Friday, June 05, 2009

XMA Sword Form 1

This spring, we started learning to do kata with swords. We're doing an XMA inspired kata.

We learn the form as initially, three different sequences which are then strung together. In the initial sequences, each one starts with drawing the sword and ends with resheathing it.  In the combined sequence, we only put it away at the end. I found that confusing personally.

XMA Sword Form 1
chop right
slow tension left hard bow
batto (draw the sword) to the right to hardbow right
add left hand to sword, strike to left on down diagonal
pull sword overhead and strike down forward stepping with with right foot
hard tension to right bow doing a upward block with sword
strike to left on down diagonal
strike to right on horizontal
pull sword overhead and strike down forward stepping with with right foot
right hand chiburi strike down on the sword handle
bring it back up over left shoulder around head and strike to right on horizontal
strike down to left on diagonal
raise sword over head (don't let it hang down in back), step forward and across with right and finish 360 spin in two steps with a right to left diagonal down strike
draw back with sword over head and blade in left hand
strike to left down on diagonal
pull sword overhead and strike down forward stepping with with right foot
step foward with right so you're sideways with a dramatic chiburi flick in front of you.
No-to (return sword to saya - sheath) by pulling it forward and thrusting it back in
step back with right, punch down with right, tia.

Sword Vocabulary list - now mostly complete!

bokkens - a wooden substitute for a sword used in training in the martial arts. It's cheaper and heavier, so harder to move around elegantly.

Tsuba (rhymes with tuba) - the hand guard on the bokken
Tsuka - the handle of the bokken
Saya - the sheath for the sword
Batto - the action of drawing the sword
Chiburi - the action of cleaning the blood from the sword by either flicking the sword or striking the sword
No-to - Returning the sword to the saya

Editors note. I googled martial arts sword parts to see if I could find a list of terms used in our dojo for the hilt, hand protector, scabbard etc. I found a surprising number of really detailed sword part descriptions, none of which coincided with our inhouse lingo. But, thanks t0 Philip from the Rochester dojo, I've now got all these terms. I'd still like to know what language we are using. Is it Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, or Chinese? If it was a kempo or kung fu kata, I could make an educated guess but since we are learning an XMA-inspired kata, I'm not sure what the likely language would be.



Anonymous said...

intrested in sword look up of dueling katana.very detailed in sword anatomy.

Mike said...

I realize this is a fairly old post, but it doesn't look like you ever got an answer to your question. The katana is a uniquely Japanese weapon, and all of the terms for its parts are, to the best of my knowledge, purely Japanese. Certainly the modern usage of the terms in reference to that specific weapon and the Samurai-inspired usage of it would be Japanese. And as the other poster suggested, you can find much more about the study of katana usage through iaido (which deals primarily with proper drawing, sheathing and handling of the sword, and less with combat-focused activities) and kendo (which is the study of katana swordsmanship - you've likely seen images of kendo practitioners in their black padded garb and silver wire facemasks, practicing with rattan shinai swords).

As always, thanks for posting these videos and best of luck with your continued pursuit of excellence.

Unknown said...

Thanks for still having your blog up!

I lost my old XMA sword DVD's and needed a reference to teach my kids a basic sword form.

The NY schools are still around, we are called Impact now. Check us out at if you get a chance.

Thanks again sir!!

Jason Nolan