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toyama ryu

This Kokusai Toyama Ryu Renmei (KTRR, AKA International Toyama Ryu Federation) is headed and founded by Obata Toshishiro, Honbucho. Masaji Saito-sensei of the Orange County dojo has been practicing Toyama ryu since 1986 and has achieved the rank of 5th dan. Toyama ryu is taught as part of Shinkendo at Orange County dojo.

Originally a small sub-system of sword drawing techniques created for officers of the Japanese Imperial Army, Toyama ryu is now represented in various forms throughout the world as an independent sword art.

The Toyama ryu "gunto soho" (military sword methodology) was created and standardized (seitei) in 1925 in response to concern that officers would not be able to effectively draw and employ their sword (gunto) should the need arise while operating in hostile environments. After WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army was disbanded, and three major lines of Toyama ryu were adapted and taught independently - Morinaga style, Yamaguchi style, and Nakamura style. Nakamura Taizaburo Sensei was one of Obata Sensei's main sword instructors. In view of Obata Sensei's skill and dedication, the art of Toyama ryu was charged to him upon his relocation to America as the Chief Instructor of America.

Since that time, Toyama ryu has been completely subsumed into the Shinkendo curriculum and embellished as follows:

  • Toyama ryu kihon kata - the eight basic kata as transmitted through the Nakamura line
  • Toyama ryu jokyu kata - advanced variations on the eight basic kata
  • Toyama ryu henka - advanced applied variations
  • Toyama ryu hensen - the study of the original methods and their technical evolution to the present time; Gunto soho, Battojutsu and Battodo/Iaido periods.

Toyama ryu is categorized in Shinkendo as "gaiden waza" (borrowed techniques). Though ranks are awarded separately for Toyama ryu, these limited methods are taught as part of the overall Shinkendo curriculum, and as such cannot be taught independent of the art of Shinkendo. The KTRR does not participate in form (engi) or cutting (tameshigiri) competitions, and is not affiliated with any other line or organization. Our line of Toyama ryu emphasizes accurate, powerful and rapid deployment of the sword, combined with a strong expression of kiai. This spirit of training was how the art was originally taught to the students of the Imperial Japanese Army Rikugun Toyama Gakko. Though elements of Iai arts were used in the formation of the Toyama ryu curriculum originally, the context and intent of Toyama ryu and modern Iaido are totally different, and were not intended to be practiced in the same way.

Related links:

Toyama Ryu and KTRR History

Tameshigiri and Sword Safety

Article on Sword Related Accidents


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