Ryuseiken Battodo

Japanese swordfighting

Tameshigiri in November has been a bit of a lull. We're short on goza now, and have just enough for demos during the November 18th picnic. I just put in another order for 6 boxes, which runs me around $500 that hopefully people will pay back over time. It's still a big hit for me; on top of the new cutting stand (around $450).

It's much easier to store and soak in two or three places than everyone soaking their own. The boxes take up a bit of room, and unless you have a storage shed or garage, it's just bulky. Then there's trying to figure out how to soak a bunch of goza in a big tub full of water, and more significantly, it's how or where to dump the dirty water afterwards. (I leave the tub full of goza outside near plants and after pulling out the soaked goza, I just tip it over onto the yard)

- Soaking goza

In particular I'll probably have a quick tutorial on rolling and soaking goza; or at least the rolling part. From previous cutting days, I think we just need to make sure people know how to roll them together well. I won't describe the process here until I can get a video of it in place; it really has to be seen to be understood.

I prefer to roll my goza before I soak them. This packs the goza tighter together and makes it relatively stiffer. You don't want your goza to be loose. It bends over and comes apart, so when you hit the goza with the edge, it slides a little and makes your cuts unaligned, frayed or become so loose that it just comes off the peg. It gets worse if your hasuji (edge angle) is improper, or your sword is dull.

- Curved cuts

With a tightly wrapped and secured goza, the cuts across the goza are straighter. It is also possible to better determine, when you get a curved cut on goza, if it was because the goza slid, or if you cut improperly.

Such curved cuts are possible on even a tight goza, but are considered "bad" cuts. Usually, it means you forced your way through the goza using strength, rather than making a good straight cut. It's more common a problem for stronger folk. With a single goza it isn't always easy to tell, but once you have two or three goza to cut, you can tell more obviously if the cut curved through the targets.

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Web sites & Resources

Matsuri: A Festival of Japan (2008) - Phoenix, AZ, Feb 23-28, Heritage Square

Battodo Ryuseiken in Japan. Also a partial site in english.

The Kodenkan of Tucson

The UofA Ryuseiken Battodo on the ASUA site

Tameshigiri.com - where we get goza. The ordering and shipping process are given.

Hanwei/Paul Chen swords

The Knighthawk Armoury builds some interesting realistic looking goshinken. They're expensive but they claim to be pretty durable (not yet tested by us).

Folding a Hakama the proper way

Woodall's Custom Workshop makes nice cutting stands for tameshigiri.

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