Video compilation goes viral for capturing some stunning slices and surprising fails.

There are many types of traditional martial arts in Japan, but one that continues to attract a lot of interest both at home and abroad is Iaido, which roughly translates to “the way of mental presence and immediate reaction”.

Practitioners, known as “iaidoka”, aim to hone their mental presence and reactions using the katana, or Japanese sword. Everything from the unsheathing through to the cutting movements and replacement of the sword are smooth and controlled, creating an impressive display for spectators who attend tournaments when they’re held throughout the country.

At one recent tournament, a number of iaidoka gathered to test their sword skills against a series of rolled tatami “omote” mats. This practice of “tameshigiri”, or “test cutting”, first originated in the 17th century as a way to test the strength of a sword, but today it’s used to demonstrate the practitioner’s skill with the sword instead.

▼ The density of these straw mats is designed to replicate the density of human flesh.

Twitter user @ww2doitugun attended the tournament and took some time to create a video compilation of the event once it was over. With so many people taking part in the tournament, the clip shows a good cross-section of the different levels of skill on display, with both ends of the spectrum condensed into less than two minutes.

Take a look at the video below:

The video has since gone viral, receiving over a million views from people around the world. And while the last participant’s clean slash through every one of the mats is strangely satisfying to watch, for many it was this man who stole the show.

After failing to make a mark on any of the mats, despite putting a lot of strength behind his strike, this man’s shocked reaction to his epic fail makes his attempt even more special. According to the creator of the clip, this man’s sword was actually bent out of shape following the strike, suggesting he may have used an unsharpened practice sword by mistake.

▼ Either that or he needs to invest in a better katana.

Regardless of whether the participants succeeded or failed against the test mats on the day, the video is a fantastic reminder of the power of the Japanese sword and the determination of those who learn how to wield it. After all, mastering the art is never as easy as it looks, which is something we learnt when watching Japan’s “Modern Day Samurai” making a thousand cuts against this robot with a sword.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter/@ww2doitugun