Ken Jutsu was the samurais' martial practice par excellence, in
order to get the most possible skill in the saber handling.
Considering the frequency of the confrontations and the combats at
that time, when warriors should solve in their eagerness to conquer
lands and achieve power, the skill in this art was an urgent need.
The daily training was exhaustive, each domain or clan had its own
katana style or school, weapon that has the connotation of being
"the Soul of the Samurai". They also had other weapons that
distinguish them, such as the Yari (lance), the Naginata, the Bo
(stick), the Yumi (bow), etc., but the katana was always considered
the main weapon.
During feudalism there were known more than 200 different styles of
katana handling, appearing the term Ken Jutsu towards the year 1281
However, the biggest improvement of the katana use was during the
Edo or Tokugawa period. During this 250 years long period of peace,
after the Shogun (supreme commander) Eiyasu Tokugawa ended with the
continuous civil wars that raze Japan and after achieving to reunify
it; the schools that studied the art of war flourished. Besides, the
influence of Zen derived in a most spiritual way.
Actually, practiced with bokken (wood saber), it is accessible to
anyone who practices martial arts. The use of the bokken allows
experiencing very really what a confrontation with sword (katana)
would be. Despite bokken is a non-cutting wood tool, its use by
neophytes involves an enormous risk, that's why it needs a lot of
care in its use.
Although Ken Jutsu is an own and complete discipline, it should be
practised as complement of any other combat art (Judo, Karate,
Kendo, Aikido, Ninjutsu, etc.), since experience confirms that the
saber combat extends and improves the sense of distance, of chance,
of perception, of dodging, of anticipation, of calmness, of
versatility and other qualities that any budoka has to cultivate.
NAKANISHI HA ITTOU RYU
The Nakanishi Ha Ittou Ryu is the school we practice in our Dojo.
Studied by Tormo Sensei since 1992, during its stays in the
Shiseikan Takizawa Dojo, in the city of Atsugi (Japan), under the
direction of Togashi Tetsuo Sensei, 7th Dan; it's a wonderful
complement to the Kendo and Iaido practice (both in the Z.N.K.R.
Seitei Iai school; and in Koryu the Musho Shinden Ryu school), that
we practice in the Dojo three days a week.
Ittou Ryu is a Ken Jutsu style that was created by Ittou Ittou Sai,
who studied a school named Tomita Ryu about the end of the Toyotomi
Hidejoshi period (end of the 16th century). Although he was the
creator of this style, he never called it by its own name, being one
of its disciples, Ono Tadaki, who reached the point of becoming Ken
Jutsu instructor of Tokugawa's army, who gave greatness to the Ittou
Ryu style, spreading it and making it well-known. Before Ittou Sai's
death, the style was officially named Ittou Ryu school. From this
school, with the time, appeared new styles. Ono Tadaki - Chuichi -
reaffirmed the Ittou Ryu school that from this moment on was known
as Ono Ha Ittou Ryu.
Around the year 1750, a Ronin called Nakanishi Chuta Shitei, who
worked for Onojiro Uemon Tadaichi, 4th Soke of the Ono school
(school that at this moment was considered official and very
prestigious, so it was not taught in public), opened with the
permission of the aforementioned, a different Dojo to the usual
ones, since it was endowed with high status and its students were
Hatamotos and Daimios. It had so much prestige that the keiko days,
in the Dojo entrance was usual to see more than 200 Yari (lances)
Chuta founded the Nakanishi Ha Ittou Ryu school, improved the sword
practice and introduced the Kote as wrist protecting element, since
his style emphasized the attack to this point. Likewise, on the
contrary of other pure Ken Jutsu schools where Kumitachi (Bokuto
combat) was practiced, the Nakanishi Ha style introduced between
1765 and 1770 the protector Bogu, the Shinai made with four bamboo
strips and a leather Tsuba, and the Shinai keiko or combat with
The Shinai keiko
appeared because of the fact that in the Kumitachi practiced in
other schools with Bokuto (very heavy and big bokken), the injury
risk was very high, and for that reason the Shinai keiko soon became
very popular, up to the point that Chuta founded a great Dojo in the
Shimoya area, in Edo, with more than 3000 students.
the end of the Edo period, from this school appeared three very
notable kenshi. Two of them, Shirai and Terada, were Kumitachi
masters and always complained about the Shinai keiko. The other
kenshi, called Takasashi, didn't accept the step backwards that the
Shinai keiko supposed. Chibatsu Saku, other school's kenshi,
supporter of the Shinai keiko, even returned his diploma and opened
a new Ittou Ryu school devoted to the Shinai keiko. With that fact
and the resignation of Shirai, Terada and Takasashi, the Nakanishi
Ha school decayed, ending up being finally a mainly Kumitachi Ken
Nakanishi Ha Zarei
KIRI OTOSHI (Hirija,
Progressively we will add more