Ryushin Shouchi Ryu Iaijutsu (柳 心 照 智 流) is a school of Japanese swordsmanship, a kobudo (ancient martial art) focused on Iaijutsu (quick-draw sword art) founded by Kawabata Terutaka in 2006. The origins of Ryushin Shouchi Ryu can be traced to Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu, which was founded around the Eiroku era (1558 – 1570) as a branch tradition of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu.
The curriculum of Ryushin Shouchi Ryu comprises over 60 Iai kata (型 or 形 literally: “form”/”pattern”) and dynamic Iai kumitachi (組太刀)(meaning “crossing/meeting of swords”).
North Vancouver Aikikai is the regional HQ for Ryushin Shouchi Ryu Canada – we are affiliated with RSR International and current Soke (headmaster) of the Ryushin Shouchi Ryu, Yahagi Kunikazu Sensei: ryushinshouchiryu.com
This style of Iaijutsu is not well known in North America with only a handful of dojos primarily on the East Coast including New York/New Jersey/Connecticut plus Miami, FL and a few newer, smaller dojos on the West Coast including Vancouver BC, Portland OR and Santa Cruz CA. We are all connected via Yahagi Sensei and the RSR International organization which is just coming together. There is a number of very well developed RSR Iaijutsu dojos across Europe including France, Italy, Spain, Austria and the Netherlands and Russia will have recognized dojos in the future.
As with any traditional Budo there has to be direct transmission for RSR to be spread and that is how it comes to be at North Vancouver Aikikai. Our mentor and technical advisor Malcolm “Tiki” Shewan (scroll to the end for the english version) is an Aikido sempai and has been instrumental in the dissemination of Ryushin Shouchi Ryu in Europe and in Western Canada.
I had met Tiki Sensei in the mid 1990’s at the big summer stage in Britagne in western France every July. I attended that summer camp and stayed with Yamada and Kanai Sensei’s in the stone cottage in Lesneven where the summer camp has been happening for 38 years. Tiki Sensei wandered into my dojo in North Vancouver a few years ago after Yamada Sensei told him to come see me whenever he visits his girl friend Nicole, who lives on Bowen Island in West Vancouver. Since that time, Tiki Sensei comes to the dojo regulary when he is in town to give private lessons to myself and RSR Canada Co-Director Jobe Groot from Mountain Coast Aikikai, the other RSR dojo in the lower mainland of BC.
One of the reasons we like RSR so much is that it has so much in common with Aikido, both the Taisabaki (foot/body movement) and also the Budo aspect of the practice. It is a wonderful solo practice but there is also two person encounters as per Aikido kumi-tachi. Most of the RSR practitioners in Europe also practice either Aikido or Karate or some other form of Iaido such as Muso Shinden Ryu.