The Art Of Drawing A Katana


The Art Of Drawing A Katana

The Art Of Drawing A Katana

Katana is a Japanese blade in use during the feudal period of Japan by samurai. It has seen a return in popularization due to pop culture influences such as films, cartoons, and other popular media. Many martial art dojos are also seen using these Katanas and teaching individuals how to use them properly.

There are different and complex techniques involved in using a katana. Even how to draw a Katana properly is considered a skill. And that skill is what we are focusing on in today's article. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of how to wield and draw your Katana like a true samurai. So, take up a firm stance and let us dive right into the article.

How Do You Draw a Katana?

Using a katana and any weapon requires a level of understanding and skill. Anyone can swing a knife or blade around but are rarely efficient with it. Furthermore, it can often lead to accidents. So, I will teach you the fundamentals of drawing a katana and the proper body mechanics.

The Orientation of the Blade

Before I talk about anything else, you should ensure that your blade is in the correct orientation. Before you even draw your sword, it is essential that the positioning of your blade allows for a quick and efficient draw. When in your sword belt, or obi, the curved end of your Katana should be facing upwards as it slopes towards the ground. 

However, older arts and some arts still use the sword facing downwards. But, this style became outdated when the modern shorter katanas came into use as the designer of the shorter Katana popularized the current style of keeping the curved end upwards.

You should also consider where your sword is relative to your body. It should not be one side of your body, as you will have to reach across to draw it. Thus, leaving your wrist wide open to cut off. 

Instead, the sword should be at a 45-degree angle with your body with the hilt at the center. The hilt, now being closer to the center, protects your wrist when you reach out to draw your blade.

Both Hands Instead of One

Many forms of media may showcase drawing the Katana with just one hand or showcase drawing the sword in flashy ways that are otherwise impractical. The key to pulling a katana is the proper use of both hands. 

Firstly, when you are ready to draw, both hands should move to the Katana. One hand should be on the sheath or the "Saya" of the Katana. It should be the hand closest to the Katana. It should arrive before the other hand and push the Katana down, bringing it closer to the other hand.

Next, position your hand so that it sits below the hilt to release the hilt using your thumb to get it in the ready position with that hand. 

With your other guide, the sword out straight in the direction you are facing. Be sure that you are not pulling the sword out of the Saya. Instead, push it out after the initial release with your thumb. Bring it up so that you are drawing the blade to your opponent’s face.

If you were to grab and pull your sword out, it would ruin the orientation that we covered earlier. Thus, leaving you open to some form of attack. So, instead, you should push it free from the hilt. 

Your hand should not be grabbing the handle of your Katana at this point, either. Instead, imagine your hand moving from the side of your Katana forward as if to tell someone to stop. Similarly, the handle should be sandwiched between your thumb and other fingers. Now Push the sword out as if telling someone to stop.

Pulling the Katana Completely Free

If you followed the early correctly, you would notice that there is still a tiny portion of your blade remaining in your Saya. As you push the Katana free with one hand, the other hand still on your Saya should shove it back, freeing more of it. It would help if you did these two actions simultaneously, so the blade comes free with ease. 

After that, you need to twist the Saya; it results in pressure being built right at the tip of the Katana still in the sheath. Thus, as you pull the Saya back a bit more, the blade flies free, creating a nice clean slash. As you draw the Katana, rotate your hip away from the draw to make this easier and protect your other hand behind your body.

No matter what kind of cut or swing you attempt to do, it is very dependent on the hand that is guiding the Saya. Rotating it will change the swing and curve of the slash. So, the most crucial part of drawing your Katana is not what the hand-drawing the blade is doing. But, instead, what the hand on the Saya does. 

Common Misconception About Drawing a Katana

As I mentioned earlier, a common misconception about drawing a Katana is using only one hand. However, I'm afraid that's not right. Furthermore, drawing the Katana with just your main hand can lead to various issues.

Firstly, I mentioned how there is a small amount left in the Saya after pushing your sword free with your main hand. So, if you were only using your drawing hand, there would be a significant amount of the blade still in the Saya. As a result, you will need to reach out even more, to free the Katana from the Saya.

You should not practice this as it will leave you off balance, making you more susceptible to your opponent's attacks. Furthermore, your cut will not be as good as with both hands. It is because most of the energy for the slash would be coming from your wrist and forearm. However, if you use your other hand properly, pressure will build up in the tip before it is free, resulting in a more powerful cut. 


So with that, you should know how to draw a Katana properly. If you are interested in Katanas, I highly recommend searching for martial art dojos in your area to train you in the art properly. After all, there is more to the Katana than simply drawing it. 

I wish you the best of luck with your endeavors. Thank you and goodbye!

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