What should I expect when joining Naginata?

Our club focuses on atarashii naginata, Within atarashii naginata we practice two distinct disciplines, Engi or Shikake-Oji which is a synchronised form of attack and defence with set patterns and Shiai which is sparring with the goal of scoring points on your opponent.

Practice

For practicing both Shikake-Oji and Shiai we utilizes many drills involving basic footwork and striking with the Naginata this is referred to in practice as kihon. Kihon is essential to becoming a good practitioner of Naginata from the first day you will learn the footwork and how to properly move with the Naginata, different kamae or stances that are used within Naginata as well as how to strike your opponent with the proper form. Kihon practice is done everyday, no matter what level you are at there is always something to work on and learn while practicing kihon!

Sparring

As an atarashii naginata club part of our focus is on sparring or shiai. After a set amount of practice (usually 6 months) you will be given permission to wear body armor (Bogu), Bogu practice utilizes all the basics learned in kihon practice and teaches the Naginata practitioner how to use the naginata in a sparring (shiai) setting. This practice requires a lot of physical training and conditioning as a competitor is expected to fight cleanly and as close to the rules as possible as well as have a humble demeanor.