Forging a Katana
Here below is an interesting video about forging a katana. It tells of the history of the Japanese sword, explains how the steel is made, how it is forged, polished, and used in modern day Japan.
There is also an interesting segment on Kashima Shinto-ryu, a sword school in Japan. This is interesting for Aikido-ka because there is a link associated between the sword forms of Kashima Shinto-ryu and the Aiki-ken forms developed by Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba. Here is an extract from an article by Aikido Journal editor, Stanley Pranin, the worlds foremost Aikido historian:
“The “Budo” manual includes several suburi movements derived from Kashima paired-sword (kumitachi) practices. Ueshiba, together with Zenzaburo Akazawa, formally enrolled in this 500-year-old classical tradition based in Kashima, Ibaragi Prefecture in 1937. Although Ueshiba never actually practiced at the Kashima dojo, instructors from the school visted Ueshiba’s dojo once a week for about a year to teach a few students including Akazawa and Ueshiba’s son, Kisshomaru. Ueshiba would keenly observe these special training sessions and then practice on his own with students such as his son and Akazawa who had taken lessons with the Kashima teachers. Ueshiba would continue his experimentation with these sword arts through approximately 1955. These constitute the root forms for the aiki ken techniques which were subsequently systematized into their present forms by Morihiro Saito in Iwama.”
Here is another link concerning Kashima Shinto-ryu and the Founder of Aikido: www.koryu.com.