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Tenshinsho-den Katori Shinto Ryu

 Classical Warrior Tradition in the Americas

Introduction to Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū


The Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū is considered by the Japanese government to be the most distinguished of all Japanese martial traditions. This ryū (tradition) is the source from which many classical Japanese martial ryū have evolved, and consequently, from these ryū, many kinds of bujutsu (martial arts) have appeared.

Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū includes in its martial curriculum, iai-jutsu (sword-drawing art), kenjutsu (sword art), bōjutsu (staff art), naginata-jutsu (glaive art), jūjutsu (flexible art), shuriken-jutsu (throwing blade art), ninjutsu (espionage art), sōjutsu (spear art), senjutsu (tactics), and chikujō-jutsu (field fortification art).

This martial curriculum is made even more comprehensive by applying the yin and yang of Chinese philosophy to the study of such subjects as astronomy and geography as they relate to martial applications.

Even today, the ryū retains the traditionally strict custom in which a candidate for study in the ryū is required to execute the keppan, signing, in the person’s own blood, a solemn oath to abide by the policies of the ryū. In this way, the Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū has been able to maintain the originality of its teachings, both in spirit and form, precisely as Master Iizasa Chōisai Ienao, the founder, detailed these matters over 600 years ago.

The Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū has become a well-known and much sought after traditional martial art in many countries around the world. Regrettably, a number of people are teaching and using the name of the ryū without written authority. A Kyōshi (teaching) nor Shidōsha (instructor) license no longer signifies permission to teach in Katori Shintō Ryu. As of 2019, no one is permitted to represent in any way, or teach the techniques of Katori Shintō Ryu without a Shibuchō (branch head) license from the Soke.

At present, the only Shibuchō authorized to lead the activities of Katori Shintō Ryū in the United States of America are:

The headquarters dojo for Katori Shintō Ryū in the USA is located at the Shintōkan Dojo in the city of Woodinville, located in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington.

For further information about Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū, visit the school’s website in Japan at, read the book Katori Shinto-ryu: Warrior Tradition, or contact the Shibuchō listed above.