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Tōjutsu (刀術, tou-jutsu) translates literally as "sword techniques". Tō is a very general Japanese word for sword, and has no connotations with particular sizes, lengths or styles except that it implies the curvature of the blade, like the European sabres. The term Tōjutsu is rarely used or mentioned in martial arts sources. Tōjutsu is encompassed by, and often confused with Kenjutsu, which is the Japanese word representing use of the straight-bladed swords.
A Japanese sword is one of several types of traditionally made swords from Japan. Bronze swords were made as early as the Yayoi period, though most people generally refer to the curved blades made from the Heian period to the present day when speaking of "Japanese swords". There are many types of Japanese swords that differ by size, shape, field of application and method of manufacture. Some of the more commonly known types of Japanese swords are the uchigatana, tachi, odachi, wakizashi, and tantō.
Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art, descended from kenjutsu, that uses bamboo swords (shinai) as well as protective armor (bōgu). Today, it is widely practiced within Japan and has spread to many other nations across the world.
The daishō—"big-little"—is a Japanese term for a matched pair of traditionally made Japanese swords (nihonto) worn by the samurai class in feudal Japan.
Iaijutsu (居合術) is a combative quick-draw sword technique. This art of drawing the Japanese sword, katana, is one of the Japanese koryū martial art disciplines in the education of the classical warrior (bushi).
Kenjutsu (剣術) is an umbrella term for all (ko-budō) schools of Japanese swordsmanship, in particular those that predate the Meiji Restoration. Some modern styles of kendo and iaido that were established in the 20th century also included modern forms of kenjutsu in their curriculum. Kenjutsu, which originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, means "methods, techniques, and the art of the Japanese sword". This is opposed to kendo, which means "the way of the sword" and uses a bamboo sword (shinai) and protective armour (bōgu).
Tsukahara Bokuden was a famous swordsman of the early Sengoku period. He was described as a kensei. He was the founder of a new Kashima style of kenjutsu, and served as an instructor of Shōgun Ashikaga Yoshiteru and Ise provincial governor daimyō Kitabatake Tomonori.
Japanese martial arts refers to the variety of martial arts native to the country of Japan. At least three Japanese terms are used interchangeably with the English phrase Japanese martial arts.
The iaitō (居合刀) is a modern metal practice sword, without a cutting edge, used primarily for practicing iaido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship.
Shinken is a Japanese sword that has a forged and sharpened blade. The term shinken is often used in contrast with bokken, shinai, and iaitō.
Jōdan-no-kamae (上段の構え:じょうだんのかまえ), also known as jōdan-gamae, and frequently shortened simply to jōdan, is a basic kenjutsu posture. Jōdan-no-kamae means upper-level posture.
Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryū, often referred to simply as Jikishinkage-ryū or Kashima Shinden, is a traditional school (koryū) of the Japanese martial art of swordsmanship (kenjutsu). The school was founded in the mid-16th century, based upon older styles of swordsmanship, and is one of the few ancient Japanese martial arts schools still existing today.
Tatsumi-ryū Hyōhō is a traditional school (koryū) of Japanese martial arts founded in the early 16th century by Tatsumi Sankyo.
Shingyōtō-ryū (心形刀流) is a Japanese koryū swordsmanship style that was founded in 1682 by Iba Josuiken Hideaki (伊庭是水軒秀明). The name roughly translates as "mind shape/form sword school". The style places a high emphasis on swordsmanship philosophy, mainly to-ho-no-sho-shin or "the heart of the sword".
Kage-ryū (影流) is a Japanese koryū martial art founded in the late Muromachi period c. 1550 by Yamamoto Hisaya Masakatsu.
Mugai-ryū or "Outer Nothingness School" is a Japanese koryū martial art school founded by Tsuji Gettan Sukemochi (辻月丹資茂) on 23 June 1680. Its formal name is Mugai Shinden Kenpō (無外真伝剣法).
Shinkage-ryū (新陰流) meaning "new shadow school", is a traditional school (koryu) of Japanese martial arts, founded by Kamiizumi Ise-no-Kami Fujiwara-no-Hidetsuna, later Kamiizumi Ise-no-Kami Nobutsuna in the mid-sixteenth century. Shinkage-ryū is primarily a school of swordsmanship and is a synthesis of Nobutsuna's studies in the school of Kage-ryū (Aizu). Shinkage-ryu can also refer to Kashima-derived schools such as Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage Ryu and Kashima Shin Ryu.
A shinai (竹刀) is a Japanese sword typically made of bamboo used for practice and competition in kendo. Shinai are also used in other martial arts, but may be styled differently from kendo shinai, and represented with different characters. The light, soft wood used in a shinai distinguishes it from other wooden swords such as a bokken, which is generally made of heavier, sturdier wood.
A katana is a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. Developed later than the tachi, it was used by samurai in feudal Japan and worn with the edge facing upward. Since the Muromachi period, many old tachi were cut from the root and shortened, and the blade at the root was crushed and converted into katana. The specific term for katana in Japan is uchigatana (打刀) and the term katana (刀) often refers to single-edged swords from around the world.
Jutsu (術)—meaning technique, method, spell, skill or trick—is a bound morpheme of the Sino-Japanese lexical stratum of the Japanese language. It is used in various Japanese terms indicating various specialties or skills, such as the following:
Suwariwaza (座り技) is the generic name for techniques performed in the seated stance in traditional Japanese (koryū) martial arts. The word waza means technique. In aikido and judo, suwariwaza techniques are performed by practitioners seated opposite to each other in the seiza position, the formal style of sitting in Japanese culture. In iaido, a single practitioner starts in many cases from suwariwaza, and executes sword techniques from the seated stance, though not necessarily from a static and immobile position.