IAIDO SEMINAR AMSTERDAM
ZNKR Seitei Iai kata
While standing with the sword it points 45 degrees down and 45 degrees to the right, not 30 degrees down as was said earlier. The kashira is on the centerline of the body. While transferring the sword to the right hand, it should be in front of you, parallel to the shoulders, pointing 30 degrees down, the ha pointing towards you. So don't bring it over to the right side before taking it into the right hand. Bow 30 degrees. The left hand is at your side during this bow, not in front of the leg. When you bring back the sword, the ha faces away from the body.
The sword is laid down with the middle of the sword in front of your centre. Sageo control depends on your school. The left hand is 5cm from the kojiri when putting down the sword. It's important that the right hand is withdrawn to the tigh first. Very important to pick up the sword with both hands together. Putting the sword in the obi must start at your center, then slide it towards the left.
On closing, while pulling the sageo loose, one can choose to keep the left hand on the tigh or control the tsuba with it, but it is very important that, after sitting down, you stay a moment in seiza, with both hands on the tighs. So you must let go of the tsuba for a moment. Make sure to stand the sword in a vertical position before putting it down. Left hand is now on your hip. When picking up the sword after rei, first rotate until the tsuba is in front of your centre, then place upright. Don't drag the kojiri on the floor. To stand up, put your right foot next to your knee, so your position doesn't shift forward while standing. Also, take care not to move back on sitting down.
Take care on furi kaburi to stab first towards the ear before going up. Do not lower the right hand. The angle of the sword should be 45 degrees up before kirioroshi, but everyone drops the tip lower, so it shouldn't count as a mistake to be a bit lower than 45 degrees. Lower than horizontal is wrong. On noto, the middle finger is around the koiguchi, index and thumb are sticking out a bit over the saya mouth. This means on completing noto the habaki is not in the saya but between your thumb and index (you can redraw the sword without having to free the habaki. This has the added benefit of preventing noise from accidentally slamming the habaki against the koiguchi.) Only after one is satisfied about teki's deadness, the left hand slides back a bit on the saya, the thumb takes the tsuba and the habaki is seated in the koiguchi.
Don't look back first, come up on the knees and draw 10 cm, then look back while turning. Movement of the knees is not specified, you can do whatever. I know of two variations, one just closes the gap between the knees, the other places the right knee in front of the left just before turning, so your centre remains on the same line. It's not a mistake to leave the centreline during ushiro. Very important is the correct placement of the feet, esp. the right foot, at the end of the turn.
The attacker is far away, otherwise he wouldn't have to get up to attack you. Your rhythm should reflect this. But it's incorrect to pause at the moment of the block. The opponent's sword comes down the moment your right foot takes his place next to the left. One doesn't know where the opponent will strike until then (saya banare) so don't be deflecting while still having a knee on the ground, or you expose your do. On chiburi the blade doesn't have to rest on the knee, but this position is more stable.
During the atemi, see that the right knee is in front of the right shoulder. It should stay there for the remainder of the kata. You may stomp if needed for dynamics, but it's better not to. Keep contact with your body during the tsuki. The left arm movement is meant to assist, not to spoil your aim, don't exaggerate it.
In the past, the sword was turned upside down before drawing, now after 1/3rd of the sword is drawn. The elbows may not point outwards too far during hasso (don't press them to your sides either). Chiburi at the same instant the left hand grabs the koiguchi. No sayabiki during chiburi, but a small sliding back of the saya is allowed. This kata should not be rushed.
After the cut across the face, and while bringing the left foot next to the right, there is a moment in chudan with the kissaki at chin height. This is a return to an older way of doing the kata. There is to be no pause, except for beginners, but one should clearly display the chudan no kamae. Then one has 2 choices for the tsuki, lowering the tip to plexus height and stab, or lower while stabbing. The stab must be to plexus height. Then on the next cuts, there is a difference of opinion between Ishido sensei and the ZNKR study group, in that the study group does not make a movement of pulling out the sword, but starts raising the sword at once. Ishido sensei says this is not logical after tsuki, so he turns the hips before raising the sword. There are no extra movements to this pulling out of the sword, it is just a difference in timing of the different movements. But it is also better to turn and place the feet first because you can not pause with the sword over your head, you must strike at once so your turn must be complete before that.
You take 5 steps unless space is a problem, in which case you can take 3. The first cut is only very slightly oblique, and stops at chin level. Don't forget saya biki. The right foot should point less than 90 degrees to the right, the angle of the left foot can be between 10 degrees and 45 degrees (zero degrees is the direction you're walking at the start). Display metsuke before the 2nd cut. The left hand grabs the tsuka over your head. Before one raises the sword for the 3rd strike, the wrists should be turned. The tip stays above the tsuba while arming for the third cut. Ishido sensei says one should not consider speed below godan level. And anyway, if one is that fast one should rather be running away.
Since the tsuka point 45 degrees to the right, after the first step one grabs the tsuka and brings the kashira in front of the body's centre line during the second step, so it now points to teki's face. Give a straight blow, do not strike in an arc. While stabbing, look in teki's eyes, not at your sword tip. The body turns slightly inward, the sword is brought in front of your right hip. Stabbing movement of the hand is simultaneous with the left (trailing) foot moving forward. The left hand grabs the tsuka over your head.
The 3rd step can be large or small, but don't place the foot down pointing to the left. After the step, turn on the balls of both feet and draw simultaneously. The cut is at the same time as the left foot is drawn back. Cut from his right shoulder to his left hip (left kesagiri?) Don't turn your hips too far away from teki during this cut. At the end of the cut the right hand is at navel level, tip slightly higher (not horizontal like some say). The right foot is drawn back half the distance between left and right feet and turned. The right heel may not move to the left during this, don't put the right foot in the way of your left. The sword is not pulled back much, the right hand does not go behind the hip. The left hand is placed on the mune about in the middle. Tsuki is to the lower belly, aim for the centre, and use both hands. The right thumb stops in front of the navel. First pull, then bring the right arm horizontal. The left hand does not move. Take the koiguchi and turn the hips without moving the sword. Withdraw the foot in synchronisation with chiburi, but the foot must start first. The angle of this chiburi is halfway between yoko chiburi and o-chiburi.
Most important are correct angles. On the tsuka strike the arm should be straight, the tsuka ends horizontal or slightly down. Don't forget metsuke after stabbing. Jodan should not be exagerrated, on hidari the tip is one fist width to the right, on migi the sword is straight back.