|Toyama Ryu Batto Do|
Following the path of the Samurai
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Toyama Ryu Battodo is a modern Japanese Sword style that focuses on Practical use of the Katana as a weapon. Unlike many Iaido styles that focus on the use of the sword from a kneeling position called seiza, Toyama Ryu is based on using the sword from a standing position.
Over 200 years ago the samurai class was abolished in Japan. The Meiji Restoration redefined the class system and brought Japan into the modern era. To most people the Samurai are a footnote in history or larger than life figures on the cinema screen. The Samurai are gone, but their spirit lives on. Men and women from Japan and around the world are dedicated to keeping their legacy alive. Toyama Ryu Battodo is a Japanese sword art formally established in 1925 for the Toyama Military academy in Japan. The Toyama academy was the Japanese equivalent of West Point founded in 1873. A committee under the senior authority of Nakayama Hakudo formalized this style to teach officers practical battlefield swordsmanship. Nakayama was the 16th soke of the Shimomura-faction of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido. This art draws its techniques and philosophy from the expert swordsmen and their styles of that era. Its roots are in Omori Ryu Tachi Iai and the tachi waza of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. It embodies the art of drawing and using the single sword from a standing posture. It teaches not only drawing and cutting techniques, but also the mental and spiritual aspects which governed the daily lives of swordsmen long ago.
Toyama Ryu is based on the practical application of the sword as a weapon. It consists of basic cutting techniques, basic kata, advanced two man kata and a variety of specific cutting patterns. It places significant emphasis on the importance of actual cutting with the sword and understanding the intricate details. It focuses on not only the physical details of every action involved in using the sword, but also the mental and spiritual meaning which also must play an equal part in understanding the sword as was once done long ago.
Battodo, loosely translated, means the way of drawing and cutting with a sword in a single motion. This is the basic distinction between Battodo and Kenjutsu, which are the fighting techniques used after the sword is drawn. Battodo and Iaido are pretty much interchangeable. The distinction we draw here is Battodo techniques are performed in a standing position, while traditional Iaido uses many techniques performed from seiza, or the kneeling position.
Tameshigiri, consisting of various cutting patterns and targets. Tameshigiri, the practice of test cutting, is fundamental in Battodo. The purpose of tameshigiri is to test the cutting ability of the sword, gain experience in striking a solid object and improve timing, distance, angle and grip. The targets used consist of makiwara, tightly rolled mats called tatami mats that have been soaked in water and offer uniform weight and thickness. While kata teaches correct footwork and body movement, it is only by cutting an actual target that reveals whether or not the proper cutting technique is being used. Strength, speed and technique alone, however, are not enough. The correct swing technique and blade angle, hasuji, must combine with proper cutting distance to make a successful cut. To perform a perfect cut, the mind, body and spirit must fuse at the very instant of cutting. This is the training objective of Battodo.
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