Minimum length of blades used in the Kageryu is 2 shaku 8 sun (84.8 cm's / 33.5 inches) Five inches longer than the length prescribed by the Shogunate. At this time the shortest blade used is well over that length, the longest 4 shaku (121.2 cm's /47.7 inches) The heaviest blade used is mine at just over seven pounds. In should be understood that the use of these weapons is simply a tradition which has been handed down. There is no consideration here as to the longer weapon being superior to a shorter one. The long is for distance and shorter one carried for close work.

From the top down: 3 shaku 7 sun (120.1 cm/44.2 inches. The authors sword 3 shaku 8 sun (45.4 inches) Weight 3.25 kg. The thirds is a sanjaku sword (3 shaku), reportedly the length of the sword used by Sasaki Kojiro It is said his long sword style Ganryu was developed against short sword styles. The length of the longest tsuka from fuchi to kashira is 22 inches. Still less than one third of the total length.

Some have a large sori (curve) making it easier to draw. The limitation to this is that a big sori also makes a weapon unbalanced. We should cut with the kensaki (upper section of a weapon) A big curve brings the balance down to the center as it leads when you cut. It is essential to build a mock blade to test for balance and practicality before forging.

A short tsuka also causes inbalance to weapon, especially drawing and cutting with one hand. With a tsuka tsukathat is too long disadvantages are that spreading out the hands makes it far more difficult to do a cutting action equally powered by two hands at the same time. However a slight lead with the left where the power should be anyway creates a slightly elliptical cutting path. This helps in stopping the blade should it miss the target. A longer tsuka than those shown make shomen giri totally impossible. Then again as shomen giri is not a technique of the ryu it is not a problem to surmount

The shortest sword shown below is a josun or teisun (2 shaku 3 sun) What was considered to be a standard the length decided by the Tokugawa Shogunate

At the bottom is a white oak bokuto in saya (Saya-tsuki-bokken). The one shown measures 3. 6 from kensaki to tsuba

WAZA

Although combat techniques as used on horseback are practised, the swords used nowadays are not carried slung at the side of the body. Admittedly this would make it a lot easier to draw, but is impractical if walking about. Swords are mounted to be worn in the obi. Also a Tanto known as a Maezashi in the Kageryu is worn across the front of the body (Shown on other pages).

Maezashi are used for throwing or for use in close quarter encounters, where another person would grapple with the swordsman to prevent him drawing his longer sword.

 

A comparison of length between Kageryu sword and Josun.

Within the techniques Kekaeshi (jumping leg reversal) is frequently used within the forms. Kage Ryu was used when fighting in Yoroi (armour). It goes without saying, there are no seated forms in Kage-ryu.

There are sixteen basic forms still practised. At first one might consider this very few. However within each form there are many variations. Each form is done in tate-hiza (with the toes turned up), standing, drawing the sword with either left or right leg forward. Turning to either side or to the rear in both directions.

 

 

Takamuku Myoji - Retired Shihan of the Kageryu wielding his 3 Shaku 7 Sun

 

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