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  • Koryuu identification question

    Hello to all.

    A few months ago, in the doujou where I practice, I noticed the schedule including "kenjutsu". Naturally, I was curious; therefore, I went to observe a practice.
    Even before getting there, I was baffled by the amount of secrecy concerning its details. My sensei wouldn't tell me the instructor's name ("you wouldn't know him anyway") and kept insisting that one needs a lot of experience before joining the class. Therefore, instead of joining, I went to observe.
    Here is as much data as I could find. I was hoping that someone could help me identify the martial art in question.
    Name: Ʒikitou-ryuu. No, that's not a 3, it's an ezh; the instructor there (heretofore referred to as "Chris") was quite insistent about it being pronounced this way. Of course, Japanese does not have this sound... a few Google searches about possible Japanese names came up with nothing.
    Chris claimed to have been taught this art in Belgium. (That explains the odd name; French does have the ezh sound.) But, Google came up with nothing about that either.
    Weapons: Oddly, the metal swords used were straight and (I think) single-edged. The tsukamaki was not a style I could identify; there were no "diamonds" formed, just a single plastic-looking cord wrapped around the tsuka with occasional twists in it. There were some other metal swords, very thick and heavy, used as suburito, with the same length and curvature as before. Apart from the swords, other weapons taught were the tantou, nunchaku, tonfa and tanbou; a collection more reminiscent of karate than kenjutsu.
    Their bokutou were straight as well, with a very thick wooden tsuba. Later, by chance, I found a Youtube video depicting similar ones in use; apparently, Maniwa Nen-ryuu uses them as well.
    Various observations: The various Japanese phrases used there were correct; "koshi gedan" to refer to lowering the hips, "tenkan" used to direction changing etc.
    Oddly, ki-ken-tai-ichi is considered an intermediate stage there. Students are first instructed to do exercises that co-ordinate their hands and legs, and then allowed to abandon that.
    There was more emphasis given on speed rather than correctness of technique, for some reason.

    ...and, that's about it. Does anyone have an idea about a koryuu similar to that?

  • #2
    If you need to have a lot of experience before taking the class, why would you need to take the class? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It sounds like the man you spoke with was deflecting, especially if he wouldn't give you a straight answer. "Bob teaches that class, want his number?" I can't decide if that, or the part about being more worried about speed than technique is more suspicious.

    Terminology is easy. Anyone that has been around for a little while can drop some Dojo Japanese and make it sound like they know what they are talking about. If you can read a couple books or copy down a glossary from the net half the work is done for you. Internalizing it might be another story, but it should be enough to let anybody drop terms in casual conversation.

    Blade shape might or might not be a red-flag. Kambun-shinto could get close to muzori so a straight single edge sword in itself is not necessarily bad news. I actually prefer it myself at my present stage. The koshirae should still be correct, but who knows. Maybe the man did it himself to avoid having to send away for proper work. Individually I wouldn't be too concerned, but added up it does start to sound a little odd, particularly with the other weapons you mentioned.

    If they were close and I had nothing better to do I might stop in out of shear curiosity.

    Does it seem like the kind of class you want to be part of?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Anorymous View Post
      ...nunchaku, tonfa...
      This sounds really strange to me. Are you sure they were taught as parts of the same curriculum as the sword?
      I've never heard of a mainland ryu teaching Okinawan weapons, nor of an Okinawan style being referred to as kenjutsu.

      There is of course a chance that this is something legit (probably modern) and there's just some confusion in the terminology. I have to say, though, that my first thought about their weapon selection (incl. the straight swords) was "oh, Ninja Turtles-ryu"

      Comment


      • #4
        So do they expect new students to be proficient in another art before starting? I can't tell since the "experience required" statement seems to come from OP's sensei of a different class if I'm reading OP's post correctly.

        Koryū may turn away a prospective student for not being able to commit enough years to make teaching them worthwhile (e.g. they feel it's a waste to teach someone who leaves after only a couple of years of training and won't be able to continue). Some may only be open to those with private invitations. But requiring lots of prior experience sounds a bit like reverse-psychology marketing. But again, I can't tell if this is coming from them directly.

        The OP's post also doesn't mention if they claim to be koryū. If they are, then one should ask about lineage and references. If they aren't claiming to be koryū, keep in mind that kenjutsu simply means "sword skill" so technically could refer to anything involving (Japanese) swords and not just kendō, iaidō and koryū kenjutsu as we in the JSA community normally associate with the word.

        It's also hard to confirm from OP's post if he (assuming he) is actually interested in joining or not.

        I've heard of one koryū that teaches defenses against Okinawan weapons as it comes from Satsuma so was supposedly used against possible attacks from Ryūkyū vassals. But they don't claim to teach those weapons per se (obviously someone has to wield those weapons in the relevant kata).
        Last edited by dillon; 3rd May 2012, 10:53 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I swear I'd answered this 3-4 days ago... I blame the data vampires.

          Originally posted by Jonathan View Post
          Does it seem like the kind of class you want to be part of?
          Naaaaaah. There wasn't any particular damning feature, just lots of small annoyances that put me off.

          Originally posted by Are2 View Post
          This sounds really strange to me. Are you sure they were taught as parts of the same curriculum as the sword?
          [...]
          There is of course a chance that this is something legit (probably modern) and there's just some confusion in the terminology. I have to say, though, that my first thought about their weapon selection (incl. the straight swords) was "oh, Ninja Turtles-ryu"
          Well, the tantou, nunchaku and sword were taught in the same class, yes. If it's a single class that teaches multiple curricula (like what happens with many iai-jou doujou) I couldn't know.
          And to be honest, that was my first thought as well... Ninja-turtles ryuu, or some karate school. But, I like to give people the benefit of doubt, so I thought I'd ask here in case someone knew something relevant.

          Originally posted by dillon View Post
          So do they expect new students to be proficient in another art before starting?
          [...]
          The OP's post also doesn't mention if they claim to be koryū. If they are, then one should ask about lineage and references.
          Yes, they require students to be proficient in another art and to have permission by their instructor before starting.
          Hmmm... come to think of it, they never made any claims to practicing something ancient. I just assumed they would, judging by the name they gave their class.

          Mainly, I was asking to see if the description rang any bells for people who had access to the Bugei Ryuuha Daijiten and/or Belgium and/or another similar koryuu, but apparently it's exactly as obscure as I thought it would.

          (PS: Yes, I'm male)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dillon View Post
            I've heard of one koryū that teaches defenses against Okinawan weapons as it comes from Satsuma so was supposedly used against possible attacks from Ryūkyū vassals. But they don't claim to teach those weapons per se (obviously someone has to wield those weapons in the relevant kata).
            What koryū would that be?

            Comment


            • #7
              It would be this one.

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