Self-defense expert James Williams is the founder of Bugei Trading Company, a renowned source for quality Japanese samurai swords and armor. James Williams runs his own school in Encinitas, California, and oversees a network of samurai weapons instructors and students who carry on his nami ryu system around the United States.
In this footage shot at Black Belt magazine, sword master James Williams, a five-decade veteran of the martial arts, depicts how to draw, how to sheath, how to handle and how to cut with Japanese samurai swords.
SAMURAI WEAPONS VIDEO
Sword Master James Williams Shows You the Basics of Handling Japanese Samurai Swords
Sword Master James Williams on His Samurai Weapons Style, Nami Ryu:
My system, nami ryu, has kenjutsu and iaijutsu, which is a subset of kenjustu that was useful when you had to draw quickly under stress. It also includes jujitsu, which is the strikes, drops and throws that are identical to the moves done with the sword, as well as shurikenjutsu, tantojutsu, hojojutsu, naginatajutsu and some kyudo. But the big three we work with are kenjutsu, iaijutsu and jujitsu.
Sword Master James Williams on the Importance of Students Learning the History of Samurai Weapons When Learning How to Use Japanese Samurai Swords:
I find it critical [to learn the history and culture] because if you’re studying a classical art, you’re studying a strategy first. If you’re studying a battle strategy, you need to know what the landscape is like in Japan to know why things were a certain way. And if you don’t study the history, you’ll only get a tiny piece of things. For example, were your techniques designed to work against armor or on the battle field or against civilian garb — flesh, bone and silk?
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Sword Master James Williams on the Potential for Accidents With Samurai Weapons When Students Try to Emulate Something They Saw an Actor Do With Samurai Weapons in a Movie:
[Accidents] almost always happen for that reason. When you [train with a samurai sword], small things are always going to happen. The bottom line is, the sword never forgets it’s a sword. But sometimes we forget. It bites, and that’s what keeps us on the straight and narrow. Do only what you’ve been shown and be patient with your progress.
[Accidents also happen when] you start hacking away at things in your backyard. The blade probably isn’t hitting at the proper angle, and that can cause problems. Anybody can walk out and start whacking stuff, but that makes you just another goofball. You’re not doing anything that a warrior would do, and you’re not respecting the sword.
Sword Master James Williams on the True Purpose of Samurai Weapons:
I look at the sword as a combat weapon. I don’t look at it as a tool for personal development — although you can certainly get that from the training. A long time ago in Japan, they talked about “the killing sword” and the “life-giving sword.” One aspect of that is, the only way you can protect — the only way the sword can give life — is if you can kill. If you’re not capable of cutting down evil, you can’t protect anybody. The only proper use of the sword is to cut down evil to protect and defend.
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