Yoshio Sugino - The Last Swordsman
Yoshio Sugino - The Last Swordsman Ah! What a man! I would call Sugino Yoshio sensei, a GENTLEMAN. He exuded a nobility and extreme modesty: nobility in his technical and human behaviour, and ...
Nationally-respected, traditional Japanese Dōjō known for high standards and classical Budô training.
Operating as usual
Yoshio Sugino - The Last Swordsman Ah! What a man! I would call Sugino Yoshio sensei, a GENTLEMAN. He exuded a nobility and extreme modesty: nobility in his technical and human behaviour, and ...
The GUNTO: THE JAPANESE MILITARY SWORD
There was no US or Allied Marine, GI, Airman or Sailor deployed to the Pacific or Asia who did not dream of bringing back a katana as a trophy of war. The katana, the samurai sword par excellence, symbol of the ancient Japanese warriors.
As we know, the winners brought souvenirs of all kinds (even skulls). However, it is a strict truth that few were lucky enough to be able to get a real Japanese katana.
The sword was the main weapon of the samurai warriors throughout history and one of the main symbols that represented their power, their honor and their caste of warriors. There were more than ten types of swords according to their shape and use. In addition, they were classified according to the historical period of manufacture -five different periods- and to make their nomenclature more complex, they were named according to their area of origin, divided into five prefectures or provinces. It was thus that, in the face of so many and so different swords, for the West the term katana was the one that became popular to name, without distinction, all Japanese swords.
In 1872 compulsory military service was established in Japan and in 1876, the abolished samurai class and the units, groups or clans that made up these warriors were dissolved and transformed into regiments and military units like those of the Western powers. Likewise, the carrying of swords in public was prohibited, except for members of the nobility, police and military.
Within the unification of criteria used in this modernization, it was decided to manufacture a single type of sword for all the Japanese military without distinction, a mass-produced sword, less artistic and more massive. There the Guntō was born, which became the standard Japanese military sword from 1868 to 1945, endowed with all officers and non-commissioned officers of the Imperial Army and Navy. Indeed, the swords that we see in the photo are mostly Type 98 Shin Guntō, an industrial bladed weapon that was far from maintaining the quality standards of the ancestral katana.
Consequently, the katana itself was the inherited samurai sword that was preserved within the family patrimony. Hence, it is unlikely that the Marines and the Army officer who happily pose with the confiscated material (the photo was taken in Japan after the war) took a katana home with them. At least with the naked eye I can't recognize any.
However, it is also true that despite the standardization, many officers used traditional and ancient swords, most related to the ancient samurai clans of their families and ancestors. It is that the sword, for the Japanese, has a high spiritual significance, and by giving a son who was leaving the family sword, the family hoped that it would protect him spiritually. Furthermore, having been entrusted with such a family treasure, the son had a responsibility to care for the sword and bring it (himself) back home safely.
Following Japan's defeat in World War II, Japanese soldiers were required to surrender all weapons, including swords. Many of the soldiers who had taken their family's swords to war were under the impression that their swords would be returned to them at a later date, so a large number of swords were issued with a name tag (commonly known as surrender tags) attached, with the owner's personal data written on it. However, these swords were never returned. The most famous of these swords that never returned was the Honjo Masamune. The sword was a Tokugawa family heirloom that, even today, its whereabouts or fate remains unknown.
During the occupation, the Allied Forces issued an edict for the confiscation of all weapons, including civilian swords for destruction. Ex*****on of the edict was halted after the historical, cultural, and artistic importance of Japanese swords was pointed out to MacArthur, but not until many swords had been put in kilns, sunk on barges in Tokyo Bay, or buried. Unlike ancient katanas, Shin Gunto, as military weapons, are considered illegal in Japan.
Finally, and as a note of color, in 2017 the award-winning documentary entitled "Forgive-Don't Forget" was broadcast, which deals with the story of a man's attempt to return a sword to the original owner or his family. The story illustrates the depth of the sword's meaning to its owner and his family, and ends with a very moving return of the sword. Although the former owner survived the war, upon receiving the sword, his sister said, "His soul has finally returned." It is to see it.
El GUNTO: LA ESPADA MILITAR JAPONESA
No existió Marine, GI, aviador o marinero estadounidense o Aliado desplegado en el Pacífico o Asia que no soñara con traerse una katana como trofeo de guerra. La katana, la espada samurái por excelencia, símbolo de los ancestrales guerreros japoneses.
Como sabemos, los vencedores se trajeron souvenirs de todo tipo (hasta calaveras). Sin embargo, es una estricta verdad que fueron pocos los agraciados en poder hacerse de una verdadera katana japonesa.
La espada era el arma principal de los guerreros samuráis a lo largo de la historia y uno de los símbolos principales que representaban su poder, su honor y su casta de guerreros. Existían más de diez tipos de espadas según su forma y su uso. Además, se clasificaban según la época histórica de fabricación -cinco épocas distintas- y para complejizar más su nomenclatura, se las nombraba de acuerdo a su zona de procedencia, dividida en cinco prefecturas o provincias. Fue así que, ante tantas y tan diferentes espadas, para Occidente el término katana fue el que se popularizó para nombrar, sin distinción, a todas las espadas japonesas.
En 1872 se instauró el servicio militar obligatorio en Japón y en 1876, la clase samurái abolida y las unidades, grupos o clanes que formaban estos guerreros fueron disueltos y transformados en regimientos y unidades militares como las de las potencias occidentales. Asimismo, se prohibió la portación de espadas en público, excepto para miembros de la nobleza, policías y militares.
Dentro de la unificación de criterios empleada en dicha modernización, se optó por fabricar un solo tipo de espada para todos los militares japoneses sin distinción, una espada fabricada en serie, menos artística y más masiva. Allí nació el Guntō, que se convirtió en la espada militar estándar japonesa desde 1868 hasta 1945, dotación de todos los oficiales y suboficiales del Ejército y la Armada Imperial. En efecto, las espadas que vemos en la foto son en su mayoría Type 98 Shin Guntō, una arma blanca industrial que lejos estaba de mantener los estándares de calidad de la katana ancestral.
Consecuentemente, la katana propiamente dicha, era la espada samurái heredada y que se preservaba dentro del patrimonio familiar. De allí que es poco probable que los infantes de marina y el oficial del Ejército que posan felices con el material confiscado (la foto fue tomada en Japón finalizada la guerra) se hayan llevado una katana a su casa. Al menos a simple vista no puedo reconocer alguna.
Sin embargo, es cierto también que a pesar de la estandarización, muchos oficiales usaron espadas tradicionales y antiguas, la mayoría relacionadas con los antiguos clanes samuráis de sus familias y antepasados. Es que la espada, para el japonés, tiene una alta significación espiritual, y al otorgarle a un hijo que partía hacia el frente la espada familiar, la familia esperaba que lo protegería espiritualmente. Además, al habérsele confiado un tesoro familiar de este tipo, el hijo tenía la responsabilidad de cuidar la espada y traerla (él mismo) de regreso a casa a salvo.
Tras la derrota de Japón en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, los soldados japoneses debían entregar todas las armas, incluidas las espadas. Muchos de los soldados que habían llevado las espadas de su familia a la guerra tenían la impresión de que sus espadas les serían devueltas en una fecha posterior, por lo que una gran cantidad de espadas se entregaron con una etiqueta con el nombre (comúnmente conocida como etiquetas de rendición) adherida, con los datos personales del propietario escritos en él. Sin embargo, estas espadas nunca fueron devueltas. La más famosa de estas espadas que nunca regresaron fue la Honjo Masamune. La espada era una reliquia de la familia Tokugawa que, incluso hoy en día, su paradero o destino sigue siendo desconocido.
Durante la ocupación, las Fuerzas Aliadas emitieron un edicto para la confiscación de todas las armas, incluidas las espadas civiles para su destrucción. La ejecución del edicto se detuvo después de que se señalara a MacArthur la importancia histórica, cultural y artística de las espadas japonesas, pero no hasta que muchas espadas hubieran sido metidas en hornos, hundidas en barcazas en la bahía de Tokio o enterradas. A diferencia de las katanas ancestrales, los Shin Gunto, como armas militares, son consideradas ilegales en Japón.
Finalmente, y como nota de color, en 2017 se emitió el premiado documental titulado “Forgive-Don't Forget”, que trata sobre la historia del intento de un hombre de devolver una espada al propietario original o a su familia. La historia ilustra la profundidad del significado de la espada para su dueño y su familia, y termina con un regreso muy conmovedor de la espada. A pesar de que el antiguo dueño sobrevivió a la guerra, al recibir la espada, su hermana dijo: “Su alma finalmente ha regresado”. Está para verlo.
Fortis 2, Fortis 7 & Fortis Leader para Fortis Leader - The Pacific & Asia
📸 Imagen: (descripción original). Marines estadounidenses con espadas japonesas entregadas en Honshu, Japón - septiembre de 1945. Archivos de la revista LIFE - Carl Mydans Fotógrafo/ Créditos: World War Pictures. Impecable colorización de Facundo Colourised para FGF Colourised
📖Referencias (con notas personales)
"El crisantemo y la espada", de Ruth Benedict
The Myth of Chiburi? (Note this is a guest post from Richard Stonell) In many iaido ryuha, chiburi is a fundamental part of kata. Chiburi, usually written 血振 in Japanese, literally means “shaking off blood,” and the im…
How to Save Your Knees Without Giving Up Your Workout There’s no magic bullet to knee health, but staying active and building muscles around the joint are crucial.
Ittō Tenshin-ryū® 2022 Taikai Retrospective — Taseki Publications The Ittō Tenshin-ryū is a powerful tradition! Its unwavering purpose has informed deshi since its inception. While the words pointing to essence may change from time to time, the development of a powerful and orderly being remains.
JIDAI MATSURI, a festival celebrating Japanese martial arts including Tameshigiri(sword cut of Iaido), Yabusame(horseback archery), Matchlock Gunnery and Kobujutsu will take place at Machida this Sunday. (after 3 long years of postponing) Parade of warrior armors start at 11am around the Machida station.
I recommend budokas in Tokyo area to attend this awesome event! (It’s free😁)
I attached the flyer but if you need information in English, feel free to contact me!
My samurai friends of Toyamaryu will be performing their art.
What does it mean to be a Senpai (sempai)?
Senpai (先輩) translates as “Senior” and can be applied in any situation where someone is senior to you. But the meaning for those in a traditionally run martial art school is far deeper than simply ‘Senior’.
. . . The senpai of a dojo has usually trained for a long time with the instructor. He understands the instructors goals, training methodologies and philosophies. He is the one the sensei goes to for any demonstration that is needed in class.
. . . The role is one of responsibility, and to assist the sensei in the dojo, support other students by whatever means necessary, and to lead by example.
. . . The senpai should take an active, hands-on approach when assisting the tutoring of lower-ranked (kohai 後輩) students. Either way, the senpai is a powerful factor that influences progress in the dojo.
. . . In today’s society, and in particular Western Dojo, the senpai role has been diluted somewhat. You may find that the actual expectations and responsibilities in any particular school differ from similar roles in Japanese dojo. But the title of senpai still retains its essence in commitment to a sensei and the dojo.
. . . Being a senpai also comes with great responsibility and requires an absence of ego on the part of the practitioner when helping others in the dojo. A senpai should consider this a very special honor to be able to help and set a good example for the juniors in the dojo.
. . . Being a senpai to your kohai is a very important step in your training. Your sensei will watch how you treat others in the dojo, and that in turn, assists them in making decisions on who is ready for higher grade and who is not. Everything you do in the dojo is a test… from your kihon to your kata, your self-defense to your kumite, and more.
. . . For the study of karate as Budo, a senpai is someone who is educated, thoughtful, skilled and compassionate. True karate study goes beyond just kicking and punching, it also requires proper character development of the individual. The senpai and kohai relationships assists in creating just that, and helps to build an environment of nurturing and respect in the dojo, where everyone is willing to assist each other to achieve a common goal, to grow the dojo, improve understanding of the art you practice and to help others.
. . . Being a senpai is a responsibility that should never be taken lightly. The sensei will demand more from you because they trust you and are preparing you for higher levels of training. Therefore you should set the example for others and lead by your actions.
The Ittō Tenshin-ryū® is in its 6th decade of practice in the United States. Very few traditions of Japanese Swordsmanship can make that claim.
Fredrick Lovret brought the tradition to the U.S. in the 1960s. Today the Headmaster is Mr. Arvid Rajguru.
Over this time, the tradition has informed thousands of people through direct experience and writings, sharing teachings on mental attitude, conflict, human performance, and strategy.
Few maintain, most come and go--all are impacted. In many cases, our teachings remain foundational no matter where the waves of life take them.
Studying the Ittō Tenshin-ryū is to pe*****te the essence of conflict and reality. It is not easy; it will challenge your "self" to its core. It is an individual journey of struggle and joy, shared with brethren.
Join us on November 5 & 6, 2022, in Sterling, Virginia, as we explore the journey of a disciple of the Ittō Tenshin-ryū.
For registration information, visit: https://heiho.org/taikaiitr
For a list of licensed dōjō, visit: https://heiho.org/dojo
#武道 #武術 #剣術 #居合道 #剣道 #一刀天心流 #天心流
"Thank you Sensei. Can I have another?"
10 Rules For Beginners
I happened across this sorting through a box of old documents. Truth endures...
"Not just Dan & Kyu"
The ranking system most practitioners of Japanese martial arts will be readily familiar with is the Kyu/Dan ranking system. Moving down the ladder from 8th kyu to 1st kyu and then moving up the dan ranking from shodan or "1st dan" to 8th, 9th or 10th dan. Though the numbers of available ranks will vary form one martial art to another, and indeed may change within a martial art over time, this systematic grading system has made the grading system for many martial arts of today efficient and easy to understand. This is, on the other hand, a system that was not always used.
In many ko-ryu or classical martial arts (as well as other artistic ventures such as flower arrangement, tea ceremony, calligraphy, and ink painting) the menkyo or "license" system was traditionally used. As many of these teachings were secretive and not so readily accessible as modern martial arts, these menkyo were bestowed upon deshi of a martial art directly from their sensei.
There are levels to this system of course. Starting from the sho-den, or first transmission, the deshi would understand only the common traits of the ryu-ha at a basic level. They would then get to chu-den, which is the middle transmission, giving them a better understanding of that particular artform. Oku-den would be the inner teachings or deep transmission, in which they would be mastering the ryu-ha before getting to the hi-den. These would be the secret teachings only given to those who had mastered all other aspects of the ryu-ha.
The deshi would then receive the menkyo-kaiden. This would mean that the art and its teachings had been fully transmitted to the deshi. There are still many ryu-ha that use this style of progression.
NEITHER LUCKY NOR GOOD
I was watching a K-Drama where two princes were vying at archery. The elder brother hit the bullseye every time. The younger one—clearly a lover and not a fighter—missed every one. (He and the heroine eventually fall in love, so he does well in the end.)
His servant lamented to him, “oh, your highness, you were neither lucky nor good!”
I burst out laughing. But I also sympathized. I know what it feels like to be “neither lucky nor good.”
So what’s the solution? Practice. Please don’t think that’s quixotic. I have plenty of friends who were both lucky and good: now that they’ve reached old age, they’ve given up and have no idea of what to do with themselves. So practice. That way, you no longer have to hope for luck, and you make yourself good.
Notice the size and quality of our circular movement as we progress…
At first the circles are big, focusing on what obvious and visual. We give priority to the upper body, the arms and hands strongly open up.
When we realize that the lower body is the driving force, our circles begin to involve more of the body. We use the legs to incorporate the whole external body.
With the discovery of how important breath is, and perhaps even the yin/yang notion, we coordinate circles emanating deep within the body.
Interiorly, we might discover a universe of more refined space and circles with dimension (spirals).
And we may understand how external spirals extend well past the physical self.
It is a natural thing. Like nature, the human body is embedded in circles/spirals.
Identify them, join them to coordinate/integrate inside with the outside, and feel the harmony.
Can you be both martial and spiritual?
Can you overcome your ultimate opponent?
To be martial requires discipline, courage, and perseverance. It has nothing to do with killing. People fail to look beyond this one narrow aspect of being a warrior and so overlook all the other excellent qualities that can be gained from training. A warrior is not a cruel murderer. A warrior is a protector of ideals, principle, and honor. A warrior is noble and heroic.
A warrior will have many opponents in a lifetime, but the ultimate opponent is the warrior's own self. Within a fighter's personality are a wide array of demons to be conquered : fear, laziness, ignorance, selfishness, egotism, and so many more. To talk of overpowering other people is inconsequential. To actually overcome one's own defects is the true nature of victory. That is why so many religions depict warriors in their iconography. These images are not symbols for dominating others. Rather, they are symbols of the ferocity and determination that we need to overcome the demons within ourselves. "365 Tao" – Deng Ming-Dao (photo courtesy James Pounds, Sensei)
Fredrick Lovret July 1, 1941 - May 17, 2015
His legacy continues to inform me. He was highly intelligent, and the most aware and intense human being I have ever met. He was an uncompromising gentleman, with unwavering resolve. He taught me about conflict and life through the medium of strategy and swordsmanship. He taught me that "a swordsman is more than just a man with a sword.” - Foreword, The Way and The Power, Second Edition.
Ittō Tenshin-ryū® Kenjutsu Sandai Hanshi, Menkyo Kaiden.
Yamate-ryū® Aikijutsu Menkyo Kaiden
Goskei Aiki Heihō Founder
Daitō-ryū Hiden Mokuroku (Kōdōkai)
USN, 1959-1974, CPO, Veteran of the Vietnam War.
Former editor and publisher of The Bujin and Budo Shinbun, and the author of numerous books addressing martial arts including The Way and The Power, Budo Jiten, The Instructor’s Bible, and The Student’s Handbook.
We have a new YouTube Channel and, for the first time, have posted a video of the Ten no Kata of the Ittō Tenshin-ryū® executed by Mr. Nicholas Busan and Mr. Joseph McClain c. 1987.
Don't forget to Subscribe while there. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIrcIy_kje9Fd0_Kq93zb8Q
Posted on Koryu Bujutsu by Grigoris Miliaresis
Something that has been a minor annoyance of mine for years is the tendency of some people, often practitioners of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu (TSKSR) outside Japan and perhaps more often non-practitioners, to over-emphasize the fact that the tradition has been designated an Intangible Cultural Asset of Chiba Prefecture. The reasons it has been bothering me are (a) I don't believe some official pronouncement does or should make any difference towards the value of a tradition, martial or other, and (b) the designation isn't anything special anyway because for various reasons, the Japanese have a fondness for certifications by some authority; their annual struggle to have UNESCO include more and more of their country's locations in its World Heritage list has been a source of amusement for many foreigners living in Japan. (OT: The, now defunct, satirical website "The Rising Wasabi" had published some hilarious comments on the matter, see https://therisingwasabi.com/?s=UNESCO) Suffice to say, TSKSR isn't the only martial tradition designated a cultural asset in Japan --it isn't even the only martial tradition designated a cultural asset in Chiba Prefecture: Tatsumi-ryu has the same designation in the same prefecture.
Thinking that it might be of interest or use to other members of this group, I made a list of martial traditions that have been designated cultural assets by various levels of government; sometimes the same tradition has more than one designations e.g. one on a municipal level and one on a prefectural level, evidence of how commonplace these designations are. One more proof is that in the website of the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai (http://www.nihonkobudokyoukai.org/), one of the two organizations related to Japan's classical martial traditions, there is in the profile pages of several member traditions a field titled "Cultural Asset Designation" (Bunkazai Sh*tei/文化財指定) where the member adds its or just writes "without" or "none" (nashi/なし); in other words, the possibility that a member tradition would have such a designation is considered high by the organization.
The list contains 26 traditions, each with a URL referring to its designation. I tried to include only URLs of municipal or prefectural authorities where possible; in a few cases were I couldn't find one, I used the URL from the tradition's page in the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai's website. The resources are all in Japanese as local governments don't really have a reason to have their websites translated in English; the answer to the question why an organization that is supposedly dedicated to the promotion of these traditions feels the same, I will leave to the discretion of the reader.
In the bottom of the list, I have also added Jigen-ryu and Takenouchi-ryu who aren't themselves but have assets that have been designated cultural properties (an archive and the dojo grounds, respectively) as well as Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, who according to an article in a local association's website which I corroborated with a senior member, has applied for the designation to the Nagoya authorities and is waiting for the verdict (the URL I have provided is for the article). The names I have used are in the way they appear in the designations and/or in the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai website. If you find any mistakes let me know so I can update it; same goes for any other mistake or omission.
Fun fact: there is no restriction in designating martial artists themselves as cultural assets! Just two years ago, Okinawa Prefecture, designated at a single stroke not just one but six (6) karate teachers as "intangible cultural assets"; it makes one wonder how they must have felt about the "intangible" part, all being between the ages of 74 and 90. You can read the article by "Hiden" in https://webhiden.jp/topics/post_213/ and no, it's not one of mine. Similarly, the 12th and the 13th headmasters of Hyoho Taisha-ryu had also been designated prefectural cultural assets by Kumamoto Prefecture in 1960 and 1992, respectively.
One clarification: as I mentioned in the beginning, I don't believe these designations mean anything in regards to the school's value in the same way that I don't believe that being designated "World Heritage" means anything in regards to the value of Himeji Castle --or the Acropolis of Athens, to use an example from the old country. Therefore, that it isn't the "only martial art designated a cultural asset" doesn't take anything away from TSKSR; furthermore, as the saying goes, some of my best friends are members of the school.
1) Bokuden-ryu Kenjutsu
2) Heki-ryu Koshiya Sashiya
3) Hokushin Itto-ryu
4) Hyoho Taisha-ryu (http://www.nihonkobudokyoukai.org/martialarts/037/)
5) Kashima Shinto-ryu
6) Kiraku-ryu Jujutsu
7) Kobori-ryu Tousuijutsu
8) Kogen Itto-ryu
9) Muhen-ryu Bojutsu
10) Muhi Muteki-ryu Jojutsu
11) Ogasawara-ryu Yabusame
12) Ryushin Kachu-ryu Jujutsu
13) Sekiguchi Shinshin-ryu
14) Shindo Munen-ryu Iai
16) Shin-Tamiya-ryu Battojutsu
18) Suifu-ryu Suijutsu
19) Takeda-ryu Kisha Yabusame
22) Taya no Bojutsu
23) Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu
25) Yagyu Shingan-ryu Kacchu Jutsu
26) Yo-ryu Hojutsu
I) Takenouchi-ryu (the area surrounding the dojo has been designated a historical landmark)
II) Jigen-ryu (House of Togo document collection)
III) Yagyu Shinkage-ryu Heiho (application in process)
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