Fred East

Kenbudo: About

The East School of Japanese Swordsmanship

Kenbudo will, after many hours of dedicated training with a senior swordsman, give the swordsman a deep insight into strategy, tactics and the minds of other men and women. One of the reasons is that first a swordsman by virtue of training, discovers strategy and tactics and then his own mind. Controlling himself leads to being able to control others at mental and physical planes.

Kenbudo Higashi Ryu is my take on Japanese Swordsmanship that involves the study of bokken (Japanese wooden training sword), live blade, shoto and wakisashi, tanto and unarmed techniques from traditional karate, encompasing aikijutsu and jujutsu. 
The structure of a shinken is included in the teaching as are the principle cutting parts of it, how to look after it and what to look out for when making a purchase.

Distance timing in combat forms a core lesson, including evasion and counter attack. Practice fighting routines are set to challenge the mind in as close to real combat as can be. 

Where does Kenbudo Higashi Ryu come from?

Kenbudo is the life study of Mr Fred East ~ 7th Dan Shitoryu Karate / Kenbudo Higashi Ryu Founder and has been developed since 1974 by Mr East through his martial studies and knowledge, and with inspiration from his other Japanese martial arts, mainly Shitoryu Karate and aikijutsu for its offensive/defensive style and discipline.

In a technical format Kenbudo is a comprehensive sword art that incorporates the use of strong kumitachi (pre-arranged partner forms) for a realistic based sword art. The Kenbudo Higashi Ryu syllabus also includes:

  • Two, three and four person multiple attacks are included as well at a high level of skill and understanding.
  • Kenbudo includes a variety of suburi sword exercises with one sword and two swords (nito).
  • Solo kata (forms) like those performed in Karate are an essential part of a student’s development alongside kumitachi and suburi.
  • Nito kata and shoto kata are also included in the solo kata Kenbudo syllabus.
  • Battojutsu, primarily Toyama-ryu style battojutsu is included in the study of Kenbudo and is practiced with bokken and shinken.
  • Randori forms/techniques (free fighting techniques in an arranged format) using bokken, shoto, tanto and unarmed techniques are key principles for developing the all important ma-ai (combative distance) and ki (life force/energy), and work along the principles in the spirit of Shitoryu Karate
  • Tameshigiri (test cutting with a real sword) is performed so that students can test the quality of their cutting technique and all other aspects that apply, such as; hasuji (correct cutting angle of the blade), tenouchi (correct cutting grip) and tome (controlled end of cut). Tatame and bamboo are common targets.
  • Adopting the spirit and ethos of Shitoryu Karate into Kenbudo means that  students can achieve over time with consistent training, faster flowing movement, an increase in strength, a positive state of mind and increased self discipline, showing that this Japanese Sword Art is as relevant for life today as it was in its heyday in Japan.

For more information about this comprehensive study of the sword and all relative aspects, please feel free to contact;


Fred East, Chief Instructor, Kenbudo Higashi Ryu and Budokai UK founder 

Traditional skills and techniques

Real world applications

Get in touch

Fred East  Chief Instructor and Founder
Higashi Ryu Kenbudo & Karate
(Weston-super-Mare), Karate & Sword

Tony Barber (Yatton), Karate Instructor
Mob: 07762725595

Matt Dancey (Worle), Karate, Sword & Young Samurai Instructor

Tel: 01934 261525
Mob: 07582 698100

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