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Fifth dan written test cheat sheet

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  • #46
    12. Things to look for when viewing a sword

    (1) The nihonto is a weapon made for use in battle.
    However, even though today it has outlived its use in war, depending on its use it can still be a lethal weapon.

    (2) Today the nihonto is treated only as a work of art. Nihonto with artistic value are registered by law, and it is possible to own, study and admire them.

    (3) When viewing a sword consider there are two roles, that of the viewer and that of the person showing the sword.

    i) When showing someone a katana, bringing it out on a spread cloth etc., whether it is ornamented or if it is in a plain sheath it should always be kept in a sack. This is to prevent it coming out of its sheath by accident. You should make sure the tsuka-gashira is upwards and hold it in your right hand when you put it in and take it out. This is considered polite. When showing the sword you should never allow the kissaki to face them, or hold it such that it is cutting towards them. When drawing the sword the cutting edge should face up and the back of the sword (the mune/mine) should be touching the saya as it is drawn. Tilt the cutting edge towards yourself and hand it to your guest from the tsuka-gashira.

    ii) The person who takes the sword should grip the tsuka firmly and draw sideways being careful not to point the kissaki at the person showing the sword. Bow once before viewing the sword. When doing this it is recommended to use a "fukusa (cloth)". If you use your bare hand or a dirty hanky you run the risk of dirtying the tsuka.

    iii) When looking at the katana always hold it upright and view its shape. At this stage you should avoid holding the katana sideways. You should never hold the tsuka as if to swing it, or strike poses with the sword.
    After viewing the shape of the sword, hold it agains the light and view the hamon and boshi, starting from omote and moving to ura. At this time be careful as much as possible not to allow the kissaki to point towards your host. Because of lighting or for whatever reason you find you have to point the kensen at you host you should say "shitsurei-shimasu".
    Next lay the blade sideways and draw your hands back, admiring the metal. When admiring the upright tempered blade and when drawing the hands back to admire the metal, use a "fukusa" in both hands. You should rest the blade lightly on the fukusa, being careful never to place the blade on your sleeve or the katana's saya. You may use "paper( 拭紙 ?) in place of the fukusa, but you should not thoughtlessly rub the blade. When viewing the blade the paper of fukusa should simply support the blade and sould not rub or wipe it.

    iv) When presented with a sword in its saya, the way you draw and the way you sheath the sword is very important.
    When drawing the sword you should hold the saya from below and grip the tsuka from above, with the cutting edge upwards you sould break the "Koi-guchi", and slowly draw without rattling. Drawing the sword quickly is something that sword enthusiasts generally dislike greatly. When sheathing the katana the hands are held the same, and the sword is inserted in the saya slowly without rattling the blade. You should never draw or sheath the sword with the the blade held horizontal, you should never draw the sword part way and then stop and look at it, and you should never grip the saya from above with your left hand. Also, however much of a work of art the sword may be, never forget that it is still capable of cutting and as such it should be treated with care

    To be continued....


    • #47
      ...12 continued...

      v) In the past, when viewing a sword it was necessary to hold a piece of paper in your mouth. Today this is unnecessary, but it is important to know why this custom existed. The custom existed so that spit, or breath would not touch the blade and risk rusting. Therefore, when viewing the sword you should remain quiet, and if you do have to say something be careful not to spit or breath on the blade.

      vi) When viewing the tsuka (kuki), you must gain permission from your your host by saying "Kuki-wo-haiken-sasete-itadakimasu". To remove the tsuka first remove the mekugi, grip the edge of the tsuka with your left hand, hold the cutting edge upwards with the sword held to your shoulder (I think it must be in the saya at this time). With the right fist hit down on the left fist with a knock. If the tsuka doesn't come loose with this, hit again with more force. If it still doesn't come loose use an "ategi" at the mouth of the mouth of the tsuka and hit with a wooden mallet.
      At this time you sould never hit the tsukaguchi directly, and you should not use a metal hammer.
      After this admire the shape of the kuki, the yusurime ?? and the inscription.
      There is nothing that requires particular attention, and there is no need to comment on the name in the inscription. However, saying things like "kekko na kuki de aru" or "yoi mei de aru" are not considered rude.
      After admiring the kuki, quietly replace the tsuka, and hit the tsukagashira firmly with your right palm. Replace the mekugi. Then you would usually thank your host.

      When handing the katana to your host, hand it back as it was handed to you.

      (4) Humans have a tendency to pretend they know what they are talking about. It is of utmost importance that you avoid this pretentiousness.

      (5) Handle the sword quietly with correct manners from seiza. It is polite when handling a katana to not make the other person feel threatened or apprehensive.

      And that is that!


      • #48
        And that is that

        Please understand that these translations were rushed. I'm sure to have mistranslated some bits. Take it with a grain of salt. Any comments or questions about the content are welcome.

        And thanks everyone for the positive feedback! I really appreciate it.



        • #49
          Most excellent translation job, thanks for putting it up there.

          (2) Today the nihonto is treated only as a work of art. Nihonto with artistic value are registered by law, and it is possible to own, study and admire them.
          hmmm sounds like evil sword collector sword handling protocols - from the sort of people who do not believe in using nihonto for iaido and related arts....

          (who started iaido with a nihonto from the sadly no longer around St George Antiques)


          • #50
            Nanmanjin, your efforts are very much appreciated.


            • #51
              Can we get this stickied by any chance?

              Thanks for taking the time to do this Pete!


              • #52
                Domo Arrigatogozaimasu, good work indeed. Now all you need to do to top yourself is to translated the rest of the links on that page. say the cheatsheets for shodan, san-dan, and yondan? hahaha, j/k. ... well, no seriously, is there a chance? hahahaha. Onegaishimasu !


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Nanbanjin
                  We all feel that way sometimes. Most non-Japanese fourth dan players I know are actually pretty good. It's fifth/sixth/seventh dans that bug me.
                  Oi! I resemble that remark!



                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Nanbanjin
                    11/1. Houshin

                    The word "houshin" itself conjures images of "a clumsy person" or "a bad person with no conscience", with a meaning of having let your heart loose and losing it, but in kendo "hoshin" is as in what was once called "to call in your wandering heart". In other words, you do not leave your heart loose, but find out where it wants to go and reign it back in.
                    If your heart is held captive, it will be like a tethered cat unable to chase a mouse when it appears. If you allow your heart to freely go where it wants when it wants, your whole body will always be aware, and your heart will be there and will fulfill its task whenever it is needed. Because of this you should allow your heart to be free.
                    In other words, "houshin" is desirable and necessary.
                    In kendo you should not shackle your heart, always allowing it to be free, so it can be there as soon as it is needed. Allow your heart to work as quick as lightning.
                    AJKF Dictionary defines hou-shin as 'absent-mindedness'. The kendo definition is to read absent-mindedness as 'detachment', or 'non-attachment'. "The state of mind where one is not obssessed with anything and can therefore respond to everything." (AJKF Dictionary, 1996 ed., pp37)



                    • #55
                      Brilliant work, nanbajin!


                      • #56
                        Thanks for doing all this!

                        Man - I really need to learn Japanese.


                        • #57
                          Fantastic information---Thanks for sharing.

                          Is it just me or does the thread title seem a bit odd...
                          I don't see Godan needing "cheat sheets"....

                          Something about a very high rank-- "cheating" that doesn't sit right....


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Thunder
                            Something about a very high rank-- "cheating" that doesn't sit right....
                            It's not a high rank, and furthermore some of this stuff is new to me so clearly I need to cheat.


                            • #59
                              Thanks for all the good information! The hints you've provided also directly relate to ZNKR iaido tests as well. For my 4dan iaido test, I had to provide definitions for both Kigurai and Tenouchi as you mentioned above. I however did not have this useful guide and instead had to have translantion help from my sensei on those.
                              Thanks again for the your hard work! おつかれさまでした!


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Nukitsuke