Kengō 剣号
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Kengō 剣号

Sword names or 剣号 Kengō are very typical for Japanese sword masters. After years of perfecting their skills the headmaster of a distinctive ryūha (school of swordmanship) took a pseudonym as name replacing their first name. 剣号 Kengō usually describe the character of the person by using 2 kanji.

A well known swordsman of his time (Muromachi period) was Iizasa Ienao who is closely associated with Tenshinshō-den Katori shintō-ryū, one of “the oldest attested school of swordmanship in Japan” (G. Cameron Hurst III., p. 46.). He was commonly known as Yamashiro no kami (governor of Yamashiro Province), who – later in life after becoming a Buddhist lay monk – took the kengō Chōisai.

Other examples for sword names are that of Hayshizaki Jinsuke Minamoto no Shigenobu (born as Asano Tamijimaru), Fukui Seisan (born as Fukui Torao), Ikeda Seiko (born as Ikeda Takashi), Esaka Seigen (born Esaka Hiroshi) and Asamiya Kyōko of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu

On May 30th, 2019 Jhonny Bernaschewice was presented with the kengō of SHŌCHI 尚智 by all Shihan and Hanshi of our Federation Geido Tao Chi Kihon.

SHŌCHI 尚智 derives from the words 高尚 kōshō and 叡智 eichi describing important charater traits of Hanshi Bernaschewice.

高尚 kōshō meaning noble, refined, exalted ((of a person or their rank or status) placed at a high or powerful level; held in high regard.)

叡智 eichi meaning wisdom, intelligence, intellect and knowledge

Possible name derivations from those 2 character traits were

智尚 ( Chishō )    尚智 ( Shōchi )   叡尚 ( Eishō )   尚叡 ( Shōei )

The element that decided the order of the two kanji was euphony (word sound or sound pleasant). After a lively discussion among all Hanshi and Shihan involved we have decided on the name 尚智 ( Shōchi ).

Sources:

Esaka, Seigen (2014). 無雙直傳英信流居合道入門 (An Introduction to Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido). BAB Japan.

Hurst, G. Cameron III (1998). Armed Martial Arts of Japan. Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Kenseikei East London Dojo (n. D). History of Eishin Ryu. Retrieved from http://www.kenseikai-east-london.co.uk/html/history.html on 03/11/2019.

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