Battodo, loosely translated, means "the way of drawing and cutting with a sword in a single motion." The basic distinction between battodo and kenjutsu is that kenjutsu consists of fighting techniques that are used after the sword is drawn. The terms battodo and iaido are mostly interchangeable in English, though most iaido schools emphasize techniques from a seated position.
The techniques and forms of battodo that are taught by the U.S. Federation of Battodo at seminars and events were created by the Zen Nihon Battodo Renmei, and are used for testing and tournaments throughout North America as well as in Japan.
Shoden Seitei Kata
The Shoden Seitei Kata are the basic set of kata. Their purpose is to teach basic techniques of drawing and sheathing the sword, as well as basic cutting techniques. These kata can be applied to tameshigiri in a simple manner, regardless of style.
Chuden Seitei Kata
The Chuden Seitei Kata are the advanced forms. These have been adapted from many styles to provide a standard set of kata for competition. These eight kata depict defense against attacks by one or more opponents through basic footwork and sword techniques that would be used in battlefield situations.
The practice of tameshigiri (test cutting) is a means of testing and fortifying proper technique that is taught in various styles.
The most important aspect of proper tameshigiri is safety. How to draw, sheath, cut, clean, and maintain a shinken (sharp sword) is an essential part of correct training. However, basic technical concepts of cutting must be expressed correctly in order to make it through a tatami/wara (straw mat), regardless of style.
There are specific standardized patterns that are employed in order to focus on basics, and more advanced cuts that can only be performed after a strong set of basics has been acquired. These cutting patterns are used at sword tournaments in Japan and in the U.S.
Shinsa is testing for dan ranks. It is judged by the proficiency shown in the specific kata sets and tameshigiri noted above.
Dan rank is an indicator of a practitioner's skill level. Based on one's rank, certain privileges may be granted, such as:
- Providing assistance to other USFBD member dojos in teaching and testing
- Participation in specific divisions at tournaments
- Being involved in judging at tournaments, after attaining sufficient rank and experience