Goshindo & ChanbaraGoshindo & Chanbara

Samurai Sword Feature Image

Our schools main weapons training is focused on the Samurai Sword, however we do teach many other traditional Japanese and Chinese weaponry. You will learn a balance of Kata (formal exercises) and how to spar with weapons safely. Sensei Mike Armstrong “The Blind Swordsman” is a certified instructor of Chanbara “the full contact Japanese weapons fighting sport.” He also trains in the traditional Chinese weapons of Shoalin Kung Fu (Wu Shu). This kind of cross training will give you a great perspective on weaponry.

Our school puts more emphasis on the Japanese Arts; but there are advantages to learning about both Japanese and Chinese weaponry. The reality and strength of the Japanese arts is extremely important. However, the beauty and agility learned in the Chinese systems has validity.

In our school we also teach techniques that make it possible to defend your self from weapons. Including ways to disarm an attacker of more modern weaponry, such as guns, knife’s and clubs. These are proven and effective methods that are currently used by law enforcement and the military.

So if you would like to experience a full Martial Arts system, including a safe version of weapon training, please give our school a try.

The Development of Safe Weapons Sparring

The innate desire for self-preservation led to the development of tools to defend oneself. At first stones and wood clubs were the primary tools used, however with time weaponry evolved. Until projectile weapons were invented, the sword was the pinnacle of weaponry.

The sword long represented power and wealth and was one of man’s most prized possessions. Design and technique were created for the practicalities of war and defense. The sword has also been used worldwide in traditional ceremonies as well as social and cultural events. Many of these traditions are still in use today.

Originally Japanese warlords trained their armies with various metal and wood training weapons. This practice was extremely dangerous; a single mistake could lead to injury or even death. Each warlord developed his own fighting techniques, which were tested on the battlefield. Some techniques were retained while others were discarded. This all depended on how effective they proved to be in battle. After centuries of civil unrest and war, Japan united into a single government. The warrior no longer fought wars but the samurai spirit remained.

Toward the end of the Edo period (circa 1875) one of the larger sword schools developed a new combative sport, called kendo. This evolved into a national sport. Kendo utilizes a sword made from strips of bamboo. This old-fashioned practice sword was combined with the use of protective head and body gear. Now one could practice without fear of great bodily harm. Then Tanabe Tetsundo and his group founded goshindo, also called chanbara. These traditional swordsmen, aware that times were changing, began to educate the public in the way of the modern samurai while utilizing traditional ways and techniques. Swords made out of flexible plastics (called a ‘choken’) proved a stroke of genius, because wearing a light head mask for face and eye protection was all that was required for safety. Today, chanbara is the fastest-growing combative sport in the United States, boasting 200,000 combatants worldwide. This type of Art offers the Ultimate Physical Game of Chess