About Tendo Ryu
Tendo Ryu was founded by Saito Denkibo more than 500 years ago, as Ten Ryu. The headmaster Mitamura Takeko-sensei died a few years ago, who was the 16th headmaster. Tendo ryu originated from Tenshin-shoden Katori Shinto Ryu which has a history of more than 600 years. Tendo Ryu is now famous for its naginata (polearm) techniques, but like many other ancient Japanese martial art schools it has other weapons, including sword, staff, short sword and kusarigama (chain and sickle).
Throughout the age of the provincial wars in Japan (roughly from 1467 to 1615), the naginata was used by warriors mainly to attack enemies on horses, i.e. to cut horses’ legs to cripple the animals and force the riders to fight on the ground on even terms with the infantry. During the more or less peaceful Edo period, women had naginata in their houses for self-defense purposes, although it was rarely used. In modern times, people seem to like this notion of the naginata being a ‘woman’s weapon’, but it was originally used by men in the battlefield.
Martial arts (bujutsu) which have been handed down since ancient times are components of cultural heritage not only for Japan but for the world. Bujutsu has survived several hundred years because it has some universality, which also applies to us living in the modern world.