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Introduction

Accuracy and Precision play an important role while measuring anything. It is not possible for measurements to be completely error-free. Thus, when we are performing scientific calculations, our answers will carry certain errors, which can vary each time we repeat the experiment. For example, the acceleration due to gravity on Earth is 9.80665 m/s2, but if you measured it experimentally, you would get a different value. Hence, errors are inevitable. The inevitability of errors necessitates ways to describe them. Accuracy and precision are two essential terms that help us understand the error in our measurement. In this article, we will discuss them in detail.

Define Accuracy

Whatever quantity you are measuring must have a true value. For instance, the value of the refractive index of water is 1.33333.

The accuracy of your measurement describes how near or far off you are from the true value of the quantity you are measuring. If you found the refractive index of water to be 1.31, you are quite close to the true value; thus, the measurement is accurate. Note that accuracy is defined individually for a single reading. Even in a set of readings, different readings will have different accuracy. As a whole, the set is accurate if its mean is close to the true value.

What is Precision?

While performing experiments, you usually take multiple readings to ensure better results. The term “precision” describes how close these readings are to each other. For example, consider the following measurements of the length of a stick −

1.01 m

1.02 m

0.99 m

1.02 m

As you can see, these readings do not deviate too much and thus, are said to be precise. As opposed to accuracy, precision is defined for a set of readings, not for each individual reading.

Accuracy and Precision Examples

To further clarify the meaning of accuracy and precision, let us take a couple of examples −

Example 1: A girl is 1.76 m tall. While measuring her height, her five friends record it as

1.7 m

1.78 m

1.73 m

1.72 m

1.75 m.

These values are very precise since they do not deviate much from each other. And in terms of accuracy, the last friend is the most accurate since she is only 0.01 m away from the true value. On the other hand, the first friend is the least accurate among this set.

Example 2: Once again, we take the same girl and this time, five other students record her height. The outcome is as follows −

1.51 m

1.61 m

1.88 m

1.72 m

1.80 m

Notice how far apart these values are from each other, i.e., how imprecise they are. At the same time, reading 4 is the most accurate, while reading 1 is once again, the least accurate.

Distinguish between Accuracy and Precision

AccuracyPrecision Accuracy is a measure of the closeness of a value to a standard or true value.Precision describes the variation of several values from each other. Accuracy is defined for each individual reading, even if you have a set.Precision has no meaning for one single reading. It is only defined for a set. Accuracy measures agreement with a standard value.Precision measures agreement of readings with one another. If the results of the reading are consistently accurate, they must be precise. In other words, consistent accuracy requires precision.Precision does not necessarily guarantee accuracy. One can have a highly precise set of values that are significantly far off from the true value.

Table-1: Difference between Accuracy and Precision

What is False Precision?

There are various instances in which, data can be misleading. Data presented in a format that makes it appear to be more precise than it truly is said to carry false precision.

An interesting example of false precision occurs when we convert between units. For example, imagine a car traveling at 40 mph. In terms of km/h, this corresponds to 64.3738 km/h, which has four significant digits after the decimal point, even though the original reading had none. False precision can also arise in the following cases −

When high-precision and low-precision data are combined together, it can lead to false precision.

Quantification of Data

“Quantification” refers to the description of some value in numeric terms. Saying that a person is tall is an incomplete statement in science. We must specify their height as a number and only then, will it make scientific sense.

Quantification is essential since computers only handle numbers and thus, analysis done via computers requires data in numeric format. Quantification also allows us to perform statistical analysis, which is useful for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Practice Questions

Q1. Discuss the accuracy and precision of the following set of readings of the refractive index of water (1.3333)

1.32

1.54

1.11

1.61

1.22

Ans. This set of readings is very imprecise since it diverts significantly from each other. The first reading (1.32) is the most accurate, while the fourth reading (1.61) has the worst accuracy.

Q2. A student uses a metre-scale and measures the length of his pencil to be 0.1237 m. Her teacher awards him zero marks for this. What could be the reason for that?

Ans. A metre-scale can only measure up to one-thousandth of a metre. This means that the fourth digit after the decimal place can’t possibly be measured by it. The data, therefore, has false precision and the student gets a zero.

Q3. Why is the following set of readings for the acceleration due to gravity not a good set?

9.805 m/s2

9.005 m/s2

10.610 m/s2

10.100 m/s2

9.512 m/s2

Ans. Even though the average of the above set of readings is 9.8064 m/s2, which is only 0.002% inaccurate, it is still a bad set since it is very imprecise, i.e., the values diverge significantly from each other.

Conclusion

Errors while performing measurements are impossible to avoid and thus, we need ways to describe them. Accuracy and precision are two important tools in understanding the errors we encounter in scientific experiments. Accuracy is a measure of the diversion of a value from a true or standard value. It is defined separately for each reading, even for a set of readings. Precision on the other hand is a measure of the variation of readings from each other in a set and is not defined for a single reading. Accuracy and precision are independent, and it is possible to have one without the other. Sometimes, data appears to be more precise than it truly is due to the way it is presented. This is known as false precision and is encountered, for example, while converting between units. Combining data of varying precision can also lead to false precision. We need data from around us to be in numeric format to perform various computations, calculations, and analyses. The conversion of data into numbers is known as quantification and is essential for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

FAQs

Q1. How do you find the percentage error from a known value?

Ans. Use the following formula to find the percentage error.

$$mathrm{e=frac{experimental: value-true:value}{true:value}times 100%}$$

Q2. How many significant digits should we use while performing calculations?

Ans. You should only use as many significant digits as you are initially given in the problem. While performing experiments, only use as many significant digits as your instrument can provide.

Q3. Of accuracy and precision, which is more important?

Ans. Both factors carry equal importance. Good scientific data must be both precise and accurate.

Q4. Discuss accuracy and precision in terms of statistical analysis.

Ans. A data set is deemed accurate when its mean is close to the true value, and it is called precise when its standard deviation is small.

Q5. How do we decide if our data is accurate enough?

Ans. Unless otherwise specified, there is a small rule of thumb you can use. Take the place value of the least significant digit and divide it by 2. This will give you the error margin you are allowed.

For example, if the true value is stated as 43.71 m, the least significant digit has a place value $mathrm{frac{1}{100}=0.01m}$. Thus, if you are ±0.005 m near the true value, you are accurate.

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The Art Of Happiness

The Art of Happiness – Definition

Happiness is generally defined as the state of mind in which a living being feels pleasure and contentment. However, there is no specific definition for happiness. Happiness is a subjective concept and hence, its definition changes from individual too individual. For some, happiness is all about money. For others, it may be just listening to Beethoven’s sonata. For you, it may be reading this tutorial. Hence, everyone has a different definition of happiness. However, the state of the feeling that one experiences is the same. And hence, the ways to achieve it are more or less common.

What Happiness is Not

Before learning what happiness is, it is required to know what it is not. Happiness is certainly not the following things −

Materialistic pleasure

It is always good to cry sitting inside a BMW car, rather than on a cheap bicycle. However, money cannot always buy you happiness. Although money is an elixir for survival in today’s modern world, yet it can buy things but not emotions. What matters is what an individual does with the wealth he/she has. The pursuit of money leaves an individual with little time to enjoy the material pleasures.

Feeling Good all the Time

Happy people do not always feel good. It is a misconception that being happy is an eternal state of mind. Stress, tensions and setbacks are part of life. However, what defines happiness is how the individual responds to such situations. The capacity to absorb the setbacks, work on them and improve the condition is what determines happiness levels in the long-term.

One-Stop Solution How to Define Happiness

The definition of happiness depends on the individual. However, all kinds of happiness stem from the feeling of satisfaction. In the wake of dissatisfaction, an individual is possessed by the thoughts of the discontent and is occupied by anxiety. Hence, happiness is the state of mind that sets people to have a feeling of positive well-being.

The most important task at hand for a person who wants to be happy is to define what happiness means to him or her. Here is an exercise for you.

Exercise

Take a piece of paper and write down your definition of happiness.

Now, if you have written down your definition of happiness, compare it with the definitions given over the Internet. You will find a hundred definitions, all differing from one another in some or the other way. However, each definition is correct and is based on the perception of the writer.

For you, happiness may be the feeling of eternal bliss. For others, it can be as simple as playing a violin or going for a walk. For some, it can be doing workout, for others it can be watching one’s favorite movie with friends or alone. This is an important task and must be done prior to taking any step to be happy.

Defining happiness helps one to measure happiness. Please note, we are not talking of monitoring happiness. It is just about measuring happiness, and we will know more about the ways of measurement in the later chapters. There are primarily five ways in which people define happiness. They are as follows −

Sensory pleasure

Hubristic pride

Authentic pride

Love or Connection

Abundance

Sensory Pleasure

In the first category, people define happiness as moments of sensory pleasure. Going to parties or watching movies or having a night in the arms of one’s love, going on vacations or having a good food are all included in this category.

Hubristic pride

Hubristic pride is the emotion that one feels when one has a feeling of being superior to someone else. For example, winning a contest or a race, winning over an argument, or being promoted in office are examples of hubristic pride.

Authentic pride

Authentic pride is the one that we feel when we find we are at a better position than before. Happiness equals progressing towards mastery of something. We compare to how we were earlier and how we are now.

Love or Connection

The fourth category is the emotion felt when we feel in love with something. This ‘something’ can be a person or a pet or even an activity or scenery.

Abundance

The last one is the state when a person feels that he/she is happy with what life is like. Abundance is felt when we find life as interesting and not threatening.

The best definitions are the ones which have elements of authentic pride, love or abundance. Hubristic pride does not last longer and is also not a good quality to possess. Sensory pleasure is also distracting and transient.

The best definition of happiness is the one which is based on abundance. The reason being that abundance is found to last longer than all others. Happiness can be believed as joy. Happiness can be also defined as a feeling of serenity. It can be also defined as a feeling of interest or curiosity. Another way to see happiness is to see it as a feeling of amusement or laughter.

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Master The Art Of Sleeping On Planes

Even on a red-eye flight, if you’re not flying business, you will have a hard time falling asleep, simply because planes aren’t set up to make it easy. You have to stay sitting up, there’s noise from the engines and other passengers, the cabin crew will wake you up to feed you a miserable meal, and at some point someone will ask you to stand up so they can go to the restroom. And that’s assuming it’s the middle of the night and the blinds are closed. If you’re trying to sleep on a daytime flight, all bets are off.

It takes a lot to overcome all these issues, but it’s not impossible. This is what I’ve learned.

Get the right gear

Inflatable neck pillows? Yeah, no. Memory foam is the way to go. Syda_Productions via Deposit Photos

If you’re on a long-haul flight, the airline will most likely provide you with a small pillow, a blanket, and, if you’re lucky, an eye mask. The thought is good, but the execution is miserable. To really get comfortable on a plane, you need better gear.

Similarly, the cheap polyester blankets provided on planes are less than ideal. They’ll work in a pinch, but I recommend you get a sleeping bag liner—think of them like sleeping bags without any insulation. They’re made from either cotton, synthetic fabrics, or silk, and are meant to be used with a sleeping bag as an extra layer when it’s cold, or on their own when it’s too hot for a regular bag. They pack down super-small, so they’re easy to fit in your carry-on luggage. Clamber into yours and you’ll be able to get properly cozy.

What you wear also matters. I’ll leave the exact choices up to you, but aim for a few layers of warm, loose-fitting clothes. I normally go with shorts or track pants, a nice t-shirt, a light top, and a big hoodie. That way, if the AC is on high, I can put on my hoodie—or strip it off and go with the light top, or just the t-shirt, if I get too warm. Don’t forget warm socks, either.

Brushing your teeth is an important part of most people’s nightly routine, so bring your toothbrush and a small tube of travel toothpaste. It’s much easier to fall asleep with a minty fresh taste in your mouth—and it’ll make things a bit more pleasant for your seat neighbor as well.

Personally, I find it much easier to sleep while wearing noise-cancelling headphones (or at least in-ear earbuds) that are playing chill music. Doing so cuts out the worst of the plane sounds and means you won’t be disturbed by people talking nearby. It will also deter them from talking to you unless strictly necessary. If you prefer not to listen to music, it’s a good idea to pick up some basic foam earplugs from a pharmacy.

A sleep mask can also go a long way. This is another case where cheap pharmacy models are actually pretty good. Grab one that will fit snugly against your face and won’t move out of place if you decide to change positions. Always keep it in your carry-on bag.

One thing I’m deliberately leaving off this list is sleeping pills. Relying on prescription medications to go to sleep is a slippery slope. If you feel you need them, talk to your doctor. Also, there’s no clear consensus on whether taking melatonin tablets helps or not, so again, talk to your doctor if you really want to go that route.

If you’re planning to sleep on your flight, you’ll need to start preparing before you even get to the airport.

When you book or check in online, choose a seat that’ll let you sleep. For most people, that’s a window seat away from the toilets or galley.

It’s worth getting a bit of exercise in earlier in the day to tire yourself out, if you can. Also, keep your meals light and don’t drink too much caffeine or alcohol—you want to give yourself the best chance to sleep, and that airport coffee or beer while you wait at your gate won’t help much.

Assume the position

If your business class ticket was also paid for by your employer, you’d be smiling in your sleep too. J.M. Guyon via Deposit Photos

It’s a lot easier to sleep when you’re comfortable, but what’s comfortable is different for everyone. A window seat is generally the easiest to sleep in and gives you the most options. The easiest thing you can do is to rest your head against the bulkhead beside you. To stop yourself from shifting, recline your seat just enough so you can rest your forehead on the window lip and the back of your head on your seat. This will keep you wedged in place and let you settle in properly.

In any seat, you can go with the forward lean. Put your tray table down, rest your arms on it, and rest your head on the seat in front of you. If there’s a big in-seat display, use the blanket and pillow provided by the airline to cover it. Drape the blanket over it and make a pocket for the pillow. This is actually my favorite way to sleep, just be careful not to move too much: If you start head-butting the seat, the person in front of you will get annoyed.

If the seat beside you is free (or the person beside you doesn’t recline it) it’s possible to get a DIY bulkhead by reclining your seat and using the side of the one next to you as a headrest. You can also put the free tray table down and use it as a pretty comfortable headrest. One of the best flight sleeps of my life was on a long-haul red-eye from Dubai to Dublin. A random guy and I had the window and aisle of a three-seat row with an empty middle seat. He had his head on the middle tray table—much easier on your back than resting your head on your own tray table—and I used the seat as a head rest. From above, we looked like the yin-yang symbol. Our faces were about a foot from each other—and we slept like babies the entire time.

If you’re lucky (or extremely strategic with your seat selection) you might manage to get poor-man’s business class: an entire row to yourself. As soon as the plane’s in the air, lift up all the armrests and lie straight out. Use any airplane pillows to pad the hard areas where the armrests and seat belt straps poke out.

Whatever way you manage to get comfortable, make sure to have your seatbelt visible and over the top of any sleeping bag cover or blanket you’re using. If you don’t, and the seatbelt light comes on, staff will wake you, and you will hate them. Also, if you don’t want to be woken for meal service, either let staff know before you nod off or write a polite “Do Not Disturb” note and stick it to your side.

Don’t set your expectations too high

You need to be realistic when it comes to sleeping on planes. Even if things go perfectly, you won’t sleep as well as you would at home (and you’ll still have jet lag to deal with). On a long-haul red-eye with a good seat, no caffeine, and everything going my way, I aim to get about five hours of OK sleep over the whole flight. I know I’ll be woken up in patches, that it’ll probably take me longer than I want to drop off, and that plane seats just aren’t that comfortable, so planning on anything more is just setting myself up for disappointment.

The Art & Science Of Writing Title Tags

The most important thing anyone can do for their own site is to write effective page titles.

These meta titles need to be effective for both site users and search engines.

The search engines read the title tags to understand what a webpage is about.

Searchers also read the title tag to understand what a page is about.

All too frequently, even seasoned SEO professionals think of the title tag as an afterthought – something to throw together, stuff with keywords, and hope for the best.

Spending the time to get your title tags right pays off in many ways.

Better title tags make pages rank better.

Better title tags increase brand awareness in the search engine results.

Better title tags make your entire search engine presence better.

Title Tag Basics

There are some basic items you need to know about title tags in order to write them properly.

First, understand how a title tag appears in the search engine results.

Above is a screenshot of how this publication, the Search Engine Journal, appears in the Google search engine results.

The title tag is the headline of the result.

As you can see, in this particular result, the title is cut off.

The actual title tag on the Search Engine Journal site is:

The title tag length is important.

As in the result above, a title tag that is too long will be cut off in the search engine results.

Currently, if there is a concern about the title tag not being fully displayed, you should keep your title tags between 55-60 characters.

The title tag on the Search Engine Journal home page is currently 64 characters.

That’s why the title is cut off in this particular result.

On the flip side, we know that Google will read title tags that are much longer than 60 characters.

I’ve performed experiments with title tags over the years, and I’ve seen Google read a title tag of more than 3,000 characters.

I suspect there is a limit to how long of a title tag Google will read, but I don’t know what that is.

But there are many cases where creating title tags beyond the “cut-off” limit of 60 characters may make sense.

However, it’s very important to understand how your title tag will most likely be displayed in the search engine results when writing it.

There can be unfortunate consequences if specific words are cut off in the middle.

I’ll just leave those possibilities to your imagination.

It’s a Headline, Not a Keyword Receptacle

It’s important to have keywords in your title tags.

We have no way of knowing exactly how important the title tag is in regards to the actual algorithm, but we can conclude that it is very important.

There are many instances where a site has ranked for a specific keyword by only have that keyword present in the title tag.

This has led some to create title tags that are nothing but keywords.

There are debates on how best to separate these keyword lists serving as page titles.

And in some cases, specifically, when dealing with product pages on an ecommerce site or pages that are narrowly focused, keyword lists as title tags make sense.

Understanding Your Audience

As I’ve said many times before, it’s important to know your audience.

Understanding how your potential customers will view your company in the search results is very important.

Keyword intent is more of an art than a science, but in many cases, it’s simply common sense.

So different pages can have different types of title tags.

If you have thousands of products, most likely you are using automated rules to create the titles for each product page.

There is nothing wrong with doing this – but you need to spend some serious time understanding how those titles are going to appear in the search engine results.

Creating the rules for automated title tags takes time – and many don’t spend enough time to get it right.

To Brand or Not to Brand

In the example above, you will notice that the Search Engine Journal has chosen to include their brand in their title tag.

A common question that potential SEO clients have is, should I include my brand in my title?

The answer, or course, is it depends.

If your company has a well-known brand that will entice the customer to trust this listing, you should absolutely include your brand in the title tag.

In fact, all you are doing is wasting characters that could be used for keywords or a more enticing headline.

The Bottom Line

Well-crafted title tags take time to create.

Your title tag should never be an afterthought.

When you are building your site, I recommend creating the title tags for each page (or in the case of automation, the rules for the title tags) before writing the content.

This isn’t always necessary, but I’ve found it’s easier to write persuasive copy when I have a title to help start the process – but different strokes for different folks.

If you create a title tag that works for both searchers and search engines, everybody wins.

But like most things that are worth having, there is significant effort required.

Now go take a second and third look at your title tags.

How can you make them better?

More Resources:

Image Credits

Featured Image: Created by author, November 2023

Use Of Art, Design, And Craft In Fashion Industry

Art in and of itself serves as a goal. Art is something we value because it feeds our souls. Craft integrates the means and the end. Pottery is a good example of a craft that is both functional and pleasing to the eye. Design is a tool for achieving other goals. In most cases, design helps with sales or provides a better product experience. It’s interesting to think about how creative expression divides into different groups and the implications for the economy, even though this is simply semantics.

Art, craft, and design are the three categories, and none of them is superior to the other two. Simply put, their cultural implications and intended uses differ. Connotations and purposes naturally create a feedback loop. Art rarely generates a profit, with very few exceptions. Craft brings in some cash. Design generates a lot of revenue. The amount of money earned depends directly on whether the pursuit is more about means or about ends. A creative endeavour has a better chance of being financially successful if it serves some useful purpose; sadly, expanding the mind does not count.

What Is Art?

Fine art, sometimes known as “art,” is a creative process whose end results should be admired for their inventive and beautiful qualities. It is not art if it is lovely. Art is created when beauty has a purpose and is unique. To put it another way, an artwork is a lovely (aesthetic), individualistic (should not be a reproduction), and significant (symbolism) creation.

What Is Design?

A design is a blueprint or drawing that is created to demonstrate the appearance and functionality of a structure, article of clothing, or other object before it is manufactured. It can also be viewed as the configuration of a craft or piece of art’s features. There may be variations of the same piece of art or craft (iterations). The same craft can be done in a variety of useful ways that are all equally lovely.

The design that has the most utility and that best addresses the relevant design issue is picked.

What Is “Craft”?

Craft is any activity requiring expertise in making things by hand while following a guideline or convention to produce an item. It may or may not be functional, but it always has a cultural aesthetic and is connected to the livelihood of a community. In other words, for a utilitarian item to be regarded as a craft, it must be aesthetically pleasing, have socioeconomic value, and represent the cultural history of a society.

Natural materials like wood, clay, glass, fabrics, metal, or paper are frequently used in crafts.

Relationship Between Art, Craft, And Design

Drawing on our analogy, design, craft, and art can be seen to occupy a region of constantly shifting allegiances. This is true of the histories of these three sets of practises as well as the three families of discourses that surround them. Some of the leading practitioners’ changing design practises defy classification. It shows a concern for narrative and allusive elements that goes beyond functionalism. Recent fine art practise has increasingly looked outside of the arsenal of fine art techniques to employ strategies that were previously thought to fall into the domain of material culture, architecture, and design, as well as processes more traditionally associated with the crafts. Some craft practitioners of this century and the last are more vocal than ever about their claim to art status.

Where design, art, and craft can be seen to have developed independently of one another, it is crucial to take into account whether these activities have internalised any ideas or qualities or whether they have created them entirely in opposition to one another. Examining the mutually informative relationships between practise and discourse is crucial to understanding the relevance of design, craft, and art.

The fundamentals that outline the distinctions and connections between design, art, and craft are subject to historical change as well as geographical and cultural variation. It is shown that the interaction of design, craft, and art has a captivating and insightful focal point. The categories “design,” “craft,” and “art,” which are flexible in relation to both time and space, cannot be used in a normative or static manner.

Conclusion

Finally, in the world of contemporary design, art and craft have been unfairly and narrowly reduced to a pitiful, painted caricature. Over millennia of artistic activity, philosophical investigation, and cultural knowledge, designers have flippantly exaggerated the relevance of their respective fields, which vary in substance to a hilarious degree. Art and craft are design. Design is both an art and a craft. There are, however, certain exceptions. Every known human culture has produced works of art and craftsmanship, which are composed of things, performances, and events that have a strong aesthetic appeal.

This definition makes design an indisputable art and craft. It exists in all human cultures. It is employed in the production of things, performances, and experiences. Additionally, designers purposefully incorporate a lot of visual interest into their work. In light of this, the emphasis on a separation between art, craft, and design has been like a persistent, low-grade illness.

How To Master The Japanese Art Of The Sword (With Pictures)

There is a saying: “the sword that saves man kills man .” The sword is a tool for killing. No matter whose hands it is in. If you want to master a sword, then you must be at peace with death, both your own and someone else’s.

You cannot move at superhuman speeds just because you know how to use a sword. It does not make you faster or give you some kind of power. A sword is a special chunk of metal. The skills you learn after many hours of practice with a qualified teacher do not open up a floodgate of secret energy within you. Nothing, not even the samurai, is unbound by the laws of Physics and Geometry when a sword is used correctly.

You can’t cut through trees in one slice. And if you try you’ll probably ruin your sword, the cutting you see in movies is either faked or done with bamboo, which can be cut at such.

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Stand facing forward, you can define four quadrants easily (think of this as though you’re facing north, even if your not): north, south, east, and west. Now think about the four sub-quadrants, called octants: Northwest, northeast southwest, and southeast. These make up a total of eight ways. You can do a simple exercise to learn them, too.

Stand with your right foot forward, left foot back, pointed out to your left, they shouldn’t be too far apart, but they shouldn’t be too close together, either. Now step with your right foot and bring your left foot so that you’re exactly like you were before. That’s one, or north.

Here comes the hard part: the pivoting technique. Examine your stance, with as little effort as possible, turn to the stronger side. In swordsmanship, a strong-side turn is simply turning to the side that will make you use lesser amount of effort when compared to the otherwise. (Whilst turning otherwise is called back-turn or weak-side turn.) If your right foot is forward, pivot back to your left, vice versa.

Now step in with your leading foot and turn back to your first direction. That’s called Zango. Two directions of movement, and that’s also how you do the eight ways. Move through on a strong side pivot to 3, which comes instead of the redirect north. Do zango. 5, 6, 7, and 8 are a little different. From 4, turn 45 degrees to your strong side by sliding your back foot (in this case, your right) in to face the fifth way. Zango from this and do the same to reach 7 and 8. When you hit 8, you should be easily be able to turn back to one. Do that 1000 times. If you want something a little more interesting, try stepping backwards instead of forwards. Then combine the two by doing both. That is Hachi Kata (Method of Doing 8 [ways], or Hachi Do (lit. Eight way).

Learn to pronounce the Japanese language. It will pass your eyes and ears often. It’s a simple phonetic language and can be learned easily. Ask a native speaker to teach you to pronounce, or watch some subtitled anime.

Take the sword (still sheathed) in your left hand, blade side up (outside of the curve facing up) and by the upper part of the saya (sheath). Pull it up against your left side as though it were in your Obi (belt).

Grasp (don’t grab) the Nakago (hilt) right below the Tsuba (hand-guard), and pull straight out, as though you were using the Nakagojiri (very end of the hilt, the end cap) to hit your opponents stomach.

STOP THERE. Imagine yourself in samurai armor. How would you stop from cutting your webbing and/or arm?

Step your left foot back as you draw out and move the sword in an arc over, and point the tip as though you were pointing it at the chest of an enemy as tall as you.

Set the saya aside and put your left hand on the nakagojiri, so the the bottom of your hand ends at the end of the sword.

To look like you know what you’re doing, rotate the blade to the Ura (left) by a few degrees. Congrats, you’re now in right-foot-forward-center(or middle)-guard position.

Stand in Center guard with your right foot lead. Now raise the sword up, so that it’s blade points about 45 degrees behind you (i.e. straight up would be 90, straight back would be 0). This is Right foot forward upper position.

Stand in right foot upper, and move the blade down, until it forms a 45 degree angle pointing down, don’t move your shoulders off your center. This is right foot lower position.

Move to right foot upper and step your left foot in so that it is in the lead and your right foot is pointed to your right side, do this without moving the sword. This is left foot upper.

Move the sword out to the side of your head, pointed about 15 degrees off of the 90, but don’t hold it right next to your head, because you’re still wearing a helmet, and a wide one at that. This is left foot lead, middle.

Square up your body, while still keeping your right foot behind, and your left foot forward, move the handle of the sword to your center, while the blade is still pushed back. This is left foot forward lower.

Try not to think of these as positions. They are merely springboards to your movements. Practice moving between these on your own, but not fast. Move slowly and fluidly, speed will come later. Then get a partner and have him move while you match, then match him a-symmetrically, by doing something different, but at the same rate. Be the shadow to the eagle. Then have your partner be the shadow to your eagle.

Practice the cuts. Kenjutsu is something that takes stamina, so you need to practice. Take the cut you just learned and do it 1000 times, sets of 5, 10, or 50. That burn your going to feel will teach you what you need to know. But remember, practice makes perfect, so if your doing it wrong, you’ll keep doing it wrong. So join a dojo.

Make a cut from any of the six positions explained earlier, with either foot forward. They can be made by a slide (actually, it’s a step, but it’s a step with your lead foot, that’s why your sword stance needs to have your feet close) a step, or just standing. Just remember to index your cut from above your head. That means to pick it up over your head before you cut, because you might have to turn around and cut an enemy behind you before dealing with whoever is in front of you. Example of indexing is left foot lead, lower position. Your instinct is to deal with what’s in front of you, so naturally you would draw the blade past your ear. Instead you need to pick it up over your head, pretty much into upper, then make your cut.

Practice often. Do 10 sets of 10 of all of the cuts you can think of every day or so(remember to do downward cuts, not sweeps and thrusts) . You find it gets a lot easier over time, and you can move to heavier bokken (wooden sword), suburito(a heavier bokken, usually more than 6 pounds) , or iaito (an unsharpened katana).

Try to grasp all of these concepts. When you do, you’re on your way to becoming a skilled swordsman, but this is all I can teach you, you need to go find a school of kenjutsu in your area. If you can’t, and your devoted enough, move. There are good schools all over America, and usually your local community college will offer classes in a Japanese Martial Art, if hey don’t teach Kenjutsu they might know someone who does.

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