Suburi is a Japanese word for practice swings used in sports such as baseball, tennis, golf, and in martial arts. Outside Japan, the word is used exclusively for repetitive individual cutting exercises used in Japanese martial arts such as kendo, aikido, iaidō, and kenjutsu.
At Newport Beach Aikido, Sensei Pennewaert Shihan explains that Suburi with a Bokuto helps develop the core and strengthen the entire body. The expression most commonly used in Japan is “bokuto”, 木刀, and it means, very simply, wooden katana. This is the most precise term to speak of a wooden sword that is made to imitate a katana. Sensei’s personal bokuto is much heavier and thicker than a typical bokken practice sword. The purpose is strictly for training to develop the body. Pennewaert Shihan notes that the bokuto is not used for precise cuts.
It’s important to maintain the mind and body during the Covid-19 crisis. As a means to help our students at Newport Beach Aikikai, Sensei Pennewaert recommends that his students continue to practice at home with Suburi training.
Newport Beach Aikikai’s Suburi training video shows 10 lessons with exercise cuts and basic exercises for aikido practitioners to develop different areas of the body. The exercises is designed to help tone the triceps, forearms, gluten, calves, wrists, shoulders, and more. The repetitive motions are intended to build core and balance.
How often should you practice Suburi training? Sensei Pennewaert suggests practicing two to three times per week to start and the number of reps will depend on the individual. You can set goals and challenge yourself as the body develops.