Kendo - Kata

There are ten Nihon Kendō Kata (日本剣道形?). These are performed with wooden swords (木刀, bokutō or bokken?). The kata include fundamental techniques of attacking and counter-attacking, and have useful practical application in general kendo. Occasionally, real swords or swords with a blunt edge, called kata-yō (形用?) or ha-biki (刃引?), may be used for display of kata.

Kata one to seven are performed with both partners using a daitō (大刀?) or tachi (太刀?) style bokutō. Kata eight to ten are performed with one partner using a daitō and the other using a kodachi (小太刀?) or shōtō (小刀?) style bokutō. During kata practice, the participants take the roles of either uchidachi (打太刀?), the teacher, or shidachi (仕太刀?), the student. The uchidachi makes the first move or attack in each kata. As this is a teaching role, the uchidachi is always the "losing" side, thus allowing the shidachi to learn and to gain confidence.

Nihon Kendō Kata were drawn from representative kenjutsu schools and tend to be quite deep and advanced.

In some areas the regular training curriculum does not include Nihon Kendō Kata. In 2003, the All Japan Kendo Federation introduced Bokutō Ni Yoru Kendō Kihon-waza Keiko-hō (木刀による剣道基本技稽古法?), a set of basic exercises using a bokuto, attempted to bridge this gap. This form of practice, is intended primarily for kendōka up to second dan (二段, ni-dan?), but is very useful for all kendo students.

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