An introduction to Batto Jutsu


I am often asked, what is batto jutsu. In its literal translation the term refers to sword drawing. In today’s uses though, that is rarely what batto jutsu actually refers to. In this article we will look at Batto Jutso Ryu. I will teach you what it is and what it isn’t.

To start our look at this particular branch of the Japanese sword arts, let’s first talk about what batto jutsu really is. There are actually a couple places where you may find the term used, so I will define it both ways.

In its most common usage batto jutsu ryu refers to the Japanese martial arts schools that focus on tameshigiri (cutting with the sword). The emphasis of their teachings is the actual cutting with the sword. When you learn batto jutsu in one of these schools you can expect to put in a lot of time with cutting practice.

You may also here batto jutsu used interchangeably with iaijutsu. In this case the term is referring to the actual act of drawing and cutting with the sword in one fluid motion. Batto iaijutsu techniques involve drawing the saya back and the sword forward. This allows you to begin and complete the cut quickly.

Batto jutsu differs from Kendo or Kenjustsu in that the sword usually begins in the scabbard, where with the other two budos the sword is already drawn. It also differs because in batto justsu the focus is on cutting, and cutting practice. In the other two arts dueling tends to remain the focus.

It also differs from Iaido in a couple of ways. There is more focus on actual cutting that there is in Iaido. The batto jutsu practioner will often practice real cutting techniques to practice on wetted straw mats, or bamboo. There is also more focus on the cut itself. With Iaido the cut usually takes place with the drawing of the sword. Batto jutsu requires a draw and then a cut.

You now have a basic overview of what batto jutsu is, and what it isn’t. If you’re interested in this budo, simply find a school that teaches it, get yourself a sword, and then get learning!