There are all kinds of cool-guy articles about putting lead to steel at the range, also many articles with serious-looking folks in pajamas bending arms and throwing bodies. But something I haven’t seen a lot of are action shots of the Japanese training method known as “tameshigiri“, or practice cutting. Much like ballistic gel is used to simulate how bullets react to human flesh for firearm testing, the practice of tameshigiri involves cutting practice on a realistic simulation of human flesh, without all the mess (and paperwork).
I have fifteen years of kendo
(Japanese full-contact fencing) and hold a 3rd Dan grading, but even
with all that my school never trained with live blades nor practiced tameshigiri.
So whilst I had countless hours of swinging at and hitting my
opponents, we did so in the knowledge that it was all blunt-force.
Again, we were simulating combat, and simulating cutting.
I am fortunate enough to know a senior instructor of a different art, iaido,
another modern Japanese martial art and sport that emphasizes being
aware and capable of quickly drawing the sword and responding to a
They do occasionally practice tameshigiri however, to
test the techniques they are performing. The targets are made of wet,
tightly rolled tatami mat sheets, which need to be cut correctly or they
bind up or crumple, immediately demonstrating an ineffective technique.
Read the rest here on Breach Band & Clear.