Monday 2 June 2014

June: Iai Battojutsu

 Read Also: 4 Weeks Later

Fun Rating: ★★★★☆    Difficulty Rating: ★★☆☆☆     Results Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

   I've been interested in feudal Japan for years - the culture, the architecture, the military, and I'm also quite fond of the language. It's absolutely gorgeous, and a lot of the letters they use are beautiful. But anyway, about six years ago when I bought some decorational katanas, I found a DVD that taught Iai Battōjutsu, which focuses on Japanese and similar oriental sword arts, and is a martial art.
   First, let me say that I'm not so foolish as to buy this DVD and say 'I know martial arts' or 'I'm a brown belt now'. To actually be a belt I'm 100% positive that you have to pass an exam, and pass more - written and practical - to advance through the ranks, which the DVD obviously doesn't give you, and odds are that you're not going to be doing it quite right without an instructor actually in front of you correcting your mistakes, either. But, I've wanted to try it since I saw it, and I decided that it could be a cool thing to try this month.
   I also admit that I don't believe it's going to be much of a workout, so I'm starting up the 30 Day Shred again to do every day after the kata training, so at least I can guarantee a workout even if the battojutsu isn't very effective.

   It was kind of expensive to be honest, at £45 for the DVD, the bokken (wooden training sword) and the saya (a scabbard), but the bokken, a daito (katana), is actually a legal piece, meaning it's exactly the right length, and exactly the right width. No, the blade is wooden, and it is thick, not narrow, but I compared it to the katana that I bought Seeg (admittedly decorational) for Christmas or his birthday a couple of years ago, and it's the same length and weighs the same despite his katana being a steel blade.
   Make no mistake, because it looks quite light when you see people doing iaijutsu, but it's actually a very heavy piece of equipment, and I just know it's going to get heavier the longer I hold it. But, I'm very excited.

   Like I said, I don't think it's going to be much of a workout, but starting the shred again should hopefully combat that a little. No pun intended. I also mentioned recently that it's going to be a sort of research for my writing, because I love a good swordsman in my books, and while this fighting style won't be very helpful to my writing, having some personal experience holding and moving with a sword will. I like to write about training sessions in my stories and seeing characters improve their skill through practise as well as application, and this can be helpful, especially when a character is teaching another for one reason or another. Plus, it's freaking awesome.
   I do feel that it's possible that I've slightly forgotten my prime directive for my new year's resolution. It was to try a new fitness routine every month, but now it feels more like learning something new every month. The hooping, yes, that was a workout, but I learned from it, too. The Irish Dancing was also a damned good workout, but it was also far more instructional and there was a lot to learn there, too, you didn't just pick it up after a go or two. And now there's this.

   Today will be my first day on this routine, and I'll be starting it in an hour. I bought the kata training package from Blades-UK; the DVD is instructed by Steve Crowther, a 5th Dan Renshi, and while I know for a fact that nothing can substitute a real teacher and real training, this DVD (volume 1 of 3) is supposedly 'intended as a supplement  to training under Steve Crowther' so I can only assume that what you'd learn in his class is what you've got on the DVD. The website also says that the DVD contains all you need to know to get to a brown belt, which I think is quite impressive, but like I said, I don't honestly think you have any real right to say you've earned it until you've gone through proper training and exams. I get the feeling it would be like saying you have an A Level in English history because you've learned in your own time through internet research all there is to know about the Tudors, and I won't disrespect true martial artists by being so brash.

   I'll update on progress in a couple of weeks!


Post a Comment

I do read every single comment, and I will try to respond where I can. If you have an important question about my blog or my shop, however, then you might be better off contacting me directly by email. Thanks so much for reading my blog!