Kage Ryu Embu

Discussion in 'Koryu Bujutsu' started by Dead_pool, May 1, 2010.

  1. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    I think Kurosawa was showing that Nobutsuna was NOT married to the code of bushido and was prepared to "cut off" all of his standing as a samurai and act as a human being asking no reward.

    The same thread runs through the seven (ronin) samurai movie with one samurai saying he survived by running away.

    You need only look at samurai history to see son killing father, clans changing side during battles etc to understand Kurosawa's approach saying that those who held themselves superior to genin (lower beings) were NOT true samurai.

    that true samurai were few and far between.
  2. afhuss

    afhuss Valued Member

    Yeah...some people deify samurai (and many Japanese martial arts masters for that matter) to the point where their humanism isn't quite commented on adequately.

    I did hear this event was exemplified in Seven Samurai...though I haven't seen that movie since I heard the story of Nobutsuna.

    Its kind of anathema to the concept of Go Rin some attribute to their hakama pleats that samurai sons would kill their father in hopes of gaining influence and power. But I guess we train with the idealistic concepts transmitted through some budo, rather than the actual history that played out.

    The comment of genin and Kurwosawa's attempts to show that some samurai were not true samurai is quite interesting. Now that you mention it, I think I can draw the same conclusions...though I hadn't made that connection before. If memory serves, my teacher says "samu-rai" basically means "one who sits below" or something like that...signifying the concept of a samurai is that of service. Similarly to medieval knights in Europe who were supposed to represent justice and service but it is very likely that most were opportunists and scoundrels.

    I would watch more Kurosawa movies, but since they have a cult following in the US they are usually quite expensive to obtain. I've seen Seven Samurai, Ran, Rashomon, and Tora Tora Tora. I've been trying to get my hands on Yojimbo..saw it in a tripack dvd set but they were around 85Euro.
  3. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    There were no true Samurai in the sense that we have been led to believe via modern books and media. It's a mythos similar to European Knighthood and chivalry. We all know how power hungry and bloodthirsty the nobility of Europe were at times.

    Kurosawa Akira's film, "Shichinin no Samurai" does indeed illustrate this; Nothing was as it seemed. The ones who were good at what they did kept quiet, while the ones that weren't, sounded off repeatedly. Running away and hiding in a ditch to survive after being overrun by the enemy.

    If anything it shows how far more practical they were rather than an idealistic image.
  4. komuso

    komuso Valued Member

    Hi all,

    a quick question. Is the weight of the KOUS (katana of unusual size - apologies to princess bride fans ) in proportion to its size, or is it mercifully lighter than it looks. In any case the gentleman in the video makes moving it around seem stupidly graceful.

  5. afhuss

    afhuss Valued Member

    Nice question...that must take some serious skill to wield that thing and not kill yourself and everyone around you (like if you didn't intend to, I mean).
  6. komuso

    komuso Valued Member

    It would be myself that iwould be primarily concerned about :). Arnis has shown me that there are a great many ways to belt yourself with even little tiny sticks, let alone something that was clearly designed to fight bears and killer whales.

  7. afhuss

    afhuss Valued Member

    Many martial artists claim weapons training is an antiquated past time with little to no utilitarian use in modern budo training. I can definitely see how they would apply that thought to Kage Ryu. It is my belief, and my teachers, that weapons training is of critical importance. Something like a simple (not easy) like drawing and sheathing a sword demands the utmost level of concentration and awareness. This awareness training is so critical in personal and martial development. This, to me, makes the Kage Ryu even more impressive. The wielder of these weapons have to been intimately aware of all the surroundings reachable by such a long and dangerous weapon. I wonder if these practitioners conduct tameshigiri or use shinken? I would assume they do...but have no idea.
  8. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    They use ONLY shinken. Only beginners use bokken.

    Best regards,

  9. pgsmith

    pgsmith Valued dismemberer

    Watkins sensei told me that the choken are weight proportional, but I've never actually held one myself to tell just how heavy they are.
  10. afhuss

    afhuss Valued Member

    Really? Like there are proportionally sized bokken to the choken out there? That's pretty intense...I've never seen one, but would love to! Largest I've seen are what we affectionately call the Boat Oar (in reference to a Musashi story....is it called suburito or something like that?). Anyway...we usually only use that guy if we are in during open mat/off time and wanting a shoulder workout...or if someone puts a hole int he mat with a shinken...then they have to do 1,000 kiri otoshi with the Boat Oar.
  11. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

  12. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    Yeah, they're big! Mine comes up to my chin, and I'm 6' on the nose. Makes my Euro longsword wasters look tiny! ;)

  13. Josh Reyer

    Josh Reyer New Member

    As a practitioner of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu I can say definitely that Kamiizumi Nobutsuna learned Kage-ryu, also known as Aisu Kage-ryu, from Aisu Hyuga-no-Kami, as well as Nen-ryu and Shinto-ryu (from unknown teachers). He combined all of these into his own martial art, and because he especially devised new gokui from Kage-ryu, called it Shinkage-ryu, "shin" meaning "new".

    Nobody in the Yagyu family has ever added the Yagyu name. Munetoshi added his own influences, but never changed the name. Nor did Munenori; if one looks at Heiho Kadensho you can see that he only ever writes "Shinkage-ryu Heiho", not "Yagyu Shinkage-ryu".

    Because of the association of Shinkage-ryu with the Yagyu family, it was often called "Yagyu-ryu" by outsiders as a kind of nickname, or "Yagyu Shinkage-ryu" to distinguish it from other lines of Shinkage-ryu by other students of Kamiizumi. In lectures during the mid 20th century, 20th soke Yagyu Toshinaga would use "Yagyu-ryu" to refer to certain concepts and innovations developed by members of the Yagyu family, while maintaining that the name of the ryu as a whole was Shinkage-ryu Heiho.

    Because of the association with the Yagyu family, and to distinguish it from other lines, "Yagyu Shinkage-ryu" has become a common nomenclature, and so its generally used by members of the ryu with outsiders. However, the official name remains, still, 450 years since Kamiizumi Nobutsuna, simply "Shinkage-ryu Heiho".

    Kurosawa took the story from the Honcho Bugei Shoden, an Edo era collection of stories about famous martial artists. He also took from this book for the Kyuzo duel (originally a story about Jubei) and the testing of samurai by hitting them in the head as they entered the room (originally a story about Tsukahara Bokuden).

    As for why Kurosawa included it, I think it had little to do with bushido; the topknot was not a symbol of the samurai. Look at the movie; all the common people in the city have them. Rather, I believe it was intended to show Kambei's tactical and strategical prowess, and the fact that he was helping the kidnapped child served to show his kindness.

    (Off-topic aside: "Kono meshi, orosoka ni kuwan zo" is one of the awesomest lines in cinema history.)

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