History of Amatsu


The principles of Amatsu originated from the ancient school of Hi Chi Bu Ku Gos, translated as ‘The school of the opening flower.’
The Amatsu scrolls or ‘Tatara’ are a collaboration of martial arts, medicine, philosophy, strategy and religion practised in Japan for over 200 years.
Traditionally the skills and knowledge were only shared with a handful of people in each generation. They are passed down in an unbroken chain from the Grand Master to student.

Dr Masaaki Hatsumi

The current Grand Master of Amatsu is Dr Masaaki Hatsumi. Born in 1931, he studied many martial arts including Judo, Karate, and Kobudu from an early age. His apprenticeship of Amatsu began in his 20’s and continued for 15 years before he became the current Grand Master. He is the founder of the International Bujinkan Hombu Dojo and is the holder of scrolls of 9 schools of martial arts as well as those of Amatsu medicine.

Dennis Bartram

Amatsu’s breakthrough in the West began in 1986 when Dennis Bartram, an English osteopath, discovered Dr Hatsumi’s work through his involvement in the martial arts. He observed the man move with extraordinary body movement and agility and, learning that he also practised as a therapist, set out to understand more..... In 1995, after around 10 years of study, Dennis and 2 other osteopaths made history when they became the first non-Japanese therapists to be taught the ancient healing principles of the Tatara and be granted full teaching rights.

Dennis’s training includes osteopathy, remedial massage, Touch for Health, NLP and many martial arts. This provided a wealth of experience to combine Hatsumi’s natural movement principles with more modern scientific research. Dennis remains head of the Amatsu Therapy Association and is dedicated to the research and development of Amatsu.

Amatsu today

The first UK training schools were opened in 1995. Graduates from these schools combine the ancient art and natural movement principles with modern Western techniques of assessment and treatment. Dr Hatsumi focuses his training of Bujinkan on the ‘feeling’ behind the technique. Whilst technical knowledge is important, it is this 'feeling based' approach which Amatsu practitioners follow today. The Amastu Therapy Association in the UK sets standards for all its member practitioners in accordance with the criteria set by the Institute of Complementary Medicine.


‘Mysterious Hands’, drawn by Hatsumi for Dennis Bartram in recognition of his excellence in Amatsu.