can visit our teachers and to learn so as to transfer that knowledge to our own pupils. 

How did you react when Hatsumi sensei stopped visiting Europe in 2003?

We started going to Japan twice a year to really get to know Hatsumi sensei and also his personal pupils. It’s a journey of a lifetime, that’s how I see it, and we also tell our students to go as well, to get to know all the magic such a journey offers regarding the arts and respect. 

At the same time we also discovered other aspects of the arts, which can be freely found, as long as you search for the “real” one. In Japan, unlike Europe and America, if you are not genuine in what you do, whatever that may be, you have no future. 

How did you continue your learning in Japan?

The first thing we had to learn were the basics of the Japanese language so we could communicate. The second was the history of the arts, where they come from and what their purpose is. We started visiting various Japanese temples that were traditionally connected to martial arts, as well as some Museums. We saw photographs of various Samurais with tattoos on them: emblems or various depictions of dragons, snakes and tigers. That is when I asked myself why all these Samurai had tattoos, when I knew that only the Japanese mafia had tattoos.

During one of our visits to Hatsumi sensei’s office, we saw a photograph of him, when he was young, with a half naked man full of tattoos next to him. While we were standing in front of the photo, he approached us and said: “a grand teacher in Irezumi and my good friend, Horiyoshi san!” and gave us of his books to look at. Stunned, we got to know his work. The book was called “100 Demons”. I came upon a page depicting Hanya.

How did your first contact with Japanese tattoo evolve?

After that experience in our teacher’s office and our various visits to temples and museums, I bought my first magazines and historical texts about Samurais and tattoos. I read books by great painters, like Katsushika Hokusai -葛飾 北斎 - I am referring to the historic ones - which are just drawings for most tattoo artists. This specific artist refers to the entire history and mythology of Japan with his paintings, from the Kamakura period to the Tokugawa leyasu and of course the new vision of the Edo period, through aesthetics. This is where we find some of the most popular works which have inspired many tattooists. We have the first official indications about the origin of the Irezumi and its purpose, regarding the intentions of some Ninja factions to stigmatize their body with their family symbols – with the needle and ink used in calligraphy – so as the various schools (martial systems and techniques) could differentiate themselves. The name they gave this ritual was: 紋 身 Mon mi = Crest only, fingerprint.

So during the Edo period, the Ninja were practicing Irezumi solely to stigmatize their bodies with the family crest?

No it was also done for religious and reactionary reasons. Specifically, during periods of peace the Samurai and Ninja warriors would come into contact with Zen masters and various teachers of religious factions. So by making snakes, dragons and tigers with Irezumi, they believed they were casting their fears and nightmares out of the wars. However, they were also a form of reaction to the strict rules of the country, which forbade the poor for dressing with good quality clothes.  That is when they did their first full body Irezumi. History tells us that the full body tattoo is influenced by the Samurai culture, the Japanese warriors who would cover themselves with fancy clothes decorated with symbols of courage and pride, to show off their family’s lineage.

Coming back to your original question, I began looking up tattoo artists here in Greece on the internet. Knowing and learning some basic things, always based on historical events, I visited some studios in Athens, which mentioned they did Traditional Japanese Tattoo (it doesn’t matter which ones they were).

I am a humble person and I respect someone who has knowledge about something I do not, so I will listen to their opinion. That’s what I did, but unfortunately no artist supported what I had in mind. I understand that what I am about to say is sad and hard, but if you put a title over your head, you might as well support it.  

In April 2006, I was in Japan and, while we were preparing for Hatsumi sensei’s lesson on the train, our French teacher looked us in the eyes and with a big smile told us “you are now on your own, you do not need me anymore, we are now the same”. We were caught completely off guard with his words and felt sadness, while we wondered why he had told us that… Did he not want to teach us anymore? With our questions unanswered, we began our lesson with Hatsumi sensei. At some point, he came close to us, put his hand on our backs and said: “Sugureta Girisha Judan, Kabatte Kudasai”. We froze. He left our side and addressed everyone else in the Dojo and said: “you Greeks are very good. I give you the 10th Dan, with the title of Shihan (teacher of teachers), a great rank which has an obligation to the art, the history and its correct conveyance.  

The important thing is to remain a student inside and not to hold the title as a beacon. 

So how did you get your first tattoo?

In early February 2007, one of my pupils told me that he got his first tattoo done a few days earlier. I saw it and liked it. A few days afterwards I asked for the details of the artist and I visited him. This time I was more aware of what I wanted and a lot tougher with everything I had seen. 

I did indeed book an appointment and went to have a chat. And that’s when I met Mike the Athens, in his private studio in Faliro. Simple and calm. On his coffee table was the book I had seen in Hatsumi sensei’s office, “100 Demons” by Horiyoshi sensei. Mike was preparing something and after five minutes he said “are you ready to discuss what you want?” I immediately replied yes I am ready and showed him the Hanya design. I looked at him and said this is what I want, can you do it? He smiled and said “you have done your homework” and I said I just know what I want. I saw that he respected that phrase and I understood what sort of person I was dealing with. If you are ready for something like that we can start. He asked me when I wanted to start and I said “soon” and immediately added, “whenever you are ready”.

Not two weeks had passed before he called me. He asked me when I wanted to begin our first session. I was pleased and after three days I had my first session and my first tattoo. A big one of course. Since then I consider Mike my friend, or rather my Buyu, a word given to a few and especially when they have knowledge of the arts, martial arts. Buyu (武友人) means warrior friend in English. That one who will hold you in his arms when you take your last breath after a deadly blow or will stand by you during hard times. For me personally it is the one who knows how to handle the needle and gives it his all. His spirit. He performs ritual. That’s how I saw and see the arts. So one day I called him Buyu-武友人.

Thanks to Mike, we took part in the first Athens Tattoo Convention, which brought us into contact with Hercules (Eightball Tattoo), whom we warmly thank for his help and support in promoting Japanese culture through our art. So for the next three years we took part with our own booth. Lovely times and experiences, meeting remarkable people.

Should I assume that you’ve also been tattooed in Japan? 

In November 2007 I searched for Horiyoshi’s studio, which wasn’t hard to find. So I went and visited the studio in Yokohama, but he was unfortunately out of town. I wasn’t disappointed, as some things have to happen in their own time for various reasons. On my return, I decided to look for various studios and go and have a look at their work. I searched the internet and found someone four hours outside of Tokyo. I sent him a message and, surprisingly, he answered. You might say “Yea but the centre of Tokyo is full of studios”. The thing is, even now, I am not attracted to the centre of Tokyo. 

After 3-4 days, we took the train early in the morning – since I didn’t have a scheduled lesson that day – and went to meet the artist. We had to be there at about noon and we arrived 10 minutes late. When we arrived in the city of Kuki (9 demons), exiting the train, me and my brother were smiling thinking how quaint this village was – completely rural. A Japanese man with an almost completely shaved head approached us and called my name “Adoni san”. I of course replied in Japanese, “yes that is me”. He bowed to us and introduced himself as the tattoo artist I had contacted, Horimasa. We got into his car and went to his studio. He asked me what I wanted to do. I asked for a Tora = Tiger (warrior symbol). The great thing is that I got my first Tebori 手彫. During a break, Harry and me were looking at his showcase, which had various objects he had collected. There was a Tebori stick, which I asked to see. He immediately stood up and handed it to me. He said it was a gift to me, from one teacher to another. Let me note here that with traditional artists, even in martial arts, when you present yourself you also announce your title. It was the best gift I could have had just like the tiger he gave me, which I still have. Since then, I started studying in more the various techniques and the bodysuits more closely, along with my own art.

In the summer of 2008 I visited him again and received my first Shichibu (七分) which is the ¾ sleeve. That same year in November I also got my second Shichibu, without telling him what I wanted, I just gave him my body and he gave me his soul. It is a hard thing to say something like that. But that is when I began to realize the true nature of the tattoo artist, which is connected with the philosophy of martial arts. At the same time, Horimasa tattooed Harry the Sutra of Fudomyo. 

You cannot give unless you are ready to receive. 
You are not ready to receive if you are not ready to give. 
It is the exact same phrase from a Buddhist prayer, 般若心経 - Hanya Shinγyo – Heart sutra:  (色即是空) Shiki soku zeku -  Ku Soku Ze Shiki.

Phenomena come from the void and the void creates phenomena. 

Crystal from Gomineko Books was also there that time to take some photos for a book she wanted to do about Horimasa sensei. He himself asked me to stay until the next day so Crystal could take my picture too. It was truly a big lesson for me and Harry, staying one more day in Kuki. 

We sat in the studio all day and watched various Japanese people come in with his designs on them to be photographed. Horimasa sensei came close to us and discretely said “Yakuza”. One of them was fiercely looking at us. Horimasa saw him and laughed, explaining our titles. The man immediately stood up, half naked and bowed to us. We did the same. After a few hours we said our goodbyes and went to rest. The man who had been staring at us stopped us and invited us to eat. You cannot refuse, it is disrespectful. 

We accepted and followed with Horimasa accompanying us with his wife of course and Crystal. We were about ten people in total in a private space of a local restaurant. After a while, a much older man in a suit arrived, with a serious look about him, accompanied by a good looking woman with another man. Everyone there immediately got up and bowed, and so did we. It was a true experience, mostly of courage. Crystal wanted to tell us the name of the woman. She is Shoko Tendo, said Harry first and we both smiled. There’s no need to say who this woman is.

Did you continue getting tattooed at Mike the Athens after Japan? 

When I returned, I shared all my experiences with Mike and we continued our work in his studio. That’s when everything started to come together. I am still with Mike today, but always with my aforementioned philosophy. Even if it’s one step at a time. Harry also took his first steps back then, with his first Gobu (五分) which is half a sleeve. 

In 2009 we received the 15th Dan by the soke Hatsumi himself, which is a symbolic rank. Remember the historical context of a Samurai going to the field of battle when he is fifteen years old. That’s when you understand the responsibility you are receiving and holding. You are ready to receive and give. You are now ready to fill with your own experiences, whereas until then, you were training for that moment. But you have to remain loyal to your values and beliefs. Never say ‘I know’, because you might meet someone in the future who will truly know.

What has happened since receiving the 15th Dan?

After that, we chose to become personal pupils of one of Hatsumi’s first students, Seno sensei and we send him our request. His reply came a year and a half later, and he accepted us. So PATIENCE. Since then we have been studying makimono and densho on a technical level, as if we were students again. 

In 2012 the soke himself awards us with the medal of honour for our twenty-five years of service to the art of Ninpo Taijutsu and for our loyalty.

In 2013 we received the menkyo diploma Bufu Ikan of faith and trust for the art. There are things said here that not even our pupils know about. That journey was the biggest recognition we ever got and we never displayed it. After the end of the lesson, Hatsumi sensei called us to his office. We sat for a while and then he suggested to go for diner because Yoshi-san would be coming he said. We never really understood what he wanted to say, we just went along with him. We didn’t have time to sit down and the door opened and sensei called that name again Yoshi san konitsua. Lifting our gazes we understood that it was Horiuyoshi sensei himself. It was the best thing that could have happened to us. Being with two soke – each in his field – and talking to them. The next challenge was by Horiyoshi himself, when he invited us to his studio in Yokohama. Two days later we were there with him and he was showing us his makimono and densho collection where his own art, the Irezumi, was depicted He explained that during the Edo period criminals were tortured with the method of tattoo - Bokukei, bokkei (墨刑). While their bodies were beaten and bleeding, they let them get infected and die. That means those who did it knew specific points of the body – so they were knowledgeable in the use of various Kakushi buki - 隠し 武器, meaning hidden weapons like knives, throwing blades etc.

From the ancient manuscripts (densho), one can see that the traditional Japanese art of tattoo is done using a set of needles, which were placed on the end of a wooden or metal handle, while the ink was manually added. This old type of technique is still used today by some masters of that kind. A specific example are the members of the Horiyoshi dynasty of Yokohama, who had their own teams of pupils to which were passed the secrets of art. 

Today, Horiyoshi has the title of 3rd soke of the secret tradition that is Irezumi. 

Soke means heir of traditions and is the highest title of the art one can have. It is accompanied by the practical, philosophical and spiritual part and the Soke hold the ancient makimono and densho manuscripts, which hold the secrets of the art. These makimono and densho are given from one heir to the next. Just like Hatsumi sensei, Hooriyoshi sensei holds the highest knowledge of all. They are friends, loyal and dedicated to traditions. They have both received awards by the same Emperor and are considered living treasures in China. 

We both got tattooed by Horiyoshi III. We got two kanji, I got the Nin (忍) and Harry got the Fudoshin (不動心) . Horiyoshi III is a simple man with a smile and a good heart and always has his door open to everyone.

That is an important attribute for someone who has the title of teacher.

Obviously we were not surprised that his son has the title of apprentice for the past eight years and will later accept the title of assistant, until that time when he himself has the title of master. We smiled with disappointment, because in Europe and herein Greece, those titles are given loosely after just a year, without knowing the meaning of it. Not just in tattooing, but generally in the arts. Just like with our art, where eight to ten years of continuous training – no breaks – and always guided by your teacher, will get you the tile of Shidoshi – Godan. After seventeen to twenty years you get the title Shihan and after twenty to twenty-five years you gradually start to understand the meaning of SHU HA RI (守破離). You are now ready to receive and give your own experiences. How can one give experiences when he hasn’t received knowledge?

Whoever doesn’t have a teacher, just doesn’t know and the only thing he does is to give out labels. Sooner or later his quality will show. A great judge is the student, who after a certain amount of time, will start researching and rejecting hi so-called ‘teacher’. The worst thing that can happen is being rejected by someone who wants to learn.

What would you advise someone who wants to learn? 

To research and not be hasty. Go and learn, travel, meet people and receive knowledge from the beginning, like a student and not someone knowledgeable. All these years we remain students in our heart and soul.

The greatest gift I have received from Horiyoshi was a Yobori (洋彫り). Without being a tattoo artist he gave me a Yobori of his - something which I cannot give life to, since I am not a tattooist. But according to ancient ideology, it represents the symbol of a small blade coming into contact with the body. Just like when they knew how to use a sword in battle – when they entered the field of battle to kill or be killed.  Yes, in that way it may push me to discover new things. Just like with the art of Ninpo (忍法). It is the art of life. From the moment you feel the danger of the techniques you use, you start to respect your own life.

What has marked both of us psychologically and bodily are the Fudomyoo 不動明王 figures, done by Mike the Athens. He gives great importance to the art of Ninpo Taijutsu and also the importance of Hatsumi sensei’s teachings: 

Fudo Myoo不 動 明王 is translated as “Unmovable/Solid Enlightened King". One of the five Deities of Wisdom. In Buddhist Zen, he reveals the true nature of all things, holding a sword in his right hand and a lasso in his left hand. In some representations, the sword is engulfed in flames or without them as a Hoken宝 剣, “Royal Ritual Sword, which was held by all the famous warriors as a privilege”, or as a Kongō-ken 金剛 杵, when the base of the handle has the shape of the Kongo-sho 金剛 杵 vajra. However, in some cases, we see him holding the Kurikara-ken, a sword with a dragon wrapped around it. His left hand holds the lasso, the kensaku 羂索, to bind evil or keep people from wandering astray. The lasso also represents the teachings of tradition (values). Finally, he stands firm, ready to defeat the evil spirits. Fudo-Moyo’s form is a philosophical or mental dimension in Japanese martial arts, which contributes to the effectiveness of body and spirit movement. 心技体剣一四, «Shin Gi Tai Ken Ichi Yotsu». Body and spirit are one.

In conclusion, what does one learn from Bujinkan Ninpo Taijutsu traditional martial arts of the Samurai and Ninja?

Other than being effective and completed systems of armed and unarmed combat, the students learn to have 信仰 FAITH 忍耐 PATIENCE and 定量法 DETERMINATION

For the trainee who wants to reach that level, he has to work his body hard, to surpass himself and see with his heart’s eyes, so as not to cling to the battle, because if that happens, then we are talking about an unenlightened warrior.  That is the purpose of the teachings and Fudo Myoo.

I will use an example from the art of Ninpo Taijutsu, to explain the meaning of ‘clinging’. If the opponent lowers his sword to hit you and you think of striking back the moment you realise his move, then your mind stops, because it has been trapped by the opponent’s sword. So you lose your freedom of movement and die. That is what I mean by clinging, it is the mental situation, which characterizes and unenlightened man. However, if your mind does not get caught by your opponent’s sword, even when you see it coming, even when you track its movement, and you don’t think of striking back – or to be more precise, you don’t think anything at all – and do not get caught up in that critical moment, then you can avoid the hit, get close to your opponent and remove his sword.  So, in the end he dies by his own sword. And that is what it is to be Fudoshin. In Zen there is a saying: “Take his spear and kill him with it”. Of course, that was said in a specific situation and had to do with a specific type of spear, which ends in an axe (Jumonji Yari). But if we apply that to the previous example, we can say “Take his sword and kill him with it”.

*The time of martial systems begins from the Nara Period 奈良時代 in 710 to the Tokugawa (Edo) Period 徳川時代 and have been preserved until today by the last Ninja of the Meiji Period, in the post-war period, Takamatsu Toshitsuge 33d Soke Ninpo Taijutsu Happo Biken jutsu to his contemporary living heir Masaaki Hatsumi 初見良昭 34th Soke Νinpo Βugei Ryu ha. He is the 34th heir of 9 military traditions – martial tactics of the Shinobi (ninja) 忍び and Samurai (武士) with the following schools:

•    玉虎流 Gyokko Ryu - Κosshijutsu 骨指術, Shitōjutsu 指頭術: techniques against the nervous system.
 
•    戸隠流忍法體術   Togakure Ryū - Ninpō Taijutsu
A characteristic of this school was the method and battle tactics of the Ninja. Just like the method of the Shinobi iri & Inton jutsu – concealment and escape, so as to silently and secretly invade enemy castles. But also with battle tactics such as:

- Taijutsu: unarmed combat
 - Sōjutsu: the art of the spear
- Kusarigamajutsu: scythe and chain technique
- Shurikenjutsu: throwing blades
- Hensōjutsu: disguise and impersonation
- Sui-ren: underwater battle techniques and swimming
- Shinobi Gatana: battle techniques with the Ninja’s special sword.
- Kayakujutsu: explosives and fireworks

•    九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術 - Kukishinden Ryū Happō Bikenjutsu
This school’s characteristics are: 

- Taijutsu: unarmed combat
- Jutte jutsu: techniques with metal rod
- Kenjutsu: the art of the sword
- Kodachi jutsu: the art of the small sword
- Bojutsu: techniques with small and large rods 
- Sōjutsu: techniques with spear
- Naginatajutsu: techniques with scythe-topped spear
- Shurikenjutsu: blade throwing
- Hensōjutsu: disguise and impersonation
- Bajutsu: horse-riding
- Bōryaku: battle tactics
- Chōhō: spying
- Intonjutsu: escape and concealment
- Tenmon: meteorology
- Chimon: geography

•    虎倒流骨法術 - Kotō Ryū Koppōjutsu
Characterized by techniques against the skeletal system and pressure points.
•    玉心流忍法  - Gyokushin Ryū Ninpō
Characterized by spying techniques. The hooked lasso (kagenawa) is its weapon as well as sacrifice techniques.
•    雲隠流忍法  - Kumogakure Ryū Ninpō
Characterized by Kuji-kiri, a method of concentration through hand movements and also specialized in spear and chain techniques.
•    神傳不動流打拳体術  - Shinden Fudō Ryū Dakentaijutu
Characterised by fierce blows with the entire body and the naturalness of the body with the use of Iai Jutsu, So Jutsu (the art of the sword and the spear) and Hojo jutsu or nawajutsu: technique for rope-tying with the method of imprisonment.

•    高木揚心流柔体術  - Takagi Yōshin Ryū Jūtaijutsu
Their method is throwing, immobilisation of the enemy, drowning and Daisho: small and large swords.
•    義鑑流骨法術  - Gikan Ryū Koppōjutsu
Techniques against the musculoskeletal system and the use of themetal rod: Jutte Jutsu.

Photos courtesy of BUJINKAN GREECE HOΜBU DOJO - NINPO TAIJUTSU

Hatsumi & Horiyoshi III.

Hatsumi & Horiyoshi III.

Hatsumi & Horiyoshi III.

With Horimasa.

With Horimasa.

Getting tattooed by Horimasa.

Getting tattooed by Horimasa.

With Horimasa.

With Horiyoshi III.

Getting tattooed by Horiyoshi III.

With Horiyoshi III.

With Horiyoshi III.

Getting tattooed by Horiyoshi III.

With Horiyoshi III.

Irezumi Densho.

Irezumi Densho.

Irezumi Densho.

Irezumi Densho.

Irezumi makimono.

Horiyoshi collection.

With Mike the Athens.

With Nakano Kazuyoshi.

With Nakano Kazuyoshi.

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