WHAT IS ISHI YAMA BATTŌJUTSU?
Ishi Yama ("stone mountain") Battōjutsu is a unique American expression of traditional Japanese swordsmanship developed by Russell McCartney Sensei, the Chief Instructor of Ishi Yama Battōjutsu, through a combination of traditional kata (forms), modern day target cutting practice, and combative point sparring. The style was refined after several decades of research, personal insight, and practice in Toyama-ryū, Nakamura-ryū, Ryuseiken, Musō Shinden-ryū, Aikidō and Aikijutsu, Karate-dō, Wing Chun, and Tai chi.
Ishi Yama Battōjutsu's form and style are manifest through spontaneous logic, reason and practicality; the practice not only draws upon several martial traditions, but is also inspired by the patterns and rhythms of nature. The result is an art form characterized by dynamic and fluid movements which utilize multiple angles of engagement while cultivating a unification of body, breath, mind, instrument, and spirit.
WHY WE TRAIN
The objective of training is not simply technical proficiency. Practice in the art of the sword is to refine and discipline our spirits, to cultivate an even mind. Training focuses on the concept of Anshin Ritsumei, which means "spiritual peace, enlightenment and calm resignation to fate." The end result of this practice also means controlling our fear through the calm acceptance of circumstances amid the pressure, confusion, and chaos of daily life by developing a mind that rapidly, clearly, and rationally is more capable of making good decisions and building the strength of conviction to follow our decisions through with rational action.
The kind of dynamic level of active training to which we aspire is meant to simulate real encounters. As we heighten our senses of observation and response time to a level of reaction speed, our whole being benefits from the experience. Vigorous training must start slowly. Little by little, our bodies readily accept this format. Movement is what the physical body was made to do. Psychologically, the mind sharpens its awareness in all of its processes and tasks. We literally begin to think more clearly. This symbiosis of mind and body nourishes one's whole being.
The katana is an instrument of great beauty. In former times, though, it was a weapon of war for striking down oppressors, thereby giving life to those oppressed. As the centuries passed, it fell out of favor as the weapon of choice in personal/individual combat, and was replaced by more modern and less intimate weapons of war. As time passed, it became revered as a great work of art. Today, it is highly valued as a unique and expensive collector's item. Our practice signifies a rediscovery of dynamic swordsmanship. Because training leads to the use of real swords and the element of danger is ever present, the utmost attention to every detail is required to practice safely. The powers of focus and concentration must be developed to the fullest to maintain safety. Swordsmanship is the great metaphor and a universal strategy based on timeless principles of natural law applicable to every situation.