Joe brought lots of gallon milk bottles, and some smaller, denser apple juice containment units. He filled them with water as we warmed up and practiced our footwork. Then we went out into the parking lot and he pulled out the real blade.
It was a lot lighter than the hickory swords we've been practicing with. I'd kind of expected it to be heavier. Nope.
We took turns slicing bottles, horizontal cuts, rising cuts from tail guard, or descending cuts. If you cut perfectly along the angle of the blade, you get a smooth cut and you don't even feel it as it goes through; you only know because a piece of the bottle slides off and the water pours out. If your angle is off, it feels like you're hitting it with a springy baseball bat. There's a thump and your target bounces off the sword. If you change the angle of the blade or the direction of the cut partway through the target, you'll see it in the cut - there'll be a jag where you made the change. In the image below, you can see a little jag right in the middle where something changed.
After I got a bit more comfortable, Joe suggested I "chip at it." I took off a few layers like this one, and then, inevitably, flubbed a cut and sent the remainder of the bottle spinning across the parking lot.
Now... now I'm feeling the need to own a nice, sharp sword of my own. And after that, all I'll need is to figure out what to do with all that milk...