Aikidoists who practise Aikiken often become interested in the Japanese metal sword in addition to the wooden sword (“Bokken” or “Bokutoh”). There are various types of swords. The two most recognized are the “Tachi” and the “Katana”. The Tachi is longer than the Katana. It was worn blade down in a scabbard suspended by two straps from the samurai’s belt. The Katana, a later development, was worn blade up in a scabbard that was thrust into the samurai’s belt and then tied there. Both may be seen in several Japanese and international museums.

There are small groups of Budoka who continue to train in the traditional sword fighting methods, “Battojutsu” or “Iaijutsu”, because they see them as a precious cultural heritage.

“Iaido” is a modern martial “Way” of discipline and personal cultivation that drops most ideas of practicality and focuses on training body, mind, and spirit. Drawing and cutting with the sword is seen as a method of being both always prepared and willing to cut down one’s own ego. It may be done with an “Iaito” (an unsharpened metal sword) or a Katana (live blade).

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