In the world of Japanese martial arts, we can generally classify the various arts into two groups. Koryū (古流) martial arts are traditional arts that existed before the Meiji restoration (around 1868). Some date the Koryu period to 1876 when an official edict banning the wearing of swords was enacted. Gendai Budo (現代武道) refers to modern martial arts. The shift from Koryu to Gendai styles could arguably reflect a move away from the more combative arts towards styles that are geared for self-defense or spiritual development.

Amongst both koryu and gendai arts, there are many ryu-ha or schools. For example: karate-do is a gendai style, of which there are many different ryu. Confusing things is that some styles of martial arts, such as jujutsu, will have schools which are koryu and some which are gendai. Clearly, some styles, such as Aikido, are purely gendai as the founder lived after the Meiji restoration.

The following, taken partially from Wikipedia, is not meant to be exhaustive, since thousands of schools of Japanese martial arts exist and have existed. This list encompasses some of the major styles, and can act as a jumping off point for further research.

* Aikido (合気道/合氣道)
* Battojutsu (抜刀術)
* Bōjutsu (棒術)
* Bujinkan (武神館)
* Daito-ryū aiki-jujutsu (大東流合気柔術/大東流合氣柔術)
* Dakentaijutsu
* Genbukan
* Goshin Jujitsu (護身柔術)
* Hakkō-ryū (八光流)
* Iaido(居合道、居合術 Iaijutsu)
* Japanese kickboxing
* Jinenkan
* Jodo (杖道)
* Judo (柔道)
* Jujutsu (柔術、Jiujitsu, Jujitsu)
* Jūkendō (銃剣道?)
* Juttejutsu (十手術?)
Japanese Karate Styles (空手)
* Ashihara kaikan (芦原会館)
* Budōkan (武道館)
* Gensei-ryū (玄制流)
* Genwakai (玄和会)
* Enshin kaikan (円心会館)
* Kimi Shin Ryu
* Kokondo (古今道 空手)
* Kyokushin kaikan (極新会館)
* Ninjutsu
* Nanbudo
* Seido juku (誠道塾)
* Seidokaikan (正道会館)
* Shooto (修斗)
* Shōtōkan-ryū (松濤館流)
* Shōtōkai (松濤會)
* Yoseikan-ryū (養正館流)
* Shindō jinen-ryū (神道自然流)
* Shidokan (士道館)
* Shitō-ryū (糸東流)
* Shūkōkai (修交会)
* Seishinkai (聖心会)
* Hayashi-ha karate
* Shūdōkan (修道館)
* Shuri-ryū (首里流)
* Takeda Ryu Nakamura Ha
* Wado-ryū (和道流)
o Yōshūkai (養秀会)
* Yoseikan Budo
* Kokondo
* Kendo (剣道)
* Kenjutsu (剣術)
* Kita Matsu Ryu
* Kenpo (拳法)
* Kenpo kai (拳法會)
* Kyūdō (弓道)
* Sumo
* Shooto
* Taido
* Taijutsu
* Taikiken
* Toyama-ryū

Take jujutsu, for example. At one point in Japanese history over 1000 various family styles existed.

Free Newsletter Signup

sign up for our newsletter
* indicates required