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刀剣術ノ部    Tōkenjutsu No Bu     Section on the Use of Swords

霊妙剣ノ事    Reimyōken No Koto     the Matter of the Miraculous Sword

Shinden yōshin ryū is not a school of the longsword, but instead prefers the short sword (kodachi) as do many similar schools. The school and its methods are not spurious in the use of short sword tactics, they are rather simple and straight forward as movements. There is a preference for plain and simple movements, plain and simple instruction. Nothing held back. This is how the sword in the school must be approached when taught and also this is how the material must be approached when being learned. You must not teach short sword or longsword tactics incorrectly as if on a theatrical basis since this would demean the straight forwardness of the school and weakens its effectiveness. This does not mean that there is no appeal to the school's techniques or methods with the sword. In regard to the teachings of the sword in the school, there are the techniques and the doctrines of the short sword and what address is given of the longsword. The doctrines are that the techniques of the short sword are preferred, whereas longsword techniques exist mainly as to disarm a swordsman and to employ the longsword thus gained. That the doctrines are weakened in value if one were to ignore the techniques. Teach both equally, learn both equally allowing one to derive full benefit. The Reimyōken No Koto or Matter of the Miraculous Sword, in this Manual on the transmission of budō instruction, is only to say that the history and skills of swordsmanship have a marvelous place in history and are often considered the core of Budo. There is no Budo without the use of swords. We will proceed to discuss further in these entries the Matter of the Miraculous sword.

柔半剱    Jūhanken

Jūhanken means the trinity of Jujutsu (Taijutsu, use of the Body Techniques), Hanbōjutsu (short staff techniques) and Kenjutsu (Sword techniques) and of course refers to the facts of violence and artifice being used especially in the course of warfare (military service) or in the line of duty for police-work, as well as in general self protection. In most schools this same thing is called jūkenbō or as in the case of Aikidō it is called 'riai'. There must be a certain shrewdness considered in conduct. After all, the object is to win, or to succeed. Cunning device. Shrewd measures. The techniques of the body are the same as the techniques of the sword and staff. Artifice. Beyond the literal and obvious meaning of the doctrines of Jūhanken use of body, sword or staff technique there is even more important meaning. The term is written with differing kanji in the expressions of doctrine.

重犯剱    Jūhanken    Sword of Offense

A reminder to us that we must not conduct our personal affairs or servile duties and obligations along criminal lines and thus generate social offenses. There is flexibility, and the recognition of the fact that merely because an action or conduct is deemed criminal doesn't make it criminal. This jūhanken cannot be used to perpetrate such fallacies because then the fallacy and its perpetration become themselves the “sword of offense” whether perpetrated by individuals or a society (it is irrelevant.) Recognition of these truths leads to...

十判剱    Jūhanken    Sword of 10 Judgments

Proper judgment and conduct, whether in personal matters or servile affairs. Beyond this simple idea, the more complex concept of recognizing and deploying all available to oneself, the number 10 it means “completion” and hence this jūhanken is one of making use of everything available. Generating the full advantage by exploiting everything available.



剣法執握ノ法    Kenpo Torinigi(ru) No Hō     The Method of Fencing Grip

There is great difference in the purpose of gripping the hilt of a longsword as opposed to the short sword. There is little similarity. The methods of gripping longsword are more precise and exacting, for not the least of which is that the weight of the longsword becomes tiresome and the weapon difficult to wield during a longer bout. The short sword is not as exacting and does not wear down by weight or movements. Preparation for such affairs is necessary since the tactics of the longsword are for clearing ground like cutting down shafts of bamboo or cutting away the branches of trees. There is meaning here in that it involves extinguishing lives. Preparation for military service and wartime. Preparation for self protection and defense. Preparation for competition. If one diverge from the purpose and intent of the longsword in its design, then some degree of failure will occur. The short sword similarly, if one further diverges, there is loss of effectiveness with the short sword (it is no longsword.) If one does not prepare for such matters, then all other preparations become fully worthless since how can one survive if they have not attended upon these important issues? This is the true grip of swordsmanship, a grip on matters, if you will. The purpose is to look beyond, one's immediate position or standing to what might occur or what will have occurred. Since this is the first objective (as ever before) it is by nature to prepare, obviously, the hope is not to commit a “miscarriage of intention”, which is Hon matsutentō 本末転倒 as commonly mentioned in the doctrines of the school. But the doctrines are of short sword and not longsword (the two schools of swordsmanship are not the same and do not serve the same purpose.)



刀剣術ノ構ヲ弁    Tokenjutsu No Kamae Wo Wakimae     Discerning the Postures of Fencing / Swordsmanship

In this school, positions are called postures of the body, since the handling of the (short) sword and and its techniques are the fact of the case. This same thing being called postures of the body whether standing (tachi-gata techniques while standing) or as in seated position (suwari-gata techniques while sitting.) There is taught no difference when of the use of short-sword, between the sword drawn or when slung from the hip, or if held sheathed in the (left) hand. Some branch schools (of shinden yōshin ryū) also teach the techniques of longsword held within Shinkage ryu swordsmanship and instead there is difference taught because of the longsword techniques of that school. As far as I know, this is not original shinden yōshin ryū practice, there really is no longsword in shinden yōshin ryū, none of it's techniques or doctrines were meant for longsword, they were all meant for short-sword. Doctrines of posture are not meant for longsword. In either event, the true way of using the short-sword it is more or less identical, whether sword drawn or slung from the hip, it is all a matter of the postures of the body and requires extensive usage of body techniques in order to apply the short sword. So fundamentally there is no real difference between the taijutsu (body techniques) and the kenjutsu (sword techniques). The body techniques are absolutely required to effectively apply the short-sword techniques. Of the Otachi gamae (standing postures) there are 一文字 Ichimonji posture is to hold the arm out straight or to stand with both feet parallel as usual (there are both forms sometimes the latter is called Hira no kamae). 八字 Hachiji posture which is similar to Hira no kamae. 呪文字 Jumonji or 十文字 Jūmonji posture is with the arms crossed holding one's garments together. Of the Suwari no gamae (seated postures) there are such as 跪くHizamazuki kneeling, 尻座 Kōza crouching posture and 安座 Anza seated posture. Speaking of the guards of the short sword there are 上段 Jōdan (Upper guard position) and 大上段Daijōdan for holding the point of the short sword high when you make your intended point of joking (pun on words, in Jap. Language the words 冗談 (“Joke; prank”) and 上段 (“Upper guard”) both pronounced 'Jōdan'.) 中段 Chūdan (Middle guard position) is for holding the sword at half way position commonly used at the breaking point to interrupt what the foe intended (pun on words, in Jap. Language the words 中断 (“Interrupt(-ion); suspension”) and 中段 (“Middle guard”) both pronounced 'Chūdan'. The word for breaking point likewise is 中断点 'Chūdanten'). Waki is for holding the sword pointed to the side and 下段 Gedan (Lower guard position) is for holding the sword pointed down, .



柄頭ノ弁    Tsukagashira No Wakimae     Distinguishing the Pommel

This means that the purpose of the short sword is not forgotten. Unlike the longsword, the pommel is given consideration in technique more commonly. The main purpose using the pommel in the school is 桎梏柄頭 Shikkoku tsubagashira to strike and cripple or 執行柄頭 Shikko tsukagashira to drive the body back to gain some distance. It is important to remember why the pommel is used in practice since the short sword is disadvantaged the pommel can come into play. How can one really understand this when the main function of the pommel in longsword is only to bind together the parts of the sword hilt?



遠当ノ法    Tōate No Hō     Method of Striking from a Distance

This refers to many things and to magic (trickery). To be simple and straight forward, on one hand, it means to have the thing in hand before it begins, at at distance... that is the literal meaning of the Japanese idiom tōateru . And so it refers to starting with some distance between the bodies of uke and tori (shidachi and uchidashi). Knowing how to close the distance and prevail with the short sword. Whether in regard to performing the techniques or to using the techniques of the short sword. It is also to stop the thing up like a door stop and nail it that way, trickery may be involved to throw some small object or otherwise distract.



巻藁土段ノ事併図    Makiwara Tsuchidan No Koto Heizato    Makiwara Post Usage Diagram

This means cutting and striking practice so that one is able to deal a proper strike with the short sword. Cutting practice is not as important with the short sword since it takes less skill to wield a short sword than the longsword. There are standard diagrams and instructions for the cutting and striking angles commonly used at practice, these must not be ignored.



短刀ヲ弁    Tanto Wo Wakimae     Distinguishing the Tanto Knife

This is about using the dagger in certain fashions in the performance of the short sword techniques. One can hold the dagger in the left hand and wield the short sword with the right hand. Or using the dagger after felling the opponent perhaps to cut away this or that. Understanding that the usage of the dagger is not quite the same and that some jobs are better for the dagger since the short sword is a little too long for easy usage. It is a matter using the right tool for the job.



隠シ武器    Kakushi Buki     Concealed (Pocket) Weapons

Here, on this subject, one might understand that the short sword is disadvantaged and so usage of other implements are advocated to help one prevail despite the disadvantage. Chief among these implements is strategy itself since it was strategy that taught the need to plan the use of small implements to counterbalance such disadvantages and alleviate the need for mourning. Items that are not uncommon and might lend themselves to the affair at hand, namely to menace the opponent and create further advantage by which we may compare to the opponent. Hidden weapons are used according to demarcated plan in a bid to counterbalance the disadvantage of the short sword. All the Kakushi buki hidden weapons practices are understood as being useful outside the subject of swordsmanship as defense weapons in and of themselves but one must never lose sight of the intention of the techniques of Hidden weapons as being a compliment to the short sword.


太刀半棒立合ノ計画    Tachi Hanbō Tachiai No Keigaku  Strategy of the Long Sword Paired Against Half staff

The use of Hanbō short staff against the bokken wooden longsword (for example, within Daishō-sabaki sword disarms techniques and others) provide examples of how to prevail disadvantaged against the superior weapon. To make the matter plain, the technique name and the name of the strategy are quite often the same. The names can be joined together to form a statement of verse or perhaps from the sutras and likewise the strategies can be strung together to form a longer set of actions. This page entry better explains certain details of this and related subjects.


戸田竜両分銅鎖    Toda Ryū Moro Fundo Kusari     Toda Dragon Double Counter-weighted Chain

The use of various lengths of small linked chain in techniques that sometimes are joined to a short staff or other implement used as a weapon whether in conjunction with the short sword or without the short sword. There are various small implements that are used in Toda ryū moro fundo kusari which may be joined to the chain or held separately in the hand. These are namely such as 短刀Tantō (“little sword” tear-drop shaped blade with hole in base), 掌剣 Shōken (“Palm sword” similar to pointed brass knuckles or similar to an ice pick) and 角手 Kakute (“hand hook” ringed spike or small meat hook like aperture) just to name a few. The catalog of techniques for the kusari fundo all come from the school called toda ryu, which are used by many related schools. This page entry better explains further details of the Toda Dragon Double Weighted Chain and related subjects.


匕首ト毒針    Aikuchi To Dokubari     Dirks and Iron Needles

These are a number of iron spikes, dirks and daggers (including shaken wheel blades or “throwing stars”) they are usually very small but some may be two and half hand-spans long. They are often used by stabbing them into vulnerable places along the joints of the arm or shoulder as a hindrance to movement (so the opponent cannot easily protect himself) or sometimes at the hip or knee joint intended to reduce his maneuverability. They have other uses as well.


早縄ノ大事    Hayanawa No Daiji     Important Matters of the Quick Rope

Often considered the most important of the kakushi buki hidden weapons this involves nawanage no jutsu techniques of the rope and cord for all kinds of uses. The first use of hayanawa Quick rope is for binding, packaging and load-bearing. That is the most original usage. Most of the kakushi buki are really this sort of implement. And so often nawanage means to bind and package the opponent (not unlike the idea of handcuffs and leg irons.) Perhaps even slung from the boughs of a tree or any reasonable object in more dire circumstance. As with the Toda ryu fundo kusari, there are various implements used in conjunction with the rope or cording.

捕縄捕縛型ノ心得    Torinawa Hobaku Gata No Kokoroe     Knowledge of Arrest Form Rope

How to quickly bind an opponent hand and foot so they cannot escape. How to quickly bind and restrict one or both arms to the body to impede the opponent How to bind one or both wrists to an object. Tricks like these as well as knowledge of arrest customs as used by various kinds of authorities.

早懸    Hayagake     Quick Hooking

Usage of special prepared minor utensils to facilitate arrest by rope binding.

留縄ノ大事    Tomonawa No Daiji     Important Matters of Rope Stopping

Methods to prevent an opponent from binding you yourself, naturally the subject is not complete without these techniques. How to escape from full and partial bindings. How to defend oneself whilst partially bound. Things like this.


九字秘法ノ大事    Kuji Hihō No Daiji     Important Matters of the 9 Syllables Secret Method

These are matters of Japanese Shintoism and its magic, but also refers to nine arts embodied as the discipline of swordsmanship. Since it's possible to use another combination of nine syllables, the list of nine arts might not always be the same (some incarnations of the list of arts, one might say are the core of the social arts, for example.) Otherwise it's possible to say that swordsmanship must include religion and spirituality to counterbalance the ill effects of violence. Also that bygone eras and days past must not be forgotten (or the lessons learned will be lost) this is kuji hihō as well (pun on words in Jap. Language “bygone (times)” is also pronounced kuji).

十字大法    Juji Daihō     10 Syllables Great Method

It is much the same as kuji hihō on that subject, another syllable added to utterly complete the spell, one could say. Remembering the teachings of Buddhism engaging in them and not overlooking them (pun on words in Jap. Language “teachings of Buddha”, “engage in; carry out” is also pronounced Juji). [Note: 'Juji daiho' in Japanese language is the exact same thing as saying “the Great and Complete Teachings of the Buddha”.]


年中風雨考    Nenjū Fuu Kangae     Consideration of Meteorology

Whether for practice or when faced with combative usage of the sword, one must give due consideration to weather conditions and how they will effect performance. Since the short sword is already at a disadvantage, obviously any further disadvantages must be calculated for efficient defense. How to turn weather conditions to your advantage when it is possible to do so. These sorts of things.


不成就日    Fujōju Hi     Unrealized Days

This has profound and sundry meanings, and should be considered very well. Unrealized days of what happiness and contentment could have been, but were lost (in the waves of violence that may ensue.) Unrealized days of contentment that could occur by failure to act. Unrealized days of contentment caused by committing oneself and one's time wrongfully (such as by dedicating to much time and money to pursuit of Budo or any other thing wrongfully.) There are many kinds of unrealized days that threaten to occur, one way to prevent this loss is to not remain ignorant of the possible loss.


賢木原健吉後秡    Sakakibara Kenkichi Gobatsu     Shintos Sacred Evergreen Meadow Imparting Health to Damaged Grain

This is Japanese Shintoism but suffice to say that it entails seeking and allowing oneself (and others) to heal from injuries of the heart and soul. Misconceptions and other more significant damages that may have occurred. Preventing damage to oneself that could occur by studying and practicing the methods of violence that sometimes Japanese Budo entails. Seeking a balance that is healthy.

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