View Full Version : Shinkendo's Influences

23rd August 2000, 16:59
Greetings Soke Obata,

In some of your books and in other responses on this forum you mention your training in Japan in various styles of Japanese swordsmanship. I was wondering if you could go into some detail as to the what specific styles of swordsmanship you studied and elaborate on how elements of each have influenced the philosophy and/or techniques of Shinkendo. In addition, are there any specific kata, battoho, or tachiuchi in Shinkendo that can be traced to other systems, or are they all unique to Shinkendo?

Michael Philpott

Obata T
24th August 2000, 00:17

Well, as for swordsmanship...I have studied Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, Kashima Shin Ryu, Ioriken Battojutsu, Toyama Ryu Battojutsu, and Nakamura Ryu.

I also have background in Aikido and other arts, some of which you can find in my Shinkendo book ["Shinkendo - Japanese Swordsmanship"]

As for the basic sword draws, all styles are pretty much the same. The very basic swings are also similar in all styles.
I have created most of the techniques and swings in the Shinkendo Gorin Goho Gogyo [the five main interlacing areas of training]: Suburi, Battoho, Tanrengata, Tachiuchi, and Tameshigiri.

The reason I split them up in detail is because it is much safer, logical and enjoyable. Shinkendo includes [most aspects] of the ORIGINAL Samurai kenjutsu from long ago, and has not been influenced by the more modern sword styles you find now [I don't think Sensei means all styles, just those that follow more modern methods.NS].

Coincidentally, Kamiizumi Ise no kami was also from Gunma Prefecture (where I am from). His territory was small, but he was a great martial artist. He was not only good at one-on-one fighting (like modern days) but was also a good strategist in battle fighting and [combative] kenjutsu.

Many of the great martial artists from long ago were not only focused on Kenjutsu or the techniques, but rather also studied seriously matters of strategy and tactics and used what they learned.

In Shinkendo's case, the techniques are based on good theory, philosophy ane research. [Comprehensive methods of] Ashi/Tai/Ken Sabaki which are found in various other Budo have been melted into the techniques to make them stronger. To not explore these areas thoroughly would have just produced another type of Ryu or personal [family] style, and not an independant art.

[Sensei is not putting down other ryu-ha, but rather saying that to just borrow techniques and re-assemble them would not be enough of an innovation to justify catagorizing Shinkendo as an independant art. The techniques, teaching methods, organization, philosophy, strategy and manner have all been carefully considered and formed around a core of principles to lead Shinkendo towards a hopefully "complete" art. NS]

Shinkendo is a Chu-do seishin. This is our main goal!

International Shinkendo Federation,

[Edited by Obata T on 08-23-2000 at 06:22 PM]

Ron Tisdale
25th August 2000, 15:35
Greetings Obata Sensei, and welcome to ebudo.


As a Yoshinkan aikidoka, I have heard many stories of your time at the hombu dojo. It is a priviledge to interact with you. I would also like to thank Nathan-san for his efforts to make this possible.

Earlier in this thread you mentioned Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, and I was wondering where you were first introduced to this ryu. I have heard from several sources that the YSR used to teach in the Yoshinkan hombu dojo on certain nights; is this where you began your YSR practise?

I have also heard the the YSR strongly affects the swordwork seen in the senior Yoshinkan instructors (those who participated in the YSR classes). Does this seem accurate to you?

If you did take part in those classes, would you be able to name some of the other senior Yoshinkan members who were there?

Considering that many more experienced budoka feel that the weapons work in Aikido is often a little weak, how do you feel about taking principles and techniques from a classical ryu and utilizing them in the weapons work in Aikido?

Thank you for your time and attention,

Ron Tisdale

Obata T
27th August 2000, 06:27
When I was with Yoshinkan, there were Shiyukai Zen classes and Yagyu Shinkage ryu classes. Since I loved swords, I attended the classes.

I really do not remember who all attended anymore. Many of the old seniors from my time have since left the Yoshinkan.

I started to really become serious in learning about swordsmanship after I left the Yoshinkan. Because of this, I was able to create Shinkendo later. If I was still at the Yoshinkan, I wouldn't have gotten the chance to learn different martial arts and would have stayed under one teacher.

Considering that many more experienced budoka feel that the weapons work in Aikido is often a little weak, how do you feel about taking principles and techniques from a classical ryu and utilizing them in the weapons work in

When I see Aikido demos, I see someone attacking with a sword...it looks like a really simple "promise kumite" [trusting interaction].

I've come to believe through my serious study of sword that there is no way you can grab someone if they have a sword.

I believe it would be good if they had someone learn authentic swordsmanship and apply it in Aikido. If you are under the Yoshinkan, you cannot change the techniques.

International Shinkendo Federation,