Kendo kata are practiced with a solid wooden sword called a bokken. There are ten kendo kata specified by the ZNKR. Kendo kata are practiced between two people, the Uchitachi and the Shidachi. In kendo kata, the Uchitachi attacks; the Shidachi demonstrates a proper response to the attack.
Seven of these kata are illustrations of the technique of the long sword against the long sword. The last three kata illustrate the short sword defending against attacks by the long sword. Prior to the invention of the shinai (bamboo sword) and bogu (armor), kata were the only way that kendoka could safely practice. Originally, the role of Uchitachi was taken by the teacher, and the role of Shidachi by the student. This tradition carries over into modern kendo kata in that the Uchitachi always sets the pace and distance at which the actions are performed.
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