Toyama RyuToyama Ryu Batto Do
Japanese Swordsmanship

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The Wave

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.

Toyama Kata Overview

RōmajiKanjiRōmajiKanjiDescription
Ippon Me一本目 Mea No Teki前の敵Enemy to the front
Nihon Me二本目Migi No Teki右の敵Enemy to the right
Sambon Me三本目Hidari No Teki左の敵Enemy to the left
Yonhon Me四本目Ushiro No Teki 後の敵Enemy to the rear
Gohon Me五本目Chokuzen No Teki 直前の敵Enemies just in front
Roppon Me六本目Ushiro Mae No Teki 後前の敵Enemies to rear and front
Nanahon Me七本目Hidari Migi Mae No Teki 左右前の敵Enemies left, right, and front
Happon Me八本目Itto Dodan一刀土壇Single stoke execution

Group Kata

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.

  • Never get ahead of those senior to yourself
  • Attempt to keep up with those senior to yourself
  • Base your timing on the most senior student performing the kata
  • The most senior student should be especially careful about timing
  • Maintain awareness of those around you at all times
  • The entire group should try to keep synchronized for demonstrations

Individual 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.

  • Students should show proper timing and keep from speeding up
  • Students at nidan and above can show individual interpretation of kata timing

Formal Presentations

Formal kata presentations are done for demonstrations and competitions.  They should show the practitioners skill, control, and composure.

  • Mentally prepare yourself before entering the presentation area
  • The katana should be carried but a wakizashi may be worn if appropriate for rank and situation.
  • Walk formally into the presentation area to your starting position
    • Walk in straight orthogonal  lines
    • Keep your feet on the ground
    • Do not raise the toes
    • Stop and make turns by rotating in place
    • Walk with your katana in your right hand with your thumb on the saya
    • Maintain a low center of gravity
    • Keep your back straight
  • Always perform kata towards the front of the room.  This may be the audience for a demonstration or the judges for a competion.
  • The first bow is to judges / class / audience
    • 15 degrees deep
    • Straight back
  • The second bow is to the spiritual center of room.  This may be a kamidana, American/Japanese flags, or a VIP table.
    • Rotate the katana in the right hand
    • Kissaki of sword is to center in front of right foot.
    • Respectful 30 degrees deep
    • Longer than first bow
    • Straight back
  • Third bow is to your sword
    • Rotate the katana back to the normal position
    • Sword is at eye level
    • Cover kogiri with hand
    • Keep sword up while bowing
  • Put your katana in obi
    • Use thumb to separate obi
    • Hand stays on obi while inserting sword
    • Focus yourself on a distant point and do not look down
  • Perform all kata
  • Remove katana from obi
  • Repeat bow to your sword
  • Repeat bow the spiritual center of room
  • Repeat bow to judges / class / audience
  • Walk formally out of the presentation area

 

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