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  1. kdawgious is online now

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    Posted On:
    12/18/2011 6:37pm


     Style: Shotokan

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    Japanese Sword Styles

    This is probably something that has been covered, or asked about already, but I didn't find anything comprehensive via the search function.

    Can anybody tell me what the legitimate koryu kenjutsu/kendo styles are that are still taught to this day?

    Also, are there any styles that would be considered gendai, or are they all really gendai budo now?

    Last question, what makes each of the styles unique? Perhaps it's my ignorance, but from all I've seen via videos on YouTube, a sword cut is a sword cut. What makes the styles different?

    Thanks!
  2. frenchie88 is online now

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    Posted On:
    12/18/2011 8:38pm


     Style: Yagyu Shinkage Ryu

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    Here is a quick listing from Koryu.com:

    http://www.koryu.com/guide/kenjutsu.html

    For Gendai Kenjutsu, Nakamura Ryu and Toyama Ryu are both popular styles.

    As to what makes different schools different is more about what the school emphesizes. Some styles are aggressive in their philosophy, while others are more of a baiting style. Others should be along to add more.
  3. kdawgious is online now

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    Posted On:
    12/18/2011 11:14pm


     Style: Shotokan

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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie88 View Post
    Here is a quick listing from Koryu.com:

    http://www.koryu.com/guide/kenjutsu.html

    For Gendai Kenjutsu, Nakamura Ryu and Toyama Ryu are both popular styles.

    As to what makes different schools different is more about what the school emphesizes. Some styles are aggressive in their philosophy, while others are more of a baiting style. Others should be along to add more.
    From the information I was able to get from the site, I'm seeing that a big differing factor is the particular weapon focus, or breadth of focus, for each style. It seems like some ryuha contained other weapon styles along with their specific brand of kenjutsu. Does this additional body of knowledge in the ryuha create differences in the manner of application of the sword?

    I understand what you're saying about differing philosophies...but to my uneducated-in-blades mind, that doesn't seem like enough of a reason for different styles. Especially considering the number of different ryuha that there apparently are according to the link. As most koryu styles are kata-based (please forgive me if that's a poor assumption), is there a difference in the kata between the styles as well?

    Or is the idea of differing ideologies and styles mainly a cover for political infighting of the same nature that we saw with the JKA after Nakayama died?
  4. Rock Ape is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/19/2011 8:21am

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdawgious View Post
    Last question, what makes each of the styles unique? Perhaps it's my ignorance, but from all I've seen via videos on YouTube, a sword cut is a sword cut. What makes the styles different?

    Thanks!
    The only comprehensive way to really answer that question would be to research the individual ryu-ha and compare the results - stand by to give the rest of your life to that task because what you're asking is an immense subject and some of it will be very VERY subjective depending upon who you talk to..

    Example: Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu as a system doesn't have one headmaster because the art has a number of different branch lines each with it's own individualisms. Muso Shinden Ryu - the sister system to MJER doesn't have a headmaster at all so you're never going to get a single definitive answer.

    I know people who've lived in Japan and studied it's sword systems for considerable periods of time and I doubt they'd be able to fully answer your question(s).

    A lot of what makes an individual system "unique" to some extent, relies on its historical development as a waring method and, how those systems changed as a result of the end in civil conflict prior too the Meiji Restoration abolishing of the bushi class structure.
    Last edited by Rock Ape; 12/19/2011 8:30am at .
    "To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".

    ~Ella Wheeler
  5. NeilG is online now
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    Posted On:
    12/19/2011 2:17pm


     Style: Kendo

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdawgious View Post
    Does this additional body of knowledge in the ryuha create differences in the manner of application of the sword?
    No koryu expert here but the idea is that the ryu uses the same principles throughout the system.
    As most koryu styles are kata-based (please forgive me if that's a poor assumption), is there a difference in the kata between the styles as well?

    Or is the idea of differing ideologies and styles mainly a cover for political infighting of the same nature that we saw with the JKA after Nakayama died?
    There are some ryu that are closely related and have branched through the years for various reasons. The two common iaido ryu-ha MJER and MSR are like that. Others have completely different origins and their kata look similar to MJER only insofar as both sides are holding the swords with the pointy end out. There's a lot of reading to be had, koryu.com is a good start. Mugendo budo also has a lot of books and videos you can buy.

    From a practical standpoint, ie what is available to you locally to study, odds are it is MJER or MSR if anything at all. If you're wanting to locate a place or confirm its authenticity this is really the wrong forum, you should be posting on kendo world, e-budo or even swordforum.
  6. money is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/20/2011 5:37pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdawgious View Post
    Last question, what makes each of the styles unique? Perhaps it's my ignorance, but from all I've seen via videos on YouTube, a sword cut is a sword cut. What makes the styles different?
    Well, a punch is a punch, right? So what is the difference between Karate and Muay Thai? Or Shotokan and Kyokushin for that matter?

    Of course I'm being silly. Just as there are many differences between these arts, there can be just as many variations in a weapon art. There can be different kata, different variations of similar kata or a different focus on certain aspects of training (some might focus on battoho, others might not do tameshigiri). It seems every style has it's on particular way of noto (re-sheathing) with some being relatively basic and others very flashy.
  7. Jujutsuka desu is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/20/2011 5:54pm


     Style: Akayama Ryu

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    I understand what you're saying about differing philosophies...but to my uneducated-in-blades mind, that doesn't seem like enough of a reason for different styles. Especially considering the number of different ryuha that there apparently are according to the link. As most koryu styles are kata-based (please forgive me if that's a poor assumption), is there a difference in the kata between the styles as well?
    Maybe I can help clear up something here. It's not just Ryuha or Japanese but all martial arts in general. Martial arts are philosophies that get expressed in physical techniques. Good cutting mechanics are good cutting mechanics and good punching mechanics are good punching mechanics. It's not so much about doing these things differently as much as it is "what you do with those things."
    For instance we will take a common art like Tae Kwon Do. The apparent(I can't speak much since I don't do tae kwon do) philosophy of Tae Kwon Do is that a weaker mans kick is stronger than a stronger mans punch. Thus they train to be very fast with kicks and utilize a lot of kicking methods. That is because they want their kicks to be fast like a punch. Now I could be wrong about Tae Kwon Do of course since I do not practice Tae Kwon do. But I am trying to paint a picture of how all the techniques and training you see in Tae Kwon Do are branching from that philosophy. They don't exactly have some special way of kicking you or punching you that you couldn't find in another art, but they go about it a different way.
    And this also how Ryuha differ in Japanese martial arts.
  8. DARPAChief is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/20/2011 10:05pm


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdawgious View Post
    Also, are there any styles that would be considered gendai, or are they all really gendai budo now?
    The distinction between Koryu and Gendai Budo is generally applied thus: everything before the abolition of the Samurai caste in the late 1870s is classified under the former, while the latter encompasses everything afterward (classically structured schools formed thereafter do not quite "fit-in" with new arts like Judo however, and are a source of contention; further, newer arts only tangentially related to Budo have been called 'Goshin-jutsu', i.e. self-defense methods).

    Last question, what makes each of the styles unique? Perhaps it's my ignorance, but from all I've seen via videos on YouTube, a sword cut is a sword cut. What makes the styles different?
    All sword cuts are not created equal. Even in a discussion of cuts that could be considered effective, one needs to establish what 'effective' is. This ties into a greater distinction that needs to be made between Koryu and Gendai Budo. Namely, that the Koryu as varied and distinctive as they can be were secretive societies that trained for conflict in their respective eras.

    Open to everybody and heavily influenced by western notions of education and science, Gendai Budo is remarkably progressive. Since its inception, goals such as competition and self-cultivation have been at the forefront of Budo. Contrary to popular belief however, these are not ideals incompatible with the Koryu; they are as old as Budo itself. The rise of Judo and later Kendo came on the heels of a decline in interest of Budo however, and really all things Japanese. Some Koryu embraced the new culture and some resisted it; many of the latter continue to exist, albeit this conservatism and the nature of classical methodology has been difficult to reconcile with the need for maintaining a living tradition; that is, a system of combat that is shaped and continually guided by esoteric principles. Koryu that have ceased to perpetuate this living tradition have departed from Budo. The Koryu that remain 'alive' do not necessarily incorporate 'alive' training, but they live on in the sense that they are not frozen in time and they continue to grow and improve. The Araki Ryu Torite Kogusoku lead by Ellis Amdur is a good example of this; look for his articles on Koryu.com for additional information.

    In summary, what makes each style unique is, in my opinion, more or less what makes Koryu unique: their particular approach to a comprehensive warrior ethos.
    Last edited by DARPAChief; 12/20/2011 10:08pm at .
  9. NeilG is online now
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    Posted On:
    12/21/2011 8:49am


     Style: Kendo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jujutsuka desu View Post
    Good cutting mechanics are good cutting mechanics
    Actually if you look at some of the koryu kata you will see quite wildly different approaches to cutting.
  10. Jujutsuka desu is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/21/2011 5:11pm


     Style: Akayama Ryu

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilG View Post
    Actually if you look at some of the koryu kata you will see quite wildly different approaches to cutting.
    Yeah I know and I probably should have clarified it in context more.
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