Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu is a two-sword Japanese martial art founded by the famous samurai, Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645). Niten Ichi Ryu means "the school of the strategy of two heavens as one." 

 

Concept

Niten uses both a long and short sword. It is koryu (old school), and is deeply rooted in Musashi's book Go Rin No Sho (the Book of Five Rings), and in Buddhism.

Practice forms are called waza and is practiced with a partner. The partners first bow to each other to show their respect, and then they engage each other.

Niten waza involve one student taking the place of shidachi (defender) and the other student taking the place of uchidachi (an attacker). Uchidachi would approach shidachi and attack.

Niten is a combative art and students will strike each other with bokuto. Shidachi will perform the technique thus defeating uchidachi.


History

As is mentioned in the Go Rin No Sho, it is best not to get overly familiar with one weapon.  Students of Niten Ichi Ryu train first with a long sword, then with both a long and short sword, and finally with a short sword alone.  

In all of these techniques they will be attacked by an opponent using a long sword.  All swords used in Niten are wooden.  Some feel that this takes away from the reality of the art. However, Miyamoto Musashi himself gave up the use of a live blade for a bokuto. Since Niten is a combative art, wooden swords reduce the chance of serious injury.


Schools

Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu

The lineage of our ryu can be traced back to Miyamoto Musashi. Our primary instructor, Menkyo Colin Hyakutake-Watkin sensei, trained under Souke Imai Masayuki Nobukatsu, the 10th generation headmaster of Niten.


Ranks & Grading

Unlike Iaido or Jodo, there is no grading in Hyoho Niten Ichiryu. Instead, the traditional makimono (scroll) licensing system is used.

Each makimono refers to a set of techniques. Once mastered, the student receives a makimono of the techniques, in addition to a proclamation that the student has mastered the techniques within. Only then does he (or she) learn the next set.


Organizations

Within Canada, several Canadian Kendo Federation-affiliated sensei offer instruction in Niten. The art is sometimes offered during clinics at various dojos throughout the year.

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Niten Clothing & Equipment

Niten practitioners train with two square-edged wooden training swords. The short sword is called the shoto, while the longer one is referred to as a daito.

The standard uniform consists of a gi, hakama and obi. Loose fitting exercise clothing is permissible for beginners.