The National Swordsmanship Tournament (御前試合 Gozenjiai?, lit., "tournament held in the presence of a lord or daimyo"), featured on Episode 01 of the Toji no Miko anime series, is an annual nationwide tournament that recognizes notable Toji for their skills in one-on-one sword combat. The tournament is always held on May of each year. Participants from all five schools under The Five Traditions gathered at the estate of the Origami Family in Kamakura City to compete with each other in single-elimination matches, culminating at a decisive match to be witnessed by the head of the Origami Family, Yukari Origami.
The event was put to a halt during the decisive match when participant Hiyori Juujou attempted to attack Yukari Origami during the start of the match, prompting an escape with the help of fellow participant and supposed opponent Kanami Etō.
Before the National Tournament, Toji from the Five Traditions undergo a school-wide tournament that would determine the two representatives of each school in the National Tournament. At the end of these representative selection tournaments, the participants of the deciding match, regardless of the outcome of the match itself, are considered as the school's representatives for the National Tournament.
Both the representative selection and National Tournaments adopt a similar set of rules:
- The tournament uses a single elimination format.
- The objective in each match is to perform an Utsushi-breaking hit on the opponent. This can be generalized as a hit that can inflict enough damage to an opponent that the opponent's Utsushi is dispelled.
- Although Toji can use other body parts in combat (as in the case of Ellen using kenpo), combat is usually restricted to the usage of one's okatana and the combat skills Jin'i and Utsushi.
- A referee ends the match as soon as a participant's Utsushi is broken.
The National Tournament is divided into two portions. The preliminary match, which happens during the morning, whittles down the amount of participants from ten to two, after which the decisive match, held in the presence of Yukari Origami, takes place in the afternoon.
List of Participants
- Hozumi Yamasaki (山崎穂積)
- Unnamed student
- Hiyori Juujou
- Sanae Iwakura
- Sayaka Itomi
- Unnamed student
Hiyori Juujou vs Hozumi Yamazaki
- Hiyori: In no Kamae
- Hozumi: hesitant Seigan
- Hiyori: Jin'i + sword shifted to right
- Hozumi: Desperate blocking stance, leaving midsection vulnerable
- Hiyori: Sweeping slash to the midsection, winning strike
Sayaka Itomi vs Kanami Etou
- Sayaka: Begins with Seigan (first stance), then switches to Onken (hidden sword, seventh stance)
- Kanami: Seigan
- Sayaka: Jin'i + Kiri-otoshi + another strike
- Kanami: blocks attacks using okatana
- Jin'i-boosted rally follows
- Kanami: upward strike to left armpit, divests Sayaka's sword, winning strike
Mai Yanase vs Kaoru Mashiko
- Kaoru: Dragonfly stance
- Mai: Seigan
- Kaoru: Half-hearted kiai (monkey's scream), followed by a slow kiri-otoshi
- Mai: sidestep, swing across Kaoru's midsection, winning strike
Hiyori Juujou vs Ellen Kohagura
- Hiyori: Jin'i sidestep, then stabbing strike from a low position
- Eren: Gyakuaku — raises right knee, blocks attack using hilt, answers using a downward slash
- Hiyori: Shigi no Hagaeshi — blocks downward slash through a side sweep, forcing Eren's arm away, slash across the midsection, winning strike
Kanami Etou vs Mai Yanase
- Mai: Seigan, then switching to a seiza stance, preparing for an iaido attack
- Kanami: Gedan no Kamae, switching to In no Kamae
- Kanami: Jin'i to the front, then Jin'i to back
- Mai: face-to-back, unsheathes sword
- Kanami: catches Mai's hand mid-unsheath using right hand, stopping her attack, left hand slash from left shoulder to right torso, winning strike
Deciding Match: Kanami Etou vs Hiyori Juujou
- Hiyori: Seigan, switches to Sha no Kamae
- Kanami: Seigan, switches to Gedan no Kamae
- Hiyori leaves combat area, fight interrupted