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Firstly I would like to say that all of the material contained within this blog is of my own opinion and any inaccuracies in technical content or other's personal quotations are completely my own.

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7th dan iaido grading due in

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Gothenburg Iaido Seminar

Right, I was putting off writing this as I was so busy and realised there was looooot of information to capture. It was an absolutely excellent seminar as these smaller ones tend to be. I think a lot of people have sensed that Ishido Sensei tends to toe the line when he is with a big delegation but offers fantastic personal experiences when there is only one or two other teachers with him. I will cut through all the timetable stuff: we spent day one doing seitei and day two doing koryu with a taikai and a grading.

I grabbed sensei to the side during one of the breaks to ask him about the 'feeling' of the kissaki when sayabanare takes place during nukitsuke. On a previous post I had noted that the three options that I had played with were:
  1. To begin tensing the tsuka so that the kissaki leapt out of the koiguchi.
  2. To keep the right hand relaxed and gradually accelerate the kissaki on sayabanare
  3. To keep the mune slightly pressed against the base of the saya and bring the sword level before the kissaki advances.
The answer I got was so simple I should have anticipated being surprised (which is logically the most stupid thing to write): the feeling should be to make the kissaki move forwards. Making it travel out sideways to conclude with a sideways cutting action is not correct. The sword must make a forward cutting action.

I am kicking myself a bit because I have translated numerous times his explanation on how and why sayabiki works which captures this forward movement quite elegantly. Still it now leaves me to work on creating this forward movement in the most relaxed fashion.

Now to go through the kata one by one:

  1. Mae - nothing much to say here. The kata is so intricately described that just doing it right is a rewarding thing.
  2. Ushiro - the option of rotating while the feet stand is applicable for nidan's and above. Sensei explained and demonstrated how the kata could be done with someone a) completely obstructing the clockwise direction and b) partially blocking the anti-clockwise direction. The effect of course was an action made similarly to Atarito where the majority of the draw happens in a rearward direction. It was also emphasised how important it was to maintain one's new centreline once turned and moving into furikaburi. Using Lukasz as a foot model he also showed how lifting the heel was important in moving forwards in furikaburi adequately.
  3. Ukenagashi - here is where the fun started. I should add that I am unsure how much of this following explanation is Ishido Sensei (and his dojo's) own interpretation of Ukenagashi and how much comes from on high. Anyway, the process of movement was now a) to prepare by placing the hands and looking up to the left, b) to raise the hips and position the feet simultaneously with elevating the sword up to the chest with the minimum of sayabiki, c) to stand and draw the last 75% of the sword in one action. This has an interesting effect of making the vital part of the form happen naturally very quickly. It is also very easy to make it busy and I spent quite a lot of time constructing the kata in slow bite-sized portions (it tasted of chicken).
  4. Tsukaate - again not much to say

Gaaahhh....just been kidnapped by Munchkins - call the wizard!

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