|Toyama Ryu Batto Do|
Following the path of the Samurai
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Toyama Ryu Kata 戸山流 形
There are eight kata in the modern Toyama Ryu style. These are not the kata that were taught in the Toyama Academy. Those seven kata were based on using a gunto (WWII Japanese Sword) worn edge down in tachi style mounts. The modern Toyama Ryu kata were developed later from these and adapted for used with the katana.
Kata teach the student how to move, draw, defend, and attack efficiently. They present scenarios where the enemy attacks from different directions and instructs the student how to deal with the situation. They are the main training tool for Japanese Swordsmanship.
Each of the kata teaches different lessons. It is important to know the purpose of each detailed movement, but it may take the student time to understand the nuances. Basic movement must be learned first. It is through the understanding of the subtle details that we reach a true understanding of our art. There are lessons to be learned the first time a kata is done, and still lessons to be learned after doing that kata hundreds or even thousands of times. It is not about the memorization of many kata, it is about the true understanding of a few.
Group kata is performed by multiple people at the same time. It is the normal type of kata done during classes. Group kata are lead by a senior who sets the pace for the kata.
Individual kata is performed for testing and demonstrations. The pace is very important since most people have a tendency to go too fast. Kata speed is slower than reality to allow proper form to build muscle memory.
Formal kata presentations are done for demonstrations and competitions. They should show the practitioners skill, control, and composure.
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