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Shodai Ryu UK

Contact: info@shodai.org.uk

(Training or Booking)


Training Sessions:

Friday Evenings 7pm - 9:30pm
St Oswald's Institute, Church Street, Durham, DH1 3DL

Welcome to Shodai Ryu UK


Kobudo Shodai Ryu Zanshi is a style of Japanese Swordsmanship based on the training and philosophies of the Samurai. The style was first introduced to the UK in 2004, where it is currently taught in one dojo, based in Durham City.


We have weekly training on a Friday evening from 7pm, and invite anyone who is interested to come along and try us out. We also perform cutting demonstrations (called 'Enbu', which roughly translates to military display), locally, nationally and internationally.


If you are interested in training with us, finding out more, or booking a demonstration, then please contact us using the email at the top right.



What is Shodai Ryu?


After many years of training in Japanese sword forms, swordsmith Genrokuro Matsunaga decided to develop a style based upon the philosophies and values traditionally associated with Japan's samurai class. Together with a group of people who had been training at his home dojo in Arao, Matsunaga sensei formalised the style of Shodai Ryu in April, 1999.


Shodai Ryu involves the drawing of a sword, approaching a target, cutting through the target, resheafing the sword and retreating. Equal emphasis is placed upon every aspect of the performance, meaning that a failed cut, whilst being something preferably avoided, does not mean that the performance has failed. Indeed, should a swordsman fail to cut the target and knock over the stand in the process, it should be treated as an injured enemy and a finishing technique delivered accordingly.


Although, when cutting, a tanto (Japanese knife) is often worn where one would expect a wakizashi (Japanese short sword), Shodai Ryu practioners train in the use of both a katana (Japanese long sword) and the shorter wakizashi. The tanto is worn as a symbol of the art's status - highly ranked samurai would often wear a tanto in place of the more conventional wakizashi, particularly at formal events. A Shodai Ryu enbu (military display) is considered to be a formal event so, accordingly, practioners of the art are expected to dress to reflect this.


Whilst the act of cutting straw targets is relatively common in sword-based martial arts and is usually referred to as tameshigiri, Shodai Ryu utilises a level of formality which is often overlooked in cutting used as a form of supplimentary training in other art forms. Additionally, Shodai Ryu includes training in the practice of kaishaku, the traditional act of assisting in seppuku (ritual suicide).