Kata

Practice makes perfect

Kata can be found in almost all Japanese martial arts. They are complex series of movements which train a fight against one or several imaginary opponents.

One purpose of kata is to hand down the essence of a style to future generations. Toyama Ryu is a very puristic style. It refrains from all superfluous movements with the sword or with the body, concentrating on practical efficiency. It’s plainness makes this style look easy. However, with progressing training the student recognizes that this plainness is demanding and effective.

If the Iaidoka can integrate this insight into his everyday life he can lay the foundation of a happy and succesful life beyond his physical training.

One who constantly practices kata does not merely go through the predetermined cuts with the sword but will also develop an understanding of the form and of the intended situation. The mind comes to rest. The practitioner comes to terms with himself.

One who constantly practices kata does not merely go through the predetermined cuts with the sword but will also develop an understanding of the form and of the intended situation. The mind comes to rest. The practitioner comes to terms with himself.

Toyama Ryu has the following basic cuts:

  • Makko Giri – a vertical cut from above with both hands
  • Migi Kesa Giri – a cut at an 30 degree angle from above right with both hands
  • Hidari Kesa Giri – a cut at an 30 degree angle from above left with both hands
  • Migi Kiri Age – a single-handed cut at an 45 degree angle from below right
  • Hidari Kiri Age – a single-handed cut at an 45 degree angle from below left
  • Tsubame Gaeshi – combinations of Kesa Giri and Kiri Age
  • and others

The basic techniques Happo Nuki are combined applications of basic cuts to all directions, similar to a kata, containing all the significant elements of the style and are taught from the beginning.
The basic elements can be found in all other kata and may be looked at as the standard of proficiency of students and masters alike, and are therefore trained intensively by both.

The common structure of Toyama Ryu kata is:

  • Nuki Tsuke – the drawing of the blade and the first cut
  • Furikaburi – bringing the katana back and overhead to be ready again for attack
  • Kiri Tsuke – further cuts
  • Chiburi – shaking off the blood
  • Noto – putting the sword back into the saya (sheath)