Proper grip is left hand at the end of the handle near the Kashira. Right hand is above the left, approximately 2 cm distance from the Tsuba.
Always grip with ONE hand (kata-te).
Kamae: Positions of Readiness
This section includes,
Kasumi Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu, sword fighting, is usually taught
after SMR Omote and Chudan kata. However, before learning
the 12 Kenjutsu kata below, students have already started to learn the
tachi when taking the role of Uchidachi in Omote and Chudan kata practice. Because of this, the significance of Kasumi Shinto Ryu is sometimes perceived as more of a formality or of keeping with tradition, as opposed to teaching Kenjutsu.
Kasumi Shinto Ryu is a minor school and is in no way considered a complete system of Kenjutsu. It is a method of teaching sword handling to become more proficient when using the sword against the Jo.
There are a couple features that distinguish Kasumi Shinto Ryu from other styles of Kenjutsu. First, if you have experience, have observed your instructor, watched Matsui Kenji`s video or the videos of Shimizu and Kuroda on this website, you will observe that the Odachi (long sword) is sometimes gripped one-handed. Kasumi Shinto Ryu is more free, and removes the reliance of always gripping the long sword with both hands. It`s ok to use the sword with only the right hand. Some instructors may criticize students for this, others will encourage you to do what is most comfortable and natural. I was taught the latter. Second, if you have experience learning other styles of Kenjutsu, you may have noticed the seeming disregard or lack of attention to stance, hip and shoulder position. The "twins" of Jodo, distance and timing, are the most important elements of Kasumi Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu as well.
Targets in Kasumi Shinto Ryu are few and limited to the following vital points:
forearms, chest, abdomen, left and right sides of the neck and trapezius muscle
(those areas not protected by armor).
Kuroda Ichitaro was the master swordsman of SMR, and the Shihan of Kasumi Shinto Ryu. Currently, Kaminoda Sensei is the Shihan, and he is known to refer to this set of kata as "Yattsu no Odachi, Yottsu no Kodachi" (八つの大太刀、四つの小太刀).
Kenjutsu versus Iaido
Iai-jutsu, the art of sword drawing, was changed to Iai-do over 100 years ago. Iaido techniques radically changed eliminating many of the elements that made it a useful skill in times of war.
For example, Iai-jutsu techniques were often done squatting as a opposed to Iaido, which teaches many techniques while sitting in Seiza. Why? Because Seiza is more comfortable than squatting. Iaido is graceful art and discipline open to anyone who desires to learn. However, Iaido techniques are unproven and untested in regards to actual effectiveness. This is partially due to training which is usually done alone. There is no Sotai-renshu, 2-person practice. Therefore, it is interesting to note that Iaido training does not require learning how to actually use the sword!
In Iaido, cuts are made to the skull, across the chest, etc. However, the student should be aware that it is not practical to make a direct cut overhead to the skull. Why? The skull is a BONE! It is strong and a powerful cut would probably break the sword blade. In Kenjutsu, students are taught that the ideal place to cut are the trapezius muscles. A cut to the trapezius near the neck would cut the carotid artery as well as disable use of the arm.
Iaido techniques also include Chiburi, the act of cleaning the sword of blood. Kenjutsu does not teach Chiburi. Why? It is not realistic. In real combat, Chiburi would have little effect because the sword would be covered in blood and other body tissues that would be impossible to remove with a single movement. It is a purely ceremonial act with no practical application.
Iaido also differs in how the sword is worn. Traditionally warriors had both long and short swords. In order to wear both swords, the long sword is held down at the side with the butt of the handle pointing straight ahead. However, Iaido techniques only include the long sword which is worn at the side, with the butt angled inward even with the body`s midline at navel height.
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