Turn, turn, turn

2015 11 05 - 22:04

I cut myself with my sensei’s sword again today. Oddly, this does nothing but make me laugh in a sort of “war wounds”/“I did it right” kind of way – which I’m not, because I’m not supposed to cut anything at all, except invisible enemies, which is basically everything seeing as how I’m blind, or not seeing at all, because I’m blind.

I am starting to wonder why, though, outside the consideration of expense, they make us start off using bokken. It’s shocking to me how much of a difference it makes using a real sword as opposed to the wooden one. Absolutely everything is easier – with a generous interpretation of the word ‘easier’. There is not a single movement in any of this, not from the beginning to the end, that doesn’t have a purpose, or isn’t prescribed in some way. The ways you stand, kneel, bow, turn, the direction the kashira faces, the distance between your belt and the tsuba when your sword is sheathed, the knotting of things, all of it – there are a thousand little things to be mindful of at every turn – which today seemed to be my big problem, remembering where my feet were supposed to be during each turn.

One day I’m certain I’ll end up on the dojo floor flat on my face, because balance seems to be – frequently questionable.



2015 11 05 - 18:40

The source of last night’s imbalance - placement of feet on the two turns - which are not the same, though they look similar.

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2015 10 21 - 22:08

I accidentally hit someone else’s sword in class today… with my sensei’s sword… while people were looking. I do okay when I’m only being observed by my sensei or whichever sempai is working with me, but the minute it gets to the point in the show where we have to display what we’ve learned that day, I turn into a bumbling stooge. Everyone. Stops. And Watches.

I am no fan of being scrutinised. I can’t sing in public. I don’t like being ‘looked at’. When it comes to ever testing for Iaido, it’s going to be a disaster. When you test, it’s large groups of people. It isn’t in your dojo. A gymnasium full of people could be there. I figured out on the way home that this may be one small part of why my art is the one situation in which I don’t care about the observance – because they aren’t looking at me.

Far as I know, they only do testing every December, so I have just over a year to get over it.

And clearly I am getting to the point where using a bokken is no longer appropriate, because my sensei keeps taking it away from me and giving me one of his swords.



2015 10 18 - 21:05

iaido, personal


2015 10 17 - 22:11

I made my sword whistle the other day – rather, the sword I was borrowing that I cut myself with. This might seem like a very small accomplishment, but it’s how you know you’re swinging it properly, especially with the big swing cuts from over your head. The air whistles along the bo-hi. It’s that whoosh sound. I did a couple of practice swings when I first got it into my hands, and didn’t realise it was me making the whooshing sounds. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. “Was that me?”

So whenever someone swings a katana and you hear that whoosh sound, it’s not a sound effect. They actually do do that.

Some refer to the bo-hi (or hi) as the “blood groove”. That’s not what it is. As I understand it, the groove is cut along the blade to help lighten it, without sacrificing much/any of its strength. They can be very heavy, carbon-steel katana – and so can alloy iaito blades.


Week in Review

2015 10 10 - 21:12

iaido, personal


2015 10 08 - 22:14

I have discovered that the dojo is a refuge.

It is a refuge from the unhappy week I’ve had. It is a refuge from the world in general. It is a room full of swords, and still a safe haven. I go in, and I can leave the things that have frustrated me this week outside.

Running the waza in my head is meditative. I run them when I’m laying in bed trying to sleep and can’t.

Iaido a very elegant art, refined. It makes you aware of very small things, and how important those small things are. Small things mean the difference between success and failure. They always said that ‘god’ was in the details.


To be, or knot to be

2015 09 10 - 20:49

I may not know how to tie my hakama, but I know how to tie a sageo safety knot around my saya.

My gear has arrived. I feel like a human. Or whatever the Japanese word for human is. I feel like that.

bokken - safety knot

Tired Lonita Is Tired

2015 09 02 - 20:51

Henry Rollins once said that we’re all born Ferraris, but too many of us treat our bodies like beater cars. My body feels a bit like a beater car right now. Iaido was tough on the legs today.

… and sweaty.

… and boy is my balance shit.

… deflated balloon mode.


Complete Introduction to Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido

2015 08 28 - 21:00

Aaaah ha! Found a video on the style of Iaido I’ve been studying. Most excellent. Shall have to acquire it for myself at some point.

Addendum: I did eventually buy this, but I haven’t watched it in months. Will correct and post comments.

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