Kenjutsu – Japanese Martial Arts Style

Kenjutsu is a Japanese martial arts focused on sword techniques. In contrast to Kendo, Kenjutsu is less focused on sparring and more on technique and katas. Nevertheless, sparring is still practiced to some degree in Kenjutsu. Tameshigiri or target cutting is also practiced in the art of Kenjutsu.

In Japanese Bujutsu, Kenjutsu is often taught along side Iaijutsu which is the older art of sword drawing techniques that gave birth to the more modern Martial Art Iaido.

There are traditionally 8 basic cuts used in Kenjutsu:

  1.  Shomen Uchi (Sometimes called Shomen Giri or Kiri Oshi) – Vertical downward head/face cut
  2. Hidari Kessa Giri – Left diagonal downward shoulder to hip cut
  3. Hidari ichimonji Giri – Left horizontal cut
  4. Hidari Joho Giri – Left upward diagonal hip/waist to shoulder cut
  5. Migi Joho Giri – Right upward diagonal hip/waist to shoulder cut
  6. Migi Ichimonji Giri – Right horizontal cut
  7. Migi Kessa Giri – Right downward diagonal shoulder to hip cut
  8. Tsuke – Thrust

Other areas are also targeted in Kenjutsu typically the hands wrist and arms of an opponent, the opponent legs, and any other vulnerable target area that presents itself.

There are 3 ‘types’ of Blocking used in Kenjutsu:

  1. Uke genashi – Block and deflect methods
  2. Uke tomi – Direct blocking methods
  3. Uke Kiri – Blocking and cutting methods (also blocking with the lower part of the live blade)

There are 5 basic attitudes or positions In Kenjutsu:

  1. Jodan no Kamae – Upper attitude
  2. Chudan no Kamae – Middle attitude
  3. Gedan no Kamae – Lower attitude
  4. Hasso no Kamae – Ready attitude
  5. Waki no Kamae – Lower ready attitude

Kenjutsu Equipment

Some of the basic equipment needed for Kenjustsu include a Dogi (top/shirt), Hakama (pants), kenjutsu obi (belt) and heavy duty white oak bokken (wooden training weapon approximating the weight and shape of a Japanese sword) for training.



  1. Ohio Budokan, Frequently Asked Questions,, Added – 5/29/13