The founder of the school
Master Iizasa Choisai Ienao was born in 1387 in Japan. In the Chiba family he acquired an exceptional martial reputation (which will continue to grow thereafter), participated in many battles, and was never defeated. He was even for some time instructor to Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa.
At 60, Ienao took the name of Choisai and began a spiritual retreat for a thousand days and nights, during which he devoted himself to a shugyo (training, purifications and prayers to the deity-no-Okami Futsunushi). He received a spiritual revelation and subsequently created his school, naming it Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu.
He died in 1488 at the age of 102 years. He is buried near the Katori Shrine.
Ienao said: « He who comes to prevail over his enemy without fighting is greater than the one who brings him down. »
He taught only through an austerity training, the practitioner could achieve the concept of katsujin-enken (sword which preserves life, awakens and fulfils a human being).
As in the Mikkyo, he stressed that the essence of Japanese martial strategy was « omote and ura, in and yo » are just two aspects of one and the same fundamental truth.