Kenjutsu is a word that is created by two other words. First, “Ken” is a Japanese term for “SWORD”. Secondly, “JUTSU” is a word that generally means “ART” or “TECHNIQUE”. Hence, “KENJUTSU” refers to the combative sword techniques of the ancient Samurai warrior of feudal Japan. Today, practitioners begin with wooden swords (bokken) and bamboo swords (shinai) and eventually progress to metal swords (katana) used in kata practice.
Kenjutsu consists of forms, stances and cutting practice, as well as physical conditioning, balance and development of character. In addition, competition is supported through Kendo practice (Japanese Fencing). In Kendo practitioners wear protective armour called Bogu, so that the strikes, cuts and thrusts with the bamboo sword can be done without injury to the Kendo men and women.
The different cutting and footwork techniques within Kenjutsu are taught slowly, and one at a time; all students train together with seniors always helping and assisting junior students. Men, women and youngsters can become proficient at Kenjutsu and Kendo.
Light clothing or a martial arts gi, and a shinai are all that are required to practice Kenjutsu. No other special equipment is required to participate, however those interested in competing in Kendo are required to purchase Kendo armour (Bogu).
History and Lineage
The techniques that make up the Takeda Ryu Ha style of Kenjutsu were developed in Japan after the Meiji Restoration (1868). At the time, there were over 500 different systems (Ryu) of sword. Takeda Ryu Ha also includes hand-to-hand techniques that are used to disarm a sword wielding opponent, as well as nito-ryu (two-sword) techniques.
Sensei Randy Horton holds a second degree blackbelt in Takeda Ryu Ha Kenjutsu and a 5th degree black belt in Goshin Aikijujitsu. Goshin Aikijujitsu also includes extensive sword techniques of the Samurai, referred to as “Aiki Ken”. The sword arts were taught to Sensei Horton from his master, Shihan Ric Cameron (7th degree Blackbelt) who in turn trained under the tutelage of Master L. Nakamura Sensei (The Father of Canadian Kendo and Order of Canada Recipient) for over 30 years. Master Nakamura was the Director of the Tokubudokan in Toronto until he returned to Japan in 1996. Since then Shihan Cameron has continued the traditions passed down to him from Master Nakamura. With the assistance of Sensei Horton, they continue to instruct the sword arts of Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido, Goshin Aiki Kenjutsu, Takeda Ryu Ha Kenjutsu (Nito Ryu) and Kendo.