The Japanese word Aikido means ‘way of harmonising energy.’ This form of martial art takes advantage of locks, holds, throws, as well as the opponent’s movements for self-defence. The objective here is to defend yourself without harming your attacker.
Aikido uses several weapons as part of skill training and development, making the discipline unique. These weapons are used to improve skills in the art, but it takes practice to know when and how to use them. In this article, we will examine the basics of aikido bokken for beginners to learn self-defence more easily.
Why a wooden sword?
Bokken is a wooden sword used for training, typically shaped like a katana but requires less care and maintenance and carries less ‘mortal’ risk. However, the bokken can still be deadly, so training with one should be done with caution. Bokken injuries are very similar to impact weapon injuries, including compound fractures, ruptured organs, and other blunt force trauma.
When learning Aikido Bokken, you must first learn how to treat the weapon. A bokken represents a razor-sharp sword and is never to be treated as merely wood. Respect your bokken and you will learn more from it. Hold it only by the handle. The back of the blade can be touched only in certain techniques and when handed over.
The proper way to hold your bokken
The bokken should be held lightly but tight enough so that it doesn’t slip. Most of the work is done by the backhand, while the front hand supports. The backhand sits at the back of the handle, while the front hand is at the front.
The readiness position
When you are in the readiness position, always keep a forward feeling when facing an adversary. Keep that forward feeling even when lifting the bokken to cut. If the blade goes too far back when lifting to strike, you will be pounced on. Adversaries are always looking for openings, for weaknesses in your energy. A rough breath will give an opening, so breathe smoothly and quietly.
Cutting with the bokken
Only lift as far as you are comfortable with, and do not feel any strain in your front. As you cut, let the bokken drop by its own weight without forcing it downward. When you let the bokken drop, it will naturally stop when it reaches the bottom. From there, it can move in any direction. At the end of the cut, drop your hips slightly to stay stable and fluid, yet very powerful.
As a beginner, you must learn the correct stances and movements to be effective with Aikido Bokken. If you are in Sydney and want to experience this one-of-a-kind martial arts, you can book a class here.