For over 500 years the Tenshinsho-den Katori Shinto Ryu is one of the most renowned academies for martial arts in Japan. The main weapon employed by this traditional school is the classic samurai-sword. Ever since the foundation of the academy, in 1447, by Iiazasa Choisai Ieano, the teaching of the Tenshinsho-den Katori Shinto Ryu have remained unchanged. Due to the unique character of the school, it is the only martial arts school that ever received the title:
"Unaffected national treasure of Japan".
Which was awarded by the Japanese government in 1960.
In feudal Japan a wide variety of weapons was used. To prepare students for combat with and against these weapons.
Weapons of different shapes and sizes were used in training. The skill required in the handling of a weapon is called "jutsu".
Students will be trained in the use of the following weapons:
Shuriken (Dart 18 cm) Kodachi (Short sword 55 cm) Ken (Sword 97 cm)
Bo (Stick 183 cm) Naginata (Glaive 253 cm) Yari ( Javelin 290 cm)
During war, battles were fought in Japanese armour (Yoroi) The techniques employed by the school are aimed to neutralize the enemy, by using the natural weaknesses of the armour.
During training the students are taught to use various weapons in kata. A kata is a form of choreographic movement, consisting of attacks and counterattacks, known by all students. Attention is focused on excellent weapon-control, posture, concentration and strategy.This form of "ken-jutsu" dates back to an age where samurai used their swords in periods of war. Each action (or reaction) is aimed to kill the opponent. Because practice with real weapons is extremely dangerous, all techniques are trained using wooden weapons. Competition is strictly forbidden. Even when using wooden weapons it is possible to kill.