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Japanese Sword Arts

I was just wondering how many JSA practitioners we have on board so far.

I train with Fred East Sensei in Weston super Mare and so does Darren Whyley. But who else is about, where are you and what style do you practice ?

Japanese Sword Arts

Hi Neil,

I train in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu. My teacher is John Lovatt (Stoke).

I notice you didn’t say what it is that you study?

Kyudosha, my apologies. My current sword training is in Shinkendo, although I have studied Kendo, kenjutsu and Iai in the past.

Excuse my ignorance, I only know a little about MJER. Do you practice kata only or do you also practice tameshigiri?

I ask, because in the last few years cutting has suddenly become THE thing. It is an integral part of Shinkendo as well as Nakamura Ryu, but these are both ‘ modern ‘ styles and some of the Ryu-ha also seem now to be cutting.

Regardless. Very nice to know that there are other practitioners of other styles out there. Isn’t there a Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu dojo in the Stoke area also ? I seem to recall seeing a web site. I think there may also be a MJER dojo in Wiltshire, not too far from me.

The more the merrier.

Japanese Sword Arts

Hi Neil,

No problem. When I took the trouble to check, I found out who you were referring to as being your sensei. I’m new to this forum, so I didn’t know the man you mentioned.

As for the cutting, yes we have attempted some tameshegiri. It is not part of our grading syllabus, but I have introduced it in my club as I feel it has some merit in helping a student to guage their effectiveness in a cut. It can give some indication (through feel) as to errors in technique that just explanation can not reach. In other words, I feel there’s no substitute for experience!

My attitude to Japanese sworsdmanship is to try and gain a holistic appreciation for the art. I am lucky in that my sensei is highly experienced in kendo and kenjutsu as well as Iai. I try and pass on relevant kenjutsu ideas to my own students as they apply to the study of Iai. Part of the MJER system involves 2 man forms, which I find highly useful.

As for Katori, yes, the centre I train at also houses their club. I have spent many a difficult session sharing the hall with them shouting at each other, while I try and concentrate on my forms! (“Yoooo!!….Toooo!!….Eeeee!!”) Noisy sods!

Hey Steve,
Regarding Katori, you really made me laugh.

Surely, if your mind is centred, outside noise is of no consiquence Very Happy

I am fascinated by the growth of tameshigiri. Until I recommenced my training recently, I had never seen and scarecly heard of cutting. All my katana had been Nihonto or Gunto and I would never have dreamed of using them to cut. Now I wonder ‘why not ?’

I know there are practitioners who do not approve and I understand what they are saying, but my attitude has always been that a sword is meant to cut, that is its prime function.

We are very lucky now, as the proliferation of good, sturdy, safe , sharp katana is such that tameshigiri can be undertaken with no risk of damaging rare, expensive, collectors Nihonto. The only issue in the UK is what to cut?

We have cut all sorts of natural products, from Mugen Dachi made tatami omote to collected and bound water reeds. All different and fascinating. The problem seems to be getting a reliable source of economic and educational targets, even beach mats can only be bought during the holiday season ( and yes, I have spoken to an importer ).

I agree that regular tameshigiri is valuable training. When I first startted, I had a nasty habit of leaning into the cut and dropping my shoulder. This lacked control and also left me in a very weak and vulnerable position. That fault is now well on the way to being corrected, which allows me to work on the hundreds of other faults I have Shocked

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