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Japan's most popular style of iaido





An unequalled style




An unbroken tradition

What is Eishin-Ryu?

Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu

Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu is Japan's most popular style of iaido or iaijutsu. It takes it's name from Hasegawa Eishin, who is the 7th generation grandmaster of the style, but in many respects could also be considered its founder.

It was Hasegawa Eishin who, late in the 16th century, adapted the quick-draw techniques of batto-jutsu (see History of Iaido) to the katana or daito -- the weapon most of us think of as the samurai sword today. In acknowledgement of this, the style became generally known thereafter as either Hasegawa-Ryu or Eishin-Ryu.

In 1582, the great warlord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was able to unify all of Japan under his military rule and was installed as Sei-i Tai-Shogun. Around 1590, he established his capitol at the city of Edo -- now called Tokyo ("east capitol"). Shortly thereafter, he invited Hasegawa Eishin to Edo to perform a demonstration of Hasegawa-Ryu. The Shogun was so deeply impressed by Hasegawa's skill and art that he bestowed on him the nickname, "Muso-Ken" -- Sword Without Equal.

The system that Hasegawa Eishin developed has now been passed down in an unbroken line of succession from grandmaster to grandmaster for another 400 years. The Japanese term for passing a legacy person-to-person from one generation to the next in unbroken succession is "jikiden" (usually translated as "direct transmission").

A style, school, or system of martial arts is called "-Ryu" in Japanese, a term that derives its meaning from the endless flow of a river. Thus, the style of iaijutsu practiced today by members and affiliates of the Jikishin-Kai is:

Muso ("unparalleled") Jikiden ("directly passed down") Eishin-Ryu ("style of Eishin")

A detailed history and lineage of the style, and some of its larger branches, can be found in the book, Flashing Steel.


Learn more . . .


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2003   Leonard J. Pellman

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