Classes officially begin with two sets of bows: one bow to those who have gone before and passed down the art which we learn, and one bow to our fellow students who help us train and keep this art alive.
Students then proceed to wash the floor by hand. Washing the floor is a continuation of traditions stemming from feudal Japan, and has the practical benefits of ensuring the space is safe to train in, providing a good warm up, and focusing the mind for the training to follow.
After washing the floor, students train suburi, which consist of practicing proper cutting methods and dynamics needed to connect the body with the sword, while building strength, flexibility and endurance. The kamae (stances) and cuts practiced build the foundation for the curriculum.
The class then moves into training kata, which are practiced either individually or in pairs. The kata trained at Ottawa Kenjutsu are quite complicated, involve different weapons using a variety of techniques and require focus and determination to be performed properly. Everyone trains kata at the same time, and at the student’s own level, with instruction and corrections offered on a personal basis.