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The Oldest style in Kenjutsu

 
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1991sudarshan
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:47 pm    Post subject: The Oldest style in Kenjutsu Reply with quote
Hello,

I am new to this forums and I am interested in Kenjutsu and Battojutsu. Which is the oldest style in Kenjutsu and are there any extinct styles and styles that are not popular today ? Were there any style used in the Nara period ?[/i]
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shin no sen
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Some answers may be gained in an article I wrote some years ago. It is brief.
http://www.johnstuart.biz/new_page_17.htm
John
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1991sudarshan
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thank you
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
There are links out there, but briefly:

It is difficult to know what is the "oldest" form of kenjutsu. Karl Friday discusses how, in the Heian period, there appears to be an idea that one can link a particular style of swordsmanship to an individual. We know that by the 16th century we have records of various schools and techniques being passed down. And in the Edo period we really see a lot because of the documentation that legitimate schools were required to have.

Many schools make claims to vast lineages. However:

1) It is hard to prove. It is not uncommon for schools to have inflated histories that may or may not be based on fact. Many lineages have "gaps" (e.g. between a famous person of the past and the current lineage there is a point where there is a "gap" that just states "X generations..." if that).

2) Lack of records. There just aren't enough records that have survived long enough. Most of what we have are more recent copies of lineages and histories.

3) Many schools have a legendary or divine aspect to their inception story. This brings into question the authenticity of the schools' stories.

4) Schools change over time, so even if you were able to find a school that traces itself back to a given period, how do you know the techniques are the same? For instance, "jodan" used to have to be either a high hasso or canted so as to not get tangled in the helmet in some schools--at least for armored combat. In addition, in ancient times the sword of choice would have been the tachi, with the uchigatana coming in more recently, so technique likely changed. We also see a change in the form of weapons--sword blades change weight, shape, etc. throughout time, and were likely used with different strategic emphasis. Even today, things change, with different menkyo kaiden, for instance, teaching different ways of doing the same kata.

5) We have no real way to know how people moved back in the past, unless it was written down. It is rather like trying to look at linguistics, which I thought might be an interesting approach to the problem; if you could analyze enough schools' teachings over time and start to look at how things drift, combined with what documentation we have on techniques that were used, I wonder if you could start to try to find more information out about the connections and what the situation was like. I really haven't had time to put much thought into it, however.

How is that for an answer?

-Josh
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Nen-ryu is believed to be the oldest existing school, started in Muromachi period.
This school do not take random students.
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1991sudarshan
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
shikisoku wrote:
Nen-ryu is believed to be the oldest existing school, started in Muromachi period.
This school do not take random students.


But according to wikipedia, there is no current head quarters or maintainers for that style. But instead it is survived through its descendant styles such as Chujo ryu, Maniwa nen ryu and itto ryu. Is the wikipedia fact correct ?
[url]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nen-ry%C5%AB [/url]
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
1991sudarshan wrote:
wikipedia fact


Isn't that an oxymoron??

Wink

Okay, regarding your question, something to consider: Early schools changed names regularly (a master would pass it on to a student, and that student would become a master of a school in their own right), so just because the name has changed as it has branched through different students doesn't mean that it is any more or less connected to the original teachings.

I would say that you would need to study them in relationship to other schools to try to really investigate pre-modern budo.


-Josh
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