Collage of Nitō-ryū from a 1661 Denshō document

The style or way of using two swords simultaneously in Japanese swordmanship is commonly referred to as Nitō-ryū (二刀流 two-sword style). Of course, Shinmen Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara no Genshin – more commonly known as Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵) - was an acclaimed exponent of Nitō-ryū and is revered as one of Japan's greatest Kensei (sword saints).

The Nitōjuku (二刀塾 two-sword private school) has been established to offer Japanese sword training with a primary focus on the simultaneous use of two swords.

Nitōjuku's senior instructor, Greg Clarke, was a monkasei (direct personal student) of Iwami Toshio sōke, the 11th head of Musashi’s Seitō Santō-ha Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū, as well as a monkasei of the late Ishida Hiroaki shihan, a menkyo-kaiden in Noda-ha Niten Ichi-ryū and menkyo in Musashi's Owari Enmei-ryū Kenjutsu (Shunpūkan Dōjō).

The above-mentioned koryū ryūha (classical schools) have real connections to Musashi's teachings, and consist of extant Nitō waza (two-sword techniques), kata (forms) and kuden (oral transmissions).

Genshin Nitō-ryū Kenjutsu (玄心二刀流剣術) is a codified distillation of authentic koryū kenjutsu training over twenty-plus years, drawing on legitimate Nitō-ryū, in both waza (techniques) and corresponding riai (underlying rationale), across the direct mentorship and transmission from two genuine Japanese shihan (master-teachers). As such, it could be considered a contemporary traditional art of Musashi-related Nitō-ryū, beyond what can be presently studied within just a single line of koryū transmission connected to Musashi.

 

Genshin Nitō-ryū Kenjutsu consists of three practice sets within the curriculum - Kiso (基礎 foundation), Tenkai (展開 expansion), and Tōgō (統合 integration) - each with its own character and purpose. The paramount and key set, Tōgō, encompasses the same five koryū kata or old-style forms as the Nitō Seihō of Musashi's Niten Ichi-ryū. These particular patterns contain the essential Gohō-no-Tachimichi and are fundamentally the representative outlines of Miyamoto Musashi's Hyōhō-no-Hyōshi.

Furthermore, although not kata per se but kihon sotai dosa (fundamental paired movements), the inital Kiso and Tenkai sets deliver crucial intrinsic Nitō waza and riai that, in the end, instill additional principles and transmission line variations (henka). These may be integrated within and throughout the Tōgō to provide a more comprehensive and profound understanding of Musashi's Nitō-ryū Kenjutsu. Realistically, in the past, there would have been greater depth to Musashi's Nitō principles and techniques than what are now found in any single classical (koryū) school of the various present-day transmissions within Japan.

 

Kiso 基礎 / Tenkai 展開 Tōgō 統合
   
Uken 右剣 Chūdan 中段
Saken 左剣 Jōdan 上段
Uchikomi 打込 Gedan 下段
Yokouchi 横打 Hidari Wakigamae 左脇構
Ashiuchi 足打 Migi Wakigamae 右脇構
Uchigaeshi 打返  
Noriuchi 乗打  
Kotetsuke 小手附  
Hidariuke 左受  
Migiuke 右受  
Uchidome 打留  
Tsukidome 突留  

 

Primarily, regular training involves the in-depth study and immersion in the practice sets, through a koryū-based learning process of 'Shu-Ha-Ri', under the direct tutelage of the senior instructor. The practice is structured and systematic, with the kata of the Tōgō set still retaining their koryū kenjutsu pedagogical methods originally aimed to enable the exponent to successfully use Nitō-ryū in mortal combat.

Further, in the final section within Gorin-no-Sho's Wind Scroll epilogue, Musashi concludes by stating his swordsmanship has no distinction of entrance and interior teachings, and no ultimate (secret) guard/stances. And, most importantly, elucidates the essence of his Hyōhō/Heihō (combat laws/methods: [kenjutsu]) is merely that the mind comes to understand the swords' efficacy/benefit (徳: [太刀の効能]) [1].

Although frequently misunderstood, it's the mastery of essentials and simplicity, rather than the sophisticated and complexity, that is the ultimate technical attainment within Kenjutsu.

Kenjutsu is suitable for a person without disability, regardless of gender or previous martial arts experience and there's a minimum age requirement of 18.

We also hold full public liability and professional indemnity insurance through SportsCover Australia, and operate on a non-commercial (non-profit) basis with insurance and membership fee schedules that are intended to cover costs only, like venue hire and public liability insurance.

Training should not be undertaken lightly, it requires a dedicated long-term commitment and a serious attitude towards practice to potentially master Nitō-ryū. Additionally, a Kyū/Dan Grading System also exists for Genshin Nitō-ryū Kenjutsu.

Of course, potential students are welcome to watch a training class and visit by prior arrangement, or attend an upcoming seminar.

 



Brisbane Dōjō

Tuesday &
Thursday 6:30pm - 8:00pm*
Sunday 3:00pm - 4:30pm*

* Member only classes - Visitors by appointment only
St Davids Hall
855 Logan Road
Holland Park QLD 4121

To arrange to visit us or to enquire about training, please don't hesitate to contact us.



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Footnote: [1] Hyōhō (兵法) is generally defined as 'strategy', but more literally represents combat laws (methods), and in Musashi’s era was used, in the narrow sense of individual strategy, to refer to kenjutsu (swordsmanship) as well as, in the broad sense of group strategy, gungaku (military science). Also, Toku (徳) is generally rendered as 'virtue' in English language translations of Gorin-no-Sho: that, in English, might suggest a reference to 'moral excellence' even though virtue can also mean 'an advantage or benefit'. However, Toku in context to Hyōhō or Tachi in certain sections within Gorin-no-Sho's manuscript, likely, represents Kōnō (効能) in Japanese: which would suggest the nuanced reference is to efficacy (ability to produce an intended result) or benefit (an advantage from something). Further, in general context to Musashi's Hyōhō (indvidual strategy) and within Japanese Gorin-no-Sho manuscripts in relation to his school and teachings, Tachi (太刀) can be taken to mean both swords. And, not just the long sword unless a right/single hand is referenced and/or inferred through context.


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