Randori in Koryu

Discussion in 'Koryu Bujutsu' started by Freyr, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. Freyr

    Freyr Valued Member

    From what I understand the primary method of instruction in koryu, for many reasons, is kata training, but I have also come across mention of certain ryuha engaging in forms of free practice. Also, the fact that Kano's Judoka engaged many koryu students in Jujutsu matches in a variety of circumstances seems to indicate that there existed a sportive grappling tradition of sorts among some of the koryu.

    I am interested to learn if any ryuha today still engage in forms of randori, and if so how it is implemented. I imagine were free practice to exist it would sometimes take the form of something similar to prewar Kendo, which as I recall allowed grappling to a degree (I have a nice and very old picture of a Kendoka throwing his opponent with O Goshi as my desktop background :) ).
  2. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    There are quite a number of koryu that still do randori. Not all are actually unarmed combat schools, you have a good number of weapons based schools that use shiai as a means of training.

    Kata are the heart and soul of many a koryu, but of course there is the utilitarian need to actually engage in "live" training with an opponent who is just as trained and competant as you are who isn't just going to "dummy up" for you during a technique and will engage you.

    A number of koryu ryuha still use forms of randori in their training, such as Tenjin Shinyo-ryu jujutsu, Shi Ten-ryu Kumi-uchi, Ise Jitoku Tenshin-ryu jujutsu, Takenouchi-ryu (Takeuchi-ryu) jujutsu, Sekiguchi Shinshin-ryu jujutsu, Sosuishi-ryu jujutsu, Tendo-ryu naginatajutsu, Jikishinkage-ryu naginatajutsu, Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu kenjutsu, Owari Kan-ryu and possibly a number of lines of Shinkage-ryu heiho.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjscApgU7eA]Tendo-ryu shiai after kata embu performed at Nagoya-Jo Kobudo Embutaikai[/ame]

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN2g-hD_dSw]Owari Kan-ryu shiai keiko after kata embu at the same venue[/ame]

    With some koryu ryuha, their shiai/randori methods have either been lost or replaced by another training method. With this in mind, it is a very good reason why a number of koryu kenjutsu practicioners are also exemplary kendoka. One of the shihan of Kogen Itto-ryu kenjutsu is an 8th dan in kendo and does admin for the ZNKR hachidan test. The shihan for Hokushin Itto-ryu in Ibaraki Prefecture is an 8th dan in ZNKR as well.

    The Shihanke of Tenjin Shinyo-ryu, Kubota Toshihiro sensei is not only the headmaster a jujutsu ryuha, but is also a 7th dan in Kodokan judo, teaching courses at the Kodokan building on a regular basis. It is known that the soke of Sekiguchi Shinshin-ryu, Sekiguchi Yoshio sensei in Wakayama Prefecture is a highly ranked judoka. A number of the members of Kito-ryu in Kyoto are reportedly rather proficient also.

    Kendo, prior to WW2 was a lot rougher than it is now. Some of the members of one of the ryuha I train in used to train avidly in Gekken Kendo. Included in the techniques, were jujutsu/judo techniques such as throwing, leg sweeps and reaping, tsuka-ate (striking with the hilt of the weapon), kumi-uchi (Newaza grappling, where to win, the opponent's men was to be torn off.) and tai-atari.

    You can see some of the techniques in this post-war US TV program, You Asked For It!

    Just don't blame me for the cheesy music! :D
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2007
  3. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    Cool clips! Thanks Kogusoku. :)

  4. bdstexas

    bdstexas Valued Member

    Great post Mr. Delaney!

    Owari kan ryu sojutsu is not for the out of shape individual.
  5. Freyr

    Freyr Valued Member

    Great clips! Many thanks :)
  6. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    More Gekken Kendo clips! That stuff looked like a hell of a lot of fun.
  7. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    Gekken kendo or Shinken Shobu Kendo is practiced now, as far as I know at only one dojo in Tokyo. The Haga dojo. Haga Junichi was a student of Nakayama Hakudo in Kendo, Shindo Munen-ryu kenjutsu, Shinto Muso-ryu jo and Muso Shinden-ryu battojutsu (it's name before WW2) and went on to become rather a famous budoka in his own right.

    One of my ani-deshi (another term for sempai) in koryu is a student there and went two years ago with some of his kendo students. One of the students ended up with a broken hand from his opponent's kote strike.

    Apparently the dojo rules are to use the shinai as you would a shinken, so no tappy movements, everything has commitment to it.
  8. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Thanks for info and clips!
    On an earlier thread, I was discussing wether japaneese explored what I would call "free sparring", in order to stress-test their techniques and kata used to learn those techniques. In that thread, I gradually started to understand that kata can be a bit more improvisational than I have believed before, but this Randori you show us here seems to be exactly what we (WMA'ers) do when we "free spar":

    More or less full contact sparring without tapping, all targets valid, emphasis on scoring while applying techniques rather than "who's scoring most points", and all historical techniques are valid (that beeing not only "pure" sword-techniques but allso grappeling, disarming, etc.

    Am I right? Is Randori like that, or are there differences, and if so; what are the differences? Who do not all historical japaneese weapon-groups practice both kata and randori?

    IMHO (and if I have understood randori correct) this is the ultimate mix; extensive kata to learn the flow, feel and details of the techniques, and randori, stresstesting in order to be able to do the kata-stuff in a more combat-like environment.

    Finally; In Shinto ryu kenjutsu kata with bo, I have seen that traversing is an essential part of the techniques, as it is in WMA as well. But when I freespar, I often forget to traverse when I'm stressed... Is that why the participants in the in the movie with the long staffs/spears, don't traverse, is it to simulate that they stand in a battleline and isn't able to traverse, or is that due to rules in randori?
  9. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    That sounds top banana. They've got to revive that across the board.

    The Bear.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2007
  10. Archibald

    Archibald A little koala

    Although the Tsutsumi Hozan ryu isn't (at least in my opinion) a koryu any longer (it was judo'ised in the turn of the century, then 21st century-ised by de Jong sensei) there are a few randori components that came from the original syllabus.

    The first is a 2 vs 1 free fight, where the goal is to stay standing as long as possible, rather than actually trying to beat two men at once. The others are shiai using tanto and tanbo - some with both players armed, some unarmed vs. weapons.

    Greg (Keakai Tsutsumi) can shed more light on this as he's actually done the gradings.
  11. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    They have done something similar a few years ago, I forget what they call it. Basically, the contestants use modified kendo armour with sune from naginatado and use rebated steel blades. Very rough, very ready. AFAIK, you can close in and grapple too.

    One of the members of Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu won the championship last year if I remember correctly.
  12. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    That's exactly what we do at the Glasgow Company of Duelists. There is a Scottish Tourney held every year by the Dawn Duellist Society in Edinburgh. Hopefully this year I'll get to compete myself.

    The Bear.
  13. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    That is awesome. I approve wholeheartedly of that endeavour.

    I don't suppose there are video clips of this anywhere?

    Best regards,

  14. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Hey Kugosoku,
    Is there are reason why this practice isn't more widespread in the Koryu arts? Did this kind of tourneying exist in feudal japan? As we know in Europe tourneying was a major sporting event. Everyone from peasants to royality turned up to watch the knights test their skills.

    The Bear.
  15. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    Not that I know of Mark,

    According to some historical texts, the head council of certain fiefdoms/domains would hold tournaments to determine who would be employable as martial arts instructors or uma no mawari (frontline security for high profile retainers of the domain). These shiai (The modern kanji for shiai is 試合 - Lit: meeting to test. However the older version of the term uses the kanji 死合 - Lit: To meet with death.) would have the contestants armed with either bokuto, habikito (blunt steel blades) or shinken. Unarmed contests sometimes ended up with one or the other contestant being either badly beaten or maimed.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  16. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    Now they are going to have to chain the bear up!!

    regards koyo
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  17. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Aw common Bill, think of it, Katana vs. Longsword bouts. David at Makotokai had that mad look in his eye when he came to the Duellists. It would be fantastic!!!!

    The Bear.
  18. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    maybe we could have a contest and the survivor gets to fight sacred fire when he comes to Glasgow.

    If he comes to the Royal Marine Barracks we will tell him to sign in with any luck he shall end up in Iraq

    regards koyo
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  19. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    Looks like I'm going to have to get a train ticket and take a visit up the road. :D:D:D
  20. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Woohoo, I'll get to see that Koryu stuff!!!!

    The Bear.

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