Blades in the Dojo
I am a beginner in Aikido (Just started this fall) in a class taught at the University of Kansas. After only a semester of training, our Sensei brings his Katana to class to practice ma-ai, or proper spacing. He uses the blade only in a downward motion and calls out the movement we are to make to avoid the blade. We've done it several times already with bokken, but the idea of the real blade adds a sense of anxiety to the excersize. Since the basic ideas of Ki-Aikido is learning to relax under any situations, I feel that the brade is an excellent tool for the class room.