Yamauchi School (山内流)

Yamauchi school (also read Yamanouchi school) is a style of Japanese Martial Arts Swimming maintained in Usuki City, Oita Prefecture. It is also called Usuki Yamauchi school. It is one of the twelve styles that participate in Japanese Martial Arts Swimming Championship sponsored by Japan Swimming Federation. It is also designated as an intangible cultural properties of Oita Prefecture, since March 22, 1966.


Swimming practice has been popular since old days in the Usuki Domain, facing Bungo Suido (the channel between Kyushu and Shikoku Islands), and it is believed that swimming practice has already started during the reign of Yoshiaki OTOMO. However in 1822 (the late Edo period) Seiki INAGAWA, a feudal retainer of the Usuki clan, was instructed in the new style of swimming from Kyuma Katsushige YAMAUCHI, a feudal retainer of the Iyo-Matsuyama clan, Iyo Province, who studied Shinden school. The style of swimming was named Yamauchi school and later became a notable swimming style in the Usuki Domain.

Basics of Yamauchi school swimming are swimming oblique side and treading water. Swimming oblique side is a swimming style suited for long-distance swimming. Swimming oblique side swims with head facing forward and body facing obliquely, stroke is taguri-te and leg movement is sansetsu aoriashi. Treading water swims with tsugi aoriashi, and is famous with exquisite skills such as waving large flag, drawing a bow and performing calligraphy while treading water only with leg. These were originally a martial art to fight while swimming in the water.

Presently, swimming spot is opened annually on Nakatsuura Keireigahama for 20 days from July 21. Techniques are taught to children in local neighborhood and there is a display of swimming on August 10, the last day of the event. Also swimming in winter takes place in the same location in January every year.