Shihan Dana Abbott has compiled over 40 years of experience and that knowledge is incorporated into this website. The website contains an enormous amount of practical and technical information and is meant to be used as a prerequisite to Shihan Abbott’s intensive course. You will gain a strong understanding of what is involved before your “hands on” experience. After your “hands on” experience where you actually have the opportunity to wield a sword, this website will become your go-to reference, which will make sure you are practicing perfectly without forming bad habits.
LearnTheSword.com is designed to teach Tachi-iai: Toyama-Ryu Iai Batto Do Japanese Swordsmanship using both traditional and contemporary learning methods. These methods include reading the tutorial text and watching the tutorial videos on this website. Then you will practice what you have learned and use your cell phone or camera to video your performance. This video will be emailed to Shihan Abbott and it will be critiqued using Shihan Dana Abbott’s Cyber Sensei technique. The video will then be placed on YouTube and a private link will be sent to you for reviewing.
It is Shihan Abbott’s experience that most people who have an interest in learning how to wield a sword prefer to practice by themselves. And since a good part of swordsmanship focuses on the self-reliant individual, the lone wolf, a training partner is not really necessary at this time.
This tutorial program is broken down into three sections:
Section One: Learning Guidelines and Performance Requirements
Section Two: Bokutou Wood Bokken – The Basics
Section Three: Steel Katana – Advanced Technique
Section One (Tutorials 01-21) is the first step towards learning and practicing traditional Tachi-iai: Toyama-Ryu Iai Batto Do Japanese Swordsmanship as it was taught for generations. This present generation has the privilege of using newer computer technology to learn the Japanese Sword.
This course consists of two general sets of guidelines. The first set is your Learning Objectives (Tutorials 01-11), which Shihan Abbott has designed to assist you in your study and training requirements. The second set, which is Performance Requirements (Tutorials 12-21), evaluates your accomplishments and progress during the course, eventually leading to Testing and Ranking.
Section Two (Tutorials 22-58): Section two explains the Wood Bokken sword outlining all the basic concepts and techniques involved. This is your basics. It also explains how to manipulate a bokutou with the correct demonstrations of the grip, stances, cutting angles, sword forms, kihon exercises, drawing and sheathing.
Section Three (Tutorials 59-76): Section Three demonstrates the Steel Katana sword. This section is very important to understand swordsmanship. Before you can completely master Japanese swordsmanship you need to be aware and proficient in the use of subtleties in your cutting techniques and transitions. This advanced section will show you the finer points of wielding a sword together with the mindset involved.
As in any University students must follow the entire course of study, attend all the lectures [Section Two (Tutorials 22-58) and Section Three (Tutorials 59-76)] both basic and advanced, then practice and duplicate all the requirements in the laboratory [Learning Objectives (Tutorials 01-11)]. Upon viewing the lectures and practicing the labs it is time to demonstrate your progress in the testing section [Performance Requirements (Tutorials 12-21)].