Yamakage Kai | Japanese Sword Arts

Fuji Mon

The Yamakage Kai is a
martial arts group located in Seattle, WA specializing in the practice of Ishiyama-ryū gendai battōjutsu and kenjutsu.

Visit the national
Ishiyama-ryū website for more information.

Getting Started

Individuals considering training with us are asked to first observe one of our regular classes. If interested, a potential student may participate in one free class prior to enrolling full-time.

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The Way Of The Sword

The katana is an instrument of great beauty. While the time of the sword as a military weapon have passed, the technical, strategic, and cognitive skills developed from regular practice are timeless. Training in swordsmanship either as a dedicated art form, or as a supplement to other activities, can have a profound impact on how one views the world and oneself.

"If you know the Way [of the long sword] broadly you will see it in everything."
-Miyamoto Musashi

Our Directive Through Training

Training focuses on the concept of Anshin Ritsumei which means "spiritual peace, enlightenment and calm resignation to fate". The result of anshin ritsumei also means controlling our fear through the calm acceptance of circumstances.

Our Goal

The objective of training is not simply technical proficiency. Through training we seek Annei Chitsujo, "peace and order", in all we do. This is pursued through the concept of katsujinken or "the sword that gives life".

Chudan no Kamae

"The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon. Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind."
- Yagyu Jubei


Kata Image Kumitachi Image Russell McCartney Cutting Image


Battōjutsu, "the art of drawing the sword", is a broad term that is used to describe techniques which involve drawing and cutting with the sword in response to a sudden attack or other situations which require rapidly drawing the sword and engaging an opponent. This art, as it is practiced within Ishiyama-ryū, is dynamic and fluid. It utilizes multiple angles of engagement while cultivating the unification of body, breath, mind, instrument, and spirit. This is typically expressed through solo practice (kata), and other basics (kihon).


Unlike battōjutsu, the study of kenjutsu, "the art of the sword" or "sword techniques", generally involves combative forms with the sword already drawn. Kenjutsu training with the Yamakage Kai involves prearranged forms involving a partner (kumitachi), refining individual techniques (neru), and free sparring (gekken/gekiken) using padded weapons and protective gear.


Historically, tameshigiri (literally "target cutting") was a practice used to test the capabilities of a sword. In modern times, tameshigiri is practiced as a way to test the the quality, accuracy, and consistency of the swordsman's cut. The act of target test cutting is a gradual process conducted under very controlled circumstances at various levels throughout the training process.