2 inquiries about kenjutsu
I have run into a bit of confusion while trying to find info on this on the net and I'm hoping someone here can shed some light.
1. I have been interested in sword fighting since I was a little hooded. I understoond the term Kenjutsu to refer to a specific japanese MA that trains in sword combat. Not fencing like kendo and not drawing the blade like iaido, but serious sword fighting techniques, not larping. I have also seen the term kenjutsu refer to kendo and iaido when trained together with no refrence to it being its own MA. So I am a bit confused as to if its really its own stand alone art or if its more of a blanket term to cover the training of kendo and iaido together. From what I have been able to find on the net most teachers of kendo in my area also teach iaido, but I can't find any mention of kenjutsu other than its refrence to training kendo and iaido together. So any clarification would be helpful. I personally believe its its own MA but I'd rather be sure.
2. Assuming kenjutsu is its own MA or taught on its own, is there a good website or any place in general that I might be able to use to find kenjutsu teachers/schools in my (seattle) area? I took kumdo which I understand to be almost identical to kendo, and I love it but its hardly t3h r34l sword fighting techniques I am looking for. When returning to my school I want to ask my instructor about kumsul/kumsool (sp) since as I understand it is supposed to be like kenjustsu, but it looks like the pickins are slim for this type of MA in my area so right now I'm looking for any place not BS that can teach me the sword.
If you are looking for kenjutsu, then you'll be looking for koryu "old school" ways.
Start your research at www.koryu.com
Kenjutsu is a generic term referring to the combative use of the sword, there are several koryu systems still in existence today however, you MUST research the lineage and history of the system and the teacher you wish to study under to ensure you are not being taken for a ride.
Polite but non the less direct point of note... Study of Koryu IS NOT a hobby, you will find yourself having to dedicate yourself to understanding a great many things over a long period of time and, depending upon what ryu-ha you wish to study, you may also need to travel to Japan for formal acceptance into the school.
Kendo is a sport and only bears a feint resemblance to its origins, indeed no one actually knows for sure who is formally responsible for the formation of the sport.
Technically kenjustu and iaido is larping because no one employs those weapons for real any more thus no matter how realistic in terms of speed and commitment kata may be.. its always ultimately kata.
Mr. Frosty, thanks for the heads up. I was unaware that Kenjutsu might require extensive travel, although there are worse places to visit than Japan. I know that the sword is hardly the weapon of choice these days but I do love the beauty of it. "Its an elegant weapon...for a more civil age."
Well, I'm not specifically saying that to study Kenjutsu you would have to travel to Japan.
Merely suggesting that several classical ryu require their students to formally become members of their school and this is generally done in Japan.
The other side of the coin is that Iaido utilises almost all of the aspects you'll find in kenjutsu; you'll study solo and paired kata and still be learning a koryu. The two most prolific ryu today are Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu and Muso Shinden Ryu (both systems are similar as they share the same origins) There are several others including gendai (modern) but equally valid systems such as ZNKR Seitei Gata Iai, Shinkendo created by Obata T. Shihan. You've also got Toyama Ryu which was taught to Japanese Officers and soldiers enabling them to use their shingunto in modern warfare (WWII)
There's many options which is why you must research your choice(s)
Also neglected to say that within Kendo you have ZNKR Kendo Kata which is a series of paired kata using both long and short swords.
These kata are drawn from several koryu-ha, their format is very old school, there's not sporting element to them what so ever and, if you ****-up your timings you'll most likely get hurt.
Training starts with bokuto then you progress to swords specifically designed for kendo kata (because there's a degree of blade to blade contact.)
Most kendoka also study the gendai iai forms within Seitei (which essentially means standardised). these are twelve solo kata again drawn from several koryu sources.
So studying kendo, you'll lean the modern competitive aggressive form and the solo koryu influenced aspects which IMHO is a nice around study package which suits many people.
I study Kendo and Koryu Iai (as well as iwama aikido)
Dang, I thought the thread was 'Two INJURIES about kenjutsu'.
Some pics of a severed limb would be nice ...
If I recall correctly there is a Genbukan Affiliated school in the Seattle area. While their Kenjutsu program is integrated into both their Ninpo and Kokushi Jujutsu programs it might be a good place to get a taste of the art and to see if it is for you. Simply working with them on their Kenjutsu kyu ranks will give you a fairlly serious understanding of basic sword history, terms and mechanics.
I know there is another thread about kenjutsu that is more recent but I don't want to sidetrack that particular discussion. After some searching I have found that I have Phil Relnick and Ellis Amdur listed as being in my area and both especially Mr Relnick seem to have solid rep in their respective ryu. I have been trying for a couple days and have been as yet unsuccessful in finding any info on where their schools are located, just references that they have schools in my area. I have sent emails but am still waiting to hear back and was wondering if ANYONE here knows the address' or can give directions or any way of contacting either of these people or their schools assuming they have actual schools and are not strictly private instructors. These are the only leads on any kenjutsu or koryu training in my area and I am desperate to get more info from either of these instructors. I have tried Koryu.com and registered at e-budo but koryu had no direct info and e-budo is taking eternity and a day to validate my account or whatever they do. So please any info would be greatly appreciated.
Just be happy with their email addresses and be patient. The only way I could contact my instructor was through email - he didn't list a phone number or an address anywhere, and for good reason. They don't just want anyone calling up or walking into their dojo, so like I said, be patient and polite and see what happens.
Originally Posted by Hooded Justice
Thank you for the advice. I'll try and be more patient. I was just hoping that the lack of address didn't mean their schools had closed or moved.