Batto Seminar with Master Demura
The American Martial Arts Institute offers four separate martial arts styles:
1) American Eagle Style (empty hand martial arts)
2 )Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido/Batto (traditional samurai sword)
3) American Eagle Cane Style (traditional cane)
4) Americanized Eagle Kendo ("Kendo for Fun", only available to instructors at this time)
On Sunday, April 7, students of Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall participated in a private batto-do seminar taught by Master Fumio Demura at Sensei Charles Hobbib's dojo in Oneonta, NY. If breaking boards or concrete is a demonstration of power, focus, and skill for an empty-hand style, then Batto-do is its equivalent for traditional sword. Batto involves cutting reeds that have been rolled into cylinders and soaked in water until they take on the density and consistency of the human body. These reeds are then cut is specific manner by a a sharpened sword to demonstrate the skill of the practitioner. Batto-do also has its own kata and other aspects.
Headmaster Crandall and Master Demura have been friends in the martial arts since the early 1980s. After the passing of Headmaster Crandall's iaido instructor, Headmaster Tsuneyoshi Matsuno, Master Demura offered to teach Headmaster Crandall his art of batto do. Master Demura is known around the world and was featured in a documentary available on amazon.com and Netflix titled "The Real Miyagi" because he was the stunt man for Pat Morita on all of the Karate Kid movies.
At this private seminar, Master Demura instructed the group in his basic practice kata, Kome, which involves performing all of the 8 fundamental batto cuts. They also practiced Hatto and Nouto (drawing and sheathing the sword) techniques. Training included various Kamae (Body postures) and a Kumi Tachi (partner drill with sword against sword; practiced with wooden training swords called bokken).
This was followed by the students (ranging from beginners to advanced grades) demonstrating various cuts on the reeds for Master Demura while he critiqued the cuts and offered his vast knowledge and experience on how to improve within the Art. The seminar lasted nearly 3 hours.
Following the seminar, the students of Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall practiced cutting at their next class, on Wednesday, April 10 to reinforce what had been shared with them at the seminar. A future extended training session is planned to review all that was covered a the seminar.