Togakure Ryu Ninpo
This is the Hidden Door school, and is probably the most famous of the schools, due to the ninja boom in the ’80s.
Togakure ryu is a based on Gyokko ryu for their fighting style, however, this school is most noted for the use of senban shuriken, shuko (metal claws), shidake (bamboo tube), as well as their ninjutsu skills.
Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu
This is the Jeweled Tiger School
Originally the essence came from China in the Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 907 AD), but of course changed with the Japanese element.
Bujinkan’s foundational techniques, called “Kihon Happo” are made up from the basic techniques of Gyokko Ryu.
Gyokko Ryu uses powerful blocks and disbalancement, moving in a circular motion to get control of the opponent, as well as specializing in Kosshijutsu, which is mostly attacking the soft tissues and muscles. Also Gyokko Ryu is the foundation of both Koto Ryu and Togakure ryu.
Kukishinden Ryu Taijutsu
Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu
This is the Immovable Heart school.
This school focuses on dakentaijutsu (striking skills) and jutaijutsu (grappling skills) where a natural posture is focused on, although there are still specific kamae (postures).
This school is also noted for training in several different types of yari (spear), ono (war axe), O-tsuchi (war hammers), and naginata (halberd).
Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo / Koppojutsu
Gyokushin Ryu is the Jeweled Heart School.
It is believed that this school also come from, or is based on the Gyokko Ryu.
From this school we mostly get a lot of the espionage side of ninjutsu, more than fighting arts. However, it is know for it’s sutemi type of throws.
Koto Ryu Koppojutsu
Koto Ryu came from Gyokko Ryu, but the focus of the techniques and the movements are different. it is known as the Tiger Knocking Down School.
This school focuses more on bone/joint attacking or breaking, and is more of a linear attacking style, rather than circular. One way to think about the Koto Ryu, is that it’s very straight to the point, and adds insult to injury with each technique.
Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu
This is the High Tree, Raised Heart school, and seems similar to Judo and Aikido but far more advanced. The style of techniques makes it difficult for the opponent to escape or counter, and are designed more for close quarter combat, e.g. indoors vs. outdoors.
Thus, the opponent typically is thrown, locked or held close to the body to adapt to a confined area, rather than throwing at a distance, as you would outdoors or in a big room.
Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu
This is the Truth, Loyalty, and Justice School.
This school provides us with many special kicks, punches, and throws, also it’s dynamic footwork is widely used within Bujinkan.
From what we understand, there are no densho in the Gikan Ryu, therefore the whole range of kata for the ryu was taught orally.