Momochi Sandayu (approx. 1525-1585) is one of the most legendary ninja in the history of feudal Japan, a descendant of the Otomo family, from the Iga region, an area that was controlled by three famous ninja families: the Hattori family, the Fujibayashi family and the Momochi family.
Momochi Sandayu became Sôke of several schools, including Hakuun Ryu Ninpo, Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu, Koto Ryu Koppojutsu and Momochi Ryu. Very active in the Tembun era (1542-1555), he served the Sanada clan in this turbulent Japanese era and was the master of several other very famous ninja such as Hanzo Hattori and Ishikawa Goemon.
In order to hinder his capture and hide his identity, it is said that Sandayu came to have 3 different homes and 3 families, without any of them knowing about the existence of the other two. Their homes were Ryugu Castle, Hojiro Castle and Yamato Castle. In each castle he had a different personality and as we have said his own family as well as all the necessary resources to escape in case of danger.
In November of 1581 the invasion of the province of Iga by the troops of the Shogun Oda Nobunaga took place to end the power of the ninja of the area, and there the famous battle called “Tensho Iga No Ran” was played in the which most of the ninja of the different clans were massacred and the survivors spread throughout the country.
The chronicles say that Momochi Sandayu fought fiercely in battle and managed to flee with one of his men hiding in the east of the country and settling under the guise of a farmer in the province of Kii until he learned the news of Nobunaga’s murder, at the hands of one of his own generals, on June 10, 1582.
One of the versions says that Momochi Sandayu then returned to Iga and tried to unite the Momochi and Hattori clans, but that attempt failed and there were many internal fights between the two clans. Finally, clan leaders, Momochi Sandayu and Hattori Hanzo duel and Momochi Sandayu died at the hands of his former student.
Other versions of the story suggest that he disappeared and never heard from him again after his escape and hiding in the province of Kii.
His grave was discovered in the 60s near one of their homes, south of Iga-Ueno.
Kuden of Momochi Sandayu
“Ninjutsu is not something that should be used to satisfy your personal desires. It should only be used when there is no other option, to serve your country, your lord or to escape personal danger. If you use their techniques and strategies deliberately to satisfy your personal desires, they will fail you and turn against you. ”
Momochi Sandayu’s advice to the men of his clan:
- Never underestimate your enemies, always assume that they are dangerous.
- Learn to slide your weight and move your body fluidly if you want to dodge your attacker
- To achieve maximum efficiency moved the body as a unit, not by separate parts
- Colorful movements and flourishes are unnecessary
- Always attack vital and painful points. Use dodge and deception to get the right distance
- Do not try to fight a superior force with more force, instead deviate its action by moving in the direction of its force to arrest and break it with its own strength.
- Never lose sight of the enemy, even after a successful counterattack. Expect the unexpected from him and so you will survive
- Always control the damage you are going to inflict on your enemy. Place the degree of punishment you are going to inflict according to the danger of the attack.