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Historical Overview
In 1867 the samurai class was abolished in Japan.  The Meiji Restoration redefined the class system and initiated the modern era in Japan.  To most people the Samurai are a footnote in history or larger than life figures in the movies.  The Samurai are gone, but their spirit lives on.  Men and women from Japan and around the world are dedicated to keeping their legacy alive. 
Toyama Ryu Iaido Batto Do is a Japanese sword art established in 1925 at the Imperial Military Academy (Rikugun Shikan Gakko (pictured above)). It was formed by a committee of senior authorities in koryu (old style) Iaido who wanted to streamline sword techniques for practical use on the battlefield. This art draws its techniques and philosophy from the expert swordsmen and their styles of that era. Its roots are derived from Omori Ryu tachi Iaido and the tachi waza of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. It embodies the streamlined art of drawing and using the sword from a standing position while eliminating the sitting posture of seiza and other extraneous movements. It teaches not only drawing and cutting techniques, but also the mental and spiritual aspects which governed the daily lives of swordsmen long ago.

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Toyama Ryu is based on the practical application of the sword as a weapon. It consists of basic cutting techniques, basic kata, advanced two man kata, and a variety of specific cutting patterns. It places significant emphasis on the importance of actual cutting with the sword (tameshigiri) and understanding its intricate details. It focuses on not only the physical details of every action involved in using the sword, but also the mental and spiritual meanings, which have equal roles in swordsmanship.

Tameshigiri is the practice of test cutting and is fundamental to Batto Do.  The purpose of tameshigiri is to test the cutting ability of the sword, gain experience in striking a solid object, timing, distance, angle and grip.  The targets used consist of makiwara---tightly rolled tatami mats, with general uniform weight and thickness, which have been soaked in water. While kata teaches correct footwork and body movement, it is only by cutting an actual target that reveals whether or not the proper cutting technique is being used.  Strength, speed and technique alone, however, are not enough.  The correct swing technique and blade angle or hasuji, must combine with proper cutting distance to make a successful cut.  To perform a perfect cut, the mind, body and spirit must fuse at the very instant of cutting.  This is the training objective of Batto Do.

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The Kashimon Dojo has the distinction of being the first Dojo in the Americas to become an Official branch of the Toyama Iai Batto Do Renmei (TIBDR).  We welcome all former, current, and future Toyama Ryu practitioners. Recently, a contestant for Forged in Fire- Knife or Death trained at our facility.

Recommended reading: The Naked Blade- by Toshishiro Obata
                                              Samurai, the Japanese warriors UNOFFICIAL manual- by Stephen Turnbull
Recommended film: Ran-  directed by Akira Kurosawa
                                       The Last Samurai- Directed by Edward Zwick


​“Even though you may devote yourself completely to it with all your heart and soul, it is very difficult to master Iaido completely. It is possible, though, to move one step at a time toward that ultimate goal through practice.” 
-Katsuo Yamaguchi