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Third Annual Sword Tai Kai

On Saturday, October 9, 2021, the American Martial Arts Institute hosted the 3rd annual Tai Kai for Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido/Batto.

The Samurai's way of life can be seen through the disciplined art of the sword. The instructors an students of the Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido/Batto-do school practice this Do (Way).


Each year through the Tai Kai, guest have the opportunity to view the discipline of the Samurai through the katas and cutting competition of the students of this school. This is a life changing discipline that can enhance everything a person does. As the Headmaster of the school, I welcome you to this year's event.


-Headmaster Clifford C. Crandall, Jr.

Iaido is an ancient martial art that teaches the use of the Japanese sword (katana and wakizashi), and while in modern times it is a seemingly impractical Art, it becomes practical in daily life because it moves the practitioner beyond the physical movements of the sword into a state of calmness within action. Its philosophy and tradition help the individual to cultivate a personal strength that can make a difference the student's personal commitments, whether to themselves, family, friends, their profession or community involvement. Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido has an unbroken lineage dating back over 300 years and is now in its seventh generation. The history of school can be found in its textbook (available through amazon.com), and on this website.


In addition to iaido, this school also teaches batto-do. While an oversimplification, batto utilizes a live (sharp) sword to cut reed posts in a demonstration of skill and power.


This year's tai kai (competition) involved division for demonstrating kata from this iaido style, individual cutting, team cutting, and do-dan.


Kata

Kata are one of the most traditional and visually obvious parts of iaido. They are a series of moves that fight off imaginary attackers. In the case of the sword, it can involve a single draw, cut, and re-sheathing of the sword, or it can involve multiple blocks or cuts. Following 300 years of tradition, there are separate katas for males and females. Advanced students of the art who have achieved the position of Renshi or Kyoshi learn both male and female forms regardless of their gender. Some of the kata demonstrated included ten-no-kata, Wu-ken/Sa-ken, Ninin-giri, kuruma-otoshi, Riken, gyaku-batu-riken, and many others.



Cutting

Batto involves cutting what is often referred to as a reed post. These are a type of grass (reed) that are woven into mats. These mats are then rolled into cylinders (posts), tied, and soaked in water to increase their density. They are then cut using the sword. Depending the division the competitor may need to cut the reed between 2 and 6 times. The participants are scored on the angle of the cut, the order of the cuts, how far from the post the cut portion falls, whether or not their cuts touch one another (they shouldn't) and other skill factors.


Teams


In team cutting, three members take turns cutting the same reed post. The first two cuts are by the first member. The next two cuts are made by the second member on the remaining reed. The final two cuts are made by the third member on the remaining reed.


This year's teams were:


The Birds of Prey


The Blades of Fury


The Monarchs


Do-Dan