Literally translated as ‘old school’ or ‘old flow’ generally understood as a term to describe Japanese Martial Arts predating the Meiji Restoration (1868)

My first experience of Koryu Bujutsu was Katori Shinto Ryu which I have continued to study. I was immediately attracted to the movements, the consistent patterns of Kata and structure of the class. Unlike more modern arts like Aikido, there is little to no debate about how things should be done, at least within specific Ryu ha. Koryu Arts are to be preserved with the upmost care and dedication. It is this consistency that I found most appealing .

A student must absorb the underlining principle of technique by constant repetition. Internal dialogue must be switched off to be able to at least try to replicate the movement of the instructor. It is not just a system of combat but also an important heritage of Japanese culture.

My instructor for Katori Shinto Ryu, Sensei Luigi Carniel sees it as his responsibility to transmit the system with respect and accuracy. The atmosphere in his Dojo is both friendly and serious. Sensei Luigi is relaxed in person but will never give a student more than they can handle at any one time. Basics are emphasized.

Traditional training requires both persistence in both body and mind. It has often been said that to master a technique you must do it 10,000 times. This is not entirely true, it is pointless to repeat the same movement so many times if it is wrong. All you’d be doing is ingraining mistakes. For this reason finding a teacher who faithfully transmits the Art and tradition is vital. Without precision, how can there be meaning? It is to be understood that what we study is important and that we must strive to get it right. With this in mind training becomes far bigger than the individual.

Sensei Yoshio Sugino training my instructor Sensei Luigi Carniel in the Kawasaki Dojo.

Luigi also studies and teaches Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu and Wado-Ryu Karate. His Dojo is in Neuchatel, Switzerland. I visit there about twice a year { more when possible } and attend annual courses in Italy and England. I have studied Katori Shinto Ryu for 8 years, the last 3 with Sensei Luigi. My first introduction to Katori was under Sensei Simone Chierchini, a 1 st Dan who I continue to study Takemusu Aikido with. He lived in Ireland until 2010, I am very grateful for being able to start my training with him.  Between then and meeting Sensei Luigi, I visited the Dojo of Sensei Frank Brownsword in Stoke- on- Trent , England. He studies the Hatakeyama Line of Katori. An excellent instructor and Dojo, however it is fairly pointless to study 2 lines of the same school so I started to focus on the Sugino Line and training with Sensei Luigi.

Through Katori Shinto Ryu I have found a Art steeped in history and tradition. The wide range of students from many backgrounds of life, reflects the many reasons a person would be drawn to this Art. For some it is an interest in history and Japanese Culture, for others it is often more of an interested in the technique. For me it was the movements that first took my attention. Now the more mental aspects are of interest to me, along with everything else.

Currently I have two classes a week for Katori Shinto Ryu. I ask that beginning students arrange a private session before attending group training. More info  – www.aikijoseph.wix.com/kenjutsu-ireland

Dojo of Sensei Luigi Carniel in Neuchatel, Switzerland. www.anamj.ch

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Filed under Budo Concepts, Katori Shinto Ryu

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