Koryu.com Frequently Asked Questions


by Diane Skoss

Traditional Arts


Koryu Books Publications


Contacts


Resources


What is koryu bujutsu?

We cover this important question in detail in our "Koryu Primer."

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What is koryu budo?

See "Koryu budo, kobudo, kobujutsu, koryu bujutsu: what's the difference?"

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Can you recommend a qualified and authorized classical martial arts instructor in my area?

The search for a teacher is an important part of the "koryu" process. Like training in the koryu, it isn't necessarily easy or instantly successful. A number of schools and teachers have web sites listed in the "Ryu Guide" pages, so this is a good place to start your search. At Koryu.com we do not provide contact information to people with whom we do not have a direct personal connection (see "Koryu Training in Japan" for a more detailed explanation of this issue). We do provide you with lots of background material so you can evaluate prospective instructors, know what questions to ask them, and in general have a clearer idea of the context of the koryu bujutsu. Check out the reading list in "A Koryu Primer."

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I'd like to go to Japan to train in koryu. How can I do this?

We've compiled all our advice on this into two articles: "Koryu Training in Japan" and "Training in Japan."

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Can you provide me with the address and phone number of a contact for Thus-and-such-ryu in Japan?

Imagine your seventy-five-year-old grandmother, cozily asleep in her bed. At 3:00 a.m., the phone rings. Being a well-bred old-fashioned type, she answers--despite the hour--and is greeted with an incomprehensible barrage of Swahili. This happens all too frequently to the headmasters of classical traditions in Japan. For this reason, and others that I explain in my article "Koryu Training in Japan," we really cannot provide such information. Fortunately, you are only six jumps away from anyone in the world, so ask around among your acquaintances (your martial arts instructor is a good place to start) and you will eventually find a personal connection that can get you the information or introduction you seek.

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Are there any uchideshi programs in the classical martial arts?

We've never heard of any such programs, but that doesn't mean that one couldn't possibly exist somewhere. Ask your instructor.

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Have you ever considered producing a dojo directory of koryu in the West?

No. There are a couple of issues. One is that should we start listing koryu, then everyone and everyone's aunt would start bothering us: "Why isn't my xyz-made-last-week-in-America-ryu listed?" We already get quite a lot of this and it is time-consuming and sometimes not very pleasant. We really don't want to set ourselves up as arbiters of who is doing "real" koryu and who isn't, but we will not mention or support arts that we believe to be outside our brief, or arts that blatantly misrepresent their histories. We'd rather provide materials so that people can learn enough to evaluate a prospective teacher/art on their own (after all, the student is the one who has to "live" with a teacher; he or she should be the one to evaluate that teacher).

Another issue is that it seems koryu have become popular. Lots of people are looking for koryu; and surprisingly few of them, when asked, can really tell you why it is specifically koryu that they want to do. Most instructors that we know personally are not prepared to accept lots of students. Many do not accept anyone at all until they've trained with them in a modern art for a number of years. Others require recommendations from a trusted third party. Some of us believe that part of the process is the search for the right teacher--to shortcut that quest is to deny the importance of that first step.

Finally, and this is solely because this is the way it is done amongst our teachers and koryu people in Japan, we at Koryu Books take the notion of introductions extremely seriously. If we give a teacher's name to someone, we are, to one extent or another, vouching for that individual's character and suitability. We can't evaluate all the individuals who access a list on the Internet. Therefore, we are not willing to provide a list (the converse goes as well--the list of legitimate koryu teachers with whom we have enough personal experience to recommend is quite short; we wouldn't be able/willing to list anyone with whom we've had no such experience).

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What happened to your events listing?

We've decided to discontinue the events listing because of the difficulty in keeping it current (Koryu Books is a one-woman show!), and because many folks were submitting information for events we really didn't consider appropriate. Each of these submissions required a polite negative answer, and this required additional time. There are only so many hours in a day, and we've decided they would be better spent searching out and creating realiable and accurate information on the koryu, for presentation here at Koryu.com.

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Is ninjutsu or ninpo taijutsu considered to be a koryu?

As one aspect of the martial arts, the equivalent, more or less, of military intelligence, this is certainly a legitimate area of study, and techniques are included within the curricula of several comprehensive classical systems. But ninjutsu simply no longer exists as an independent ryu-ha or art. What is commonly taught as ninjutsu, in Japan and elsewhere, is a fairly recent collection of unarmed and weapons arts, two of which are independent koryu. This does not mean that these arts are not technically valid or that they don't have historical provenance. But, the modern arts taught as ninjutsu and ninpo or budo taijutsu (whichever version of the name you favor) cannot be considered koryu per se. For more information, we've assembled some other researchers' opinions on this question at "Ninjutsu: Is it koryu bujutsu?" For another point of view, see Ken Harding's "What is koryu?"

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How can I order your books?

Our quick order form will get you started; other ordering information can be found at "Orders Information."

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I'd like a catalog of all Koryu Books publications. Where can I find a list of your books?

We appreciate this question. Thus far, we've only published four books, Koryu Bujutsu, Sword & Spirit, Keiko Shokon, and a new hardcover edition of Dave Lowry's Persimmon Wind, and we act as an exclusive distributor for one additional title, Chris Bates' Wave Man. The other books that we sell are listed on our quick order form. All the rest of our publications are the free articles here at Koryu.com. Check out the Budo Library. We don't, at the present time, have a printed catalog.

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Is there a print version of Koryu.com?

No, and it's unlikely that there will be. I find the schedule of book production and periodic web site updates suits my lifestyle a great deal better than the hectic pace of magazine publishing. It is possible, however, that we might consider producing an edition on CD-ROM in the future.

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I'm working on a book about Japanese martial arts. Is Koryu Books looking for manuscripts?

We're pretty much set in the way of manuscripts to publish for at least the next five years. So, no, we're not really in the market. If you're convinced that you've got a book that we should consider we certainly are willing to take a look at your proposal. But please keep in mind that the likelihood of Koryu Books being interested in publishing your book is fairly small. However, in this brave new world of desktop publishing, self-publishing is a viable option. I've compiled a reading list of books for those interested in considering this route.

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How can I contact Aiki News/Aikido Journal?

Koryu Books publisher Diane Skoss worked for Aiki News for many years; now her company is completely separate. You can find out what's happening in the aikido world at Aikido Journal.

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How can I contact the International Hoplology Society?

E-mail Hunter Armstrong (hop...@esedona.net) for more information on the IHS, or visit the International Hoplology Society web site.

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I've got some questions that I'd like to ask. Do you sponsor a martial-arts related forum?

For general questions about the martial arts, we highly recommend E-budo as an excellent place for lively discussions.

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I'm looking for quality videotapes of classical Japanese martial arts. Do you have any suggestions on where I might purchase such tapes?

Believe it or not, the Japanese video scene is pretty similar to the North American video scene; lots of dazzle with little substance. Few of these videos are worth the effort to acquire them, although Mudendo Budogu offers some of the better ones via their web site. Check out their video page.

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Where can I find books and videos about Daito-ryu aikijujutsu?

One of the best sources is Aiki News, which produces both videotapes and first-rate books on Daito-ryu. For more information on their productions visit Aikido Journal and be sure to tell Stan we sent you.

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I'm looking for a book that was recommended to me, but I've been told that it is out of print. Do you know where I might find this book?

Although we'd dearly love to be able to provide you with this sort of information, it is really out of our league. Fortunately, it's easy now to search for used books on the Internet. Happy hunting!

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Do you sell videos of the demonstrations you've listed?

No. We publish books, and are not in a position to get involved in videotape production, replication, etc. Our best advice is to find someone that you know who will be attending an event and ask them to videotape it for you.

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Copyright ©1999-2005 Diane Skoss. All rights reserved.
A Koryu.com original.

Classical Japanese Martial Arts
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Last modified on June 6, 2012
URL: http://www.koryu.com /library/kbfaq.html
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Classical Japanese Martial Arts