Introduction


Kashima-Shinryû is a traditional martial art school (koryû) that has been handed down for almost 500 years through 19 generations of master-instructors. Kashima-Shinryû preserves the fighting techniques and martial insights of the warriors of medieval Japan. Its approach to warrior traditions is based on the concepts of shinmyoken and ichi-no-tachi, first developed at the Kashima Grand Shrine (Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan) in 15th century. Its current, 19th generation head (shihanke) is Dr. Humitake Seki, professor emeritus at the University of Tsukuba. He is the documented successor to the 18th generation shihanke, Zen'ya Kunii (1894-1966), one of the most renowned martial art masters of modern Japan.

Kashima-Shinryû teachings form a complete martial system (sôgô bujutsu), based on mental and physical techniques applicable to any weapon or unarmed situation. The particular arts practiced include not just swordsmanship (kenjutsu), but also other omote arts such as striking while unsheathing the sword (battôjutsu), spear arts (sôjutsu), halberd (naginata) arts, darts (shuriken), and ura arts such as energy projection (reiki), grappling, throws, and strikes (jujutsu, gusokudori and kenpô), and pole arms (jôjutsu and bôjutsu), as well as initiations into the lore and theory of traditional martial systems. For the kenjutsu (realistic swordsmanship), Kashima-Shinryû practitioners use wooden swords (bokuto), bamboo swords encased in leather (fukuro-shinai) and also real swords to learn physical and mental techniques applicable to premodern combat situations. To preserve the techniques in their original form, there are no protective pads and no limits on the targets or types of attacks, but for safety reasons there is no competition or matches.

Kashima-Shinryû martial art traditions can be studied at several places in Japan, USA and Europe, which are subject to the constitution, by-laws and authority of the Kashima-Shinryû Federation of Martial Sciences (Kashima-Shinryû budô renmei) and to the authority and directives of its headmaster (shihanke). Operating with the consent and cooperation of the Kunii (sôke) house and recognition of the Kashima Grand Shrine, this organization holds exclusive, worldwide authority over instruction in Kashima-Shinryû martial art, and is the sole body authorized to conduct legitimate training, hold examinations, or issue licenses, diplomas, or permission to use the name "Kashima-Shinryû" in conjunction with martial art activities of any form.