About Iaido

About Iaido

Like most Iaido, Muso Shinden Ryu can trace its roots back to Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu, (sometimes known as Jinsuke Shigenobu) (1546-1621). As a young man he went to a Shinto shrine where he spent quite some time. After studying swordsmanship for some time he developed Batto-Jutsu techniques (techniques where one draws the sword and strikes with one motion). He called his style Shinmei Muso ryu. Later known as Shin Muso Hayashizaki ryu.

Many different schools of swordsmanship developed and over the centuries, these techniques have been refined and adjusted to those we have today. The older styles of Iaido, of which there are many, are referred to as Koryu and are practiced all over the world. Muso Shinden Ryu as we know it today was born in early 1900s by Nakayama Hakudo-sensei, a man who had dedicated his life to the study of kendo and Iaido.

In the 18th century two branches of Iaido developed, Tanimura Ha and Shimomura Ha. It is Shimomura Ha which became the source for what is now known as Muso Shinden Ryu. Nakayama Hakudo (1869 – 1958) became the Soke (Headmaster) of the Shinomura branch and revised the curriculum. He laid out a plan of study having students pass through Shoden (entry level), Chuden (middle level), and two sets of Okuden (inner level). In addition to the revised curriculum he also modified some techniques.

All Iaido kata (detailed choreographed patterns of movements) contain the same four elements:-

  • Nukitsuke – This is the first strike, though single handed, it should be effective and performed with focus and purpose. It should make kirioroshi unnecessary.
  • Kiritsuke( Kirioroshi) – Main two handed cut, the definitive cut, carried out with power and control.
  • Chiburi – Symbolic cleansing of blood from the blade.
  • Noto – Resheathing of the sword.

If you wish to learn more or just wish to watch you are most welcome to visit our dojo. We do ask that you honour the spirit of our dojo and show respect to the iaidoka who train there.

Hayashizaki Shigenobu

Born: 1542 or 1546
Died: 1621
Other names: Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto no Shigenobu, Hojo Jinsuke Shigenobu

Hayashizaki Jinsuke (Minamoto no) Shigenobu.The founder of what is today known as Iaido was a man named either Hojo Jinsuke Shigenobu or Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu. His life is shrouded in obscurity and, as a result, many more legends exist than fact. It is known that he was born in Sagami province sometime during the middle of the sixteenth century, from there it is believed that he lived in Mutsu province.

According to legend, his father was murdered while Shigenobu was still young. Swearing revenge, he took to either the Shinmei or Hiyoshi Shinto jinja where he prayed and meditated for many days. After an extended period of prayer and meditation he was struck with a divine dream wherein he was imparted with the techniques of battojutsu.

It is not known just exactly how skilled of a swordsman he actually was, but he it is known that he studied swordsmanship intensively during the approximate years of 1596 – 1601 and, thereafter, devised a series of iaijutsu techniques which he called battojutsu. His style came to be known by various different names: Junpaku Den, Hayashizaki Ryu, Shin Muso Hayashizaki Ryu, Shigenobu Ryu, et cetera.

It is also known that he made a tour of Japan in Musha Shugyo (warrior pilgrimage) fashion, and at that time he attracted many disciples to his system. The exact techniques that he transmitted to his students remain a mystery, but it is believed that they must have been relatively simple, practical, and highly combative.

Supposedly in 1616, at the age of 73, he made a second tour of Japan, during which, he apparently disappeared. Under his pioneering influence, many different schools emerged.

After his death, the tradition of the Shin Muso Hayashizaki Ryu was carried on by Tamiya Taira-no-Hyoe Narimasa who, is believed to be the teacher of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hidetada and Iemitsu. If this is true then it would certainly contribute to the popularity of this style.