In addition to unarmed techniques (tai jutsu) it is very common in Aikido to practice with weapons (buki jutsu) as well. Here, Ken Jutsu, the japanese arts of sword fighting takes up a central role. The origin of many Aikido movements lies in the cutting movements of Ken Jutsu. Also the standard Aikido posture and feet positions are coming from Ken Jutsu. Practicing Aikido and Ken Jutsu enriches each other and are frequently practiced together..
We practice Ken Jutsu with a wooden sword, the boken or bokuto ( 木刀, jap for wood and sword). Advanced students also practice with the Fukoru Shinai (袋竹刀), a bamboo sword in a leather cover and with real metal swords (Iaito and shinken)
Basic training covers the correct sword handling. We practice to perform basic attacks with relaxed arms and shoulders and learn how to react to them. Similar to any other budo discipline, Ken Jutsu is also practiced through traditional, fixed forms, so called kata (形). Katas may differ depending on the Ken Jutsu school (style). On one hand we practice the Aiki-Ken sword techniques, taught by the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. On the other hand, we mainly teach the Kashima-no Tachi Ken Jutsu style as being taught in the Shiseikan Dojo in Tokyo, Japan by Inaba Sensei and Araya Kancho.
Contents of Basic sword classes
- Breathing and relaxation while cutting and strinking
- Correct sword handling
- Basic attacks
- The first katas of Kashima-no tachi Ken Jutsu
- Applications/variations of the katas
In addition to the basic class we also offer an intensive Ken Jutsu class, that is meant for the more dedicated practitioner who wants to delve deeper into Ken Jutsu practice. Target group are not only motivated beginners but also advanced students from Iaido and other Ken Jutsu directions. Your own weapons and regular class attendance is a requirement.
Contents of the intensive sword class
- Training of your precision and reactions
- Suburi practice, mental endurance
- The 5 series of Kashima-no tachi katas
- Application of katas
- Battto Jutsu, the union of drawing the sword and cutting
- Shinkentachi, the practice with the real sword
The Aikido Zentrum Offenbach is member of the International Shiseikan Budo Association (ISBA) a european association of Aikido and Ken-Jutsu dojos that supports regular international exchange with japanese teachers of Shiseikan Budo.
Our sword teacher Markus Röllig has more than 20 years experience in Aiki-Ken and Ken Jutsu practice. He participated in many national and international seminars and visited the Shiseikan Dojo, in Meiji Jingu in Tokyo, and Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, the central dojo of the international Aikido federation Aikikai.
Ken Jutsu and Budo
Ken Jutsu (剣術)is japanese and means the art of fightinig with the sword. It teaches the usage of the japanese long sword, the Katana (刀), and the short sword Wakizashi (脇差 : "carried at the side" or also 小刀, engl. „small sword“). The form of japanese swords (curved and with a single edge) leads to mainly cutting and drawing movements. There is no competition in Ken Jutsu in contrast to Kendo, It is still a fundamental part of Budo ( 武道, engl: „military way, way of the war“). The core of budo is the preparation for war. Keeping this in mind, what could be the role of budo in our peaceful modern time? Usually nobody is nowadays in danger to be forced into a military battle to enforce the interests of his or her lord or country.
Nevertheless, practicing budo might be more important nowadays than ever. Budo prepares us for a fight. The question remains: what in life is so important to us that we are willing to fight for it? What would we risk our lives for? Our family? Our career? These are important questions and budo provides us with a frame to explore them in depth. Consequently budo does not equal martial arts (in the sports sense). In sports it's all about winning, but there is no winning in life. We all have one life-time and we should spend it well. This is the core of budo.
Training Ken Jutsu and Aikido assists us in this. We learn to focus. We learn not to be distracted by secondary issues. We learn to keep being focussed on our goal and we seek a path to achieve this goal. In Aikido we learn strategies to avoid unnecessary conflicts and to be strong and prepared if conflict can not be avoided any more. In Ken Jutsu we sharpen our mind and practice to look into the abyss. If you are in a confrontation with two sharp swords you need to be allert and prepared for everything.
Kashima No Tachi Ken Jutsu
Kashima No Tachi Ken Jutsu Style is based on one the oldest sword schools in Japan, Ko-ryu Kashima-shin-ryu. It unifies the modern opening of budo to the west with a traditional martial arts education. Tracing back to the samurai Matsumoto Bizen-no-kami (1467-1524) the sword forms of the Kashima sword proved their worth countless times during the last 500 years. This immense authenticity is always present in the mutual practice and is being preserved and passed on by us. The spirit of Kashima No Tachi is perceivable in the following videos, taken during the latest ISBAS summer seminars.