Physical Training Oct 2009
 
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Goshingata Iai:
Detailed Instructions

copyright 2009 Kim Taylor, all rights reserved

Goshingata iai is a set of five iaido kata which demonstrate many of the common cuts, thrusts and defenses found in iaido.

All the kata start from seiza for both swordsman and opponents. They are usually done standing up each time after the kata is finished, and returning to the original spot, but they can be done as a continuous set with no break between the kata, this is called haya nuki.

The kata have four parts, the draw and cut (nuki tsuke), the finishing cut or cuts (kiri tsuke), the blade cleaning (chiburi) and replacing the blade in the scabbard (noto). This set uses the same chiburi and noto for all the kata.

Seiza:

From standing with your left hand controlling the sword, drop down straight until the heels are about to leave the floor, lean over and use the right hand to sweep the hakama behind the left then right knee, then straighten the back again as you drop down into the sonkyo position (on your toes, squatting with both knees fully bent but off the floor). Place the left and then the right knee onto the ground and flip the toes down to sit with your shins and top of the feet on the floor.

Sit on the knees with your buttocks lightly touching your heels, the big toes touching but not crossed, and two fist widths between your knees. Place the hands on top of the thighs. To find the proper position drop the arms directly from the shoulders and bending only the elbows place the hands, fingers lightly touching, on the tops of the thighs.

Yoko Chiburi (horizontal blade cleaning):

From the finishing position move the blade vigorously to the right so that your right wrist is even with the front of your hips. The blade edge is facing outward away from your body. At the same time your left hand has moved directly back to the scabbard opening (koiguchi) in preparation for noto.

Yoko Noto:

Grasp the open end of the scabbard (the koiguchi) with the last three fingers of your left hand and make a narrow slit with your thumb and forefinger. Bring the back of the blade to your left hand, keeping the blade horizontal and the edge facing away from your body. Push your right hand to the front, and pull your left hand into your belt so that the back of the blade slides along the slit until the tip passes the web of your left hand. Tip the koiguchi onto the blade and slide the blade into the scabbard, turning the edge upward and ending with both hands in the middle directly in front of your belly button.

If you have a foot forward when starting noto you will slide that foot back at the same time as you are putting the blade in and finish with the knees on the floor, the toes up (not seiza). If your knees are both on the floor, return them to a two-fist distance and keep the toes up.

After the sword is seated in the scabbard tighten it by pulling in with the left thumb.

Stand up by stepping forward with the right foot and then bring the left foot up beside it. Return to the original position and sit down again. Drop the right hand directly off of the hilt when back in position to start the next kata and before you sit down.

Sword control

When walking around with the sword keep the left hand on the scabbard with the thumb on the guard to ensure the sword does not fall out.


1. Kiri Age

Riai:

The opponent is in front, you are both in seiza. He suddenly grabs his hilt (tsuka) with his hands so you draw and cut/threaten his face with the rising blade, keeping the tip aimed at his face. Return your blade in a defensive position (uke nagashi) to above your head (furi kaburi) and cut down the opponent from his head to his groin.

Quick Key:

-draw to a diagonal upward cut across the opponent's face (lower left to upper right) while stepping forward with the right foot
-return through a guard position (uke nagashi) with the tip of the sword down and toward the rear, and perform a vertical cut through opponent
-yoko chiburi
-noto while pulling knee back to other knee

Nuki Tsuke

Lift the hands from the thighs and grasp the blade with the right hand on the hilt and the left hand in the control position on the scabbard (saya). Release the blade by pushing forward on the guard (tsuba) with the thumb while you tighten the legs and prepare to rise. Push the blade out with the right hand, fingers loose on the hilt while you draw back the scabbard. Turn the scabbard over so that the edge is downward as you draw and rise onto your knees. As the tip reaches the koiguchi drive the hips forward and bring the right foot forward. At the same time cut upward through the opponent's face from his right chin to his left forehead while pulling the saya back strongly with the left hand. When you finish this movement the tip will remain aimed at his face and your legs will be at 90 degree angles. You should have a straight back, hips squarely facing the opponent and chest turned slightly to the left because of the stong pull back of the saya.

Kiri Tsuke

Keeping the tip of the blade down, swing the tip back around your left shoulder (don't drop your right hand) and grasp the tsuka with the left hand as it comes into a centered position over your head. Cut down on the opponent from his head to his groin as you shift your right foot then left knee forward a small distance. Drive this movement with your hips. The tip of the sword will finish slightly below horizontal, the tip at the height of the bottom of the guard (tsuba). The top of the tsuba is at the height of the top of your right knee and the left hand is one fist width in front of your belly button.

Chiburi

Turn the blade edge slightly to your right and move your right wrist slightly forward to clear your knee, then with the feeling of tearing a cloth in half, move your hands apart, the right wrist ending up at the right side in line with the front of your hip bones and your left hand ending up gripping the koiguchi. Move the koiguchi into the belt slightly as you grip it

Noto

Bring your koiguchi out to the middle of your body in front of your belly button as you move your right hand to the same place to meet it. Place the back of the blade (the mune) near the tsuba on the left hand. Pull the left hand back to the left rear pushing the saya into the belt (obi) as you push the right hand to the front, maintaining a 90 degree angle between the mune and the slit formed by your left index finger and thumb. Tip the saya onto the blade and pull the blade into the saya as you push the saya forward, the hands again meeting in the center of the body in front of the belly button. As you pull the blade into the scabbard you will also slide the right foot back to beside the left, keeping the toes on the floor. The right knee hits the floor two fists away from the left knee as your buttocks lightly touch your heels and the wedge of the blade (habaki) seats into the koiguchi. Lift the left thumb and seat the blade in the saya then move the right foot forward followed by the left to stand up.

Move back to the starting position, drop the right hand directly off of the hilt to your right side and sit down ready for the next kata.


2. Kesa Giri

Riai:

There is an opponent to the front and one to the rear, both are in seiza. The front opponent puts his hands on his tsuka so you draw upward and cut diagonally down from his right forehead to his left chin. Turn left and cut down vertically on the rear opponent and then return to finish the front opponent as he rocks forward to attack again.

Quick key:

-seiza
-draw upward to a diagonal cut across the face while stepping forward with the right foot
-turn 180 degrees leftward and cut the rear opponent vertically. left knee is up
-turn 180 degrees rightward and cut first opponent vertically. right knee is up
-yoko chiburi
-noto
-stand

Nuki Tsuke

As the front opponent starts to draw you will grasp the tsuka and release your blade. Driving forward with the hips and right foot as you did in Kiri Age you will cut down one handed from the opponent's right forehead to his left chin, leaving the tip pointed at his chin. Draw the blade as vertical as possible, just missing your left ear as you release it from the saya and cut in the same movement. Make a strong saya biki and keep the hips facing the opponent squarely while the chest is open and slightly to your left. Keep the back straight.

Kiri Tsuke

Look to your left and catch the rear opponent with your gaze, then keeping the tip facing the first opponent, turn to your left 180 degrees. Do this by shifting the left foot inward slightly, lifting the left knee and dropping the right knee. As you turn your right hand rises above your head and as it comes above you place your left hand on the tsuka and cut down without pause. Cut down onto the rear opponent from his head to his groin, finishing with the tip down slightly and finishing at the same time as your right knee touches the floor.

Look over your right shoulder and catch the first opponent with your gaze, turn back again by dropping the left knee and raising the right knee in a way simiar to how you turned to the rear. Keep the tip in line with the rearward opponent as you turn, moving the hands above the head and cutting down vertically on the front opponent, finishing with the tip just below horizontal as your left knee touches the floor.

Chiburi and noto are performed as in number one, kiri age.


3. Migi no Teki

Riai:

There is an opponent to the right, and one to the rear. As the opponent on the right reaches for his tsuka you move forward with the right foot and draw upward as you did for the second kata. This moves you away from the rear opponent and allows you to move under your sword to cut down vertically on the rightward opponent. Turn 180 degrees to the left and cut down the second, rear opponent as he is trying to readjust his distance to cut you.

Quick Key:

-seiza
-draw, step forward with right foot and cut down vertically one handed on opponent to the right
-turn left 180 degrees and cut down vertically on opponent to the original rear, left knee is up
-yoko chiburi
-noto
-stand

Nuki Tsuke

Grasp the tsuka with your hands and draw upward as you move the hips and right foot forward.
Move your body under the blade and turn your chest to the right to cut down vertically from the right opponent's head to his upper chest, the tip finishing at the height of your solar plexus.

Kiri Tsuke

Keep the tip on the opponent momentarily as you begin to turn to your left, looking at the rear opponent as soon as possible over your left shoulder. Turn to cut him exactly as you did in the second kata, Kesa Giri. In this case your hips turn 180 degrees and your face an extra 90 degrees.

Chiburi and noto are the same as for the first kata except that your left knee is up so it is pulled back to the right knee as you put the sword in the saya.

Stand up and turn around to the original position before sitting down for the next kata.


4. Hidari no Teki

Riai:

There are two opponents, one on each side and both sitting in seiza. The opponent to the left is facing you and the one on the right is facing the same direction as you are. As the opponent on the left begins to draw upward toward you, you draw the blade and thrust across your body into his stomach while spreading your knees for stability. Turn to the right by lifting your right knee and cut down the rightward opponent from head to groin as he turns to attack

Quick key:

-seiza
-draw, stab the opponent to the left, up on toes and spread knees.
-pull out and turn to right, lifting right knee to cut vertically on opponent to right
-yoko chiburi
-noto
-stand

Nuki Tsuke

Bring the hands to the tsuka and draw the blade directly to the right with the right hand while moving the saya into the belt with the left, turning the edge outward. Release the blade from the scabbard and place the back of the blade near the tip on your stomach. Keeping the left hand well back in the belt, thrust directly across your stomach into the opponent. When the tip is clear of your left arm, close the left armpit strongly, moving the left hand to the centre of your body. Keep both arms close to the body during this move. At the end of the thrust your right fist is close to the left elbow and the tsuba is just outside of it. The hilt is below your right hand and both armpits are strongly closed.

While you thrust you will come up onto your toes and split your knees for stability. Depending on where your opponent is you can move both knees, the left only or the right only to adjust the distance.

Kiri Tsuke

After stabbing into the opponent on the left, turn your head to the right to catch the second opponent with your gaze. Turning on the left knee and the right foot, lifting the right knee, you will release the blade from the first opponent. Lift it overhead and grasp the tsuka with the left hand as your hips square up to the opponent on the right. Cut down vertically without pause from his head to his groin, finishing with the blade slightly below vertical.

The chiburi and noto are the same as for the first kata. Stand and turn right to sit once more at the original place in preparation for the next kata.


5. Otoshi Uchi

Riai:

There is an opponent on the right hand side. As he starts to put his hands on his tsuka you turn to the right and draw, cutting horizontally at him. He avoids this by drawing upward and back, then drives forward to cut down vertically. You move back out of range and then cut down vertically after he misses.

Quick Key:

-seiza
-draw turn right, cut horizontally to opponent on the right while lifting right knee
-pull right foot back and drop knee beside left knee, furi kaburi and cut while splitting knees
-yoko chiburi
-noto
-stand

Nuki Tsuke

Move your left knee to your right knee as you begin to draw to the right. Turn on the left knee as you move the right foot toward the opponent on the right hand side. Turn the edge of the blade outward as you draw toward the opponent and cut horizontally across his chest.

Kiri Tsuke

Keep the tip of the blade at the same height as you drive your right wrist back toward your left and lift it through a defensive position (uke nagashi) over your head. At the same time pull your right foot back to your left to move your body away from the opponent. With the right hand well over your head grasp the tsuka with your left hand and cut downward as you split your knees to drop your weight into the cut.

Chiburi and noto are the same except that you draw your knees together rather than pull a foot back while putting the blade into the saya.

Stand and return to the original position.



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