Kenjutsu is the art of Japanese swordsmanship, and is to kendo what jujutsu is to judo – the more combative side of the art, with no quarter given to sport but only to the defeat of the opponent using technique, spirit and strategy.
In kenjutsu, there is no armour or bamboo weapons – and nor is there free sparring. Like all other Japanese weapons arts, the emphasis for development is placed on kata practice – the only safe way to learn the use of the sword. It is practiced as kumi-tachi (paired practice) with uchidachi (attacker) and shidachi (defender) working together to improve shidachi’s skill, timing and spirit.
The style of kenjutsu we practice is that of Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu, the school formulated by Miyamoto Musashi in the early 1600s. Although Musashi is famous for his two-sword style of kenjutsu, this is only a part of the entire curriculum which also has polearms, grappling and other weapons in its syllabus.
Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu is practiced under the ‘Dosokai’ concept – everyone is a student. No grades or belts are offered in the modern sense – only an opportunity to practice the kenjutsu as given to us by Musashi Sensei through the head of our school, Iwami Toshio Harukatsu.