Today we continue with the Seitei Jodo notes from the November 2018 seminar in Port Credit with Chris Mansfield sensei.
When you put the bokuto into your belt remember that it’s a bokuto, not a sword so don’t put it in like your iaito. Take the left hand to the belt, find the place, take the bokuto to the left hand and then put it into the belt.
This is the first kata where both partners move at the same time. When the sword moves to grab the sword, jo thrusts toward his eyes (seigan) and then strikes the suigetsu. It is a natural drop from the eye to the suigetsu.
The sword twists his body, taking the sword under the jo to draw, make some distance and re-engage. When you feel the sword moving away, quickly do gyakute tsuki kamae with the jo. Jo must attack, the sword is escaping.
The sword considers that he can maybe cut the hand. He doesn’t want to walk back onto the jo. In order to move the jo away, sword must be convinced that you will cut the hand, if you are, jo must move.
Jo hasso, the right hand is just above the head, the jo carries a wider grip than the sword so the hasso is different. At this time the sword is off the line after missing the cut to the hand.
Strike the suigetsu convincingly, the kiai here should perhaps be a bit more expressed. This strike is usually expressed with the right foot and right hand. Alternatively one could use both hands. The strike comes down on a 45 degree line although various sensei use various lines. Personally, I prefer to enter sword’s space from above. First, it is difficult to see the jo from this angle and secondly, it strikes in a less problematic manner for women. Use the end of the jo to strike the suigetsu.
The problem in this kata is the space at the last strike, to be short is common. You must maintain the space in the kata so that you can use it.
[This was the end of the Saturday classes, we continued on Sunday]
This is a linear kata and so isn’t much of a problem, the next kata, Ran Ai is all over the place. Sometimes for Ran Ai we practice it as 1/3 1/3 1/3 of the movements. Is this a fun kata? It’s hard to have fun with this one.
Are you warmed up well enough? If not, begin to practice softly but sharp. To practice sharp and with focus is ten times better than practicing strong. For example, if we practice the kihon Maki Otoshi, at first we move strongly, later if we practice in a relaxed manner the effect is different. Plant the idea of being relaxed in your head. Consider the three strike image is in force, you will get more satisfaction out of a movement that is relaxed.
Eric and Pam will demonstrate Midare Dome. The start and finish of this kata are different, so please practice safely. The kata starts like number 3, Hissage. The jo attack must be a true attack, don’t just hit the sword, attack sword with the jo. If there is no pressure after the strike why doesn’t sword simply cut jo? The josaki must be in the space to control the sword.
At this point the two move apart into Hiki Otoshi and Hasso. The sword must not be devious, but must try to cut the triceps. This is a two step distance so sword moves left-right feet as he attacks.
Jo must wait for the reality to occur, if he moves too soon jo can cut his hand easily, jo must wait for the last moment.
The sword should not lean back on this movement, instead reserve the front foot and stay upright. We call this move “ai uchi” but it really isn’t because jo wins. This is a dangerous moment so be careful.
Strike the sword down after stopping it. The power is due to gravity, jo then lowers the stick to the floor naturally, don’t hit the floor after striking the sword.
Sword receives the strike by pulling the feet together, rotating the sword in front of the body and reaching to cut the head. This is Maki Otoshi and jo performs it by moving both feet (1-2) back.
Maki Otoshi scoops the sword from below, it is a soft movement not a block. Ideally, there should be no noise.
After maki otoshi the sword does not retreat on his own accord, he moves back in a reaction to seme from the jo. On the last step back sword goes to hasso and jo moves to a square position, [feet together and jo held in both hands at the center]. This stance is center to center, sword and jo on the same line. Sword should not make a big flashy move into hasso.
It is the sword’s idea that he is going to cut jo. This is the moment of truth for the jo, the moment of courage when jo must win the centerline during this attack. Jo attacks sword’s eyes. Jo’s posture at this moment increases the point of focus of the jo, if jo has a weak posture there is no control of sword.
During tai atari keep the contact point with the sword the same. Neither side moves to a feet together position at this point. At this point Jo drives forward with his left foot and sword responds with three steps back, the last one naturally bigger than the first two. Jo moves back into kamae at the correct distance (kiri musubi).
Question: After the maki otoshi, jo pushes sword two times, does sword then move back on his own? The sword is responding to pressure from jo, the sword is trying to outmatch jo. When the sword comes into hasso, jo must be ready first, otherwise the sword can take the initiative. Sword doesn’t wait, when he sees an opening he cuts, so jo must be ready first, he must be proactive. Whatever sword says, Jo is there to take over the situation. This is “inside fighting” during the kata.
If jo is not proactive, the sword just comes in. For example, at the start of the kata, sword comes in three steps, in Seitei sword stops on the second step to allow jo to take that moment, to be proactive. In koryu there is no stop there, so jo must be proactive. In this sense, koryu is fighting. [Demonstrating Kage Kasumi] In this demonstration you can see that sword has no chance at all. The jo is “30 cm of extra timing”.
Demonstration by Pam and Eric: The book doesn’t explain whether the tai atari kiai is e or o. Is tai atari a strike or a thrust? Which do you think? Perform the kiai accordingly. The kiai is not prolonged in Seitei, if you have no weapon your kiai must be sharp to stop the sword. If you have no kiai you will get cut.
In Midare Dome the jo attacks in an unassuming way. Use gravity and a sliding movement. Use momentum. Pay attention to contact and technique. Tachi should feel “oh, nice”. Be unassuming, it just “is”. This is convincing, sword says “Can’t argue with that”.
The kata is question and answer, question and answer, there is a continuity. It needs lightness, as you know, a heavy conversation is difficult. As you get older you don’t have as much power but how much do you need? You need enough.
Receive the techniques in the moment, be light and responsive. With older or weaker partners use your power to match them. Don’t collapse their power, there is no benefit to anyone. There should be no overkill, just “it’s finished” not IT’S FINISHED.
Alex and Nacho, please demonstrate. Are you relaxed, or tired? You should look for the most obvious mistake here. Oops they didn’t do it. What did you do differently from before? Yes, the changing of the hand after tai atari must be done at the end of the jo, don’t just drop the jo and change it. This is the difference between a big movement and a small one, the big move is nicer. Change can happen soon or late, these two knew they needed to change and put it together and now they are fine.
Next time we will continue with Ran Ai.
Dec 2, 2018
April 6, Seito Bugei Juku seminar in Peterborough.
May 17-20 Annual CKF International Jodo and Iaido seminar and grading, (Kurogo sensei and Mansfield sensei) Guelph.
November 8-10 Annual CKF International Jodo seminar and grading (Kurogo sensei), Mississauga