Kenbu refers to a form of dance in which both sword and fan are used.
The origins of a sword dance (kenbu) date back to the Tokugawa era (1603-1867), a relatively peaceful time in Japanese history with the warrior class otherwise engaged in the running of government. For unoccupied warriors, kenbu became a way of keeping skills keen and stories alive.
The sword dance inspired the innermost feelings of the samurai, keeping alive the warrior spirit. The poems, which describe the background to the dances, usually relate to famous battles, incidents or illustrious historical figures.
As well as being a dramatic and beautiful art in its own right, many students choose to practice these dances as a companion to their practice of iaido in order to develop precision, posture, balance agility, focus and timing.