Tag Archive for sword

Photo Friday: Iaijutsu

This week I thought I’d show you something interesting from an iaijutsu kata.

Iaijutsu

Cassie demonstrates part of standing sword kata #1 at graduation

Iaijutsu is a sword art, specifically the art of drawing the sword. In simplest terms, it’s the samurai version of the quickdraw: draw the sword and eliminate the opponent swiftly, then return the sword to the scabbard. Four of the kata I’m familiar with so far include the movement pictured above.

Here, the fallen opponent is on the ground at the performer’s feet, having just been cut horizontally and then split in two vertically. Turning the sword over helps remove the blade from the opponent’s body, keeps the sword between the fallen opponent and the performer (should he still be alive), and allows blood to run down the blade and drip off the tip as the performer steps back (the next movement following the photo above).

The interesting part, though, is the hand cover: this is supposed to prevent the opponent’s spirit from traveling up the blade and into the performer.

I believe it comes from the Shinto beliefs of early samurai. I always thought it was a neat movement, both as a martial artist and as a writer and fan of horror and the supernatural. It’s idea fuel, too; there’s a project I’m cooking up which will draw upon a number of the things I’ve learned about samurai and Japanese sword styles.

May as well put all this new knowledge to use, right?

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Hone Your Sword

Just as a samurai wouldn’t charge into battle with a rusty sword, a writer shouldn’t leap into writing without sharpening his skill.

Writer At Work

Every writer keeps a sword handy. It's how we keep our families quiet.

Yes, writing is a skill. It’s a craft that can be learned and developed with practice.

This also means it can be lost like any other skill. If the writer isn’t flexing those creative muscles, they atrophy.

Show of hands: how many of you took a foreign language in high school, then hardly remember a word four years later? (Yes, of course I can see you. I’m an IT guy and I’ve hijacked your webcam. Jim B in Philly, get that finger out of your nose.) That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.

This is why writers hide in their offices for hours at a time. This is why we are voracious readers. This is why we study the craft, and why we have to keep punching those keys. We keep our swords sharp by polishing them daily, because we don’t know when that next anthology invitation or three-novel contract will land on our desks. We need to attack those opportunities with vigor, and if we’re not ready, we may not see another opportunity like them.

Create every day. Can’t get going on that short story or novel? Write vignettes. Write a few sentences of dialog. Write a piece of flash fiction. Can’t get to the keyboard? Carry a notebook and scribble in it, or punch something into Evernote on your smartphone. Scribble a mindmap on a napkin at dinner. Free associate with a friend.

Whatever your ultimate method, hone your sword. Be ready for those opportunities.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.