Japanese Longsword (Katana)
The Japanese sword otherwise known as Katana is perhaps the most well known sword of the 20th century. It is a medium length (on average 90 cm) curved single edge blade and is a very fast agile blade that can be manipulated both two handed and single handed to great effect. Compared to European swords it is lighter but has a disadvantage of length. Its curved shape lends itself to arching draw cuts but does not negate direct chopping motion or stabs.
Single handed strikes will increase reach and generate devastating cutting power at high speeds similar to what would find in Ni to ryu and is superbly demonstrated by Chiba Sensey . In our use of the katana we combine influences from Japanese Koryu and insights derived from extensive experience in full contact sparring gained in thousands of bouts within our school an against practitioners representing a wide range of martial styles. Working against the different styles has proven invaluable in the process of figuring out ways to counter them which has led to development of a flexible, adaptive fighting style.
The rules of combat are those of Kenjutsu , meaning , as in our BASE principle -Everything goes, i.e. use of clinching, throws, leg traps ind even kicks are encouraged as of course the usage of all strikes to all and EVERY target. Full force. Full intent. Minimum protection.
The European Hand and a half sword (Longsword) was used in medieval Europe from the 14th – 17th centuries.
It is a complex and versatile weapon. It structure and design lend themselves to many modes of fighting applying nearly every part of the sword for striking and defense save for the handle grip. It is on the average 120cm long and has a long tapering double edged blade with a cross guard and pommel capping of the handle.
The Long sword is a great offensive and defensive weapon as you can utilize every part of the sword, you can strike with both edges of the blade, cross guard or pommel and parry with the blade or cross guard. It is an agile sword and unlike the common misconception, it is not heavy (1.2 – 1.5 Kilograms) and quite easy to wield. Long swords are precisely balanced and capable of fast strikes and quick changes of direction with very little power needed to cut and thrust.
We teach the hand and a half sword which is not to be confused with the war sword or zweihander (Two handed sword 160 – 180 cm ) which is an entire class of sword on its own. Although we do and have studied the masters of old on the use of this sword, we rely on our direct experience with this weapon no less than the tradition of the German masters.