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This first-of-its-kind event on the East Coast took place in Central New York due to the efforts of two men devoted to traditional martial arts and the growth of Batto-Do in particular. These two men, Master Fumio Demura of the International Batto-Do Rengo Kai and Headmaster Clifford C. Crandall Jr. of the Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido/Batto-Do School, have changed Batto-Do on the East Coast of the United States and added to the history of this beautiful ancient art forever.

Left: Master Fumio Demura of the International Batto-Do Rengo Kai and one of the world’s most recognized martial artists was the Director of this Batto-Do taikai. Right: Headmaster Clifford C. Crandall Jr., head of the Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iai/Batto-Do School was the Coordinator and Promoter of this first time event.

The competition required seven months of planning and preparations. With this intensive groundwork, the event took place with banners, fliers, invitations, and programs, all depicting the logos of the two schools that joined together to make this event possible on the East Coast:

The venue chosen for the taikai was the Utica Recreation Center. This location offered ample space, good lighting, and professional, cooperative staff. Freezing rain and snow did not chill the warm welcome given to the enthusiastic participants from California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire as well as the many participants from across New York State.

Competitors were required to participate in the kata division first, with the cutting division held after a brief intermission. Competitor guidelines included:

1. Each competitor may enter only one kata division. 2. No live (sharp) blades are allowed for any kata division (unless approved by Event Coordinator). 3. All blades must pass inspection by officials. 4. All divisions are mixed: competitors may be either male or female 5. All competitors must wear hakima. 6. Kata competitors will each do three katas from the traditional Batto-Do katas, and will be paired for elimination. 7. Cutting competitors and cutting teams will be paired for elimination.

The divisions included individual kata and cutting plus a team cutting division. Placements for each division, as well as random pictures of the event are shown below:

Batto-Do Kata Division 1 (Beginner and Intermediate, below brown belt): 1st Place: Sabrina Crandall 2nd Place: Kyle Mizgala 3rd Place: Brett Jesse

Batto-Do Kata Division 2 (Advanced, brown and black belts):

1st Place: Brook Chilson

2nd Place: Paulo Dionisio

3rd Place: Adam Segal

Batto-Do Cutting Division 1 (Beginner and Intermediate, below brown belt):

1st Place: Victor Pelligrino

2nd Place: Sabrina Crandall

3rd Place: Kyle Mizgala

Batto-Do Cutting Division 2 (Advanced, brown and black belts):

1st Place: Melissa Morris

2nd Place: Nathan Morris

3rd Place: Cheryl Freleigh

Do-Dan Cutting Division 3 (Advanced, black belts):

1st Place: Adam Segal (two wara and 2 inches)

2nd Place: Eric Stalloch (two wara and 1 and 5/8 inches)

3rd Place: Keith Moore (two wara and 1 and 1/2 inches)

Team Cutting Division 1 (team names and participants):

1st Place: Poison Dart Frogs (Amanda Crandall, Sabrina Crandall and Gisella Stalloch)

2nd Place: Cutting Eagles (Cheryl Freleigh, Kyle Mizgala and Linda Moller)

3rd Place: American Eagles (Clifford Crandall, Nathan Morris and Eric Stalloch)

The event took place on a Saturday afternoon from noon until 4:00 PM. Even the poor weather conditions did not deter the over 250 spectators who attended this Batto-Do taikai. The event started promptly at noon with the playing of the American and Japanese national anthems. Then host Headmaster Crandall introduced Master Fumio Demura, his longtime friend and Batto-Do instructor. Headmaster Crandall shared with the audience some insight into Master Demura’s commitment to traditional martial arts, and the gift of his knowledge, philosophy and skills that Master Demura continues to share with the world. Headmaster Crandall also emphasized Master Demura’s personal love of Batto-Do and his constant efforts to promote this beautiful art of the sword. Headmaster Crandall pointed out that there has been no one who has done as much to make traditional Batto grow and flourish in the United States. Because of Master Demura’s efforts and diligence to hold to the old traditions many people perceive him as the Father of Batto-Do in the United States.

Then Headmaster Crandall introduced the three judges for this taikai, as shown in the picture to the left: Chief Judge David Jones from North Carolina (center), Jim Eyre from California (left), and Charles Hobbib from New York (right).

After introductions the competitors were bowed in and the kata divisions began. By 1:30 all of the kata divisions were completed and the intermission entertainment had begun. Host Headmaster Crandall talked with the many spectators about the upcoming cutting divisions and the skill needed to safely and successfully use a sword for cutting. To demonstrate, a six foot tall attacker was unveiled. Referred to as the “Terminator,” its neck, arms and body were made of wara and it had a melon head. With a wooden gun strapped to its right arm and a knife strapped to its left arm, Headmaster Crandall proceeded to cut off the right arm then the left, then swiftly severed the neck and as the melon hit the floor he came back and cut with one motion the three wara that were the core of its body. With the body severed in two separate pieces the limp arm with the knife was then severed off completely. Elimination of the Terminator took less than five seconds, giving the audience a visual and realistic grasp of the potential of the sword. This demonstration was followed by Headmaster Crandall’s top student, Renshi Nathan Morris, doing a double cut on one wara. The first cut was through the bottom of the reed, and before the top fell the second cut severed the upper section in half. In conclusion Chief Judge David Jones did a kata performance which finished with a reed cut.

Headmaster Crandall shown above disarming and dismembering the Terminator.

The cutting divisions then began. With safety always the primary objective, the competitors and spectators alike enjoyed viewing the display of skills and power of the samurai sword. Fun became a prime ingredient as the competition moved into the team cutting and then the Do-Dan competition.

At the close of the event the metals for first, second, and third place were handed out to competitors by Master Demura.

Master Demura then presented Headmaster Crandall, Renshi Nathan Morris and the three judges with a gift of his school logo carved in wood in the shape of a tsuba, approximately six inches in diameter.

This is a group picture of Master Demura, Headmaster Crandall, Chief Judge David Jones, Judge Jim Eyre, Judge Charles Hobbib and the event’s participants.

Due to this historic event's success, this event has resulted in the Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido Style and Batto Do Textbook being updated to a 5th edition to include the Tai Kai.

More information is below:

Batto Do Competition Invitiation (You must receive this directly from Grandmaster Crandall or Sensei Demura).

It is being listed here as a reference. Registration for this event is only open to members of their schools.

Batto-Do Invitation 2014
Download PDF • 567KB


Batto-Do Brochure 2014 Rev2
Download PDF • 998KB


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