The weather has improved in the UK during April. This means I can now go outside and practice my kenjutsu sword cuts without my hands turning blue from the cold within 5 minutes. Lately I have been going through some of the basics of furikaburi to kirioroshi.
Furikaburi is moving the sword from the horizontal cutting position to the overhead position ready for the downward cut that is kirioroshi. These two moves are seen from 14 seconds to approx 17 seconds in the video below.
The kirioroshi, in common with many other martial arts moves, looks deceptively simple but has a lot going on. It’s the left hand that creates the action, the right is there to guide and stop the weapon from crashing ever downwards. (Don’t believe anyone that tells you Japan had no left-handed swordsmen, they were all left-handed.) The most common cry from out Sensei when we are practising this technique is, “more left hand!”
The position with which the hands grips the weapons is important.. The hands go over the top rather than around the sides, and at first this feels uncomfortable. As the sword descends in to the cut the grip tightens from the little fingers towards the index finger, and it is this that has suddenly clicked in my mind. Before it felt like a rather odd motion. I was told it contributed to the cut but being told something and feeling it are two different things.
Yet now I see/feel/get it! It’s the tightening action that brings about the swords initial movement, not the wrist and arm movement. It’s the tightening that controls it’s descent before bringing it to a halt. That’s only taken 1000’s of cuts to realise this. No doubt it will take 1000’s more to make it flow more beautifully.
Enough typing. Back outside to keep practising those cuts!