The youth curriculum is exactly the same as the adult curriculum, however the intensity and the safety of the training are adjusted to the needs of the children. They are training with either bokutō (wooden swords), shinai (bamboo swords) or iaitō (blunt swords). No shinken (sharp swords) are used.
At first, they learn and study the shoden level (beginning of the transmission of the school) in which the basic teachings are transmitted. This contains the following points:
- Ashiwaza: The footwork necessary to fight on any ground, from wooden floors to rough and narrow mountain paths.
- Suburi: Practice cuts with a bokutō (wooden sword), which are used to strengthen the whole body, while learning the proper usage of the Japanese sword.
- Kenjutsu: Swordsmanship which is taught in fixed partner forms, in order that the students can study the techniques and strategies of the school with wooden swords in a safe environment.
- Battōjutsu: Sword drawing techniques which are taught in fixed forms, without a partner. A habiki / iaitō (blunt sword) is used for this training form.
- Mokusō: Traditional meditation techniques of the samurai in seiza (traditional seating position), which are used to gain a unity of body and soul, as well as spiritual strength.
- Reihō: The formal etiquette of the samurai during the feudal periods of Japan which is still partially used up to the present day.
- Rekishi: The students are also taught and educated about the history of feudal Japan with a strong focus on the history of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō.
- Nihontō no Chishiki: Basic knowledge of the Japanese sword.
- Kitsuke: The proper way of dressing in traditional Japanese clothes.
The goal of the training is as for most of the koryū (traditional martial arts schools of Japan) like the Hokushin Ittō-ryū, to follow the principle of bunburyōdō. Translated into English it means “the joined way of philosophy and the art of war”. In many cultures around the world, warriors and philosophers were two different classes of society. This was different in Japan. The bushi (samurai) aimed to combine both traits in themselves and thus become the “perfect human being”, with an undefeatable mind in a strong body.
Young people who study our art, the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō, will greatly profit in their further lives from the discipline, respect and responsibility taught to them.