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Old 08-23-2007, 12:54 PM   #1
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Red face The swallow cut?!!!

I am busy translating Kensho Furuya Sensei's book: "Kodo - Ancient Ways" for my Sensei who doesn't read english. Believe me this is no small feat.
On page 186, Furuya Sensei talks about: ".....Sasaki Kojiro, a famous swordsman who invented the "swallow cut"....." .
Now, all the sempais I talked to where baffled. If I could at least have an idea of what this technique is about (could it be about shoving your sword down the opponent's throat?), then it would be easier for me to find a french name for it.
I will be most grateful to anybody who could describe this technique for me.
Thanks you all in advance.
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Old 08-23-2007, 12:58 PM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

It was based on the movements of a bird (a swallow) in flight, I believe. At least in the movie...

B,
R :shrug:

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Old 08-23-2007, 01:12 PM   #3
Michael Hackett
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Yeah, that's the way it was described in the book and in the movie "Samurai Triolgy".

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:13 PM   #4
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Thumbs up Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
It was based on the movements of a bird (a swallow) in flight, I believe. At least in the movie...

B,
R :shrug:
Now, that's already a huge step forward. But what movie? Did you see it? Can you describe the technique?
Tell me more! Tell me more!
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:24 PM   #5
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

It was a turn and cut kind of thing, as I remember. I think the movie was the one mentioned by Michael.

Best,
Ron

PS Hey Tobs, I see you lurking!

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:38 PM   #6
Toby Threadgill
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Marie,

The swallow tail cut is called tsubame gaeshi.

According to legend it was a technique invented by Sasaki Kojiro, the founder of Gan-ryu kenjutsu. It was reportedly a fast slashing counter cut performed from hasso gamae. As the attacker started his cut, Sasaki responded with his own instantly flicking his blade sideways with the mune deflecting the attackers cut while his cut continued on hitting its target. The blade was then immediately returned to hasso gamae. Legend states that Sasaki Kojiro was inspired to create this technique by watching the tail of a swallow as it flicked instantly from side to side during flight. Sasaki Kojiro was later killed by Miyamoto Musashi in a famous duel occurring on an island near Ogura in Bunzen province.

Hi Ron....

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
www.shinyokai.com

Last edited by Toby Threadgill : 08-23-2007 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:51 PM   #7
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
Marie,

The swallow tail cut is called tsubame gaeshi.

According to legend it was a technique invented by Sasaki Kojiro, the founder of Gan-ryu kenjutsu. It was reportedly a fast slashing counter cut performed from hasso gamae. As the attacker started his cut, Sasaki responded with his own instantly flicking his blade sideways with the mune deflecting the attackers cut while his cut continued on hitting its target. The blade was then immediately returned to hasso gamae. Legend states that Sasaki Kojiro was inspired to create this technique by watching the tail of a swallow as it flicked instantly from side to side during flight. Sasaki Kojiro was later killed by Miyamoto Musashi in a famous duel occurring on an island near Ogura in Bunzen province.

Hi Ron....

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
www.shinyokai.com
Ah, that's where I recognized the names. I remember reading a set of fictional books about Musashi's life. In that set, I remember reading about Sasaki Kojiro and the swallow tail cut, but I don't think they ever described it in that amount of detail. It's been awhile since I read them, so my memory could be wrong.

I think it was this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Musashi-Epic-N...7894887&sr=1-1

Mark
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Old 08-23-2007, 02:31 PM   #8
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Talking Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
Marie,

The swallow tail cut is called tsubame gaeshi.

According to legend it was a technique invented by Sasaki Kojiro, the founder of Gan-ryu kenjutsu. It was reportedly a fast slashing counter cut performed from hasso gamae. As the attacker started his cut, Sasaki responded with his own instantly flicking his blade sideways with the mune deflecting the attackers cut while his cut continued on hitting its target. The blade was then immediately returned to hasso gamae. Legend states that Sasaki Kojiro was inspired to create this technique by watching the tail of a swallow as it flicked instantly from side to side during flight. Sasaki Kojiro was later killed by Miyamoto Musashi in a famous duel occurring on an island near Ogura in Bunzen province.

Hi Ron....

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
www.shinyokai.com
Ah, thank you, Toby, thank you. I owe you a big one. I'm going to print this page and take it to the dojo.
I really love this forum.
Arigato!
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Old 08-23-2007, 03:27 PM   #9
David Orange
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
The swallow tail cut is called tsubame gaeshi.
Toby,

I wonder if that actually refers to a "cut" or an evasion of a cut. It seems I read about this in one of Draeger's books.

I am under the impression that he refered to it as "swallow tail maneuver."

As I understand it, it refers to a situation in which A is cutting toward the side of B's head but B cuts under the strike, toward A's right wrist. A lets go the sword with his right hand and brings it around behind him with his left hand, continuing the arc of his yokomen uchi. As he brings the sword over his head to cut down, he re-graps with his right hand and completes the cut. That bringing the sword around and over with one hand is what I thought tsubame gaeshi referred to.

For what that may or may not be worth.

However, I see that in judo, the term refers to withdrawing your foot when the opponent attempts a sweep, then sweeping his foot with the foot he was trying to sweep:

http://www.judoinfo.com/images/anima...bamegaeshi.htm

That's similar, in principle to the sword technique describe above--avoiding his "cut" and returning (gaeshi).

Howeverer, in toyama ryu, it's described as: "A kesa (downward diagonal) cut is followed immediately with a gyaku kesa (upward diagonal) cut. The two cuts are performed from both sides of the target."

This can be seen in the happo giri of toyama ryu, when the swordsman cuts down right to left, then follows that same path cutting up from left to right. And, as stated in the quote, it can also be done from the opposite direction--cutting down left to right, then up right to left.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 08-23-2007, 05:29 PM   #10
Toby Threadgill
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Hi David,

The problem with any topic like this is that its based on old legendary tales often compounded by the mythic reputations of the individuals involved. Since Gan ryu essentially died with Sasaki Kojiro we have nothing beyond his reputation and stories from a limited number of unconfirmed eyewitness accounts to go on.

That accepted, three things tend to discount the idea of an evasion then cut

First, the technique is also referred to by some as "tsubame giri".

Second, according to legend, Sasaki Kojiro could perform the tsubame gaeshi so fast that eyewitnesses and opponents could hardly see it or describe it. If true, this would account for his great success with the technique and opponents difficulty in developing an effective counter to it.

Third, is the name. Have you ever seen a swallow flying. The tail really does flick back and forth in a small, fast and sharp fashion. The previous description of the cut I provided does mimic the movement of a swallows tail.

FWIW.....My teacher demonstrated three different versions of this technique that he said he learned from his teacher, Namishiro Matsuhiro. One that changes from a downward to upward cut with the flicking deflection. The next, a downward cut that countinued downward with the flicking deflection occurring impreceptibly mid cut. And the last, a downward cut that flicked upward and then flicked back downward again into the target. Takamura sensei claimed he was told that the second version I described was Sasaki's tsubame gaeshi...but there is no way to confirm such a claim.

Similar to the legendary description of reported eyewitnesses, the deflection in first two versions is virtually impossible to see but is easily felt during kumitachi. I have no idea where Namishiro sensei learned these versions of tsubame giri (gaeshi) so the ultimate source of these techniques as performed by Takamura sensei's are unknown.

All my best,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Last edited by Toby Threadgill : 08-23-2007 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 08-23-2007, 05:59 PM   #11
David Orange
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
The problem with any topic like this is that its based on old legendary tales often compounded by the mythic reputations of the individuals involved. Since Gan ryu essentially died with Sasaki Kojiro we have nothing beyond his reputation and stories from a limited number of unconfirmed eyewitness accounts to go on.
And various styles pick up the same or similar terms for their techniques as we saw with the judo technique and the toyama ryu technique. I don't recall at all what Draeger was refering to--if it even was Draeger who mentioned it!

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 08-23-2007, 07:55 PM   #12
Keith Larman
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
FWIW.....My teacher demonstrated three different versions of this technique that he said he learned from his teacher, Namishiro Matsuhiro. One that changes from a downward to upward cut with the flicking deflection. The next, a downward cut that countinued downward with the flicking deflection occurring impreceptibly mid cut. And the last, a downward cut that flicked upward and then flicked back downward again into the target. Takamura sensei claimed he was told that the second version I described was Sasaki's tsubame gaeshi...but there is no way to confirm such a claim.
Hey, Toby...

FWIW the late Kobayashi-sensei used tsubamegaeshi as the final cut in one of his "kengi". His description matches your second version fwiw. So now I'm going to have to ask the chief instructors and his family if they know where he learned that particular cut... I'd never really thought about its origins until this thread... Interesting. Much of what he did in the kengi's were from Tohei. But once we split off there were some changes made here and there...

Fun cut to try on tatami too... I personally find it devilishly difficult to get a clean cut -- too much happening at once and I find myself muscling through it. Great when it works out though.

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Old 08-24-2007, 12:59 AM   #13
Bronson
 
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
So now I'm going to have to ask the chief instructors and his family if they know where he learned that particular cut...
Hey Keith,

I would really be interested in reading/hearing what you find out. Could you keep me posted?

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:01 AM   #14
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Hi Toby and Keith,

Have either of you work with (pardon the bad spelling) gaschiuki from YSR sword? How similar is what you are describing (in terms of the parry/block) with that waza?

Best, and thanks,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:23 AM   #15
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Toby and Keith,

Have either of you work with (pardon the bad spelling) gaschiuki from YSR sword? How similar is what you are describing (in terms of the parry/block) with that waza?

Best, and thanks,
Ron
Gasshi-uchi. As I understand it, gasshi-uchi is similar to Ono-ha Itto-ryu's kiri-otoshi, if anyone knows that. There's no flick in the deflection; the YSR swordsman simply times his jodan attack a split second later than the opponent's, cutting straight down his own center line. Apparently, starting that split-second later causes the deflection of the opponent's sword.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:59 AM   #16
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Thanks Josh. At least the variation taught in Doshinkan aikido uses a slight C shape to the cut to aid in the deflection. Timing is important, but it's not all timing...

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-24-2007, 11:08 AM   #17
Keith Larman
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote: View Post
Hey Keith,

I would really be interested in reading/hearing what you find out. Could you keep me posted?

Bronson
No problem. My little girl and I are taking Mrs. K a bag of fresh plums from my tree on Saturday (she makes both fruit instilled vodka and plum jam). I'll ask Mrs. K then if she happens to know since apart from being Kobayashi's wife she was also knew Tohei quite well back in the day. Most even in Seidokan don't realize how involved Mrs. K was in Aikido going back quite a while even before meeting Kobayashi-sensei.

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Old 08-24-2007, 11:12 AM   #18
Keith Larman
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Toby and Keith,

Have either of you work with (pardon the bad spelling) gaschiuki from YSR sword? How similar is what you are describing (in terms of the parry/block) with that waza?

Best, and thanks,
Ron
I'm not familiar with it in YSR.

I hae been taught that it is not so much a parry as sort of "feinting" the original cut causing the opponent to move to the parry then quickly dropping and reversing into the horizontal cut in the opening. I've just reread Toby's post and I must have misread what he wrote because it is somewhat different. I need to remind myself not to post after I've been lacquering stuff...

But still... This is aiki-ken and I'm not so sure we should be comparing it with more formal sword styles. I've been involved with swords, swordsmanship, making swords for koryu guys, etc. long enough to not have any illusions about what we do.

Last edited by Keith Larman : 08-24-2007 at 11:16 AM.

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Old 08-24-2007, 11:15 AM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Gotcha!

I think you are correct...

B,
R

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Old 08-24-2007, 11:33 AM   #20
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Thanks Josh. At least the variation taught in Doshinkan aikido uses a slight C shape to the cut to aid in the deflection. Timing is important, but it's not all timing...

Best,
Ron
Ron, is YSR in Doshinkan via Utada-kancho studying it at Yoshinkan Hombu, or from another line?

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:43 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Spot on. Also from Kushida Sensei's exposure on a number of fronts.

Best,
Ron (I think we should heed Keith's warning though...I'm pretty sure even the classes at the hombu don't qualify as learning the finer points of the art and going all the way through the licensing system. It's way too easy for me to attribute too much importance to that exposure.)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:45 AM   #22
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
I need to remind myself not to post after I've been lacquering stuff...
Just caught this...good one! did you add this on the edit?

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:24 AM   #23
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Hi Joshua,

The two are different. We do a version of what you describe as Itto ryu's kiri otoshi in the same set with our version of tsubame giri. Our kiri otoshi is called aiuchi and is taught as the fist kata in the 4th chuden kumitachi set (kaze). 4 other kata are taught in this set. Kuramasu, shinkage, yokokaze and hissho. Hissho is the name we use for tsubame giri.

Keith....Interesting about Kobayashi. And you are right about it being very difficult to execute in tameshigiri. Frequent scooped cuts.

All my best,

Toby Threadgill

Last edited by Toby Threadgill : 08-25-2007 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:24 PM   #24
Keith Larman
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
<SNIP>
Keith....Interesting about Kobayashi. And you are right about it being very difficult to execute in tameshigiri. Frequent scooped cuts.

All my best,

Toby Threadgill
Yeah, I don't think I've ever managed to get a really clean cut. I'm usually looking at a very nicely formed arcing scoop... Which would be great if it was what I wanted...

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Old 08-25-2007, 10:27 PM   #25
Keith Larman
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Re: The swallow cut?!!!

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Just caught this...good one! did you add this on the edit?
Yup. Reread the posts with a somewhat clearer head and edited my post. Gotta love those great chemicals. I've often wondered if Japanese Craft Lore has the equivalent of the western "Mad Hatter" (mercury used to clean hats drove many "hatters" insane over time). Some of the stuff used in Japanese crafts is really nasty. And I have to remind myself to put on the proper gear when working with that stuff...

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