Mugai Ryu Iai Hyodo!

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by HawkHunt, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. HawkHunt

    HawkHunt White Belt

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    Hey guys!

    I have recently started my journey into the martial arts and chose to study the way of the sword!

    My chosen school is Mugai Ryu! Its a style from the 17th century. And yes I did have a choice because the Dojo I am with also teaches Niten Ichi-Ryu Kenjutsu (Musashi style, with both Katana and Wakizashi)

    I chose Mugai because I can't even handle one sword yet let alone two!

    Anyway I wanted to see if there are more people studying Mugai. If not I'd like to hear what school you guys study!

    Cheers!
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Welcome aboard!

    We do have another member here who is studying Mugai Ryu Meisha-ha, hopefully he'll be along in a bit. I'm going to assume that you're with Filip Bartos' school, then? He's the only one I know to have both Mugai Ryu and Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu as part of his groups (along with the Bujinkan, Toyama Ryu, Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage Ryu, Hozoin Ryu Takada-ha… even I think he's taking on a bit too much!)

    I'm personally training in a couple of different systems myself, found in my signature below, and am running a study group for a Koryu Kenjutsu ryu-ha (being in an unofficial status - although the Hombu in Japan is aware of us - I can't state explicitly which ryu-ha publicly)… but which can be likely deduced by going through my posts (it's a common system for me to cite, along with Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu)… which does let me say something about your above comments.

    Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu is best known for it's Nito Seiho portion of its' syllabus, but that is far from the entire, or even largest section, of the system's combative approaches. It's actually made up of 12 waza for long sword (Tachi Seiho/Itto Seiho), 7 waza for short sword (Kodachi Seiho), and then only 5 waza for two swords (Nito Seiho)… as well as 20 waza for staff work (7 bo against bo, 13 bo against sword), and sections for jutte, and jujutsu (yawara). Additionally, there is a section known as Aikuchi Roppo, which I've seen a range of different explanations of, which are sometimes contradictory… I would also say that the Nito Seiho doesn't really require much more co-ordination than single sword, although the body structure and mechanics are required to be more correct for a range of reasons.

    Mugai Ryu, of course, also teaches the usage of both long and short swords… although not both at the same time. It is largely defined by it's ideal of kireru iai (iai that cuts), distinguishing itself from other, modern forms, where cutting is seemingly given a secondary concern to the ideals of form. Mugai Ryu teaches through solo iai practice, paired kumitachi, tameshigiri, and more. Many lines are also taught alongside other systems as well.

    All in all, both are great systems, and who knows, maybe you might experience both over your time… all the best with your journey!
     
  3. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Interesting. Where is your dojo?
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    I'm assuming you're asking the OP, Watkins-sensei?

    From what I can figure, he would be a part of this organisation Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu - Koryukai Dojo Prague - Bujinkan, Mugai Ryu, Meifu Shinkage Ryu in Prague, likely at the Groningen dojo. Filip Bartos, who heads the school, is a senior member of the Bujinkan, as well as training in (and holding/hosting seminars from) a range of Koryu systems. I know that he was involved in the recent European seminar of Kajiya Soke, at least attending if not acting as host for that one.
     
  5. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Ah I see, thanks Chris. He took the pictures at the latest European seminar in the Czech Republic
     
  6. HawkHunt

    HawkHunt White Belt

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    Very well deduced indeed! I study at SJOK (Stichting voor Japanse en Okinawaanse Krijgskunsten) Which translates to FJOM (Foundation for Japanese and Okinawan Martial arts)

    Indeed it is in Groningen in the high north of the Netherlands. Our group for Mugai is only 13 people including our two teachers and myself.

    As states I am a complete beginner at this and so I only know 4 forms (technically 6) but I expect it to be a long yourney that I am really looking forward too.

    SJOK teaches a whole host of things. We have various forms of Judo and Karate. There is Aikido and there is Kendo, Kenjutsu and Iai.

    Its not a big Dojo but its a great one I believe full of friendly people who are all very willing to help me with my practise.

    From what I have heard the school does Tameshigiri around 4 times a year and that is where our teachers come in.

    As you said: Mugai seems to place cutting second to form. That is dependant on thr teacher then because mine allways links temshigiri to our kata and we are instructed to strike hard but relaxed because otherwise we wont cut through the target.

    Its really cool to hear all those things about other schools of kenjutsu and Iai!

    I will go and say that the thing about Mugai that speaks to me is that its easily recognised. Seeing as how it has those several trademark things!
     
  7. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Thirteen is actually pretty decent for a Koryu group… we don't tend to get the big numbers like Karate or TKD tend to…

    All the best, and keep us updated as to how you're going. More Koryu practitioners is a great thing!
     
  8. HawkHunt

    HawkHunt White Belt

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    Thank you! I need to make one small correction by the way. The group you linked is our overarching organisation and all the Dojos that teach any of those arts are linked to that but not "part" of it if you catch my drift.

    In any case that organisation is great because my two teachers and our most senior student ( time spent training, not age wise although he is the most senior in that regard too) have had classes in Germany from Niina Soke which is cool. Maybe if I get good enough one day I will be allowed to attend such a class with my teacher too!
     
  9. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Perhaps if Niina Soke visits you for a seminar, you might get the chance sooner than you think…

    In regards to Mugai Ryu being a "known school", it's even well known enough to have been referenced in Japanese film… the movie Ame Agaru (After The Rain) features a protagonist whose ryu-ha is identified in the film as Mugai Ryu (although, as with many things to do with films, the actual on-screen methods aren't taken from the ryu at all… in fact, Otake Risuke, Shihan of Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu was one of the advisors/choreographers for the movie). Below is a clip of some of the "action" scenes… if you know what you're looking for, you can actually spot some Shinto Ryu in amongst it all…

     
  10. HawkHunt

    HawkHunt White Belt

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    I have seen Ame Ageru and I must say that I really enjoyed it. Though with my extremely limited knowledge I only recognised the style trademarks (like putting the right hand on the Kashira when the kata is done and Noto has been performed)

    And I believe to have spotted atleast one of the kata: Kihon- ichi. Though I believe I could be wrong there.

    And I am pleased to hear that Mugai is a well known school. That makes more people that can teach me things!
     
  11. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Ha, what it means is that you've stumbled upon one of the rarest birds in martial arts, legit Koryu… Mugai Ryu might be relatively well known, but that doesn't mean there's an instructor on every corner…

    With regards to the identifying markers you spotted, the hand on the kashira is also found in some lines of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, sometimes in Muso Shinden Ryu, and a few others… and you might find that the Kihon-ichi action you spotted is more co-incidental than deliberate… there are only so many ways to draw and cut, after all, and many actions are shared by many systems.
     
  12. HawkHunt

    HawkHunt White Belt

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    That is very true indeed! I believe however that the credits of Ame Ageru identified it as Mugai.

    May I ask what kind of sword you yourself own? It will be a while untill I actually get to train with an iaito and even longer before I will get to train with a shinken.

    I myself have a very simplistic style regarding swords. No ornamental features besides the menuki. Or atleast, thats the plan when I get mine when I am allowed to train with one.
     
  13. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Well, my collection includes probably around 15 bokuto of various woods and designs, including a couple of suburito, some specifically designed as a form of "iai-bokuto" (with a resin saya, much sturdier than the plastic ones I also have), and some custom items, in addition to the ryu-ha specific ones I have for my TSKSR and for my other ryu-ha training… then I have four iaito of various forms (two custom, one "standard" off the shelf, and a matching kodachi), as well as two shinken (one custom made, one more "off the shelf", but from a company I trust)…

    When it comes down to it, though, what you get will be based more on your experience, your ryu, what your teacher suggests, and your budget. I don't know anyone that gets a sword (or similar) because it's the shiniest, brightest, newest thing on the market… at least, no-one who has a clue what they're doing.

    With regards to Ame Agaru, yeah, the school was identified as Mugai Ryu… but there were no Mugai practitioners or teachers involved. It's the same as the old Eric Van Lustbader novels claiming that the main protagonist was trained in Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu… but, of course, there was little to no resemblance to the actual school in the books, other than the name…
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
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  14. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Welcome to the forum, and to Mugai ryu!

    You are practicing the same line of Mugai ryu that I practice! Since Nakagawa sensei died in the early 80's without proclaiming a successor, the Mugai ryu splintered into several different lines following the Menkyo Kaiden holders at that time. Today, you can tell that the different lines are all Mugai ryu, but they all have a slightly different flavor to them as it's been a number of years since they were all the same line.
    As for Ame Agaru ... Since the story actually involves Tsuji Gettan, the founder of Mugai ryu, it is supposed to be about Mugai ryu. However, the only Mugai ryu in it that I could see was in the iaido scene where the samurai is walking through the forest and does several kata. The three kata that he performs are easily recognizable as Kihon-ni, Muna-zukushi, and Ryo-guruma. The interesting part is that these kata were actually part of Jikyo ryu back when the movie was supposed to have happened, and didn't get incorporated into Mugai ryu until later. :)
     
  15. HawkHunt

    HawkHunt White Belt

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    Hey thanks! May I ask where your dojo is located?

    I'd also like to know what kyu or dan you are at. Since I learned that Mugai has 3 kyu and 8 dan grades I believe.

    I also didnt know that Ame Ageru was supposed to follow Tjusi Gettan Sukemochi.

    Thanks again for the warm welcome guys!
     
  16. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    We are just north of Dallas, Texas. We will be hosting this year's U.S. gasshuku in Dallas at the end of October.

    Kyu grades vary by association. We have no kyu grades in the U.S. I am currently godan (5th). The highest rank in the U.S. is my instructor Tony Alvarez, who is nanadan menkyo (7th).

    Cheers,
     
  17. HawkHunt

    HawkHunt White Belt

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    Ohh wow thats really cool!
    Do you by any chance know where I could find second hand iaito? I am a student and dont really have the money to dish out on a new sword.

    I dont know if one could even get second hand training swords but I can allways ask right?
     
  18. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    For iaito, it helps to ask on forums such as this one, or Swordforum, or e-budo. Also ask your instructor to ask around for you, as they may know students that have dropped out (that happens a lot!) that may want to sell the iaito they no longer use. I usually keep one or two second hand iaito as loaners for new students to use until they save up enough to afford their own. You can also try talking to the nearest kendo dojo, as they may know ex-students that started seitei iaido, but then don't practice anymore. If you find one at a reasonable price, make sure that you let your instructor inspect it thoroughly before using it for practice.

    Never hurts to ask, but it may take a while and plenty of effort to come up with a decent used iaito. :) In the meanwhile, my advice is to begin putting money aside every week for equipment money. I've found that if you put some aside every week, it adds up until you can buy the next piece of kit that you're waiting on. Just make sure and only spend that money on your practice kit.

    Good luck, and train hard!
     

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