The Samurai of Muso Shugyo Ryu

The UK's only Sengoku Samurai Dojo

Samurai of Muso Shugyo Ryu

Muso Shugyo is a unique Martial Arts and living history school based in Harlow, Essex in the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1994 by Mike Graham, the school studies the Samurai arts from the 1400’s through to modern day styles.

Mike who first began training in Australia in 1973 has studied the Samurai and their arts, fighting skills and history for the last 41 years.

‘I first found these arts after visiting a ninjutsu school in Japan while on leave from the army and found my passion for things Japanese. I have never separated the ninjutsu styles from the Samurai as most Ninja (Shinobi) fought alongside the samurai and were often Samurai themselves. Over the years I have studied and trained with many styles as part of my growth as a human being’

The Muso Shugyo school was founded to allow the continuation of the Japanese arts to grow further in the UK and to share the knowledge that the arts can bring.

The name of the school is from the Pilgrimage (Muso Shugyo) many Samurai took in their lives. The idea was for them to travel Japan and learn new styles, challenge themselves as well as find enlightenment and wisdom. All the better to make them employable and wise in their advice to the lords.

Muso Shugyo Ryu study nine different sword styles, from the battlefield techniques of the warring periods to the modern Iai-jutsu and includes all types of katana that may have been used.

But the sword was only a small part of the Samurai skill requirements. The Spear (Yari), Naginata (pole arm) and Bow (Kyudo) along with unarmed combat both in armour are studied as well, name just a few of the weapons that need to be mastered.

Strategy and tactics are also a big part of the syllabus and the principles can be used in all of modern day life.

Growing as a human being is a big part of the objective of the school. From younger members straining to deal with school issues and exams to retirees who want to do something completely different with their lives. One of our recent Ni-Dan took up training 6 years ago when she retired at 65 and has gone from strength to strength in her greyer years.

Understanding is a key part of training and to truly know what you are doing and why is just as important as the technique itself. The history also allows you to understand where it came from and is studied intensively.

Mike has trained many established Japanese martial artists over the years, with many making the trip to the UK to continue their studies along with working closely with the film and movie industry to help prepare actors for the role of Samurai. Not just the fighting, but how to dress, act and behave like a Samurai The school has many actors that attend regularly to increase the chances of getting parts. The Samurai way of training to be employable is still alive today then.

Mike also sells Japanese Samurai Armour, and supplies Armour, costume and weaponry to the film industry along with advising for fight choreography and scene setting.

Muso Shugyo are also involved with events throughout Britain, giving talks and demonstrations to schools, museums and other martial arts groups.

Mike can be contacted at:

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And don’t forget to check out photos on FacebookMuso Shugyo Ryu