History

Born in 1594, Shinmen Musashi No Kami Fujiwara was the only child of father Munisai and mother Omasa. Munisai was an accomplished swordsman and expert with the jutte (iron truncheon). It is believed that he taught young Musashi both weapons from a very early age.

Musashi started testing out his sword skills at the young age of 13, using single combat as a medium. He went on to fight over 60 duels, winning all of them – many (but not all) to the death. At age 30, he fought and defeated Sasaki Kojiro which was a pivotal time in his life. After this, he continued to fight duels, but only to demonstrate his skill, not purely to win. He looked very deeply into the purpose of his practice and the very essence of his hyoho (strategy). It was this depth of study which bought him to develop his own school of fencing called Niten Ichi Ryu (the Two Heavens as One school).

In his later years he wrote a number of treatises on swordsmanship – the most famous one being the Go Rin no Sho (the Book of Five Rings) which was given to his most senior students. He died on May 14th, 1645 – leaving behind an unforgettable legacy of a man often described as Japan’s best swordsman.

The curriculum of Hyoho Niten Ichi ryu is much like many of the classical martial schools (koryu) of Japan, teaching a number of weapons and/or techniques that would be used as required or to compliment other weapons.