Recently training has focused on kenjutsu and battojutsu on Wednesday evenings. On Saturday mornings we have been working on taijutsu kata and idori. Things are really starting to click. I'm retaining more and more of the kata now and the new kata are easier to remember as the TSYR principles underlie all the techniques.
Recently we were split into two groups. One group worked on the Shoden kumitachi and another group worked on the first set of the Chuden kumitachi and then moved into the first few kata of the next set. There is so much to learn (I seem to be always thinking this). As always I must work on obtaining the correct mindset for TSYR sword work. The physical application of the kata is only the beginning, the intent and mental application is just as important.
As I have been training I have been delving deeper into the bits and pieces of a sword. For a while now I have been determined to remove the mekugi (bamboo pin) from the handle of my sword. Ever since I have had the sword the mekugi has been jammed in so hard I have not been able to get it out. Armed with a hammer and two blocks of wood, I took my sword outside and placed it across the blocks. Then using a modified roofing nail I hammered on the pin until it finally moved. It took many more strikes before it loosened and was knocked out. Before anyone growls at me, I didn't have a mekuginuki at the time and I was being careful.
I discovered that hole of the tang through which the pin went through had gouged into the pin jamming it in there. So I made a new mekugi out of a bamboo chopstick. I removed the handle and checked the tang. There was some corrosion where the tsuba had been rubbing against the metal so I sanded that back and put some sword oil on it. The tang is long and is almost the length of the tsuka, which is an indicator of a good sword, I believe.
I reassembled the handle and put the new pin in. Good as new!