Yesterday’s Kendo training session was used to practice the first seven forms of Kendo kata. During the first half of the practice, relaxing the body whilst cutting and getting the correct timing for all the different techniques was the key focus.

Whilst I always find kata interesting and enjoyable I was not prepared for what I was about to do. The class sat into two lines facing each other and I noticed my sensei walking to the center carrying two katana. “Oh! A demonstration!” I thought, but it turned out that we are now going to perform the seven forms using the real swords. It’s amazing how by simply replacing a bokuto (wooden sword) with one made of metal made everything feel more dangerous; you could see the increase of concentration in everyone’s movement. The familiar “yah” “to” sequence suddenly became so much more foreign and difficult to perform, partly due to using the heavier swords.

It was a scary experience, I even nearly hit my partner in the head because of the extra weight of the sword in “ippon me”. Having said that I did enjoy it and hopefully this would help reveal to me reasons behind each of the movements in the kata forms.