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Swords, Cutting and Military History

Senbongiri: One thousand cut record holders

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In lexicon of modern Japanese tameshigiri, senbongiri means “one thousand cuts” and refers to practitioners attempting to perform one thousand cuts on standard wara (straw mat) targets. At first simply being able to perform one thousand cuts was enough in itself;  new challengers have this a timed event, with speed record holders being inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Performing so many cuts in such a short period of time makes this exercise extremely physically, mentally and emotionally demanding.

According to records, there are only five martial artists who have successfully achieved this modern challenge senbongiri;  following is a list of these artists, and — where possible — video recordings of their event:

1998: Initial record holder Mitsuhiro Saruta, founder of Ryuseiken Battodo, a modern school which centres on the art of cutting, performed his senbongiri in 1 hour 36 minutes


2000: Russell McCartney performed consecutive 1181 cuts without error, completing his event in 1 hour 25 minutes


2005:  Chuu Sondon completed his senbongiri in 41 minutes, 56 seconds (no video of this event available)

2007:   Isao Machii finished his thousand cuts in 36 minutes, 4 seconds (no video of this event available)

2008: Record holder Aaron McCloud performed his senbongiri in just 33 minutes 34 seconds.


There are other practitioners who are recorded as having broken various cutting records.   According to Wikidpedia:
“There are a number of swordsmen who have recently set records in the field of tameshigiri. Mitsuhiro Saruta, founder of Ryuseiken, set the initial Guinness World Record for completing 1000 cuts (senbongiri) in 1 hour 36 minutes on September 20th, 1998.  In 2000, Russell McCartney of Ishiyama-ryū completed 1181 consecutive cuts without a missed attempt in 1 hour 25 minutes. Both Saruta and McCartney performed senbongiri using a kata-based approach as one of the criteria for their challenge.  Isao Machii of Shūshinryū currently has the record for the fastest senbongiri performance of 36 minutes. Machii also holds records for the most cuts in three minutes (252), and the most cuts to a single free-standing target (7). The record for most cuts in one minute (68) is held by Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu practitioner Konstantinos Karipidis of Greece.  Toshishiro Obata holds the record for Kabuto Wari, or helmet cutting, for his cut on a steel Kabuto (helmet). Toshishiro Obata also holds the Ioriken Battojutsu speed cutting record for 10 cuts on 10 targets over three rounds. His times are 6.4, 6.4, and 6.7 seconds respectively. Brandt Noel of San Yama Ryu Bujutsu holds the record of 19 mats with Katana using Kesa Giri.”

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