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Basic of Japanese

swordsmanship

Compiled by

Pipercub

Basics of Japanese swordsmanship............................................................................2


How to swing a sword ......................................................................................................................... 2
How to grip a sword.....................................................................................................3
How to „koikuchi wo kiru“.............................................................................................4
Basic swing .................................................................................................................6
Level - right..................................................................................................................8
Level - left....................................................................................................................9
Kesa - right ................................................................................................................10
Kesa - left ..................................................................................................................11
Nukitsuke...................................................................................................................12
Hasuji ........................................................................................................................14
Tameshigiri 1 .............................................................................................................16
Basics of Japanese swordsmanship

How to swing a sword


How to swing a sword has much difference by the school. Here, the general technique
accepted by most schools is explained. However, by the text, it cannot tell for details.
Therefore, detailed explanation may be added the future. A picture is a near figure.
Therefore, although there may also be an unclear portion at an angle of a picture etc.,
please understand it. The best method of knowing how you handle a sword is that you
have the teacher of iaido teach directly.

Beginners
The exact orbit of a sword is called Hasuji. A
beginner has to do first training which makes
Hasuji exact rather than swings quickly. If Hasuji
is right, sound can be heard from the sword with
which Hi is carved. Hi is a long and slender groove
in a blade. The function of Hi is as follows. It makes weight of a sword light, and, it
makes a sword hard to turn at, moreover, it softens the shock of a sword. At first, you
should practice using the imitation sword with which Hi is carved.

Attention
Check whether "mekugi" doesn't become loose before swinging a sword.
When "mekugi" becomes loose, a sword body may comes out of tsuka.
Don't turn the edge of a sword to people by any means.
It is very dangerous to turn the edge of the sword to the person.
Be careful not to hurt yourself and others when handling a sword.
How to grip a sword

First, avoid fuchigane of the hilt and grip lightly with your right hand. And leave a left
hand from the right hand about 4cm (It varies according to the length of the hilt.), and
grip a hilt. Then, tighten a little finger and a third finger strongly, then tighten the middle
finger lightly. And float a thumb and a forefinger a little. It's the same in both hands.

At this time, looseness must not be in the hand. But, don't grip a hilt with all your
strength. When a hilt is gripped with all your strength, a sword is fixed. Then, you cannot
swing a sword satisfactorily.

Distribution of the power of a right hand and a left hand is about 4(the right) : 6(the left).
Bend an elbow a little, and remove the power of the shoulder a little. And tighten both
armpits lightly. Then, space between the hilt head and the navel is about one fist.
How to „koikuchi wo kiru“

The entrance of a sheath is called Koikuchi. Because it has a form like the mouth of the
carp. When you touch a sword and push tsuba with a left thumb, a sword is pulled out a
little. This is called "Koikuchi wo kiru".

At first, grip a koikuchi with your left hand, and put left thumb on the inside on tsuba.
And, push out a tsuba between the point of the thumb of the left hand and it's first joint.
At this time, you must not put a thumb right above the edge of a sword. This is the most
careful point. Because a finger is cut by the edge when a thumb is put right on the edge.
Try to push up a hilt with your right hand from the bottom, and pull out a sword. Then, a
sword comes out easily along the curve of the sheath.
Basic swing

When a sword is swung, it is the most important that the biggest power is applied to the
kissaki. But, the power sometimes goes into the shoulder when a beginner tries to put the
power in the kissaki. A sword isn't swung fast when the power goes into the shoulder.
Remove the power of the shoulder and the arm, and swing a sword in the way which
throws a fishing rod. Swing a sword in a feeling that a kissaki is thrown toward the target.
Then, stretch both arms enough, and try to draw a big circle. At this time, the orbit of a
sword must always pass through the center of the body. Tighten little finger and third
finger strongly when swinging down a sword.

After you finish swinging a sword, make the hilt head of a sword come in front of the
navel. Space between the hilt head and the navel is about one fist. And turn the kissaki a
little below the level. Then, bend an elbow a little, and remove the power of the shoulder.
And tighten both armpits lightly.
Distribution of the power of the right hand and the left hand is about 4(right) : 6(left).
The orbit of the sword deviates when the power goes in right hand too much.
Level - right

The fundamental principle is the same as "Basic swing". But, the sense is really different
because it becomes horizontal from vertical. Therefore, the orbit of the sword deviates
easily very much.

The point is almost the same as "Basic swing". Therefore, swing it in a feeling that the
kissaki is thrown. An attention point is to stretch its right arm firmly. When the right arm
bends, a hard target can be hard to cut with a sword. It is because an elbow becomes a
cushion and the power is absorbed.
Level - left

The sense is a little different from "Level (right)". "Level (left)" becomes easily the form
which swinging a bat. Be careful, because "Hasuji" deviates when swing becomes the
form which swinging a bat.

The point is almost the same as "Basic swing". Therefore, swing it in a feeling that the
kissaki is thrown. An attention point is to stretch left arm firmly. Be careful that an elbow
must not bend because an elbow bends easily when "Level (left)" is done.
Kesa - right
"Kesa" is a Japanese priest's clothes. It is a rectangular cloth to put on the right shoulder
from the left armpit. Cutting with a sword from an enemy's right shoulder to left armpit is
called "kesagiri". It's sense looks like "Basicswing", Therefore "Kesagiri" is thought that it
can be done soon.

When it changes from "2" to "3", power may not go into "kissaki" This is because an arm
isn't stretched enough. Then, the orbit of a sword draws a little circle. Therefore, the
feature of a sword can't be used. Therefore, stretch an arm enough, and swing it.
Kesa - left
"Kesa (left)" is thought that it can be done soon, because the sense is almost the same as
"Basic swing".

When changing from "1" to "2", be careful that the power doesn't go into your right hand too
much. "Hasuji" deviates when the power goes into your right hand too much. Some point of
the rest is about the same as "Basicswing". Try to stand an edge a little when "Hasuji"
deviates. Because, there are many cases that an edge becomes oblique too much.
Nukitsuke
Nukitsuke is the technique which can cope with an enemy's preemptive attack. Of course,
it is effective in the preemptive attack to an enemy too. Nukitsuke is the important
technique which the battle is decided at a moment.

Bend both knees a little, and stabilize a posture of the body.

Take the left foot forward a little, and then put a hand on a hilt. Do "Koikuchi wo kiru"
in a thumb of left hand, and hold the hilt with right hand from the bottom. At this time, do
it quietly so that an enemy may not notice this movement. Then, you must not hold the
hilt with all strength.

Take the right foot forward greatly, and pull out a sword with turning the edge of it to
facing up. Beginners may slant a sheath from the beginning. If it does so, the sword is
easy to pull out from the sheath. (There is a school which slants a sheath from the
beginning without turning the edge of it to facing up, too.) When the sword is pulled out,
you must not pull it out fast suddenly. Pull it out to become fast gradually after beginning
to pull out it. Then, pull it out from kissaki to about 9cm.

Slant a sheath horizontally the moment a sword pull out of the sheath. Then, Cut a
target horizontally with a sword quickly. At this time, pull a sheath backward with your
left hand. This is called "Sayabiki". If you don't do "Sayabiki", the sheath is likely to be
shaved by the sword's edge. Nukitsuke's power increases when this reaction of the
"Sayabiki" is used. The height of the right fist after you finished swinging a sword is about
shoulder. And it is improper to raise a sword point more than the horizontal.
Hasuji

The performance of a Japanese sword is very excellent as a cutlery. But, how to handle a
Japanese sword is very difficult. Because the body of a Japanese sword is slender and
curves. The wide shape of the body width is more suitable for cutting an object. Then, the
straight sword's body is suitable for stabbing an object.

If Hasuji deviates, a target can't be cut with a Japanese sword. When a target is hard, a
sword is flipped, and the sword body may break. And, an edge sometimes slides when a
bamboo is cut with a sword. This is because the surface of the bamboo slides easily.

Of course, there is a point which a Japanese sword is excellent, too. A Japanese sword
has a curve moderately. Therefore, the shock is absorbed when a target is cut with a
Japanese sword. Then, a target can be cut easily with a sword without adding the useless
power if a Hasuji is correct. But, it can't do easily if the person who uses a Japanese
sword lacks skill. Therefore, when an amateur tries to cut straw(Makiwara) with a sword,
an edge cuts into the straw(Makiwara), and it can't be cut well with a sword.

Cut the target which never damages an edge of sword, and ascertain whether the Hasuji
is correct. Then, use the target which resistance is as small as possible. (Thin paper is
good.)
Tameshigiri 1
How to cut a target(Makiwara) with a sword is explained here. A Japanese sword cuts
very well. Therefore, even if you don't put the power, you can cut a target easily with a
sword. But, when you handle a sword carelessly, you can't cut a target well with a sword,
and a sword sometimes bends.
Swing up a sword as the figure. At this time, stretch elbows and wrists. Then, Lower
the left foot when doing Kesa (left). (Lower the right foot when doing Kesa (right)). This
is the posture not to cut own foot with a sword.
Swing down a sword under the condition that elbows and wrists are stretched. At this
time, be conscious so that the power go into kissaki. The power must not go into the root
of the sword. You can't cut a target well with a sword if elbows and wrists curve when a
sword hits a target.

At this time, be careful not to cut your foot with a sword, and be careful that a sword
doesn't hit ground. Do "Chiburi" after cutting a target with a sword, and take care of a
sword. Then, put a sword in the sheath.

If you can't cut Makiwara well with a sword, imagine that there are at least three
Makiwaras. It often fails when a beginner cuts Makiwara with a feeling that only one
Makiwara is cut with a sword.