: 23rd year of Meiji
or 10 March 1887
: 2 April 1972
Known as Moko no Toro "The Mongolian Tiger", he was the last Togakure Ryu ninja ever to go to war and the soke of ninjutsu before Masaaki Hatsumi
His given name was Hisatsugu, Takamatsu is the same name using the kanji characters, he would rise at 6:30am and perform Reisui Masatsu, the rubbing of the body with a cold wet towel, a ritual he did every day from 1926. Never from that day did he suffer from any illness, although he did comment that this was partially due to luck (And being the grandmaster of a martial art probably helped).
Takamatsu's grandfather, Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu, had a Budo Dojo in Kobe. He was the soke of a fighting system known as Shindenfudo Ryu and held the rank of Samurai
The Takamatsu family was from Matsugashima in Ise. They were once Daimyo of that area, perhaps because of this his father wanted him to join the military, but Takamatsu was very timid, known to his class mates as "cry baby". To strengthen him, and to increase his self confidence he was sent to his grandfather's dojo every night after school. Although it was unusual for the senior to teach the beginners, Takamatsu was taught by his grandfather. He was very deliberately hurt and thrown about. It was not for a whole year of beatings that he was actually taught anything.
The Dojo also taught Shinden Koto Ryu Karate, Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo, Gyokushin ryu Ninpo and most importantly Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu
After he had mastered Shindenfudo Ryu, Toda taught Takamatsu soley Koto Ryu and Togakure Ryu. Koto Ryu training involved hitting pebbles with the fingertips. The nails and fingers would run with blood, then you move onto rocks, Takamatsu later suffered from arthritis. Despite this he could still bend his hands backwards to touch the backs of his wrists. Here he was given an important introduction to ninjutsu that had him run up a 2.5 metre board, at an angle of 45 degrees. The angle was increased as he was able to do it, until the board was at 90 degrees.
In 1900, when Takamatsu was 13 years old, he left high school, to go to the George Bundow English school and Chinese School of classics in his home town of Kobe. Here he practiced the Takagi Yoshin Ryu on top of his Shindenfudo Ryu training. When he was 17, he was given the Menkyo Kaiden of the school.
Back to when Takamatsu was 13, a gang of youths grabbed him and claimed he was getting too big for his boots and above his station. One of the youths hit Takamatsu, and was immediately thrown by him. Two more attacked, but they too were thrown. Then he ran home. The next day, he was with a friend of his, Osaka Kun, they were on the way to the bath house. The gang were waiting for him, this time much larger and with the katana wielding leader. They demanded Takamatsu apologize. Takamatsu knelt down, grabbed a stone and hit the leader. He fought the gang off.
The head lines:
"13 year old Judo expert flung away 60 gangsters"
This story is typical of the life of Takamatsu, who also went by the names "Kotengu"(small goblin), "Kikaku" (Demon horn), "Chousi", "Yakuoh" (leaping and running in the sky old man, "Garakutabujin" (Enjoy sketching martial artist), and "Moko no Tora" (Mongolian Tiger).
Takamatsu also went to China and Korea where he worked for a time, he went on to learn 18 Chinese and Korean martial arts
Whilst he was in China he was challenged by Shaolin Kung fu fighter. He was challenged twice before he accepted the third one. The fight lasted 2 hours, before Takamatsu attempted to strike, with a shout of "here I come" he began the attack. Lord Ren-mei the emperor's cousin was forced to shout "stop", fearing that the Shaolin Fighter would be severely injured. The fighter, Cho, and Takamatsu became close friends afterwards.
Takamatsu's diary states that he fought 12 fights to the death.
Takamatsu had a personal set of rules:
- Avoid danger to preserve personality, impatience requires more effort than anger. With humility avoid anger.
- Avoid worrying to preserve your nerves.
- Avoid excessive speaking to preserve the spirit.
- Avoid desire to preserve the heart.
Takamatsu passed the Menkyo Kaiden
of all the schools of ninjutsu
to Masaaki Hatsumi
before his death
on 2nd April 1972, aged 85.
It is a tribute to his humility that his neighbours where shocked to discover, upon reading his obituary that he was the soke of the most ancient of all schools of Ninjutsu - Togakure Ryu
"The cherry trees invite good fortune
With smiling blooms
Throughout the entire cold and hot seasons
Note: Information provided by Paul Richardson
and Takamatsu's diary.