Three wooden practice swords
The wooden practice swords used by author Katherine M. Lawrence.

Writing about sword fighting comes from having taken some fencing lessons, Japanese style, and sword fighting has led to the writing about a Japanese fencer.

Hazard Sensei suggested using walnut oil (available from most supermarkets) to keep the blades moist, especially for the shinai (the one in the middle).

Although I do not re-enact the sword fighting scenes from Yamabuki, I do use them to remind myself of the reach of the katana (long sword). Currently I am reworking a scene for “Haru.” Fighting from horseback, sword-to-sword, does not allow much reach, especially if the horses brush up against one another. I try and keep in mind my father’s recollections of his days in the horse cavalry and just how far horses could and could not be trained, pushed, and utilized in combat.