Sword Art Differences

Japanese Sword

When talking or reading about Japanese swordsmanship there are a number of words/names that appear such as Iaido, Iaijutsu, Kendo, Kenjutsu, Battojutsu and Battodo. What do they mean? There are many descriptions and hopefully the following basic descriptions may help,

The Japanese martial arts which use the sword (katana) are varied Some have formal prearranged techniques (kata) and some concentrate more on sparring. All of these help practitioners develop strength, coordination, sharpness of mind, and a strong character. 

Iaido is associated with the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard, striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard. There are a great many styles and two of the most widely practiced are Muso Shinden Ryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu.

Iaijutsu can be said to be more the fighting aspect of swordplay. Like iaido, iaijutsu is taught primarily through the practice of forms, formal prearranged techniques but in general the movements are closer to the historical movements of older sword styles, and not as close to the modern iaido,. However, some styles are referred to as both.

There are many styles of iaijutsu, including Hoki-Ryu, Tamiya-Ryu, and Mugai-Ryu. 

Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art, descended from swordsmanship in which participants try to score by striking one another with shinai (bamboo practice swords). The players wear protective armour, and can score with an unopposed strike to the other’s head, wrist, abdomen, or throat.  

Today, it is widely practiced within Japan and has spread to many other nations across the world.

Kendo is an activity that combines martial arts practices and values with strenuous, sport-like physical activity.

Kenjutsu refers to many older sword styles. Usually, they consist of many different aspects, including formal techniques, practical techniques, and conditioning drills. Some styles include empty hand techniques or other weaponry. styles of kenjutsu. Unlike iaido and iaijutsu, kenjutsu usually focuses more on swordplay after the sword has been drawn.

Battojutsu and Battodo refer to arts that are very similar to Iaijutsu and Iaido. The word “Batto” means “sword drawing” but, as a practical matter, most Batto systems are more focused on swordplay after the sword is drawn than are most Iai systems.

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