Thursday, November 7, 2013

Kuroda Tetsuzan

Some call him “koryu budo’s best kept secret but that’s hardly the case since he is pretty well known in Japan. But the truth is that he is considered something of a maverick since his approach to the classical martial arts is anything but “classical”! Heir to five traditions of the Kuroda family (Komagawa-Kaishin ryu kenjutsu, Shishin-Takuma ryu jujutsu, Tamiya ryu iaijutsu, Tsubaki-Kotengu ryu bojutsu and Seigyoku-Ogurirryi Sakkatsujutsu) the 63 year-old swordsman has been training for over half a century (started when he was five) and he has become something of a legend in his own lifetime for being extraordinary fast, especially in his sword-drawing techniques.

At the same time, and this is where some consider him at odds with the “regular” practitioners and teachers of the classical martial arts, he is not shy to admitting that some of the stuff he inherited were lost and he had to re-create them from his own research; there is no question of legitimacy here but truth be told, most teachers tend to overemphasize how “true” they are to their legacy. Kuroda sensei on the other hand believes that being true to tradition means developing the teachings of old –a true believer to the concept of “keiko shokon” (稽古照今) that is “reflection upon the past to illuminate the present” from which the word for martial arts’ training (keiko/稽古) comes from.

If you are interested in studying Kuroda sensei’s almost super-human in detail the next best thing from coming to Japan and actually training with him would be to check his DVDs –there are quite a few and one of the best is "Tetsuzan Kuroda: Training Kata - The multi-dimensional body". You can see a clip from it here:


but you can also buy it here with English subtitles!

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