Kenjutsu, literally translated as "sword technique" is one of the oldest Japanese martial arts. His apprenticeship is an integral part of the education of samurais, the former military and ruling caste of Japanese society.
The creation of the oldest schools referenced today in Japan goes back to the 12th century, however it is from the 17th century, under the era of peace established by the Tokugawa dynasty that the majority of those practiced nowasdays have been developed. day. Some of the best known include Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu founded in 1447 by Iizasa Ienao, Kamiizumi Ise-no-Kami Nobutsuna's Skinkage Ryu style, and Musashi Miyamoto's Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu school.
Unlike more well-known martial arts such as Karate, Judo, Aikido or its modern cousin, Kendo, Kenjutsu is not part of the Budo family, but as to be include in the Bujutsu category. It is therefore primarily a military fencing.
In most schools, the learning is done through codified forms called katas. These last ones are not to be considered as fixed techniques, but as tools of work making it possible to develop a large potentiality of reactions and movements during a confrontation.
The Kenjutsu I practice is the result of 15 years long personal research .
It focuses on three aspects of martial practice :
The first is the reeducation of the body.
For a gesture to be considered effective in the world of fencing, it must not be perceptible or anticipable by the eye of the opponent. For that, certain principles regarding the body mechanics , formerly common in the training of samurais must be respected. Gradually, due to the practice of educational exercises, new schemas of corporal use are put in place, allowing a different and conscious use of muscular chains.
The second is the technical learning of fencing.
In this context, a slow training at constant speed allows to assimilate the different cuts, dodging, feints and counters, while applying the body principles studied in the educational exercises to make each of these gestures imperceptible
This training is done without protection, and equipped with a wooden sword called bokken.
The third is the practice of combat.
Rarely practiced nowadays in traditional schools, this one forces the fencer to leave the framework of the pedagogical exercises to face an adversary.
In my opinion, this is an essential element of the discipline. In combat situations, the body automatisms we seek to erase during the practice of technical training tend to return. A deepen work on the management of time, space, but also of calm and body awarness is necessary to be able to apply the principles acquired during the previous practices during the confrontation.
One of the specificities of the school I teach, is to replace in the context of the fight, the traditional shinai (bamboo sword popularized by the kendo), by a steel sword whose blade and tip have been blunted . This measure, in my opinion, allows a realistic practice. The weight and balance of the weapon bringing us closer to the authentic feeling of a katana.
The modern fencing protection port allows to practice safely.