View Full Version : Nishio Ryu

12th March 2001, 18:49

Is anyone here who's training Nishio Ryu Aikido?
If yes, please post some infos about it and write short characteristics of the style.
Yesterday I saw a lot of vhs with Nishio and Hosoda Sensei's and since I've been under great impression!

Thanks in advance!

Nathan Scott
12th March 2001, 21:07

I may be a little out of touch with some of the Aikido groups, but is Nishio Sensei calling his style of Aikido a "ryu" now?

There was some confusion on the Aikido Journal site with a Yoshinkan instructor who thought it was clever to call his Yoshinkan video tape "Yoshinkan Ryu" after his chosen artist name ("ryu"; a play on words that is now confusing some Aikido-ka).

I've also heard people refer to the Iwama style as "Iwama ryu" as well.

Can the art of "aikido" be made into a ryu-ha? If so, then can Judo and Kendo be adopted by someone as their own ryu?

I suspect that some people use the term ryu loosely to refer to a "style", but this is a very misleading and inaccurate use of the term in this kind of context.

In the Daito ryu world, several major branches of the art have opted to use the nomenclature "Daito ryu Kodokai", "Daito ryu Roppokai", "Daito ryu - Sagawa dojo" etc.

Perhaps this formula would be a more accurate way of referring to Aikido branches as well: "Aikido Yoshinkan", "Aikido Iwama or Iwama Aikido" etc.

Also, the extension "-ha" indicates a branch or "version" of an art as well, like "Nishio-ha Aikido".

Any clarification on the Nishio style or opinions for or against these suggestions?

BTW, Mr. Exile - please post with your full, real name per forum policy.


Karl Kuhn
12th March 2001, 21:32
Mr. Scott,

Thanks for your informative reply. I recently discovered another Aikido group has been describing their art as a ryu and was quite confused. I did not think that this was appropriate but my familiarity with the Koryu arts is quite limited and my research into the use of the term Ryu did not turn up any hard evidence to the contrary.

Can you offer some simple guidelines as to the appropriate use of the term? I suspect that the core definition is agreed upon but that the application of it is varied through time. I do not see how it can really be applied to Gendai arts like Aikido, but again my familiarity with the term is limited.

Thanks for your help,

Karl Kuhn

ps. The group I referred to use the term Ryu in a way that would be exactly like some calling their style Kano-Ryu Judo. A bit irritating, no?

12th March 2001, 21:44
Nishio Sensei is still a member of the Aikikai and as Nathan Sensei points out, there is no such thing as "Nishio-ryu." Nishio Sensei, like Saotome Sensei and others, has started his own school, and there is a federation of "his" students here in the US, but they are all affiliated with the Aikikai.

If there is a unique aspect to the training in Nishio's dojos, it's that there's a focus on atemi (strikes). Nishio Sensei correctly observed that many of O'Sensei's original students came from other martial arts. O'Sensei did not have to teach the basics of striking or grappling, or for that matter probably sword work, to his Japanese students. Nishio Sensei himself is a Shihan in iaido, holds dan ranking in judo and karate, and has done formal study in jodo and yari.

Now that Aikido has been brought to a larger audience, there are many students who do have other martial arts backgrounds. Their aikido - without the experience of the other arts - may be less of the budo O'Sensei was aiming for.

Other Aikido schools, including Yoshikan I believe, as well as the root Daito Ryu, teach atemi. Nishio, within the Aikikai community is simply vocal about what he believes makes a well rounded buka.

If you're interested in studying more of these ideas in Aikido you may be able to find a dojo through the SeiShin Kai homepage at http://home.earthlink.net/~bjshibata/seishin.htm.

Nathan Scott
12th March 2001, 22:05
Hello Mr. Kuhn,

It is a bit difficult to strictly define the parameters of a ryu-ha. Historically, they have been formed under a variety of circumstances. Most were influenced by the founder's study of another ryu-ha, and expanded upon with the fonder's own inovations and/or other experiences. In earlier times ryu-ha tended to be "sogo bujutsu" as some say, meaning a "comprehensive martial art". That is to say, they would usually include the study of the weapons of choice of that era, as well as some that were taught in previous era.

Anyway, the basic idea is that the founder of a ryu-ha would typically have formulated or adapted techniques, tactics and principles that he considered unique enough to warrant a new tradition of combat.

However, if an exponent of a given ryu-ha were to have moved to another prefecture, or adopted variations that were branching away from the direction of the original ryu-ha he was studying, said person might opt to simply re-name their art "somebody/somewhere-ha originalstyle ryu" to indicate that the ryu-ha is fundamentally the same as the original, but taught elsewhere or with significant changes to the art.
For example Nen ryu would become Maniwa nen ryu (the art as taught in Maniwa-machi, Gunma-ken) or Ono-ha Itto ryu (the version of Itto ryu as taught by Ono)

As far as Aikido goes, I would have a hard time accepting someone founding a ryu-ha based exclusively on Aikido. Arts like Aikido can be thought of as sort of large, international scale arts, comparable to Judo, Kendo, Atarashii Naginata and even Shinkendo.

I have not heard of "Kano ryu Judo", but I have heard the phrase "Kano Judo" and the emphasized "KODOKAN Judo" sometimes in an attempt to differentiate between modern sport Judo and the original Judo.

Interestingly, Mochizuki Sensei studied various classical and modern arts (including TSKSR, Judo and Aikido), and ended up blending aspects of them into his own style. While understandably controversial, he still refrained from claiming his style a "ryu-ha", though he could have had an argument for that. Yoseikan Budo was the name he chose, and it does not even include the term Aikido in it's title.

So, to an extent you can say that the part that really sounds strange is the idea of taking a large international art and making a version out of it - especially while retaining the name in the new art's title. It just doesn't sit or sound right for that kind of art!

It's a bit hard to put into words, but I hope that was of some use.

12th March 2001, 22:14
Congrats Exile!!

You made it! Most difficult is to post a Very First Post...keep posting here, there are some nice guys around here.

hope to see your comments here after a seminar with Nishio sensei in Danemark!

Karl Kuhn
12th March 2001, 22:24
Mr. Scott,

Please feel free to call me Karl, btw. Thanks for your reply, it did help very much. Your analysis of the use of Ryu is very well stated and re-affirms my newbie-ish understanding of it. So, I wasn't off track, nice to know :^).

I believe I did mis-state something, however. I meant to imply that an Aikido group was using a name in a way simliar to a Judo group using "Kano-ryu". There is no "Kano-Ryu" that I am aware of. I used that as an example to illustrate my concern that not only was "Ryu" being used by an Aikido group to descirbe themselves, but that they were also using the name of a historical figure whose family they have no known connection to.

Thanks again,

Karl Kuhn

Nathan Scott
12th March 2001, 22:52

Thanks for the clarification.

The kanji for "Ryu" carries the idea of a flow, like a stream from it's source to it's destiny. In the context of a martial tradition, or I suppose any Japanese cultural tradition, the understanding is that the art should be transmitted (flow) through an undisrupted line of caretakers. Since the art is dynamic, affecting all three major aspects of human beings; mody, mind and spirit, the ryu-ha is throught to be (idealistically) a continued living entity. Direct transmission is the key to capturing the true essence of the flow.

Pretty interesting stuff.

13th March 2001, 16:18
Thanks for reply's guys :)

I think the best way for introducing the Nishio Ryu..(ups style) is training...see you in Danemark :D

21st March 2001, 02:23
Hi. I am new to this particular forum but I was looking at the recent threads and I thought I might be able to answer your question (at least to a small extent) about Nishio sensei's Aikido. To give you a little background about myself I started training in Nishio Aikido about 2 years ago here in Japan. I have not studied any other styles of Aikido so my knowledge of how Nishio Sensei's particular interpretation differs from other groups (and/or sensei) is based mainly on talking with my seniors as well as training with people who came from different styles if Aikido.
A previous reply mentioned that Nishio Sensei uses a lot of atemi and I would agree whole heartedly. Nishio sensei describes all movements through atemi and stresses that one should move with the feeling of atemi. In addition he places a lot of emphesis on irimi(entering) and the moment before contact with one's uke.
His irimi is very unique as he does not believe in turning the foot away from the uke but rather towards his or her center. In doing this one is able to touch their uke (for possible atemi) while being at a particular angle that prevents the uke from touching oneself. Infact Nishio sensei stresses that your uke should never be within striking distance.
In addition Nishio Sensei teaches the ken and jo and relates them both to Aikido techniques. For every tai jutsu technique the is a corresponding ken tai ken and ken tai jo techniques. these kenjutsu like techniques are the result of his exstensive study of iaido. In addition each tai jutsu technique is performed while holding a bokuto and can also be done while holding the jo. I could go on about all of Nishio sensei's weapon usage but to make a long story short the ken and jo have been actively integrated into the Aikido and are (in the case of Nishio Aikido) considered inseparable.
Nishio sensei has also developed a new style of iaido called Aikitoho which once again reflects the principles of Aikido. A major distinction between this sword style (which is considered a part of Nishio sensei's Aikido) and other sword arts is that it incorporates irimi, which, (to my limited knowledge) is not a part of other iaido styles.
I hope that this reply has helped and I am sorry for any misinformation on account of my limited knowlege. If anyone has anything to add (or correct) I would be very eager to hear what you have to say.
Best of luck,
Todd Wassel