A new student will usually spend the first 3 to 6 months working on the basics or kihon. The practitioner will learn how to properly draw a sword (batto), perform various cutting motions and re-sheath the sword (noto).
In battodo, kata is the exercise of drawing one’s sword against an imagined enemy or enemies in order to counter an attack or strike down an opponent. By practicing kata the practitioner will learn effective techniques that will combine elements such as movement, cutting, focus and intent. The purpose of kata is to instill situational awareness, enhance timing and relate to the distance of subjects (both moving and stationary).
Tameshigiri (Test cutting)
Tameshigiri is used to test and enhance the practitioner’s ability to cut a target using a shinken or a sharp Japanese sword. The cut’s are evaluated on the precise angles, distance between cuts, accuracy of the placement and form of the practitioner. The targets are tatami mat covers which are sheets of woven straw. There are a variety of patterns.