Carrying the Sword (Teito)
The sword should be carried in the left hand with the thumb over the Tsuba. The sageo
or strings should be secured between the index and middle fingers to prevent them from dragging. The Ha should be toward the
floor in a natural drawing position.
Rei ni hajimari, rei ni owaru (Everything begins and ends with respect)
of Respect (Hairei)
When bowing into the dojo or to the alter, the sword should be transferred to the right hand with
the Tsuka toward the rear and the Ha toward the ground. This is a sign of deepest respect and trust since holding the sword
in this position makes it impossible to draw.
Bowing to the Sensei (Shirei)
All Seito line up in front of
the Sensei taking seiza. The proper way to take the position of seiza is to snap the left leg of the hakama back between the
legs and kneel onto the left knee then bring the right knee down. NEVER use the sword as a crutch to support your weight.
This is a sign of disrespect. It would be better to fall on your face then to disgrace yourself in this manner. The sword
should be lying on the floor on your right side with the Ha facing toward your right leg and the Tsuka toward the front. Seizarei
is performed by first placing the left hand on the floor in front of you in an "L" shape with the tip of the thumb on midline.
Next place your right hand down in the same manner so that the thumb tips meet forming a diamond shape. Bow the head approximately
4 - 6 inches from the floor centered on the diamond formed by your hands.
After the Sensei has returned your bow return
to a seiza position by returning your hands to the rest on your knees in the reverse order of placing them on the floor. Rise
to your feet, first the right then the left. Again, do not use the sword as a crutch to assist you.
Bowing to the
Depending on the school you attend, the Torei may be performed from either seiza or the standing position.
Never-the-less, it is always performed prior to and immediately following any practice session. This is a sign of respect
to your sword and a joining of your spirit with that of the sword's.
When performed from seiza, the sword should lie
in front of you. The Tsuba should be positioned so that it is in line with the left knee, the Ha toward you and the Tsuka
to the left. The seito would then perform seizarei to the sword as described above.
If Torei is performed from a standing
position, the sword is held in front of the head at eye level with the Tsuka toward the right and the Ha away from you. Lower
the head to below the level of the sword.
Wearing the Sword (Taito)
The katana is worn on the left side with
the Ha facing upward. The Sageo are tied into the Obi of the hakama. The end of the Tsuka should be directly in front of the
Standing Bow to Training Partner (Tachi Rei)
Prior to Junjo (training) and upon completion of training
you and your partner should perform Tachi Rei to show mutual respect. Any time you change partners or receive individual instruction
from the Sensei, tachi rei should be performed.
When your training session has ended and you and your partner have
performed Tachi Rei, you should again bow to your sword (Torei), Bow to your instructor (Shirei) and bow to the alter or at
the exit of the dojo (Hairei).
Gripping the Sword (Tsuka No Nigiri Kata)
Many beginners tend to hold the sword
too tightly. In the beginning, training should concentrate on gripping the sword properly. The sword should be held loosely
but firmly. It should act as a natural extension of the dominant hand. There should be a space between the hands, this allows
for better mobility of the weapon. The dominant hand should be next to the hand guard; this is the weapon's center of balance.
The majority of the grip strength is applied by the little finger and the index finger is used for balance. Beginners are
often taught to grip the sword with the index finger extended to train them not to use this finger for gripping. The non-dominate
hand should grip the sword close to the butt of the weapon.
Drawing Cut (Nukit Suke)
Koiguchi no kiri kata
- Opening the Koiguchi. The thumb of the left hand should push against the Tsuba slightly to advance the sword approximately
Ż inch from the saya (scabbard). The middle knuckles of the right hand should rest on the bottom side of the Tsuka. As you
draw the sword forward from the saya with the right hand, the left hand should be pulling the saya to the rear. Do not think
of drawing the sword and cutting your opponent - think only of cutting your opponent. Drawing the sword is merely a means
to the end and both the drawing and the cutting are the same action.
Raising the Sword (Furikaburi)
the initial cut is made on your opponent, twist the right wrist inward to raise the blade above the head. The blade should
be brought to a position parallel to the ground as the left hand raises to the Tsuka.
Downward Cut (Kirioroshi)
is the Men uchi strike to end the suffering of your opponent. To allow another Samurai to bleed to death or die from infection
of the wound would be to disgrace him. To die at the hands of a master swordsman was the ultimate sign of respect. Te no uchi
or cutting technique refers to a straight cut or hasuji otosu. A wavering hand would only butcher the opponent more and add
to his suffering. The cut must be quick, clean and straight.
Chiburi (Blood removal)
There are three main
ways to perform Chiburi. They are as follows:
Kasa no Shizuku Oharao - After the cut is made, twist the wrist so that
the Tsuka is now in front of the head. Swing the katana in a circular motion over the head and snap the blade by twisting
the wrist as it is pointing to your right.
Katana O Kaesu - Loosen the grip with the left hand except for the little
finger. Flick the right wrist out while pulling the back of the Tsuka to the left with the little finger of the left hand.
no Shizuku O Otosu - Tilt the blade to a 45 degree angle and rest the tip on the right outer thigh and allow the blood to
run or drip off.
When replacing the Katana, circle the sword in front of you, bringing the
mine to rest on the koiguchi. Slide the mine along the koiguchi until the Kissaki drops into the opening. Raise the Tsuka
rotating the Ha upward and slide the blade into the saya with the right hand as you slide the entire saya forward with the
Distance and Timing (Ma ai)
Ken-jutsu requires an extreme awareness of distance and timing. Unlike
unarmed combat, where an accurate defense may result in an opponent contacting with a strike or kick, in Ken-Jutsu, the same
mistake could result in death. Distance and timing is what makes great martial artist great. No matter how strong the attack,
if you are not there when it arrives, the attack is ineffective.
Knowing when and from where to attack is paramount.
An ill-executed attack is just as deadly as an ill-executed defense. Faking an attack against an experienced swordsman is
useless. He will see through your fake and avoid it, launching his counter-attack before you have a chance to recover.
the movies, actual sword-combat last only for a few passes. A spectator may not realize what has happened before the combat
has ended. In training, a great deal of time is devoted to distance and timing. There are multiple drills the student must
work on to build these skills.
Metsuke (Eye Contact)
Where should your eyes be focused during combat? There
are many different schools of thought on this question. The best advice is to look at the level of the solar plexus with Enzan
no Metsuke, or Distant mountain site. This allows you to see the entire body all at once. If you watch only one portion of
the body you can be fooled by a master swordsman. All parts of the body cannot fake a movement at the same time.
When practicing kata, take three deep silent breathes attacking on the third breath. Think positive
thoughts with each inhalation and disperse negative thoughts with every exhalation. The breaths should enter the nostrils,
circle the crown of the head and settle to the Tan Tein.
With Iaido we learn to draw the sword
as fast as possible and to retaliate with a counter attack against one or multiple adversaries. Thus Iaido is complete martial
art, it is the ideal complement for Kendo.
The kata, predefined movements, practiced on your own are the basis for
the techniques used in Iaido. These exercises are practiced with a copy or a real sword, they are totally inoffensive.
develops the coordination between body and movements. And more, augments the ability of concentration of the participant.
Certainly it seems the same as a form of "active" meditation.
Iaido is the martial art of attacking an enemy at the
moment of drawing the sword and emphasizes the mental attitude and awareness required of such an action. Originally, it was
developed as a response to sudden raids by the enemy and was designed to cut down the enemy in one stroke. Today, students
practice the kata (forms) to train their minds and characters.
Iaido is the practice of sword techniques which embody
a series of cutting and thrusting movements in the drawing and resheathing of the blade. These movements are performed against
an imaginary opponent, and requires great concentration.
"The essence of swordsmanship" lies in its perfection.
does not mean to cut the enemy, but rather to cut the enemy within oneself.
Iaido and Kendo are sister arts. They are
practices in the same spirit and, like the two wheels of a cart, they form together the art of Japanese swordsmanship.
was natural for the samurais to practice everyday with their sword. To the samurai the sword was their foremost weapon and
privilege - other groups in the society was forbidden to bear swords. Furthermore the practice with the sword was much more
than preparing for battle.
Around the japanese sword grew a whole philosophy. It has many names, as ken, katana, tachi,
The sword was thought to purify your spirit; the training became a kind of meditation in motion. A truly noble
man handled his weapon with an entirely different style than the less noble, and the most noble thing would be if he never
needed to draw his sword at all. All of the better samurais knew that to return victorious from a fight depended much more
on your spiritual qualities than on your physical skills. The samurais┤ training was much about being like the sword - pure,
straight and sharp.
It was also an amazing weapon they had in their hands. The japanese sword is yet today an impressive
work. It consists of thousands of layers of steel, and it is as sharp as modern razor blades. Such a weapon must be handled
To practise with the sword it is necessary to do it by yourself, pretty much like boxers do. This kind of
training is called iaido and it is preformed in kata, that is certain patterns of movements. You perform a series of blocks
and cuts against an imaginary opponent. Each kata begins with drawing your sword as protection against a figured attack. You
repeat the kata again and again under concentration.
Iaido is defensive, since each kata assumes that you are attacked.
You never start attacking in iaido. When you practise iaido you can use either bokken, iaito or katana.
B˘jutsu translated from Japanese as "staff technique", is the martial art of using a staff weapon called b˘
which simply means "stick". Staves are perhaps one of the earliest weapons used by man. They have been in use for thousands
of years in Eastern Asia. Some techniques involve slashing, swinging, and stabbing with the staff.
When your being attacked Swing your staff in a full circle, then strike quickly.
strike with a slash, Onto the middle of the shins, Causing them to quickly get a shock, And leave you for a good 5 seconds
Grab near the end of the pole and then your other hand 12 inches ahead of it, Stab quickly and
straight to the solar plesus up.
Its when you slash your sword as hard as you can into the Shoulder like