Akiyama Shirobi Yoshitoki was a doctor from Nagasaki Japan who travelled to China to study Chinese Medicine. During his stay he also studied some techniques from various Chinese Martial Arts. Upon his return to Japan he taught the techniques he learned in China. He found it hard to keep students, as the number and effectiveness of these techniques were limited. As a result, Akiyama retired to the temple of Temmangu at Tsukusai around the year 1723.
There he felt he could furthur study these techniques in depth and attempt to expand on them. During his winter stay, he noticed the snow piling up on the branches of the trees outside the temple. He noticed that whereas the snow piled heavily on the stiff branches of the mighty Oak tree, that it slipped harmlessly off the pliable branches of the Willow tree. Eventually the branches of the Oak tree began to break under the weight of the heavy snow, but the Willow branches simply yielded and allowed the snow to fall off, thereby saving the tree. This brought a great enlightenment to Akiyama, and he used the concept of JU (supple / gentle) to greatly increase the number and effectiveness of the techniques.
He decided to name his style of JuJitsu (Gentle Art) “YoShin-Ryu Ju jitsu” or (Willow Heart School / Willow Spirit Style). This RYU (School / Style), is also known as Yanagi-Ryu and Miura-Ryu, after two of its most famous teachers.
The Yoshin ryu Ju Jitsu system taught that many illnesses were the result of a disproportionate use of mind and body. Miura devised several Jujitsu methods involving “arresting devices”. After a lengthy study with two of his disciples, he developed fifty-one arresting methods, His students, following his death, established systems of their own, further expanding his teachings.