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Japanese Swords and Sword Arts

Itto-ryu Kenjutsu: An Overview
By Meik Skoss

It is one of the most significant schools of Japanese swordsmanship, one that influenced the development of kendo.

Ittosai?s Test: Part 1
By Dave Lowry

In the sixteenth year of Tensho (1588), the swordsman Ito Ittosai Kagehisa could depend neither on a large and healthy crop of prospective successors among his students nor on a family heir ready to take over his Itto ryu. He had only two disciples from whom he could choose to carry on the traditions and strategies of his system of combat with the sword.

Ittosai?s Test: Part 2
By Dave Lowry

Kagehisa only had two students worthy of inheriting his tradition, but they were evenly matched in skill. Kagehisa thus devised another standard, a test for determining which of them would succeed him. It could not have come as a surprise to either that his test was a bizarre one.

Toyama Ryu: Swordsmanship of Imperial Japan
By Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.

Toyama Ryu is a style of swordsmanship that was associated with the Japanese military in the early 20th century. It was created in 1925 for use by the Rikugun Toyama Gakko, a school for military officers that was located in Tokyo.

Book Review: Katori Shinto Ryu: Warrior Tradition
By Deborah Klens-Bigman

Risuke Otake's The Deity and the Sword (originally published in 1977, most recent reprint 1991), an in-depth description of Japan's oldest continuing martial arts tradition. The 3-volume set was required reading for many (especially those of us who studied Japanese swordsmanship) and until the advent of this new volume, was a genuinely expensive, hard-to-find item.

Forging the "Soul of the Samurai" - A Visit to Seki
By Deborah Klens-Bigman

Forging a Japanese Samurai style sword (katana) through the traditional hand-made process is technically demanding, complicated and time consuming. While cheap modern manufactured ?knock-offs? may look similar to the uninitiated, the difference is dramatic.

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