written and/or compiled by Eddy Wolput °1948 – 7th dan Aikido (JAA-Tokyo/Japan) – 5th dan Iaido – 5th dan Jodo. Part of the material in this article is not directly linked to the Japan Aikido Association (NPO) program or Shodokan approach. Other concepts are incorporated into the study of the subject presented.
Author: Eddy Wolput °1948 – 7th dan Aikido (JAA-Tokyo/Japan) – 5th dan Iaido – 5th dan Jodo. Part of the material in this article is not directly linked to the Japan Aikido Association (NPO) program or Shodokan approach. Other concepts are incorporated into the study of the subject presented.
The art of the sword in Tomiki Aikido is mainly practised as a form of kata. Koryu no kata dai san (tachi tai tachi) is a primary source for Tomiki Aikido practitioners. Unfortunately, most practitioners are very weak in their ability to use the sword. The lack of knowledge in most instructors is the main reason. To solve this problem, an instructor may seek guidance from an authentic swordinstructor. Tachi tai tachi is an introduction to the use of the sword. This kata includes techniques and strategies.
The 1st “waza”
Strategy is a major component of this technique. Direct penetration of the enemy is a skill that can also be used in a toshu (unarmed) situation.
The 1st technique or Shomen Ate of the Tomiki Aikido Basic Kata is an example. Some information about Shomen Ate can be found in “The Sensei Enigma” article on this blog.
Kata 2 & 3
Avoid cutting must be done when the opponent cannot change direction. Avoidance is different from moving away. During avoidance, the distance is kept to counterattack. Retreating means increasing the distance and making the counter-attack more difficult.
Tsuki enters at the right moment. Too early and too late will destroy the possibility of “Tsuki”.
Do barai is a sweeping action aimed at stopping the impetus of the attacker. Fundamentally, it does not cut the opponent.
Kote Uchi is a controlling action of the opponent’s wrist after sweeping away the sword.
Nagashi is a skill at using the power of the attack and getting back at the opponent.
The last Kata
Semete or keeping pressure is the basic action in this kata.
Using jo & bokken in Tomiki Aikido is only a small part of the syllabus and most of the techniques can be found in koryu no kata dai san & dai roku.
Tachi dori – defending against sword attacks
Jo dori – defending against trusting with the jo
Jo no tsukai – using the jo against an unarmed attacker
Tachi tai tachi – basics of sword fighting
When reading the biography of Kenji Tomiki and Hideo Ohba, there are references to sword and other weapons schools. Some of those references are from the time when Kenji Tomiki and Hideo Ohba were in Manchuria, Both were exposed to military martial arts especially sword, spear, bayonet and short sword and the influence of this exposure can be seen in koryu no kata dai san.
Hideo Ohba was a skilful swordsman and studied intensively halberd (naginata). There are some stories of Hideo Ohba when he was facing swordsmen with a naginata.
Koryu no kata is in fact the work of Hideo Ohba and his close students. The manipulation of the sword is mostly influenced by the Kendo Renmei technical syllabus. Although Kenji Tomiki did some sword work when he was a student of Morihei Ueshiba, but most of the influence in sword came from Ohba.
In Koryu no kata the yari or juken is replaced by the jo, but of course the length of the jo is not fixed like the jo of the Shindo Muso Ryu jojutsu or Kendo Renmei Jodo. The origin of the jo-techniques can be found in the use of yari (spear) and juken (bayonet).
Aikiken/Aikijo system promoted largery by Morihiro Saito (Aikikai)), is different from Ohba’s method.
Aikiken/Aikijo has some influence on Tetsuro Nariyama (Osaka Shodokan Dojo) and was taught by the late Hirokazu Kobayashi (Osaka Aikikai) a friend of Kenji Tomiki.
Which method you use depends on the educational line you are following.
But don’t make the mistake to mix up different systems.
How to start with bokken
Using the sword during training is done in a “kata” setting. Koryu no kata dai san and dai roku have such techniques for study and training. Focusing your mind on the correct performance is one of the most important elements. Don’t forget “bokken” is a weapon and can be harmful for people. It can eventually kill someone.
How to start with jo
Most of the attacks with the jo are thrusting methods similar to the use of spear or bayonet. For this reason, basic kamae is an ideal posture to perform a strong and penetrating thrust to the weak spots of the opponent. Don’t pull back the jo before you thrust, start always from basic kamae.
Bokken & jo techniques in koryu no kata – will be published soon