|The Itsukushima Shrine, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Andy Finley, Hanshi|
Following months of training with naginata during our Wednesday evening classes, at the Arizona Hombu on the corner of Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa; a small number of students tested for certification in this uncommon samurai art outside of Japan. Following tests, the class began training in another samurai art known as sojutsu that employs yari (spear) as a weapon. Our sojutsu training includes learning two kata along with several techniques (waza) and bunkai (kata applications).
Some sensei of Juko Kai International and Seiyo Shorin Ryu teach these koryu arts and the only other association I found on the internet that includes naginata training is the US Naginata Federation. However, there is a major difference in JKI and SKI arts from the USNF arts. The JKI and SKI arts are traditional combat arts, while the USNF is sport. When I searched associations that teach sojutsu in the US, only JKI and Seiyo Shorin-Ryu came up.
|Arizona samurai who tested for naginata certification |
included Shihan Neal Adam (6th dan), Sensei Bill Borea (3rd dan), Sensei
Ryan Harden (1st dan), Sensei Patrick Scofield (1st dan), Scott Pritchett
(5th kyu) and Ben Moeur (9th kyu).
The yari was a spear favored by some samurai and warrior monks in the historical past of Japan. Yari was one of a group of nihonto (Japanese blades) (日本刀) that included yari (槍), naginata (薙刀), katana (刀), wakizashi (脇差), seoidachi (also known as odachi - 大太刀), and tanto (短刀). When I was in the US Army, we trained with bayonets fixed to an M16. Learning the art of sojutsu would have given me great advantage in training with the bayonet. But I was not introduced to this art until the early 1990s.
|Sensei Bill Borea (with bokken) and Sensei Patrick Scofield (with naginata) at the Arizona |
School of Traditional Karate at 60 W. Baseline Road in Mesa.
|Soke Hausel in traditional hakima|
|Sensei Ryan Harden trains with naginata during bunkai exercises.|
- Draeger, D.E., and Smith, R.W., 1980, Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts:Kodansha International, 207 p.
- Kapp, L, Kapp, H., Yoshihara, Y, 2002, Modern Japanese swords and swordsmiths:Kodansha International, 95 p.
- Sinclaire, C., 2001. Samurai: The weapons and spirit of the Japanese warrior: The Lyons Press: 144 p.
|Soke Hausel, world head of Seiyo Kai Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo|
demonstrates yari at the Arizona Hombu in Mesa, Arizona