First day / most basic rules
When I say “freeze,” that means hold ABSOLUTELY STILL. Do not try to correct your posture or any other mistake. I might say “freeze” because I want to call your attention to a mistake, but sometimes I say it because you’re about to do something in a dangerous way. Resist the urge to cover your mistakes and trust me that this is of utmost importance.
Whenever you take a step, if your sword is in the saya (scabbard), your thumb MUST be on the tsuba (hand guard). This is to prevent the sword from accidentally falling out.
If your sword ever does start to slide out of the saya, DO NOT try to catch it. Put your hands up, and step away from where it is falling.
ALWAYS make sure there is enough room around you so you’re not endangering any other students. If you think you could reach out with your sword and almost touch someone else’s sword when they’re reaching toward you, make some more space.
The first time you draw your sword each class, you MUST inspect the mekugi (bamboo pin(s)) and ensure that it is secure and undamaged. You must then declare “mekugi Yoshi” loud enough for everyone to hear.
NEVER cut toward your own front leg. This means that when your right foot is forward, you cut kesa to the left and gyaku-kesa to the right. Reverse that when your left foot is forward.
The koiguchi MUST be covered completely every time you execute noto.
When your sword is in the saya and your thumb is on the tsuba, make sure your thumb is to the right of the cutting edge and not centered over the cutting edge.
When passing a sword to another person, hold the sword vertically, turn the cutting edge away from the person to whom you’re handing the sword, and hold it from the bottom of the tsuka (handle) with your left hand only.
In general, treat every sword as if it is a live blade. That includes swords made of wood or unsharpened aluminum, and it includes padded sparring weapons.
Tameshigiri (test cutting)
No one will be allowed to cut mats or otherwise use a live blade without express approval from the instructor and a minimum of one year of training.
Always observe from a position facing the person cutting. Never stand behind them.
You MUST wash your hands thoroughly after handling mats and before touching your face. This also applies when we roll mats.
Cleaning your sword
You MUST sit so that your cutting edge and kissaki (tip of the sword) are facing away from everyone else present.
You MUST brace your hand against the mune (back edge of the sword) in such a way that your fingers cannot reach the cutting edge when you are cleaning.
You MUST anchor the tsuka (handle) to your hip to prevent the sword from wobbling.