Thread: Ichi no ken ?
View Single Post
Old 12-07-2010, 05:47 AM   #60
Josh Reyer
Josh Reyer's Avatar
Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Re: Ichi no ken ?

Carl Thompson wrote:
Do you mean how the "good guy" starts it all?
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
You mean how the Aikiken kata begins with the kata "winner" / nage advancing on the kata "loser" / uke? But in the Kashima kata, it's the kata "loser" / shidachi who advances.
In both the KSR and aikiken versions, "shidachi" makes the first move - this is a step in and threatened tsuki (or cut to the hands) in KSR, and a straight cut in aikiken. Shidachi induces the first straight cut in KSR, and then responds to it with the evasion and cutting the wrist with an upward strike. In aikiken, his advancement/threatened tsuki is delayed until after shidachi raises to cut. So in both, shidachi makes the first move, and uchidachi responds and counter-attacks. But which side of the kata is doing shidachi has been flipped, and the timing thereby changed. So far beyond simply being the Kashima Shinto-ryu ichi-no-tachi structure modified for aikiken technique, the whole nature of the kata has been changed, the lessons therein completely different. Which is not surprising, but rather interesting, I thought.

In every real sword system I have seen, uchidachi and shidachi start five steps away, and the kata begins with that space being closed somehow. There is a lot going on in those three to five steps before contact. (Is there a generic technical term for the coming together part of a kumitachi?)
There's no universal general term -- in the Nippon Kendo Kata, probably the widest practiced style, the term "susumi/susumu" is used -- "advance forward." Some old styles use the term "shikakeru", meaning, roughly, "to set upon". As noted above, though, such movement is not always done in old styles.

Aikiken doesn't seem to have that. I don't see it in these videos. In Saotome Sensei's kata, uke and nage start in seigan with kissaki touching. (Is there a generic technical term for the distance at which two swordsmen in seigan can touch the tips of their swords together?) I've always been curious why O Sensei / Kissomaru / Saito didn't think it was worthwhile to include that.
Just a guess, but I'd hazard this is one of the clearer demonstrations of aikiken being about improving one's taijutsu, rather than an independent weapons system. One big part of that movement forward in old styles is training maai -- finding the point where you can strike without being struck, where the enemy most wants to strike you, and so on. Aikido is not focused on such questions of distance with long weapons, it's focusing on a much shorter maai -- initial attack and contact happening much closer than with two swordsmen. Particularly if you're using swordwork to demonstrate a principle, it's quicker and easier to just start from the maai that can demonstrate it, rather than doing the whole closing distance thing.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
  Reply With Quote