Koto ryu

By Yossi Sheriff
(Redirected from Koto Ryu)

Koto Ryu (虎倒流 Kotōryū) (קוטו ריו), is a Japanese martial art school from the Takamatzu den of koppojutsu, (骨法術) , shurikenjutsu, and kenjutsu. This school specializes in aggressive, linear attacks using larger bones to strike weaker ones of your opponent.

History and background

The tradition of Koto Ryu koppojutsu began with Toda Sakyo Isshinsai during the Tenmon Era (1532 - 1550) after learning Gyokko Ryu shitojutsu from Sakagami Taro Kunishige. It is a sister art of "Gyokko Ryu" kosshijutsu (玉虎流骨指術). Toda taught both of these arts to Momochi Sandayu and they were handed down within Iga Ryu until reaching Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu in the late Tokugawa period. The foundation of "Togakure Ryu" ninpo comes from the unarmed combative movements of Koto Ryu and Gyokko Ryu.

It can be translated as "Knocking down the Tiger" School, which is an image shared with its sister school, Gyokko Ryu (also can be translated as "Jeweled Tiger School"). In addition Koto Ryu includes a 4 pointed "Hira Shuriken" or "Shaken" along with blade fighting.

This school is taught inside the "Bujinkan", "Genbukan", "Jinenkan" ,"Tanaka Fumon" and "Akban".

Different Ryu and schools in Takamazu-den
no subcategories

Order of techniques

The densho (scrolls) are arranged in a particular order, and each waza (technique), kata (forms), etc. are supposed to be learned in the same order, mastering one before going on to the next one.

Koto ryu characteristics

The combat characteristics of Koto ryu are shown when Kata analysis is applied to the katas coming from this Japanese Koryu.

In Koto ryu there are about 50 katas divided into four levels: Shoden, Chuden, Okuden and Hekito levels.

The first and most basic level is Shoden, which includes 18 Katas. The second level is Chuden, and includes 12 katas. Third level is the Okuden and it has 12 katas and the fourth and last level is Hekito and it includes 8 Muto dori katas of empty hands versus a sword.

The main characteristic in this koryu is breaking the opponent's movement and posture. This strategy stems from being a Koppo jutsu system. Two advantages are gained by Tori – the first, disabling the opponent's attacking abilities and the second is the creation of an entrance into the opponent's weak points and posture.

Koto ryu katas are short; they do not include many movements. The source of the Koto ryu Kata is most probably, real combat situation and the solution to the problems in it. Because of this, the katas are very focused and revolve around specific techniques that relay a specific and short tactic. The use gravitates toward very simple punches, basic locks and no complicated transitions between throws and locks.

Kata in Koto ryu look at situations that have maintained their relevance till this day. Most of them are what is called 'street situations' and the scenarios are familiar:

  1. Opponent grabbing with one hand
  2. Opponent grabs the lapel with one hand and attacks with the other hand: Shato, Hoteki and Shito.
  3. Opponent grabs or tries to grab with both hands: Saku geki, Keto, Oh gyaku, Yokuto, Ran Setsu, Kimon, Soto, Shisen and Santo.
  4. Opponent attacks with one punch: Kompi, Hida and Koyoku.
  5. Opponent attacks with two successive punches: Kata maki, Ura nami, Kyogi, Kako, Shihaku, Tan geki, Hosoku, Suito.

in addition, some of the Kata are very aggressive; Tori initiates the attack in these Kata during or after walking toward the opponent.


The first and basic level of koryu Kata in Koto ryu – Shoden level

In this level the katas deal with simple situations by various solutions and tactics. The main theme is Koto ryu's core; breaking the opponent's balance, posture and movement. To apply this theme the Shoden level Kata uses Tai Sabaki, Kyushu (Attacking vulnerable points), attack to different heights, unexpected punches and deception. These components happen in reply to different situations.


The Kamae of Kurai dori - Koto Ryu Koppojutsu

Kurai Dori, five combat stances - Koto Ryu

Hidari Seigan no kamae
Hidari Seigan no kamae no kamae - Ninjutsu  
Migi Seigan no kamaee
Migi Seigan no kamae no kamae - Ninjutsu  
Hira ichimonji no kamae
Hoko no kamae Ninjutsu
Bobi no kamae Ninjutsu
Bobi no kamae - Ninjutsu  




List of all the Kata and techniques in the Shoden Gata level of Koto ryu


Video list of the Kata and techniques in the Shoden Gata level of Koto ryu


List of all the Kata and techniques in the Hekito Gata level of Koto ryu


Video list of the Kata and techniques in the Hekito Gata level of Koto ryu


List of all the Kata and techniques in the Chuden gata level of Koto ryu


Video list of the Kata and techniques in the Chuden gata level of Koto ryu



List of all the Kata and techniques in the Okuden Gata level of Koto ryu


Video list of the Kata and techniques in the Okuden Gata level of Koto ryu

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