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Thread: Toda-ha Buko-ryu

  1. #1
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    Default Toda-ha Buko-ryu

    I've just uploaded a new website focusing on Toda-ha Buko-ryu.

    Best
    Ellis Amdur

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    Very nice website, thanks for the alert. No photos for us textually challenged?

    I had not heard this before:
    ' Among ryu which developed from Toda-ryu are Itto-ryu kenjutsu (the primary influence on modern kendo), Kiraku-ryu jujutsu, Saburi-ryu sojutsu, and, of course, Toda-ha Buko-ryu.'

    What is this like?
    'Komochi-san is the closest mountain to Buko-san, the namesake of this ryu. Ellis Amdur developed a kenjutsu school based exclusively on Toda-ha Buko-ryu parameters. It includes five standing iai forms and five two person kumitachi forms. The aim is to enhance the training in sword of Toda-ha Buko-ryu practitioners. It is not taught separate from the Toda-ha Buko-ryu – only as a subsidiary training in Hokusei Dojo and it’s affiliate dojos.'

    I would assume that in this aspect, Toda-ha Buko-ryu is somewhat like SMR jodo - typically the senior attacks with bokken, the junior defends with the jo / naginata. Many dojo do not provide specific sword training, but rather simply learn in the course of training.

    Any chance of a video of said kenjutsu?

    Regards,

    Lance
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

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    There are a few pictures on some of the pages. I've got a rogues gallery, for example, of the Go-Hojo. I'll be uploading pictures on an ongoing basis, but I have to scan them, etc., and it takes time. Also had some glitches getting the site fully working (WordPress + the template + the server) - not everything is worked out yet. For example, we cannot yet fully upload and attach a word document.

    The sword is not always the primary uke. We have kata sets where the kusarigama, the naginata and the spear each take the uke role against the naginata or kagi-naginata.

    Toda-ha Buko-ryu once had pure kenjutsu sets, as well as kodachijutsu, kaikenjutsu - but they are lost and we have no record. Another puzzle is that Suneya Ryosuke (the 13th headmaster, who almost surely completely renovated the school), also taught something called Tenshin Buko-ryu kenjutsu. (as well as Kogen Itto-ryu! It was passed down for several generations in the Chichibu area - no records seem to remain, so we don't know what it's relationship was to either Kogen Itto-ryu or Toda-ha Buko-ryu. I've got some ideas on research to do on one of my future trips to Japan.

    The reason I added the adjunct training (Komochi-ryu) is that without skill in Toda-ha Buko-ryu sword, the uke is not challenging enough. And then, given that many of the seniors have trained in another ryu, the sword uketachi can have a TSKSR, Shinkage, Tatsumi, or other ryu nuance.

    I dunno if/when I'll put up a video. Maybe when some of my students get really strong. The iai are standing/moving forms. The kenjutsu uses other kata in Buko-ryu as templates, but they are not merely tachi transposed for the naginata. Different weapons requires different ma-ai, angles of attack, etc. In essence, my goal was to develop something that made Toda-ha Buko-ryu students skilled enough with the sword so that they could honestly challenge and hone the naginata practitioner's technique, while remaining congruent with Toda-ryu kenjutsu principals.
    I've shown it to some of the other shihan - and they tell me they find it interesting. It is only practiced among members of the Hokusei Dojo (my group). To be very clear - we are all happily working under the same soke, Nakamura Yoichi sensei, but he gives us the respect and leeway to work out variations of adjunct practice as long as we protect central criteria in the main mokuroku.

    Best
    Ellis

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    Dear Ellis,

    I only had a quick look at your website but I have enjoyed it already very much (be sure I will take some time to read some more and I can recommend others to do so as well).

    Although your website is primarily intended to provide an overview of Toda-ha Buko-ryu history and contact information, it is of great value for others as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellis Amdur View Post
    The reason I added the adjunct training (Komochi-ryu) is that without skill in Toda-ha Buko-ryu sword, the uke is not challenging enough. And then, given that many of the seniors have trained in another ryu, the sword uketachi can have a TSKSR, Shinkage, Tatsumi, or other ryu nuance.

    I see your point, which is very similar to for instance our situation. Hontai Yoshin-ryu is known as a jujutsu school and although it is incorporating different weapons including the sword, it is certainly not classified as a kenjutsu or iai-jutsu school. Nevertheless the school now also trains its students in the proper use of the sword for similar reasons as you mention. Iai-jutsu training has only recently been formalized again in Hontai Yoshin-ryu. Indeed it is essential that students can correctly manipulate the sword to perform kata (where as you mention, uke has to be challenging enough). Since it became harder (even in Japan these days) to ensure that students gain these skills in parallel of their normal training (in the past Hontay Yoshin-ryu students were encouraged to get additional iai training outside the school), Inoue Tsuyoshi Munetoshi, the 18th generation soke, has begun again to formally teach iai-jutsu to his students.

    Finding this little resemblance (although the historical context is somewhat different, I agree) was a nice side effect of looking at your website.

    Kind regard,
    Guy
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
    BELGIAN BRANCH http://www.hontaiyoshinryu.be/

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    Guy - Thanks much for your comment. Many people have this idea that koryu are frozen systems, slowly crumbling as skills are forgotten, and yet, everywhere we look, we see some groups properly renovating/recovering old forms and even, in some cases, innovating. Did your teacher create new iaijutsu forms, or revive forms that had been largely abandoned?
    Best
    Ellis Amdur

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellis Amdur View Post
    Many people have this idea that koryu are frozen systems, slowly crumbling as skills are forgotten, and yet, everywhere we look, we see some groups properly renovating/recovering old forms and even, in some cases, innovating. Did your teacher create new iaijutsu forms, or revive forms that had been largely abandoned?
    The easy answer would be: mostly new but with a lot of input from the past. There is of course also the pedagogic aspect; some kata had to be more kihon in nature (although realism is considered important), others could be more situational.

    For those who are interested, I will try to put it in a somewhat broader context since I was lucky to witness part of the process:

    Although jujutsu remains the core of HYR, the sword has always been important as well. Of course kodachi (the short sword) has been one of the oldest corner stones of the school, since the founder was an expert in kodachi even before he started to formalize the school. Also his father was a master sword teacher of the Shiraishi domain. Another famous sword-master from HYR was Takagi Gennoshin Hideshige, 3rd soke, who served the Himeji-han as a “bugei” expert. The importance of the sword in HYR was also illustrated in the change of soke ceremony between the 17th and 18th generation, where Inoue (father) received an old sword from Minaki soke. That sword, which was always carried by the 13th generation soke, Yagi Ikugoro, has been regarded as a school treasure and it has been handed down for a long time by the school and is now within the Inoue family.

    Unfortunately, formal Iaijutsu training has not always been part of the daily teachings of all soke (certainly Minaki sensei, 17th generation soke, didn’t teach iaijutsu), despite the need to properly use the sword, be-it as uke in some kata. For instance tachi dori (roughly translated as catching the sword) is part of the official curriculum and consist of unarmed defense, against an opponent with a long sword. Other weapons in Hontai Yoshin-ryu (cho bo; hanbo and kodachi) are trained in kumidachi form (i.e. in encounters against the long sword.

    Some menkyo kaiden of Minaki studied iaijutsu separately.This was the case for the late Sato sensei (lmenkyo kaiden in Mugai-ryu) and of course Inoue Tsuyoshi Munetoshi, the 18th generation soke, who studied Eishin-ryu and later Toyama-ryu. This is why, some 20 years ago, many of the HYR students (including myself) did Toyama-ryu, which at that time was represented in Nishinomiya by our soke (apart from HYR, Inoue soke was very skilled in iai-do but also other gendai budo like kodokan judo, kendo and jukendo, all in which he was high ranked). Most of the iai-do classes at that time, were given by the late Kurushima sensei, also a menkyo kaiden of HYR .and a remarkable teacher. Both Inoue soke and Kurushima sensei worked hard to convince students to use their sword properly and with dignity. In fact, I found Toyama-ryu (as you know, a modern form of iai created by the Imperial Japanese Army) very useful, since Kata are performed from a standing position and techniques are kept extremely simple. The school attached also a lot of importance on tameshigiri. In other words I considered it an efficient way to quickly gain confidence with the sword techniques that are needed to perform HYR kata.

    Besides iaijutsu, the 18th generation soke and Kurushima sensei were very much in favor of kenjutsu exercises with bokken, recognizing the need to re-enforce the correct usage of the sword. However; in their mind, kenjutsu and iaijutsu were essential and training with the sword went beyond the need to prepare students to employ it against other weapons.

    Later, both of them re-vitalized HYR iaijutsu, based on original writings but to a large extend also on own experience. Nevertheless the HYR characteristics (and spirit) have been maintained, which makes it very complementary to the main curriculum. This can certainly be observed in the iaijutsu kumidachi, an exercise of sword against sword, but in iaijutsu style. Another example can be found in the writing. For instance in many schools, Kiri is written with the kanji (切). When kiri, like in HYR, is written with an alternative kanji, the emphasis is put on killing (斬) in stead of cutting (切). This is consistent with the true martial spirit of the art: when one trains to cut with a sword, it is with the intention to learn how to kill. Whether or not one will use that skill is something different and is purely philosophical (we know that “a true sword is not a sword that kills but one that gives life”).

    Because iaijutsu is now again included in our training and we have again a formal set of kata does not mean that it is already regarded in the same way as the main curriculum of the school. On the other hand, like in every koryu, when you formalize things, you have to ensure that students train these aspects with the same sense for perfection as other parts of the system.

    Who knows what the future will be. But I agree that koryu are not frozen systems, and despite the effort of our teachers to preserve the tradition and the history, their own research leads to what you call "renovating/recovering old forms and even, in some cases, innovating".

    Kind regards,

    Guy
    Last edited by Guy Buyens; 23rd July 2010 at 20:44.
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
    BELGIAN BRANCH http://www.hontaiyoshinryu.be/

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    Ellis, thank you so much for doing this and the other website.

    Kem
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    We're all of us just bozos on the budo bus and there's no point in looking to us for answers regarding all the deep and important issues.--M. Skoss.

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    Ellis,

    The page on Chujo Ryu raised a question that has been kicking around in my head for awhile. I posted it over on the Sword Arts forum though maybe another one would have been more appropriate: http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthre...823#post486823. If you get a chance maybe you could hop over there and let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
    Cliff

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    nice website but when url is hit by any user it is better to show textual part and not a picture.
    [URL="http://www.learnjapanesefree.com/"]learn japanese[/URL] language free online :):):)

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