View Full Version : Size of a ryu: What's the effect?

22nd May 2004, 18:31
Hello friends,

This is one of those things that I am not sure whether it may lead to anything, if it has already been discussed, or if it is pointless pondering on the part of a novice. Still, your input is appreciated.

1. History types: how large did koryu schools get pre-meiji, in terms of enrolled members and presence? Obviously nothing to compare with some today, but I look at the relative size of a ryu like MJER and contrast it with, say, Kage-ryu, and suppose that some schools may have been quite large while others remained "family arts" or, in the case of Kage-ryu, underground. Have there been some things written about this, why some schools were popular and widespread and why others were not?

2. Everybody: Any ideas of pros/cons of ryu with large membership today? Not trying to snipe anybody here, just curious what some of you members may think the effects of large/small membership have on the ryu. Seems to me that some ryu lend themselves to it, some actively pursue it, while some do not for either case. Of course, certain things may be gained or lost by this, what do you think they are? How does it change a ryu, and what might this change mean?

Well there are a lot of more specific questions and ideas I have on this, but I am leaving it more open-ended to see what people come up with.

Jeremy Hulley
22nd May 2004, 19:29
Being a member of a small, albeit gedai, ryu there are two ways that I tend to see the size issue. All from my own experience...

1) There is a great opportunity for individual instruction with senior members of the ryuha including dinner with soke and tessen techniques over noodles. I don't have any experience with larger koyru but I truly have felt more like a family member than just a student.

2) Being a member of a smaller ryuha, roughly 150 members total, I feel an obligation and a need to reach the point that I can transmit the art. I want Shinto Ryu to be passed and the training to continue after I am gone. With such a small numvber of studnets I feel that responsibilty more acutely.