Kobudo is a collective term for classical Japanese martial arts created prior to the Meiji Restoration in 1868 with the majority of them remaining unchanged since their creation during Japan’s Warring States period. These systems were generally unaffected by the standardization that took place during Japan’s modernization period.

The Japanese word kobudo consists of two characters: ko (ancient) and budo (martial arts or ways). Kobudo styles or ryu follow traditions developed in ancient times and utilize classical weapons.

Institute of Budo Studies Kobudo Curriculum

Ryushin Shouchi Ryu

Ryushin Shouchi Ryu is a school of kobudo (ancient martial arts) specializing in iaijutsu (quick-draw sword art) founded by Kawabata Terutaka and is composed of over 60 kata (prearranged solo forms), and iai kumitachi (two man bokken training). The origins of the iaijutsu kata can be traced to the Japanese swordsmanship schools of Katori and Kashima. The current headmaster of the Ryushin Shouchi Ryu is Yahagi Kunikazu.

The philosophy of the Ryushin Shouchi Ryu parallels that of most modern forms of budo, (i.e. kendo, judo, and aikido) and entails cultivating the mind and conditioning the body through rigorous training for the purpose of improving the self rather than killing an enemy. This concept is more commonly known as fudoshin (immovable mind), which refers to a state of psychological and spiritual equanimity. Based on this reasoning, the name Ryushin Shouchi Ryu was selected by the founder, Kawabata Terutaka. Ryushin means “Mind or Heart of the Willow tree,” and invokes the image of a tree which does not lose its leaves even in winter; while Shouchi can be translated as “shining wisdom.” Together, these characters convey the sense of “establishing in the world an unmovable wisdom and everyday mind by means of a strong yet flexible body and spirit.”

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