Ryuseiken Battodo

Japanese swordfighting

All Blog Posts (97)

New camera and practice

As you can see from the recent videos, I've been testing out the new high-speed Casio EX-FH20 camera to record some of the activity. It takes high-speed video at 210 frames per second. This really is helpful for cutting to see what we've done.

One problem however is that the files are huge, and on this site each video can only be 100MB maximum, although we can have as many of them as we wish. Even a minute of highspeed film is 60MB. From Saturday's cutting session, I have an hour or… Continue

Added by rawnshah on September 14, 2009 at 10:32am — No Comments

Battodo at UofA starting again

Posting for senseis Monica and Bianca for the U of Arizona club:

Hey Club Members and Potential Club Members (aka the most awesomemest people in

the world)!

The first Batto-do practice will be held next Friday, Sept. 4th from 6-7:30

pm. We will meet in the Rec Center at the corner of Highland and 6th at the top

of the stairs. Just look for a bunch of people carrying wooden swords - we're

hard to miss.

For those who will be attending for the first… Continue

Added by rawnshah on August 28, 2009 at 1:48pm — No Comments

Gloves and goza

I got both a new pair of light combat gloves and new targets on the same day. The gloves are from Revival.us, a chivalry sports store with lots of equipment for Ren-Fair types. The gloves are light, kevlar reinforced with a hard shell over the knuckles, and padding for every finger. However, even the large size for me seems to be a little small for my hand. It fits mostly well and protects the wrist and forearms as well, but covers about 95% of my palm, making it a little annoying when it… Continue

Added by rawnshah on August 14, 2009 at 2:14pm — No Comments

Ordered some goza from Nihonzashi, Cutting again some weekend soon

I've put in an order for one box of goza from Nihonzashi in Florida which should arrive next week. I think it's time for some cutting again soon, perhaps on the Sat 15th or Sun 16th. I wanted to test the quality of their goza first before ordering too much. The cost has also gone up a buck per target since it's more expensive to have it shipped from FL to here.

Let me know who can come.


Added by rawnshah on August 6, 2009 at 3:34pm — No Comments

Katana/shinken selection guide

The folks at Nihonzashi have a fairly detailed set of information about the material and dimensions of the swords they carry. It's much more information than may be helpful to the beginner but still helpful.



Added by rawnshah on August 5, 2009 at 9:13am — No Comments

New Shodan and Nidan

The promotion ceremonies on Sunday went well. Reed was the only shodan candidate but there were a number of higher rank promotions as well. I'll try to post photos once I get them off my phone.

Congratulations to:

Reed Wittman - as our newest Shodan

Dusty Alexander - promoted to Nidan and awarded the title of sensei

There were a number of other dan promotions in the other martial arts styles (Kodenkan teaches a wide range of martial arts).

This… Continue

Added by rawnshah on July 21, 2009 at 8:36am — No Comments

Black belt (Shodan) testing coming up

I haven't posted in a while, being busy with my day job, but just a few notes.

We have one candidate testing for his Battodo shodan under the Kodenkan and Ryuseikan this month: Reed Wittman. We usually split the test across two days because of venue. The first part is the cutting and individual kata tests with a shinken which we normally conduct outdoors. We videotape this portion to send to our Soke in Japan. The second part is testing of all katas individual and with a partner,… Continue

Added by rawnshah on June 9, 2009 at 4:19pm — 1 Comment

Brown belt tests at the highschool

We tested three students for the sankyu ranks yesterday and they all passed. This is the first of the brown "belt" ranks--three ranks even though we don't use actual belts. There was a little added pressure being out in the 98 degree weather in the field, with the sun in their eyes. It adds to the difficulty of the test by distracting them with discomforts and stress.

Their kesa-giri on half goza was generally good, although some had to take their 1 do-over to get it right from both… Continue

Added by rawnshah on April 22, 2009 at 9:26am — No Comments

Cutting at the high-school

It was an interesting cutting day for the junior high school students. Many missed class so we had extra goza left and I let some of the lower ranked students attempt it -- only those who have demonstrated some degree of control.

It's not a surprise to me but the first time cutting is either a positive or negative surprise to people. The three new first timers have been in the class for different periods of time. Two have been there for almost two years now and one is in their second… Continue

Added by rawnshah on April 8, 2009 at 3:02pm — No Comments

Athletic training

I ran into Seth Pepper yesterday at a cafe. Seth's the videographer working with Shihan John, but also happens to be a former swimming champ. He was ranked fourth in the world in the early/mid-1990s, and missed making the Olympics by 4/100 of a second in the trials.

As a sport, swimming is far further evolved than what we have in most martial arts, not simply in being an Olympic event and having collegiate & national teams everywhere. It's in the level of teaching and coaching… Continue

Added by rawnshah on April 1, 2009 at 9:51am — 2 Comments


Very strongly, folks who feel they know something about the art defend their point of view. They are entitled to this, of course, within the scope of artistic criticisms. For the study of Kenjutsu we see this quite strongly, even though the reality of the number of folks training within Koryu systems is in fact miniscule. My point being that there are more people are reading about the sword arts on line than there are folks actively training in one of these arts. It is also true as a result of… Continue

Added by Al Kilgore on March 27, 2009 at 10:30am — No Comments

No more Goza?

I noticed a little too late that Dave and the guys from Tameshigiri.com will no longer be selling goza targets directly. This is normally where we get our stock that our students then purchase and use in their cutting.

Shihan and I are trying to consider other options: buying a container full of them directly from Japan, either new or more likely used goza. The goal is to try to find a cost-effective way but that much goza is hard to manage. There is another option from a Florida… Continue

Added by rawnshah on March 25, 2009 at 1:58pm — 3 Comments

realistic foam+fiberglass goshinken

We went to the Rennaisance fair last week and I stopped by the Shady Armory where they had realistic looking foam weapons of many different types at hand. They didn't have any katanas but I was more interested in how it felt and functioned.

I added a link to the Knighthawk Armory that builds similar equipment except with a wide line of katanas. From what I could determine from a ten minute test, these foam… Continue

Added by rawnshah on March 24, 2009 at 4:41pm — 1 Comment


I used the Hanwei Practical XL Light katana for all my cutting on Sunday, and I have to say I'm a little disappointed. The geometry of the blade seems right, even though it is a little more curved sori than I am used to. It's a wider blade than mine by 2-3mm at tsuba. Mine's a custom one that I bought from someone years ago, that our soke had made.

Some of the cuts came out well, but I was too slow in moving between cuts. We're talking tenths of a second or so, but I… Continue

Added by rawnshah on March 10, 2009 at 12:08pm — 2 Comments

Cutting at the park Sunday March 8th

Hi all our students in Tucson,

We will have another cutting session at Himmel Park on Sunday starting at 11am. If you have not been to one, it is a lot of fun. We will be on the east side of the park off of Treat Ave just south of Speedway Blvd (closest cross-streets: Speedway & Tucson)

As always, come in full dress if you can. Otherwise, please wear plain black or Kodenkan Tshirts since we will be filming for Shihan's video as well.

Let me know who needs… Continue

Added by rawnshah on March 2, 2009 at 10:37am — 2 Comments


The world around us keeps turning, things brilliant become dull in the light of new eras, and things long forgotten are exposed again to the gaze of thought. Perhaps it was when I and my small club were ridiculed for the lack of tradition in our swording, or our emerging phenominon, called bastardization by men whom I still admire out of spite for their comments. Perhaps when I was refused entry into certain tournaments for lack of a paper trail. This is when I realized that there was only one… Continue

Added by Daniel on February 25, 2009 at 10:26am — No Comments

Ryuseiken Battodo in Tucson newspaper


The Arizona Daily Star wrote a piece about the Ryuseiken Battodo classes in their article on "Outta-sight workouts". In fact, our own Maria Rice is on the cover of their Caliente lifestyle insert, plus more photos of other students (Ashley, Valerie and Peter) in the story on "samurai sword". Shihan John was interviewed as part of the class. The piece also mentions the UofA and CFHS classes too.

"Samurai Sword:… Continue

Added by rawnshah on January 29, 2009 at 9:46pm — 1 Comment

Footwork, maai and movement

When it comes to footwork, our style tends to be more freeform after a certain level. At the beginning, students learn the katas step-by-step, by count, and with specific feet positions. For first time cutters (sankyus) start one step away from the target to cut. It takes a few years for most students before they get out of the habit of counting steps mentally, and move automatically.

As they progress, we add in more and more fluid movement. Eventually, the katas can have no limits… Continue

Added by rawnshah on January 11, 2009 at 11:08am — 2 Comments

Tameshigiri on Wikipedia

I've added some diagrams and text to the article on Tameshigiri on Wikipedia. Please read and comment here or on wikipedia.

I have 25-30 pages of these patterns already but I don't know if I should add it all.

I'm hoping that we get the other Ryu to share their patterns on Wikipedia as well.

There is a link to the Japan Ryuseiken site, but I wasn't quite sure whether I should add our site here. For one, we… Continue

Added by rawnshah on January 3, 2009 at 12:46pm — 3 Comments


Blocking is not as sexy as tameshigiri or striking, but it is the understated hero of techniques.

The problem with blocks is that you can only practice them (for real) in situations where you are sparring or combat situations. This brings out the reality of developing reaction time and applying practical techniques. Blocking drills prepare your form only, but does not prepare you adequately for reaction time, impact force, movement and changing distance. Even with a Goshinken, many… Continue

Added by rawnshah on December 30, 2008 at 1:10pm — No Comments

Web sites & Resources

Matsuri: A Festival of Japan (2008) - Phoenix, AZ, Feb 23-28, Heritage Square

Battodo Ryuseiken in Japan. Also a partial site in english.

The Kodenkan of Tucson

The UofA Ryuseiken Battodo on the ASUA site

Tameshigiri.com - where we get goza. The ordering and shipping process are given.

Hanwei/Paul Chen swords

The Knighthawk Armoury builds some interesting realistic looking goshinken. They're expensive but they claim to be pretty durable (not yet tested by us).

Folding a Hakama the proper way

Woodall's Custom Workshop makes nice cutting stands for tameshigiri.

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