Kenjutsu is the study of the battlefield application of the Japanese sword. In our lineages, kenjutsu is referred to as kenpo, bikenjutsu, or biken no ho, and primarily flows from the Kukishin ryu and Togakure ryu traditions. Sword training, as conducted at the Hayashi Shugyo Dojo, follows in the same fashion as the Someya Dojo and Nagase Dojo in Chiba-ken, Japan.
The training is divided into three tiers. The first tier encompasses the kihon (fundamentals) of our traditions. Reiho (proper etiquette and handling), nomenclature, kamae (combative engagement postures), proper cutting mechanics, sabaki (movement), mindset, and basic waza (forms) are addressed and ingrained into the practitioner.
The second tier comprises the formal sword kata (pattern practice) from the Kukishin ryu and Togakure ryu. These kata, handed down through centuries of warfare, convey the essence of the lineages’ wisdom, philosophy, strategy, and tactics. At this stage, the student begins learning basic tameshigiri (traditional test cutting practice).
In the last tier the practitioner integrates the lessons of the kihon and kata and employs them in a wide variety of settings outside the confines of formal pattern practice. In this stage advanced tameshigiri concepts are explored, as well as the concept of shinken keiko (partner training with live swords).
By training in this manner, the student recognizes that the principles of unarmed combat and swordsmanship are the same, and seeks to cultivate a thorough understanding of the dual nature of empty hand tactics and the sword. Serious, dedicated training in kenjutsu principles leads to a deepening awareness of combative concepts which will enhance the practitioner’s overall martial capabilities.