Katana Practice Safety Tips
There are few weapons quite as iconic as the katana. As the traditional weapon of samurai warriors, it has seen screen time in Hollywood movies, big-budget video games, even on the backs of mutant turtles. And besides all of that, it is just a cool looking weapon.
It is increasingly common to see samurai swords adorning a wall as decoration, but what about using one? If you intend to practice with your katana blade, you should be very mindful of safety concerns. After all, you're waving around a length of metal; even a show-katana with a dulled edge can do severe damage if not treated carefully.
Read on for a complete guide to being safe with your katana.
Getting to Grips
Before you even think about swinging a real katana, you should give yourself a thorough grounding in how to hold the weapon. You can do this using training katanas, which are made of wood and are inexpensive. If you don't want to purchase a training katana, you could also use the saya that your katana came in, though holding it will not be as close to the real thing as a training katana.
Practising with a training katana is crucial for a few reasons. Firstly, you need to become accustomed to holding the weapon before you try it with the real thing. Performing a vertical overhead strike and losing grip of the katana is a lousy time in anyone's book.
It also helps to give you a full sense of the space you will need. If you thump a wall with your training katana, you might mark it slightly. If you do it with the real thing, you'll be pulling your blade out of the wall.
You should seek proper training on how to hold a katana before getting started, but as a rough guide, your dominant hand should be towards the top of the handle with your other hand near the bottom.
Know Your Blade
Once you feel confident enough to start practising with the real thing, first take a good look at the kind of blade you are using. You should typically exercise a great deal of caution regardless of the type of blade you have, but if you have a sharp blade, be especially aware of your surroundings.
Being cautious is as much for your benefit as it is for your surroundings. If you are in any doubt about your ability to safely practice with a sharp blade, go back to the training katana. You are just as likely to injure yourself than you are anyone else if you are not ready.
Choose Your Practice Area Wisely
Starting with the obvious, you should make sure you have plenty of space. If you're going to swing a deadly blade around, you shouldn't have half of your attention on not hitting the light fittings while you do it. If you don't have any high-ceilinged rooms with plenty of floor space at your disposal, outside will be your only option. A katana is too dangerous a weapon to swing around in a confined space.
If you do have to take it outside, the next thing to consider is legalities. In many countries, it is illegal to have a weapon like a katana in public unless you are transporting it. In some countries, it is illegal to own one full stop. You should make sure you understand the law before venturing out to the nearest field or wooded area to practice your horizontal strike. It won't matter how cool you look to the police.
Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings
It may sound like sage advice from a samurai master, but it is just as applicable when it comes to safe practice with your katana. Be constantly vigilant as you train. As obviously dangerous as a person waving a sharp metal blade around may look, you can't be sure that someone won't just walk into the path of your katana. Accidentally taking someone's ear off probably isn't part of your training plan, and as frustrating as it may be, the law will most likely declare you to be at fault.
To Sum Up
Training with your katana can be an enriching and, of course, fun experience, but be sure always to do it safely. Get the basics down first, find an appropriate spot, and always keep an eye on your surroundings