Last class we had our first experience with tameshigiri, or test cutting with a live blade.
We ordered 80 mats with the money we received from the demo we did this fall, and over the last few weeks, we've been practicing the different "cuts" used in tameshigiri. During our breaks, we rolled the targets from the mats - mostly single mats, along with one double-mat target for each member to try. We had to soak them in water for over 24 hours, and then let them drip dry for another 6 or so. It was a lot of work in preparation, but it made for a good cutting session.
One of the things we learned is that we need to cut the same as we do in our iaido class. The movement of the kissaki through the air and the slicing motion of the blade is what cuts the mat, not strength. Tenouchi and using hara in our cut is very important as well.
Members of all experience levels were able to cut successfully, and I enjoyed seeing the satisfaction as each of the members made at least one perfect cut.
Student Joey put together a holiday greetings video with some of our cuts. It's pretty funny, and you can see it below.
We'll be putting more links up with everyone's favorite cuts.
Good work everyone!