Ka shima Shin den Jiki shin kage-ryu (鹿島神傳直心影流), also known in short as Jiki shin kage-ryu (直心影流),is a koryu kenjutsu style first developed in the late Sengoku period in Japan.
It remains as one of the Japanese ancient martial arts styles that are still practiced to this day.
Loose translation of the name Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu is:

  • Kashima = place in Japan where shrine is
  • Shinden = handed down by the gods
  • Jikishinkage = from the shadow of the heart
  • ryu = school


The Jikishinkage-ryu style decends from the kenjutsu styles developed in the late Muromachi period which overlaps the early Sengoku period, or better dated as late fifteenth or early sixteenth century, at the Kashima Shrine by the founder Matsumoto Bizen-no-Kami Naokatsu (松本備前守尚勝, 1467-1524). The direct antecessors of the Jikishinkage-ryu style are the Shinkage-ryu (新影流) and the Kage-ryu styles.
The Jikishin Kage-ryu Kenjutsu comes from a previous school, Kage-ryu Kenjutsu. A samurai called Aizu Iko founded Kage-ryu in 1490 (the school of shadow). He perfected, and tought his style around Japan. There are evidences from 1525, that another samurai, Kumizume Ise no Kami Nobutsuno (1508-1548) is teaching his own style, a form of Kage-ryu kenjutsu. He called it Shinkage-ryu (the school of the new shadow). Jikishin Kage-ryu means 'the newest school of the ancient shadow'. He was denoting with the name, to the ancestors, and expressing respect to his former masters. Matsumoto Bizen no Kami Naukatsu was a famuos master of this school, he also founded his own school firs called Kashima Shinryu, then Kashima Shinden Jiki Shinkage-ryu. These schools can be found even today all around the world. There are more variations like Jikishin Kage-ryu, Seito Shinkage-ryu, etc.
The 14th grandmaster of Jikishin Kage-ryu Kenjutsu was a famous swordsman of his time Kenkichi Sakakabira, the personal bodyguard of the Shogun. His two most talented adepts were Yamada Jirokichi and Matsudaira Konen, who both studied the more traditional ways of Jikishin Kage-ryu. The best apprentice of Konen was Makita Shigekatsu, a young man from a samurai family from Hokkaido. His name, and Jikishin Kage-ryu became famous on the northern island in the times of the Japanese civil war in 1868. By swordfighting, he was an expert of kyudo, Japanese archery. He was the heir of the title of grandmaster of Jikishin Kage-ryu, but unfortunately he was fighting a losing battle against the Emperor in the revolution. The cast of the samurai was disbanded, and he had to run. Later, he returned to Hokkaido, and opened his own dojo, called Jikishin Kan Dojo. He was teaching various martial arts, not just kenjutsu. His dojo was popular, in spite of the prohibition of katanas in 1876.
After Shigekatsu's death, the village of Atsuta raised a black granite obelisk in his memory. This memorial can be seen today. The family tradition has been taken by his grandson, Kimiyoshi Suzuki. Kimiyoshi sensei is also a master of Goju-ryu Karate and Jikishin Kage-ryu Kenjutsu.


The Jikishinkage-ryu style has many differences when compared to modern kendo. We can readily point out the different footwork and kiai:

  • The un po (運法) is the footwork used in the Jikishinkage-ryu style. Unlike the suriashi of modern kendo, it is stressed that both feet stay firmly planted on the ground at all times.
  • The ki_ai (気合) consists not only of the shouting, like most martial arts, but of the proper way of inhaling and state of mind as well.
  • The kami han en (上半円) and shimo han en (下半円) (upper semicircle and lower semicircle, respectively) are unconventional waza of this style. Roughtly , the swordsman draws a semicircle (upwards or downwards) with both his left hand (holding the sword), and his right hand (free). He finishes the movement with his arms extended, the sword pointing upwards, and the free hand's index finger pointing downwards. These movements can be considered as a "greeting" and a form of meditation, and are usually executed in the beginning and end of a kata or suburi session. They represent all the things in heaven and all the things in earth, and the practitioner in the center of everything.

Jikishinkage-ryu exponents train with both odachi and kodachi  (but not both at once).


Kenjutsu was practised in a thick kimono (keikogi) in the old times. It was needed for protection, though it was still not enough sometimes. Practises are far less dangerous nowadays, the standard clothes in kenjutsu are normal budo (karate) gi and trousers. Beginners wear white belt, intermediates wear blue and brown belts, and those who successfully completed their exam for 1st dan can wear black belt with hakama. To prevent tredding on the hakama when moving in a low position, the hakama is raised a bit by folding the left and right outside front pleats up under the obi before training commences. For outisde practice Japanese working boots are worn.

Belts, ranks

"There wasn't anything like exams or ranks in the early Japan. When the master found his apprentice ready, he orderd him to show his knowledge. There were four levels in Jikishin Kage-ryu. The reiken, the normal trainee level, the mokuroku and the kirkgami, the advanced level, and the highest menkyo kaiden, was the masters' level, and gave the owner the right to start teaching. The diplomas were hand-written, and contained every technique the examinee showed before the master. If the exam was successful, the new master could wear the hakama. This represented todays black belt. These thigs have changed nowadays, we use the same kyu-dan method as in most of the martial arts." (Kimiyoshi Suzuki)

  • 3rd KYU - WHITE BELT
  • 2nd KYU - BLUE BELT
  • 1st KYU - BROWN BELT (Reiken)
  • 1st DAN - BLACK BELT (Kirigami)
  • 2nd DAN - BLACK BELT (Mokuroku)
  • 3rd DAN - BLACK BELT (Menkyo)
  • ETC.

The highest rank disciples of Kimiyoshi Suzuki sensei are 2nd dan black belts. The exams for belts are held once in a year, in the summer training camp. Hakama can only be worn by those, who successfully completed their 1st dan exam. A person can take only one exam in a year.


  • Classical Jikishin Kage-ryu Katas (all ryuha):
    • Hojo
    • Tono (=Fukuro Shinai)
    • Kodachi
    • Habiki
    • Marubashi

This fifth kata used to be a secret kata. It is not clear when the secrecy was lifted but the kata is, like the other five, described with text and photographs in the book of Yamada Jirokichi that was publised in the early twentiest century (1927).


hojoThe ho_jo kata is the first classic kata of the Jikishinkage-ryu style. Both the shidachi and the uchidachi usually use wooden swords (bokken), although real swords (shin ken) can be used as well.
The hojo kata is composed of 4 Seasons, namely Spring (haru no tachi), Summer (natsu no tachi), Autumn (aki no tachi) and Winter (fuyu no tachi) in order of execution. Each season containing from 6-8 waza (movement). Before each season is executed the Kami-han-en, and after each season, the Shimo-han-en.

The themes of the four seasons refer to a universal principle which also expresses itself in other manifestations. Some of these are listed in the table below.

Each season has a respective pace, reminiscent of the perceived characteristicts of that season. Thus, the waza of the Spring season are executed in a smooth and fast manner, accompained by loud kiais. Summer's movements are explosive and intense. Autumn has a varied pace, symbolizing change. Finally, Winter movements are slow, but firm. This is even more accentuated on the footwork of each season.

The postures, expressions of the movements and the corect breathing are very important in the Hojo kata, and are extremly helpful for the aikidokas.

    • 1st: Ipponme - SPRING (Haru no Tachi): Hasso Happa
    • 2nd: Nihonme - SUMMER (Natsu no Tachi): Itto Ryodan
    • 3rd: Sanbonme - AUTUMN (Aki no Tachi): Uten Saten
    • 4th: Yonhonme - WINTER (Fuyu no Tachi): Chotan Ichimi





















old age

(taken from the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia)