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Thread: Historical training in the use of Kyu-gunto

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    Historical training in the use of Kyu-gunto

    Not entirely sure if this is the right forum but here goes,


    I've long had an attraction to the late 19th-early 20th century Kyu-gunto, the curious blending of blades with a (more or less) traditional Japanese archtecture mounted on a decidedly European hilt. The degree of Western influence varies somewhat; there are models with hilts that are of the proportion of a traditional Japanese weapon with the curious addition of an(IMO) ill-proprotioned knucklebow.

    Now providing the knucklebow didn't crowd the hands I could see such a weapon weilded according to native Japanese styles of swordplay. But what of the weapons patterned more directly after Western military sabres? Was there a style of swordplay used by the Meiji-era military prior to the adoption of the more traditionaly-styled Shin-gunto that accomodated the "foreign" style of sword? Or where the tradional sword arts of Japan the basis of what sword training officers recieved and it was assumed they could apply these to their Western style weapons?

    This question first came to my mind some years ago when I first handled a Type 32 cavalry sword. From my background in European military sword arts I found this a no-nonsense sabre intended for the battlefield. Most importantly, it is a very different animal than what comonly comes to mind when one thinks of Japanese sword (katanas, et al). I find it difficult to believe that such thought and excellent design would go into such a weapon with no accompanying literature instructing in its use.

    So can anyone speak to how the Japanese officer or cavalry trooper of the early 20th century was trained in the use of edged weapons very different from those of their native martial culture?

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    I don't have any material on the military sword technique (gunto soho) Meiji-era Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) soldiers used, but they did get training in physical conditioning, and bayonet and sword techniques by French soldiers sent to Japan when the Meiji government sought to modernize their armed forces (the Imperial Navy was trained by the British). Eventually, the Army found French techniques for bayonet unsuitable for Japanese troops and so developed their own system, based on sojutsu (classical spear technique), largely Ito-ryu, with a bit of Hozoin-ryu as well. Dismounted bayonet technique was, if I have it right, taken from Toda-ryu kenjutsu. Whether that's the same Toda-ryu as what I am studying is something I don't know, but it's likely that it was a different school, based on what I've learned in tankendo training.

    That said, since Meiji-era military swords were a blend of Japanese blades and Western mountings (generally saber hilts), it seems unlikely they'd be able to use kenjutsu techniques, per se. A few of the traditional waza were perhaps uses, but one-handed swords just don't lend themselves to that sort of training. If I recall correctly, the IJA went back to traditionally constructed military swords, gunto, during or shortly after WWI, when the Toyama Rikugun Gakko (Toyama Army School) was created. Experience during WWI had shown that kendo training alone was not enough to prepare soldiers to use the sword in combat, so the IJA formed a committee to develop what came to be called gunto soho, dividing the system into two parts: drawing and cutting (that was referred to as Toyama-ryu battojutsu) and combat with the drawn military sword, or gunto soho. Soho just means "training method(s)."

    The beauty of Toyama Gakko technique is that it is in complete adherence with the KISS Principle: Keep It Short and Simple. Which agrees with Murphy's Rule of Combat #6: "important things are always simple, but simple things are always hard." It's the same principle for modern MCMAP, now used by Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. (It works, too.)

    To return to Mr. Brackley's original question, I do not think late Meiji-era military sword technique had much of a base in traditional swordsmanship; rather, it was a mish-mash of European and a bit of Japanese technique. When it was found that it was not really effective, Imperial Japanese Army leaders revised military swordsmanship and went back to something that was both technically and culturally more appropriate for their soldiers.

    Of course, the question of whether or not swords are particularly *useful* in modern warfare is an entirely separate question. We all remember the old saying, "don't bring a knife to a gun fight," right?

    Hope this helps,

    Meik Skoss
    Shutokukan Dojo
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    "don't bring a knife to a gun fight"


    I don't think that was much of a question after Toba-Fushimi . . .

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    Don't bring a knife?

    "Decisive results from fire actions alone will not happen unless the opposing forces are altogether unequal in nature. In the China-Japan War, the use of the bayonet or lance was very rare, while in the late war the use of both was frequent."

    "Not only is the arme blanche not relegated to the past, but in order to foster the spirit of the attack, bayonet and sword exercise must be practiced, and the fact impressed on each soldier that he will be called upon to use them in war."

    - Lieutenant Colonel Yoda, Imperial Japanese Army
    in MODERN TENDENCIES IN STRATEGY AND TACTICS AS SHOWN IN CAMPAIGNS IN THE FAR EAST
    Translated from the Kuikosha Kiji (Officers Club Journal), No. 352, December 1906,
    by Captain E.F. Calthrop, R.F.A.
    Published in the Journal of the Royal United Service Institute, Volume LI


    courtesy of the Russo-Japanese War Research society.

    http://www.russojapanesewar.com/land_links.html

    A U.S. sabre and bayonet manual from 1908 also cites experiences of the Russo-Japanese war as evidence of the continued usefulness of the bayonet in the pre-WWI era. Particularily when used for stealth attacks at night when the accuracy and range of the modern rifle was negated.

    Then again it is entirely possible that the above are simply a case of the wrong lesson being learned, the uniqunesses of the particular case not being fully factored in and both authors seeing what they wanted to see.

    Back on topic, a system drawn too much from "classical" (European or Japanese) systems (over formalised, creeping conventions and artificialities) would serve a person poorly when trying to fight in the dark(!). The emergence of a parred-down system is not surprising.

    A little more aside, I doubt that it was feedback from these nocturnal cold steel encounters in 1904-1905 that resulted in the adoption of the more tradionally-styled Shin-gunto as 30 years passed between the end of the Russo-Japanese war and the adoption of a more "native" style of sidearm. Added to that is the fact that Showa era police retained swords and hangers that followed European patterns and were carried as the police of other nations would billy clubs (likewise police in Weimar German retained swords as principle side arms untill the mid-late 1920's). I'm inclined to think a policeman would be more likely to have to use his sword in the line of his duties than an army oficer would in the course of his.
    Rather than feedback from the front on combat effectiveness, I think the rising nationalist sentiment of the Showa era was the driving force behind the re-styling of the army officers' side arms.

    I wish I could read Japanese, it would be very interesting to seek out a pre-1934 IJA sword manual, providing one was ever published.
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    Couple of other thoughts....

    Since this subject strikes straight at the heart of my own research, I'm more than a little interested. My own take is that the European sabre was more of a short-lived experiment or trapping associated with modernization of the Japanese military. That it might have also been adopted on a temporary basis by the Japanese Police would not surprise me.

    I would not, however attribute the failure of its retention entirely to political and cultural considerations.

    The ability to use a single-handed sabre is an artform in and of itself if only against a person similarly armed. I have no doubt that Japanese armed with the European style item quickly learned that it took consumate skill against a full-bodied thrust with a bayonet as in the Russo-Japanese War. In addition there seems to have been concerns for the quality of the blades and that of their mountings as well.

    If the sabre was less than appropriate for military use, how about as a side arm for the police?

    There again we run into practicality though of a different sort. Reports in the English papers (1914) characterize German police as "barbaric" in using sabres to deal with unarmed civilians. In like manner, Cossacks used for domestic security had their own version of the sabre which they used to considerable effect against anti-czarist demonstrators. This may have been why the police in the UK and America elected to use the "persuasive power" of the nightstick over the maiming power of the sabre. I can imagine the Japanese taking a similar position on the matter. Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    Bruce W Sims
    Midwest Hapkido, Inc.

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    With regard to the Cossacks, I believe that even in putting down "civil unrest," those troops were horse-mounted, making their traditional one-handed sabre the weapon of choice, but this would almost never have been the case with the dismounted Japanese; but they went through a brief period of adopting equipage "wholesale" from the French, possibly without grasping the tactical origins of French sabres (also mounted).

    The Patton model sabre (a straight-thrusting weapon, strangely) was still issued to U.S. mounted troops until the outbreak of WWII; I have photos of our own local militia armed with these in 1935-36.

    The baton or nightstick can also be found in the 1910's through 30's (Squadron A, New York) carried by American mounted troops when riots needed to be quelled but the public would not countenance deadly force. It was of course also in use by foot police by that time, and I believe that the "tonfa" version in common use today is actually a Japanese import, of Ryukyu origin. Someone correct me???

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    The PR-24 side handle baton, which Monadnock (the manufacturer) says is NOT based on tonfa, came into being, if I remember right, back in the late 1960s, or maybe early 1970s. A lot of police officers involved in riot control/SWAT work then had backgrounds in martial arts (usually one form or another of chop-socky). I believe one of them introduced the "not-tonfa" to his department and it then got picked up by Monadnock, which is one of the major suppliers of non-lethal weaponry for police riot control.

    Prior to WWII, the Japanese police weren't very concerned about disproportionate use of force in the performance of their duties; they did carry swords, but mostly used sticks and truncheons if they needed to suppress a riot or control crowds.

    Shimizu Takaji, the man who introduced the art of Shinto Muso-ryu jojutsu to mainland Japan, is also the person who developed keijojutsu (riot baton) for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. He started working on this system back in the 1930s, along with experts from other arts. Keijojutsu techniques are based on Shinto Muso-ryu, along with techniques for keibo (police baton) and hayanawa (quick tying methods for the restraint of prisoners). These latter methods are based on Ikkaku-ryu juttejutsu and Ittatsu-ryu hojojutsu. These systems were "field tested" in the 1960s during the riots between the All-Japan Students Federation (ZenGakuRen) and national authorities over the signing of the security treaty between Japan and the U.S. ZenGakuRen, being a heavily Marxist organization, didn't want the US to be able to have its troops based on Japanese soil, especially since it might upset their brethren in the well known peace-loving countries of North Korea, China, and USSR. Those hassles continue to this day, albeit not nearly so often or quite as noisily.

    Anent the Cossacks and crowd control: yes, they were on horses. Uh... Cossacks?! Hello!! It wasn't pretty. My grandparents remembered some of the incidents. Lots of heads broken and people killed.

    Hope this helps,

    Meik Skoss
    Shutokukan Dojo
    Koryu.com

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    So.... I guess this begins to beg the question....

    If the French and German models were inappropriate for military use, is there any possibility that this or that bit might have been retained when the committee at Toyama began to assess what materials and what arts were to be drawn on for contributions?

    Perhaps the only way we will ever appreciate the French and German material is to take a look at some of the old books or clips. I know there are a couple of ancient clips over on YOU TUBE but its not much to go on. In the meantime, might the folks like Nakamura have observed this or that bit and decided to keep it, even if the overall corpus of European training didn't fit the bill? Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    Bruce W Sims
    Midwest Hapkido, Inc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce W Sims View Post
    ... is there any possibility that this or that bit might have been retained when the committee at Toyama began to assess what materials and what arts were to be drawn on for contributions?
    no. The committee that developed Gunto Soho were senior koryu folks (Nakayama Hakudo plus ???). For sword they looked at traditional katana basics.
    ...might the folks like Nakamura have observed this or that bit and decided to keep it, even if the overall corpus of European training didn't fit the bill?
    again, no. Gunto Soho was developed in the mid-20's. Nakamura sensei came to the academy in the 30's. As part of the committee that founded (preserved? codified?) Toyama Ryu in the 50's and later as the head of his own style, quite a bit was added or modifed, but that is a different story.

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    Hmmm..... that would seem to drop the Japanese out of the "European Sabre Biz" and we could jot it down to just a "dead-end" experiment in alternate military training and weaponry.

    That still leaves us the matter of the Koreans, then. For which I see three questions.

    a.) Would the Koreans have been exposed to the European work as they were trained in Japanese Police and Military sabre work?

    b.) Would the Koreans have retained any of the European influence in their own practice just like they absorbed bits and pieces of everything else?

    c.) Would the Military training academies in Mukdan and Hsinking opened in 1938 have kept the old material or would they have shifted to the GUNTO material as the Toyama Academy was reported to have done?

    Put another way, the first two questions wonder how the Korean "colony" would have moved in "lock-set" with the conclusions of the Japanese. The last question wonders how well the acadmies in Manchukou would have approximated the one in Japan.

    A part of me has my own thoughts but that tends to follow from on the Korean side of things. It would be nice to hear what people thought of this from the Japanese side of things. Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    Last edited by Bruce W Sims; 03-25-2009 at 10:09 AM.
    Bruce W Sims
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    Hello Bruce,

    Interesting points. I'll respond to each.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce W Sims View Post
    The ability to use a single-handed sabre is an artform in and of itself if only against a person similarly armed. I have no doubt that Japanese armed with the European style item quickly learned that it took consumate skill against a full-bodied thrust with a bayonet as in the Russo-Japanese War.
    Hadn't thought about the advantages a two-handed sword would have against a bayonet. This does make sence as a sword-armed officer would most likely be facing a soldier with a bayonet in hand-to-hand combat rather than his similarly armed counterpart.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce W Sims View Post
    In addition there seems to have been concerns for the quality of the blades and that of their mountings as well.

    For the infantry sabres, certainly. From the examples I have personally handled they exhibit all the problems of their European counterparts of the same era; fragile or unsubstantial hilts and blades erring too much onthe light side. In Europe this was due to the influence of the fencing salle and its artificial conditions, Japan seemed simply to have copied the faults thus produced when they adopted their infantry sabres. The big difference being that European officers by and large left their swords off when on campaign in the years c 1890-1914 (some exceptions notwithstanding).
    So I while it is debateable the degree to which cultural nationalism played in the switch back to indigenous styled side-arms, I think we can agree it was national cultural considerations that kept military swords in the arsenals and on the front line up 'till 1945 (when some truely nasty gunto were stamped out of very scarce metal).

    A counter to the point made about the quality of the infantry sabres are the swords Meiji-Showa Japan issued for the cavalry. Again from the various examples I've handled I would say that the type 32 is a first-rate sword with a strong, well made blade (albeit machine-made) with considerable heaft and a plain hilt and grip always solidly constructed, made of good material. Against this model the infantry swords' failings are apparent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce W Sims View Post
    If the sabre was less than appropriate for military use, how about as a side arm for the police?

    There again we run into practicality though of a different sort....."barbaric"
    This is altogether more difficult to approach. Cheifly because Meiji era Japan had no parallel in Europe. Imperial Germany perhaps comes closest but even then it had a stronger democratic make-up (see Hew Strachen for this seemingly paradoxical aspect of Imperial Germany) than what existed in Japan in the early 20th century. Stuart Hood described Meiji-early Showa Japan as "a semi-feudal capitalist state with a politically important hereditary nobility." A hierarchical society such as this, sliding towards outright militarism (could Showa Japan have gone Bolshevik? maybe.) would, as Mr. Skoss has stated, have had few misgivings about policemen inflicting serious bodily harm on people who got out of line individually or, more seriously, en mass.

    A picture of Tokyo Police with drawn sword courtesy of SFI forumite
    George Wheeler (note the length of the Chief Inspector's sword to that of the patrolmen)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Ian Brackley; 03-26-2009 at 01:28 AM.
    How may I confuse you further?

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    Gotta love that pic!!

    For the military sword, then, we have a kind of time frame for when the KYU-GUNTO was moved away from and finally dropped. Might there be a similar timeframe for when the Japanese police moved away from the sabre as well? Thoughts?

    BTW: Thanks for mentioning differences regarding the cavalry item. I can also add that in watching the TOYAMA-RYU material (see: Nakamura) I notice that there are a number of strong "blocks" which are very different from many of the more nuanced deflections or parries that I have seen in some of the more traditional KENJUTSU. To my eye, it is plain that simplicity and utility as mentioned by Meik (Skoss) were the order of the day and perpetuating an artform took a backseat. I think it is also apparent by the selection of biomechanics that instructors expected that their students would be dealing with mass and power in their engagements both because of the enemy's items (IE. bayonet, entrenching tools/shovels) and very possibly because of variances between Japanese and European statures. FWIW.

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    Last edited by Bruce W Sims; 03-26-2009 at 06:00 AM.
    Bruce W Sims
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    Bruce, am not really sure of your sources for comparison. There are very few blocks in Toyama Ryu or Nakamura Ryu (just two kata that come to mind). And the kenjutsu I have trained in (Mugai Ryu, Shinto Ryu, Ono Ha Itto Ryu) are all very powerful and dynamic.

    Dave
    Dave Drawdy
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    "don't bring a knife to a gun fight"
    I don't think that was much of a question after Toba-Fushimi . . .


    I disagree......

    The Phrase "Fix Bayonets!" has a proven mental effect. No matter how unlikely it is that it will be needed, it is decidedly reassuring to have a bayonet fixed and know that all of your friends do too. Just the sound of locking them in place and hearing others locking theirs has a positive impact on moral.

    It is always nice to have something sharp and pointy.
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    R.J. Smith wrote:

    "don't bring a knife to a gun fight."
    I don't think that was much of a question after Toba-Fushimi...

    >I disagree. The phrase, "fix Bayonets!," has a proven mental effect. No matter how unlikely it is that it will be needed, it is decidedly reassuring to have a bayonet fixed and know that all of your friends do too. Just the sound of locking them in place and hearing others locking theirs has a positive impact on moral.<

    Yeah, it does. The impact on moral *positively* sucks. When somebody says "fix bayonets!" it is because the gomers are in the wire and it's about to go south in a hurry. Training with bayonets, as with CQC, is "in case...," not because it's a Good Thing. Nobody wants to use them.

    The jukendo instructors with whom I was training who were in the WWII Imperial Japanese Army and had to use bayonets did NOT have warm and fuzzy memories about it. In fact, they were grim. It was distasteful to them, the memories were downright scary.

    Why they told me about it, I am still not sure. Maybe it was because I was really curious and wanted to know what they'd done in the war. They shared technical information with me about how bayonets can be used in different conditions and such, but it was never with any feeling of "oh, and here's another cool thing you can do."

    >It is always nice to have something sharp and pointy.<

    I agree with this in principle, but... if I were one of the people in combat now, I'd MUCH rather call in a JDAMS strike. Or artillery. Getting close and personal just isn't a good idea.

    Meik Skoss
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    Account of melee action from the Russo-Japanese war

    Here is an except from Human Bullets by Lt. Tadayoshi Sakurai again courtesy from the Russo-Japanese War Research society

    http://www.russojapanesewar.com/sakuri-1.html

    It conveys the sureal horror and confusion of battle, in particular the author's near-death experience while fighting with his sabre:

    "But I cannot give you a detailed account of the scene, because I was then in a dazed condition. I only remember that I was brandishing my sword in fury. I also felt myself occasionally cutting down the enemy. I remember a confused fight of white blade against white blade, the rain and hail of shell, a desperate fight here and a confused scuffle there. At last I grew so hoarse that I could not shout any more. Suddenly my sword broke with a clash, my left arm was pierced. I fell, and before I could rise a shell came and shattered my right leg. " [emphasis mine]

    This example certainly speaks to the dubious quality of infantry blades of the type discussed, and the grim fatalism towards the prospect of hand to hand combat related by Mr. Skoss' aqauintances.

    Mr. Skoss,

    Would you mind sharing some of the information related to you by the verterans re: the use of bayonets? I know it might be a little off topic (does jukendo fall within the scope of this forum?) but such accounts from Japanese veterans are something of a rarity.
    How may I confuse you further?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Brackley View Post
    OT of course...
    I did not know that "Roman" style artillery swords were made in Japan. What a piece that would be!
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    Mr. I. Brackley wrote:

    >Would you mind sharing some of the information related to you by the verterans regarding the use of bayonets? I know it might be a little off topic (does jukendo fall within the scope of this forum?) but such accounts from Japanese veterans are something of a rarity.<

    Sorry, but no. That was information they did not particularly want to talk about that I wheedled out of them. I do not think it would be good for me to not respect their feelings on the matter.

    Meik Skoss
    Shutokukan Dojo
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Brackley View Post
    "Decisive results from fire actions alone will not happen unless the opposing forces are altogether unequal in nature. In the China-Japan War, the use of the bayonet or lance was very rare, while in the late war the use of both was frequent."

    "Not only is the arme blanche not relegated to the past, but in order to foster the spirit of the attack, bayonet and sword exercise must be practiced, and the fact impressed on each soldier that he will be called upon to use them in war."

    - Lieutenant Colonel Yoda, Imperial Japanese Army
    in MODERN TENDENCIES IN STRATEGY AND TACTICS AS SHOWN IN CAMPAIGNS IN THE FAR EAST
    Translated from the Kuikosha Kiji (Officers Club Journal), No. 352, December 1906,
    by Captain E.F. Calthrop, R.F.A.
    Published in the Journal of the Royal United Service Institute, Volume LI


    courtesy of the Russo-Japanese War Research society.

    http://www.russojapanesewar.com/land_links.html

    A U.S. sabre and bayonet manual from 1908 also cites experiences of the Russo-Japanese war as evidence of the continued usefulness of the bayonet in the pre-WWI era. Particularily when used for stealth attacks at night when the accuracy and range of the modern rifle was negated.

    Then again it is entirely possible that the above are simply a case of the wrong lesson being learned, the uniqunesses of the particular case not being fully factored in and both authors seeing what they wanted to see.

    Back on topic, a system drawn too much from "classical" (European or Japanese) systems (over formalised, creeping conventions and artificialities) would serve a person poorly when trying to fight in the dark(!). The emergence of a parred-down system is not surprising.

    A little more aside, I doubt that it was feedback from these nocturnal cold steel encounters in 1904-1905 that resulted in the adoption of the more tradionally-styled Shin-gunto as 30 years passed between the end of the Russo-Japanese war and the adoption of a more "native" style of sidearm. Added to that is the fact that Showa era police retained swords and hangers that followed European patterns and were carried as the police of other nations would billy clubs (likewise police in Weimar German retained swords as principle side arms untill the mid-late 1920's). I'm inclined to think a policeman would be more likely to have to use his sword in the line of his duties than an army oficer would in the course of his.
    Rather than feedback from the front on combat effectiveness, I think the rising nationalist sentiment of the Showa era was the driving force behind the re-styling of the army officers' side arms.

    I wish I could read Japanese, it would be very interesting to seek out a pre-1934 IJA sword manual, providing one was ever published.
    I have a very old antique Japanese manual.

    It was published in Showa 9th year, 4th month, 8th day, for the Rikugun (Land army).
    Titled: Kenjutsu Kyohan

    Inside it taught Gunto, Tanken, Juken, Horse-riding, Sparring techniques (Shiai Kyoshu).

    What year does Showa 9th year translates to?

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Chen Jiayi View Post
    What year does Showa 9th year translates to?
    1934.

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    Kenjutsu kyohan, to which Mr. Chen refers, is a very interesting text. My copy, a 1985 reprint, doesn't have material on military horsemanship, but it does include the other topics to which he refers.

    The section on unarmed combat is interesting, as it combines elements of judo, jujutsu, boxing, and aikido. The section on unarmed defense against an opponent with a weapon is useful, but presupposes the individual has reasonable skill in both unarmed and weapons techniques, which is not very common these days.

    There are still dojo in Japan where pre-WWII military kendo (combining sword technique with throws, strikes, and joint locks) is still practised. One of them is the group tracing back to Haga Junichi, the other is the Yushinkan (where Jeff Karinja, who posts here, trains). I don't think the bayonet or short sword are studied in either of these groups, but, from what Jeff told and showed me the other day, their sword technique is as good as ever. It's very nice stuff.

    Meik Skoss
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meik Skoss View Post
    Kenjutsu kyohan, to which Mr. Chen refers, is a very interesting text. My copy, a 1985 reprint, doesn't have material on military horsemanship, but it does include the other topics to which he refers.

    The section on unarmed combat is interesting, as it combines elements of judo, jujutsu, boxing, and aikido. The section on unarmed defense against an opponent with a weapon is useful, but presupposes the individual has reasonable skill in both unarmed and weapons techniques, which is not very common these days.

    There are still dojo in Japan where pre-WWII military kendo (combining sword technique with throws, strikes, and joint locks) is still practised. One of them is the group tracing back to Haga Junichi, the other is the Yushinkan (where Jeff Karinja, who posts here, trains). I don't think the bayonet or short sword are studied in either of these groups, but, from what Jeff told and showed me the other day, their sword technique is as good as ever. It's very nice stuff.

    Meik Skoss
    Shutokukan Dojo
    Koryu.com
    Are these materials that might be available through your site? If not, are there alternate titles which speak to this subject that you could recommend? Thoughts?

    BTW: If the 1985 manual is a reprint of a 1934 manual, what was the architecture of the sword that appeared: GUNTO or KYU-GUNTO? Comments?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    Last edited by Bruce W Sims; 03-31-2009 at 07:17 AM.
    Bruce W Sims
    Midwest Hapkido, Inc.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    390
    B. Sims wrote:

    "Are these materials that might be available through your site? If not, are there alternate titles which speak to this subject that you could recommend?"

    No, we do not have any plans to put this material on our website because it's not koryu bujutsu. The material of the reprint is still under copyright and I wouldn't know where to go to ask for permission to translate or reprint it.

    I don't know of any other material about gunto soho, but I've not done a lot of looking for it, either. I'm mildly interested in the topic as a result of my training in jukendo and tankendo, but my focus is on classical swordsmanship, from the Sengoku Jidai up to the Bakumatsu.

    "If the 1985 manual is a reprint of a 1934 manual, what was the architecture of the sword that appeared: gunto or kyu-gunto?"

    The book is a facsimile of the original manual, with relatively few illustrations. They are line drawings and depict a bokuto that's used with two hands. Likewise, the bayonet if the drawings is clearly a mokuju, not the real rifle.

    Hope this helps,

    Meik Skoss
    Shutokukan Dojo
    Koryu.com

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Lindenhurst, Illinois
    Posts
    1,904
    Thanks, Meik:

    The more and more I hear from people the less and less it seems that the KYU-GUNTO was ever a viable system of itself. Still, it does not seem very "Japanese" for the restored monarchy to advocate for the training as well as the manufacture of the items and just let the whole project fall to the side. Sometimes when governments screw-up they are quick to let something "disappear", but in this case the intent of the restored monarchy was to move in a distinctly "western" direction". Do you suppose the start of the SHOWA period was more of a change of direction than is given credit? The reports following the war seem to suggest that the Emperor Hirohito was an unwilling participant, but it seems that the winds changed significantly in velocity (if not direction) when he came to the throne. Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    Bruce W Sims
    Midwest Hapkido, Inc.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    4,181
    During the modernization of the Japanese army after the Kei-o period, didn't the Japanese army rely on the Pruissians, copying not only their tactics but their weapons?
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