View Full Version : Sojutsu (spearmanship)

Dennis Mace
24th November 2000, 01:47
Can anyone direct me to any detailed information on use/strategy/technique, craft, care/maintanence, and differences between ryu for Yari? I haven't been able to find much information on Japanese Spearmanship, but am quite interested. It seems to be an art/skill on the brink of extinction. Any written, video, correspondance, and instrucional information would be greatly appreciated, but I would especially appreciate any references to teachers and practicing schools of the weapon...especially if they are located around the Northwestern US/Canada area. Please feel free to email me at yilisilentthunder@yahoo.com if you can offer any assistance.
Thank you for your time and consideration...=)

Dennis Mace

24th November 2000, 02:44
The most famous of the existing yari ryuha is probably Hozoin Ryu Takada Ha. It's strictly a yari style, with no other weapons involved. It dates to the late 1500s. I've had the good fortune to train with them in Nara a couple of years ago. Very good stuff, and hardly what I would call on the verge of extinction. The dojo was very crowded, with students from Europe and North America in addition to all the Japanese members of the ryu.

The other two yari ryuha that I know of are Owari Kan Ryu and Saburi Ryu. I know there is at least one Owari Kan Ryu dojo in North America, and there is a bit on it in Diane Skoss's book KORYU BUJUTSU. I haven't seen anything in English on Saburi Ryu.

There are videos for each of the above in the Kobudo Video Series from the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai. They are really expensive ($120), but if you're interested, you can contact me privately (peter@budogu.com).

In addition, there are numerous ryuha which include sojutsu (yari skills) in their curriculums. The most widely practiced of these would be Kashima Shin Ryu (you should read Karl Friday's history of the ryu "Legacies of the Sword") which is taught all over the world, including at 4 dojos in North America, and Sugino Ha Katori Shinto Ryu. The list however, is too long to even consider writing out.

Peter Boylan

28th November 2000, 14:21
You can find some information about Sojutsu at http://koryu.com/guide/sojutsu.html

There also is an article about Owari Kan Ryu Sojutsu at


13th November 2002, 06:14
Sorry, I'm not quite sure which forum to put this in.

I was wondering where I could get some decent information about Shin-Kage ryu sojutsu. Kamiizumi-no-Nobutsuna was famous as a spearman, correct? Then what of his yari technique, or was it naginata for Nobutsuna? Did he pass that on to Munetoshi? I can't find any information about sojutsu within the Shin-Kage ryu cirriculum.

I'd appreciate an answer from someone knowledgeable about SHin-Kage ryu, such as Mr. Skoss.

Thank you very much,

26th November 2002, 22:44
Ok, anyone, then?

Daniel Lee
26th November 2002, 23:13

While I'm certain some of our e-budo seniors may be able to answer your question more thoroughly, here is what Watatani, K. & Yamada, T. (1969, p.329) Bugei Ryuha Daijiten (?|h厫T) says about Shinkage-ryu (?^e), a different lineage to the sword lineage Shinkage-ryu (?VA):

Shinkage-ryu (ken, tachi, naginata, jumonji-yari)

KATAYAMA Tomotaro/TAKESHITA Daizo. Known as shinken shira-ha dori. This art claims KAMIIZUMI-no-Nobutsuna as it's founder.



From the nuance of Watatani's writing throughout the book, this system is probably long dead, and I wouldn't hazard a guess as to whether Kamiizumi-no-Nobutsuna either was/was not the actual founder (although both of these deductions are personal opinion). What sources are you referring to Steve? I'm always interested in expanding my readings in ko-budo.


30th November 2002, 02:36
Wasnt Kamiizumi supposed to be the sojutsu teacher of Kakuzenbo In'ei?

Daniel Lee
30th November 2002, 03:31
Kengo Jiten (1986, p.53) by Watatani says the Nobutsuna and Yagyu Sekishusai engaged in three days of matches at Kakuzenbo's dojo, in which Nobutsuna carried out tactics later known as 'muto-dori'. I think the book 'Shoden Shinkage-ryu' might provide more information about Nobutsuna and Kakuzenbo's relationship.