Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu is a Koryu Art. Old School. Unlike more modern arts, there is little to no debate about how things should be done. Koryu Arts are to be preserved with the upmost care and dedication having been handed down through generations of practitoners, from teacher to student.  It is not just a system of combat but also an important heritage of Japanese culture.

 

Katori Shinto Ryu like most traditional Budo is taught through the study of Kata. Prearranged forms structored to instill the principles of the school into the mind and body of the student. A student must absorb the underlining principle of technique by constant repetition. Internal dialogue must be switched off to be able to at least try to replicate the movement of the instructor.

 

My instructor Sensei Luigi Carniel, having been taught by Sensei Yoshio Sugino, one of the greatest swordsmen and Martial Artists of the last century, sees it as his responsibily to pass on what he learnt will integrity and respect. With accuracy passing on the teaching of the School. The atmosphere in his Dojo is both friendly and serious. Sensei Luigi is relaxed in person and does not give a student more than they can handle at any one time. Basics are emphasized.

 

Luigi also studies and teaches Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu and Wado-Ryu Karate. His Dojo is in Neuchatel, Switzerland. I visit there about twice a year { more when possible } and attend annual courses in Italy and England. I have studied Katori Shinto Ryu for 8 years, the last 3 with Sensei Luigi. My first introduction to Katori was under Sensei Simone Chierchini, a 1 st Dan who I continue to study Takemusu Aikido with. He lived in Ireland until 2010, I am very grateful for being able to start my training with him.  

 

Through Katori Shinto Ryu I have found a Art steeped in history and tradition. The wide range of students from many backgrounds of life, reflects the many reasons a person would be drawn to this Art. For some it is an interest in history and Japanese Culture, for others it is often more of an interested in the technique. For me it was the movements that first took my attention. With Katori Shinto Ryu and indeed Budo in general, there is always more to learn.

 

Sensei Luigi Carniel's Dojo in Neuchatel, Switzerland - www.anamj.ch

Iizasa Chōi-sai Ienao - Founder - Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu

Iizasa Ienao (飯篠 長威斎 家直 Iizasa Chōi-sai Ienao, c.1387–c.1488) was a respected spearman and swordsman whose daimyo was deposed, encouraging him to relinquish control of his household to conduct purification rituals and study martial arts in isolation.
Born in the village of Iizasa in Shimosa Province he moved when young to the vicinity of the famous Katori Shrine, a venerable Shinto institution northeast of Tokyo in what is today's Chiba Prefecture. The Katori Shrine enjoys a considerable martial reputation; even the name of the Shrine's deity includes the sound of a sword cleaving the air - 'futsu'.
After studying swordsmanship he went to Kyoto, where, according to most authorities, he was employed in his youth by the eighth Muromachi shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436–1490), a devotee of the martial arts. Iizasa was later known as Yamashiro no kami (governor of Yamashiro Province) in accordance with a practice of Muromachi times whereby noted warriors took old court titles. Still later in life Iizasa became a Buddhist lay monk and was known as Chōi-sai, 'sai' being a character that many noted swordsmen chose for their sword name.
When Chōi-sai returned home he offered prayers to the deities of both Katori Shrine and Kashima Shrine, the latter a famous local shrine in nearby Tochigi Prefecture where shrine officials themselves reputedly practised a form of swordsmanship, called 'hitotsu no tachi' (the solitary sword). Even today the Kashima Shrine training hall attracts Kendō practitioners from around the world, and the chief object of interest for visitors is the shrine's sacred sword. Supplementing his considerable skills with assorted weaponry, Chōi-sai was also an expert in Musō Jikiden Ryū Yawaragi, holding the position of seventh head in the history of that ryū. ('Yawara/yawaragi' is the older more correct term for the jūjutsu, unarmed combat, of that period)
Legend says at the age of 60 Chōi-sai spent 1000 days in Katori Shrine practising martial techniques day and night, until the kami of the shrine, Futsunushi no Mikoto (経津主之命), appeared to him in a dream and handed down the secrets of martial strategy in a scroll named Mokuroku Heiho no Shinsho. He called his swordsmanship style derived from this miraculous dream the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, the "Heavenly True, Correctly Transmitted Style of the Way of the God of Katori".
This legend is typical of martial arts ryūha and other cultural forms as well. Ryūha founders often attributed their mastery to magical teachings transmitted by Shinto or Buddhist deities, by long-dead historical figures like Minamoto no Yoshitsune, or by legendary supernatural creatures like the 'tengu', a Japanese goblin commonly depicted with a long red nose. Ienao died in 1488 at the age of 102.
Iizasa's Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, thus presumably linked to the sacred tradition of both Katori and Kashima Shrines, was transmitted through his own family.
taken from Wikipedia

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