Join Date: May 2003
On how wrong I am
Sorry, been off line - of all things, teaching an aikido seminar at a fine dojo in central Cali - the Akkan Dojo. (taught two days of irimi)
Niall - <sigh> You didn't read the article very carefully. I NOWHERE mention tachi-dori, which is a total absurdity. Your assertion that irimi, by what ever definition you choose, would be possible against a skilled swordsman - it just will not happen. Your description of how you would move to defeat a swordsman - that won't happen either. Your imagined possibility was exactly what Kuroiwa sensei was criticizing. (the funniest thing about that story was this. Kuroiwa brought it up during an all shihan movie. He said that afterwards, you couldn't hear a pin drop. And afterwards, he said, Saito sensei came up to him and said, "Yoku itte kureta" ("good on you. Thanks for saying it") - Kuroiwa said to me, "Saito sensei was a great man, but he didn't realize I meant him too."
That kenjutsu strike I mentioned is not necessarily go no sen. Itto-tachi can be executed sen sen no sen, sen no sen OR Go no sen.
You somehow read what I wrote as direct line against direct line. In other words, if someone punches me, I punch him in the fist with my fist. Irimi is a cutting ACROSS a line to the enemy's center. In xinyi, it is, in particular, pi ch'uan - called "splitting." One cuts across the opponent's line of attack. This can be from any angle. It is not a collision. For example, a double leg takedown is irimi. It is not a collision It is "diving" into the tsuki that is INSIDE the attack.
Please forgive me for making the following individual involved anonymous. I'm not telling this story for self-agrandizement - it's to illustrate a point, not score a point on a particular person. I used to train under a number of shihan in aikido, before I went to Japan. There was one in particular whose sword skills I was in awe of. I went to Japan, and started training in Araki-ryu. WE trained kata, we broke kata, we practiced freestyle. We cut at the body and if the person moved, we cut where they moved. We tried to anticipate where they moved and cut them before they got there. After training one year, I returned for a visit to the states and visited that particular shihan where he was teaching a seminar. He called me out, and handed me a shinai, held one himself and told me to attack him. He moved much as you describe Niall, and I tracked him. I could see him moving, and cut at his body, and slashed him across the back - hard. Based on what would have happened in my Araki-ryu training, this surprised the heck out of me, because such a simplistic sequence would be countered by my teacher. We were training at a lot higher level. The shihan in question, arched his back in pain, and whispered to me, "Nani shiteru no? Shinken shinai de kurei." - (What are you doing. Don't do it for real") I very carefully forced myself to return to what I was unfamiliar. Aikido style cutting, where, theoretically, once you begin a cut, you cannot alter the direction of your move and from that point on, his "irimi" was impeccable. . . . . .looking.
Anyway, irimi is simply cutting across/through their line, and having enough physical integrity and structure to make that possible (body as a sword) to the tsuki. You dive through and under like a seal coming up to grab a fish, or from above like a falcon dropping on prey, or slashing through like a cougar cutting the angle and grabbing the throat.
But again, this has nothing to do with a fantasy of an unarmed man, no matter how much aikido he knows, being able to defeat a skilled swordsman.