By defeyter

February 2019 Japan Trip

Wow, only just one week in Japan, but it feels much longer. Thank you Osano-sensei for taking the time to be such a knowledgeable teacher, I am sorry for making so many mistakes 🤣Most of the time was about studying numerous Shibukawa Ichi-ryu kata (I lost count but the detailed notes will help). We also studied all Chuden kata and some Okuden kata for Tanbojutsu (so painful). The last full keiko day was all about Asayama Ichiden-ryu Bojutsu, as we focused on 10 kata that are part of the omote curriculum of Shibukawa Ichi-ryu. These are the original edo-era kata that can be traced back through the lineage of the ryuha, and not the watered down version you see in other schools these days. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn these crystals of beauty!

By defeyter

Koryu and Gendai

In the Japanese martial arts a distinction can be made between koryū 古流 (classical schools) and gendai budō 现代武道 (modern martial arts). Most modern martial arts come from old ryūha (schools / storm applications) that were practiced by the samurai in feudal Japan.

The reasons for the creation modern budō disciplines vary. In some instances, it was to create a sports variant of an ancient martial art, to standardize and unify a discipline from different schools or to actualize political / social / religious beliefs through a new martial arts form etc.

The main difference between koryū and gendai budō is that in koryū the line of succession (from master to master) dates back to before 1868. This year was the start of the Meiji period, certain rights were abolished, for instance kirisute gomen 切舍御免 (samurai were allowed to kill lower-ranked people in case they had caused him loss of face) and certain laws were established. From 1873 laws came in effect no longer permitting samurai to wear swords in public.

Within koryū, a distinction is sometimes made between schools that were established before the Tokugawa shogunate (from 1600) and the schools were established within the Tokugawa period.

Jutsu and dō
Although there are many exceptions, the disciplines of koryū are often called jutsu 術 (technique) and modern schools do 道 (the “Way”). This is partly because the difference in intent of classical schools with respect to modern martial arts. Old schools were intended to prepare a practitioner for an actual fight. Modern martial arts practitioners have less need for their art to be used in actual combat, so there is room for personal development of the practitioner, through the martial techniques.

(original article published on