Coming from a warrior heritage his father, Sadatsune Tanemura, was the 17th family head of a Samurai tradition whose roots extend to those of royalty as well as having blood lines from the famous Daimyo of the Sasaki and Takeda families. Being a very traditional father, Sadatsune introduced his son to the martial arts at a very young age.
Sadatsune was a Kendo expert having a 5th dan in Onoha Itto ryu. He
also held the rank of 6th dan in Jukenjutsu (bayonet). He was also ranked
in various schools of Jujutsu. He was to have no little effect on his son.
The young Shoto Tanemura was taught from the age of nine by his father and father's uncle Kakunosuke Yamazaki, who was an 8th dan in the Onoha Itto ryu. He was taught almost every day in Kenjutsu and Jujutsu. The training was always in a traditional nature and conducted outside barefoot regardless of the weather. Shoto's regular training partner was a gentleman thirty two years his senior, for the first five years of training. He was regularly beaten up and knocked out. When he was knocked out, a bucket of icy cold water would be thrown on him and once awoken, was expected to continue his training immediately.
At the age of fifteen he entered high school and began to study Shindo Muso ryu Kenpo from the renowned Master Seishiro Saito. It was during these high school days that his quest for true martial arts was able to take form and begin to blossom. At the age of fifteen he also saw himself studying the famous Asayama Ichiden ryu of Taijutsu along with Takagi Yoshin ryu Jujutsu, Gikan ryu Koppo jutsu and many others.
His training was so concentrated that he received his first Menkyo Kaiden at the mere age of twenty in Shinden Fudo ryu and Kukishin ryu. Soon to be followed by Menkyo Kaiden in another 9 schools including Chinese martial arts.
During his University days he was introduced to Kinbei Sato and started to study under him. In the winter of 1989 Kinbei Sato named him as the next Soke (Grandmaster) of Takagi Yoshin ryu, Bokuden ryu, Gikan ryu, and Kukishin ryu.
Besides his training at the dojo, he would train at any time he was free to perfect his skill and techniques. His teachers were all of the "old styles" type, being very strict and closely guarding the secret techniques. They would teach each one only a few times, then expect the students to find out themselves the points which make the technique work. So to master these techniques, Shoto practiced each technique many thousands of times until he discovered the points, making the technique a natural movement. He would use everything as his training partner: the nearby woods, rice fields, riverbanks, and natural objects such as trees, rocks, stones, animals, and even the moon.
On moonlit nights, he would practice Yari (spear) and Rokushaku bo (six foot staff) outside in a field, thrusting for the center of the moon to improve his accuracy. He also would thrust at the barely visible leaves when they swayed in the wind. With animals he was cunning enough to get them to attack him. As they would leap to attack, he would simply use taisabaki (natural body movements) until the animal (usually a dog) would give up.
Trees, rocks, and stones were used to develop punching and kicking power
and to strengthen the hands and feet. He'd punch and strike a tree until
his hands were bleeding. One of his teachers taught him a much better way
to develop a strong strike. His teacher told him that a true martial artist
passes by in a crowd unseen. If his hands were callused, people could tell
that he was a martial artist of some sort. Or, if he was in a fight, the
opponent would be able to tell immediately what type of training he has
When he graduated from the University he was led to believe that a career in law would be a good future, but it was purely academic in nature so there was little use for the martial arts. He wanted a purpose to use his knowledge to protect and help others. At the age of twenty two, he joined the Tokyo Metropolitan Police in order to use and test all he had learned. His skill was called upon on many occasions and not once did it fail him. Knowing of his talent, he was asked to teach self-defense to policemen at a special martial arts club. He was also a teacher at the police academy.
Somehow, he felt that it was his mission to introduce true Martial arts to the world, so after fifteen years of service he resigned to carry out this mission. Soon after leaving the police department he founded his Dojo on November 28th, 1983 and has been teaching there ever since, as well as having been invited to teach at seminars worldwide.