Copyright @ 2018 James L. Berkley. All rights reserved.

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Sword Fighting Skills

The art of the sword is called "fencing" or "kenjutsu" in Japanese.

Fencing in Europe and Asia was a warfighting skill which was eclipsed by archery and firearms, and became a method of personal defense and a symbol of rank and privilege and eventually, a spectator sport whose popularity has diminished over the last sixty or seventy years.

In post medieval Japan, kenjutsu evolved into an art of great sophistication whose implications were philosophic, political, economic, and strategic as well as tactical. It became the mechanism by which all the principles of martial art and governance were taught. Since the nineteenth century, the culture of Japanese feudalism has ceased to exist; its roots in ancient Chinese cosmology are largely lost, and much confusion has arisen respecting the place of the sword in contemporary culture. Therefore, no esoteric concepts or practices will be covered.

Basic skills of engagement with the sword include posture, stance, body shifting, footwork, maneuver, grip, body mechanics, and the design characteristics and proper uses of edged weapons - thrusting, cutting, blunt impact with the spine of the single edged blade, with the flat of the blade and with the pommel, blocking, parrying, redirecting, monitoring, and tracking.

Because it is long, the sword is most often compatible with grappling and tumbling skills at close quarters, and often gives way at close quarters to the use of the knife.

Tactical Studies provides individual and small group study and training in the Japanese sword in addition to a wide array of related skills including knife fighting, sword fighting, firearms, boxing and trapping skills, and grappling and tumbling skills. 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.