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Japanese Sword Fighting [PORTABLE]

Prospective students interested in studying or receiving private instruction in Japanese swordsmanship, Aikido, and/or other Japanese martial arts in the Los Angeles area can make an appointment to visit the Shinkendo Honbu Dojo in Little Tokyo.

Japanese Sword Fighting

In the historical work The Book of Five Rings, legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi shares his top three rules for Japanese sword fighting: 1) know your environment, 2) think like your competitor, and 3) adapt your strategy to the circumstances. While these rules seem very specific to combat, they can be adapted and applied to modern life.

Musashi warns that many people make the mistake of becoming set and narrow-minded in their ways. When faced with real-life challenges, they jeopardize their chances of success by failing to optimize the strategies they have developed. No matter how knowledgeable or experienced a warrior may be, he must always keep the following rules in mind to win in samurai sword-fighting combat.

Training at Japanese Swordsmanship of Gwinnett, LLC is traditional emphasizing Reiho (Etiquette), discipline, and safety through Shugyo (serious training). Training starts with Shinkendo, learning the safe and respectful handling of the Japanese sword through practice with a bokuto (wooden sword).

I grew up watching Chuck Norris movies and "Kung Fu" reruns, playing , and reading fantasy novels. Strapping a sword to my hip and going on an adventure was my dream. After having some issues with bullying in school, my father enrolled my older brother and I in a martial arts program instructed by a coworker named Mike Jolley at the Fitness Factory in Cleveland, TN. Saya Mike Jolley instructed in Bando - a Burmese martial arts system that incorporated animal styles. My brother and I sparred incessantly inside the dojo and out. It was commonplace to see us throwing down in the back yard in the summertime. We attended class for about 2 years, but continued to train long after. After graduating high school in 1989, I took my first rafting trip down the Ocoee River/ with a friend and was instantly hooked. I immediately began training as a river guide at Cripple Creek Expeditions. A few months layer, I was a full fledged river guide taking several trips a day down the class III-IV river. I guided 6 seasons on the Ocoee and went on to guide two seasons on the class V Uppler Gauly River in WV. I learned to kayak early on in my rafting career, and I paddled many creeks and rivers all over the Eastern US. I was a regular on the Green River and was fortunate enough to have run Bear Creek on two occasions. My kayaking partner Jason Murrell and I are credited with the first descent by kayak of Rock Creek on Chillhowee Mountain TN. At the end of my rafting career, I was a trip leader responsible for the saftey of 80+ people per trip. I picked up a wide variety of skills and training as a guide including first responder, swiftwater rescue, climbing/rappelling, etc.I met my then future wife in the fall of 1997. We moved to Atlanta a year later so she could attend UGA while I took an IT job. For several years, we frequently traveled to raft and kayak. We started a family, and it became increasingly more difficult to travel for whitewater. As a result, my lifestyle became increasingly more sedentary. After 10 years of riding a desk, it was time for a change. In October of 2008 I traded my kayak and paddle for a sword and a staff and began my Shinkendo journey under Sensei Nayef Smith. I have since attended many local seminars taught by Kaiso Obata and Soke Obata as well as attended two instructor seminars at Honbu in LA. I also lead regular weekly study group sessions in Shinkendo, Bojutsu, & Toyama Ryu.Since 1998, I have been employed by a prominent Atlanta university/hospital. In my current role as Communications Architect, I am responsible for designing high speed enterprise class data and voice networks. I am a huge advocate of health and fitness through scientifically proven natural methods i.e. Hunter Gatherer Diet and High Intensity Training .

Become a Japanese stuntman! No samurai movie would be a complete without a sword fight and tatedo is the modern Japanese art of stage fighting using swords made from wood or bamboo. Osaka is the home of this art form, and InsideJapan can arrange an hour long lesson at a famous school which has trained actors for many Japanese action movies.

Learn the basics of swordplay and the distinctive posture and behavior of the samurai! Professional actors will teach you using actual bamboo swords, like those used in stage performances or films. Get a workout and learn not only about swordsmanship, but also how to carry yourself like a samurai.

English archers had their longbows, Old Westsheriffs had their six-guns, but samurai warriors had the most fearsome weaponof all: the razor-sharp, unsurpassed technology of the katana, or samurai sword. In this program, NOVA probesthe centuries-old secrets that went into forging what many consider the perfectblade.

Father and daughter show their mutual respect witha breathtaking test of skill. Midori draws a bow, aiming an arrow directly ather father's heart. His only protection is his sword. When she releases thestring, he slices the speeding arrow in half, inches from its target.

Japanese sword-making developed centuries ago,before electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, and other tools of modernmaterials analysis enabled scientists to understand exactly why the swords areas good as they are. Professor Michael Notis of Lehigh University, an expert onsamurai swords, sheds light on the principles that underlie the weapons'strength, resilience, beauty, and distinctive shape. (See an interview on metal's properties with Notis's colleague Rick Vinci.)

For example, during smelting, iron-ore sand isheated with charcoal, which provides a source of carbon that alloys with theiron to create steel. Ancient craftsmen deliberately stopped just short of auniform liquid state for the white-hot steel, which resulted in a product withvarying amounts of carbon throughout. The harder high-carbon steel was forgedinto the sword's edge, which had to be hard and sharp, while the more resilientlow-carbon steel was used as the core of the weapon to produce a bladeresistant to breaking during combat.

This sandwich of two different types of steelcontracted at different rates during rapid cooling, or quenching, which causedthe blade to warp lengthwise, giving it its distinctive curve that proved sodeadly when wielded in a slashing arc. "The unique aspect of the Japanese swordis that the craftsmen were able to put the right materials in the right placeto get optimum properties for the entire object," Notis tells NOVA.

Without access to the insights of modern science,Japanese craftsmen a millennium ago worked out an exacting method that is stillfollowed by a devoted few and that produces the Stradivarius of swords.

Masters of the killing stroke, each samurai had a collection of swords: a katana, the long sword, and a wakizashi, the short sword. Think of it as an equivalent to a rifle and sidearm pistol. The set was called a Daisho, and if the samurai needed something extra up their sleeve, in case the opposition was daunting, the warrior would add a tanto blade to their collection. The wakizashi was to be carried at all times and even kept under the pillow while the soldier sleeps, as it was used for close-quarter combat, emergencies, and ritual suicide. On the other hand, the katana was the head honcho on the battlefield, cutting through flesh like butter and chopping off heads, freezing the stunned faces of the enemy.

The katana was not only a weapon of protection but a mercy tool to assist in a ritualistic Japanese suicide called seppuku, which was carried out when a warrior brought shame to himself. A kaishakunin, or an appointed second person on duty for the ritual, is typically a samurai on standby who is ready to behead the person performing seppuku. The kaishakunin stands on the left side of the person committing the ritual suicide and draws his sword slowly and silently, raising it with his right hand, waiting for the seppuku to be carried out.

The creation of a katana was so vital Shinto priests were called in to bless the process, as well as perform a spiritual purification of the swordsmith. Creators of these glorious katanas were considered artists, as they poured their hearts into the forging of these incredible weapons. In the golden age of the samurai between the 13th and 17th centuries, swordsmiths were as renowned as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. These rockstar artisans were surrounded by myths, just like the samurai. A tameshigiri (test cut) was performed with a newly forged katana by slicing through a stack of dead bodies or even live criminals. Of course, tameshigiri could only be done by a master swordsman to ensure the quality of the build.

The samurai era came to an end in 1868, and the next four decades saw the samurai armor and swords being replaced by Western uniforms and weapons. However, during the Showa Period and into World War II, Japanese swords saw a resurgence.

Between 1894 and 1905, the Murata-to became the sword that replaced the traditional samurai blade, which then transformed into the Kyu Gunto, taking on the style of American swords with a wraparound hand guard. However, between 1935 and 1945, the Shin Gunto sword became a symbol of rank in the Imperial Japanese Army. It borrowed the design of the traditional slung tachi carried by the samurai, resembling a smaller katana. In a world now filled with gun-smoke, the swords stood mostly as military flair.

After World War II, there was a prohibition placed on the creation and possessions of swords until 1953. By 1960, the Society of Preservation of the Japanese Sword came to light, helping to bring back the ancient techniques to create the tamahagane steel needed to forge authentic katanas. Today, a licensed swordsmith must craft katanas the same way it was done 1,000 years ago. 041b061a72


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