View Full Version : Bokken Exercises

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Daniel Lloyd
04-02-2011, 04:55 PM
Hey all,

I've looked through the weapons section to see if there are any bokken exercises that one can do in their own time. I didn't find much.

I was recommended to do 1000+ sword cuts each side and gradually increase the number of cuts as i felt the need to. I was just wondering what other things can I do with the bokken? Shomen cuts, Yokomen cuts, Tsuki, Swallow cuts? And could you give me the reasoning behind such methods, eg you do this motion because it develops this etc.

Any exercises relating to the bokken would be helpful.


Janet Rosen
04-02-2011, 05:51 PM
Different Sensei, different kata....if there isn't a specific kata associated with your flavor, you could google Chiba Sensei's eight part bokken kata as IIRC there are clear written directions for that online.

04-02-2011, 06:19 PM
Unless you're pretty confident of your weapons form, I'd stick to suburi. Also, starting at 1000 and moving up is pretty ambitious -- you'll be doing quite well to do a couple hundred in good form if you're just starting out. Focus on form -- you don't get better by doing more cuts badly.

Vid of 7 suburi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y1iXm89jI0) -- Saito sensei

Lyle Laizure
04-02-2011, 08:46 PM
Form is more important than the quantity. I'm not sure what your weapon's background is but you should be sure that what you are practicing is worth practicing.

04-02-2011, 09:35 PM
FWIW, here's my sword practice right now:

Warm-up, swinging the sword loosely.

1000 kesagiri. I was working on form recently and would do these in sets of 200 to keep focus. Now the form is settling in and I'm doing them in sets of 300-400. Eventually I'll go back to 1000 straight through.

My teacher's sword style is strongly based on Kashima Shin Ryu, and they emphasize kesagiri a lot. I find it makes me focus on moving from the hara (and moving the d*mn hara), connecting the center to the hands (and the sword) without letting arm strength get in the way, and getting my hanmi low and solid.

Some subset of: 50 shomen from chudan. 50 from gedan. 50 from jodan. 50 chudan alternating bringing the sword up on left and right.

The straight shomen cut is great for working ki extension--lifting the sword without arm strength or raising the shoulders, extending ki up the back and over the head, cutting without force or over-extending.

50 kesagiri left and right from gedan. Kashima kata use this a lot as the initial strike and I always found it awkward, so I practice it.

Chained strokes: kesagiri, kiriage, do--diagonal down, back up, across. Focus on moving from the center and keeping it loose--it's easy to tighten up on the chained strokes.

Sometimes I'll grab two of those foam rollers (I usually practice in my gym's aerobics room) and stack them up to make a 6-foot tall target. A couple of dozen strikes of each attack, checking for accuracy and that I can strike relaxed, full force, and yet stop without knocking the rollers over. I'll increase the distance bit by bit, seeing how far out I can start and still hit the target with a single step.

The rollers also make a good target for Saotome Sensei's exercise: left yokumen, block, right yokumen, block, etc.

If I'm learning a kata, I'll run through it 3-4 times, taking both sides.

End with shiho happo giri a couple of times around the clock, starting slow. It's the move for shiho nage, it's the footwork for irimi, it's good practice for keeping center while turning. Do it barefoot on asphalt and you'll the the foot placement for irimi down very quickly.

Takes a little over 40 minutes, usually. On all those counts, I am counting every stroke.

Dave de Vos
04-03-2011, 04:37 AM
I have practices these katas:


Being a beginner these videos helped me to get started. I haven't seen my teachers or fellow students perform these exact katas, but practising them at home sure helped learning sword work in class.

Benjamin Mehner
04-03-2011, 06:12 PM
I know the guy in the video is using an iaido, but I like this one.


04-03-2011, 07:28 PM
The ehow videos caused my virus checker to freak, so I didn't watch them. The iado was nice, but for the OP I'd suggest that it makes more sense to focus on suburi targeted to work the basics of what his sensei is teaching.

Dave de Vos
04-04-2011, 12:18 PM
The ehow videos caused my virus checker to freak, so I didn't watch them. The iado was nice, but for the OP I'd suggest that it makes more sense to focus on suburi targeted to work the basics of what his sensei is teaching.

Ok, I use avast virus scanner. It does freak on some sites, but it sees no problem with ehow.

Larry Cuvin
04-04-2011, 04:31 PM
Just be carefull of what you're commiting to your muscle memory. Only perfect practice makes perfect.