Sword training revolves around our structure of "Gorin Goho Gogyo" (five equally balanced interweaving rings that symbolize the five major methods of technical study).
Students typically train using a bokuto (wooden sword), and later advance to training with iaito (or mogito, non-sharpened sword) and finally shinken, or 'live blade'. At more advanced levels, the student begins to test their acquired skills through test cutting practice on tatami omote makiwara (rolled up tatami mats, previously soaked in water), and eventually Nihondake or Mosodake (Japanese or Chinese bamboo).
While Shinkendo requires rigorous physical training, depth of coordination, and intense focus, one of the most important aspects of Shinkendo is the emphasis on spiritual forging, which inspires "Bushi Damashii" (the samurai/ warrior spirit), a quality that we feel is as relevant now as it was hundreds of years ago. Proper practice of Shinkendo should provide one with not only a strong body and mind, but also a calm, clear and focused spirit.