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Toyama Ryu: History

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The Rikugan Toyama Gakko or Toyama Military Academy was founded in 1873 to train officers as well as non commissioned officers of Japans modern military of that time.

    The curriculum consisted of the following:
  • Kenjutsu (Sword fighting)
  • Jukenjutsu (Bayonet fighting)
  • Tantojutsu (Knife fighting)
  • Marksmanship
  • Military Music

The kenjutsu portion of the curriculum had been in place since the begining, but in 1925 Nakayama Hakudo sensei, largely considered the grandfather of Iaido was asked to revamp or update the original curriculum to be used in a more modern type of warfare. His background in both Omori Ryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Kenjutsu became the foundation of what the new forms would be made of, giving the Toyama curriculum deep koryu roots!

A few years later, Morinaga Kiyoshi sensei, one of the main kenjutsu instructors of the academy took the newly formulated kata and adjusted them as needed to form the basis of Toyama Ryu as we know it today.

In 1939, a young Nakamura Taizaburo sensei, then 27 yrs was accepted into the Rikugan Toyama Gakko. Within a short few months, Nakamura sensei was accepted and certified as an instructor within the academy in the arts of Jissen Budo (kenjutsu, bayonet and knife).

While in China teaching kenjutsu, Nakamura sensei realized through his study of shodo that both the sword and the brush were very much in common with one another. Nakamura sensei found that the eight basic brush strokes within Shodo had a profound resemblance to the cutting motion of the sword.

After WW2, all martial training was banned from practice! Once the ban was lifted in 1952, Nakamura sensei along with Yamaguchi Yuuki sensei and Morinaga Kiyoshi sensei were given the rights to the Toyama Ryu name and its curriculum and were allowed to proceed in teaching their methods of the Toyama Ryu curriculum as they saw fit.

In the Hokkaido region, Yamaguchi sensei formed the "Greater Japan Toyama Ryu Iaido Federation". In the Kansai region, Morinaga sensei formed the "Greater Japan Toyama Ryu Iaido Association" and in the Tokyo region, Nakamura sensei formed the "All Japan Toyama Ryu Iaido Federation". Regardless of the Association or Federation, Toyama Ryu is governed by a Kaicho, not a Soke since it was originally formed by a committee, not one person.

Today, Hataya Mitsuo Yoshitoki sensei 9th Dan Hanshi is the acting Kaicho of the "Zen Nippon Toyama Ryu Iaido Renmei"! Hataya sensei is based in Machida City just outside Tokyo and teaches Toyama Ryu at his Seizankai Dojo located above his sword shop Hataya Token. At the same time, Hataya Sensei is also acting as the Kaicho-Daiko of the Zen Nihon Batto Do Renmei since Ueki Seiji Sensei’s untimely retirement due to illness. The Zen Nippon Batto Do Renmei was originally formed by Nakamura sensei in 1980.

On the West Coast, The Zen Nippon Toyama Ryu Iaido Renmei is overseen by "Big" Tony Alvarez sensei of the Senpokan Dojo in Costa Mesa, CA.

    The Toyama Ryu curriculum of the Senpokan Dojo consists of the following:
  • 8 solo kata
  • 6 kumitachi kata
  • 6 yari kata (Tony Alvarez Sensei was given expressed permission by Nakamura Taizaburo sensei to practice these kata and to share them with his students and affiliates of the Senpokan Dojo)
  • 8 basic noto
  • Happo Giri
  • Tameshigiri/ Suemonogiri (there are 25 required cutting sequences)

Costa Mesa, CA

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