Unlike modern budo that specialize in one specific field, such as kendo, judo, or iaido, our traditional kenjutsu, sword techniques, involves a comprehensive study of a broad range of martial arts. The content of this study can rightly be called bugei juhappan eighteen categories of martial arts, a complete study of the martial arts. While today arts such as suiren swimming , hojutsu gunnery , and kyusutsu archery are no longer extant within the tradition, the syllabus of Katori Shinto Ryu is comprehensive, and even includes an understanding of ninjutsu espionage and noroshi use of fires for signalling , transmitted through oral instruction. For more information about the curriculum please visit the official website of the ryu. Nobutoshi sensei iaijutsu. Katori Shinto Ryu has always permitted farmers and common townspeople to study the tradition.
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The modern styles of kendo and iaido that were established the 20th century included modern form of kenjutsu in their curriculum too. The exact activities and conventions undertaken when practicing kenjutsu vary from school to school, where the word school here refers to the practice, methods, ethics, and metaphysics of a given tradition, yet commonly include practice of battlefield techniques without an opponent and techniques whereby two practitioners perform kata featuring full contact strikes to the body in some styles and no body contact strikes permitted in others.
It is thought likely that the first iron swords were manufactured in Japan in the fourth century, based on technology imported from China via Korean peninsula. Three major schools emerged during this period. On the island of Okinawa, the art of Udundi includes a unique method of both Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu.
This is the only surviving sword system from Okinawa. It was the martial art of the noble Motobu family during the Ryukyu Kingdom.
During the Edo period schools proliferated to number more than ,  :XIII and training techniques and equipment advanced. The 19th century led to the development of the bamboo practice sword, the shinai , and protective armor, bogu. This allowed practice of full speed techniques in sparring, while reducing risk of serious harm to the practitioner. Beginning in , the Meiji Restoration led to the breakup of the military class and the modernization of Japan along the lines of western industrial nations.
As the samurai class was officially dissolved at this time, kenjutsu fell into decline, an unpopular reminder of the past. In the Japanese Police gathered together kata from a variety of kenjutsu schools into a standardised set for training purposes. Work on standardizing kenjutsu kata continued for years, with several groups involved  ,12 until in an edict was released by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai.
This edict highlighted a lack of unity in teaching and introduced a standard core teaching curriculum to which the individual kenjutsu schools would add their distinctive techniques. This core curriculum, and its ten kata evolved into the modern martial art of kendo. Modern kenjutsu practitioners giving a demonstration at the Devonian Botanical Garden in Devon, Alberta , Canada With the increasing interest in Japanese martial arts outside Japan during the 20th century, people in other countries started taking an interest in kenjutsu.
Many martial artists who study Japanese martial arts know the principles of kenjutsu. For modern kenjutsu type training, most practice is done in suburi style with bokken. This article does not contain any citations or references. Please improve this article by adding a reference. For information about how to add references, see Template:Citation. For various reasons, many schools make use of very specifically designed bokuto , altering its shape, weight and length according to the style's specifications.
Some schools practice with fukuro shinai a bamboo sword covered with leather or cloth under circumstances where the student lacks the ability to safely control a bokuto at full speed or as a general safety precaution. In fact, the fukuro shinai dates as far back as the 15th century.
Kenjutsu techniques can be compared to the strategies of warfare, while batto-jutsu or kendo can be compared to shooting range techniques. As in the Book of Five Rings , by Miyamoto Musashi , a kenjutsuist relies on the conditions of the ground, light source, as well as the opponents' capabilities, before implementing a practical attack.
The attack is not set on any particular weapon or move to capitulate, nor is there a predisposed target or trajectory. Any exposed part of the opponents body is a possible target as in Musashi's "Injuring the Corners". It was mentioned that once Musashi realized the physics of the chain-and-sickle kusarigama he was then able to defeat it.
The feigning techniques are effective movements of the weapon, footwork, center of gravity, and even the use of kiai. Applied effectively, the opponent is set-back one move, while creating an opening elsewhere.
The feigning technique should be angled to allow a quick direct shot from this position. Only sufficient practice will perfect these techniques and teaching to convey the training of proper reflexes. There is not much time to think during a skirmish or battle. A fluent continuation of techniques must be deployed to manage even multiple opponents.
One second per opponent is too long. Managing an army should be treated the same way. A practical understanding of the body and weapon is necessary to be able to dispatch a strike or counter strike whether standing, walking, or rolling around the ground or whether an army is attacking or retreating. There is no time-out or ready position. It might be a fight under minimum visibility or total darkness. When striking range is reached, reflexes dictate the outcome. Cutting, jabbing, and thrusting techniques must be all preceded by a feint.
The defender can easily parry a strong attack, due to the telegraphing momentum behind the attacker's weapon. Therefore, a strong cutting technique can easily receive a deadly cut across the sword hand or forearm. The feigning movement should complement both double-sword, two-handed sword, or any weapon. There are some strikes that do not require a preceding subterfuge. These are referred to as "quick strikes". They are done with two hands on the sword or with a sword in each hand.
One hand is at the base of the tsuka to provide longer reach and the other hand is at the ridge of the blade to provide the initial force to flick the sword as quick as an arrow to hit the target. This could be done with the double sword, with one sword providing the push for the dispatch. These postures are hidden and the ready positions are implemented while switching hands or while changing steps. These flicking strikes can be administered from any angle top, sides or below.
When parrying, always try to direct the point of the sword to the target. This minimizes the step needed to be able to counter-attack. Thus the opponent is at an immediate disadvantage. Also, using the quick strike at the opponent's sword hand or forearm will immediately incapacitate his attack before having to parry it.
A simple rule — to keep the point of the sword pointed to the opponent or at within the area of the gate, while attempting to parry in all angles — will provide a good foundation for appropriate counter-maneuver reflexes. Musashi said that the footwork shall be adapted to terrain and purpose. The correct stride is to be applied to whatever leverage is needed to effectively wield the weapon at hand.
The choice of weapon and knowing the opponents' weapons is essential for the choice of right technique and strategy. Knowing the center of gravity of a weapon can help the assessment of its maneuverability and speed, as much as its effects on leverage and kinetic forces.
The use of the double-sword one in each hand can provide the ultimate control of the gate. The "gate", as referred to by Miyamoto Musashi, is the opening between two fighters. All attacks must go through this gate to reach the target from any angle. To close or disrupt the gate at the right moment is necessary to deflect incoming attacks. The double swords' ability to alternate and complement their trajectories provides a strong continuous flowing barricade as well as trapping and striking repetitions.
Timing is essential in the use of this technique, and Musashi advised that the double-sword technique should be learned early on. In the later stages of kenjutsu, one can win without the use of a blade by merely understanding the physics of sword work. A kenjutsuist can resolve or win without having to fight or without having to cut — and gain followers instead. There is no individual or religion that started this. Any level-headed person would not want to maim or kill another human being.
A kenjutsuist a true swordsman strives to attain well beyond cutting techniques: to serve his master or act on his own as a diplomat of fairness in the living hell. Sign In Don't have an account? Contents [ show ]. Tuttle Pub. Green, Authors Thomas A. Green, Joseph R. Svinth, Editors Thomas A. Kendo The definitive guide.
United Kingdom: Kodansha Europe. Swords in Ancient Japan. Ideas and History of the Sword. Japan: Kendo Academy Press. Dorling Kindersley Ltd. Looking at a Far Mountain. United States of America: Tuttle Publishing. All Japan Kendo Federation. Retrieved 19 February For more detailed instruction refer to Shinobi Kai Kenjutsu. Categories :. Cancel Save. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kenjutsu.
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Kata: Classical Japanese Samurai Training Method
Training in martial arts can be done in different ways. Combat systems in Japan have used the kata as an instruction tool from at least AD as a way to train the bushi or samurai among their domains and training camps. Kata in martial arts was developed to train both the mind and body. Psychosomatic training is integral in bujutsu. Kata training is a rehearsed set of movements with a lot of detail and depth contained in them. Kata can be done solo or paired. Although choreographed kata can be greatly modified by small adjustments of timing and distance.
Kenjutsu Techniques Overview
Proper grip is left hand at the end of the handle near the Kashira. Right hand is above the left, approximately 2 cm distance from the Tsuba. Always grip with ONE hand kata-te. Kamae: Positions of Readiness. Advance in this position.
Some modern styles of kendo and iaido that were established in the 20th century also included modern forms of kenjutsu in their curriculum. The exact activities and conventions undertaken when practicing kenjutsu vary from school to school, where the word school here refers to the practice, methods, ethics, and metaphysics of a given tradition, yet commonly include practice of battlefield techniques without an opponent and techniques whereby two practitioners perform kata featuring full contact strikes to the body in some styles and no body contact strikes permitted in others. Although kendo is common in Japan, it is also practiced in other countries around the world. It is thought likely that the first iron swords were manufactured in Japan in the fourth century, based on technology imported from China via the Korean peninsula. Three major schools emerged during this period.