FREE LECTURE TONIGHT How to care and clean a Japanese Sword

6:30 PM tonight

This lecture is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend


  In Japan, a person who is a master craftsman is referred to as a shokunin (職人).  In the digital era, this idea of hands on type of craftsmanship has started becoming obsolete.  In the past a shokunin was someone who followed the Way of something. The path of Aikido was referred to as Aikido no michi (合氣道の道).  No in Japanese is a possessive and michi means path or way. In the generation before ours it was unconscionable to study more than one Way. For instance, if you did Aikido, you only did Aikido. The mindset of people of past generations was that if one was to become a master at something, they needed to pour all their efforts into that one thing. They knew that the only thing that separated a master from a novice was experience.

In the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi, they describe five key factors that all shokunin chefs should possess.

  1. A shokunin must be majime (真面目) or serious about their art.
  2. A shokunin is constantly kojoshin (向上心) or striving to improve themselves.
  3. Shokunin have a penchant for cleanliness and organization or seiketsukan (清潔感).
  4. All shokunin are ganko (頑固) or stubborn.
  5. Every shokunin is jyonetsu (情熱) or passionate about what it is they do.

Tonight we host Karita Sensei and his son Naoki.  They will be giving a beginners lecture on the Japanese sword.  It is a beginners lecture because before one can use a sword properly they should know how to care, clean and maintain it.  To the Japanese, the sword is a living thing and thus like all living things we need to know how to care for them.   They are both sword polishers in the Honami style.  Karita Sensei has been polishing swords since the 1960s.  Regardless if you study the sword or collect swords, it might be interesting to see a true shokunin talk about his craft.  Having spent a lot time with Karita Sensei, I am blown away about how much he knows about swords and all of their accoutrements.  He is extremely passionate and it shows by how generous and forthcoming he is about his craft.   As I follow the path of Aikido, when I come into contact with other passionate people it inspires me and helps me stay on my path as I have high hopes that someday I too might be a shokunin.