This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series sWords of Wisdom

Iizasa Choisai (1387-1488) Founder of Katori Shinto-ryu, and hence one of the pioneers of traditional Japanese swordsmanship. Originally printed in Kendo World Issue 1.2, 2002. From the book Kenshi no Meigon, by Tobe Shinjuro. Translated by Alex Bennett. *** hyōhō wa heihō nari “The Way of War is the Way of Peace” Victory over one’s enemy is superior to killing one’s enemy. The way of war is the way of peace. Strive to attain victory without resorting to violence.  In Japan there is an old saying “War from the East, Music from the West”. This is drawing distinction to the sophisticated court culture which was centredRead More →

tsukahara bokuden

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series sWords of Wisdom

Tsukahara Bokuden (1490-1571). One of Japan’s greatest swordsmen, he founded the Shinto-ryu, which in turn saw the development of many more great fencers. Originally printed in Kendo World Issue 1.3, 2002. From the book Kenshi no Meigon, by Tobe Shinjuro. Translated by Alex Bennett. *** Uma ha haneru mono “Horses kick!!” Being able to avoid a horse as it kicks back is indeed an impressive display of technical ability and agility, but forgetting that they kick and walking nonchalantly past the back in the first place is just slipshod. Tsukahara Bokuden’s kenjustu career started when he was just three years old. From a young age, heRead More →

tsukahara bokuden

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series sWords of Wisdom

Tsukahara Bokuden (1490-1571). One of Japan’s greatest swordsmen, he founded the Shinto-ryu, which in turn saw the development of many more great fencers. Originally printed in Kendo World Issue 1.4, 2002. From the book Kenshi no Meigon, by Tobe Shinjuro. Translated by Alex Bennett. *** Korashite Katsu “Win by making them speculate!” He was good, but no great. Stubborn fool walked straight into it!”   In the world of heiho, absence of mind is a state sought after. This of course is not referring to forgetfulness, but rather the condition of being freed from distraction or having your mind preoccupied with some small detail. In kendo theRead More →

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series sWords of Wisdom

Saito Denkibo (1550-1587) Student of Tsukahara Bokuden and founder of the Ten-ryû tradition. Originally printed in Kendo World Issue 2.2, 2003. Translated by Alex Bennett. Hito no hyoteki tare “Stand out from the crowd be the target of others” Tsukahara Bokuden, who we have featured in the last few issues had many disciples who also shone as great warriors. Of them Saito Denkibo was one of the brightest, if not the most pugnacious. Denkibo was born in a small village in Hitachi (modern day Ibaraki prefecture.) He learned the sword and spear from Bokuden. Denkibo was not happy about learning from Bokuden as there were alreadyRead More →