Most people probably don’t need a lot of convincing about the greatness of katana training.
It’s training. With swords. What’s not great about it?
But even if we’re already on board with a martial arts technique, it can be beneficial to know why it’s so good. And just how much it does for us.
So let’s get into some of those reasons. Here’s a taste of the how katana training can change your body, your brain, and maybe even your life.
Martial arts practices in general are an excellent source of full body strength training. If you’re working without a martial arts weapon — or any other equipment with a little bit of weight to it, like boxing gloves — you’re still getting an excellent bodyweight workout every time you train. When you start to work with martial arts weapons, you’re adding a little extra challenge to those workouts. Learning to hold and wield a katana or bokken will strengthen and tone your muscles. And learning to stabilize your body to make your katana training more fluid, more precise, and safer is an excellent core workout.
Again, all martial arts training is good for developing your cardiovascular system’s capacity and endurance. Even gentle Tai Chi has proven aerobic benefits. But here’s how working with a martial arts weapon like a katana can boost your cardio even more: All of the muscles involved in moving your katana and the muscles involved in stabilizing the rest of your body while you move it require oxygen to function to the best of their abilities. The more you use the katana, the more oxygen you’ll need to to fuel your training. This will put your cardiovascular system to work. Over time, this work will contribute to better cardio conditioning.
Or, to put it in simpler terms, katana training gets your lungs going and your heart pumping.
When you hold and wield a katana, you have to know where you are in relation to your surroundings and where you are in relation to your sword. If you’re off by even an inch or two, your minor mistake could lead to bad technique at best or injury at worst. Keeping your training safe and effective requires you to be hyper-aware of what it looks, sounds, and feels like when you’re using your katana. And the senses you sharpen through your katana training will have benefits that can apply to everything else you do in life, too.
The other half of the mind-body equation is also doing its part when you train with a katana or bokken. Developing that body awareness and learning to handle your weapon safely and effectively requires a lot of concentration. And learning to keep your mind on your weapon and your movements — and how to connect that mental awareness to what’s going on in the rest of your body — is a great way to develop concentration and focus. Which you will also be apply to apply to the rest of your life.
Developing a new skill does wonders for your self-perception. It proves that you are strong and capable. It also proves that your hard work can and does pay off. All of which can make you feel strong, smart, capable, confident, and more grounded in your daily life.
And if that’s not enough, becoming part of a tradition that dates back to the samurai can also make a positive change in how you think of yourself.
You’re training. With swords. That’s undeniably cool.
(And if you’re still not convinced, take another look at these images from a recent AWMA photo shoot. Or these classic retro AWMA catalogue covers.)
Demo Sword: This sword is perfect for competitions and practice. The scabbard has been modelled to perfectly fit over the blade. Lightweight and strong, this blade is sure to impress. This sword is sharpened and comes in 3 length and 3 colors. $139.95 USD.
Blue Samurai Sword: The unique styling of these swords is recognized by the blood groove etched into the 440 stainless steel blades that have been sharpened and finished with a true-wave frosted edge. The blue wooden scabbards have been modelled to perfectly fit over the blade and is complete with a black woven waist cord that matches the tightly wrapped handle. $44.99 USD.
Black Samurai Sword: The unique styling of these swords is recognized by the blood groove etched into the 440 stainless steel blades that have been sharpened and finished with a true-wave frosted edge. The black wooden scabbards have been modelled to perfectly fit over the blade and is complete with a black woven waist cord that matches the tightly wrapped handle. $44.99 USD.
ProForce® Daito: Made of Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene polymers. Approximately 20 oz. and 41.5 in. long. Intricate dragon etchings throughout the tsuba. Rubber grip to ensure safe practicing. All surfaces are electro plated for guaranteed satisfaction. $89.95 USD.
Ultra Wooden Bokken II: Beautifully crafted to resemble a real samurai sword, this hardwood sword is great for practicing techniques without the danger of using a sharpened sword. Two-piece hand guard is included. Length options include 22”, 30”, and 40”. They are made with selected dark wood, called Pyrus Betulifolia, that has higher density and durability. $19.95 USD.