“The method, technique, or the art of the sword” is what an East Asian martial art form known as Kenjutsu literally means. This “weapon” based form of combat is said to have originated from Japan. Apparently, Kenjutsu is said to have been created from within the “Samurai class” that existed during the feudal Japanese society. Furthermore, there are a number of schools teaching the Kenjutsu martial art form each following different conventions, methods, ethics, and philosophy.
a. History/origin of Kenjutsu:
According to the cultural history of Japan, Kenjutsu as a form of martial art was first developed during the “Muromachi” era. In fact, during this period there existed three major schools in the form of Kage-ryu, Chugo-ryu, and Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu that taught this weapon based combat form. Furthermore, it was during the “Edo period” that over 500 schools teaching this combat form was made available throughout the country. In addition, this period also saw a drastic improvement in training techniques and the quality of equipments used in Kenjutsu. Unfortunately, this form of combat rapidly began to be used less from the year 1868 onwards when the “Meji Restoration” era gradually set in. It was eventually in the 20th century when countries such as the United States of America began showing a keen interest in Kenjutsu and other Japanese martial art forms. It is this curiosity shown from the outside that then compelled many martial artists within Japan to learn “kenjutsu” which led to its revival.
b. Weapon used in the Kenjutsu:
There are two kinds of weapon used in the Kenjutsu, and they are as follows:
- Bokuto: Also known as “Bokken” is a sword basically made from wood.
- Fukuro Shinai: Is basically a sword made of bamboo which is covered with leather or cloth.
c. Technique involved in the Kenjutsu and training availability:
In terms of technique, the two fighters in Kenjutsu basically perform what is known as “kata” i.e. a movement that involves the use of full contact strikes as well as disallows body strikes to overcome an opponent. Furthermore, some schools also teach “sparring” under a few specific conditions in this form of combat. As for training centers/schools, there are a number of them available around the world for those interested in learning this “weapon” based martial art form.