Tameshigiri

Tameshigiri (試し斬) is a targeted cutting with a sword test. During Tameshigiri a swordsman skill is being tested these days. Different materials are used, mostly rice straw (Wara), the top layer of tatami mats (Goza), bamboo and much more.

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It all started in the 17th century (Edo Period in Japan) and things were quite more brutal than now. Most skillful swordsmen were chosen to execute Tameshigiri and the purpose was to understand the quality of a sword. People were the targets of the sword testing games too. Dead ones or even the alive ones in case they were criminals.

Today Tameshigiri evolved to the martial art and the main idea is to demonstrate the skill of a performer. Performers have some other names for Tameshigiri like “Shito” or “Shizan”.

It looks simple but one must practice a lot to make good cuts. The difficulty of cuts is a combination of the target material hardness, the direction of the grain of the target, the quality of the sword, the angle of the blade (Hasuji) and the angle of the swing of the sword (Tachisuji).

Tameshigiri is performed with the different weapons also, not only the swords. With the naginata for example.

A process is really charming  A lot of interesting things happen during the practice. Like funny fails or unbelievable results. It’s all about the skill and luck in second place, just like anywhere you go. So practice hard and you’ll get the best.

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There’s a video in the article of Koichi Kashiwaya where he practices Tameshigiri with a Katana and Naginata, enjoy!

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