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Players can be classified according to the entries.
1.Tanto (dagger)   under 60cm (2009/8/1 revise a rule)

In this division, the men and the do are the areas mainly aimed at. Therefore, you need to pay special attention to protect these critically important areas. Strikes on thre men are valid hrer. A player cannot get a game-deciding point as long as he strikes the defending arm or the legs. Abdominal areas as well as the chest or the throat are important parts for earning points.

On judging matchesm, it is remembered that referees have some likelihood of misjudgment due to the circumstances where players place themselves close to one another, and move quickly. Referees have also to draw a line between the atedome and mikiri. They need, therefore to be trained to perceive subtle differences in techniques.

2.Kodachi (short sword)   under 60cm
Exhibition game

The kodashi is such a popular division of sports chan-bara that we even say "you start sports chanbara from the kodachi, and pursue the way only to find yourself with the kodachi in the end." The kodachi is also the introduction to this sports.(As for the details of the use of the kodachi, refer to "Kodachi Goshindo" by Tetundo Tanabe, published by Sobunsha) For practice, you can substitute a kodachi with something like a magazine. The kodachi is about the size of a wooden stick or trouncheon, which can be a practical, handy means of self-defense. Sports chanbara is very casual to play as you can thus use a newspaper as a sword. You will enjoy playing only by learning some basic strikes like Ogi uchi, and kakoi-nuki for defense. Although the sword itself is short, skilled player's handling of the kodachi is surprisingly quick that it sometimes surpasses a long sword. This is a sports suit-able to a sports festival.

3.Morote Choken (long sword, both-hands gripping basically)   under 100cm
(Please remember Japanese Kendo style.)
Exhibition game

This is posture peculiar in Japan, while the single-hand handling prevails profoundly over many other places of the world.

4.Choken Free (long sword,free gripping)   under 100cm
(This is a free handed style like rapiers and sabers in Europe.)

The choken was at first played either with a single hand or with two hands. As Players furthered their experience in competitions, however, many of them turned out to adopt the single-hand handling. In other words, the two-hand handling, exemplified by kendo, have given way to the single-hand handling. Also, in the one-hand han-dling, a saber's sweeping cut is seen as more advanta-geous than a rapier's stabbing. Ashibarai (sweeping on the leg) is a particularly effective action, which often helps decide a match.

5.Nito (Kodachi and Choken, two handed style)
(sponge buckler in onehand and Kodachi in the other.)
Exhibition game

This two-hand style has, however, taken roots among the Japanese, and is irresistiby attractive to them. Underlying this are old Japanese sentiments towards chanbara plays in childhood or historical deamas. This Japanese kendo style falls short of defense capacity so that if he attacks straight towards his oppo-nent, he may inevitably be struck as well. That is to say, aiuchi (simulataneous strokes) is frequently observed in this style, which should be the issue that needs to draw attention for further consideration.

6.Tate Kodachi, Tate Choken
(shield and sword (2011/11/1 rule revision), two handed style)

In Japan, people have rarely used 'tate' or shield in fighting; it is because they have learned to handle a sword with two-hand since Momoyama period. On the other hand, the shield is highly developed as part of swordsmanship in areas like Europe or Africa. Since they can handle both of equipments by keeping balance and timing, it is very rational means for fighting because it enables attacking as well as protecting yourself.

7.Bo, jo (long stick)   under 200cm
Exhibition game

Once accustomed, a player can exert a variety of exciting techniques with a bo. It shows its strength in fighting against the choken or the nito-ryu. It does not, however, work well against something like the yari. It sometimes displays unexpected movements such as sayuu-chi, which uses both ends of a bo one after the other, kaiten (spin and strike), yokomen-uchi, or ashiuchi.

There are two kinds of jo. One is a short version of bo and the other is the choken with a long grip. In addition, other various swords like three piece rod, chigirigi, nunchaku, kusarigama and Tonfa are all included in this division.

8.Tanso   (choso under 100cm It uses choken.)
9.Choso, Nagamaki   under 200cm

It is really meaningful to explore the yari as a sports. With the exception of missiles, no other swords have achieved such an exclusive performance as the yari has done. Characterrized by its simple, direct power, it used to contribute to battles to a great extent in old times. Nowadays, you can still find in traditional houses a kakeyari on nageshi, which explains samurai's prosper-ous past. The yari was so much familiar to people of that time.

If swordsmanship is three times as advantageous as unarmed combat, spearmanship could then be three times as advantageous as swordsmanship is. Despite its excel-lency, the art of yari only remains in some old martial arts, and otherwise does not attract attention. Taking care of the yari as a sports would be part of our reponsi-bility, which we have so far failed to do. In the Olympic Games, one can only find it used in Javelin. In Japan, it would be more familiar for us to hold it with two hands.

We need, as learners of sports chanbara, to recognize this linear, elaborate, and powerful sports.


Technically speaking, there is not much difference in the ways the Naginata, Nagamaki, Oomiyari and other spears are handled. These spears are named differently to one another depending on which is the major handling, thrusting or sweeping, for each of them. In fighting, however, there observed a mixture of thrusting, sweep-ing, tripping, beating, striking and so forth. Partisans in Europe use all but these kinds of handling.

Sports Chanbara Playing is divided into these eight categories.
In a tournament, The champion from each category fights in the last match and the final champions is admired as the only World Champion that year.
To be impartial, this final match has been played using Free Choken recently.

Other competition

The Katsusen (team match) was a common way of fighting in old days, so it is rather unnatural that there has been no match of this way these days.
With the call of "hajime" for start, its practice is carried out by two groups (red and white team) consisting of more or less the same number of players.
Judging can be difficult in the katsusen as many players are on the contest area at the same time. Therefore, a self-assessment system is adopted. Players are to recognize their own defeats when they have had any effective strokes.In this case,they either fall down on the floor or retreat. As a matter of fact, matches can be melees, involing atouchi (delayed blows), mikatauchi (attacks from companies), and 2 or one or 3 on one (simultaneous attacks from some opponents), and so on.
The katsusen is divided into two kinds of matches. One is called gentei-sen (limited-sword match), where the kind of the equipment that can be used is set in a certain range, such as a match where only the kodachi is used. The other is called weapon jiyu-sen (free-equipment match). In a free match with long swords of over two meters, it is better to coincide the number of players between the two teams.The most essential thing here is the self-assessment. Only when the players acknowledge their defeats does the match work.If there are any players who fall short of this self-assessment or respectable behavior, the match cannot bo carried out. SportsChanbara, in this context, has an element of helping a player form established personality. It aims to encourage him to be the one who does not stick to victory or defeat, and is not hesitant to recognize his defeat and willing to congratulate his opponent.


Tanin-Gake is a way of fighting that puts a group of contestants against another group that comprises a different number of comtestants, such as a few contestants against one, or three to five against two. It is seen in the fighting where the two team that are the same in number play. It fosters various aspects of human relations that cannot be acquired through one-on-one, individual matches. Players will learn things like taking care of others, co-operation, solidarity, union for protection, recognition of one's standpoint, role, responsibility and fellowship within a group.
That comes from the fundamental of the art of self-defense, which plays virtually important roles for the cultivation of aesthetic sensitivity, such as fostering the sense of taking care of others like friends and family members.
In the field of the Ransen or Katstsen, some potentials that help people develop new relations, which is not seen in individual matches, are sometime recognized. How an individual plays his role in a group is a very important issue.In this respect, this kind of fighting means a lot as it enables players to experience, through fighting, the way to survive, to behave, and to understand the activity and psychology of a group.