The National Writing Examiner is happy to present our interview with Jason Lee A. Hatcher, Editor-In-Chief and Founder of Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal. Katsujinken provides sword artisans and aficionados from all walks of life with personal expression, growth and entertainment relative to eastern and western sword art practices. Mr. Hatcher, a consummate sword art professional, states:
"At Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal (www.katsujinkenmagazine.com ), we believe what we learn, practice and teach makes us who we are in our day-to-day experiences in life. Moreover, we believe, for each of us, our niche' seems to be where we align and center our focus; this becomes a driving force of our livelihood remaining inseparable from the remainder of our life on many levels.
Sword arts result in friendships and bonds, which would never be realized without experiencing the conquests involved in our art forms and our practices, where our Life Giving Swords or Life Sustaining Swords, represent personal journeys of discovery we've chosen for ourselves. One of the most important things for each of us is our individual reality wherein we build as sword artisans within a community and with one another. We grow together, becoming a family of practitioners, whether we ascribe to eastern or western philosophies. And, it is this celebration of self and community, which Katsujinken embraces." Jason Lee A. Hatcher, Founder and Editor-in-Chief.
Reviews are enthusiastic:
"The inaugural e-edition of this splendid magazine arrived in my inbox last night. The print issue should be available shortly. This is a beautifully produced magazine with a wide range of superb features and photographs that will be irresistible to anyone with an interest in swords and related activities. You should rush to subscribe! I am quite sure that the print edition will become a collector's item." ~Mike Loades, Author Swords and Swordsmen and well-known History Channel personality as well as Action Arranger, Archer, Black Powder Shooter, Charioteer, Director, Falconer, Fight Director, Fight Teacher, Historical Advisor, Historical Weapons Expert, Horseman, Jouster, Lecturer, Narrator, Presenter, Producer, Swordsman, Writer.
"I am looking forward to providing many articles for different issues of your magazine . . . this is a wonderful magazine." ~Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, Author of Arms and Armor from Iran and Lexicon of Arms and Armor from Iran.
"I have to say, I am very impressed. Excellent quality, really good and diverse articles, and great pictures. Well done, looking forward to the next issue, but think I will enjoy this one for a while." ~David Drawdy Sensei, Virginia Kenkonkai
"Just saw the premier issue of Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal, and all I can say is WOW! Sword enthusiasts of all kinds, East, West, or all points in between will find this really terrific. You can get the print or electronic version at this link. Congratulations to Jason Lee Hatcher and everyone else who put this together. Great work!" ~Becky Sheetz-Runkle Author of Sun Tzu for Women - The Art of War for Winning in Business
"Just got to take a look at how the magazine turned out. I am really impressed. There are lots of really interesting articles from all walks of the martial arts world." ~Christopher Treichel, practitioner.
The National Writing Examiner thanks Jason Lee A. Hatcher for his time and consideration involved in interviewing:
Q. What is the reason behind founding a journalese magazine; what is the vantage point where you decided to introduce Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal to readers?
A. Being a long time sword student, I saw a need to fill a void within martial and sword arts. I could see a common bond between what everyone was doing in their individual arts. There exists a bond, which transcends the arts themselves. This delves deeper into individuals and what they pursue as students. I wanted to connect these people with one another in order to provide a common ground for everyone to share their thoughts, ideas, styles, history and weapons art they train in.
Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal is a building block in developing human bonds through swordsmanship.
Q. For you personally, what prompted an interest in sword arts?
A. I've been into swords for quite some time now, many years. My interest began with my brother, Jamie and his interest in Samurai swords. He had a few blades from an old store in Southern Maryland called Chesapeake Knife and Tool. Always thought they were cool and eventually bought one myself. It was only a cheap 40 dollar stainless steel blade with a beveled edge, but it was a stepping tool for me. Next I came across the Hanwei Practical Katana by Paul Chen. I begged my family to purchase it for me as a gift for Christmas. They obliged, and I can honestly say it was the gift that made Christmas for me that year. After handling it for a while, I started to get into the backyard Samurai scene. Started cutting water bottles and trying to mimic kata from styles like Tenshin Katori Shinto Ryu and the Masayuki Shimabukuro, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu series.
Later, I was contacted by a member of the Virginia Kenshinkai, (currently Virginia Kenkonkai) and was invited to attend an anime festival where Sensei Dave Drawdy and his students where performing the Nakamura Ryu curriculum. It was an eye opener for me. I immediately felt the need to engage with this group of swordsmen and women. Since that time, I have logged almost 5 and half years of consistent hardcore sword study.
Q. What arts do you follow or study?
A. I am actually involved in quite a few different sword arts. My three primary practices are:
- Nakamura Ryu Batto Do, a gendai art developing during WW2 at the Rikugun Toyama Gakko (Military Academy) in Japan, under Nakamura Taisaburo Soke.
- Meishiha Mugai Ryu Iaihyodo, a koryu art dating back a little more than 300 years, founded by Tsuji Gettan.
- United States Batto Do Federation, an individual organization with its own sets of kata and cutting requirements. The USBDF is associated with the Hataya Mitsuo line of Toyama Ryu.
I also study on occasion
- Montante/Spadone, which is sometimes known as the great sword, was used for crowd control, standing 5 foot tall, with very long quillions.
- Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu, an art tracing its roots back to the beginnings of Swordsmanship in Japan. Relatively new to the US, Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu, had only opened its doors to the public in Japan post WW2
Q. What would you say to someone considering sword art studies?
A. There exists a multitude of excellent reasons to become a sword practitioner. For one, we are preserving history for future generations, plain and simple; we are keeping something alive that has a greater meaning than the individual. Probably sitting closely by that first reason is the family aspect of the sword arts. The camaraderie that comes with being part of these groups is priceless, the bonds we build with one another definitely brings the spirit of Katsujinken: “Life Giving Sword” to mind for me personally. Going further, health benefits involved in exercise and pushing yourself to new levels of practice are rewards in and of themselves. Creating goals, seeing them through, is a life teaching tool. Many people attracted to the sword arts entertain this mind-frame. I could go on for days - one thing is certain - everyone who practices sword arts has felt or known . . . when you see a sword and hold it, there’s life in it. It's almost a primordial instinct to start swinging a sword once you hold one, but understanding the sword makes it an art.
Q. What is the reason behind the Katsujinken title?
A. If you own or have had the pleasure to view our premiere issue of Katsujinken, you would have read Kent Jensen's article on the calligraphy of Katsujinken along with my take in Editor’s Notes regarding the title of the magazine. In Japanese, there are two words commonly spoken of, one being Katsujinken (Life Giving Sword) and the other Satsujinken (Life Taking Sword). I have heard it once described in this way . . . “If an evil man was about use his sword to cause harm to someone else and you were to step in and use yours to defend the third party, though you may need to strike down the evil individual, you would be practicing Katsujinken, by using your blade to preserve the life of the innocent.” To take it a step further and for me personally, in this day and age, Katsujinken means to provide life to those who train by the sword; by building lifetime friendships both near and afar (sword arts require travel) we are able to meet new people, see new life, grow with one another, bond, share stories and gain individual strength. In this light - I see the truth of Katsujinken, but it is a truth for everyone to discover independently.
Q. Who reads Katsujinken?
A. Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal, has a variety of readers. Of course, our audience is hugely derived from sword art practitioners, but we also entertain readers from all walks of life. Our readership is growing daily with increasingly improving exposure. Our goal is to provide a valuable and informative journal for all potential readers to see, share and relate.
Q. What type of weaponry and art forms are featured in Katsujinken?
A. As I stated earlier, all edged weaponry and arts are featured within Katsujinken's pages. Our magazine is diverse and we like it that way.
Q. If our readers want to submit stories to Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal what types of work do you consider?
A. Katsujinken is open to all works in the way of the sword arts . . . eastern or western arts are included. We accept ALL sword art stories. We would be happy to receive nutrition and/or fitness related articles. Stories that are beneficial to building a strong body and the Zen or spiritual mindset would be wonderful. We welcome artistic photos, images and drawings and offer advertisement space for nominal fees.
If a reader has a dojo, training hall or business relative to the arts - we are the right place to get the word out.
Each edition shares a Sensei or Instructor Spotlight; a Dojo or Training Hall Spotlight; a Samurai Speaks lesson; other journalese highlights, contests, etc. We’ve begun a section titled, New Perspectives where new practitioners are welcomed to share their story, an event or art – we like to keep it fresh in recognizing how newcomers feel as well as seasoned veterans and historians or experts.
Basically, if you feel you have something to share of value, please send it our way. We accept submissions at: firstname.lastname@example.org and advertisements should be sent to: email@example.com
Q. Switching gears a little, the National Writing Examiner is curious if you have any advice for readers wishing to start-up a magazine?
A. For anyone wishing to start up a magazine, I suggest getting your head checked. Just kidding! But really, this is no easy task, you have to be prepared to work full-time hours outside any work you already do and you need to make some huge sacrifices. This is a common law in becoming successful. There is no easy way to do anything, but if a will exists and the spirit is in it, you can move forward with any endeavor. It doesn't hurt to have a wonderful publisher, artistic director, and supportive wife and son either. I don't know where I would be with anything without these people. We all are working hard to bring you a great sword arts journal.
Q. Does Katsujinken have a future vision to share with readership?
A. The vision of Katsujinken in the future is for it to take on a life of its own and this is actually occurring with every edition we publish – the growth of interest is compounding exponentially. My intention for the magazine is to be a well-known publication among diverse readers including, but not limited to, martial and sword arts communities. We are working on magazine and publishing industries distribution throughout the world.
I want to see success - not to be confused with the success already achieved, but for Katsujinken to mold into a benefit for the sword arts family and general readers as a whole. It's important to gain insights from others and share ideals, which we achieve in this journal. And, we view the stories between our pages as being applicable to todays and future generations of readership as most of the material is timeless. We like to think of Katsujinken as a record to build on.
Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal is bigger than any one man or woman who practices sword arts – this is about the soul of living and our Life Giving Sword of human spirit as well as practical application.
Q. Thank you for taking time to interview with the National Writing Examiner – can we share more information on how to obtain copies of Katsujinken? We understand both print and ePublication are available?
A. Yes, we publish in both print and EMagazine format and both can be purchased through our website (http://www.katsujinkenmagazine.com/#!shop). We accept annual subscriptions and provide bulk pre-distribution bulk-order discounts. Typically, we sell-out fairly quickly and we haven’t begun back orders yet, but are considering it in the future.
We really appreciate learning more about Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal – the premiere sword arts magazine in the United States. We wish the Katsujinken family continuous success!
National Writing Examiner welcomes questions, ideas and interviews or event announcements - through the comments section below, or by e-mailing Donna Quesinberry.
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