Toyama-Ryū Battōdō

The Art of Drawing the Japanese Sword


Shinkendo & Aikibujutsu Shōkai (Introduction) Video © Onyx Cinema

The Art of Toyama-Ryū Battōdō

Toyama-ryū Battōdō (戸山流抜刀道) is a sword-drawing art in which the Japanese sword, or katana (刀), is drawn from the sheath and used to cut or defend against an opponent in a single motion. The techniques are practical and effective, focusing on rapid deployment of the sword in multiple directions and against multiple opponents. Culled from several sword traditions, these methods emphasize proficient sword-handling, generation of power, and strong expression of energy. Originally developed in 1925 for the purpose of training the Imperial Japanese Army, Toyama Ryū has been preserved and refined over the ensuing generations, and is taught within Shinkendo as an adjunct art.

Obata Toshishiro-Sensei

Obata-sensei portrait Obata Toshishiro-sensei is a professional martial artist and world-renowned instructor of Toyama-ryū Battōdō, as well as an expert in a wide variety of traditional Japanese martial arts, including swordsmanship and Okinawan arts. He is also known as the founder and chief instructor of Shinkendo, a modern system of traditional samurai swordsmanship, and in general as a martial artist of extraordinary background and surpassing dedication and skill. In addition, he has received widespread recognition for his efforts toward reviving traditional and effective martial arts practice, including the role of tameshigiri within the sword arts, which has had lasting influence on the martial arts community. He is also the author of a number of books and videos on the martial arts, including Naked Blade and Crimson Steel, which focus on battōdō.

The line of Toyama Ryū taught by Obata-sensei is under the Kokusai Toyama Ryū Renmei (国際戸山流連盟; International Toyama Ryū Federation, or KTRR), founded and headed by Obata Toshishiro-honbucho. After studying under Nakamura Taizaburo-sensei, Obata-sensei immigrated to America in 1980, licensed with the positions and responsibilities of Beikoku Honbucho (American Headquarters Chief) for Toyama Ryū, Nakamura Ryū, and Battōdō, and is continuing his efforts now under the KTRR.

For more information, please see the main section on Obata Toshishiro-sensei.

School Directory

The KTRR world headquarters and principal school is located in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles, CA, USA. There, Obata-sensei also teaches other traditional samurai arts, such as Shinkendo swordsmanship, Aikidō & Aikibujutsu (unarmed grappling and self-defense), Bōjutsu (technique of the long staff), and other related arts. Currently, there are over 90 branch schools worldwide teaching the arts overseen by Obata-sensei.

Prospective students are encouraged to consult the school directory to determine if there is a dōjō nearby. Prospective visitors to the Honbu Dōjō (main school) in Little Tokyo are welcome to make an appointment to view a class through the contact information.

Further Information

More information about Toyama-ryū Battōdō and other arts, Obata Toshishiro-sensei, etc. is available on the central Shinkendo website, as well as books and other instructional materials. The content of this website is also reproduced there.