Top 5 Koryu Practitioners in the East Coast USA

Discussion in 'Koryu Bujutsu' started by mattt, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. mattt

    mattt Valued Member

    Hello All,

    Rather a subjective question, but I am interested to see who is actively teaching in the East Coast USA.

    I am open to weapon based and non-weapon based martial arts, ideally in NYC but will consider travelling to see good people.

    I am not so interested in what school is best, but what practitioner possesses the best understanding. One could say that I am a Single Malt drinker who has heard that some of the aged Cognacs out there are well worth a try.

    I would be most interested in a person who had lived/studied in Japan for a decent amount of time (maybe 10 years or so) directly with a Soke or Shihan. And to qualify what I am looking for it is a balance between knowledge in the history of their school, waza, kata and the ability to perform such things.

    PMs are also welcome.


  2. fifthchamber

    fifthchamber Valued Member

    I'd suggest that your question is far too open... You'll be lucky to get a reply giving you what you want, simply due to the way Koryu works..It's all subjective, universally so....So what is decent in one schools applies to that school alone..Time in Japan is easy to answer, but simple "time in" isn't always the best indicator either...

    If your question was "who is the best East coast teacher of ........ ryu?" you 'may' get a reply...Although even then, it's rather unlikely..

    What I'd suggest is having a look at and maybe having a trip to those you can find near you and working it out yourself..It's not like the choices are so immense that that's impossible..Send an email asking them 'tricky' questions about Japanese history, waza, and the okugi of the schools too..But again, don't expect anything back...(Perhaps ESPECIALLY so in that case...)

    Koryu especially is always more of a "personal" thing...If you visit a school, like the teacher, understand what he/she wants to show, and respect the tradition and knowledge possessed, then join...But expecting other practitioners (Of other schools possibly as well?) to volunteer information like that is a bit of a reach...

    On the other hand, my sensei is easily the best in the world...(He's not in the Eastern US...But hey..You're outta luck there eh?)..:)

    Basically...Refine that question a lot, expect no answers, or do the work required to find yourself a school that YOU like...That's about all there is to it.

    Meik and Diane have done a huge amount to collate as much as they can about (the usually disparate) Koryu worldwide...So use their site and go from there.

    All the best.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  3. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    Another thing to realize is that you're not looking to receive a service. If you're looking to join a ryu, the question is how can you contribute? Not "what can you teach me?".

    Best regards,

  4. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Excellent point Langenschwert!

    I have to say Matt that it's a bit of an odd way to go about it. I can see the logic behind it but at the end of the day if the koryu you study doesn't "fit" or "click" with you then in a way it doesn't matter how good the teacher is it will be a constant battle for you.

    Why do you wish to study a koryu?
  5. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    When I first read this yesterday, I had the flamethrower at the ready.

    I'm glad I stayed my hand to allow more......diplomatic people to deal with it. :)
  6. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    Spot on Mark. Very nicely put.
  7. mattt

    mattt Valued Member

    Thanks all for your replies.

    Frankly the above goes without saying, your points are all very valid but without me finding a school then none of it can occur.

    I am looking to take a shortcut (thanks Ben for the link to the website BTW) in terms of research because if I didn't my process would be as follows:

    Research my top 3-5 interesting sounding schools (internet, books etc)
    Find which of them are in NYC - expand search to East Coast in search of senior practioners.
    Go to each school and see what they are showing.

    I appreciate that it is a two way street, and not just a gym membership, but I would rather save some time by asking this resource for their thoughts - this thought came after a few looks at what was on offer in the city. For example there are a slew of Koga Ryu Dojo's and Madeupshite Ryu Dojos all around my neighborhood. Do I need to go to them all to try to show them what I can offer?

    I looked at a couple of Ryu's (lightly) and liked the look of Isshin Ryu and Daito Ryu - but then I remembered seeing Daito Ryu being trained with MMA gloves in the City, by somebody who looked like a good fighter but not a person well versed in the Kata or History (yes all that from a glance) so I figured (and then researched) that such schools split a lot after the death of a Soke or whatnot and some go off on all sorts of weird tangents.

    I want to learn what is out there, both in terms of Dojo's in my area and also the content and attitude of the practitioner. I think that isn't unreasonable. I feel that I am serious about my training, I lived and trained in Japan for about 3 years (Bujinkan) and still enjoy that art, but I don't want to bury my head in the sand and say my art is the best, and I don't want to hold onto my knowledge, I would be happy to let it all go if I can raise up to a higher level of understanding.

    I believe I have the right attitude in the Dojo, and try as much as possible to leave my ego behind. I allow beginners to explore technique's on me without exercising dominance on them, guide people of all levels to how to better take my balance or apply something (though that I may go too far with perhaps) and am a good member of society, so I think that I have the foundation and potential to be a good student.

    I have put a lot of hours in training, so I know good from bad body movement, timing, understanding of mechanics and kinetics so I couldn't train under a person who wasn't good - which is why I asked for some help. The Martial Arts scene in NYC is vibrant, but disjointed (an example from Bujinkan was that 3 different schools were all training in the same building but didn't know of one another).

    How about: Are there any Shihan/Shidoshi in your art that travel throughout the world for seminars that you have attended that come from this area? I'll be happy to approach them without your name on it - and if they say no to my joining the training then so be it.
  8. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Are you still a Bujinkan member?

    Edit: Fyi I can't help you find a teacher I'm uk based and am a koryu n00b anyway :)
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  9. mattt

    mattt Valued Member

    Yes, I am stilll a member, I enjoy the training a lot but am interested to see what else is out there - and how Koryu differs from Bujinkan in practice as well as principle.

    Dean, may I ask what do you train in and why?
  10. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member


    I train in Sosuishi-ryu kumiuchi koshi no mawari and Hyoho Niten Ichi ryu kenjutsu.

    Why? I like sharp and pointy things :D

    Seriuosly I've always been interested in sword and when I found out, via a training buddy, there was somewhere near me that taught koryu kenjutsu I jumped at the chance.

    As for Sosuishi-ryu well that came about from interest generated after some rather lengthy email chats with the gentleman who is now my teacher. I was looking to study a comprehensive system and this seemed to fit the bill.

    They are both rather different from eachother but they provide a challenge and a very deep level of study.

    I enjoy the pragmatic approach and discovering how each layer relates to the ones above and below.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  11. mattt

    mattt Valued Member

    Thanks Dean, I've been interested in Sword too, more Kenjutsu than Iaido. I looked up the first one and found this teacher about 2miles from me- is this the same art and therefore a pretty good answer to my first question?
  12. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    To be honest the best thing I can say is go check out the dojo and see if it "fits".

    I know these type of posts might seem odd but once you get "into" a koryu I think you'll see why we say what we say.

    Good luck you'll find things very different to the Buj, I'm an ex Bujinkan chap myself
  13. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

  14. pgsmith

    pgsmith Valued dismemberer

    I agree wholeheartedly. However, I believe Meik is pretty selective in who he will allow to join his dojo (as he should be!).
  15. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

    True. I think the original poster should email the
    directly. :D
  16. mattt

    mattt Valued Member


    Thank you for the lead, this looks very interesting. Before I go off all guns blazing and turn up at the Dojo I will take the time to go through the information that Meik states are prerequisites; I believe that this in and of itself will be very beneficial to me even if I take things no further.

    I am not a person who would go in half arsed, so I will carefully consider if this seems right for me and if so, take the necessary steps from there. The Dojo is several hours from me so it is far enough for me to seriously consider if it is right. If it is then the sacrifice on travel time would be worth it.

    Thanks for entertaining my question and suggesting somebody who appears like a real gem.

  17. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

    I would suggest you open up a conversation with Mr Skoss via email and discuss training/distance/etc with him. He's a decent guy who has a lot of time for people genuinely interested in koryu.

    So, good luck, and don't forget to come back and tell us how you get on!
  18. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    Make sure that you read Dave Lowry's essay on that website. It is about as spot on as you can get for people who wish to start training in a koryu.

  19. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

    Possibly the best article I have read on attitudes in koryu.

    That sums it up.

    That said, I hope people are not put off the study of a koryu art by it's (apparent) snobbishness. It ain't difficult to get involved in koryu. All one needs to do is be constant in attendance and dilligent in practice.

    Not asking for a kidney or anything.
  20. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter


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