View Full Version : Q&A: Shinkendo

Charlie Kondek
18th May 2004, 19:49
This is a thread to engage in a dialogue with Nathan Scott and any other shinkendo practitioners about the art. Thanks, Nathan!


Here's a question:

I understand the art is the creation of Toshishiro Obata and that it is comprised of five primary areas (according to the above website, Suburi (sword swinging drills), Tanrengata (solo forms), Battoho (combative drawing methods), Tachiuchi (pre-arranged sparring) and Tameshigiri/Shizan (cutting)). Can you tell us what arts influenced the founder? What arts have been synergized by him to create shinkendo? And does it have a philosophy?

EDIT: After I asked my question, I found this link which pretty much explains it (I hadn't visited the site in a while).


Sorry! Still, if there's anything you would add or emphasize...

Sherman Chow
19th May 2004, 04:42
If I'm not mistaken, there was a Shinkendo discussion forum here on e-budo under the "spotlight on budo" section. Just click on it, and the Shinkendo forum should be there. It has a lot of info in it by Obata Kaiso and Nathan Scott.

Hope this helps,

Sherman Chow
19th May 2004, 05:03
there is the Shinkendo forum here:

Actually, there are forums on toyama ryu and aiki-buken as well. Good stuff. And Obata Kaiso occasionally posts there as well. :)

Jock Armstrong
19th May 2004, 07:24
Obata sensei a nd my instructor Ishikawa sensei were classmates under Nakamura sensei before Obata sensei went to the US.He's done a lot of things, armed and unarmed in his time.

Nathan Scott
19th May 2004, 09:16
I'd like to post a few links for those interested in Shinkendo and/or the other arts Obata Sensei teaches.

Here are our home pages:
International Shinkendo Federation (http://www.shinkendo.com/main.html)
Kokusai Toyama-ryu Renmei (http://www.toyama-ryu.org)
Aikibujutsu Tanren Kenkyukai (http://www.aiki-buken.com)

Here is an online clip showing primarily Shinkendo and elements of the other arts we teach:

Shinkendo Demo Clip (.wmv file; Media Player) (http://www.shinkendo.com/mpegs/shinkendo_demo.wmv)

Also, I believe the "Spotlight on Budo" with Obata Sensei hosted here on e-budo was the first or maybe second one that was conducted here back in 2000. Some interesting discussions from this are stored in the spotlight archive for those who have not read them before (you might have to set your forum display to "from the beginning" to see the threads):

Obata Toshishiro- Shinkendo (Closed) (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=43)

I should state that our ISF/AB/KTRR discussion forums that Sherman linked above are really designed for specific discussion of the arts we study, and are not a general discussion board or a "Q&A opportunity" for those looking to chit chat with Obata Sensei! However, those interested in the art are invited to sign up under their full, real names and contribute/ask questions if they are inclined to do so.

As far as the arts that have influenced the developement of Shinkendo, there are a number, since Obata Sensei's budo experience is pretty broad. However, it is difficult to break everything down into specific influences, since Obata Sensei has adapted - and continues to adapt - what he learned and researched into a single cohesive, comprehensive operating system. Obata Sensei is strongly hoping for Shinkendo to be judged on what it is now and will become in the future, rather than where it came from originally, since Shinkendo is very much a living and developing art under his direction as it's founder.

I will say this though. Shinkendo at this time has some 85 standardized forms total currently being taught at last count throughout all 5 areas of study. This number does not include the vast number of variations we have for many of these forms.

While the 17 or so of our battoho forms are influenced by Toyama-ryu, Nakamura-ryu, Ioriken Battojutsu, and a few other arts, there are only 4-5 standardized forms that are specifically Toyama-ryu (an art that is subsumed within the Shinkendo curriculum). Interestingly, these 4-5 Toyama-ryu forms still end up being the most comprehensive curriculum of extant Toyama-ryu that I am aware of.

Our tachiuchi (paired pre-arranged forms, pictured above) are largely influenced by various koryu kata, as are aspects of our practice and teaching methods.

As far as tameshigiri, it's probably more accurate to say that it is strongly influenced by the teachings of the late Nakamura Sensei in general than to point at any one individual art specifically. And even at that, Obata Sensei himself has been an integral part of the development of tameshigiri both inside and outside of Japan (being the one to introduce tatami omote as a cutting medium, for example). Many of our current tameshigiri forms are quite different now than they were 10-15 years ago, which really reflects the years of internal development and creative change that has taken place since the birth of Shinkendo.

As far as philosophy, we do have a well thought out and interesting proprietary "system", called the "Kuyo Juni-kun". This is related visually to the crest of the art (kuyo mon - 9 star crest). An attempt at explaining this philosophical strategm can be found on e-budo here:

Shinkendo Book, nine planets (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6793)

There is in fact a book discussion forum here on e-budo that I keep forgetting about that exists for the purpose of discussing the current (and first) "Shinkendo" book, as well as future books, in case you were not aware of it:

Shinkendo by Toshishiro Obata (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=77)

By the way, Obata Sensei has been writing a Shinkendo book focusing on tameshigiri since the publication of this first book, and it is finally getting close to being published. I'll be sure to let ya'll know when it becomes available (it is pretty interesting!).

If anyone has any questions about anything they find in the above text or links, please feel free to ask. I am a long time, personal student of Obata Sensei and the senior instructor at our world headquarters (SoHonbu Dojo). I'll do my best to answer any questions!

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu,

Nathan Scott
19th May 2004, 09:30
Hi Jock,

Obata sensei a nd my instructor Ishikawa sensei were classmates under Nakamura sensei before Obata sensei went to the US. He's done a lot of things, armed and unarmed in his time.

Cool - small world, eh? ;)

6th July 2004, 18:32

Jock Armstrong
7th July 2004, 01:19
It certainly is Nathan! I'm a bit disappointed that I never got to met Nakamura sensei before he died but I was lucky enough to find the dojo I trained at. Ishikawa had a lot of good things to say about Obata sensei too.

Nathan Scott
7th July 2004, 01:34
Ishikawa had a lot of good things to say about Obata sensei too.

That's always nice to hear. I never got a chance to meet Nakamura Sensei either.

Thanks for posting,