Oishi Susumu was a famous swordsman from the Yanagawa domain. It was next to the Mike domain and Oishi's family were samurai who guarded the border between the two regions. They were skilled shihan (masters) of Aizu Kage Ryu, a now extinct style of swordsmanship, and taught in both Yanagawa-han and Mike-han. Oishi Susumu himself was very tall. He measured 210cm and chose to use a sword (shinken) and bamboo sword (shinai) that were considerably longer than the typical lengths in those days (measured from the ground to his chest).
Oishi already being skilled in Aizu Kage Ryu, changed his training methods and developed a highly effective stabbing technique, tsuki. Oishi had many shiai (matches). In Oita prefecture in Nakatsu doman, he entered a challenge match with a Naganuma Musoemon. Musoemon was a menkyo kaiden (highest rank) of the Ono-ha Itto Ryu style (so-called Nakanishi-ha Itto Ryu). Oishi used the stab technique in their duel, but the men (face shield) of Musoemon's protective armour was bad and the stab technique took out his eye. After this Naganuma became a student of Oishi.
Some time after Oishi went to Kurume domain where he had many shiai and developed a fearsome reputation. Stories of Oishi's skill and unique methods spread to other domains and several years later the hanshu (king) of Yanagawa-domain ordered him to go to Edo (now Tokyo).
In Edo, there was a famous swordsman of the Jikishinkage Ryu called Otani Seiichiro. Otani started the practice of taryu jiai in Edo. Taryu Jiai was the practice of swordsmen voluntarily entering challenge matches against practitioners of different styles. One day Oisihi met Otani in a challenge match. Oishi attempted his stab technique several times in the duel but could not hit Otani. Otani quite skilfully managed to evade each thrust by tilting his head to the side. There was no winner that day, so they decided to continue the duel the next day. That night Oishi returned to the residence the daimyo had provided him, and thought long and hard about how to defeat Otani. His stab technique had only narrowly missed Otani each time. Eventually, Oishi had an idea. The next day Oishi and Otani continued their duel. Oishi attempt the stab technique again, but this time he lowered his aim and struck the winning blow on Otani's chin. Fortunately, in the spirit of friendly competition, Oishi did not use power so the blow was not fatal. Oishi went on to be undefeated in Edo in the 1830s and many samurai came from all around Japan to learn from him.
Oishi's style was referred to as Oishi Shinkage Ryu kenjutsu. It has over 80 tekazu (forms) which include use of a long and short sword pair (nitto), a short sword (kodachi) and the naginata. Some of the unique features are the two-handed stab called moro-te tsuki, the single-handed stab called kata-te tsuki and the waist cut, dou-giri. They were used for the first time in shiai in Edo by Oishi Susumu and have been passed down to his successors who still practise them today.
Oishi Yukie - The 3rd Soke of Oishi Shinkage Ryu
Today, Morimoto Kunio, the president of the Kanoukan holds the highest rank, menkyo kaiden, in Oishi Shinkage Ryu which he received from the 6th soke (family successor), Oishi Eiichi, a descendent of Oishi Susumu. Jikan Dojo is a branch of the Kanoukan authorised by Morimoto Kunio sensei to teach Oishi Shinkage Ryu Kenjutsu in London, England.
Master Morimoto Kunio (right) - Menkyo Kaiden (full transmission)
The 6th Soke Oishi Eiichi (left) and his student Morimoto Kunio (right)
Shihan Morimoto Kunio (right) and his student Uchizumi Nobuyuki sensei (left)
demonstrate the tekazu, Muiken 無意剱