Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall School of Iaido and Batto-Do held its second in-school Batto-Do Competition this year.
Our school is first an Iaido school, and very proud to carry on the teachings, philosophy, and physical skills of the samurai as taught to me by Headmaster Tsuneyoshi Matsuno. After Headmaster Matsuno’s passing a friend and fellow martial artist, Master Fumio Demura, offered to teach me his sword style of Batto-do. I accepted his offer and over the years I and my students have benefited from the skills and history of traditional Batto-do. So much so that on November 22, 2014 Master Demura and I worked together to present the first East Coast Invitational Batto-do Taikai in New York State. It was a great success and a fun-filled learning experience for my students. Last year, I brought back the Tai Kai for my school. Now planned as an annual event, we hosted our 2nd competition on November 2, 2019.
--Headmaster Clifford C. Crandall, Jr., Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido/Batto
This year the participants were all Advanced students of the school with years of experience in cutting with live samurai swords. Headmaster Crandall took time before the start of the competition to inform the audience as to what each competitor would need to demonstrate, as well as the grading process for each cutting division. Headmaster Crandall’s highest student who is also a certified instructor in the Iaido/Batto-Do School, Kyoshi Nathan Morris, judged the event with Headmaster Crandall at the front judges’ table.
The competitors each demonstrated skills and safety which made the grading close and challenging. In order to qualify, each student had to demonstrate a traditional iaido kata. Then they had to demonstrate two cuts on a reed (Right to Left and Left to Right). All competitors qualified to continue. Each round of the advanced cutting division were single elimination. This meant that two competitors cut simultaneously on separate reed posts. The competitor with the best total score won and moved on to the next round. Six cuts were expected for each reed, in a particular order and with particular angles of cut. This process continued until there was a single winner. For the do-dan division, reeds were stacked horizontally 5 deep. Each competitor was permitted a single cut, with the winner being the person who cut the deepest into the stack. When the Taikai concluded one individual stood out above the rest to win in each division. Demonstrating exceptional skill this year, Mrs. Amanda Crandall won both the the Advanced Cutting Division (6-cuts) and the Do-Dan cutting division. Our congratulations to all of the competitors.
Plans are already being made for next year’s Batto-do competition. We look forward to seeing you there.