Martial Arts of Austin

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Traditional Weaponry Training

The Martial Arts Center of Austin is proud to offer training in traditional Japanese weaponry. We offer instruction in kenjutsu (sword), iaijutsu (drawing the sword from its scabbard), naginatajutsu (glaive [pole arm]), jojutsu (4 ft staff), hojojutsu (cord binding), tantojutsu (knife arts), and others. Please note that training in any traditional weapon art requires extreme dedication. Prospective students should strongly consider the type of fortitude necessary in beginning any of these programs. Students interested in any of these programs will need to provide their own materials including all necessary weapons and clothing. These classes are generally not open to the public but sensei has been known to make exceptions from time to time. Prospective students will need to first pass an interview process before admittance is allowed. We customarily train on the weekends and will provide time and location upon acceptance.


students engaged in paired traditional kenjutsu

The Japanese Samurai were certainly the most feared warriors in history. They were highly trained in military science. Kenjutsu (literally meaning “sword art”) was the system they devised for battling with the sword (katana). Suffice to say that the samurai had created a truly magnificent weapon. It was light-weight, razor sharp, artistically adorned and could endure numerous battles and still cut through any known metal. Our style teaches traditional Japanese Kenjutsu emphasizing numerous solo and paired kata as well as several techniques for free-form practice. Students will need all proper clothing (ie - keiko gi, kaku obi, hakama) as well as a bokken (wooden sword) before beginning this program.



katana drawn in Iai

Iaijutsu is a very popular art here in our dojo. Iaijutsu is the art of quickly drawing the sword from its scabbard and then cutting your opponent all in one motion. It is an incredibly sophisticated art requiring much practice and dedication. Students interested in this program will need to have their own iaito (sword for practice) before they will be allowed to enter this program. We do not use shinken (live blades) in our programs. Both our kenjutsu and iaijutsu programs are to teach students preservation of antiquity as well as provide excellent lessons in balance, posture, breathing, timing and forging of a strong mind.




students engaged in naginata sparring

The Naginata is a “pole arm” type weapon ranging in different sizes from just a few feet to several feet in length. A blade is attached to the end of a wooden pole making it a powerful weapon. Historically, naginata were used by both men and women but today, the naginata is used mainly by women in Japan. However, adults of both genders can participate in our practices.
The naginata was quite the formidable weapon being most advantageous over shorter weapons such as the sword. In the hands of a skilled warrior, the naginata could easily slash its opponents down with great ease. Due to the length of the weapon, it offered excellent cutting leverage as well as offer horseman the ability to overpower their ground adversaries with much less resistance than regular swordsmen on foot. Our dojo teaches traditional naginatajutsu and not “atarashii naginata” (sport style). For practice, students will be using wooden naginata without a fixed blade on the end.




student posing in a traditional jojutsu stance

The Jo (or “yon bo”) is a 4 ft staff made of a variety of woods used in a similar manner that any other staff could be used. The major difference is that the Jo is not as seemingly cumbersome as longer staffs and has more centrifugal generated power than that of shorter ones such as the 2 and 3 foot staffs. Many consider it to be the perfect weapon for most any walking staff makes an excellent Jo. The Jo was said to have been invented by the legendary warrior Musō Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi after having defeated the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Records indicate that the 4 ft staff was used long before the warriors of Japan used them though. However, although most all Jo techniques are used to duel against that of a sword, we teach several techniques against other types of armament as well as against unarmed opponents. Our training and techniques are practiced both indoors and outdoors and will reflect teachings of both Jodo and Jojutsu concepts of both older and modern styles but mainly that of the latter. Students wishing to practice in our Jo training will need all the same clothing needed in any of our other programs (keiko gi, kaku obi, hakama) but will also need a Jo. Jo are easily attainable and are very inexpensive.






students engaged in arresting techniques of hojojutsu

Completely unique to the martial culture of Japan, Hojojutsu is the art of binding a prisoner with cord or rope in any different number of knots to keep them immobilized. The techniques of hojojutsu are as incredibly complex as they are effective and beautiful. Historically, when performing the decorative knots, the samurai were required to use certain knots for certain types of captives. For example, a low-ranking knot could not be used on a high-ranking soldier. And the same was true in the adverse. Also, certain knots, with an array of different colors, were used in different seasons throughout the year. Samurai would typically use a joint-locking technique from the Jujutsu curriculum and then while keeping them subdued, they would then begin the binding with either their sageo (cord carried on their sword sheaths) or possibly use their tasuke (approx. 5 ft of material used to tie back the sleeves on a kimono). From that point, other much longer cords were used to perform the actual decorative knots. Between knots for different ranking individuals, knots for different seasons and knots for different purposes (ie - binding someone to another person, restraining someone after having arrested them, capturing a prisoner who was trying to escape), hojojutsu has always been considered the advanced section of many different Japanese Jujutsu styles.
Our dojo will be teaching the art of hojojutsu at different times throughout the year during seminars. Beyond that, the art of hojojutsu (in our dojo), is reserved for high-ranking students only.






student in traditional tantojutsu fighting pose

Tantojutsu is the art of using the knife or dagger. Knife fighting arts exist by the hundreds, if not more, and are practiced by every culture on the planet. The samurai always carried at least one, if not more, knives on them at all times. The knife is a truly fantastic weapon for it is quite easy to carry, easy to maneuver and makes a superior back-up weapon if your sword is unable to be utilized. Much like the samurai katana (sword), the tanto had excellent slashing and stabbing capabilities.
Our dojo teaches both classical tantojutsu as well as modern knife fighting techniques. Please refer to the Modern Weapons page to review our close-quarter tactics training with the fixed and folding blade training.
Students will begin practicing the knife within their first month of training and will find that the knife is, by far, one of the most versatile weapons one can use.