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Kenjutsu Martial Arts

Kenjutsu is the art of the Japanese sword. Kenjutsu came to be the repository in Japan of the integrity of Chinese cosmology with the whole body of Japanese martial art. Kenjutsu in Japan became the method by which all the principles of martial art were taught and expressed as an essential, integral element of 'monogoto' - "the nature of things". Thus to acquire a thorough understanding of Japanese martial art, one must have a fundamental understanding of and capability with the sword.

Because of the unavailability of reliable sources both on ancient Chinese cosmology and esoteric Japanese martial art, it would seem highly improbable that anyone can be found at this time who knows the ancient art of kenjutsu. Moreover, it is unlikely that such an understanding would have meaning or utility outside the context of medieval Japan in any case. Nevertheless, for practical purposes, the basic method of the Japanese sword is still a useful means of acquiring and applying the principles of tactical engagement: The curriculum of the sword includes:

  • Problems of sword design, grip, manipulation and motility.

  • Posture, body mechanics, stance, footwork, body shifting, and maneuver.

  • Distance, angle, rhythm, timing, and balance.

  • Striking, cutting, and thrusting.

  • Checking, monitoring, and tracking.

  • Blocking, parrying, and redirecting.

  • Tactical use of the eyes and the voice.

  • Elements of psychology.


Understanding of and capability with the sword affords tactical utility to all hand held objects that may be employed as contact weapons, and provides essential insight into the nature of the problem of "unarmed" engagement. Traditionally, expertise with primary weapons was always buttressed by ancillary skills: grappling and tumbling skills, boxing and trapping skills, and alternative weapons skills - e.g. blunt, edged, and projectile weapons.

For more information on private instruction and group classes, or to schedule a private interview, please call 212-749-1220 or Click Here to Request Information.

For a thorough treatment of our method, read Igensho: The Book of Dignity: General Principles of Martial Art.

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