Failing to make the cut

At Aikiko on Thursday night, Sensei Brian brought in his antique Katana and a large stack of old newspapers. Each of us then attempted to cut sheets of newspaper, held taught by two brave volunteers, cleanly in half.

Simple though it may sound, it turned out to be extremely difficult. The best I managed was a clean cut, about 4 inches long, half way down a sheet. The rest I just ripped, or tore from the grip of the people holding the paper. So, even though I can generate a strong cutting action with a boken, I am clearly not drawing back the blade at the end of the strike to generate a slicing action.

I also need to work at using less strength when I strike. As Sensei Brian demonstrated, the key to a clean cut is to allow the weight and motion of the blade do the work, rather than trying to use muscle power. Once again, as in almost every aspect of Aikido, I find that technique is far more important than physical strength.

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