Training in the United Kingdom:
Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō-ryū training takes place at the United Kingdom Shibu (Headquarters Dōjō) in Belper, Derbyshire and also in Wimbledon near London.
Joining the Tradition:
Even today, those interested in joining the tradition must sign an oath to the deities of the Katori Shrine. This blood oath (Keppan) is a tradition that has been transmitted for generations. It ensures that aspiring students (Monjin) understand the correct attitude with which they are expected to approach entry to and study within the tradition. Applicants pledge to uphold the following rules:
Oath to the Supreme Deities:
On becoming a member of the Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō-ryū, which has been transmitted by the Great Deity of the Katori Shrine, I herewith affirm my pledge that:
- I will not have the impertinence to discuss or demonstrate details of the Ryū to either non-members or members, even if they are relatives.
- I will not engage in altercations or misuse the art against others.
- I will not engage in any kind of gambling or frequent disreputable places.
- I will not cross swords with any followers of other martial traditions without authorisation.
I hereby pledge to firmly adhere to each of the above articles.
Should I break any of these articles I will submit to the punishment of the Great Deity of Katori and the Great Deity Marishiten.
Herewith I solemnly swear and affix my blood seal to this oath to these Great Deities.
The Monjin's duty:
Once Keppan has been completed, the applicant becomes a Monjin and recognised as a member of the tradition; with the sacred oath serving, both to teach and to remind the Monjin of the correct approach, both toward the tradition and the learning process.
Students (Monjin) are taught kata (pre-arranged routines) that are studied and practiced together with more senior practitioners under the supervision of their teacher.
Training consists of the practice of prearranged forms that contain the art’s quintessence, and enables students to gradually acquire the art’s technical, theoretical and philosophical approach.
The first kata learned are omote no tachi (swordsmanship: 4 kata), omote iaijutsu (sword drawing: 6 kata), tachiai battōjutsu (standing sword drawing: 5 kata), omote no bōjutsu (staff techniques: 6 kata), and omote no naginata (halberd techniques: 4 kata).
Students practice these kata in earnest over many months and years, and are eventually introduced to a wider range of instruction.
There are no Kyu/Dan ranks, coloured belts or promotional gradings, these being late 19th Century inventions.
Practitioners (Monjin) may however be awarded scrolls (Mokuroku, Menkyo, and Gokui Kaiden) in line with their development.
Only Shidōsha (authorised teachers) may lead training.
If you are not based in the United Kingdom and would like to inquire about beginning training in the tradition, please visit the Shinbukan Dōjō website, using this link: