Our Schools - Iai-Batto-Dō

Toyama-ryū Mukaida-ha Iai-Batto-Dō

We practice the Toyama-ryū method of Japanese swordsmanship as taught by Shihan Mukaida Takeshi (向井田武) 8th Dan Hanshi and founder of the Bushinkai Kobu-jutsu organization.

The Toyama-ryū, a relatively modern school of Japanese swordsmanship based on the Gunto Soho forms, was developed in 1925 for the “Rikugun Toyama Gakko” (Toyama Military Academy) in Tokyo, Japan. These techniques were drawn from the knowledge of traditional Japanese swordsmanship tested for centuries on battlefields at the time of Samurai. The techniques of this school were developed by a committee of the highest ranking swordsmen and their styles of that era, amongst them was the prominent figure Master Nakayama Hakudo (16th Soke of the Shimomura-ha Musō Jikiden Eishin Ryū Iai-Dō). The main purpose was to select the most effective techniques and combinations to be used by the Japanese Imperial Army in real combat situations.

The original Gunto Soho forms were primarily designed to teach the military officers to quickly deploy the sword for close quarters combat. With the dissolution of the Rikugun Toyama Gakko after 1945, the most technically advanced instructors went on to develop the Toyama-ryū, further adding traditional teachings to expand and complete the school’s curriculum.

The peculiarity of our line of Toyama-ryū as taught by Shihan Mukaida is the wonderful harmony between the effectiveness and precision of the cutting technique of the sword and the elegance and refinement of movement rarely seen elsewhere. This is expressed both in forms (Kata) and test-cutting with a live blade (Tameshigiri), one of the fundamental practices of our style. The movements are powerful, fluent and agile. Great emphasis is placed on studying the correct “Hasuji” (angle of the blade during cutting) and an unbroken movement that allows to continue the action in the case of defending against more than one opponent at once.

The curriculum includes Suburi, Batto-jutsu, Iai Kata, Ken-jutsu and Tameshigiri with the Katana (long sword) and the Ko-dachi (short sword). In addition the practice of programmed and free sparring is performed by the advanced students.

In today's society, the study of traditional Japanese sword arts is most likely not directly applied to self-defense situations but it is a mean of self-perfection and a healthy physical and psychological activity. In addition, it is to be considered the very core of traditional Japanese Budo and a fundamental cultural and philosophical aspect of Japanese history.

In Finland the Chief Instructor for the Toyama-ryū Mukaida-ha Iai-Batto-Dō is Shihan Pilato Marco.
Shihan Pilato is a direct student of Shihan Mukaida and one of his closest and highest ranking students and currently holds the ranks of 7th Dan Kyoshi. He regularly presents the Toyama-ryu with his teacher, Shihan Mukaida, in front of the highest representatives of Japanese swordsmanship and other Budō styles.

First Headmaster: Shihan Morinaga Kiyoshi

Our line of Toyama-ryū was founded by Shihan Morinaga Kiyoshi (森永清), who was also the leading officer (retired with the rank of Colonel) responsible for formulating and teaching the techniques during the time of the Rikugun Toyama Gakko. Shihan Morinaga founded the Dai Nippon Toyama Ryū Iai-Dō Shinkokai in 1977. He died in 1981 at age 86.

Second Headmaster: Shihan Minowa Hitoshi

One of his best students was Shihan Minowa Hitoshi (美濃羽等), 9th Dan Hanshi. He founded the Toyama-ryu Tokai Renmei in 1980 and established himself in Seki city (Gifu prefecture, Japan), which is an important center for the production of swords in Japan. Shihan Minowa was renowned amongst his peers for his expert swordsmanship and impressive Tameshigiri (test cutting) demonstrations. He made many friends amongst exponents of other swordsmanship and Budo schools.
Shihan Minowa invited all these martial artists every year to Seki to perform in an "Enbu" (presentation) for the occasion of the famous “Hamono Matsuri” (swords and edged implements festival).

Shihan Minowa passed away in 2007. In his memory, all his followers and friends of keep up the tradition of meeting in Seki every year to perform together and present the true spirit of Japanese Budo.

Third Headmaster: Shihan Mukaida Takeshi

Shihan Mukaida Takeshi (向井田武) was born on January 9th, 1942. His father was a police officer and the young Takeshi was introduced to martial arts at an early age.

His study of traditional swordsmanship began with the practice of Shinkage-ryu Iai-Do in 1979 with Shihan Akita Moriji. Then in 1989, he started practicing under the guidance of Shihan Minowa of the Toyama-ryū and achieved the rank of 8th Dan Hanshi in 2005. During this time, he also studied Shindō Musō Ryū Jō-Dō (Kaiden Menkyo), Hōten-ryū Kobu-jutsu, Traditional Jū-jutsu, ZNKR Kendō, Iai-Dō and Jō-Dō and western boxing for several years.

Shihan Mukaida founded the Bushinkai Kobu-jutsu school where he teaches a variety of techniques he mastered during his life time of Budo studies, alongside the Toyama-ryū Iai-Batto-Dō and Shindō Musō Ryū Jō-Dō.