Misconceptions regarding the koryu ... Many people speak of "the koryu" as if they are a single thing. Many see them in western terms as if they were a business. These are two very common misconceptions. "The koryu" refers to Japanese martial arts schools or traditions (ryu) established before western intervention opened Japan's borders in the late 1800s. These schools were originally established as political/familial entities. They all had their own particular ideology, outlook, and hierarchies, and their training was geared toward this. There are still quite a number of koryu in existence today in Japan. I know of only one (and there is some controversy over whether it actually qualifies as koryu) whose head lives outside of Japan. Therefore, the koryu are a distinctly Japanese creation, and they operate by traditional Japanese rules. In Japan, tattoos are still seriously frowned upon because of their centuries long association with the Yakuza. There are koryu where the fellow in charge does not care much about them. There are also koryu where they are strictly forbidden. Checking on tattoos is absurdly simple since onsen, public baths, are still a very large part of the culture in Japan. By the way, many onsen still refuse service to people with tattoos. I personally know people that have been asked to leave onsen because of their tattoos. However, tattoos are actually pretty irrelevant. A koryu can, and will, refuse admittance to anyone that they think will not properly represent the outlook and ideals of the ryu. The members of the ryu are there only to further the aims and goals of the ryu, not the other way around. This is the centuries old Japanese outlook on it that has allowed the koryu to survive for so long. It is also what will allow them to easily outlive all of us. The oldest one that I know of that is still in existence was established in the late 1300s. That's over 600 years of continuous history in a single tradition. I seriously doubt that they'll change for our wishes. To many of those that are unfamiliar with Japanese society and history, this is a ridiculous outlook and not worth even looking into. This is perfectly understandable, and pursuing the koryu is not something that these folks would enjoy. For others, the history and ideas behind the koryu are very interesting, and are worth the changes in thinking that are necessarily required. To each their own, it's what makes the world an interesting place!