Battōjutsu (抜刀術 battōjutsu) is a sword-based Japanese martial art. Generally, schools which style themselves "battojutsu ryu" emphasize the perfection of Tameshigiri cutting technique, as opposed to iaido ryu which tend to focus on drawing/sheathing, or kenjutsu ryu which stress dueling ability.

"Battojutsu" or "iaijutsu" can also refer to the concept of drawing and striking in a single motion. Batto/iaijutsu techniques often involve drawing the saya back and the sword forward, allowing the wielder to begin and complete the cut faster than would otherwise be possible, generally half to three quarters of a second.

Historically, battojutsu was developed around the mid-15th century, around the advent of the uchigatana. The saki-zori curvature (more curved near the tip, as opposed to koshi-zori, curved near the hilt) of uchigatana aided greatly in iaijutsu because it allowed the strike to begin before the blade had completely left the sheath.


The term battojutsu was used during the Warring States Period, while the term iaijutsu was developed slightly later in the period as evidenced by its more philosophical name. Since martial styles generally did not have intercourse because they were enemies (among other reasons, including geographic isolation), what one style (ryu) might call iaijutsu is what another style with similar movements would call battojutsu.

The term iaido was not used until the end of the beginning of the 20th century, when it was first coined by Nakayama Hakudo, and therefore should not be confused with battojutsu. Battodo is another similar word and simply means the "way" of drawing the sword, while Battojutsu the "art" of drawing the sword.


Battoujutsu is one of the techniques Himura Kenshin mastered to earn the name the Battousai in the popular anime and manga series Rurouni Kenshin.

References Edit

  • Obata, Toshishiro. Crimson Steel. Essex, UK: Dragon Books, 1987.
  • Obata, Toshishiro. Naked Blade. Essex, UK: Dragon Books, 1985.
  • Wagner, Gordon, Donn F. Draeger. Japanese Swordsmanship: Technique and Practice. New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill Inc., 2001.ja:抜刀術