Re: left handed and katate swordsmanship.
Every Sat. morning while waiting my turn to practice Jikishinkage-ryu I am lucky enough to watch some very good Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. An unusual feature of some of their kata is switching the grip on the sword to a left handed grip. At a certain point the left hand is next to the tsuba and the right hand is down by the kashira. This allows for some very interesting maai. I've never heard of it being done for any IS developmental reasons.
Thanks for that, Chris, very interesting. I'd love to see that someday.
I should clarify where I'm coming from after having read back through everything again. I was reading Mark's threads with a view of things as being symmetrical. So in my mind I was thinking in terms of training with a relatively balanced and symmetrical development of skills in swordsmanship (implying development of IS as well in the process). Obviously in most styles there are some cuts and kata done one-handed (after all, most iai kata start with a draw/cut sequence one-handed), but there's not a focus on doing things symmetrically from side to side which would be what you'd expect if the kata is intended (in part) as a means of developing symmetrical IS skills. There are times when you to do certain movements one-handed (including the thrusts behind you like in shiho giri). And there are some kata that have reverse-handed handling, but my understanding is that they are still considered "reversed" from the norm. In other words, there is still a "correct" way to hold the sword. Hands are reversed due to "special circumstances" so it's not like the sword is used equally with both grips (which is what you'd expect if the idea was to develop IS skills using these methods).
I think Mark's point was that Ueshiba tended to switch hand to hand rather frequently and developed both sides with his bokken. While I can certainly believe that may have been due to his desire to develop his aiki skills symmetrically, I don't think the "training on both sides as a means of developing IS" would have come from reversed grip/one handed cuts in swordsmanship in general as those are more special case scenarios.
But I was also channeling other discussions I've been in over the years about "why can't I do my iai the way I want since I'm left-handed".