MICHIGAN SHINKENDO is dedicated to the study of the martial arts of feudal Japan under the tutelage of Mr. Toshishiro Obata, Kaiso. We offer a comprehensive study of martial techniques utilized by the samurai. Traditional methods and realistic techniques are framed by the cultural and historical context in which they existed. As swordsmanship was a principal concern of the samurai warrior, our fundamental martial art is Shinkendo swordsmanship: Shinkendo has a number of meanings depending on the calligraphy, or kanji, used to depict the various characters. Shinken
is what a real Japanese sword is called; however, shin
can also mean 'true' or 'serious', as in your pursuit of life and training (therefore, the term Shinkendo
can also be interpreted as 'the way of living your life seriously and fully.); shin
can also mean "mind and spirit", as the art affords you a way to forge both. Shin
can mean god, in that we should respect our world and nature, and espouse world peace. Shinkendo does not have to stop at the door of the dojo, but can be thought of as a path to follow, and a strategy of mind to apply in your life and its day to day activities. That is how this art came about. I created the International Shinkendo Federation to promote those ideals, because the truth begets the truth. ----------Toshishiro Obata, founder of Shinkendo
Throughout their 1000 year history, the samurai habitually carried some manner personal arms, as was the practice the general populace, therefore we recognise a variety of weapons techniques in the art of aikibujutsu. Toshishiro Obata, SoShihan, uchi-deshi (live in disciple) under the late Shioda Gozo Kancho, relocated from Japan to the United States in 1980 and began development of the research organization called the Aikibujutsu Tanren Kenkyukai
---Aiki-Buken for short---with the purpose of accurately rebuilding concepts and techniques from the older styles of aikibujutsu used during the feudal times of Japan, as well as to study and continue to develop the softer styles of modern aikido. The name Aikibujutsu Tanren Kenkyukai can be translated as Applied Aiki-Based Martial Systems Research Organization. Tanren
is the process during the forging of a sword in which the blade is hammered and folded, reducing the carbon content and eliminating impurities to create a strong foundation for the remaining steps of forging. Kenkyukai
defines as a research organization, or society. Being a research organization, the Aiki-Buken has incorporated methods and theories found in both pre and post war aikido/aikijutsu systems that proved accurate. Though there is a Yoshinkan Aikido influence, the approach to training and application differs significantly from this root art including classical weapons techniques of tantojutsu, bojutsu, jo-kumite, torite (arresting techniques), Edo torimonojutsu (Pre-Meiji, or Feudal Era arresting methods), te-hodoki (unbinding methods) and various other methods. Taihojutsu
(arresting techniques) is also part of the curriculum, and is an area tailored for use in the law enforcement and security fields. Toyama Ryu
, originally a small sub-system of sword drawing techniques created for officers of the Japanese Imperial Army, is now represented in various forms throughout the world as an independent sword art and is included as part of Michigan Shinkendo's swordsmanship studies. The Toyama ryu gunto soho
(military sword methodology) was created and standardized (seitei) in 1925 in response to concern that officers would not be able to effectively draw and employ their sword (gunto) should the need arise while operating in hostile environments. After WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army was disbanded, and three major lines of Toyama ryu were adapted and taught independently - Morinaga style, Yamaguchi style, and Nakamura style. Nakamura Taizaburo Sensei was one of Obata Sensei's main sword instructors. In view of Obata Sensei's skill and dedication, the art of Toyama ryu was charged to him upon his relocation to America as the Chief Instructor of America.
Michigan Shinkendo offers training in both the Flint and Grand Rapids areas. Students study bothhinkendo and Toyama Ryu sword arts as well as the variety of Aiki-based arts as part of a comprehensive course taught by ISF certified
instructors. All ranking in Shinkendo, Toyama Ryu, Aiki-buken and Aikido are issued directly by Toshishiro Obata. Mr. Obata trained in and was issued distinguished ranks in several styles of swordsmanship, as well as being awarded All Japan Test Cutting Champion for six consecutive years before retiring from competition. Upon immigrating to the United States, he founded Shinkendo as a conglomeration of what he considered to be the most effective and relevant aspects of his training, research and experience. He has had a colorful career that includes acting in and choreographing many films.