Katayama-ryu Iai-kenjutsu

Katayama-ryu (片山流) is a traditional martial art focussing on iaijutsu (drawing the sword) and kenjutsu (fighting with drawn swords), that was founded by Katayama Hoki-no-kami Hisayasu (1575 - 1650).

In respect to our studies of the Katayama-ryu, we follow the teachings of Yuji Wada sensei, who learned the art from Niwata Yoshio sensei.
Since May 2013, we have been a member of the Katayama-ryu Shinbu-no-kai (片山流神武之会).


Katayama Hoki-no-kami Heseyasu served as a kenjutsu teacher for Toyotomi Hidetsugu (1568 - 1595) and Hideyori (1593 - 1614), the nephew and son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1539 - 1598), the second of the three great leaders who united Japan after 100 years of civil war, known as the Warring States Period (Sengoku Jidai in Japanese). After the Toyotomi family had been destroyed during the siege of Osaka (1615), the Katayama family functioned as martial arts instructors in the area around Iwakuni. Among the Katayama family, this tradition continued throughout the Edo period and into the Meiji Restoration (1868), but during the modernisation of Japan, it ended with the eighth generation and the last head of the family, Katayama Busuke.

For a more detailed portrayal of the history of the Katayama-ryu in connection with the Hoki-ryu, which evolved from it, please refer to the following link.
Furthermore, the website of the Katayama-ryu Shinbu-no-kai can provide additional information.


The training of the Katayama-ryu is different from regular iai training, which is practiced alone and with real swords (e.g. Hoki-ryu). Instead, students use fukuro-shinai (a kind of bamboo sword) and bokuto (wooden swords) in paired exercises or alone at the Iaidai (a wooden construction with three hit zones on different height levels). The more advanced person (a teacher or older student) leads the training and is called aite, while the less advanced student, who trains using the techniques, is called tsukaite.
Furthermore, Katayama-ryu iai-kenjutsu considers iai and kenjutsu as the same thing, that consists of techniques that use the drawn sword (kenjutsut), called ihatsu, and techniques for which the sword is still sheathed (iai), called mihatsu.

Kata of the Katayama-ryu are divided into five groups. Two of these - Omote Gokajo and Ura Gokajo - are practiced at the Iaidai. The nine Ihatsu (or kenjutsu) kata, which start with a drawn sword, are summed up in the Ohen Hakkyoku group. The group with the name Iai Hakkyoku-hen consists of nine mihatsu (iai) kata, where the sword is still sheathed at the beginning. Finally, the Tonomono group consists of both ihatsu as well as mihatsu kata.

Omote Gokajou

Ura Gokajo


Ohen Hakkyoku
応変八極 - ihatsu (kenjutsu) kata

  1. Seigan
  2. Garyū
  3. Saryū
  4. Koran
  5. Uhotsu
  6. Sahotsu
  7. Sha
  8. Kozan
  9. Konyū

Iai Hakkyoku-hen
居合八極変 - mihatsu (iai) kata

  1. Enpa
  2. Aiai
  3. Hiran
  4. Ranpa
  5. Kosō
  6. Ura-no-nami
  7. Sakanami
  8. Sakaomodaka
  9. Ukifune