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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

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Squad Training May 2011

I decided to use this opportunity to skip Jodo for a change and just focus on Iai. As Greg and Jock were there I was allowed to be left alone most of the time to practice with everyone else and got the one or two bits of feedback which were really useful.

Northampton is also a nice big dojo with a smooth floor although it does have the propensity to rip the feet up a bit. We worked gradually through Seitei and concentrated on:

  1. My footwork.
  2. Body balance.
  3. Relaxing Ochiburi so that it didn't kill my right arm
To be honest it's been a long time since I trained so hard as even at the summer seminars I tend to end up translating and sometimes doing a bit of teaching. Jock gave me some useful feedback especially about my noto and how high my right hand was going. In discussion with him I resolved to make my objective direction closer to 45 degrees to the side rather than focussing at the front (which a lot of people actually do). It's simply impossible with my length of sword to maintain that forward seme without having my right hand come up to shoulder height. That or my arms are shrinking.

I am also discovering something of a hidden beauty in Ushiro. Where previously we "stood" the feet up and turned, the instant turn which is now required creates its own Jo-Ha-Kyu. It is impossible to start that turn quickly without getting into a twist. In the previous method one could spin around on the knee once the feet were standing and I often thought that this detracted from the kata somewhat especially when considering the importance of a gradual build up of speed on the first 5 kata of Shoden Omori Ryu.

I was warned not to push the sword down on Kesagiri (naughty me although I can trace the source of that error). I also consciously affirmed that a slightly stronger angle away from vertical on the first draw of Morotezuki did wonders for the stability of that cut although I now have to be careful about footwork on the thrust preparation. I was told to just focus on squaring the body up and this would be enough foot movement to do the tsuki prep.

The rear thrust on Ganmenate was coming up too high and I am going to have to work on that as I have been doing it that way forever!

As I reached Shihogiri both my arms were starting to hurt and I was allowed to give it a rest and help the others. It was really good turn out for iai as there were a lot of new people all of them showing some good promise.

While I'm on here, I was asked by Peter West to translate the individual terms for Kan-Kyu-Kyo-Jaku and I have pasted them below:

  • Kan (yuru, yurumeru etc) means to go slow, to slacken and to loosen. It has a feeling of slackness or leisure.
  • Kyu (isogu) means to rush, hurry up. It has a feeling of urgency or haste.
  • Kyo (tsuyoi) means strong, mighty powerful and robust.
  • Jaku (yowai) means weak, feeble, fragile and faint.
At the end of the day we did some Koryu and I was given the beginners group to look after. Suddenly I had a mix of Shinden, Jikiden and someone who couldn't do seiza. And there began my tri-mix delivery of koryu teaching. It was quite funny as I had to show both versions and then do some standing Oku and I began to feel like a walking internet terminal. We got everyone up to Ryuto/Ukenagashi so I am now waiting for the shrapnel as Jikiden teachers throughout the UK ask these students "who the hell taught you to do it that way?"

Anyway, I'm glad now that I have done all those seminars with Oshita Sensei, I hope it was useful to them.

Iaido training tonight so another entry later or tomorrow.