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Koryu Karate: The striking schools of the Tiger

Karate today is known around the world as a martial art of striking and kicking and the truth is that what is often taught within the various schools around the world is actually a very modern form of Karate. However karate itself has very old origins (Koryu) going back to at least the 7th century AD and is where all modern forms of Karate evolved.

In our school we teach two very old forms of Karate. The first of these is Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu. Gyokko Ryu literally means Jade Tiger. Another name for this school is Tama Tora Ryu or Divine Tiger School.

During the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 907 AD),  Yo Gyokko  left warring China and arrived in Japan, bringing  the foundation upon which the Gyokko Ryu would later be based. Some say that the original techniques from the school were created by a princess

gyokko ryu
gyokko ryu

in the Chinese Imperial Court who used quick body movements to attack specific targets on the body. This School (Ryu) consists of four levels of training...

Kihon: The basics of the school, including kicks, throws, arm locks, and escapes, 

Joryryaku (Upper Scroll) teaches defences against kicks, punches and grabs etc

Churyaku (Middle Scroll) teaches defences against knife attacks


Geryaku (Lower Scroll) teaches defences against swords and other bladed weapons.

The Second school of Karate we teach is Koto Ryu Koppojutsu

The Koto Ryu or "Tiger Knock Down School" is based on koppojutsu (bone breaking) techniques and is said to have arrived in Japan from India via China and brought by Chan Busho. The Koto Ryu uses very linear movements and is known for defending against surprise attacks with very quick movements to defeat an attacker. 


The Koto Ryu concentrates more on striking, and the Gyokko Ryu more on locks and throws. If both schools are studied completely, the student will know all forms of fighting, including many forms of striking, throws, and locks. Both schools compliment each other and to study only one is to know only half of one of the two schools.

In ancient times it was said that if one mastered both the Gyokko and Koto Schools of Combat one was surely a master of the martial arts.

Karate Northampton
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