A decent FAQ on swordmanship


Master Black Belt
Aug 31, 2003
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Long Island, New York
but, there is a fair amount of Art, Science, and Sport in ALL Martial Arts... if not it would be actual warfare!

The art aspect keeps our creative juices flowing and allows individual expression;

The science is what forces us to consider principles and concepts, rather than out and out brawling... or in the sword "arts", brandishing!

The sport of it all is that for most of us, this is a recreational endeavor, or is used to promote a recreational venue for others. As long as we have training partners, we must remain good sports!

Keep the faith...


Kempo Guy

I have to agree with you that edge on edge blocking is not generally a preferred method of deflecting a strike (at least in Japanese swordsmanship).

In the ryuha I am fortunate to study we deflect using the side of the sword (generally speaking), using a slight step to the side (often the incoming sword will miss entirely or just glance off the sword).

As for the discussion between martial art and sport... well, I think it's difficult to seperate many of these. For instance, many Karate styles, Judo, Kendo etc. all are sporting styles, yet they are all budo (martial way).

Then there's Kickboxing, MMA etc. that would be categorized as 'combat sport' or Kakutogi (in Japanese).

Thirdly, there is Bujutsu / Bugei which are for the most part older styles (koryu). However, many Bujutsu exponents often call their practice Budo (even if it's a koryu).

Tonbo said: People taught sword styles based on what worked, no matter how ugly it might be. They would refine as they went, if necessary, but the whole point was that they were teaching arts to keep people alive on the battlefield

I agree with this as well. Our headmaster (in Japan) does not really teach the "exact" way of sheating your sword etc. however when looking at all the senior practitioners you will see a remarkable similarity in the way things are done (even though they were never shown a 'proper' way of doing some things). I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is a point during your practice when things converge (which will make practitioners of the same ryuha look similar) as proper effciency is mastered. Correct biomechanics is correct biomechanics... Efficiency is a beautiful thing, I only wish I could look like some of my seniors when they are practicing the kata...

I will step off my soapbox now. :asian: