Although fencing is a military exercise, it is so commonly practised by the Japanese 'yaconinierie,' or 'soldiery,' who comprise a large portion of the population, and is entered into by them in so spirited a manner, that it deserves to be classed as an amusement.
The woodcut is a very faithful representation of yaconins fencing. The masks cover the whole of the head; and the arms, breast, and hips, are protected by cuirass, petticoat, &c. of leather ribbed with bamboo.
The fencing-sticks are of the same length as the 'obi-todee-auf-catana,' or 'great fighting-sword.' They are made of split canes, bound tightly together, and are used with both handa
The Japanese fence well, and deliver their points with great precision, especially an awkward downward thrust at the breast.
They deliver their cuts and points with - fierce guttural exclamations, which are peculiarly disagreeable to European ears; especially when the listener is located in the vicinity of a guard-house, whose occupants notify their employment at daybreak with such cries as ' Hie-e! Ah-h! Atturah-h l" ('That'sat! that's into you!') and continue this information, accompanied by the clashing of their sticks, and occasional chuckles, until late in the afternoon.
Mark Shaw wrote:Thanks for posting that pic!
Interesting how short the hakamas (pants) in the illustration are. In present day Kendo we wear them so long that tripping up over the hem is a real danger.
Another difference is their chest protectors use small plates; they may be proper armor pieces rather than todays leather and bamboo replacement.
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