Thursday, June 2, 2022

The Spirituality of the Sword

International Martial Arts Association
Do you practice iaido? 

Do you know about the spiritual significance of the sword?

One of the things that we in the West tend to neglect in our study of the Japanese sword is the spiritual aspect. We tend to forget the fact that in Japan the sword is considered a sacred object. We become too involved with questions and kantei (“appraisal”). There are many questions about swords that will never be answered, so we shouldn’t get too wrapped up in it. Viewing swords has been associated with contemplation, and as we evaluate our appreciation of the sword we will come to realize the path that we are on and comprehend other aspects of Japanese culture such as; the silence of the tea ceremony, the moment a Zen master writes calligraphy, the natural glaze on a Japanese pot, or the moment sumo wrestlers face each other in a match, and bear it in mind for our future study. It is here that the essence of Japan resides. 

The first time we picked up a sword we were probably firstly drawn to the purity of the steel, the elegant shape and the undulating line that we thought was a hamon (the crystalline structure along the edge of a blade) but was probably just the hadori polish. Then we noticed the wood grainlike pattern but could not determine whether it was well forged or well-polished. As we progressed in our study, and our mind was trained, it opened our eyes to be able to eventually see all the activities within the steel. 

An International Martial Arts Association For You

Regardless of age, how long you’ve been training, or where you’re from, there’s always something you can learn from others! The Shudokan Martial Arts Association is an international martial arts association with members in multiple countries. When you join SMAA, you’ll belong to a community of likeminded martial artists and budo fans who have plenty of wisdom to share with you. You can learn more about budo, keep up to date on budo news, and test for authentic rank. If you are a student at heart, continue your education with SMAA!

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