How to holding Katana or Bo Ken
A Quick History
The primary weapon of the samurai in feudal Japan was the katana. It has a 3-foot long curved blade made of soft steel over hard steel. It is an awe-inspiring weapon. The handling and use of the samurai sword is steeped in tradition. There are very specific rules and procedures that must be followed precisely when holding one. There are very good reasons for this. A samurai sword is perfectly balanced. The weight of the blade is equal to the weight of the handle. The holder’s hands must be located in the right position to utilize this delicate balance and avoid cutting himself.
Holding Katana or Bo Ken
1 - Place the end of the samurai sword handle in the palm of your left hand. Wrap your ring finger, middle finger and index finger around the handle. Your little finger should be closed beneath the handle but not wrapped around it. Place the thumb on top of your index finger.
2 - Grasp the samurai sword just below the sword guard with your right hand. This is at the top of the handle just below the blade. Your right hand should be at an obtuse angle to the blade. This allows the blade to protrude directly in front of you.
3 - Wrap the little finger, ring finger and middle finger of your right hand around the top of the handle. The thumb wraps around and lies on top of the middle finger. The index finger extends slightly forward. The freedom of the little finger of your left hand and the extension of the index finger of your right hand gives you a feel for the movement of the sword and expands your range of motion.
4 - Hold the samurai sword in front of you. Allow your arms to naturally hang down. The base of the handle should be about a hand’s width below your belly button. Angle the samurai sword at an upward angle so the tip of the blade is at your chin level. Your wrists should be relaxed and bent at identical angles away from your body. Standing like this should be comfortable and effortless.
5 - Relax your hands. It is common for beginning swordsmen to strangle a samurai sword by clutching it too tight. A gentle grip is required for the delicate and pure motions of a samurai. Get a feel for the weapon. When you push with one hand, you pull with the other. If you are holding the samurai sword correctly it will slice through the air effortlessly.