Wednesday, 26 October 2011

2011 MMK Fall Koryu Seminar

As a member of the CKF, our club's primary focus is on the standardized kata determined by the All Japan Kendo Federation. However, it is in the koryu where we truly connect with the people who passed down the art of Iaido from one generation to the next.

The Mu Mon Kai Fall Koryu Seminar was held at the JCCC on Saturday, October 15. 

Participants included:
- Mu Mon Kai (home dojo, Toronto)
- Aikido Yoshinkan of Canada (former affiliate, Toronto)
- Kenshokan (former affiliate, Peterborough)
- Kaigen Kai (affiliated dojo, St. Catharines)
- University of Rochester (affiliated dojo, Rochester)
- Ittokai (affiliated dojo, Rochester)

The seminar was organized by Hanna Ikeda-Suen who showed great spirit in maintaining order throughout the seminar while fighting through illness. The dojo was booked from 3pm - 8pm and refreshments were served during the break. Reservations were made for 20+ people at Tako Sushi for dinner. Even though she was unable to participate, her efforts in making everyone's experience the best it could be was very much appreciated.

Ohmi Sensei's opening statement was very illuminating. Paraphrasing:

"To me, Seitei and Koryu are the same thing. In Iaido, you must have an opponent. Everything you do comes from this understanding. Is your blade angle correct? Is your sword tip at the right location? All this comes from knowing the scenario and facing your opponent. "

Agenda as follows:
1. Etiquette: Holding the sageo. Shomen Rei. To Rei. Tying sageo.
2. Nukitsuke: Blade angle when drawing. Wide. Tsuka-gashira center. Harusuke angle. Ohmi straight.
3. Noto (Omori, Eishin, MJER) options. Tsukagashira center

  • Anecdote - Oe Masamichi was a tall, big guy. However, he used a 2.35 shaku sword, the standard for Tosa Iai. It was easy for him to perform noto with Tsukagashira center. We must adjust our noto to the length of our sword. It is mandatory that it stays within body length though.

4. Fundamentals of MJER - Gokai. Technically and Mentally big. Cuts slightly down (exit body). 
5. Chiburi: Tip low front and back. Blood flow down. Not sweep around front. 

  • Anecdote - One sensei claimed that because of a samurai's top knot, chiburi was performed sweeping around the front of the body so as not to interfere. We should not make it that obvious though. Make natural angle forward and down.

6. Iaigoshi
7. Breaking Koiguchi has three ways: Show thumb. Hide thumb. Use thumb and index finger.
8. Seme is a difference between Mugai-ryu (quick, no zanshin) vs MJER

  • Anecdote - In Ohmi Sensei's opinion, in a real fight, Mugai-ryu will beat MJER. However, MJER is about Seme, about controlling the opponent with your spirit. That is the focus. If you're able to reach the highest level of this, then MJER can just as well beat Mugai-ryu.

a. Uke Nagashi - Slow or Fast?
  • Anecdote - Yamamoto Harusuke used to travel around and stay at his student's dojo. Once, when he was visiting Yamashibu sensei, Haruna sensei went to train and asked about Uke Nagashi. At that time, Harusuke sensei was already old and was doing the technique very slowly. Haruna sensei asked, "Shouldn't this be fast?". Harusuke sensei replies, "Show me how you do it.". Haruna shows him. Harusuke proceeds to say, "Yes! That is Uke Nagashi."

b. TsukeKomi: Options - Move back or not
c. Nukiuchi: Options - draw with tsuki-age, draw with tsuki-age + uke nagashi, draw with only uke nagashi

--- BREAK ---

History of MJER. Iaido federation vs Kendo federation. Ku-den transmitted through mouth only. So no way to really know if what we're doing now is the same as what they used to do it.

a. Yokogumo
  • Anecdote - We are often told that Mae has all the basics of Iaido. In Ohmi sensei once heard, and agrees, that it is really Yokogumo that has all the basics of Iaido. Not Seitei Mae. Not Omori-ryu Mae.

b. Practice Eishin-Ryu kata.
c. Hayanuki with demonstration by M. Hodge (4 Dan)

--- BREAK ---

How to have opponent

- Breath, hips, metsuke
- try movements without sword to use hip

Oku-Iai - Yukizure - Demonstrations and individual corrections

We concluded the night with great conversations at Tako Sushi.

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