We follow the interpretation of Hatakeyama Goro sensei (1928 - 2009), who taught Katori Shinto-ryu as senior teacher under Sugino Yoshio sensei. Together, they were mainly responsible for propagating the Shinto-ryu throughout Europe. In Germany, we are the only group following his line.
Katori Shinto-ryu (originally Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, 天真正伝香取神道流) comes from the 15th century and belongs to the oldest Japanese martial arts still practiced today. The variety of different weapons being taught is quite large, including sword, wooden staff and the Naginata among others.
Hatakeyama Goro (1928-2009)
Menkyo Kaiden, 9. Dan
Hatakeyama Goro sensei did not designate a successor to follow after his death in 2009 - i.e. no Menkyo Kaiden. Since then, most groups work more or less independently of each other, although from time to time, shared seminars are held to compare techniques and have an exchange of opinions.
Officially, the Shinto-ryu knows the ranks of kirigami, mokuroku and menkyo. However, Sugino Yoshio sensei introduced the dan-system during the 80s, probably because he had joined the Kokusai Budo Remmei (also known as International Martial Arts Federation).
After Sugino Yoshio sensei’s death and after splitting from the Sugino dojo, Hatakeyama sensei revived the traditional ranking system, but differentiated among these to make them comparable to the dan-grades.
Hatakeyama sensei used the following grading-system:
- menkyo kaiden (8th dan and higher)
- menkyo okuden (7th dan)
- menkyo chuden (6th dan)
- menkyo mokuroku (5th dan)
- mokuroku chuden (4th dan)
- mokuroku shoden (3rd dan)
- kirikami chuden (2nr dan)
- kirikami shoden (1st dan)
The curriculum of the Katori Shinto-ryu teaches the use of different weapons and thus falls under the category of sogo bujutsu - a martial art that combines different weapon systems. During earlier times, the range of different weapons was probably larger, while most schools nowadays teach only the use of long and short swords, staff (bo) sword lance (naginata) and spear (yari). Some lines - especially those led by Otake sensei - also teach techniques of jujutsu and shurikenjutsu.
Shinto-ryu is trained through kata - predefined choreographies, where every action is strictly predetermined. This practice is supposed to help the practitioner act instinctively during combat, while not having to think about his actions during the heat of battle.
Beginners start with practicing the sword; the other weapons are introduced one by one during the progress.
The following list includes most of the kata being practiced:
太刀術 （剣術） - Techniques of the sword
Omote-no-tachi, 4 kajo
Gogyo-no-tachi, 5 kajo
Gokui-shichijo-no-tachi, 3 kajo
- Toyama-no-tachi (Ukifune no kurai)
- Katanami-no-tachi (Yosui no kurai)
- Agenami-no-tachi (Sangetsu no kurai)
Ryoto, 4 kajo
兩刀 四ヶ條 - Two swords
- Eigetsu-no-tachi (Nio no kurai)
- Suigetsu-no-tachi (Tenchi no kurai)
- Isonami-no-tachi (Huyo no kurai)
- Murakumo-no-tachi (Sasu no kurai)
Gokui-kodachi, 3 kajo
極意小太刀 三ヶ條 - Shortsword
棒術 - Techniques of bo
Omote-no-bo, 6 kajo
Gokui-no-bo, 6 kajo
薙刀術 - Techniques of naginata
Omote-no-naginata, 4 kajo
槍術 - Techniques of the spear
Iai-jutsu, 6 kajo
Tachi-iai-jutsu, 5 kajo
Gokui-no-iai, 5 kajo
- Kumokiri-no ken