The sword, katana, is the most honoured and important weapon of a samurai. The Katana is a curved, single-edged Japanese sword traditionally used by the samurai. The samurai can wear his sword in any way he wants to since there are no laws dictating sword fashion in feudal Japan. But does that mean they would?
How To Achieve Proper Form When Using A Katana
A katana is a weapon with a history that dates back almost a thousand years and there is a deep tradition that inevitably has grown around its use. Whether you are a practitioner of the purer, formal kata techniques found in Kenjutsu.
The way an edged weapon works is always determined by function and form. The combination of thrust and slash determines style, technique, power, speed and efficiency when faced by one or more opponents.
Despite the manuscripts that have survived through the ages and the many schools of armed martial arts the exact way that katanas were used in battle is still an open question. This is what makes practising with weapons so much fun. There are 4 things you need to know to achieve proper form when using a katana:
- Grips– a katana traditionally is a double-handed weapon. A lot of the sword’s power comes from the push-pull action between two hands on the sword’s hilt. The two-handed grip drives the primary motion of the weapon that is then followed through by the arms, shoulders and the rest of the body. There are four grips in Kenjutsu that allow you to hold the katana in a different way and use it faster to get to the target you want it way easier. They also allow you to strike in a different direction without having to lose a lot of time or even appreciably change the positioning of your body.
- Footwork– Like everything else in martial arts the primary power cell of the armed war machine you become when you hold a katana, is your own body. The positioning of your legs and proper posture adds power or lends speed to the execution of the technique you are performing. There are two primary stances: walking stance and L-stance (both pictured below) and each can be shallow or deep depending on style. The more shallow ones provide the greatest amount of mobility. The deeper ones allow you to bring in more power to each cut by firmly grounding your body and bringing in your weight to bear behind each move.
- Wrists– A katana is powered, partially by your wrist movements. Swordsmen always have strong, supple wrists and a strong grip. This allows them to change the way they hold the sword on the fly, so they can launch unexpected attacks from angles that are hard to defend against. Because the katana is a single-edged weapon, the grips you use and your ability to change them quickly makes a huge difference in the attacks you can bring to bear.
- Improvisation– The key thing to using a weapon like a katana is to experiment which will help you in solving problems. If it was a real weapon and you were locked in a life-and-death combat all that would really matter would be your ability to get rid of your opponent and stay alive.