and Cutting Practice
A Few Final Thoughts-
I have read many comments over
the years about cutting practice being unnecessary, or something
that "they do" (the EMA folks), and, "why should
we (the WMA folks) have to do what they do". In all sincerity
I will try to say this in a way that is obviously meant
to include anyone who studies a martial art that
involves the use of a bladed weapon;
you are training to use an edged weapon then there is only one
way to check to be sure that you are using it efficiently and effectively,
the way it was meant to be used... see if you can cut a reasonable
target with it!
that included everybody and offended no one.
I have also heard and read comments
about tatami not being a “realistic” or
Neither are plastic bottles, pumpkins or plywood. There is only
one realistic target, another human being that is moving around
and trying in earnest to hit you back or cut you. Thankfully,
believe most of us will be unfortunate enough to ever be in the
position of having a “realistic” target to deal with.
EVERYTHING ELSE is just a fabricated test of the sword or the person
using it. What the modern day martial artist wants, hopefully,
is a target material that can provide them with useful information
and can help them learn to cut better.
Back to “realism”. From
my reading and coversations with others whom I respect, I believe
that most sword cuts were meant to penetrate the soft tissues of
the body by means of slashing, slicing, or thrusting. It is my
impression that the “home-run
or cutting entirely through a torso or large limb, was a rare occurrence
because it is very difficult to perform on a moving target that
is trying to avoid being hit, and at the same time is striking
back. However, a cut that created a sizeable wound in soft tissue
was sufficient to put down most combatants and allow you to move
on to the next opponent.
body dynamics, sword position, swing angle, edge control, and
tip position are paramount to quality sword technique, and can
easily be checked and tested. In
the later part of the 19th century in Japan they started to use
targets made from rice straw with
a piece of bamboo in the center and then soaked in water.
These targets were used because they found that this was a material
which represented the muscular and connective tissue in the human
body in both density and toughness, the green bamboo has similar
cutting properties to bone. Today we use prefabricated tatami omote
that closely mimics the old rice straw targets.
think that when you look at all the different things that can
be learned from regular cutting practice, and then the cost
of the material, the availability, and the realistic difficulty
it takes to cut the target, then tatami omote comes out way ahead
of all other target materials in terms of value. Tatami can be
built up to make increasingly tougher targets and inexpensive bamboo
or wood dowels can be added to the target to give it a harder center.
If you decide that you would like to try some tatami for cutting
targets the best value on the market is from Mugen Dachi.
Don't just take our word for it.
Check to see what some long-term
practitioners and instructors of the Western Martial Arts have
to say about Mugen Dachi Tatami Omote.
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