Geordy Ledyard mentioned in the Aiki Buki thread that he had developed some weapons exercises for himself and his students derived from some of his koryu experience.
Do people have any good weapons exercises they can share?
One exercise that I found to be very good for developing speed, strength and intention is loosely derived from the Maniwa Nen Ryu. It utilizes light protective gear and shinai. One partner delivers a constant series of continuous shomen attacks wit his shinai. The defender starts in front gedan, uses one of three responses at random to receive the attack: 1) enter and cut using a falling spiral deflection, the cut should make medium contact with the helmet; 2) moves left, evades the cut and pulses the partner's sword down with a left to right spiral downward pulse then instantly rebounds to a shomen strike; 3) draws back and evades the cut by executing a tip down block then instantly bounds back in for a shomen strike. The helmet should have enough padding to allow for medium intensity hits. This exercise is exhausting and develops strong intention. Because the partner is able to attack with power because you have gloves and a helmet you will quickly find out if your moves are working. If your timing is off or your own intention is weak you get hit.
Another great training exercise is to start the two partners far apart on the mat and then have them move towards each other at whatever speed they wish. The "attacker" is supposed to initiate a shomen strike as soon as he gets in range. The "defender" has his choice of responses: falling deflect and cut, rising deflect and cut, move off line with Do cut, straight to the center with a tsuki. This type of training comes from classical styles which were designed for battlefield combat in which the opponents started from far apart and then moved towards each other. The psychological aspects of starting apart and them moving towards each other are quite different from two people standing right at the edged of the "critical distance" from each other. What I particularly like about the exercise is that the two partners make an effort to vary the speed at which they approach each other. This makes the timing much more complex (and realistic).
[Edited by George S. Ledyard on July 24, 2000 at 07:49am]