Hibino Raifu Kaiso says that Shinto Ryu begins with reverence and concentration (rei), and ends with a profound felling of gratitude.
It is based os the principles of Kenjutsu, IaiDo and of katas from the former style of Bujutsu (Koryu Bujutsu), valuing respect, the domain od the sword (katana), the posture and the correct movimentation , weather standing or sitting.
It’s training, performed with the sword, promotes also a better concentration, attention and memory, besides training the body, cultivating the Ki (Vital Energy), lapidating and forming the caracter.
According to the founder, Hibino Raifu, cultivating someone’s caracter allowds it to live in condition of Ryoofuu meigetsu (smooth breeze and clear moon, that represent the serenity of the spirit free of turbidity), even if it is exposed to the storms of life and to the tremors of the sky and earth. This is the true essence of Shinto Ryu Budo.
The ways of Shinto Ryu Budo are: Kenbu-Do, Shibu-Do, Iai_Do, Iai-Battô-Jutsu and Gin-ei (poem and song).
The demonstration of this Martial Art as a Warrior Dance presentes the sword unsheathed, accompanied by the japanese song Gin-ei. This dance was organized and grouped in katas, presented to the world in the Meiji Era in the year 23 (1890) by the founder of the style Shinto Ryu, Hibino Raifu. In Japan, Hibino was considered the father of mothern Kenbu.
In Shinto Ryu style, the Kenbu-Do was assembled based on the Kenjutsu and the traditional Iai from Japan, increasing principles of jujutsu and karate, as well as elements of the Mai dance of Buyou. Therefore, in each detail of the movements of arms and legs, the base of the essence of Martial Arts is presented.
The practitioners of Shinto Ryu don’t spare efforts to present in the dance the comprehension of the poem of Gin-ei, and to show in it the grandiosity, the elegance and the caracter of the work.
In Shinto Ryu, the Kenbu-Do was presented in 1890 as Kenbujutsu, that is, kenbu as the kanji of dance. As the Martial caracter of the dance wasn’t understood, in 1906, the kanji was changed.
It is a Dance that representes moments of the history, the warriors from Japan and their sagas. The aesthetics of this technique, the feeling that the drama due to the action in the katas transmit take the practitioner, gradually, to understand the Bushido and to begin using it in it’s life. In addition to the Iaito, or the especial praticing sword, the Fan is used.
It is the dance that uses one or two fans, followed by the Gin-ei music. It differs from the usual japanese dance for having a characteristic movement of the Martial Art basis, the Taisabaki. Utilizes the fan, which symbolizes the sword or another weapon adequate to the Martial Art. The Shibu-Do are martial poems, chants and dances with the intention of the exaltation of the spirit of the sword. May be individual or collective, they bring out the tradition of the martial arts and, with it, the transmission of the knowledge from the warriors.
¨The fire heats,
but the light of the Buda
heats the fire¨.
The internal sword. Here, the concept of Shinto as spiritual sword is laboured, and the student starts dealing with it´s internal enemies and overcoming them. These enemies are those who separate him from his own center and from the harmony with it´s surroundings, the ones who anule his capacity of discerning and molding his decisions. Iai Do seeks for the physical and spiritual improvement of the students. It is a practice to lapidate the spirit, and the training has the application of this knowledge in daily life as goal, which can be used in any acting ambit. All the gestures and movements of Iai Do are destined to exercise and develop discernment, imagination, attention, memory, and the consciousness of the center in the present moment; the control of the body with a lucid and objective mind that domains the fluctuations of the desires, the fear, the anxiety in view of the result. This way, an immediate adaptation towards the unusual is created, keeping itself serene, which will allow to make an instantaneous evaluation for each moment or circumstance. The behavior is of maximum respect and courtesy in all circumstances. It is a martial philosophy, a life philosophy.
Using the katas from Shinto Ryu Iai Do, in this modality, the accurate and perfect cut is trained. To do so, the makiwara (a mat of rice straw prepared for this purpose) is used, with the cutting sword. We aim, in training, the development of Shinken (interior sword), in other words, Katsujinken (sword that brings life), which is the manifestation of the will through discipline in a cerimonial way. Iai Do aims for transparency, in other words, the fight against the illusions of the mind, our internal enemies. As for Battô, it aims for the excellence of the technique, the use of the sword against exterior enemies. According to this thinking, in training, in spite of using the sword and material body, the practitioner would be training the ability of the internal fight. The program includes Omote no Kata, Ura no Kata, Tameshigiri and Kumitachi.
The practitioner trains to comprehend the poem of Gin-Ei and sing it the specific way to accompany the demonstration of Shinto Ryu Budo. With the practice, the student acquires experience, being able to maintain a correct posture. It will allow his voice to be expressed, through singing, the spirit and the message of the represented piece.