Toyama Ryu Battodo
In 1873, in the Toyama district of Tokyo, the Rikugan Toyama Gakko, or Toyama Military Academy, was established to train the officers and non-commissioned officers of Japan’s modern, western-style army. Part of the curriculum taught was Japanese fencing and swordsmanship
In order to teach their military personnel the most effective method of swordsmanship, the Academy drew apon the techniques of the then living master swordsmen. These techniques from various old schools were performed from a standing position. One of the teachers brought in to develop this practical sword system was Nakayama Hakudo. Nakayama sensei’s background in Eishin Ryu became the basis for the original standing forms. Morinaga Kiyoshi, a fencing instructor at the academy, reworked the kata and expanded them from five to seven by dropping one of the original and adding three. It was this combination of techniques as adopted by the army that became the foundation of the Toyama School of swordsmanship.
In 1939, a twenty-seven year old kendo instructor by the name of Nakamura Taizburo, was selected to attend the Academy. After six months he qualified to be an instructor of Jissen Budo, the combat martial arts of sword, knife and bayonet. This marked a major turning point in the evolution of Toyama Ryu.
While teaching kenjutsu in China, Nakamura sensei, who also studied calligraphy, was inspired with the thought that eiji happo, the eight rules of caligraphy, might also apply to swordsmanship. While practicing the “ei” character, he saw that the eight brush strokes traced the trajectory of the sword while cutting. From this came the realization that there were only eight distinct cuts possible with the sword, all others just variations of the theme. He began to organize his realizations and ideas into a system of practical swordsmanship devoid of meaningless techniques.
The particular “style” of Toyama Ryu Batto Jutsu that we study is taught by Hataya Mitsuo Sensei. Hataya Mitsuo Yoshitoki sensei 9th Dan Hanshi is the acting Kaicho of the “Zen Nippon Toyama Ryu Iaido Renmei”! Hataya sensei is based in Machida City just outside Tokyo and teaches Toyama Ryu at his Seizankai Dojo located above his sword shop “Hataya Token”. At the same time, Hataya Sensei is also acting as the Kaicho-Daiko of the Zen Nihon Batto Do Renmei since Ueki Seiji Sensei’s untimely death. The Zen Nippon Batto Do Renmei was originally formed by Nakamura sensei in 1980.
(Some History and text on our web-site are in part from Mike Femal Sensei’s and Sang Kim Sensei’s web-sites.