Battodo is the Japanese art of swordsmanship, although participants at the Battodo Fudokan training school only get to practice with a wooden weapon – slicing through the air with an elongated pole can’t help but put one in mind of Star Wars.

Playacting Luke Skywalker’s duel with Darth Vader has a certain (geeky) cool sheen, but can it get you fit? Well, you might not break out into a mega sweat, but if that’s what you wanted, you’d sign up for a spin class.

What battodo provides is improved focus, coordination, flexibility and strategic thinking. The school’s founder, John Evans, notes that the sport also has meditative qualities (think tai chi, but with weapons).

Beginners to the martial art will start with the basics, such as footwork, how to hold a bokken (wooden sword), plus some thrusting and cutting movements. To get to a real blade, it might take about a year.

The school offers four-week courses and drop-in classes for novices. Beginners classes Mon, 6.15pm-7.15pm; Thur, 6.30pm-7.30pm. £10 for drop-in, £50 for six-week beginners course. 

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