“What we teach.” Besides martial virtue, which is a chapter on it’s own, we practice 2 Japanese Sword Arts. The main one is Toyama Ryu Battodo. This is a sword style developed after the Meiji Restoration but tweaked during the Manchurian invasion by the Japanese Army in the 1930’s. Gruesome for sure but maybe the only authentically practiced battle field martial art of modern times. Developed mainly by five Iai Do masters at the Japanese Army training center in a section of Tokyo named Toyama, hence the name, The organizers of Toyama (later determined to be a ryu) practiced after WW2 in their own manner. The version we have undertaken came through Nakamura Taizaburo, who promoted the style to the general public. Our Sensei, Hataya Yoshitoki, learned from one of Nakamura’s students, Tetsundo, who popularized and founded Canbarra. We pratice 6 cutting kata, 8 Toyama Ryu chu den kata as well as some Ko Ryu Wakizashi kata. Our main emphasis is on whether the techniques work. Since it is not wise to sword fight, the next best thing is to do tameshigiri, cutting a target with a sharp sword. There are mustiple cutting patterns practiced in Toyama Ryu and even more done in Seizankai, which is Hataya Sensei’s personal Iai organiztion. Feeling that Toyama Ryu had turned into a sport, with easy promotions, Hataya Sensei made his own standards for dan rank by making cutting patterns more exact and adding some very difficut ones. In our US Hombu dojo in Orlando Fl, as well as the branch schools we have in the US, ascribe to these strict standards on training (renshu). We import our own cutting material from Japan, at great expense, so as to maintain the precise standards as practiced in Machida Japan, where the main dojo is located. Our dojo in Orlando maintains the strict training methods as racticed in Japan.
Toyama was an area of Tokyo where they had a military academy. They taught music, army ways, and later on swordsmanship. When the Japanese invaded Manchuria and used Iai do Kenjutsu and kendo to fight with the Chinese swordsmen, they lost. Why? because the Japanese arts at the time were not adequate or quick enough to match what they were up against. However upon returning home the art was reformed and forged to be effective, quick, and deadly. The Toyama officers, including but not limited to Nakamura, insured that any sword swing made a cut that took off a body part or limb. Thus.. a cutting art that actually cut.