A Japanese friend who has mastered several martial arts mentioned that he had just started learning Niten Ichi Ryu (also known as Ni Tou Ichi Ryu) and my eyes almost popped out of their sockets !
Ni Tou Ichi (二刀一 literally meaning “two swords as one”) or Niten Ichi (二天一 literally meaning “two heavens as one”) , is a style of Kenjutsu (剣術 – sword technique) which was famously practised and taught by Miyamoto Musashi – arguably the greatest swordsman in Japanese history.
My friend mentioned that his school (or流) was holding a demonstration in Kumamoto city, so I found myself making the 90 minute journey from Fukuoka early one Sunday morning, not knowing what to expect. He might well have told me that there were going to be ninjas and dragons there – because as far I had known, this form of Japanese martial arts was merely the stuff of legend and didn’t really exist !
But on our arrival at the Musashizuka Koen Park , an elaborate yet compact Japanese garden, a surprisingly small number of people had gathered to enjoy a morning of varying forms of traditional displays.
From Wa Daiko (和太鼓 – Japanese drum performance) to Nihon Buyo(日本舞踊 – traditional dance) and tea ceremony and of course some martial arts displays. The clocks had spun back !
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