Preserving the techniques of Katayama-ryu iai-kenjutsu today and passing the tradition down to the future.

Jirinden(volume 1)

Jirinden(1)Bu is the natural abandonment of military force 

「Tō-ryū iai no michi wa, bujin masani okonau beki no michi ni shite, motte bu nasu tokoro no jutsu nari」(Heishū-Jirinden, Vol.1, Heishū-Jirin-Jo)
“The path of iai in the school must be pursued by the warrior at all costs and is a means of carrying out bu.”

 The Heishū Jirinden (abbreviated hereinafter as Jirinden) begins with this verse. It is the opening passage written by the second generation head, Katayama Hisataka, in 1647.
「武を為す所の術」”Bu wo nasu tokoro no jutsu”, Just what does this mean?

In this introduction, Hisataka is saying that studying bu (the martial arts) in country at peace is like a wealthy family living frugally, while the preparation of bu in a country in conflict is like throwing water on a fire.
Frequently in the martial arts world “bu” is explained as “the stopping of arms”. However in Jirinden it is written that “Bu, the stopping of arms” does not mean subjugating military force with more military force, but that true “Bu” is the natural abandonment of the use of military force.
(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden(2) Mihatsu no iai and “Jirin no iai.

 Iai wa, shū to michi onajiu shite kokoroau no ii nari」Heishū Jirinden, Vol.1, Iai Wage
Iai is for everyone to carry out the roles they are meant to, keeping ones blade in the sheath of ones heart, harmonizing ones feelings and not drawing one’s sword.

  Wage (tr. Conciliation, mediation) is a chapter in which, when put simply, the meaning of iai is explained. The warrior follows the military arts, the farmer works in agriculture, the craftsman manufactures, while the merchant works in commerce. Each individual dedicates themselves to the role they are meant to serve. Everyone keeps their blade sheathed in the scabbard of their heart and no-one draws their swords. This, it is explained, is iai. This is called mihatsu no iai(iai without drawing)
Taking the initiative on a person ( “sen wo toru” meaning “to take the initiative”) is advantageous, but acting first also leads to conflict. Of course there also should be merits not causing conflict. This is called “fusō no ri” and is also called “sen no sen wo toru” (literally, “acting before the initiative is taken”). If one is able to act before the initiative has been taken, one can govern the country in peace without conflict. This is what is called “jirin no iai”.
(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (3)  The waves on the shore retreat, leaving not a trace.

Iso no nami wa, sude ni uchite sumiyakani sonoba wo sari, are masani kyo no chi ni ankyo suru no kakushina nari (Heishū Jirinden, Vol.1, Ittō-jutsu)
“Iso-no-nami means waves beating upon the shore and immediately receding. It is a name with the hidden meaning of living tranquilly in the place one is originally meant to exist in “.

 “Iso no nami” (literally “waves on the shore”) is a symbolic expression particularly dear to those learning Katayama-ryu iai-kenjutsu and Hoki-ryu iaijutsu. The rocky places on the coast are called “, iso” and it means that like waves beating upon the rocks, disorder is quelled, and after being suppressed, one quickly recedes without a trace like a wave.
“Iso no nami” can also be written with the kanji , i-sono-nami. This says to abide by a world with no injustice, to be undisturbed and unwavering. One takes action and rests, ebbing and flowing like the tide. When the world is in disorder one acts, repressing injustice, and when peace has returned one disappears without a trace.
This is what is called “kiribiki ippon no iai”, (literally “iai that cuts and moves back”).
(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (4)  Bu is not Strength and Violence.

「Toryū ni iu tokoro no bu to wa mōretsu no koto nite wa arazu, kankasokuchi no gi nari」Heishū Jirinden Vol.1, Iaidai zukai)
“In this school, what is called Bu is not something violent, but means to act decisively and quickly to subdue disorder. “

 The primary aim of Bu is to understand the meaning of “kankasokuchi ( 果 速 治)”, to act decisively and quickly to subdue disorder. If your defeat will bring about the resolution of a disturbance, then it is best to be defeated quickly. If victory would provide peace, then be victorious quickly and put an end the disorder.
When your
actions conform to the intent of the heavens it is called “Shōdō 正道 (the correct path)”. Using this Shōdō, discerning the good or evil of things, foretelling the merits and demerits of events, not prolonging disorder, and preventing disorder from even occurring is what is called “Budō”, the way of Bu.
(Presented by: Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (5)  Originally the length of the blade in the daisho is not decided.

Daisho-tō wa motoyori sunshaku no sadame nashiHeishū Jirinden Vol.1, Tōryū iai katana sunshaku)
There is essentially no rule regarding the length of the long and short swords.

 Properly speaking there no established measurement regarding the length of the katana. As long as one makes use of a sword that is appropriate to one’s height, weight and physical characteristics, (any length) is fine. It is good if the tsuba covers the fist so a round shape is said to be appropriate.
In a poem we find the following verse:「Onore o ba kagame, katana nomi wa sorase. Gyōsa wa kaku ni tsuba wa marokare
“Crouching the body, only the katana extends in a curve. Making angles in movement and a round tsuba is good. “
“Making angles in movement” is when the opponent attacks, we receive it according to the angles of a triangle.

Note – The height of men during the Edo era is estimated to have been the lowest in Japanese history at 155 ~ 157cm. Although it is said that the typical length of the katana during this period was from 2 shaku 3 sun to 3 sun 5 bu (70.6 ~ 71.2 cm), there are many short blades of 2 shaku 1 sun 5 bu in the “Higo koshirae” style used in Hōki-ryū iai remaining. This is said to be because when cutting with one hand in iai, the kissaki extends approximately 8 or 9 sun (24 to 27 cm) further than during a two handed cut. Since one can draw a shorter sword more quickly it is said to be advantageous in iai where one instant determines victory or defeat. In modern times, there is a tendency to use swords longer than in those days because of the training in saya-biki (pulling the sword sheath back during the draw).
[Bu, Sun, Shaku: Japanese units that are respectively 0.3, 3.03 and 30.3 cm]
(Presented by: Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (6) The long sword corrects injustice. The short sword is thrust into one’s stomach.

Tōryū moppara kenjutsu to shōsuru wa, shinbu ni shite korosazu wo honshi toshite, motte fusei wo osamuru no yue nari」(Heishū Jirinden Vol.1, Tōryū daisho-tō no okite)
“This school, which solely calls itself kenjutsu and is divine martial skill (Shinbu神武) which has the aim of not killing, is intended to correct injustice.”

  While we try out and wear a sword that suits our hand and our strength, the katana is not something that is decided upon by debating the advantages and disadvantages of its length. Originally the sword (, ken, tsurugi) was double-edged with one edge facing the opponent and the other facing one’s self. The katana () divides the two edges of the ken into the long and short swords. Accordingly, the long sword is a tool to correct injustice based on orders received from above, while the short sword is used to pierce one’s stomach as an apology for one’s own mistakes.

 Neither the long sword or short sword are tools used for the settling one’s own grievances. Those who carry the single edged katana should never forget the meaning of the two-edged sword.
(Presented by: Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (7) Illuminate danger by the flame of the lamp of one’s heart.

 Shintō no hi wo kakage tsukushite, anchū akirakani ki wo terasu. Kyōri no yoroi wo arawasazu, kanjū motte koko ni iru」(Heishū Jirinden Vol.1, Gokyo no uta, Heikyo no kaname)
By always keeping the flame lit in the lamp of one’s heart, we can clearly illuminate danger hidden even in midst of tranquility. Exist with your spirit at ease, not openly showing the armor enclosed in one’s spirit.”

The Gokyo no Uta explain the five ways of being.
Heikyo no kaname
During normal, peaceful times, one lives with an open and flexible heart, while not forgetting danger nor openly showing the armor one wears inside one’s heart, even in the midst of peace.
Kankyo no kanameWhile living apart from everyday live, one investigates the true nature of things, reading the signs of events before they occur and existing in great awareness and readiness, as if changing one’s clothing in the dark.
Sakkyo no kanameLiving in seclusion apart from one’s family and friends, one tries to eliminate one’s wickedness so has not to cause injury to one’s blade.
Gunkyo no kanameWhen living among the masses, one lives claim and peacefully like the buds and flowers blooming in early spring.
Tokukyo no kaname
Walking the middle path without abandoning truth and reason, one distances oneself from antagonism and does not struggle against other people.

 He who understands the concept of mihatsu no iai(the iai without drawing) is one who fulfills the way of the warrior. Furthermore if one can teach this to others and prevent conflict, this persons can be said to have mastered the way of being a teacher of warriors. Spreading mihatsu no iaithroughout the lands is the way of the military commander (Bushō no michi).
(Presented by: Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (8) Nidō isshi: Two Move, One is Held.

 Nidō isshi to ieru koto wa waza nite shimesu toori, ugoku tokoro no mono arebatodomaru tokoro no mono mo ari.(Heishu Jirinden, Vol. I, Kōotsu kaigō nidō isshi no setsuge)
“The concept of “nidō isshi”, as seen in the techniques, means that if there is something that moves, there is another thing that is held in place.”

  The tachi, body and legs that move at the same time is called sandō(lit. three movements); These three stopping at the same time is  calledsanshi(lit. three stoppages). It is said that the one who has gained knowledge of technique deplores “sandō sanshi”; Even in Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū “sandō sanshi” is forbidden. However, in the Katayama-ryū “nidō isshi” (lit. two parts move, one is held) is taught. This name is so that it is easy to understand and also apply in technique. “Nidō isshi”, as is shown in the techniques, means that when something moves, there is also something else that is held back. Without this there is no victory over another.

 For example, as in “Iso-no-nami”, when a seated person raises their hips while facing an opponent and takes the tsuka with both hands; the two parts being the hands and legs move (Nidō), while the one part being the torso does not move (isshi). When the tachi receives an attack, the right hand covers the body and the left leg is extended backwards. The legs and hands are the two moving parts, while the body does not move. When the tachi changes in rotation as in the “uhotsu” techinque, the body opens to the side (katami), the tachi and body are the two moving parts, while the legs remain unmoved. When retreating, the body leans and the legs quickly back away from that spot. Here the body and legs are the two parts that move and tachi, which returns to the garyū guard, is the one that does not move.
(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (9) Ijiriis Dignity, Skill, and Theory

Ijiri to wa, teki ni mukatte susumikatazaru koto naki no na nari(Heishu Jirinden, Vol. I, Kōotsu kaigō nidō isshi no setsuge)
Ijiri is a term meaning that when facing an enemy one will never be unable to attain victory.

Not only in iai and kenjutsu, but in all the martial arts (bugei) there are the three elements of “位 i,事 ji and 理 ri”.

“事 Ji” (or “waza) is the skill of using the body and weapons.
“理 Ri” is the theory leading to victory.
“位 I” (or “kurai”) is the dignity that arises from having both “事 ji” and “理 ri”.

These three are called “位事理 ijiri”.
When compared to beginners, the triangle of ijiri in those who have accumulated (years of) training (shugyō) is large.(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (10) If one has skill but no dignity, one will use too much technique and be defeated.

「業Waza atte kurai naki mono wa ooku wa sugite makeru mono nari(Heishu Jirinden, Vol. I, Kōotsu kaigō nidō isshi no setsuge)
Those with only skill but no dignity will overuse technique and be defeated in many cases.

1.Those with 事 ji (skill) but no 位 i(dignity) will use too much technique and be defeated. This is called the mistake of over-use.
2.Those with 事 ji (skill) but no 理 ri (theory) will, even when victorious, not understand the reasons why. There is no stability in their victory.
3.Those with 位 i (dignity) but no 理 ri (theory) will lose but doubt the results. They will not reflect upon events and they will be prideful.
4.Those with位 i ( dignity) but no 事 ji (skill) will lose and be relieved. This is because they give up without reflection.
5.Those with 理 ri (theory) but no 事 ji (skill) fearful and regret losing. This is because they think about their partner having skill while they have none,
6.Those with 理 ri (theory) but no 位 i ( dignity) are extremely fearful of losing. This is because they do not know what they are supposed to do and their body and spirit are frozen.
(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (11) “After having cut a person down, one must cut open one’s stomach in apology for failing in one’s duty” *.

Moshi kiraba, onore no hara wo mo kirikakite, Ten-Jin-Chi wo ayamari shi no tsumi wo shasu beshi
(Heishū Jirinden, Vol. I, Senbatsu iai myōmoku kayō no / Yukiai Mukō-no-tachi)
“If we cut a person down, we must cut open our abdomen to apologize for our guilt in having failed in our duties towards Ten-Jin-Chi(Heaven, Man and Earth ).”

 Yukiai Mukō no Tachi is said to be able to see and understand well a situation at all times and not to be neglect in preparation. When a person is devoid of principles and devoted to treasonous actions, who would not end up like a pine tree in an ugly garden? When you unexpectedly encounter such a person, you cannot leave things as they are and you end up cutting them down.
 However, originally Heaven Man and Earth (天 · 人 · 地 Ten-Jin-Chi) each have their own separate roles. However evil a person may be, it is heaven’s role to judge a person. A person cutting another person down is an act violating the role of heaven. Therefore, after cutting someone down, you must cut open your stomach as an apology for your guilt in violating the roles of Heaven Man and Earth.

* Cutting open one’s stomach (腹 を 切 る, hara wo kiru): a method of suicide called “切腹 seppuku” or “割 腹 kappuku”, which consists of tearing the abdomen open with a tantō (short knife dagger). It is a unique custom of Japan and performed mainly by the warrior class. The beauty of the attitude and manners when performing seppuku brought honor to the warrior.
(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (12)  Cut open your stomach in apology for having over stepped your bounds.

Sabakubeki hito ni arazareba, sono seki wo kaerazu, jisatsu shite onore no kagyō wo aratame shasubeshi.
(Heishū Jirinden, Vol. I, Senbatsu iai myōmoku kayō noben / Kaerinuki-Kotegiri)
・Since it is not your role to cut another down, you should apologize for have over stepped your bounds by killing yourself on the spot.

Kaerinuki-Kotegiri is said to be when something sudden occurs in peaceful and carefree times. If there are signs that something is about to occur, it is important to nip it in the bud and take care of it somehow or another on the spot. Even if it is not your role to do such, it is important to deal with the event occurring right before your eyes.
However, even if it was to quell that situation or even if it was a sudden occurrence, your role is not one in which you pass judgment on other people, so to apologize for your excessive actions you should kill yourself right then and there.
(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

Jirinden (13) Apologize for the sin of imprudence but cutting open one’s stomach.

Fu tsutsushimi no fūgi no aru kara toshite, sono seki nite hara kiru beshi to nari
(Heishū Jirinden, Vol. I, Senbatsu iai myōmoku kayō no ben / Hidari-zure Ura-gachi)
・Because one has an thoughtless attitude, one should cut open one’s stomach.

 Hidari-zure Ura-gachi is when, believing you are an ally, you are approached by a superior with confidential talk of a wicked nature. When you are called upon by such conspirators, put them at ease by promising not to leak out word of this discussion. Next admonish them for their sins and put an end to their wicked plans.
 Then reflect upon the fact that you having a thoughtless attitude lead to you being approached with that kind of evil deed. You must cut open your stomach on the spot to apologize for the crimes of both imprudence and admonishing one’s superior.
(Presented by Yuji Wada, Costantino Brandozzi, Rennis Buchner)

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