Throughout the history of Japan the Samurai and Japanese swordsmanship has been a part of the foundation of classical koryu swordsmanship and is still closely integrated with the tradition of kenjutsu. Japanese sword styles all have a common link in their basic foundations including the act of drawing the sword and executing a cut (batto-jutsu), which is an old term for iai-jutsu and batto-do. Simply translated batto-jutsu means to “draw sword”.
Toyama-Ryu was created out of necessity by the Japanese Imperial Army at the start of the Showa Era because soldiers had to master the fundamentals of swordsmanship quickly, without requiring years of study. By incorporating practical techniques from various koryu sword styles such as, Omori-ryu, Katori-ryu, and Eishin-ryu, they created a straightforward sword style that can be practically applied to the modern environment while practiced in a standing position.
Stripping away a sword styles signature ritualized movements and using only it’s practical application, makes techniques fast and direct. Thus incorporating Toyama-ryu-iai-batto-do as a foundation to any sword style will improve your fundamental gripping, drawing, cutting and sheathing skills.
Therefore if you are new to Japanese swordsmanship, have already practiced a particular style, or have come to a plateau in your studies, the study of Toyama-ryu offers an alternative mindset and will help you build a stronger foundation and will improve your basics.
Do you wonder what the difference is between all the sword styles and how batto-do compares with classical koryu sword styles that represent hundreds of years of ritual and tradition?
To begin with, learning an ancient koryu Japanese sword art is extremely difficult and takes a lifetime to master. Very few non-Japanese can understand the subtleties and nuances practiced as well as the Japanese language involved. A military gendai modern version of Japanese Swordsmanship such as Toyama-ryu can be grasped at a much faster pace, since the basics are about practical application and not about the seldom used techniques and rituals, which may be powerful to watch and perform, but are not practical to learn.