Author: Richard Stonell

Richard practises kendo, iaido, and koryu in Osaka and Kobe, Japan.

The Myth of Chiburi?

In many iaido ryuha, chiburi is a fundamental part of kata. Chiburi, usually written 血振 in Japanese, literally means “shaking off blood,” and the image presented is that of flinging the blood of a defeated enemy off the blade with a deft movement before resheathing. Perhaps mainly due to the prevalence of Muso Shinden-ryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu, some people believe that chiburi is a universal aspect of iai. However, many ryuha do not practice chiburi, and there is the opinion – which has become more widespread recently, thanks to the sharing of knowledge via the internet – that shaking …

Thoughts on Tameshigiri from Famous Swordsmen

Tameshigiri is a very popular element of swordsmanship today. This is perhaps thanks in part to the spread of Toyama-ryu, a system originally created in the 1920s to teach fundamental sword technique to officers in the Imperial Japanese Military. Tameshigiri forms a central part of training in Toyama-ryu and its derivatives, but traditionally, this form of target cutting was not a major element of most systems of swordsmanship. The question of the pros and cons of tameshigiri for those of us studying swordsmanship today has been covered in a previous article by SangWooKim. In this article, I would instead like …

Nukitsuke

Nukitsuke and nukiuchi are different. “Tsuke” means you are acting to forestall an opponent’s attack before it begins. Nukiuchi on the other hand means, precisely, to cut down an opponent. Without understanding the difference between these two, your swordsmanship will not be effective.*   - Kamimoto Eiichi sensei, iaido hanshi 9 dan, kendo hanshi 8 dan This short statement highlights and clarifies an important point about iai (particularly regarding Muso Shinden ryu, Muso Jikiden Eishin ryu and ZNKR iai). It is a simple linguistic point, but even if you speak Japanese it is easy to overlook.

The Art of Drawing a Crowd

In budo circles today, it is not uncommon for students of swordsmanship to get angry or upset when they see attempts to make a profit from their chosen arts or turn them into spectacles of showmanship, especially when the person doing so is considered less than “qualified.” There are some exceptions to this, such as practitioners of traditional kenbu, or fight choreographers (tateshi, 殺陣師) who often are extremely knowledgeable and skilled in the budo arts. However flashy displays of vegetable cutting, outrageous choreography, sword spinning tricks and so on are generally the source of much bile, especially on internet forums. …

Kamidana Statistics

Kenpō Nagasaki is a bimonthly kendo publication available to subscribers in Nagasaki prefecture. Each issue features shiai and seminar reports and articles by sensei on various topics. Recently the magazine featured statistics about dojo in Nagasaki prefecture, including a survey on how many dojo have kamidana or Japanese flags at their shōmen. I have translated the statistics from this section of the survey here: Area No. of dojo Kamidana only National Flag only Neither Both No Answer Nagasaki City 34 4 10 16 4 0 Seihi Area 4 0 3 1 0 0 Isahaya City 17 2 13 1 1 …