Goju Toshin Ryu Martial Arts

Goju Toshin Ryu

Goju Toshin Ryu is a modern system, incorporating sword techniques from Hanguk Haedong Kumdo (a historical fencing system in which I have daily trained for over 20 years), empty hand techniques primarily from the Goju Ryu ( a koryu in which I have daily trained for over 36 years), and energy building techniques (in which I have daily trained for over 36 years).  After twenty years of simultaneous training in all of the forms and realizing the benefits of the various trainings working together, I decided to form the Goju Toshin Ryu – The School of the Hard-Soft Sword-Mind/Heart/Intention in February 2014.  I did not do this to promote myself (there are no ranks in this system and we are all working together toward perfection of ourselves through the ryu), but to transmit in a systematic manner that which I had learned.  I did this with the utmost reverence and respect to my Masters in the arts in which I have primarily trained.  I wanted their teachings to be passed along to others, as I am only a conduit of their instruction. 

The philosophy of Go-Ju (Hard-Soft) and flow between the two is the unifying concept of the ryu.  The Bubishi states, “The Way is to breathe both hard and soft (Ho Goju Donto).”  This concept applies both with empty hand training and sword training.  The body must be appropriately hard and soft, depending on the circumstance.  Similarly, cutting must be done in a hard and soft manner, depending on the situation.  Also, the mind must flow in an appropriate manner to move the hand and wield the sword, hence To-Shin (Sword-Mind/Heart/Intention).  The sword (To) and mind (Shin) are one.  What is within the mind will be reflected in the sword.  The breathing determines hardness and softness in the body, in the mind, and in wielding the sword.  The concept is also a philosophy of life.  We come into the world inhaling, breathing soft, when we are born.  We leave the world exhaling, breathing hard, when we die.  All things are in the process of living and dying; of breathing hard and soft.  This is a concept to be carefully studied and is similar to the concept of in-yo (yin-yang), which is also a method of heiho (strategy).  The art of the sword is the art of strategy; of breathing hard and soft, of cutting hard and soft, of thinking hard and soft, at the appropriate time and moving between the two states with flow. 

All of the forms in the system are meant to be representative.  The goal of the forms is to be able to move in a natural, spontaneous manner in any direction.  They are meant to teach appropriate technique and body movement while going through possible scenarios.  Through rigorous training, the body and mind become one and are able to flow harmoniously.  To facilitate this union of body and mind, we train out doors in the elements.  Sometimes it is hard.  Sometimes it is easy.  We train ourselves to master wood and fire and earth and metal and water.  The thinking that governs this sort of training is this:  If we can’t master the elements, then we can’t master our bodies.  If we can’t master our bodies, then we can’t master our minds.  If we can’t master our minds, then we can’t master the sword.  Master the elements, master the body, master the mind, and master the sword. 

Things to Know and Remember

Progression through the ryu requires proficiency in and integration of all aspects of the ryu.

There are no ranks within the ryu.  Completion of all requirements in the ryu, and proper mental and spiritual bearing, will be acknowledged with a menkyo (certificate of proficiency).  This will be awarded at the sole discretion of the Chief Instructor of the Goju Toshin Ryu.

A kekogi/dobok will be worn at all trainings, unless otherwise instructed.

The students will obtain at their own expense, all weapons and materials required for instruction.

A breach of reishiki may result in immediate expulsion from the ryu.  Training in Goju Toshin Ryu is allowed at the sole discretion of the Chief Instructor of the ryu.  The privilege may be revoked at any time. 

To be accepted into the ryu, perspective students must interview with the Chief Instructor, be granted permission to train, and sign the keppan of the Goju Toshin Ryu.  

Tuition for instruction will be promptly paid the beginning of each specified period.  Failure to promptly pay tuition is considered a breach of reishiki.

Levels of Training

MOKUROKU – To receive menkyo, all requirements must be satisfactorily completed and the student must have the approval of the Chief Instructor.  Other requirements may be required, based on the discretion of the Chief Instructor.

            Empty Hand Kata

                        Goju Toshin Ryu #1-#5

                        Taikyoku Jodan                                  

                        Taikyoku Chudan                               

                        Taikyoku Gedan                                 

                        Gekesai #1                                         

                        Gekesai #2







            Kumdo (Kenjutsu) Pumsae

                        Ssangsu Kumbup #1-#12

                        Shimsang Kumbup #1-#4

            Paldo/Ch’akgum (Iaido) Pumsae

                         Set I - #1-#20

Shugyo I (after all other requirements are completed) – The requirements for the shugyo will be determined by the Chief Instructor.


            Empty Hand Kata





            Kumdo (Kenjutsu) Pumsae

                        Yedo Kumbup #1-#5

                        Hwando Kyukgum #1-#7

            Paldo/Ch’akgum (Iaido) Pumsae

                         Set II - #1-#13

Shugyo II (after all other requirements are completed) – The requirements for the shugyo will be determined by the Chief Instructor.


            Empty Hand Kata

                        Taikyoku Maewashi-uke                    

                         Taikyoku Kake-uke



            Kumdo (Kenjutsu) Pumsae

                        Yedo Kumbup #6-#9

            Paldo/Ch’akgum (Iaido) Pumsae

                         Set III - #1-#9

Shugyo III (after all other requirements are completed) – The requirements for the shugyo will be determined by the Chief Instructor.

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