Bogu Chakuyo Keiko - Sword Sparring
In addition to the paired exercises and solo forms of Oishi Shinkage Ryu Kenjutsu, and Muso Shinden Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu, there is also free sparring called bogu chakuyo keiko防具着用稽古
This is similar to gekiken, a term used in the Kantou area, around Edo (now Tokyo).
Bogu chakuyo keiko utilises body armour (bogu) and a bamboo sword called a fukuro shinai.
This type of training is usually reserved for more advanced students who are proficient with the basics.
From the outside, bogu chakuyo keiko may look like the modern sport of kendo (due to the equipment used), but the objectives and techniques are often very different.
The rise of kendo led to the decline of many koryu (pre-1867) kenjutsu schools. That's because kendo assimilated many schools of kenjutsu. Promoted by the meiji government, a standardised kendo curiculum slowly started replacing that of many kenjutsu ryu-ha. As a result many sparring skills from a diverse number of swordsmanship styles were lost. Fortunately a few kenjutsu schools survived, unaffected by the spread of kendo. Our style, Oishi Shinkage Ryu kenjutsu, remained prosperous after the meiji restoration due to it's popularity.
While kendo sparring rewards a limited number of HITTING techniques, our bogu chakuyo keiko permits a larger number of more realistic sword cutting motions/techniques. Koryu styles are more practical for combat than modern sports, because they maintain the actual battle-tested techniques, strategies and mental outlook of the experienced samurai who created them.
For more information please have a look around the rest of our blog and the history section of our website.