Shindo Yoshin-ryu

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Shindo Yoshin-ryu (?????, Shindo Yoshin-ryu?), meaning “New Way of the Willow Heart School” is a traditional school (koryu) of Japanese martial arts, teaching primarily the art of jujutsu. The Shindo Yoshin-ryu tradition was founded late in the Edo period by a Kuroda clan retainer named Matsuoka Katsunosuke (1836–1898). The name of the school may also be transliterated as Shinto Yoshin-ryu, but should not be confused with the modern school of Shinto yoshin-ryu.

Shindo Yoshin-ryu is heavily influenced by two different lines of Yoshin-ryu, the Akiyama Yoshin-ryu (Tenjin Shin’yo-ryu) and Nakamura Yoshin Koryu (Totsuka ha Yoshin ryu). As a student of the teachings of Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu, Hokushin Itto-ryu, Totsuka ha Yoshin Koryu and Tenjin Shin’yo-ryu, Matsuoka incorporated many facets of these schools consolidating them into the foundational Shindo Yoshin-ryu. This name of the school would originally translate into “New Willow Style”, but the kanji for “new” was eventually changed into the homophonic “sacred”.

Shindo Yoshin-ryu emphasizes grace and natural movement. Although Shindo Yoshin-ryu reflects the combination of the jujutsu teachings of Tenjin Shin’yo-ryu and the Totsuka-ha Yoshin Koryu, its waza demonstrate a softer, more weapon based, application of technique. The Takamura line includes further influence from Matsuzaki Shinkage-ryu Hyoho.

Only two legitimate branches of Shindo Yoshin-ryu remain: the Shindo Yoshin-ryu Domonkai headed by Ryozo Fujiwara in Japan, and the Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu headed by Toby E. Threadgill in the United States.

Shindo Yoshin-ryu was fundamental in the founding of one of Japan’s most prominent styles of karate, Wado-ryu.