Mugai Ryu Musoshindin Ryu

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by RedHabu, Feb 13, 2019 at 12:02 PM.

  1. RedHabu

    RedHabu White Belt

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    I recently started the study of Mugai Ryu and Musoshindin Ryu. My question for both arts is this: is there a universal set of kata for each art or does each school have variations? If there is a universal set for them, does anyone have some links to articles or video?

    Has anyone here studied both systems? Thanks for the help, I've trained a couple decades in Kobudo but new to Japanese sword arts.
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi.

    Yes, there are definitely sets of specific kata for each ryu... that's the primary method of transmission and practice. While there are a number of groups of each ryu you mention, with some variation to their syllabus (depending on the teacher and their lineage), there are more similarities than differences in the main.

    We'll start with Muso Shinden Ryu, as that's the ryu I have more experience with.

    Muso Shinden Ryu is, pretty simply, a modern reworking/line of Eishin Ryu Iai, along with Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu (realistically, they are two different lines of the same school... and share the majority of their syllabus). The school is broken up into three primary sections, with some lines having additional sections, such as paired practice, or even jujutsu methods.

    The main three sections are:
    - Shoden Gata/Omori Ryu. This section is made up of 12 kata (Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu only has 11... with a variation sometimes taught, which is a formal kata for MSR). These techniques almost exclusively begin from seiza, a formal kneeling position sitting on your heels (one kata, Koranto, is a standing one). The names are different from the ones used in MJER.
    - Chuden Gata/Hasegawa Eishin Ryu. This section has 10 kata, with most being performed from a seated position called Tate-hiza. This is the "original" form of the school, with the Omori Ryu being a later addition.
    - Oku Iai. The final standard set is the Oku Iai (Inner Iai), and consists of both Tate-hiza no Bu and Tachiai no Bu, or Suwari-waza and Tachi-waza. The Suwari-waza (seated techniques) consists of 9-11 techniques (depending on the line and how you count them), and the Tachi-waza (standing techniques) consist of 11 or 12 kata, again depending on the line.

    Additional sections include Tachi-Uchi no Kurai and Tsume-ai no Kurai (two sets of paired forms done as a style of kenjutsu), and, very rarely, areas such as Tosa Iai Jujutsu, including Daisho Tsume, Daisho Tachi Tsume, and Tsume no Kurai.

    It's not common to find much beyond the three main sections, but historically, the other aspects were part of the school's teachings.

    Mugai Ryu is a bit more complex, with a much wider array of lines having been created over the years... the biggest "main" group these days is the Meishi-ha... although there are a number of other groups around. I haven't had much experience with the Meishi-ha Mugai Ryu, but a quick search indicates that the syllabus is primarily as follows:

    - 20 Iai waza, divided up into sections such as Go-yo, Go-ka, Go-o, and Hashiri-kakari, covering both Seiza no Bu and Tachi no Bu.
    - Naiden waza, a set of advanced techniques taught to Menkyo practitioners. These focus on controlling the opponent, rather than lethal force.
    - A range of kenjutsu, covered in both Katana no Kata and Wakizashi no Kata.

    There are members of Mugai Ryu on the forum, so hopefully they can clarify or add to my comments here. @pgsmith ?
     
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  3. RedHabu

    RedHabu White Belt

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    That is great information. I was also hoping for some video links to what we know are those set universal katas for the system. I'd like to have a good reference as a resource. Not sure if anyone here if familiar enough to check youtube for good examples, there are some there, but just starting I don't know which are correct and which may not be. Thanks again
     
  4. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    Hey,
    I'll chime in on the Mugai ryu, since I am much more familiar with that than MSR.

    In Mugai ryu, it depends quite a bit on which line you are studying. The Meishi-ha which Chris mentioned is Mugai ryu Iai-hyodo. It is, like MSR iaido, a modern amalgamation of the older schools of Mugai ryu and Jikyo ryu. Different lines of Mugai ryu perform different kata in different orders, so you need to know what your lineage is in order to know what kata are going to be practiced.

    A caution for you ... If you are practicing two different sword arts such as Muso Shinden ryu and Mugai ryu, it is important to compartmentalize the teachings and do not allow them to bleed over into each other. Some of the training will be universal, no matter what sword art you're learning. However, each ryu will have their own ideas on the underlying principles behind what they are teaching. You have to keep those principles consistent within the school you are practicing or you'll end up with a hodge-podge that doesn't reflect the underlying principles of either school.

    Many schools will have a record of the kata on video (Meishi-ha has one). You should ask your instructor about it and see if he has one that you could borrow. More important for your training than video, in my experience, is your own notes. I always urge people to get a notebook and write notes after every class. This allows you to more firmly place what you've learned in your head while also giving you something that you can refer to later. I have 5 or 6 notebooks filled with notes (that I desperately need to organize!) that I still refer to on occasion. It is good to have something to go back to that helps you remember things that you may not have actually practiced recently.

    Suimokai is the organization that covers the Meishi-ha Mugai ryu. The honbu dojo has an English language site, but it has not been updated in quite some time. ... Suimokai

    There are a number of videos and various dojo web sites that can be found by searching on Suimokai or Meishi-ha Mugai ryu.

    Good luck in your training, and let us know how it goes!
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019 at 1:35 PM
  5. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    To be absolutely clear here, there is no "universal" set of kata shared between different ryu (other than ryu which are essentially different branches of the same school, such as Muso Shinden Ryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu). There are, on the other hand, established and codified syllabus' for each ryu themselves... so, while there is not a "universal" set that covers MSR and Mugai Ryu, MSR has a standardised curriculum, and Mugai Ryu have their standardised curriculum. This is where Paul's caution of confusing the two in your practice comes into it... while ostensibly both are simply arts of sword drawing, the riai (essential principles), hyoho (strategies), and more are quite different... leading to quite a difference in mechanics, grip, and so on.

    Even there, different groups (within the same ryu, or family group of ryu) can have different interpretations and approaches... the line of Muso Shinden Ryu I studied has a slightly different method of zanshin, and has a few alterations to the performance of a number of kata in terms of angle and use of the sword. But here's the thing... there is no "correct" version... they are all simply variants that exist within the parameters of the waza and school themselves, based in the experience, knowledge, and preferences of the teacher or line. As a result, looking for videos isn't really a way to see what is "correct" or not... unless it's a video of your specific teacher or line, there's bound to be variance... instead, videos provide some insight into these variations, and can serve as a reminder for what you learn in class. The only source that you should consider "correct" (for you) is your teacher, and how they present the system to you. For Muso Shinden Ryu, for example, there has not be a single, universally agreed upon successor to Nakayama Hakudo (who formalised the school from his study of two lines of Eishin Ryu, the Shimomura-ha and the Tanimura-ha... for the record, the Muso Shinden Ryu is essentially the continuation of the Shimomura-ha, considered the more "city-samurai" of the two, and the Tanimura-ha became the basis of the Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, with the Tanimura-ha being thought of as the form for the "country-samurai", or the less socially refined... ha!), leading to a wider degree of variation there than in other schools.

    That said, there are many videos that you can find online... my personal favourite series covers the three main sections, the Shoden (Omori Ryu), Chuden (Eishin Ryu) and Oku Iai (Suwari waza and Tachi waza), and is from many years ago, featuring Nagae Matasaburo-sensei.





    Again, there are many, many more on you-tube... but these are some that I like.
     
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