Ryuseiken Battodo

Japanese swordfighting

All Blog Posts (97)

More Tsubamegaeshi variations

I think I stopped at 9.


a. Moving towards target, kiriage LtoR.

b. Veer past right side of target.

c. Following LtoR body turn of kiriage, step left leg past target, turn 180 degrees, drop right leg back.

d. Kesagiri LtoR before the goza falls.

NOTE: This can also be done in mirror image (cuts RtoL, and moving to left of target)


a. Kiriage LtoR,

b. before target falls, suihei LtoR.

NOTE: Both cuts are from the same side,… Continue

Added by rawnshah on December 26, 2008 at 11:24am — No Comments

Surveying the differences between Gumdo and the root arts of the Japanese sword.

The following blog is not intended to offend anyone. I could have just as easily focused on the similarities, but, everyone can do that. I wanted to show a different perspective.

If you read this, and you seriously study a sword art, I welcome you as a kindred spirit.

Often, we find, we are more alike than different. This is intended to provoke scholarly thought on what we spend much of our time doing.

Surveying the differences between Gumdo and the root arts of the… Continue

Added by Al Kilgore on December 23, 2008 at 6:12pm — No Comments

The Korean tameshigiri vids

I've been looking at some of the tameshigiri demos by the Korean schools of gumdo on YouTube recently. There are some truly amazing shots in there, some of which I didn't think possible before.

For example, they have a version of tsubamegaeshi, where they cut the kiriage, and before it falls, they actuall do a walkaround the target / 180 turn cut the top piece from the other side of the goza. This requires not only a very sharp sword, but more importantly the footwork/movements to… Continue

Added by rawnshah on December 23, 2008 at 11:19am — 2 Comments

First time cutting targets

I tested the students from the middle & highschool class on Tuesday out in the field at the back of CFHS. It was a cold afternoon and we were racing for time against sundown, but everyone got their chance. Only one student, Reed, actually cut for a test and did well. The three others had their first chance at cutting after about 2 years each of studying.

It's especially relevant for younger students--these guys started at age 12 or 13--to practice swinging only a bokken for a… Continue

Added by rawnshah on December 18, 2008 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Demon of the Western Provinces

RawnShah asked me to post this as a blog. It is part of the disscussion about Kojiro and his technique.

Hello, thanks again for a good site. I too am interested in the mythical technique of tsubame giri. I have read a lot about it, but the most interesting thing I have found is the statue on Ganryu Island. I have studied it well, right now I am trying to track down the sculptor, I have some questions for him. The reason is, the hands on the figure of Kojiro are in interesting… Continue

Added by Al Kilgore on December 18, 2008 at 4:22pm — No Comments

Tsubamegaesh and variations

There's no complete documentation on what the historical "tsubame-gaesh" technique is like, although there are stories here and there. Number 9 feels hard to translate into practice but not impossible.

I’ve successfully performed most of these variations except for #6, 7b, 7c or 8. I tried but failed on 6 and 8. I have not attempted #7b or 7c yet.

I’ve seen all of these pulled off successfully by at least one sensei or another (all but 9). I’ll have to find those videos on… Continue

Added by rawnshah on December 17, 2008 at 4:46pm — No Comments

More testing for the middle & highschool students

This week I tested two new students to the rank of 6th Kyu, and they did quite well: Ilan, and Nazar. They have both learned the 1st kata quite well in a short time, and show the spirit of the kata properly.

I also rolled up some dry goza and let them strike at the targets with their bokutos. Most students who start cutting have never experienced the impact force of taking a good swing and hitting a target. This comes as a surprise sometimes. It is different then when you actually… Continue

Added by rawnshah on December 10, 2008 at 10:47am — No Comments

Sasaki Kojiro and Tsubamegaesh

Sasaki Kojiro was a famous swordsman who studied under Toda Seigan, founder of Chujo ryu, acclaimed at the turn of the 17th century for their Kodachi (shortsword) techniques. As partner to Toda Seigan, he became very proficient with the katana, eventually leaving the school and starting his own school, Ganryu (“The School of Rock”).

Sasaki Kojiro is most remembered for his duel with Miyamoto Musashi. At the time, Kojiro had become the swordmaster for Lord Hosokawa by… Continue

Added by rawnshah on December 2, 2008 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Kanawa Goro's technique and Kata Nihon-me

There’s an interesting historical anecdote that strikes me as very similar to our kata nihon-me (#2). In the excellent biography, Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings, by Kenji Tokitsu, there was a particular sword adept at the end of the Edo period who was known for this. This is during the time when samurai fought for real, and any technique that was successful counted.

Kanawa Goro won most of his duels by picking up dirt and throwing it at his opponent’s face and then strike… Continue

Added by rawnshah on November 29, 2008 at 10:04am — No Comments

Monday Classes at UA!

Hey guys, Senseis Monica and Bianca have asked me to teach an extra during the school week. This Monday there will be a class and every Monday thereafter at 6-7:30 p.m just like on Friday. This way there will be two opportunities to practice at the Rec Center during the week, if you can't make one class you can always make the other one to make up for it. According to most of the people in the university class, Monday works pretty well, but the day can always be changed depending on people's… Continue

Added by Andrew Dicenso on October 11, 2008 at 11:23pm — No Comments

Cutting Demo

Hi All, just thought i'd share a demo i did recently.
Let me know what ya all think.It was a rush demo and i had very few mats to do it with,it was done in a total of 5 hrs so all in all it looked ok....lol

Added by Rich Klaas on October 8, 2008 at 11:00am — 3 Comments

Battodo classes are in full swing again

The battodo classes at various locations are on again:

- Kodenkan on Saturday's 3-4:30 pm, Kodenkan of tucson, 250 N Pantano Rd.

- UofA classes on Friday 6-7:30, UofA Rec Center on 6th St & Highland Ave

- Catalina Foothills High School (you need to be a CFHS or CF school district student to register) on Tuesdays.

I'm always glad to see folk returning. I won't be able make many of the classes this month or in October because I'll be traveling first on vacation… Continue

Added by rawnshah on September 15, 2008 at 9:11pm — No Comments

That tonfa/sword guy in Hellboy I

In the first Hellboy movie, there was a villain who used a pair of swords held like a tonfa. If you haven't seen a tonfa, it is very much like a modern police baton: a stick slightly longer than an arm, with a perpendicular handle about a quarter of the way from on end.

A tonfa and police… Continue

Added by rawnshah on July 16, 2008 at 2:47pm — No Comments

How to make ballistic gel - for target cutting

Okay, I have not yet tried this but it works for guns so a gel block should work for swords too. If you haven't seen demos on MythBusters or Fight Science, Ballistic Gel can be molded into any form and a certain thickness block will accurately replicate muscle density. It has comparable density to animal meat, but none of the connective tissue, viscera, bone bits, and bloody mess. You can add other components to replicate bone structure too such as 1/2 inch bamboo.

For… Continue

Added by rawnshah on July 5, 2008 at 9:15pm — 1 Comment

Party on 4th of july

I'm throwing a party at our place to watch the fireworks from the pool and leaving an open invitation to all battodo, japanese sword and martial arts students, practitioners and enthusiasts (any school really).

We built the pool to face the panorama of Tucson, especially where they shoot the fireworks from (A-mountain). Here's a shot of what the pool looks like at night. The fireworks shoot off towards the left edge of the… Continue

Added by rawnshah on June 23, 2008 at 11:00am — 3 Comments

Some Videos from 6/7 uploaded

I've uploaded three videos of Bianca, Monica and Steve sempais. Take a look at how you did on June 7th. I slowed down some of it where relevant and left the audio commentary in of tips.The videos and information is for your benefit; don't feel bad about hearing where you can improve.

Specifically, Bianca sempai the right to left kiriage is noticeably off. I think its because your hands are too far apart, so you end up bending your left elbow which then puts your hands past… Continue

Added by rawnshah on June 21, 2008 at 12:43pm — No Comments

Cutting on 6/15

It was a good session last Sunday. We had lots of time doing cuts for each person, and even one shodan cutting test for Andrew Cameron. We taped it again this time and I should probably edit and upload that video when I can find free time. The video camera I have doesn't take shots fast enough. It's pretty standard for most vidcams but what we really need is a high-speed camera that can take many shots per second in burst mode. There's a nice… Continue

Added by rawnshah on June 17, 2008 at 9:00am — No Comments

Other types of cuts

I've developed a bit of fascination with snap cuts. I don't know a better name for it; there probably is one. It is where you swing at full speed but freeze just an inch or so before the goza, guarding the target for a few seconds. From that position, you then snap your wrist quickly to cut through the goza. There's practically no room for any sort of swing and this takes a sharp sword and lots of torque to cut.

I've done it with one full goza from a kesa snap, which is the least… Continue

Added by rawnshah on June 10, 2008 at 11:30am — No Comments

Cutting yesterday and again on 6/15

Cutting went well yesterday in that the black belts got a lot of practice in. With only a few people and four stands, people can get a whole lot more practice in. It really beats the days when we only had one stand and we'd have to move everyone through it one at a time. It's when you get breaks between cutting that you start forgetting what your body was just learning. After all at this level it is more fine adjustments to get, for example, that perfectly flat suihei. With scraps, some folks… Continue

Added by rawnshah on June 9, 2008 at 7:43am — 3 Comments

Another cutting day at the park on 6/8

We're going to keep the momentum going with a weekly cutting session next Sunday at Himmel Park at 9am, east side of park (Treat Ave). I'd like to see the black belts to get good cutting time in.


Added by rawnshah on June 4, 2008 at 1:58pm — 1 Comment

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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