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遁甲之術 Tonkō No Jutsu

Techniques of “the Armor of Evasion”

Tonkō-no-jutsu 遁甲之術 is also known as Ton-no-jutsu (遁之術) or simply Ton-jutsu (遁之術). It is integral to the more traditional Japanese and Chinese fighting arts and many Korean arts as well. Tonkō is a fairly common word that appears in various terms of application such as “kimon tonkō”, a well known form of Sino-Japanese divination. The word, in other capacities, is often mistranslated as “armor of evasion” due to compound elements (escape armor) the modern word actually means 'isolated; hidden' in Japanese language whereas in Korean language it seems more to mean “Disguised; hidden”. Even in Korean language it has “divination magic” as a meaning in some contexts, otherwise the meaning is said to be “a form of transforming magic by which one disguises or otherwise alters their appearance and escapes, by the use of magic spells and charms”. Also as a form of magic to influence the surroundings and allow escape. It is here that, sometimes tonkō-no-jutsu is translated as “the Art of escape and evasion”. The subject of Tonkō-no-jutsu is quite diverse and is known to include or be associated with such sub-arts as Inton-jutsu (隱遁術) and Onshin-jutsu (隱身術). However, beyond all of this, there is the historical fact that 'tonkō (no jutsu)' whether as such or as Ton (-no-) jutsu actually included more like “cubby enclaves” and the use of armor (and all done there-through”) which is why the characters are isolated/secluded/escape/hidden tortoise shell (i.e. an enclave which, like a tortoise shell can be retreated to for safety.) The same is true of armor, and so tonkō-no-jutsu treats many things as a sort of armor, in fact, just about anything which can provide 'armor-like' protection for one's person, life or doings. This means that there is a lot of conceptualization found in tonkō-no-jutsu. Some meanings have been lost in modern Asiatic language over the great lengths of time, except in specific contexts such as within the teachings of this or that martial art. One is less likely to find some definitions reflecting the full depth and scope of tonkō-no-jutsu in standard language dictionaries because of it. For example, “tonkō” also refers to minor enclaves, clavens, grottos and etc such as are hidden or less obvious places in which or from which to operate and do whatever one does. They may be a small cubby or a large area. As far as goes the conceptualization of tonkō-no-jutsu, a major concept in old forms of tonkō-no-jutsu dealt with the fact that, in many generations, arms and armor were not allowed to just anybody, one had to earn the right or have sufficient rank to possess and use arms and armor. As a concept, tonkō-no-jutsu taught that there were many many ways to accomplish this and allows the use of arms and armor but that (secret) possession of them was one of the first routes (actual possession often implies some right to bear and use them in specific contexts, depending upon local custom.) Tonkō-jutsu is composed mainly of the following (basic) list:

(1) 遁甲法 Tonkō hō “Methods of the Armor of Evasion” Often listed as meaning a form of divination, or as a form of magic allowing shape-shifting (mainly for purpose of hiding one's body at will), methods to change to another shape or form, sometimes using charms. Also means such as the methods for making a tonkō (grotto enclave) and the conceptualization of armor and armor-like protective methods. Methods of tonkō-jutsu and its sorcery.

(2) 遁甲藏身之術 Tonkō zoshin no jutsu “Acquire/Possess the Armor of Evasion” As magic, by written charms and magic spells to make oneself invisible to others, to thus hide the body at will. Making and possessing tonkō and the tonkō magic (just like the name implies.)

(3) 奇門遁甲 Kimon tonkō “Gate/Entrance of the Armor of Evasion” Often kimon is mistranslated as “strange gate” due to characters strange gate. Well known form of divination. A form of magic allowing shape-shifting (mainly for purpose of hiding one's body at will), methods to change to another shape or form, sometimes using charms. Divination and magic to effect surroundings and the dimensions of time and space, for the purpose of escape (from circumstances and etc) involving the drawing of magical “gates”, they look rather like 'Tori' among the Japanese. The entrance of a tonkō cubby or grotto and the magic associated with it. Even the modern divination system as recorded the ancient codes used to refer to the entrance and the cubby itself:

Hachimon tonkō (八門遁甲) Eight Gates of the Armor of Evasion (notice the term 'hachimon'? Different kanji but it's the name of a war-god... ergo also there is “Hachimon's gate”, and also “Hachimon's armor” !!)

Seimon (生門) life gate (i.e. the gate and tonkō are active), Sanmon (伤門) injured gate (i.e. entrance or tonkō breached), dōmon (杜門) grove gate (i.e. fruitful or accomplished tonkō), Keimon (景門) scenic gate (a tonkō in an observatory position), shimon (死門) dead gate (i.e. inactive tonkō), Keimon (惊門) alarmed gate (endangered tonkō), Kaimon (開門) open gate (new tonkō or very new series of actions), Kyūmon (休門) retired gate (retired tonkō) are of the eight kinds of gates/entrances. There is also the various kimon (奇門) or “unusual gates” which may refer to any number of things, also may refer to the usage of the Entrance of the tonkō (magic cubby) in an unusual fashion such as by remote access entry (to escape a threat and have safe haven by magic.)

The tonkō (遁甲) having () hidden means of protection, the very binding armed soldiers of the Method of the Entrance of the Armor of Evasion (奇門遁甲法) renewed threshold and the 10 stages of operation which are what the 10 Chinese characters listed mean (甲乙丙丁戊己庚辛壬癸) these are in reference to (regarding the operations and conduct of the Armor of Evasion). Rokugi sanki (六儀三奇) are the six affairs and three oddities this refers to the Chōhei-otsu (丁丙乙) or the secondary and tertiary equipment and supplies of the tonkō and its entrance. The Sanki (三奇), and updated weapons threshold (戊己庚辛壬癸) of the six affairs (六儀). The former in kimon tonkō-hō () do not use the shell () of the flesh (六儀) but instead use.... because it is better to remain hidden inside. The rest one can deduce for oneself.

Likewise kimon tonkō divination system encoded other parts of the older paramilitary version....

Kuju-tonkō (九疇遁甲) Hidden Nine Domains

Kan water (north), Kon earth (southwest), Shin thunder (east), Son wind (southeast), Chū middle, Ken heaven/drought (northwest), Da swamp-marsh/exchange (west), Kon mountain/stopping/blockage (northeast), ri fire/detach/separate (south). These are perhaps irritating, they refer to the trigrams of the I-ching and so can be arranged in any number of fashions such as the I-ching does, thereby spelling out 'geographical' locations (for example, if the grotto is located at the base of a mountain overlooking a marsh, that would be ( / ) – there would be a hexagram for divination purposes related to the cubby grotto and its activity (in the old paramilitary magical divination.) The meaning of these is both literal and metaphoric thus quite flexible, essentially they are used to form a compass, in which one places a mirror in the middle... revealing what location the tonkō or activity of the tonkō for domain Chū middle.

(4) 遁甲構成 tonkō kosei “Make;Operate the Armor of Evasion” (in Korean 'dungan hada' 둔갑하다 (하다 (hada) from “Make, do, run, operate” , not the same kanji/hanja) Same as above transformation for escape purposes, but also magic involved to cause the pursuer to veer off and chase something else. To make and operate through a kind of tonkō.

(5) 遁甲行ない Tonkō okonai “Lurker/Goer in the Armor of Evasion” (in Korean 'dungan doeda' 둔갑되다 (되다 (doeda) from “Be, come, go, have” lurker as in (one whom went/came/has) Magic and talismans to effect the surroundings presumably for the purpose of escape. To use and operate through tonkō.

(6) 鼠逃遁甲 Santō tonkō (Kr.) “Mouse Fleeing Armor of Evasion // Mouse Fleeing and Hidden” There are similar forms, kanji/hanja written differently at “santo” to mean other things and those are part of it but not the same as this Santō tonkō. Specific transformation of the body to the appearance of a mouse and to escape. Also, the name of a Togakure Ryu concealment technique (santo tonkō gata) that means to run and leap behind some object suddenly (like a mouse fleeing.) Ergo, from such examples, means to emulate the behavior of a mouse when fleeing (run a short distance and hop behind or beneath a concealing object.) This betrays some of the physical techniques used in tonkō-jutsu. Also, Santō tonkō is having tonkō which one can flee to like a mouse when needed. Santō tonkō is many things like this.

(7) 隱遁術 // 隱遯術 Inton-jutsu Techniques for the above purpose (tonkō-jutsu). Seclusion or isolation (of oneself or any objective) to study and pursue some objective or purpose. The techniques of accomplishment through a tonkō. Often confused as being escape and evasion tactics, it is not. Buddhism uses the term to denote seclusion (from the world) for the pursuit of Buddhist enlightenment. This explains more about inton-jutsu...

隱遁(-?-)/隱遯(-?-) Inton-(?!?) (in korean is 둔갑되다 Indun doeda means basically (“World avoiding lurker”) Actually means one whom does inton (pursuit of a purpose through a tonkō.) Also means magic and talismans to effect the surroundings for the purpose of escape.

隱身術 Onshin-jutsu “hiding body techniques”, means (in Buddhist terminology) to hide oneself and one's pursuit of Buddhist enlightenment from all others, or to hide away for the purpose of studying Buddhist enlightenment. Means also to keep the body of one's actions through a tonkō a secret (unrecognized) and to hide the tonkō. Keeping it a secret or unrecognized. Also means to turn invisible for escape purposes.

隱身在謎樣的空間 Onshin-zeisai-yōteki--kūkan Hidden in the enigmatic space.

五遁法 Gotonpō associative to (仙術 senjutsu) five elements (void, wind, fire, water and earth) methods of the above Inton-jutsu used for the described purpose (elemental interpretation necessary to understand.)

隱淪 In-rin / on-rin this refers to a hidden immortal (one whom practices the above.)

Whether of tonkō-jutsu or any particular part of it, these are fairly well known of the teachings of tonkō-jutsu and are of Chinese origin:

Tonin遁隐 reclusive (escape recognition and obligation)Tonten 遁天 (escape justice served against you, contrary to nature)Ton-myō 遁命 escape the command of others (escape appointment)Tonzoku 遁俗 escape commonality (escape mediocrity and powerlessness); Tonpi 遁避 escape avoidance (escape character weakness). Onton 遠遁 escape far (escape failure).

All of these are lesser subjects of the first, Tonten, and in some way related to it (in fact, in some way, everything written in this section is somehow related to Tonten as an extension of it.)

Tonsei-rigen 遁世離群 Recluse outliers (escape alive, live in solitude); Tonmō 遁亡 escape death (escape)Tondai 遁退 escape decline (escape retreat); Tonpon 遁奔 escape swiftly (flee).

Here all this talk of escaping death doesn't mean death itself alone, but failure of one's intentions (death of an objective.)

Tonshi 遁思 Escape thinking (migration; leave); Inton-shisō 隱遁思想 Escape history (escape bondage); Tonkyū 遁疚 Escape remorse (hidden disease/syphilis and etc)Tonin 遁隐 reclusive (hidden)Tonei 遁影 escape the shadow (hide when overwhelmed).

Here all this talk of escaping disease and death doesn't mean just those things themselves alone, but failure of one's intentions (death or disease of an objective.)

Tonpu 遁夫 Escape masters (seclusion against people)Tonshin 遁身 escape the body (i.e.; corpus of peoples, seclusion)Tonkyō 遁居 escape residency (“resident responsibilities” seclusion); Tonitsu 遁逸 escape divergence (indulgence; non-binding); Tonitsu 遁逸 Escape divergence (loss); Tonkyō 遁舍 escape abjugation (tricked into discarding)

These are listed among various other “escape methods” :

Junton 遵遁 Compliance escape, Tsuimō-chikuton追亡逐遁 Death-driven chase escape, Chikuton逐遁 Chase escape, Chūton贞遁 Right mind escape, Onton 远遁 Profound escape, Tsokubei-jiton 凿坏而遁 Chisel and escape the bad, Goton 五遁 Five-fold escape, Seiton 星遁 Escape under stars, Doton 土遁 Escape by land, Suiton 水遁 Escape by water, Santon 鼠遁 Mouse escape/Escape like a mouse, Tonshaku-tokuei 遁迹匿影 Untraceable shadow escape.

One must remember that, whilst viable as escape tactics, they may also, in Tonkō magic be “transformation spells” for lack of a better word. Seeking to hex them and bring about escape by their compliance? Cause another to chase them and so escape? Make them flee like a mouse and so escape? That sort of thing.

Other terms associated with tonkō-jutsu

龍門遁甲 Ryūmon-tonkō “Hidden Success-Gateway” This refers to entrance (or exit!) into certain modums of success and sound reputation.

飛龍遁甲 Hiyūmon-tonkō “Hidden escape // hidden heroic-advance” refers to flight (escape) or to flight (in conduct) and also carries the meaning of advancing into heroics.

遁甲演義 Tonkō-engi “Expansion of Armor of Evasion” this is merely to have more than one tonkō cubby.

Take anything said about Tonjutsu, Inton-jutsu and its Gotonpo, Onshin-jutsu and many other things besides: apply the information on this page and you'll nail it every time.