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Old 09-01-2003, 02:46 PM   #10
Kent Enfield
Kent Enfield's Avatar
Location: Oregon, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 224
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
What's ukenagashi?
It's the waza in which one receives a downward cut on one's own sword with the tip down and and the hilt up. I couldn't find any images that I liked of it being done with a two handed grip on a long sword, but there's a picture of it being done with a shoto on the cover of Paul Budden's "Looking at a Far Mountain." If that link doesn't work, just search for the book on

It's often used when using a shorter weapon against a longer one, such as shoto against daito or daito against naginata. However, when used when facing a similar length weapon, it's often silly. If you have time to pull your sword back to cover your head, you probably had time to cut up at the opponent's arms. With a shorter weapon you can't reach the opponent's arms, so you use ukenagashi to get through their striking range into your own.

It's also used in iaido, but while you're drawing the sword and don't have time to do anything else.
Jakob Blomquist (Aikilove) wrote:
80 to 90 % of bukiwaza training should be in suburi (7 bokken and 20 jo) -just keep cutting and thrusting in other words.
I agree with this in the beginning stages of training, but just like aikido taijutsu, interaction with another person is a very important part of training, and should become the dominant form of training. Things like distance and timing, and reading an opponent just don't get learned in single person drill. And then there's the mental effects of having to deal with someone who will strike you if you screw up. However, suburi remains an important part training.
Brian Toss wrote:
I have also noted that Saito's forms regularly pass up on striking opportunities, but would prefer to believe that this is partly because of the (happy) absence of kill-or-be-killed intent, and partly because many of those opportunities leave one open to further counters from one's opponent, or because the path in the forms results in an even better position a move or two down the line.
Since this part of the discussion was spawned by the question of effectiveness, what do you think is going to happen when one person is passing up opportunities because they think they can set something better up, and the other person isn't? You apply pressure and the opponent reacts. You then move into the opening they've given you. This is one of the main differences between beginners and advanced. Beginners try to create a specific opening and, hence, miss others that arise. The advanced people just try to create an opening.

Now, the kill-or-be-killed intent is part of that pressure that creates openings. I think most aikidoka have had the experience of training with someone, usually of high level, and having the feeling that there is no opportunity to attack, that this person is like a wall. With the weapons people, my experience has been a bit different. Rather than feeling like you can't attack, it feels like if you do, you're just going to impale yourself.

And if you don't intend to kill your opponent, why do you have a weapon out?
Brian Toss wrote:
Given the minor role that weapons occupy in most Aikido dojo's, it isn't surprising that many details of stance, approach, grip, etc. tend to get glossed over. But this does not speak to the validity of the style itself.
Ah, but I consider those details to be a large part of the style, and hence part of what determines its effectiveness. The style's mechanics and its tactics are intimately linked. If the mechanics are changed, using the same tactics becomes nonsensical. Also, the teaching methodology is part of the style's effectiveness. If you have good mechanics and good tactics, but can't impart those to the next generation, do you have an effective style?
Brian Toss wrote:
Perhaps I need to work with someone with extensive experience in some other style as well as Saito's.
Cross-training is a good thing.

You're pretty lucky given your location. There's a lot of kendo and iaido around as well as koryu jojutsu, kenjutsu, and other weapons.

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