Kenjutsu- the study of the Japanese sword is an important part of our martial arts training. But what place does such a historical training tool have in the here and now of today?
If one is only interested in self-defense and practicality, why devote time to the sword?
The quick answer is the same for many of our Bujinkan martial arts questions- Soke teaches us through the sword and has written about it, so it is important. Train in the basics of taijutsu and kenjutsu and it will all work itself out in the end.
But maybe a few other points for those not training in the methods of the Bujinkan who are exploring different parts of the martial arts journey?
The sword teaches many things- distance and timing being two that are very important- literal life and death without exageration.
Distance is how far away one is from another sword, or how close and realizing how close.
Timing is knowing when the correct time to move with the sword- when a weak point is open in your training partner’s movement and when to take it.
These two concepts are easier to see with the sword (katana) as a training tool- it becomes *very* apparent, getting cut or not.
Once one can see it with the sword- at the distance of about three feet, it become easier to see in our taijutsu movement which often happens at a much closer distance.
In this way, while we are studying kenjutsu, we are also using it as a tool of self discovery to learn about distance and timing- two vital and practical concepts.