Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall School of Iaido / Batto
Important Information About Training
A live or sharp sword should be treated with respect and caution. The techniques, katas or tools seen on this website should not be attempted or used unless under the supervision of qualified, trained, and certified instructors. Do not attempt any martial arts technique on your own or without appropriate training. These techniques an be dangerous if not performed correctly. Neither the American Martial Arts Institute, Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall, The American Cane System, SecureLivingOnline.com, administrators, heads of styles, nor any of its members bear any responsibility for outcome of damage or injury caused by any person attempting these techniques or using these tools.
What is it?
There is a rich history and lineage to Batto-do. Although this is true, finding information on this aspect of the sword in print is difficult. Only by going to traditional martial arts websites of schools practicing this art will give you the important dates and names such as Toyama Military Academy, International Batto-Do Rengo Kai (Alliance), and most noted Sensei Nakamura Taizaburo. To learn more visit genbu-kai.com.
To simplify this complex art of the ancient samurai would be to say it is the art of cutting with the samurai sword. The samurai sword is so complex that it is broken down into segments of study. Although there is much overlapping, the study of Iaido is the sword's history, code and forms. To spar with the sword is more in line with Kendo. To cut with the sword is Batto-do. You might spend your whole life on just one of these areas of the traditional samurai sword use and practices. Yet each of these areas and their tributaries will all develop focus, self-confidence, good health, mental alertness, and a personal sense of history resulting in a calmness within action.
Master Demura (seated, center), Headmaster Crandall (standing, in black), Sensei Charles Hobbib (standing, behind Master Demura), Renshi Morris (standing next to Charles Hobbib) with Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido / Batto-do students at an instructional seminar and performance with Master Demura.
The Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido style includes a very traditional art of Batto-Do. The etiquette, katas, cuts and resheathing techniques follow closely with the "International Batto-Do Rengo Kai (Alliance)" and the "Society for the Preservation of Toyama-Ryu Batto-Do," both of which have a long history. These two organizations include techniques and variations of techniques which have been used by samurai as well as modern era Japanese soldiers. The Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iai/Batto is traditional and accurate enough that our students are allowed to participate in one of the only Batto-Do competition in North America. We have won metals in first, second and third place in multiple divisions during the first three years of our participation in this event.
The name Toyama Ryu comes from the military school at which these techniques were codified and studied by the Toyama Military Academy. Officially known as the Rikuguin Heigakko-Ryu Toyama Gakko Shucho-Jo, it was formed as a branch school for the Army officers in 1873. Early students trained in a variety of studies related to military tactics and such skills as Kendo, Judo, horsemanship, marksmanship and physical training. It is believed that the official formation of the Toyama Ryu occurred in 1925.
The factual history and lineage can be written and read but the difficulty in traditional sword is for the student to grasp the philosophy, responsibility, moral accountability and the virtue that are the heart of what they train in. With this the student shapes their own lives. This is the Do of the sword. The art of sword is procedures that are very structured and also riddled with tradition and ceremony. When we think of an empty-hand style we image forms, sparring, breaking and self-defense. This is also the division of the study of the sword. Because of the depth of tradition and ceremony, as well as the impact the sword had on culture and society as well as government, these four areas of study had become separate unto themselves. In short the study of the sword resulted in schools of Iai-do, schools of Batto-do, schools of Ken-do and schools of Kumi Tachi (or Muto Dori). You could join any one of these schools and become aware of the other many facets of the sword but would spend a lifetime training to understand and execute properly the moves of just the one area you had become involved in. A student of the sword should immerse themselves in the art not so much to become good at it as much as to become a better person within themselves.
Batto-do is the art of cutting. Although there are traditionally eight katas associated with this style of sword, each kata is designed to assist you in cutting properly. Also the katas give you an understanding of body postures for safety and harmony of mind and body. The sword in the hands of samurai was used to maintain the status quo for the lord or government and to maintain power. The sword could easily take life and was design to effortlessly cut an arm, leg or head from an opponent. After the 14th century the Shogun of Japan Ieyusu Tokugawa created the Edo Era which changed the role of the sword. This resulted in the development of sword training for self-protection, but even more importantly, for self-disciplining of ones mind and body for a personally better life. As the sword has become more popular and in many cases a sport, the most important aspect in non-traditional schools is lost: the true understanding of its philosophy. That you have a sword to train yourself but that it was designed to take life and should be respected as a complex art for it can still easily take life. Batto-do allows the practitioner to use a live sword which demonstrates this ultimate reality. It is the cutting of bamboo or straw (reeds posts) that have been soaked in water for several days. This gives them the density of a human leg or arm. The cuts must follow tradition in actions before and after the cut. The cuts must be at a 45 degree angle to be correct. Safety is important in each aspect of training for your safety as well as that of others in the room.
As was tradition our students train one year with a bokken before using even a non-live metal sword. It is a self-development art of training and although Batto is about cutting the road you take to get to cutting is essential.
Master Demura (seated) with Headmaster Crandall (standing) after training at the American Martial Arts Institute
Calligraphy composed by Master Demura: "Kome" meaning Rice and also America. This kanji hangs on the wall at the American Martial Arts Institute.
Renshi Morris performing two batto cuts on the same reed in rapid succesion, cutting the base first.