Batto Do, advocated by Zen Nihon Batto Do Renmei (ZNBDR), is based on
the sword handling technique called Gunto-Soho. Gunto-Soho was created in
the former Toyama Military Academy of the Imperial Japanese Army by
incorporating the actual battle experience of sword fighting and each style of
Taizaburo Nakamura Sensei and other instructors who had been teaching army officers Gunto-Soho modified it to the Iaido style after World War II. They renamed it Toyama-ryu and founded the Toyama-ryu Promotion Association. This has eventually become today’s Toyama-ryu Iai Batto Do Renmei (TIBDR) after many transitions.
In 1977, ZNBDR was established across the boundaries of the style/Ryuha, gather in one place to promote mutual friendship and technical studies and to spread and develop the Batto Do. This has been inherited, further developed, and disseminated by many successors Seiji Ueki and many others.
Batto Do is one of the Japanese Budo that, as its final goal, seeks to achieve the state of 活 人 剣(Ancient expression,活 人 剣 – A killing sword may be a sword of life depending on how it is used.), which can be attained as the result of strict training of mind and body through the action of cutting a target with a Japanese sword. Since a Japanese sword is such a sharp weapon, it is obvious that skilled handling is imperative. And it is also necessary to concentrate your mind, move in a smooth manner and cut your target. To practice this training properly, putting 気 剣 体(mind, sword and body) together will develop your confidence enough to confront various difficulties in your life while remaining calm and focused at all times.
Important points when cutting a target with a Japanese sword are:
- The posture, called Iai-Goshi, that stabilizes the body’s balance
- The way of holding Tsuka, a sword grip, and stabilizing it (setting Teno-uchi)
- Mai Ai (distance to the target)
- Having an image of the cutting angle and blade line (Ha-Suji)
- The flow of the sword’s movement and the way of stopping it
- Mental preparedness
These elements should all be aligned perfectly. If any element is missing, then training cannot be considered complete. It is essential to align the physical technique and the concentrated mind. This is the basis of Batto Do as well as the essence of it.
The goal of Batto Do is not to show off your skills to others, but to face yourself, train your body and mind, and improve your concentration to strive for the stage of 剣 禅 一 如 (Ancient expression, it is the same as the ultimate state of the sword and the state of one’s clear mind.).