Ono-ha Itto-ryu is recognized as the oldest of many kenjutsu schools that developed from the original teachings of Ito Ittosai Kagehisa, the founder of Itto-ryu. Itto-ryu has its roots in Chujo-ryu, which is one of the three primordial sword traditions of medieval Japan. As such, Itto-ryu is one of the most influential martial arts in Japan’s history. The Ono faction of Itto-ryu (Ono-ha), was named after Ono Jiroemon Tadaaki (1565–1628), Ittosai’s designated successor and a renowned swordsman in his own right who was selected to be an instructor to both the second and third Tokugawa shogun.
Though migrating from Tokyo to Hirosaki in northern Japan and then back to Tokyo, the art has been passed on through successive generations to the present day in an unbroken lineage. The headquarters of Ono-ha Itto-ryu is the Reigakudo dojo in Tokyo, Japan—Yabuki Yuji is the 18th and current Soke (headmaster) of the ryu and the third head of the Reigakudo.
A video of Yabuki Soke demonstrating the first five techniques in the art can be viewed here. Note that there are several videos in this series, as well as multiple videos of formal demonstrations by members of the Reigakudo.
Our Ono-ha Itto-ryu study group is authorized under the auspices of the Reigakudo, and our classes are led regularly by the most highly-ranked practitioner of mainline Ono-ha Itto-ryu outside of Japan. As a member of our dojo you will have increasing opportunities to train with the Soke and senior-most instructors of the ryu, in Japan or here during anticipated seminar tours.
A distinct characteristic of Ono-ha Itto-ryu is the use of onigote, the heavy gauntlets that can safely absorb full-power strikes of a bokken, the wooden swords used in kumitachi (paired, combative forms). The onigote allow students to practice safely at full speed and full power, helping to develop a realistic sense of speed, distance, timing, and power generation against a live opponent. We have multiple pairs of onigote available for students to use in their regular practice.
If you are seeking the depth and sophistication of classical weapons arts, are ready to pursue precise, demanding, and intellectually challenging training, and would like to play a significant, personal role in furthering the practice here of the foremost school of Japanese swordsmanship in the world, we invite you to join the men and women of our study group.
Ono-ha Itto-ryu classes are held Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. Persons applying to train in Ono-ha Itto-ryu must be aged 14 years or older. The required uniform and equipment can be ordered online or obtained through the dojo.
Call or email today for an appointment and come see for yourself — visitors are always welcome!