Traditional Japanese Martial Arts
What is Kenjutsu?
Kenjutsu was the premier martial art of the Japanese samurai. It focuses on swordsmanship after the sword has been drawn. The Oishi Shinkage-Ryu includes techniques for use with the long sword (Katana, or Odachi), short sword (Kodachi), using both the long and short swords together (Nito), sword drawing techniques (called Sayanouchi), and use of various samurai weapons, such as the halberd (Naginata), spear (Yari), and staff (Bo).
Kenjutsu teaches tactics (Heiho), such as how to deal with an aggressive opponent, or one who moves fast or slow, etc. These teachings can also be applied to our daily lives outside of the Dojo, such as how to deal with an argumentative coworker, or learning to control your emotions in stressful situations.
Traditional Japanese martial arts in Indianapolis, Indiana
About Our Style: Oishi Shinkage-Ryu
Oishi Shinkage-ryu (大石神影流) was founded by Oishi Susumu Tanetugu in the early 1800s, and is a traditional school of Japanese swordsmanship (Kenjutsu). Oishi Susumu Sensei was taught Aizu Kage-ryu Kenjutsu and Oshima-ryu Sojutsu (spearmaship) by his grandfather and father. They were instructors of the Yanagawa domain. Oishi Susumu Tanetugu changed the teachings based on his practical experiences, and founded Oishi Shinkage-ryu.
The unique features of Oishi Shinkage-ryu are techniques known as Morotezuki (thrusting with both hands), Katatezuki (thrusting with one hand) and Dogiri (cutting the waist). These techniques were favored by the founder in Kenjutsu matches using armor and bamboo swords (shinai).
Oishi Susumu Sensei improved the protective gear used in training and they became popular throughout Japan. In addition, he improved the fukuro shinai (bamboo sword covered in cloth or leather) to the bamboo swords used today. He also devised various unique thrusting techniques, and a technique to cut an opponent’s torso (do). He taught that everyone should use a longer sword, with a length between the ground and chest. This length was significantly longer than was used by most other schools at the time. Because the height of Susumu Oishi was 210cm (about 6-feet, 9-inches tall), he used a bamboo sword with a length of around 160cm (approximately 63 inches, or over 5 feet in length). Oishi Susumu created 79 Kata (prescribed patterns or sequences of techniques) to preserve his teachings.
In 1832, by the order of his feudal lord, he went to the capital city of Edo (modern day Tokyo). Over the next year, he engaged in Kenjutsu matches with many famous instructors in Edo. However, no one could defeat him, and he became very famous all over Japan. Thereafter many samurai from all parts of Japan came to him for instruction.
After the death of Oishi Susumu, his son inherited the school. He also traveled to Edo by the order of his feudal lord to engage in Kenjutsu matches like his father. He was also very skilled and his name became very famous all over Japan, just like his father.
His younger brother, Oishi Yukie inherited the school. After the Meiji Restoration, Kenjutsu declined temporarily, but the practice at the Oishi Dojo was prosperous. When Oishi Yukie died, his son, Oishi Hajime was too young to take over the school, so Itai Masumi, the senior student of Oishi Yukie protected Oishi Shinkage-ryu. After Oishi Hajime grew old enough, he assumed leadership of Oishi Shinkage-ryu. He was also the principal of the local high school, a village mayor, and a city council member. Oishi Hajime taught Oishi Shinkage-ryu to his grandson, Oishi Eiichi, and Oishi Eiichi Sensei taught Oishi Shinkage-ryu to Kunio Morimoto.
Kunio Morimoto Sensei was awarded Menkyo Kaiden (a teaching license of complete transmission) by Oishi Eiichi Sensei, and he teaches Oishi Shinkage-ryu Kenjutsu to many students. Currently, only the Kanou-Kan is teaching the Oishi Shinkage-ryu.
Oishi Shinkage-Ryu Kenjutsu: Samurai Swordsmanship