The Victorian Naginata Renmei (VNR) was established by Nagae Reiko in the mid-1990's and instructs naginata in the atarashii form. Mrs Nagae was instrumental in introducing naginata as a martial art form to Australia and we honour her ongoing contributions.
Classes are instructed in English with Japanese terminology.
The VNR is affiliated with the Australian Naginata Federation and through them the International Naginata Federation. The VNR is proud to be part of the Melbourne Budokai which also trains practitioners in kendo and iaido.
You can find a history on the creation of the VNR, ANF and NSWNA written by Mrs Nagae here.
The naginata was originally a weapon of the Japanese foot-soldier between the 11th and 15th centuries but become the practice and province of women after the onset of peace around the 17th century.
Atarashii (new, or modern) naginata is the form most commonly practiced today. Back in the early 1900's nagainata officially became part of the educational system as a martial art primarily for women to train in and gradually the forms and techniques moved towards some standardisation. After the end of World War II, all the budo arts were banned by the occupying forces and it wasn't until 1953 when the restrictions began to lift that naginata was re-introduced to the schooling system. It was in this period that the atarashii style began crystallising into its current form.. There are other styles that are still practiced - jikshinkage-ryu or tendo-ryu for example - but atarashii is the form practiced by the VNR.
For more detailed information on the history of naginata, the VNR highly recommends 'Naginata. History and practice' by Alex Bennett as an excellent English-language history and instructional guide for naginata.