Aikido/Sword instructor Koichi Kashiwaya Demonstration
by Brent Yamamoto

Notice that none of the techniques are overly complex, they are only simple diagonal, horizontal, and downward cuts. This is not to say that any of them are easy.

Although some of the cuts are from a static position, most involve movement. In most of these sequences, he is moving…either before, after, or even during the cut.

There are many good cutters out there, but most do so only from static positions. This is akin to standing still shooting holes through paper at the range…it is useful practice but it is not fighting. Fighting requires movement, along with the recognition that you must balance hitting while not being hit.

Movement is not wasted, telegraphing is minimized. Muscles are relaxed rather than overly tense. Smooth is fast.

Accuracy. At this distance the focus is on the target. He is not focused on his own weapon, and yet the cut goes where it’s intended. He sees what he needs to see to insure an accurate hit.

Notice that the sword comes out of the sheath fast, but it goes back in very reluctantly. Does this look familiar??

Transitions between right & left handed cutting. Just as we must not be slaves to our shooting position, he is not a slave to his cutting position. Use what is right for the situation and change as necessary based on the relationship to the target.

Mindset. I don’t need to describe this, just look at him! There is no emphasis on technique, no concern about proper grip or stance or any of that (those things are necessary but at this point they are “baked in”…they just happen without conscious thought). There is a single-minded goal of cutting the target down…cut, cut, and cut again.

There isn’t a rusty meat cleaver in this video. You cannot perform at the limits of your capability with poor equipment.

The concepts apply to whatever tool you are using. Train fundamentals on targets using simple drills until measured results demonstrate proficiency. Add in useful things when appropriate.