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We teach a many forms of Japanese weaponry. Listed below are the main styles that students can learn.
Iaido/Iai-hyodo is associated with the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard or saya, striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard. While new practitioners of iaido may start learning with a wooden sword (bokken) depending on the teaching style of a particular instructor, most of the practitioners use the blunt edged sword, called iaitō. Few, more experienced, iaido practitioners use a sharp edged sword (shinken). Practitioners of iaido are often referred to as iaidoka. Here at Ryujinkan we teach the Mugai Ryu Iai Hyodo system of iaido.
Ken-jutsu is "the method, or technique, of the sword." This is opposed to kendo, which means the way of the sword. Kenjutsu, which originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, is the umbrella term for all traditional (koryū) schools of Japanese swordsmanship, in particular those that predate the Meiji Restoration and the modern styles of Kendo and Iaido that emerged from the traditional schools in the late 19th century.
Jo-jutsu is primarily a defensive martial art. It was developed as a means of defeating the attacking swordsman without killing him, a humane goal. Jojutsu training is almost completely based on paired kata. The swordsman is the aggressor and the jo responds by effectively defending him/herself. The kata of jojutsu serves as a repository of combat strategy. Constant training in these kata allow the exponent to internalize these strategies through repetition and experience.
Mugai Ryu is a traditional form of swordsmanship founded approximately 350 years ago by Tsuji Gettan Sukemochi. The proper name for is system of swordsmanship is Mugai Shinden Mugai Ryu Iai Hyodo (also read as Heido). We use Mugai Ryu Iai Hyodo for short.
Mugai Ryu retains both Iaijutsu and Kenjutsu in its curriculum and has a stronge connection with zen due to Gettan's belief that the "Sword & Zen are the way of the same truth". The Name "Mugai" comes from this poem:
Ippo jitsu mugai
Kenkon toku ittei
Suimo ho nomitsu
Dochaku soku kosei
"There is nothing other than the One True Way
Heaven and Earth profit from this single Virtue
The fluttering feather knows this secret
To be settled during confusion is to be enlightened and pure"