View Full Version : kendo kata origins
Goon Jhuen Weng
12-07-2000, 09:14 PM
Can anyone out there tell me more about which of the Koryu the modern kendo kata originated from? I do know that much of kendo today is derived from Itto ryu heiho but I'm fairly sure that some of the kata comes from other Koryu as well. Also, I wonder if anyone has wondered why the ZNKR came up with 7 kata for Odachi, 3 for Kodachi but none for Nito/Ryoto....
Is Goon your family name? Should I call you Jhuen-Weng?
The kendo kata mostly were derived from the Keichikan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police (keishicho) force. Sakikibara Kenkichi was the the sword master of the keishicho (and I forgot which koryu he was soke of) in the 1880s; he and 2 others compiled the kata based on at least 4 other koryu. The Toyama Academy manual "Kenjutsu Kyohan Shokai" lists the 10 kata and provides provenance for at least 5 of the waza.
There were at least three conferences after that time (1900-1920, then in the 1930s or so) where the kendo kata were reworked.
Sakikibara sensei was also the first gekken master to teach foreigners. Two French teachers (a lieutenant, and an NCO who was Master at Arms) assigned to Toyama Academy were taught in Sakikibara sensei's dojo in the 1880s. These two French kendoka predated the Englishman, F. Norman -- who was a contract-instructor assigned to the Etajima Naval Academy.
When the shogun was overthrown and the new government came into power, the Meiji government maintained the contracts already awarded -- to do otherwise would sew confusion amongst the "new conscript military." The Tokyo shogunal officials had contracted with France to provide instruction in military science, and the southern clans (Satsuma and Tosa) had contracted with England. The southern forces were the proponents for a strong merchant fleet and recognized naval power; therefore, they quite well adapted to becoming Navy, whereas the Tokyo area eventually became the Army. Thus the bitter rivalry between the Army and Navy in the 1930s and 1940s. But it was not just Army v. Navy, it was Shogun v. Satsuma all over again.
Oooh, sorry for the history lesson.
I just found that Robert Stroud has a short paper called the History of Kendo Kata at http://www.mugendobudogu.com.
I found my source:
Rikugun Toyama Gakko, 1935, Kenjutsu Kyohan Shokai, pp. 499~510.
"Keishicho Ryu Kata were established in the first year of Meiji by kendo shihan Sakikibara Kenkichi, ...gawa Yoshimasa, Tokuno Muroshiro [guessing at the "Muro" reading], and others. The kata were derived from other ryuha and combined to be taught as police-related training (p.499)."
Kata #1 (Jikishinkage Ryu) [p. 500]
Kata #2 (Kurama Ryu) [p. 501]
Kata #3 (Tsusumi Hozan Ryu) [p. 501]
Kata #4 (Risshin Ryu) just guessing this name [tachi-kokoro] (p. 503)
Kata #5 (Hokushin Itto Ryu) [p. 504]
Kata #6 [no citation] (p. 505)
Kata #7 [no citation, but it is called "Nitachi"] (p. 506)
Kata #8 [no citation] (p. 507)
Kata #9 [no citation] (p. 508)
Kata #10 [no citation] (p. 509)
As I recall now, Sakikibara sensei was a master of the Jikishinkage Ryu. I don't know if he was the soke -- but he was a master.
Goon Jhuen Weng
12-08-2000, 09:54 PM
Just Weng would be fine. And thanks for the info! I never knew that the Kendo kata had such an interesting background. But were the kata original derivations of the koryu or have they been altered in any way?
12-09-2000, 12:24 AM
Refering to Paul Budden's book:
(Looking at a Far Mountian, Bath Press 1992. 128p)
He also mentions(pg.11):
(the associated kata # is a guess)
(?)#6 Asayama Ichiden ryu
(?)#7 Jigen ryu
(?)#8 Shinto Munen ryu
(?)#9(10) Yagyu ryu
(?)#10 Kyoshin Meichi ryu
However, there is no clear writen statement made in the book connecting the kata and its koryu. Guy's list seems to match what is Budden's book except for Tsutsumi ryu and Hozan ryu which are listed as seperate..(do you know which is correct..?)...and Kata #10, which might be a combination of two ryu's? Its a little vague.
[Edited by FastEd on 12-09-2000 at 01:36 AM]
12-09-2000, 09:40 AM
During the late 19th century, Kawaji Toshiyoshi was a leader of the Tokyo Control Unit, which became the metropolitan police. (Of the 3,000 men initially hired, 2,000 were former Satsuma samurai: 1,000 were recruited by Saigo Takamori, the other by Kawaji. The third thousand were from other provinces.) Kawaji came from a Satsuma samurai family(his father had been a police investigator for Kagoshima City) and into his thirties he trained in swordsmanship with Chiba Shusaku.
So, which kata did Chiba teach? I ask because that might give a clue into the kata favored by the Metropolitan Police, if not necessarily the Ministry of Education. Why? Call me cynical, but I'm betting that if the boss goes to the gym to do these kata a couple nights a week, platoons of brown-nosing flunkies will soon think they're great kata, too.
12-09-2000, 03:51 PM
Here's the list with kata names and a list of instructors:
The swordsmen assigned to instruct the forces developed the police sword forms called the Keishicho Ryu Gekken Kata in 1886.
The following swordsmen were instructors during these years.
· Okumura Sakonda, Tokino Seikishiro (Jikishinkage Ryu)
· Ueda Umanosuke (Yoshin Meichi Ryu)
· Neigishi Shingoro, Shibae Umpachiro, Watanabe Noboru (Shindo Munen Ryu)
· Matsuzaki Namishiro (Shinkage Ryu)
· Shingai Tadatsu (Tamiya Ryu)
· Takao Tesso (Etchu Ryu) (Jojo–Etchu Ryu?)
· Mitsuhashi Kan'ichiro (Ogun Ryu)
The set of 10 katas developed by a committee of these instructors was the first standardized kendo kata in Japan.
The techniques represented 10 schools as follows:
1. Hasso:Jikishinkage Ryu
2. Henka: Kurama Ryu
3. Hachiten Giri: Hozan Ryu (Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu?)
4. Maki Otoshi: Rishin Ryu
5. Kadan no Tsuki: Hokushin Itto Ryu
6. A-un: Asayama Ichiden Ryu
7. Ichi-ni no Tachi: Jigen Ryu
8. Uchi Otoshi: Shindo Munen Ryu
9. Hasetsu: Yagyu Shinkage Ryu
10. Kurai Zume: Kyoshin Meichi Ryu
In the 1920s and 30s the swordsmen instructing the police included Hiyama Yoshihitsu, Hotta Shitejiro, Nakayama Hakudo (founded Muso Shinden Iai), Saimura Goro, and Shimizu Takaji (25th head Shindo Muso Ryu, head Ikaku Ryu).
As far as I know the 3rd kata is from Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu, although we no longer have a kata by that name. Does anyone have a description of the kata that they could send me so that I can see if it goes by a different name in the style now.
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