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Technical notes for seminar by Lee Ah Loi, 6th dan iaido
24-11-96 in Boom, Belgium
This was a two-hour seminar on Muso Shinden Ryu, with a selection of kata from Shoden, Chuden and Okuden.
General remarks: The sageo is over the index finger, not the thumb. Sitting down for omori ryu can be done like in znkr, or by stepping back on sitting. For chuden, step back left foot, drop on left knee, place left foot flat on the floor, sit down on it and pull your right foot closer.
To rei: The index finger is on the right of the tsuba, and the left hand does take the end of the saya (left thumb to the left, palm up). Bow is the same as znkr iai. Take the sageo with the right hand, pick up the sword with both hands simultaneously, again with index finger over the tsuba. The left hand is used to pull the saya to the back instead of being placed on the hip.
Shoatto: Chiburi ends with arm 45 degrees down and 45 degrees forward, not sideways as in jikiden. The furikaburi is done with a -small- ukenagashi movement. In general, we were told to work slower and more relaxed.
Atarito: The right knee moves over to the left and you look behind you. Don't draw yet. Rise and move the right foot to the right. Turn and draw simultaneous. It is very important on the draw to pull the saya well back. During this nukitsuke you don't move forward as in shoatto.
Ryuto: The sword is drawn completely out while you rise on your knees. Place the left foot forward and slightly pointing to the left and block simultaneously using the back near the tsuba, and with the arm well extended. Step backwards from under the opponents sword. Turn the feet towards the attacker before moving the feet together again. Your knees point outward (this should be a stable position). The cut moves beyond the hip, the kissaki should not point down, tsuka ends in front of your centre. Bring the tip to the centre, step back and straighten the back, lower the tip (to let the blood and bits drip off).
Inyoshintai: After nukitsuke you don't stand up but move directly forward while cutting, stay low. You must be in a low posture so you can lower your knee to the ground in the time it takes to perform yoko chiburi.
Hasegawa Eishin Ryu:
Yokogumo: Nukitsuke should be a fluid motion, most of the sword should be out before moving the foot forward. The shoulders are opened during the cut. The forward move before furikaburi is smaller than in omori ryu, knee goes about half the distance to the front foot. Noto starts with the foot starting to move back first, the knee points more to the right than in znkr. The cuts are close, the displacements small.
Tora issoku: Point the tsuka down and keep it low, bend forward. You pull the saya upwards from the sword by raising the body. Rotate the sword on knee level and straighten the back at the moment of impact. The block should be very low, You must protect the foot. Don't cut off your toes. The sword should not be moved too far too the right, just enough to protect the leg. Keep pressure before raising the sword in an ukenagashi movement.
Yamaoroshi: Look first, place the right hand on the hip and raise the tsuka-this is a kamae! Stomp with the right foot and strike, bend slightly forward. Move the tsuka well over and behind tekis head so you can draw. (A variation is to strike the tsuka to the face instead) Keep control of tekis arms with the sword, the sword is low and close so you have sufficient power. Now the trick: bring the left knee -around- the right heel while placing the hand on the back of the sword. If you don't do this you will either move the sword and loose control or fall over yourself later. Rotate no more than 90 degrees to throw the opponent. The right foot remains on the same spot close to the knee. Now your sword describes the shape of a fan (raise left and then to the right) While the sword moves to the right the right foot moves forward. Now the left knee moves to the right foot, to a hasso position, Turn 90 degrees and move -back- while raising the sword (difficult: the very old and weak are allowed to move forward instead).
Tanashita: Start in tatehiza. You are sitting under a floor (in ambush?). Draw in front and place the right foot forward, move the knee towards the foot and place the hand above the head, bending forward. You move forward a few times like this, placing the foot forward and following with the knee. The trick is to take small steps and to keep moving, like a caterpillar. When you are clear of the floor, straighten the back, shift forward (to not hit the floor) and cut. This cut starts with the sword behind the back pointing down. Okuden noto slows the last 2 cm, instead of the last 10 cm as in chuden. (seitei slows after the first 10 cm, shoden noto is one fluid motion)
Kabezoe: You pursue someone in a very narrow place. You have to draw forward and up, turn the body sideways so you can move in position under your sword (tip points down). Take care not to cut yourself here, you move very close to your ha. The dead guy is standing against a wall, so you have to push down the sword rather than swing or you hit the wall. You cut to gedan, make a short, low, vertical chiburi (like shaking of your umbrella in public- in private of course you all use o-chiburi (hehe)). Noto is forward and vertical, and you may have to turn your body sideways.