Ken no Sui no Kata


The Ken is heavy and needs a lot of circular momentum to cut into the opponent.

To apply an “omote shutô-like” cut to the side of the neck and to be sure to slide the blade in between the helmet and the yoroi (shoulder level) you must use your taijutsu and the kosshi of the Gyokko ryû.

3 Key points:

  • the sword is in line with the body above the head.
  • the wrist is reverse and broken
  • the blade is as flat as possible


Start from an Ichimonji like kamae with the blade lying flat on the arm. From the kamae lift the sword above the head and support it with your extended fingers. Then “lasso” the blade still as flat as as possible above the head with a full body movement using the tenchi (body axis) as a pivoting point. The pivoting action to throw the body is done at the left toe (forward leg). The body weight is transferred gradually from the back leg to the front one (hips still leveled), this slides the body axis forward inducing an acceleration of the blade.

The speed of rotation of the blade added to the body movements creates a devastating power to cut/crush the opponent.

Shiken no Ken

ImageThe 四賢の劒 shiken no ken (four virtues of Ken) are the 4 basic rules that I found so far in my research and training with the Chinese Ken.

After giving two seminars on the Chinese Ken I have made a 私見 shiken (personal opinion), about the way to train and to enrich our budô practice with the help of this fantastic new weapon. 

Through thorough 試験 shiken (study and experiment), and exchange with my fellow jûgodan, I came up with the “shiken no ken”, or 4 rules/virtues of the Chinese Ken:

This is G.A.M.A.N:*

1. GRAVITY: Like for the Tachi, I think that a metallic sword is necessary to really understand the major differences in the balance of the blade. The momentum is what creates the 重力 jû ryoku (gravity) feeling. Throw the body by the blade. If you only have a wooden Ken, put some weight at the tip to get this drowning feeling of the head of the blade when moving.

2. AWARENESS: Be careful, train slowly as the momentum of the blade is different from the Japanese sword. This is very true when doing the large (and necessary) horizontal cuts are taking a lot of space. Please check the space around you and avoid hitting the walls or your dôjô friends before doing them. Also, for those training with a wooden sword, be aware that these wooden “taichi” ken on the market are very fragile, they don’t block an attack like a real bokken would; they can break easily and become dangerous for yourself, your partner and your neighbours. 

3. MOVEMENT & ARUKI: a straight blade can only create a cutting motion when the movement is circular. Therefore move in a circular manner with your legs and body when doing a technique. Body movement has to recreate the missing curve (反り, sori) of the Chinese blade. Chinese Ken jutsu seems to be at the origin of our particular Aruki of the Bujinkan Taijutsu. Use your legs and get lower even more. Footwork, footwork, footwork!

4. NATURE: Train your regular Taijutsu techniques with the Ken: Ken is in scabbard (held in left hand), Ken is of the scabbard in the right hand: a) scabbard is in left hand and is used as a shield; b) without scabbard, the left hand is free and you can change hand easily.

Be patient, train properly, persevere and if you apply them, I am confident that you will reach the high level of 知見 Chiken: expertise and experience.*



*我慢 GAMAN means: patience, perseverance, self-control, endurance

**please note this is “Chiken” and NOT “Chicken”… 🙂



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