Ryuseiken Battodo

Japanese swordfighting

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 them down with a yoko-men (in our terminology, a kesa giri to the temple or side of the head). He could do this with his hand of course, but that would be obvious with a one-handed drawn sword—always watch for the other hand. With kata nihon-me, you can also dig into the dirt with the tip of the sword, and as you flip the sword, it will spray dirt at the opponent and the kata ends with a makko to the head. In modern katas without lethal consequences, this would simply ruin the tip of the sword (and perhaps the floor and mats too). Not to mention that it seems like a dirty trick (no pun intended). It’s similar but not exact.

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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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