Shohato

Introduction

Shohato is the first technique of Shoden. It’s the first technique we are taught when beginning training.

Technique

It starts from seiza (kneeling) and the first, opening cut, or nukitsuke is horizontal, it is made because your opponent has started to draw their sword. The nukitsuke stops them. You push forward slightly, causing your opponent to be off balance, therefore unable to continue to draw their sword or get away.

Swiftly you bring your sword above your head, making sure not to drop the tip and make the final ‘killing’ cut or kirioroshi, vertically down through the center of your opponent’s head down to a point where the cut finishes with the sword just below horizontal.

You finish the technique with an o-chiburi (a symbolic cleansing of blood from the blade), as you rise slowly to a standing position, pausing before completing the technique, ensuring your opponent is dead.

Then finally noto (putting the sword back into the saya), kneeling once again, and finally rising and stepping back.