The Guide to Classical Japanese Martial Arts

This “Ryu Guide” is the place to start when investigating a classical Japanese martial ryu. Each category includes a list of the schools that we cover (thus far) at Schools are listed in more than one category when appropriate (i.e. Tenshin Buko-ryu will be listed both under “naginatajutsu” and “other weapons of the bushi“). Each ryu listing contains basic information on the tradition, including the founder, date founded, and systems taught, as well as references to photographs and articles here at, relevant books, and links to appropriate web sites. We will continue to add new material to this list from our archives and research.

All listed ryu-ha have one thing in common–they are authentic Japanese warrior traditions. Virtually all are members of the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai (Society for the Promotion of the Japanese Classical Martial Arts) or the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai (Japanese Classical Martial Arts Association), the two most respected and well-established organizations devoted to koryu in Japan. All are included in the standard Japanese reference sources. Please keep in mind, however, that this list is by no means comprehensive. Many of the hundreds of extant classical traditions are not yet listed, so the fact that a school’s name does not appear means relatively little. Those that are listed, we can and do “vouch for.”

Ryuha list by name


late Muromachi period (ca. 1573)

Asayama Ichiden-ryu

Tensho (1573-1593) or Keicho (1596-1615)


mid-Meiji period (ca. 1890)

Higo Ko-ryu

early Edo period?

Hokushin Itto-ryu

late Edo period (ca. 1830)

Hontai Yoshin-ryu

early Edo period (ca. 1660)

Hozoin-ryu Takada-ha

late Muromachi period (ca. 1560)

Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu

early Edo period (ca. 1640)


late 15th century


Muromachi period (ca. 1550)

Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu

late Muromachi period (ca. 1570)

Kashima Shinryu

ca. 1450

Kashima Shinto-ryu

Muromachi period (ca. 1530)

Katayama Hoki-ryu

late Muromachi period (ca. 1590)

Kogen Itto-ryu

mid-Edo period (1783)


Tensho (1573-1593)

Mizoguchi-ha Itto-ryu

early Edo period (ca. 1630)



Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu

late Muromachi period (ca. 1590)

Muso Shinden-ryu

late Muromachi period (ca. 1590)

Ono-ha Itto-ryu

early Edo period, ca. 1630

Sekiguchi Shinshin-ryu

early Tokugawa period (ca. 1640)

Shinmuso Hayashizaki-ryu

late sixteenth century

Shinto Muso-ryu jo

early Tokugawa period (ca. 1610)

Shojitsu Kenri Kataichi-ryu

early Tokugawa period (ca. 1680)


early Edo period (ca. 1650)


early Edo period (ca. 1615)


late Muromachi period (1532)


ca. 1590


Eisho period (1605-1520)


November 21, 1582