What is Katori Shinto Ryu?
Katori Shinto Ryu may not require a introduction to many, as it was one of the very first Koryu Bujutsu (Japanese Classical Martial Arts) introduced to the west, by famous Don Draeger.
Needless to say, it is the oldest existing martial arts in Japan with over 650 years of recorded history.
The style was founded by Iizasa Choisai Ienao after 1000 days of intensive training. The style is characterized by paired kata exercises which involves exchange of multiple moves/techniques between the training partners. Another notable characteristics of the school is its broad range of technical repertoire, a characteristics often found in Koryu Bujutsu founded in the Sengoku Era or pre-Edo period when the martial arts skills were used mostly in battlefield, unlike the fairly peaceful early-mid Edo-period when martial arts skills were meant for self defense. Since it's a martial arts used on battlefield, it means that one must be able to handle variety of weapons, therefore the Katori Shinto Ryu practitioner is required to learn Kenjutsu, Bojutsu, Naginatajutsu, Iaijutsu, Jujutsu ...and more, which takes years of dedicated training.
One can also see it's battlefield origin as many of the techniques assumes the use of Yoroi (armor) and target areas are often the opening of an armor such as the joints.
The style's vast technical repertoire has been well preserved by the efforts of generations of dedicated practitioners and style has many followers both inside Japan and abroad.
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