Sunday class was really interesting and Sensei was in a very good mood. We were only 40 students and we had a few breaks due to the heat outside.
This class was one of the best since a long time. Very technical, very high level and very deep in terms of philosophy. In this post I will only address the waza part, the philosophical aspects will be in a future post.
We did Taijutsu, Yari jutsu, and Ninja biken.
Sensei began with some taijutsu with a kind of Sanken delivered to the back of the ear the neck and the throat, after a fake grab by Tori to the chest. Soft, powerful and very painful.
We also trained a progressive control of the attacking hand. We had to absorb the Tsuki with the hand like; he said, “as if receiving a baseball.” It was about wrapping and redirecting the fist, the whole body was not moving much, but it was the body that was absorbing the hit through the wrapping hand.
While training it and having it done to me by Sensei, it felt like the Taihen Jutsu of 1998. Even though the Shinden Fudō ryū is a Daken Taijutsu fighting system, we used it to discover Taihen jutsu.
Then as it is now common, we moved to train with long weapons.
Personal message to the community: “please continue not to come to training as I need to better my long weapon techniques”.
Sunday was Yari day.
Against Tsuki, you deflect the Yari by stepping first, to the left, and second, by using a full rotative body movement to expel the weapon. Uke is totally off balanced by the power of the control (don’t hit the Yari, match the weapons). As I explained in my previous post on Senō sensei’s class, he insisted on tsunagari (connection) and awaseru (match). The speed of the attack is not relevant as long as you first move your legs. This shields you from the attack and position uke in a perfect angle to be countered by a sweeping with the hirumaki (1) or stabbing with the blade.
Sensei also spoke about the kama yari 鎌槍 (2) application. He explained that the sickle part of the Yari was able to hook the wrist or the neck. You could even “miss” the Tsuki to the head, and then catch the neck with the kama by pulling the pole back to you. Every movement was done with the legs, the Yari following the motions of the body. Everything was connected.
Then we did the same technique with the ninja biken. As it was the case last May, Sensei started with a low Seigan no kamae pointing to the knees of the opponent. (3) Then he was stepping forward and to the right and lifting his arms to intercept the cutting blow of uke at the forearm level.
This was not a cut but a simple hit. The reason to do that, he said is that the ninja biken is mijikai 短い, short. Therefore, the natural flow of the blade is modified, and it has to be used more like a metal rod. He insisted many times on the fact that ninja biken is mijikai.
When shielding himself with the blade supported by the body, the blade would be at a 45-degree angle forward, tip down. This first half of the technique is soft as it is uke’s momentum that does it for you. Then Sensei would pivot slightly towards the blade (his hips and the blade are parallel) and hit with excruciating power on uke’s kote (4).
What I got from this profound lesson is that:
1. legs always move first.
2. legs are cutting or hitting.
3. we have to move in a nonlogical manner.
4. we have to match (awaseru) the attack softly
5. we have to create a connection (tsunagari)
He also spoke about “divine power”, Kami sama, and Monju bosatsu. I will detail this in another post.
2. 鎌槍 / sickle + yari / spear with curved cross-blade(s)
3. read this post from May 2015: https://kumafr.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/roppo-kuji-no-biken-again/
4. kote / 小手. The forearm and not the wrist.
Yari downloads HERE
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