Yoshitoki Akiyama and the History of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu
Much of what can be heard or read about this famous and accomplished samurai belongs to myth and lore and does probably not hold up under academic scrutiny. Hopefully more authoritative support for Akiyama´s and Yoshin ryu's connection to southern China martial arts traditions can be dug up.
Yoshitoki Akiyama, Yoshin Ryu and Nairiki No Gyo
Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu decended from an accomplished budoka from Nagasaki named Yoshitoki Shirobei Akiyama ( 秋山四朗兵衛義時). He was a physician and accomplished budoka is said to have founded Yōshin-ryū (楊心流?) ("The School of the Willow Heart"). This happened before 1671. Yoshin Ryu is seen as a classical Japanese fighting system traditionally taught exclusively to professional warriors.
Supposedly Yoshitoki Akiyama was inspired by the willow trees, which yielded to the heavy winter snow and thus avoided damage. The character for yo ( 楊 ) refers to a type of upright branching willow tree (Salix sinopurpurea) It is commonly found along the Yangtse river (楊子汢） as well as other rivers in Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces. It is not the ryu/yanagi character（柳）(weeping willow tree). This corroborates that Yoshin ryu's originates in China.
The Akiyama line of Yōshin-ryū is perhaps the most influential school of jūjutsu to exist in Japan. By the late Edo Period, Akiyama Yōshin-ryū and its descendants had spread all over Japan.
Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu was founded by Matsuoka Katsunosuke and was handed down via its mainline and branches. One accomplished Master was Meijin Hironori Otsuka who founded Wado Ryu Karate.
In a popular legend, Yoshitoki Akiyama studied medicine and Chinese boxing - whether in China or Japan remains unclear. His system of martial study integrated existing Japanese combat forms with an intricate Chinese system of body mechanics. It contained among others a new methodology for developing nairiki (internal strength).
Nowadays more and more practitioners from various martial disciplines are interested in learning the principles of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu to better understand Budo contexts and view them from a higher perspective.
The system contains "Nairiki No Gyo". These exercises for developing Inner Strength share a number of similarities with Chinese Qigong. And Nairiki No Gyo bear important resemblance with Taijiquan. There are some more core principles like "Ju" and "Tenchijin" related to China, Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan. They are to be researched in detail later.
Common Origin of Akiyama´s Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu and Yang Luchan´s Tai Chi Chuan?
According to legend Taijiquan originated in the Wudang mountains and was developed by Taoist priests. It was further developed by Yang Luchan and Wu Yuxiang. New evidence on historical was found: Li Brothers in Tang Village. So from an overall perspective there could be a common source and missing links within the history of Chinese and Japanese Martial Arts.
Source: Yoshitoki Shirobei Akiyama and Nairiki No Gyo, TSYR-Gründer
Y. Takamura hat eine SYR-Nebenlinie in den USA gegründet und den ursprünglichen traditionellen Rahmen an westliche Umstände adaptiert - ob er dabei zu weit gegangen ist, bleibt stets eine Frage der persönlichen Standpunktes: Yukiyoshi Takamura