The full title of Shinmen Musashi
No Kami Fujiwara No Genshin's martial lineage is romanized as Hyoho Ni Ten Ichi Ryu. For those who prefer, it can also be romanized as Hyouhou Ni Ten Ichi Ryuu.
Contrary to popular belief, the characters for Ni Ten Ichi Ryu mention nothing about swords. It transliterates
, instead, into English as 'Two Heavens, One School.' The kanji
天 ('ten') represents the concepts heaven or sky. Neither of the most common kanji for swords or blades, 剣 ('ken') and 刀 ('to'), have a pronounciation of 'ten.'
While the school does incorporate the two-sword style popularized by Musashi, it is primarily a one-sword style that happens to have a two-sword set as part of its advanced curriculum. The school makes use of the odachi
, and their combination in the nitto
sets. The first set learned is the itto seiho, the odachi alone. The okuden
, secret, set continues on to the nitto seiho, as well as the kodachi, bo
, and jujutsu
Ni Ten Ichi Ryu is not alone in its use of two swords at once. Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu
, another famous extant koryu
art, makes use of two swords in its four 'ryoto' (both swords) kata. Katori Shinto Ryu, as well, though a sogo bujutsu
, is primarily a one-sword school.
Ni Ten Ichi Ryu is directly linked to Buddhist doctrine, unlike many other koryu which favor the indigenous Shinto instead. The name is a reference to this connection.
I am not a practitioner of Ni Ten Ichi Ryu, though I have read the writings of seniors members of the registered lineage. If my unicode cut-and-pasting is incorrect, please help me out, as I have had a hard time installing Japanese-font codecs onto this Linux box.