In Japanese, kobudō 古武道 and ko-ryū 古流 are normally treated as synonyms (for example, All Japan Kendo Federation,). In English, the International Hoplology Society makes a distinction between kobudō and ko-ryū concerned the origin and the difference between the ranking of priorities concerning combat, morals, discipline and/or aesthetic form.
This term literally translates as "oldschool" (ko—old, ryū—school) or "traditional school". Koryū is also a general term for Japanese schools of martial arts that predate the Meiji Restoration (1868) which sparked major socio-political changes and led to the modernization of Japan.
The system of koryū is considered in following priorities order: 1) combat, 2) discipline 3) morals.
Kobudō(古武道,kobudō?) is a Japanese term for a system that can be translated as 古(old) 武(martial) 道(way) "old martial art"; the term appeared in the first half of the seventeenth century. Kobudō marks the beginning of the Tokugawa period (1603-1868) also called the Edo period, when the total power was consolidated by the ruling Tokugawa clan.
The system of kobudō is considered in following priorities order: 1) morals, 2) discipline 3) aesthetic form.
Kobudō can also be used to refer to Okinawan kobudō where it describes collectively all Okinawan combative systems. These are entirely different and basically unrelated systems. The use of the term kobudō should not be limited, as it popularly is, to the describing of the ancient weapons systems of Okinawa.
Examples of skills taught in koryū or kobudō