“Shinkendo: Japanese Swordsmanship” is the first book on the dynamic art of Shinkendo, written by its founder and headmaster. Intended as a resource for current students as well as an introduction for non-students, Shinkendo: Japanese Swordsmanship is the first volume that details various aspects of this art. A must for Shinkendo students and anyone interested in Japanese swordsmanship, volume one touches on Japanese military history, Shinkendo strategy, philosophy, and all five major areas of swordsmanship study.
Obata Toshishiro Kaiso’s second book, “Shinkendo Tameshigiri: Samurai Swordsmanship & Test Cutting”, focuses exclusively on tameshigiri (test-cutting) — its history, its current practice, the different types and purposes of tameshigiri, including shito or sword-testing — and its role in Shinkendo.
Obata-soke has been instrumental in implementing and raising the standards of the practice of tameshigiri in swordmanship training worldwide, starting from his participation in the tameshigiri championships in Japan and perhaps culminating in the publication of this definitive volume. Included are detailed diagrams of cutting techniques and sword anatomy, step-by-step photos of maintaining swords, preparing tatami-omote, tameshigiri waza, and more. This book also extends beyond the scope of Shinkendo to incorporate Obata-soke’s extensive experience as a shitoka, or professional sword-tester. Intended as a resource for students and anyone interested in finding out more about Shinkendo and the practice of tameshigiri.
Studying true swordsmanship must also include proper philosophies (Kyogi) and techniques (Jitsugi). Shinkendo’s philosophies are based on Kuyo Junikun (Nine Planets, 12 Precepts) and Hachido (The Eight-Fold Path). Together, these teachings promote the ideal of Jinsei Shinkendo: to learn valuable lessons from sword study, and incorporate them into our lives in order to live a better lifestyle. The study of Kuyo Junikun and Hachido are as important a part of our Shinkendo training as is the study of handling the sword. As one learns and understands the deeper aspects of handling the katana, one will also be able to better understand the deeper meanings of Kuyo Junikun and Hachido. Conversely, as one understands better the deeper meanings of Kuyo Juniko and Hachido, one will be better able to understand the deeper aspects of handling the sword.
For more information about Kuyo Junikun and Hachido, you can read Obata Toshishiro Kaiso’s most recent book, “Modern Bushido: Samurai Teachings For Modern Times”, as it discusses them in depth.