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Ryu (school)

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Please note: This article is about the Rokugani word that means "school". For other uses of the term, please see Ryu (disambiguation).

Ryu was the Rokugani word for "school". It was where bushi, courtiers, monks and shugenja learned the techniques that they used through their lives to serve their lords. Members of the samurai class often joined a school after their gempukku. Schools were taught in dojo. [1] A "school" was a philosophy or style of combat, while a dojo was a physical place where that style was taught. [2]

Joining Schools Edit

Each clan had its own schools, and most samurai were expected to attend one of their clan's schools. Sometimes a samurai was allowed to attend the school of another clan, perhaps being sent to that clan as part of terms negotiated for treaties, perhaps the samurai had family from the other clan or it might be as a favor to the samurai or his family. A samurai was usually allowed to attend any school from his clan, regardless of what family he was from and what family taught the school he would attend. Should a samurai join another school while attending one, he would never be allowed to attend the first school again.[citation needed]

There were some exceptions, for example: females of the Utaku family might only join the Battle Maidens and samurai from the Moto family were prohibited from joining the Ide Emissary School. In addition, some schools only admited samurai from their own clan, such as the Battle Maidens.[citation needed]

Techniques Edit

Every school teached techniques. Bushi and courtier schools each had five techniques, which samurai learned as they gain more life experiences. Shugenja schools only had one technique, but it sometimes became more powerful as the shugenja grows. [1]

A technique confered special skills or abilities that were unavailable to untrained samurai. Example abilities from techniques were: the ability to attack swiftly, greater ease with stealth movements or greater diplomatic skills. [1]

Paths Edit

Certain special types of training, known as paths, were available to samurai from many sources. Some were available to students of certain schools who were allowed to continue with their original training once they learned the special technique offered by the path they studied. For instance, the Kitsuki Justicar path was available to members of the Kitsuki Magistrate school. Once a student had mastered the Justicar technique he was able to once again attend the Kitsuki Magistrate school, as this was viewed as an acceptable course of study by the Kitsuki sensei. [3]

Path techniques might come from former students of a school who were furthering their own training, or they might be offered by certain military units or other organizations that featured unique training. These units frequently took their members almost exclusively from a certain school and thus had arrangements for their members to return to their previous school. An example of this would be Tsuru's Legion, which trained its members from the Hida Bushi school. Legion members were free to continue their growth with the Hida Bushi. [3]

Normally a samurai or his sponsors must expended political capital to attend multiple schools, but some paths were arranged by multiple schools or even clans. An example of this was the Daidoji Iron Warrior military unit. This unit accepted members of the Daidoji Yojimbo school, the Kakita Dueling Academy and, formerly, the Daidoji Harriers. Upon mastering the Iron Warrior technique the bushi was free to return to join the Daidoji Yojimbo school if he came from another school or returned to it if he already was a member, joined or rejoined the Harriers if he was of the Daidoji family, or even attended the Hida War College due to the Daidoji's long alliance with the Crab Clan, without any negotiations or red tape. [3]

See also Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 88
  2. Way of the Samurai, p. 13
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Four Winds, p. 16

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