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Koryū ( 古流 )

Koryū (古流 old style) and kobudō (古武道 ancient martial arts) are Japanese terms that are used to describe Japanese martial arts that predate the Meiji restoration (1868)

Japanese Name: Kanji: 古流   Hiragana: こりゅう

The term is contrasted with Gendai budo "modern martial arts" (or shinbudo "new martial arts") which refer to schools developed after the Meiji Restoration.

Sengoku period battle- Centuries of feudal warfare in Japan, and the desire to perfect the skills for war, led to the creation of the traditional schools of Japanese martial arts.


In Japanese, kobudō 古武道 and ko-ryū 古流 are normally treated as synonyms (for example, All Japan Kendo Federation,). In English, the International Hoplology Society makes a distinction between kobudō and ko-ryū concerned the origin and the difference between the ranking of priorities concerning combat, morals, discipline and/or aesthetic form.

Description of Koryū

This term literally translates as "old school" (ko—old, ryū—school) or "traditional school". Koryū is also a general term for Japanese schools of martial arts that predate the Meiji Restoration (1868) which sparked major socio-political changes and led to the modernization of Japan.

The system of koryū is considered in following priorities order: 1) combat, 2) discipline 3) morals.

Description of Kobudō

Kobudō (古武道 kobudō) is a Japanese term for a system that can be translated as 古(old) 武(martial) 道(way) "old martial art"; the term appeared in the first half of the seventeenth century. Kobudō marks the beginning of the Tokugawa period (1603-1868) also called the Edo period, when the total power was consolidated by the ruling Tokugawa clan.

The system of kobudō is considered in following priorities order: 1) morals, 2) discipline 3) aesthetic form.

Okinawan kobudō

Kobudō can also be used to refer to Okinawan kobudō where it describes collectively all Okinawan combative systems. These are entirely different and basically unrelated systems. The use of the term kobudō should not be limited, as it popularly is, to the describing of the ancient weapons systems of Okinawa.

Examples of skills taught in koryū or kobudō


List of koryū schools of martial arts

This is an incomplete list of koryū (lit. "traditional schools", or "old schools"). Koryū are schools of martial arts that originated in Japan, and were founded prior 1876, when the act prohibiting the wearing of swords (Haitōrei) came into effect after the Meiji Restoration.

Comprehensive systems

Grappling/close-quarters ryu (armoured, unarmoured)

Sword-drawing ryu (Batto, iai, etc.)

Sword-fighting ryu (kenjutsu, tojutsu)

Spear/polearm-fighting ryu (sojutsu, naginatajutsu)

Stick/Staff ryu (jo, bo)

Various weaponry

  • Isshin-ryū - Not to be confused with Isshin-ryū karate

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Koryū", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.