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Byakkokan dojo (白虎館) was started in 2005 in NYC as a study group teaching Japanese swordsmanship. The name "Byakkokan" means the place for Byakko, which is the Chinese mythological spirit White Tiger.
This school teaches the Japanese swordsmanship curriculum of Toyama Ryu Batto Jutsu, a style created for the Japanese military in 1925 by Nakayama Hakudo and other prominent swordsmen at that time. The curriculum of the Zen Nihon Batto Do Renmei and its U.S. counterpart, the U.S. Batto Do Federation is taught here as well.
While we carry the name of Byakko, the kamon (the crest showed above) is called "Mitsuwari Tonbo", which was created to help represent the spirit and idea of what is practiced at Byakkokan.
With this mindset and approach to practice, we were fortunate to create strong relationships with other schools and styles in the martial arts community.
Learning the techniques and art of using the Japanese katana. The meaning of Battodo (抜刀道) is the way of drawing the sword reacting to different situations
At Byakkokan, we approach practice with 3 methods to best understand the art of Japanese swordsmanship with each strengthening the other. This is a reason that there are 3 dragonflies in the dojo kamon.
Telling a story
The kata (forms) that are taught is the movement that holds the purpose and reason to use the sword in a certain method. The forms that are taught here are of single or partner forms, and movements that push on certain techniques
The forms practiced are Toyama Ryu, Kumitachi, Nakamura Ryu, US Federation of Battodo/ZNBDR Sei Tei Kata
As well as the forms, kenjutsu techniques are taught as well which have been gained from different styles and influences
Testing the technique
Tameshigiri is the practice of test cutting practice targets that are made of straw mats. This practice is to help fortify technique and basics as well as learn about the sword itself
As you improve, you will have to learn how to apply the kata while cutting. That is one of the main goals for tameshigiri
Applying the technique
As you learn the different technique from kata and strengthening it from cutting, you can try to apply these to a free form sparring session
It is not just free form sparring but kenjutsu techniques and drills are taught as well to supplement the practice
The most important part about gekken is not about winning a match, but using the proper technique that has been gained from learning the kata that is the true goal for this practice. Otherwise, if you're just focusing on tagging, then that is not the true purpose but rather just "playing"