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Old 08-06-2013, 05:59 PM   #43
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: What is Aiki? Introduction to a method of analyzing Aiki. (Part 3)

Budd, we're not in any disagreement whatsoever. I was more replying to those who were basically saying there was nothing there while I personally find the use of the word tenouchi rather important. It might also go back to another one of those "assumed" things in that I polish swords and this also relates to how the togishi holds the sword while polishing. You assume a position that looks rather cramped (and is actually). But the idea is to lock the body in this posture. The hands hold the blade directly but you also have a *feeling* of tenouchi to "lock" the blade in place in your hands. You move the blade over the stone but while it *looks* like you're doing it with your arms, really your arms are just part of a vastly larger whole -- all of you. So it starts from the center and moves out as you move the blade. This is to ensure the control and incredibly precise angle throughout the stroke. Any rotation, extra movement or bobble will translate in to rounded lines or incorrect surfaces. If anything is going to be tired after a lot of polishing it shouldn't be the arms or shoulders but the core muscles. Tightness in the shoulders and arms usually means you're muscling it and usually means a less crisp geometry.

In terms of tenouchi with the sword in cutting, it really is the same basic idea. To use more terminology that would be familiar with the internal strength crowd there is a wringing feel in the hands (spiralling). But that wringing isn't really just the hands but extends throughout the arms in to the shoulders, etc. Hence the quotes Chris posted about Asagao for example. And all sorts of various postures you see in various arts. So yes, the external appearance can be attained minus the underlying "structure" to create it.

Properly done this feeling of tenouchi allows the swordsman to connect up from the very core of their body to the sword. I was told early on to stand there in either seigan or jodan no kamae and just hold it until I could feel a full connection between my body and my sword. Not the hands. Not the wrists. Not the arms. But from the "one-point" out and everything in between and down. And with proper form subsequent repeated cuts should not tire the arms or shoulders but the core again, as I was told in polishing.

Tenouchi is a really simple concept in a sense. But doing it "right" is rather loaded with a lot of stuff, at least in some groups I've experienced and trained with.

Not much experience with the spear apart from my own jo work within our Aikido group but also informal "playing" with some guys in a formal jodo style. So I really can't speak to that.

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