mrinku wrote:Just be aware that Japanese martial arts are largely a Tokagawa era thing (i.e. post-Sengoku Jidai peacetime hobbies) and kendo bears much the same relationship to actual 16th C Japanese warfare as foil fencing does to European. For that matter, Wu Shu has little to do with even Chinese period warfare.
Your best bet for authentic age of war poses are not modern martial artists but period illustrations, although be careful since a lot of them were *also* made a lot later on (always get a date, or assume it was drawn in the 19th century).
Just to clarify for those reading without background, the Tokugawa period is also the Edo period and is from 1603 to 1868. It was largely a period of "relative" peace (but in today's terms would likely be classified as semi-lawless with strict rules and a totalitarian oppressive regime (yes, I know, it seems like a contradiction, but perhaps common perceptions today are).
Anyway, the sword is often worn differently between the two periods (blade up for later period) and the sword is shorter in Edo period as the longer sword was used on horseback which needs a longer reach.
I have read the European fencing comparison before but it is erroneous. Those who started such a rumour never had any experience with real Japanese sword arts.
The schools who formed the ZNKR have unbroken lineage and training methods from the Samurai period where the sword was a way of life - not a "sport".
The term "sport" and "player" did not enter until after the USA occupation of Japan banning JSA. It was only by convincing the USA authorities the were "just sports" were JSA allowed to be practiced in post-war Japan.
It is still illegal to own a sword in Japan unless it is officially registered as a 'national art traesure'. It is illegal to bring a steel sword into Japan today. Training is most commonly done with an iaito made of "duralumin" (aluminium with some hardeners). The few artisans who are still allowed to make swords are pre-approved and licensed to only make a few a year and they (swords) have to be registered.