Tegatana (Japanese for hand sword) is a term that refers to the idea the hand and the arm are in the shape of a Japanese sword.
During training, uke and tori often face each other with their respective tegatana that touch each other. From this position, considered the ideal distance for two unarmed opponents, many balance breaking, striking and throwing techniques can be applied.
The inside of the tegatana is called “tegatana no mune”, and can be used in techniques like irimi nage.
The hand itself has many functions depending on the circumstances. The little finger side of the hand is commonly referred as tegatana, the base of the palm is shotei.
Most of the times the hand is outstretched with the fingers apart. The cross marked in the open hand is the center for rotation purposes.
Tegatana in randori and kata
We can consider 2 criteria for using tegatana in kata.
- Tegatana in randori (no kata), techniques for use in randori.
- Tegatana in koryu no kata (classical aikido techniques)
By using the word “kata”, we assume the practitioner has an advanced level and is not bound by the idea of “standard”. Kata is not a fixed form anymore, although the choreography is still there, the use of tegatana will be used depending the circumstances. “Kata and me” are “one”. Mudansha (those without a dangrade) will use the word “katachi” instead of kata. They will focus on the correct form of tegatana during the training of forms (katachi).
For randori, mudansha will use kakari geiko and yudansha (those with a dangrade) will use hikitate geiko.
The use of tegatana during randori is focused on attacking dynamical weak points, and tegatana is basically used as Taijū no idō & Taijū no dendō skills.
During koryu no kata, tegatana is basically used as a tool to attack physiological weak points. Mostly after applying Ridatsu-hō (escape techniques), but also for Seigo-hō (a method of control).
Ridatsu-hō (escape techniques)
The method of breaking away (ridatsu ho) and practically applying the atemi-waza when grasped by an opponent
Seigo-hō (method of control)
The method of controlling (seigo ho) an opponent and practically applying the kansetsu-waza when grasped.
Tegatana no mune
Besides the little finger side of the hand and arm, the thumbside of the hand and arm can be used.
It is called “mune”, referring to a part of the sword. The use of “mune” is used for example in uchi gaeshi or soto gaeshi.