The founder of the Koga-Ryu style was Master Ashikaga (Koga) Tomonori, who lived in the Tokugawa era. Books and documents (Torimaki) related to the heritage, arts and techniques of Koga-Ryu were considered secret family treasures; and it was required of each generation of the Koga Clan to preserve them. Disclosure of the secrets to unauthorized persons meant death at the hands of another member of the same clan. The Koga-Ryu Weaponry Techniques and Kata were strictly kept secret and passed on from father to son, even then with the utmost discretion.
Many of the weapons used in Koga-Ryu Kobudo were originally farm, fishing and household tools that were modified or adapted into a particular system for combat. As swords were taken away from the people of Japan to suppress them into compliance with the government the various clans of the regions began to search for new ways to protect themselves and their livelihood. The techniques of combat with which the Koga-Ryu clan members had to master included many traditional martial arts and weapons of the country. Learning just one art or weapon would not suffice as the clan had to be prepared in any given situation for combat.
Soke Joseph Ruiz learned his Koga-Ryu Kobudo style through previous masters, Kiyoshi Aihara and Kanki Izumikawa while training in Hawaii and Japan. Soke Ruiz was the Kobudo Director in the NKJU – National Karate Jiu Jitsu Union between the years 1974-1985 and spread the knowledge to all active practitioners during camps, seminars and weekly training classes in the dojo. When he later founded the IKKU – International Karate Kobudo Union in 1986 he continued to share his knowledge through to the current date. Soke Ruiz is considered to be the foremost expert on Koga-Ryu Kobudo in the United States.
Koga traditional martial arts and weapons:
Archery Kama Jitsu Nunchaku Jitsu
Spearmanship Sai Jitsu Manriken Kusari
Swordsmanship Manji Jitsu Iaido Jitsu (Kotori, Omari Ryu)
Kusari Gama Jitsu Bo Jitsu Iaijitsu
Shrunken Jitsu Tonfa Jitsu Blow Guns
The IKKU primarily focuses on the following Weapons of Koga-Ryu: