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Category Archives: TAIDEN


Around the Meiwa and Anei eras (1764 to 1780) of Japanese history, there was a man named Izu Kamitono. A master of many martial disciplines, he was legendary, among locals who knew him, in the secret art of ‘shurikenjutsu’. Translated literally as ‘palm weapon art’, shurikenjutsu was also sometimes referred to in those days as ‘sen-ken’. With his long gray hair pulled back, old man Izu was said to always carry four long sharpened needles hidden in his coiffure, two on each side of his head. As a aging warrior, who had survived many conflicts that required him to straddle the line between life and death, the honed edge of continuous heightened awareness and razor sharp reflexes had not dulled even slightly. Although he had found peace within himself in his years of late, he knew the world had not waned in its turbulence and episodes of utter violence. Once when visiting Shiba Palace in Edo, the residence of the Lord of his province, Izu was suddenly asked to hit four hooves of a horse standing under a cherry tree in a painting that adorned the Lord’s cedar door. Drawing the needle-like shuriken from his hair with lightning dexterity, he hit all four marks twice, without a miss. His lightning fast skill drew audible gasps from the aristocratic onlookers who had gathered to watch, as well as from his normally subdued Lord. Up until the day the Shiba Palace was destroyed by a fire over a century later in 1893, the painting and the needle marks from Izu’s test of skill remained on the palace wall and were still readily visible for visitor’s of the palace to see. As to Izu’s method of shuriken throwing, it is said that he left no disciple and that his gifted skill and method passed quietly with him.




It is said that for centuries in Japan, a warrior’s method of walking was practiced early on by treading on rice paper. In the case of the ninja, if one could walk without tearing the rice paper, it was believed that he could walk anywhere without making a noise. For all warriors practicing the arts of combat though, the rate and rhythm of walking was to be neither be slow nor fast. One was required to walk as in daily life, without rupture. One always had to be centered, neither too slow, neither too rapid, neither too short, nor too far. Erratic rhythm in walking would show that one was surprised or unnerved. Slowness showed that one was afraid to face the enemy. Whatever the situation, a warrior was taught to never be destabilized.
Thus, it was about a walk which would not betray a warrior’s level of knowledge in the techniques of combat. This was of extreme importance, because to know how to pass unperceived in order to be able to observe the movements of a potential enemy has always been an essential aspect of the practice of the techniques of combat.