Thursday 1 January 2015 at 06:17 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

There's not a lot of info out there or explanations on how to effectively wield a two handed sword with one hand. The Katana is a two handed weapon despite what you've seen in films and pop culture. I mean it can be wielded with one hand but it becomes a lot more tricky because of the length of the tsuka and the weight distribution of the blade.

 I've carried on for what seems like a million articles both here and on the Samurai University site espousing the benefits of suburi and te no uchi but with one handed techniques you have to forget all of this. The only thing you can concentrate on is that the grip of your one hand is correct, There's no 'wringing' of the tsuka because you don't have the other hand to twist against. All of this makes for a very awkward feeling I've found when you first start out and I myself am indeed just starting with one handed.

There are exceptions to this of course, a style of sword called 'kata te uchi' existed for a while and was found in between the period when the tachi lost popularity and the uchigatana was being formulated. Kata te uchi means roughly 'straight hand draw' and was characterised by a much shorter tsuka than usual and combined with the weight distribution of this particular sword, was much easier to use single handed. I wrote an article on this if you're interested.

Despite the initial awkwardness of the single handed approach to katana use, its more than possible and it's an enjoyable diversion especially when you have been doing two handed for so long. I've managed to damage my left arm somehow and while it heals, this is also a way to continue practicing. I suggest training with your dominant hand before you think about the other and taking it slowly to begin with. You can always build up speed with your confidence and you'll find out for yourself how easy it would be to 'lose' a sword over your garden fence or injure yourself or some other unfortunate party if you charge straight in. With all this said, Here are my first two proper attempts at single handed practice. Less than amazing but I didnt kill myself or anyone else. Thats a win in my books.

Hope seeing more of my learning process rather than my successes will inspire you to give it a go.
Attempt 1

Attempt 2 with all fails left in and successes at end.

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