Niten Ichi Ryu

Niten Ichi Ryu – Sword-Based Japanese Martial Arts Style

Niten Ichi-Ryu (translated as 2 heavens as one school) is a two sword Japanese martial arts style created by the famous Japanese samurai, Miyamoto Musashi.

Students learn to use a longer katana in one hand while at the same time using the shorter wakizashi in the other hand. In contrast, Kendo and Kenjutsu students generally only practice with one sword. However, some Kendo and Kenjutsu schools also practice some Nitojutsu techniques.

In ancient Japan, samurai generally used one sword. However there were some Ryu (Japanese Bujutsuschools) that included Nitojutsu (the use of 2 swords simultaneously). Though Musashi’s Niten Ichi ryu (created in the 1600’s somewhere between 1604 and 1640) is the most famous example of Nitojutsu, there were other schools before him that included the 2 sword technique. The most notable was the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu (who are recorded as using the 2 sword style as early as 1447) and the Tatsumi Ryu (early 1500’s).

The 2 sword style generally incorporates the use of a Katana in one hand and a Wakizashi in the other. However, other sword combinations could also be used such as Tanto and Katana, Tanto and Wakizashi , 2 Katana , or even a Katana and Saya (sword scabbard). The general principle of Nitojutsu is to block/defend with one weapon and then counter with the second. There are quite a few different combinations that cover just about all areas of attack.

This two sword style (along with his outstanding swordsmanship in general) greatly contributed to Musashi’s prowess. This helped him to win numerous duels & battles and become Japan’s most famous samurai. Miyamoto Musashi lived during the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

Two Sword Kata – Nito Seiho

  • Chudan
  • Jodan
  • Gedan
  • Hidari Waki Gamae
  • Migi Waki Gamae

Demonstration Video of Niten Ichi Ryu

Reference Sources

  1. Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, Niten Ichi Ryu, http://www.nitenichiryu.jp/index_nitenichiryu.htm?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=53, Added – 09/21/15

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