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Ancient Schools

Kobudo, the Samurai Warrior's tradition


By Niten ADM

The word kobudo, literally translated means "Old Martial Path".It refers to the warrior tradition of the Samurai, the schools and arts they created and that survive until today.

The Kobudo consists in a great variety of schools (in japanese: ryu), that teaches techniques of the different weapons used by the Samurai, such as Kenjutsu (Sword combat techniques), Jojutsu (Staff), Naginatajutsu (Halberd), and many more.
To be considered Kobudo, a school needs to be founded before 1868, year of the Meiji Restoration in Japan, that marked the end of the Samurai as a warrior cast.

Some schools have more than 700 years of history. The techniques and philosophical teachings are passed on at the same way from generations to generations of masters and disciples. Some of the greatest warriors in Japanese history such as Miyamoto Musashi, Tsukahara Bokuden, Yagyu Muneyoshi and others, created martial arts schools that exist until today, preserving the thought and techniques of those acomplished Samurais.

Martial arts created after 1868 are called Gendai Budo,or "Modern Budo". They are arts such as Kendo, Aikido and Judo, founded at the beginning of the 20th century.


Niten Institute Kobudo demonstration

The Kobudo at Niten Institute


The Kobudo manages to reach the 21st century thanks to the efforts of generations of masters that preserved the teachings of the old schools. Even in Japan, most of those schools are hard to find and the oportunity of practicing them is very rare.
In Brazil, the Kobudo is practiced at the Niten Institute, through our founder, Sensei Jorge Kishikawa, the Kobudo instructor in the country.

Today the Niten Institute is the largest center of studies and reference of those arts outside Japan. The Niten Institute students practice some of the most important and traditional schools of Japan, such as:

- Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu
School founded by the most famous Samurai of all time, Miyamoto Musashi. Today the school is based in the city of Usa, Oita prefecture. It arrived in our time through a direct line of succession, currently under the leadership of Sensei Yoshimochi Kiyoshi, 12th successor and son of the late Shihan Gosho Motoharu.
Shihan Gosho Motoharu is responsable for maintaining the school alive, at its original form, in modern days. He was disciple of the 8th Soke (Master and Successor), Aoki Kikuo, and in 1961 became the 9th Soke Daiken (joined successor). He was the the master of the 10th, 11th and 12th successors and his spirit and influence can still be felt in the Niten Ichi Ryu practice.
O Sensei Jorge Kishikawa was a disciple of Shihan Gosho Motoharu and now practice with his son, the Soke Yoshimochi Kiyoshi. Sensei Jorge Kishikawa possesses the Menkyo Kaiden, the highest degree of the school, received directly from Shihan Gosho Motoharu.

-Katori Shinto Ryu
It is the oldest Kobudo school and it is considered as the root of all Samurai arts.
Founded by Choisai Ienao, a Samurai from the Chiba province, in 1447, which makes this the first combat school created in Japan.

They say that Choisai secluded himself at the Katori Temple (Katori Jinguu) for a thousand days, trainning intensely, until he had a divine revelation from which he created his school.
In the following centuries the school was kept untouched at the Katori Jinguu, considered the crib of the martial arts in Japan. Important historic figures such as Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi visited the temple in search of improvement in their combat techniques

In the Katori Shinto Ryu classes you can practice techniques of Kenjutsu (sword), Bojutsu (long staff), Naguinata (halberd), Iaijutsu (katana drawing techniques) and Sojutsu (spear). The current headmaster of the school is Shihan Otake Risuke

Sensei Jorge Kishikawa is Shihan Otake's disciple and was designated Shidousha (official professor) of the school for the Latin America and countries where the Niten Institute has dojos..

The Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu is the only form of martial arts recognized as National Treasure (Bunkasai) by the Japanese Government.


- Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo
One of the more complete schools of Kobudo, it has Iaijutsu, Kenjutsu, Jojutsu, Naginatajutsu, Kusarigamajutsu and other techniques.
The school is based in Japan under the leadership of the 15th Soke, Yoshimitsu Katsuse Kagehiro.
Sensei Jorge Kishikawa is disciple of the Soke Katsuse and official representative in South America.

- Shindo Muso Ryu
The Shindo Muso Ryu is the main school of the practice of Jojutsu, the art of the combat with the Staff
In addition to the Staff techniques, the Shindo Muso Ryu teaches other weapons in the associated schools of:
  • Kasumi Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu
  • Ikkaku ryu Jittejutsu
  • Isshin Ryu Kusarigamajutsu
  • Uchida Ryu Tanjojutsu
  • Ittatsu Ryu Hojojutsu

Some of the most exotic weapons can be practiced in those associated schools such as Kusarigama (sikle and chain) and Jitte (metal bat used to disarm sword wielding opponents).
One of the greatest Master of the Shindo Muso Ryu and associated schools, who died recently, is Kaminoda Tsunemori Sensei, who was also the president of the Nihon Jodokai. Sensei Jorge Kishikawa was Kaminoda Sensei's disciple for many years and is the official representative of the school in South America.
The Niten Institute brought Kaminoda Sensei to Brazil twice, in 2002 and 2005, together with a group of other Masters of the school, including Oosato Kouhei, his main disciple and successor.

- Sekiguchi Ryu Iaijutsu
A Iaijutsu School founded in more than 400 years ago by Sekiguchi Yarokuemon Ujishin as a school of Jujutsu (unarmed combat). His son and successor, Sekiguchi Ujinari was the one who added the sword drawing techniques.
The lineage practiced in Niten Institute is known as the Higo lineage, and preserve the sword techniques.
Aoki Kikuo Sensei, 8th Soke of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, Miyamoto Musashi's school, was also Soke of the Higo lineage of Sekiguchi Ryu. Shihan Gosho Motoharu and his son Yoshimochi Kiyoshi are today the highest authority of both schools.

Sensei Jorge Kishikawa has and still is practicing those schools and techniques, teached at the Niten Institute, and also practiced other schools with the gratest masters of Kobudo, some of which Sensei Jorge Kishikawa is still practicing when in travel in Japan.

Kobudo and Koryu
The word Kobudo is also refered as Koryu. This other word is often used to avoid confusion with the Ryukyu Kobudo, the practice of weapons inside of Karate-do, but has no relations with the Kobudo schools.
Other words used to describe the arts created by the Samurai are Bujutsu, Kobujutsu, Koryu-bujutsu and Koryu-budo, among others. In the Niten Institute we use the word Kobudo because it is how the main Samurai schools research and studies association (the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai)uses


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