Mar 31

Reading, Viewing, and Listening Notes

As I was unable to obtain “Spirit of the Sword” on short notice, our┬áreading research consisted of the resources on the Suigetsukan Dojo Website.


The dojo teaches multiple martial arts.
Suigetsukan means Moon Reflected on the Water School and was founded in 1991.

The art of Toyama Ryu is deeply rooted in Japanese history and has been used in combat as recently was WWII.


Our viewing research was confined to the media, to get a sense of how they portrayed samurai in movies and on tv. To achieve this we watched Seven Samurai, Thirteen Assassins, and Samurai Delicatessen.

Of the three, Samurai Delicatessen was far and away the most inaccurate of the portrayals, something that is not really surprising as it is an improv comedy bit.

In the case of the two movies, Thirteen Assassins and Seven Samurai, they take the art more seriously, but even they spiced things up for the sake of looking good on film.


Listening research consisted of talks with Sensei Mike Esmailzadeh after our first group session at Suigetsukan Dojo.

Each technique is rooted in historical context, which Sensei Mike Esmailzadeh was always sure to include in the lesson.

An example of the above is the clan sword technique. This is the origin of the “sword catching” myth, but when examined properly, it becomes clear that it is born of the warrior culture mindset of laying down your life for your people and country. It consists of “catching” the sword with your shoulder and holding it there. Then you apply downward pressure on their hands and move in close. This allows you to either take them with you, as you are about to die anyway, or to hold them long enough for one of your clansmen to move in for the kill.