Kenjutsu is the "Rolls Royce" of Japanese martial arts. The term literally translates into English as "sword art," and refers to swordsmanship as practiced by the warriors of feudal Japan. It has no sporting aspects, thus, there is no competition in the form of tournaments.
Classical traditions teach a complete combat art to prepare the student for any possible situation. Although the katana (long sword) is the primary weapon, use of the wakizashi (short sword), yari (spear), and naginata (halberd-like weapon) are also explored. Additionally, instruction is provided in the jô (4’ staff), hojôjutsu (tying a prisoner), and jûjutsu.
The kenjutsuka (sword student) trains with a real sword, therefore, they are razor-sharp and capable of producing a severe injury. No imitations are allowed. This inherent danger forces the student to focus completely upon every action that occurs, leading to intense levels of concentration and psychological tension. This will lead to rapid advancement in the mental aspects of the martial arts within a very short period of time and to the development of techniques of unparalleled beauty.
The bokken (wooden sword) used during some training procedures is not for safety as may be assumed, but to prevent damage to the shinken (real sword) in instances where weapons clash. The shinken may be an antique blade worth several thousand dollars.
The style of kenjutsu studied at the Nikkô Dôjô is Ittô Tenshin-ryû, which, according to oral tradition, originated in Japan and is commonly referred to as the Tenshin-ryû.