Kobudo, or classical martial arts, is a collective term used to refer to traditional Japanese techniques for combat, including the use of armor, blades, firearms, and horse riding. It is sometimes called koryu-bujutsu (old-school martial arts) or kobujutsu (old martial arts), while the broader term koryu (old school) is also used to describe these ancient arts. These martial arts were established before the Meiji Restoration (1868), before Japan modernized, and were systematized into various schools since the fourteenth century.
In contrast to modern martial arts like judo and kendo, which are designed to develop human skills and focus on sports-related competitions and technical systems, classical martial arts were generally more esoteric in nature. Dangerous techniques that are excluded from modern budo, such as various hidden weapons, medicinal methods, and magic, were also present in various kobudo schools. Kobudo schools offer insight into ancient combat techniques and a unique perspective on the intersection of martial arts and spirituality.