Cutting Edge Issue 2 - Page 42

Nakayama’s nukitsuke Oe Masamichi gave Hakudo the opportunity he wanted to witness the real iai of Tosa, giving him something to think about. Hakudo of course, gratefully accepted. In 1925 Nakayama was invited to instruct fencing at the Rikugun Toyama Academy (a military school), and in 1927, at the age of fifty-five, he received the rank of Hanshi in Jodo from the Butokukai. In 1928, Nakayama gave a demonstration of Muso Shinden Eishin Ryu at the Butokukai for the first time in history. There was a problem though: he had never recieved menkyo kaiden in the Ryu. So he presented it as ”Muso Shinden Ryu Battojutsu”, so avoiding any issues that could arise from using the school’s name. In 1933, Nakayama restructured all he had learnt whilst in Tosa into a new school, the Muso Shinden Ryu. Managing to avoid breaking the blood sealed contract by changing the manner by which he did the techniques. Kendo gained popularity, and Nakayama, along with Takano Sasaburo, became among the most sought after teachers in Japan, travelling the country, teaching at various instituions, and even the Imperial Palace. Nakayama’s students now ran into the tens of thousands, in fact over two thirds of those who held the rank of kyoshi with the Butokukai had studied with him at some time*. 40 | CUTTING EDGE Ukigumo. Note the fully inverted saya, common to the Shimomura-ha But the dark cloud of war was to fall over Japan and ultimately budo. World War II was a desperate time for Japan and it’s inhabitants. The Military were being dominated by the Allies, and Japan had now become a target for fierce American firebombing. Cities like Tokyo were decimated, and later compounded by the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bringing Japan to it’s knees. A formal surrender followed on September 2nd, 1945. Nakayama though, was quick to use his influence, quoting an ancient Japanese idiom “a samurai never talks about what is finished”. He simply asked the Japanese people to meet their American occupiers with dignity*: “In fencing we call ‘ohen‘ the spirit, or the ability, to adapt one’s self to change. What this means is, in a condition where after understanding and acknowledging the natural tide of affairs, all past ambitions must be given up. In doing so one can reach the state of nothingness. This requires a noble heart – the ultimate goal of fencing. We must meet the Allied Army with such a spirit. Yesterday they were our enemies, but today they are not. If we fail not to think of them as enemies, then it cannot be said that we truly understand Bushido. If there is even the smallest feeling of ill will remaining in our hearts and if we cannot take a broader outlook, it will show in our faces and our attitude, giving reason for them (the Allied Forces) to think of us as cowardly. I am of the personal belief that the greatness of our nation lies in its open-mindedness.” The end of the war brought more hardships for Japan, and in an effort to pacify the Japanese people, the Hosokawa Yoshimasa Sensei Occupying Forces banned the practice of the martial arts. This act alone united practitioners of the arts to fight for the right to practice their traditional fighting arts. In 1946, Nakayama was arrested and imprisoned in Yokosuga for teaching the martial arts, and was later released. But, through the help of Sasamori Junzo, Kuroda Yasuji, and Kunii Zenya, the ban on the martial arts was eventually lifted. “In fencing we call ‘ohen‘ the spirit, or the ability, to adapt one’s self to change. What this means is, in a condition where after understanding and acknowledging the natural tide of affairs, all past ambitions must be given up...”