We practice two different styles of traditional Japanese swordsmanship based on the use of a katana. Both are ko-ryu (old school) martial arts with roots dating back nearly 500 years, and were used in the training of Samurai. Each art is taught to us directly from the two respective schools in Japan under the auspices of Ryugamine Dojo in Las Vegas, Nevada.
IAIDO is the art of drawing the sword, making a cut, thrust, or block, and then returning the sword to the saya (scabbard) quickly and safely. We make these moves against a teki (an imaginary opponent). Iaido is an internal martial art in that we practice it alone (together), and does not involve direct contact with an opponent. Iaido develops one’s focus, concentration, balance, stability, and strength. We practice Iaido in class with either a bokken (wooden sword) or an iaito (unsharpened metal sword).
KENJUTSU is a Japanese martial art that studies the art of dueling with swords. Our style focuses on simple, quick techniques with no unnecessary movements. The perfect technique consists of both defense and offence in one fast, fluid motion. Where Iaido is practiced individually, albeit in a group setting, Kenjutsu is practiced with a training partner with each assigned prescribed roles. In addition to the benefits of Iaido, Kenjutsu develops one’s sense of timing and spatial coordination. We practice Kenjutsu with a special bokuto (wooden sword), and sometimes with a shinai (split bamboo sword). There is striking of swords in Kenjutsu, but there is no bodily contact in our style.
These two schools are not formally related, and we practice each one distinct from the other. One can choose to train in either style, or both, as they each compliment the other very well. The style of Iaido and Kenjutsu that we practice are both non-competitive and non-combative with no bodily contact. Both are taught by way of kata (pre-arranged forms). The modern-day purpose of each style is to develop one’s mind, body and spirit, as well as learn Japanese culture along the way. We also keep alive ancient traditions from afar, and have the benefit of an open invite to train in Japan, and the benefit of two Japanese Soke (headmasters) training us directly on their visits to the US.