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What is tameshigiri. How do we practice it and for it, and why do we practice it.
Recently Nami ryu had a gathering of the clan at the River of Life dojo to practice tameshigiri under the direction of James Williams sensei. It was a great time and a great group of Nami ryu instructors, and instructors to be. I rolled about two hundred mats into targets of one, two and three mats of wara and soaked them in water and baking soda. (Better for the blades…)
Aside from the fun of cutting through a target with the sword, there is an important function of this practice.
To practice for tameshigiri it is important to practice the various kata that will be used to cut. It is one thing to just swing a sword and cut a target, it is something quit different to cut with discipline in exactly the method one uses for the kata. This way one can see if their cuts in kata will really cut. Can it be done with no preparatory moves that would telegraph the attack to an opponent? Can you keep the proper balance and form that makes certain that you are not left open to another attack? Can you make a cut and a follow up cut from the draw? These are just a few of the questions we can learn from this practice.
When one starts out one begins with basic cuts, but even these challenge one to be mindful of the proper form and function you are trying to maintain. As you progress, the cuts become multiple and more sophisticated. A single soaked target gives about the resistance of an arm. A double is about a leg. As the target size increases form becomes harder, yet so very important.
We practice tameshigiri to see that out form, posture and kata are correct. And its fun!

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