Solo Practice with a "Real" Sword

by James Peters
(Campell, California)

I only recently started Kendo, perhaps only three or four weeks ago.

One night, our instructor had us do one hundred haya suburi. Realizing I would need more stamina, I began practicing at home.

I recently purchased a shirasaya for light cutting at home, and have begun using it for my solo practice, due to the added weight.

After reading your advice on suburito, I wonder if perhaps you would advise against this, lest I fall into "right-handed Kendo".

I want to say how much I have enjoyed your website since I found it. This site has been of great help in my understanding of Kendo.

Answer: Thank you for your compliment. I am happy to know that this site is helping you!

About using a sword for a suburi practice.

  1. Strictly speaking, how to cut using a sword and how to swing a shinai are different.

  2. If you are a beginner, I suggest you should use a shinai and swing it a lot of times to develop endurance in your arms or overall physical endurance.

It is very important for people at the early stage of kendo to develop the correct forms, i.e. cutting movements and footwork. I am very careful with my students not to develop bad forms.

And we all know it does not matter how careful we learn the forms, we mess them up anyway. So I try not to demand any speed or strength in their strikes at the early stage.

If you really want to use a sword or suburito, do it very slowly, keeping the form right.

Hope this helps.

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