Welcome to the website © of Araki-ryu torite-kogusoku, the line under the direction of Ellis Amdur.
Araki-ryu is believed to have been founded by Araki Muninsai ( or Mujinsai) Minamoto no Hidetsuna (荒木夢仁斎源秀縄) in the last years of the Warring States era in Japan. The ryu was quite widespread at one time, well-known for its rough-hewn techniques, the provenance of ordinary foot-soldiers and at a later period of history, low ranking samurai/farmers.
Taken in ultra slow motion to show the effect of the naginata swung at full power with proper body mechanics. Video by Nathan Pegram. High speed camera courtesy of Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. Naginata: Aaron Fields, Tachi: Ellis Amdur
Each faction of Araki-ryu created different weapons kata, influenced by other ryu in the same locale, and also adapting to local conditions in strictly utilitarian fashion. In some areas, there were two or more factions within the same town. What unified Araki-ryu was not a familial headmaster- it was a core body of techniques using weapons at close range. Araki-ryu is, in essence, grappling with weapons.
This website will outline the history of the ryu, as well as introducing the Araki-ryu of our particular faction as it is now practiced in the Pacific Northwest of America, Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece and The Hague in the Netherlands.
Ellis Amdur's line of Araki-ryu Torite Kogusoku is the product of almost half a century of study. His instructor - who previously had substantial experience in judo, kick boxing, Shorinji Kenpo and other martial arts - studied with the seven surviving shihan of Isezaki Araki-ryu. These seven men, although very collegial, practiced several related, but distinct lines of the ryu. After receiving the highest level license - zekkoku menkyo - Amdur's instructor sought out other surviving factions of the ryu, as well as teachers of several lines of Araki Shin-ryu, learning from them as well: not to receive further certification, but rather, to flesh out his knowledge of this old school.
Within the confines of his own dojo, he led his students through rigorous pressure testing, examining the kata to ascertain if they truly would teach a fighter to function at optimum capability using the core principles of the ryu. Kata were scrapped, carved up or reworked - paring and reshaping unnecessary, inefficient or flashy moves in an attempt to return to a ferocious, raw way of exerting martial skill.
After returning to America, Amdur has continued in the same vein. He has cross-trained in a number of different martial arts, and has been fortunate to have students who are high level practitioners of other arts willing to work with him to further pressure test and hone the curriculum. Amdur's school and its subsidiary dojos is independent of any other Araki-ryu organization.