The 46th Nihon Kobudo Enbukai 2023
Part 1



Nihon Kobudo Kyokai (日本古武道協会) means “Association of Traditional Martial Arts of Japan” and is an organization that aims to unite the classical martial arts schools (Koryu) under one roof to preserve, promote and spread the traditions of ancient martial arts.
The Nihon Kobudo Kyokai was founded on December 7, 1979 because studies found that Japanese society was changing and the classical martial arts schools that preserve the legacy of the samurai were having difficulty maintaining their tradition.

A list of 80 different schools that belong to the organization can be found here (in German). Guy Buyens from Belgium has published in 2016 an 80-page summary of the Kobudo schools ("Traditional Japanese Martial Schools") PDF. Most of the descriptions come from there, some from Wikipedia and some from the official Japanese Koryu websites.

In the first part of the 2023 Enbukai (演武大会 , Meeting for the presentation of martial arts), 18 schools will appear, in the second part a further 17. The diversity of the 80 organized schools/martial arts is impressive. The Nihon Kobudo Kyokai has strict admission requirements for schools that want to be accepted. Schools must prove that their tradition dates back to the time of the samurai. There are several experts such as historians who check whether the people in the family trees actually lived and whether they were famous fighters. Ancient scrolls are also examined and compared with those of the other ancient schools. It can therefore be assumed that in most schools it is primarily about preserving tradition.

The full Nihon Kobudo Kyokai video from which the video clips come can be found on YT. Many thanks to Christian V. for the hint! Each group is shown there for about 6 minutes. The clips here are intended to provide a convenient overview. Mainly scenes with action were selected. Of course, the atmosphere of more solemn performances is somewhat lost.
Several technical elements from the arts presented can also be found in Aikido, not only from Daito-Ryu. Nowadays old forms from the Koryu that did not make it into Ueshiba Aikido are sometimes imported into current Aikido.

1 小笠原流弓馬術
Ogasawara-ryū Kyūba-jutsu

The 1st patriarch, Nagakiyo Ogasawara was born in Koshu (nowadays Yamanashi prefecture) in 1162. The surname "Ogasawara" was provided by the Emperor Takakura.
In 1880, the 28th patriarch, Ogasawara-kiyokane, opened the Ogasawara school of propriety and horsemanship to the public.

2 天道流薙刀術
Tendō-ryū Naginata-jutsu

Founded by Saito Hangan Denkibo Katsuhide in the 16th century (1582). Denkibo studied Kashima Shinto-ryu under Tsukahara Bokuden.
Naginatajutsu, but also kenjutsu, jojutsu (broken naginata) and kusarigamajutsu. Kata are performed as if it were real combat confrontations. Together with Jikishinkage-ryu, the school was at the origin of the sports version of naginata (called atarashi or “new” naginata).

3 心月無想柳流柔術
Shingetsu Musō Yanagi-ryū Jūjutsu

Founded by Iwanaga Masamitsu, who studied Takagi-ryu Jujutsu and Kukishin-ryu Bojutsu under Okuni Kihei Shigenobu.
Jujutsu school with also bojutsu and kenjutsu. Resemblance with Hontai Yoshin-ryu and Takagi-ryu.

4 卜傳流剣術
Bokuden-ryū Kenjutsu

Bokuden-ryu Kenjutsu (see also Kashima Shinto-ryu) was founded by Bokuden Tsukahara (1489-1571), a student of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu.
Bokuden was a famous swordsman who served as an instructor of Shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga. Bokuden used to call his system initially Mutekatsu-ryu ("the school of winning without hands").
There is a famous Japanese story of Bokuden who was not taken seriously for this style and got challenged. He agreed to have a fight but proposed to have it on a small island on Lake Biwa to avoid disturbance by others. When the challenger jumped from the boat, Bokuden pushed the boat back, leaving the other on the island. From a safe distance he shouted that this was a technique of his school of “winning without hands".

5 二刀神影流鎖鎌術
Nitō Shinkage-ryū Kusarigama-jutsu

The school has its inspiration from Miyamoto Musashi Genshin, the founder of Niten-ryu.
Kusarikamajutsu which includes techniques with kama in both hands. There is a chain of four feet length, with a weight, attached to the tip of the right sickle.

6 立身流兵法
Tatsumi-ryū Heihō

Founded in the early 16th century by Tatsumi Sankyo, who originated from Shikoku.
Sword techniques including both kenjutsu and iaijutsu with a large curriculum of other techniques, including jujutsu, called yawara.

7 柳生心眼流體術
Yagyū Shingan-ryū Taijutsu

"Our school, Yagyu Shingan-ryu Tatsujutsu, is a comprehensive martial art that includes Jujutsu, Kenjutsu, Bojutsu, Iaijutsu, etc.
The roots of our style lie in Jiu-Jitsu. Based on this basic technique, you can freely apply it to sword techniques by holding a sword, or stick techniques by holding a stick. Therefore, our training method focuses on Jiu-Jitsu, and after mastering the basics such as physical movement, standing and retreating, how to position the hips, and coordination of limbs, we begin training with various weapons."

8 尾張貫流槍術
Owari Kan-ryū Sōjutsu

Founded by Tsuda Gonnojo Taira Nobuyuki in the 17th century. Originally known as Tsuda Kan-ryu.
Sojutsu (spear techniques) but also some Kenjutsu (coming from Shinkageryu).
The school advocates that "The spear is not just thrusting, it's also striking; the sword is not just cutting, it's also thrusting".

9 野田派二天一流剣術
Noda-ha Niten Ichi-ryū Kenjutsu

Founded by Miyamoto Musashi (1584–1645).
Niten Ichi-ryu Kenjutsu.

10 琉球古武術

Ryukyu Kobujutsu is a general term for the Kobujutsu of Okinawa Prefecture. Although it sometimes includes karate, it generally refers mainly to weapon techniques. It is also called Ryukyu Kobudo, Okinawa Kobudo, or Okinawan Kobujutsu. Additionally, most schools and groups teach karate in addition to weapon techniques.

11 澁川流柔術
Shibukawa-ryū Jūjutsu

Shibukawa-ryu Jujutsu is a comprehensive martial art founded by Bangoro Daikyo Shibukawa.
"Jiu-jitsu (taijutsu) is the mother of all martial arts. There is a limit to technology and power, but there is no limit to willpower (気力) and courage (胆力). Practicing will and courage, your hands and feet will move as you wish. Train so that if you have something to gain, it will become an extension of your hands and feet, and practice with the aim of becoming a high character."

12 當田流剣術
Tōda-ryū Kenjutsu

"Toda-ryu swordsmanship is a school of swordsmanship that has been passed down mainly among the samurai families of the Hirosaki domain since the feudal period. It was a comprehensive taijutsu that used swords, kodachi, sticks, sickles, spears, etc.
The technique, which is described as "like running water" by quietly approaching the opponent and attacking the opponent in an instant, is similar to modern kendo. It clearly shows that it is a different type of taijutsu."

13 鐘捲流抜刀術
Kanemaki-ryū Battōjutsu

Founded by Kanemaki Jisai in the late 16th or early 17th century), himself a student from Toda Kagemasa of Toda-ryu.
Kanemaki-ryu used to be a combative system with main focus on Kenjutsu. Currently the Battojutsu (quick drawing techniques) are still transmitted.

14 兵法タイ捨流

Hyoho Taisha Ryu is a swordsmanship style founded by a swordsman of the late Sengoku and early Edo period Marume Kurando (1540 – 1629).
"The style of this swordsmanship we teach is considered as “Kassatsu Kempo” – the swordsmanship of life giving and of killing and is based on Shinkage-ryu. Our skills start with “Migi-hankai” right-stance and finish with “Hidari-hankai” the left stance. All movements are completed with “Kesagiri” - a slash to cut through the opponent’s shoulder and ribs."

15 天神真楊流柔術
Tenjin Shinyō-ryū Jūjutsu

Founded by Iso Matauemon Minamoto Masatari (1787–1863) in the mid 19th century (around 1830); with roots in Yoshin-ryu and Shin no Shinto-ryu.
Jujutsu school, techniques include striking, resuscitation and bone-setting. The school also teaches the proper use of “ki” (vital energy), as well as the use of atemi (strikes) on pressure points.

16 直心影流薙刀術
Jikishin Kage-ryū Naginata-jutsu

Founded by Masanori Matsumoto Bizen in the 16th century with roots in Jikishin Kage-ryu Kenjutsu.
The current naginata of Jiki-shin Kage-ryu is a light, relatively short weapon. It is held in a rather narrow grip at one end of the haft and whirled around a central axis. Cuts and thrusts are straight. When facing a sword, distance between oponents is maintained, such that it is unlikely that the sword would be able to strike effectively. The school also teaches how to continue to fight and use the tanto when the naginata has fallen to the ground.

17 貫心流居合術
Kanshin-ryū Iaijutsu

Kanshin-ryu is a swordschool with old roots, originated from the teachings of Kiichi Hogen who passed his teaching to a number of monks. The first headmaster is said to have been Minamoto no Yoshitsune, a famous general of the Minamoto clan in the early Kamakura period.
Kenjutsu school that gradually focussed more and more on Iai-jutsu. Nevertheless the school also uses other weapons such as kusarigama but was also famous for its naginata.

18 荒木流軍用小具足
Araki-ryū Gunyō Kogusoku

Founded by Araki Mujinsai (or Muninsai) Minamoto no Hidetsuna in the 16th century.
Araki-ryu Gunyo Kogusoku has it’s primarily focus on iai, kenjutsu (including kodachi), yari and some other weapons.

... will be continued.