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What Is the Ryushin Shouchi Ryu School of Martial Arts?

February 13, 2019

What Is the Ryushin Shouchi Ryu School of Martial Arts?

Ryushin Shouchi Ryu us a Japanese martial arts school that focuses specifically on iajutsu. While there have been countless other iajutsu schools -- in Japan as well as other parts of the world -- it has played an instrumental role in bringing this once-common martial art back into the limelight.

History of Ryushin Shouchi Ryu

The iaijutsu school Ryushin Shouchi Ryu was founded by Japanese martial arts expert Kawabata Terutaka in 2006. While the school is still relatively new in this regard, its principles can be traced back to Japan's Eiroku Era when Tose Yosazaemon Osamune founded the martial arts system Tenshinsho Jigen-ryu. This system, of course, revolved around iaijutsu. With iaijutsu, practitioners draw and unsheathe a sword from their obi as quickly and fluidly as possible. Tenshinsho Jigen-ryu  introduced this practice to the general public during Japan's feudal years, thereby paving the way for modern iaijutsu schools like Ryushin Shouchi Ryu.

Looking Back at Iaijutsu

Iaijutsu itself -- the system on which Ryushin Shouchi Ryu is based -- has origins dating back to Japan's Kamakura Era. It's believed that samurai warriors would practice unsheathing and drawing their sword before going into battle. They knew the difference that just a fraction of a second could make in real-world combat, so they sought to improve the speed and efficiency at which they drew their sword. Eventually, this led to an organized sport where practitioners would draw their sword in front of a crowd.

When compared to other traditional Japanese martial arts, including kenjutsu, iaijutsu isn't as popular. However, it still holds an importance place in Japan's history. Furthermore, many practitioners prefer Ryushin Shouchi Ryu and other iajutsu schools because they have a low risk of injury. In other martial arts, two or more practitioners may compete in direct combat. And while safety gear is often wore to protect practitioners from injury, incidents do occur.

Ryushin Shouchi Ryu Today

Today, Ryushin Shouchi Ryu is practiced by thousands of people across the world.  While the iaijutsu school originated in Japan, it's now practiced in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, France and several other countries.

With Ryushin Shouchi Ryu, practitioners unsheathe and draw their sword while maintaining a defense posture that allows them to react to an emeny's attack. Of course, there are no enemies in Ryushin Shouchi Ryu. Rather, it's a solo sport in which practitioners compete without any direct opponent.

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