Integrating the use of kyokotsu and tanden has an enormous impact on cutting efficiency. This effect is due to a wave of power generated by the kyokotsu skill. You will find some info on a “wave of power” blog post.
- Lifting the sword in jodan position with Chidori ashi foot posture, keep the centre line straight and spine in a natural position.
- When the sword moves forward, start pulling in kyokotsu
- By pulling in kyokotsu, the pelvis will tilt
- Almost at the end of the cut, push kyokotsu forward to neutral position. Pelvis returns to neutral position.
Pulling in kyokotsu and releasing it affect the use of the back muscles and the pelvis.
When kyokotsu is pulled in, the sword or in case of an unarmed action, the tegatana will move forward and makes contact with the target. When kyokotsu returns, the sword or tegatana will generate a cutting action.
In case of an unarmed action, the returning kyokotsu is generating a pulling action without excessive local muscle power.
Grasping the handle or wrist
A ring of power is discussed earlier. This also applies how to hold an object with the fingers. The object can be a handle of a sword or the wrist of an opponent. Grasping is not a question of muscle power, but it is making an unbreakable ring with thumb and middle finger. This is basically a very simple skill and makes the grasping of a wrist or sword handle very solid. The idea is to close the energy circuit between thumb and middle finger. When understanding this simple action, you can use it in different situations.
During “kiri-oroshi” or cutting exercise, the correct grip on the tsuka of handle is important. Also it is not a good idea to drop the sword behind the back. This is a signal about too much relaxation in holding the sword. Sometimes you can see warming up with the sword with this method, but as a method of cutting it has to be avoided.
Previous paragraph gave you some information about the grasping skill. Of course, when using a sword for cutting or grasping a wrist to apply a “waza” on the opponent, just holding is not enough. Power transfer is necessary to become efficient in applying a waza.
Te-no-uchi is a phrase mostly associated with Japanese weapon arts. A popular description is about “wringing out a towel”. If too much power is used, the towel will be damaged, if the wringing is weak, most of the water will stay in the towel. An interesting observation is made in the Journal-of-Physical-Therapy-Science.
The skills of various kinds of motion must be maintained so that activities of daily living (ADL) can be performed fluently. An important objective of Occupational Therapy is to improve a patient’s ability to perform ADL. However, there are very few studies that have tried to scientifically analyze skill contributing to the quality of ADL. Therefore, we focused on the motion in wringing out of Towel, which is done frequently in ADL, and analyzed the factors that contribute to this motion. We hypothesized that the factors that contribute to this motion include the subject’s age, gender, grip strength and motion pattern. These factors were analyzed. The results show that the female elderly group, although weak in hand grip strength, was able to squeeze the maximum amount of water from the towel. We speculate that this group of elderly females were most efficient at wringing the towel because this was a common household chore for them and because of this, their level of skill was the highest among all the groups.
Uchi gaeshi, soto gaeshi, tenshikei and meguri
During te-no-uchi action or wringing out the towel, an uchi gaeshi or inward twist can be seen. This inward twist is basically a wrist and forearm movement.
When lifting the sword into jodan or hasso position, a soto gaeshi or outward twist is performed. As with the inward twisting action, local excessive muscle power has to be avoided. The twisting is not only affecting the wrist or forearm, but is a part of generating ‘tenshikei” or spiral power.
Te-no-Uchi, wringing out the towel
Te-no-uchi is more than wringing out the towel. It is a technique in which the fingers, palm, wrist and forearm play a major role. The twisting effect is to compress the soft tissues and, by loosening the tension, the tissues return to a neutral situation. When reaching the target, ten-no-uchi is applied to create one block between sword and body.
The relationship with “meguri”, referring primarily as an action of the wrist, but it is actually a motion of the whole body. It’s some type of te-no-uchi. Tenshikei or spiral power is also an expression of the power generated by te-no-uchi.
Tandoku undo tegatana dosa
Te-no-uchi is an integral part of tandoku undo tegatana dosa. In a previous paragraph I mentioned this in relationship with uchi gaeshi and soto gaeshi. During the execution of aiki-age and aiki-sage an internal movement is made, a rotations of the fore arm around the transverse axes. See a previous post “Wave of Power“. Although the turn of the hand is made around a point in the palm with an upward direction, the power target is in the wrist joint, the part when you push for example someone.
When performing aiki-sage or bringing the power down, the point of power is at the thumb side of the wrist.
Exercise for aiki age and aiki sage
The pendulum exercise is already mentioned on numerous occasions in this blog. The pendulum is a comprehensive exercise and can be “settled” for different purposes. When Tegatana moves upwards, the emphasis is on the aiki-age point. When Tegatana descends, we concentrate on the Aiki-sage point.
The question about the relationship between the art of cutting and aiki age & aiki sage is self explaining. The photos come from a book on Aikido. The word Aikido is a general term for defining the art of Aiki.