Kage Ryu is the art of the Japanese long-sword. 



(from Colin Hyakutake-Watkin sensei)

Kage-ryu was and is still to this day otome-ryu, literally "that which flows but remains at home," a term used to refer to schools that were officially associated with a particular domain or fief.

Another term used to describe such a school is mongai-fushutsu, which means "not to be shown outside." One may think it rather sad that entry into the ryu-ha and its teachings are restricted, but it is this restriction that has allowed the tradition to remain unchanged whilst other long-sword styles have long since disappeared or have been changed by succeeding practitioners to the extent that they no longer resemble their original form.

Kage Ryu waza can be practiced solo or with a partner (for training purposes).


Kage Ryu was founded by Yamamoto Hisaya Masakatsu of Akizuki Han around 1550.

Yamamoto was a retainer of the Tachibana clan. The Tachibana clan served Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Kage Ryu being one of the Tachibana family traditions that has been retained to this day. 


Only a handful of people practicing this particular ryu-ha as it is described in the scrolls and manuscripts. They are located in Japan, Canada, and the United States.

Ranks & Grading

Unlike Iaido or Jodo, there is no grading in Kage Ryu. Instead, the traditional makimono (scroll) licensing system is used.

Each makimono refers to a set of techniques. Once mastered, the student receives a makimono of the techniques, in addition to a proclamation that the student has mastered the techniques within. Only then does he (or she) learn the next set.

These teachings, practices and traditions include the verbal teachings that have been handed down throughout the generations since the days of the warring states era.


The Kage Ryu pledges allegiance to the present 17th generation head of the Tachibana family. 

For more information, please read Watkin sensei's article, Kage Ryu.

Kage Ryu Clothing & Equipment

Kage Ryu practitioners train with a choken (long wooden training sword). The minimum length for blades used in the Kage Ryu is two shaku eight sun (84.8 cm), 

The standard uniform consists of a gi, hakama and obi. Loose fitting exercise clothing is permissible for beginners.