Dan Dinowich (DanD) wrote:
-Keep One Point
-Keep Weight Underside
Let the Bokken drop naturally- using gravity.
You must be from Ki no Kenkyukai or Shin-shin-toitsu Aikido (Ki Aikido). This is the best advice for everything actually. I'm actually under Aikikai, but I study with Ki no Kenkyukai also.
I have learned that natural movements are the strongest. The result of this, one can do a couple of thousand and one will still be able to do a couple thousand more - even if one is using "the oar" (suburi to). If one gets tired from suburi, chances are, it is done wrongly.
There are styles that depends on physical strength. Training the arms so they get stronger. In my case, no disrespect towards others, it is a waste of time. I've been humiliated many times by people half my size, very humbling experiences.
For people from Ki no Kenkyukai, the warm up that we do, circling (not exactly, but this is the closest I could describe it) our arms back and forth has its application in suburi. The way we let our arms fall naturally. Ikkyo or Kokyu undo is actually suburi without weapons.
Anyway, back to suburi. The result from Dinowich-san's "tip", from what I've observed the way I do shomen-giri suburi now:
- The way I hold the bokken, the way my Sensei taught me, is actually like the way Musashi describe it. Gripping lightly with the last two or three fingers and the thumb placed lightly on the hilt. Like holding a gun, the index finger (trigger finger) is not gripping the trigger.
- In the rest position, my elbows are pointing down - keeping "unbendable" arm, no undesirable tension on the arms, and the bokken is within the "one point" region. This helps me keeping one point, relax, and my weight underside.
- I do not get captivated with the weapon. Instead I focus beyond it. I usually do this by looking far away. This helps me extend Ki. I only feel the bokken in my arms.
- When lifting and dropping, notice I didn't say swing, the bokken. I kept my elbow in, pointing from downwards to forwards in a circular manner. It is hard and tiring to have the elbows pointing out.
- I do not think that I want to swing hard nor do I think I want to cut or kill someone with the bokken. I just feel the natural movements of my arms, lifting and dropping. The feeling should be the same with or without the weapon.
This is not even the "tip" of the iceberg. There are more behind suburi than just swinging a weapon.
After learning this, now I know why Steven Seagal holds the sword kind of weird. After noticing my posture of holding the ken now, it looks similar to his. Looks weird and weak, but very powerful. Hey, I'm not in Aikido for the "cool" factor.