Kashima-Shinryū is a traditional Japanese martial art (koryū) that was established five centuries ago and developed as a pedagogical system for a professional warrior in feudal times.  A novice studies first basic swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and unarmed fighting (jūjutsu), which constitute the foundation upon which all advanced Kashima-Shinryū is based. After learning the fundamentals of the art, the study expands to cover the main fighting tools of the medieval bushi, such as dagger, short sword, various pole weapons, various throwing weapons and the spear.

While the external appearance of Kashima-Shinryū with different weapons varies, all rely on the shared core principles internalized earlier with the sword and the unarmed techniques, with the different facets of the tightly integrated system re-enforcing the learning of the whole. (This concept is usually called holistic or composite martial art (Sogo Bujutsu).