TAKAMATSU TOSHITSUGU. Takamatsu Toshitsugu 高松寿嗣 was born on March 10, 1889 in Hyogo Prefecture Japan. At the age of nine he began studying the martial arts, and mastered the various styles from his grandfather Toda Shinryuken, Ishitani Matsutaro, and Mizuta Yoshitaro Tadafusa.
Toshitsugu was taught Shinden Fudo Ryu by his grandfather Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu who was Soke of this ryu and direct descendant of Tozawa Hakuunsai, founder of Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu. Young Toshitsugu was also taught Togakure ryu and Koto ryu which he mastered by age thirteen. By age seventeen Toshitsugu received the Menkyo Kaiden (license of total transmission), of Takagi Yoshin Ryu from Mizuta Yoshitaro Tadafusa. He also learned Kuki Happo Biken no Jutsu, Hon Tai Takagi Yoshin Ryu, and Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu from Ishitani Matsutaro Takekage. By age 22, Toshitsugu received Menkyo Kaiden from his grandfather Toda.
Takamatsu Sensei was already an accomplished budoka by the time he was a teenager, having won challenge matches against other martial artists and sumotori. As a young man in his twenties he retreated to the mountains of Kobe to continue his rigorous physical and spiritual practice.
After leaving the mountains he soon moved to China, and for the following 10 years he encountered many life and death situations in true fighting. He reportedly fought many strong Chinese martial artists in mortal combat and used his budo to defend himself against even wild animals.
While in his twenties, Toshitsugu traveled to China participating on both combat situations and challenges to the death and also sport competitions. Toshitsugu also served as a personal bodyguard to the last emperor of China, Pu Yi.
In 1919, after mastering the combat arts, Takamatsu Sensei returned to Japan in order to master spiritual studies.
He became the head monk at a mountain temple of esoteric Buddhism in the Yamato district. In the 1950’s he taught martial arts in Nara prefecture; in 1957 he met Hatsumi Yoshiaki and groomed the young man to become the successor to his rich martial arts legacy.
Referred by Hatsumi Sensei as the “last true combat ninja,” the venerable Takamatsu Toshitsugu passed away in May of 1972, at the age of 84 years.