Nito means “two swords”. Nito-ryu means a style of Kendo that uses one long and one short sword, unlike the usual single sword style.

Nito-ryu can be used in most tournaments for experienced competitors.  Our dojo is lucky to have members who practice primarily Nito-ryu kendo; Jeff Lamb, Harvey Jewett and Justin Lamb.  

These past seminars featured teachings by key sensei (teachers) of the exclusively Nito-ryu style ‘Musashi Kai’ dojo from Japan. The 8th degree blackbelt, renowned Nito-ryu teacher, and all Japan champion Tadao Toda Sensei was also present and teachins.

We are able to meet a large number of attendees who fly in from all over the US, Canada, Mexico and elsewhere to this somewhat remote location in Ontario, Oregon, which we’re so glad is within driving distance from Spokane! 

Toda Sensei’s lifetime kendo career is somewhat of an epic. His competition success began when he was still a kid competing in school tournaments and he continued to win regional tournaments. He placed highly for years and finally ended up taking first place in the All Japan Kendo Championships at age of 25.

He became widely known for his skills in jodan Kendo which is another less common style of kendo that involves using one sword and starting with the sword in a high on-guard position. He switched to using the two sword style at one point and became widely known for being one of the top two sword players in the world. Seeing and being directly taught by a Kendo ‘living legend’ like this was a real thrill to us.

Sadly, he passed away in December 2016 at the age of 77 years old.  His valuable teachings and the experiences he shared with us at the nito seminars will be greatly missed.

As a main theme of training, Toda sensei emphasized developing courage/bravery/confidence (he used the terms yuuki 勇気 and jishin 自信) in our strikes.  All the drills he had us doing were designed to develop this very thing.  He urged us to practice courage in our kendo; but more importantly, he wanted us to apply this bravery that we developed in Kendo to the many decisions we make in our lives.  Toda Sensei said something that can be translated to the following:

“We all have tough decisions in our lives. When we come to these decisions, we need to think for a time and bravely act without fearing the consequences.  If we fear what will come from our decisions; then, just like in a match or shinsa, we will hesitate and freeze with fear. When you face your opponent, you must tell him, “You might die. I might die. We both might get cut, but I’ll give it all that I have no matter what happens.”

With so many knowledgeable teachers and skilled attendees, the information from teaching and the experience was overwhelming.  But, as our Spokane dojo has become accustomed to, we recorded what we learned as best as we could in order to practice it at home.  We hope to learn more next seminar and showcase our improvements from the last seminar’s teachings.