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Gikan Ryu

History of Gikan Ryu

Gikan Ryu was founded by Uryu Gikanbo, who was the Daimyo of Kawachi no Kuni (Kawachi province). He lived in the family castle called Uryujo. It is said that Uryu Gikanbo’s punch was so powerful that he once broke a sword blade in half. He was also a master of Hichojutsu, and Senban Nage.

Gikan ryu contains many special kicks, punches, and throws and its dynamic footwork is used widely within the Bujinkan system. Unfortunately little of the actual techniques have been taught in the west and so little is known. People think that many of the Gikan ryu kamae are off balance because they need extensive practice before they start to “feel” right.

One of the special teachings of the ryu is Bufu ni sente nashi (from this side there is not the first strike) which tells us that this was a defensive, not offensive art.

The 5 Levels of Training in the GIKAN RYU are:

  1. Shoden Gata
  2. Chuden Gata
  3. Okuden Gata
  4. Kaiden Gata
  5. Menkyo Kaiden

The Makimono scrolls of Gikan Ryu have sections on the kata names, history, secret striking points (kyusho), and strategies used by the ryu, but research revealed that the makimono, when referring to techniques, only mention the names, and do not contain the step by step instructions as do some makimono. This was done in order to keep the teachings of the school secret in case the scrolls were stolen. From what we understand there are no densho in the Gikan Ryu. The whole range of kata for the ryu was taught orally.