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ISO Ji Gen Ryu or Satsuma Kage Ryu practitioners

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  • ISO Ji Gen Ryu or Satsuma Kage Ryu practitioners

    Just wondering if there's anyone out there who has practised one of the kenjutsu koryu native to the Kagoshima area? The main two I know of are Satsuma Kage Ryu and Ji Gen Ryu. I have a video of both arts from a Kobudo Tai Kai, but have never heard of anyone outside of Japan studying either.

    Chances are we'll be on opposite sides of the world from each other, but would still be interested to hear about experiences, techniques and so on.


  • #2
    I demonstrate at the Kagoshima Kobudo Taikai each year and do a hono embu at the present site where Takamori Saigo performed seppuku.

    Togo Sensei and members of the Jigenryu come up here occasionally when we hold an event.

    I have spent a some time visiting and practicing at the Jigenryu. The family have built a museum, the heihosho and a house. Its a bit like a sumo beya. The practice area is a clay/earth floor with a tall tree stump in the ground. Practice is bare foot. There are a number of branches in the weapon rack. At demonstrations you will see different branches used. But the standard size is similar to a bokuto. The tree stump is used as a dummy.

    Hasso kamae is as other ryu of that period very high. The wrist level with the top of the ear taken both left and right. Also there is similarity in the fact that strikes are direct. They don't do this wierd going through jodan behind the back of the head like kendo kata. The strikes are the most difficult as they use a twisting movement. Doing Batto-jutsu and other Kobudo I am used to a diagonal movement that follows through.
    This is not the case in Jigenryu.

    The kiai is a devastating high pitched one accompanied by the fast run up attack. They practice this too!! Being on the other end I would suggest running away quickly or a quick read of Hagakure's Shinu beki mitsuketari (resolute acceptance of death) You need diapers if your unprepared.

    I should also say that there are different forms. That taught to the commoners and that taught to people who carried swords.

    The list of Kobudo in Kagoshima is as thick as a magazine but I doubt if you will ever see much outside. They are members of the Kagoshima Kobudo Renmei and have little interest outside.

    The present generation descendant of the Shimadzu Clan, Nobuhisa Shimadzu will jokingly tell you that his family crest of a circle with a cross in it represents Japanese that crossed over the Kagoshima border. Its a sort of "stay out" sign.

    The circle is the top of the head. The vertical line is the imprint of the bo. The horizontal one is that of their own weapon as they were rarely successful in blocking the attack.

    Sorry I cant give you any technical terminology. My stays are sadly too short.


    Ps. Was the Satsuma Kageryu named as that on the video?
    Last edited by Hyaku; 24th July 2002, 05:39 PM.


    • #3
      Thanks for all the info Hyaku! Very interesting. The video I actually shot myself at the Kagoshima Ken Kobudo Taikai of '93. The name of Satsuma Kage Ryu I obtained from the anouncement by the MC and the banner next to the stage.



      • #4
        I have only been going down there for four years or so. There are so many conflicting events at that time. The Kagoshima Ken Iaido Takai is the same day. Also the Nihon Kobudo Renmei embu in Hiroshima is around that time.

        What did you think to that sort of running on the spot kirikaeshi by one ryu. Did you see it? Amazing



        • #5
          Yeah. That's Ji Gen Ryu kirikaeshi, if I'm not mistaken. They also had some pretty interesting kata with yari (or naginata, I'm not sure, just an incredibly long tree branch really) vs bokken and some very rudimentary kote. The other thing I liked about JiGenRyu was the large number of children who were in the demo, bashing the crap out of those tree trunks and screaming. It really does seem to be a very spirit-focused style of training. I also liked the way before a demo, the each kenshi would walk over to a pile of bokken sized tree branches, pick one, give it a little test swing as if to say "yeah this one will do" and then proceed to bash away with it. Very casual - very different to the kind of reverence we're taught to handle our swords with in kendo/iaido/aikido.

          The Satsuma Kage ryu had some interesting suburi/taiso exercises based on the "maruju" of the Shimazu clan: a circular motion with both arms, followed by horizontal and vertical cuts.

          BTW I didn't get the meaning of Shimazu Nobuhisa's quip. Is he being exceedingly self-deprecating? Sounds almost Aussie! If so that's terribly unusual for a Japanese with his heritage. He sounds like a very interesting bloke.



          • #6
            Whilst at a shinkage-ryu keiko with members of the Tokyo Yagyu-kai + Yagyu sensei there happened to be a some mad koryu stuff going on next door ... I knew it was jigen-ryu because they were doing the one-legged kirikaeshi type thing ....... unfortuanatly I couldnt really stand and watch very long as there was beer to be had. Besides, I think my fukoru shinai would have been useless had they decided to go for me


            • #7
              "What did you think to that sort of running on the spot kirikaeshi by one ryu. Did you see it? Amazing."

              Hyaku, I just rewatched the video and saw that this kirikaeshi is performed in Satsuma Kage no Ryu and not Ji Gen Ryu as I mentioned above.



              • #8

                I was trying to look for web information on the Jigen-Ryu kenjutsu. It seems that this thread here is the most informative so far.

                But I'm looking for more. Does anyone know an English website with comprehensive details about Jigen-Ryu kenjutsu?

                By the way, Ben-sensei, I saw you doing some moves before one of the kendo trainings at UMKC. Was that from a particular ryu?



                • #9
                  Although one of the seniors of Jigenryu is a TV producer in Kagoshima I doubt if they have any plans to do so. As far as i know they have no Engkish speaking regular student that would be ablr to receive permission to do such a thing. Even as far as Japan is concerned the Kobudo in Kagoshima remains seperate and independant seeing no advantage or having no wish to join any national association.

                  Jigenryu are a traditional Dojo that at one time did not even have permanant place of practice. That is whay they use the term Heihosho. It was all very secret with them moving the practice around. They practice barefoot on the ground so can actualy practice anywhere outside if the need arises.

                  The Interet is the Internet. Kobudo is Kobudo.

                  Hope this helps.
                  Last edited by Hyaku; 20th June 2004, 10:07 AM.


                  • #10
                    So it is true then that anyone who wants to learn about the Jigenryu today must make their way to Kagoshima...

                    Thanks, hyaku, for that anyway. I might've ended up searching the net for something that doesn't exist here.