"Iai Battoh-Ho, meaning "sword-drawing method," is based on Iaido, "the Way of sword drawing," and other traditional forms of Japanese sword work. In Birankai North America, Battoh-Ho is studied in large part for the same reasons as weapons work with bokken and jo: for what it reveals about the roots of Aikido as a martial art.
Iai Battoh-Ho is practiced primarily via solo forms (or kata) using a live or practice Japanese sword. We also practice partner forms (kumi-dachi) with bokken. Through our training we attempt to understand the use of the weapon while simultaneously stimulating and stretching our body. Alongside the purely physical and technical aspects, the art develops focused yet relaxed concentration, as we move from stillness to action and back to stillness, in the presence of a live blade.
Originally our dojo followed Chiba Sensei in practicing Musô Shinden-ryû under Mitzuzuka Sensei. With his permission, Chiba Sensei established Iai Battoh-Ho as a new ryu, in order to pursue more explicitly the connection between Iaido and Chiba Sensei's Aikido, and in order to distinguish our way from the modern, competitive approach. Iai Battoh-Ho retains the names and basic outline of all the Musô Shinden-ryû forms, while modifying the emphasis and various technical details. Musô Shinden-ryû is itself a derivative of some older ryu; its founder contributed to the contemporary All-Japan curriculum.
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