Otome-ryu 御留流 and Mongai Fushutsu 門外不出
Otome-ryu is a type of martial art school belonging to a specific county, called “han” (藩) and was sponsored by the local daimyo.
It was the region’s official school and to become as such it was required that the school and its educational materials were well documented. Examples of such schools are Yagyu Shinkage-ryu (柳生新影流) and Itto-ryu (一刀流) sponsored by Togukawa clan.
Of the nine currents of the Bujinkan, Takagi Yoshin-ryu was a type of “otome”. It was mainly practiced the Ako-han. It has had many ramifications and is the one of our schools that are best known outside of our organization.
The others are classified as “mongai fushutsu”, ie, something that did not get disclosed to persons “outside the gates”. Kukishin-ryu is widely considered a “Omote-ryu”, but the branch on which we practice in our organization, ie Kukishin-ryu Happo Biken, has been managed as “mongai fushutsu”.
Mongai fushutsu based schools are usually managed within a family and did not have much documentation (which was called a “Kaden (family tradition; 家傳)). Knowledge and experience was transferred between generations in an oral form (Kuden; 口伝). It could be catalogues of techniques (mokuroku; 目録) but these were usually written in a way that outsiders could not understand them.