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Kata, are fixed patterns that teach kendōka the basic elements of swordsmanship. Nihon Kendo Kata were created by the All Japan Kendo Federation. The kata include fundamental techniques of attacking and counter-attacking, and have useful practical application in general kendo. There are ten Nihon Kendō Kata (日本剣道形). These are generally practiced with wooden swords (木刀 bokutō or bokken). Occasionally, real swords or swords with a blunt edge, called kata-yō (形用) or ha-biki (刃引), may be used for display of kata.[37]

All are performed by two people: the uchidachi (打太刀), the teacher, and shidachi (仕太刀), the student. The uchidachi leads, making the first move or attack in each kata. As this is a teaching role, the uchidachi is undergoes symbolic defeat, thus allowing the shidachi to learn and to gain confidence.[37] Kata are included as part of the grading examination process, or shinsa.

Kata one to seven are performed with both partners using a tachi, and are known as tachi no kataKata eight to ten are performed with uchidachi using a tachi and shidachi using a shorter kodachi, and are known as kodachi no kata.[37]

The forms of the Nihon Kendō Kata (日本剣道形<) were finalized in 1933 based on the Dai Nihon Teikoku Kendo Kata, composed in 1912. "It is impossible to link the individual forms of Dai Nihon Teikoku Kendo Kata to their original influences, although the genealogical reference diagram does indicate the masters of the various committees involved, and it is possible from this to determine the influences and origins of Kendo and the Kata."[39]

Number Name Technique Test
1 tachi no kata ipponme shodan+
2 tachi no kata nihonme shodan+
3 tachi no kata sanbonme shodan+
4 tachi no kata yonhonme nidan+
5 tachi no kata gohonme nidan+
6 tachi no kata ropponme sandan+
7 tachi no kata nanahonme sandan+
8 kodachi no kata ipponme yondan+
9 kodachi no kata nihonme yondan+
10 kodachi no kata sanbonme yondan+

In 2003, the All Japan Kendo Federation introduced Bokutō Ni Yoru Kendō Kihon-waza Keiko-hō(木刀による剣道基本技稽古法), a set of basic exercises using a bokuto. This form of practice, is intended primarily for kendōka up to second dan (二段 ni-dan), but is very useful for all kendo students which are organized under FIK.[37]

Kata can also be treated as competitions where players are judged upon their performance and technique.[40][41]Kata is also known as the heart of Kendo</p>

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