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I want to practice a sword kata indoors. I have a bokken, but my ceiling is too low for me to use it indoors.

Because of this, I am considering acquiring a wakizashi bo. From this point, I see two options: I could practice the basic iaido kata, which is intended for katana/bokken, or I could practice a kata specific to wakizashi.

I have tried searching Youtube for katas, but I only find wazas (with an opponent).

  1. Is there any video demonstrating a wakizashi kata (solo technique) that you could recommend or equivalent in any Eastern martial art?

  2. If I were to practice a katana-jutsu, such as the basic iaido form, with the wakizashi, for transfering the skill to katana/bokken (when I can train outdoors in the summer), what should I consider?

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First, don't drill anything you haven't been taught in person by a good teacher. You can learn a lot watching videos, but videos don't give you feedback and correction. I'm worried that you'll be drilling the wrong movement, and that will make it hard to undo later on. Drilling should only be done when you're getting feedback and are actively making improvements to your form.

Without that feedback, without a teacher actively giving you correction, you will not be able to refine your movement (at least not very well). With kenjutsu / iaido in particular, it's all about refinement of physical movement and working on very fine details and subtle, hard to see qualities. You're not going to help yourself by drilling anything new on your own.

You can still drill what you've already been taught by your teacher, so as to not lose it. For that, you should consider practicing somewhere else, somewhere with a higher ceiling, or outdoors. Yes, you can use a smaller sword if you need to. It doesn't change much having a smaller sword. Mostly you're just using it to visualize the technique. Consider the change you're making using a bokken instead of a real sword, for example. It's just for visualization. The actual feel of the sword, its weight and center of balance, will change when you use a real sword.

Consider also using this time to work on things that don't actively involve sword practice but which support it. Work on your strength and your ability to calm your mind. These complementary exercises are a completely different subject that I won't get into here. But if it were me, I'd be working on these exercises 75% of my time while I don't have a teacher actively teaching me. The other 25% of my time would be spent on retaining what I already know, but not drilling it too hard (because drilling bad habits and mistakes will not do me any good in the long run).

Hope that helps.

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  • I have studied with a 7th dan Iaido teacher. I think your concept of ”visualization” includes motor patterns. I am incorporating antirotation exercises in my strength training, which is otherwise quite extensive. When it comes to mental training, for me, the sword is the way. Granted however, my question is asked about a martial art. The weigth of the sword is a good point! – noumenal Oct 13 '19 at 5:43
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    Why are you not asking your 7th dan iaido teacher these questions? – Steve Weigand Oct 14 '19 at 2:30
  • That's a good idea. I haven't spoken to him in ages. – noumenal Oct 14 '19 at 12:02

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