October Theme: Kashira


The Kashria is what we call the ‘Pommel’ upon our swords, and is basically the cap at the end of the Tsuka that protects the wooden handle from damage and the bindings called the ‘Ito’ from unravelling. It is often ornamented with matching themes from the Tsuba or even the Menuki (handle ornaments) and a swordsman when ordering the furniture of his sword would choose all of these designs to reflect himself and his life.

Also a strong end cap would of been of great use in the heat of battle, when both ends of the sword may be called into service for close quarter fighting, and the Kashria could be ‘smashed’ in to an opponents face! Or driven in to the body to create room for a full swing of the sword, who might know!

These forms of desperate measures that must be used in combat are more the province of our unarmed combat classes now, and not found in our tranquil sword classes today…luckily!
But as an instructor it is surprising how often one refers to the Kashria in a class. To a beginner it may appear a seemingly unimportant part of the sword, but as always in sword it pays not miss the detail!

As the student prepares to execute an Iado movement, that is to draw the sword from the Saya and perform a cut all in one movement, the direction and angle with which their Kashira is pointing will determine the flight of this cut, the instructor then knows whether the students cut will be correct before he even draws the sword, thus the teacher will attempt to correct the cut through correction of the Kashira before the sword is even removed.
So to a watchful swordsman the Kashira revels the cut to come, a useful advantage to a swordsman who does not ignore the small things, for he knows it is the detail that reveals the end!

Each small moment is shown to a watcher.

The trembling leaf revealing the wind to come.

A still heron, that a fish lies below.

And a ripple showing the tide has turned.

And to the wise…?
Their future!



Filed under Martial arts, Uncategorized

3 responses to “October Theme: Kashira

  1. RH

    Once again the skilled swordsman shows us how perfect preparation – correct angle and direction of the Kashira – ensures correct action – the cut. We also know that in Karate correct stance is essential to ensure correct movement, defence and strike. Both of these observations are not always apparent to the untrained – it is the detail that will reveal the future!
    Observation is essential when trying to understand the true state of mind in another, friend or foe. The others general demeanour can give a clue to their state of awareness or of disinterest (boredom), but the eyes are the gateway to the sole – they will betray a concealed lie, enforce the moment of emotion.
    Just details, yet essential.

    To see is to know
    A downward glance, the shame
    Tear drops allowed to fall
    Emotion without shame

  2. td001

    Yet another beautifully written post. It really is refreshing to read and feel the emotion that comes across from entries in this blog. Having been in Martial Arts for some time I have seen the ‘grunt and sweat’ and had often thought there must be more. You read about it in books and the odd film makes references to it but to think that such values are upheld in an actual class!! Leave the high kicks and the fancy weapons to the whippersnappers, this feels like a breeding ground for wisdom.

  3. I find the finer details & wisdom behind the physical art the foundation behind it all. Without it there would be no growth or depth, just a series of movements put together. I admit I started off in my younger days for the high kicks and agility, which was right for me at the time, and then I got into what its really all about. Once you understand why you are doing a cut, punch or kick it changes the way it looks & feels. This certainly is an art that moves with the times & evolves with what is needed in this day & age, but the core of strength behind it will always be an eternal rock that will never break 🙂

    A faint murmur in the distance awakens a spark within us,
    Beckoning us to come a little closer.
    A murmur that we recognize, but can’t quite reach
    the harder you listen, the quieter it gets
    Simply listen to the finer details of your soul
    Laugh like you have never laughed before
    And cry like you have never cried before
    Then your veil will start to lift
    And then the magic can really begin…………

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