Can we relate Niten Ichiryu to other martial arts either old or new?
Seeing so many questions and answers on forums. Reading articles by people that might be considered to be an authority on the subject prompts me to write a little. But at he same time not wishing to take away anyone's inspiration.
I like many others am a Yudansha in Kendo, Iaido and Battojutsu. But the difference is I am also a senior member and national representative of the Hyoho Niten Ichiryu. It is with this experience that I feel I should try and shed some light on the distinct differences I see and was taught by two sohke.
To make things simple I would like to quote from a recent article to try an make things clearer.
One article likening Gorin no Sho to modern Kendo takes quotes from an English translation of Gorin no Sho as follows:
I would definitely say "yes". To continue with Gorin no Sho quote; Tense your legs from the knees to the toes. Push your stomach forward so that you do not bend at the hips.
Lets go on to examine another quote with regards to grip: In holding the sword it is important to place the least tension on your thumb and index finger while pressing the middle finger a little harder. The remaining two fingers should be pressed on the sword. at the moment you strike your opponent you must maintain the same grip by adjusting the thumb and forefinger etc.
As to the philosophy.
The concept of Kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Japanese sword.
We see a mention of Mitsu no sen. But this was to help us understand the principles of other sword styles. In actual fact Mitsu no sen is not practiced by the Hyoho Niten Ichiryu. Only "Sen". By all means its wonderful to read Musashi. But at the same time don't take what he writes too literally in application to other Budo. That can only come from practice in conjunction with reading.
The work Gorin no Sho written by Musashi is most ambiguous. Translating it into English make its even more so. This is why its possible to put out so many translations of it all having some variation. His very full details of techniques in Hyoho Shiji ni Kajo offer us a far more detailed description of his waza. Add to this his philosophical outline in Dokkodo that can be expounded into infinite detail by studying the Buddhist quotes within and we to get a far fuller picture.
© Hyakutake-Watkin 2004