My nine year old has decided to become a demigod. On making that decision, she asked us what was the first lesson.

Focus, she was told.

Laser sharp focus, (not razor sharp, she is a Star Wars child).

I felt compelled to relate this to students in a recent kihon battojutsu class, after watching their minds repeatedly drift away during solo kata practice.
One of the most valuable skills that can be learnt from sword work, is mental focus. Hopefully, the students are not there because they plan to take their katana into actual battle. It is the non lethal benefits of studying battojutsu that make it so useful in today’s world.

This is not to say the original practical purpose should, in any way, be neglected. To do so would render it no longer a martial art. No one wants to be served bad tea from a Sado master.

For the rest of the night, l referred to kata as demigod practice. They smiled at me, but I also like to think that there was a marked improvement in their focus.

Kai Cho

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