Chanbara's strength isn't in recreating Kendo, Escrima, Naginata, Iaido, Karate, or any other art. Those arts are well-established with a superb community dedicated to furthering their goals. However, mostly due to safety reasons, rules and practices have evolved that may not reflect real world conditions.
For example, empty-handed Karate practitioners rehearse defenses against knives on a regular basis. It takes a substantial commitment of time to acquire the skills to stand even half a chance. It is much better to run or to try to use another weapon in most instances. Another example comes from Kendo. The personal protective equipment (bogu) is designed to protect from one attacker from the front. How often do you think this happened on the battlefield or happens today? If you were the attacker wouldn't you hit from behind or employ more than one person to attack to guarantee your success? The basic assumptions inherent in all martial arts can lead to a confined focus.
Chanbara's strength comes from increased personal safety. The improved practice weapons allow a minimum of safety equipment, which in turn allows for a much larger scope of training. A much larger scope permits variety, realism, and fun.
Chanbara 10 Man Kumite
Chanbara 20 Man Kumite
If you'd like to try Chanbara and live in or around the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, CA send us an e-mail and we'll let you know where our next occasional free session will be. Michael Langewisch is a certified Chanbara Instructor with the United States Chanbara Federation.