Beginners

Course Overview

Class content is cumulative

Aim
to thoroughly practice and develop the following skills. The first nine should be well understood and demonstrated before do and tare can be worn.

1.      proper suriashi (sliding footwork) on the balls of the feet, not walking on heels
2.      left heel always raised when going both forwards and backwards
3.      snapping of the left foot back into place
4.      large swings (above the head)
5.      straight swings
6.      swings that finish at the correct height
7.      relaxation­–tension–relaxation, (tenouchi, the action of the hands) 
8.      smooth transition from fumikomi (stamping footwork) to zanshin-ashi (following through footwork)
9.      swings using left hand for power, finishing with arms outstretched (no bent left elbow)
10.   ki ken tai itchi (integration of cutting action, body action and voice)


Outline
The outline describes the order in which techniques will be introduced.

Week 1 - Ashi sabaki (without shinai)
  • Chakuza using saza uki (kneeling down by starting on left, standing up by starting on right)
  • zarei (seated bow)
  • ritsurei (standing bow)
  • ayumi ashi (left-right-left-right sliding footwork as used during reiho)
  • okuri ashi (right-foot-in-front or fighting footwork)

Week 2 - Holding the shinai
  • Review week one
  • How to hold the shinai
  • Reiho (correct etiquette) with shinai, including kyuho-no-maai (nine steps distance: the starting distance), ritsurei and tachi-ai (bowing, drawing sword, sonkyo, standing up into kamae position and crossing swords)

Week 3 - Ashi sabaki with shinai
  • Review reiho and kamae
  • Review holding the shinai
  • Okuri ashi in kamae (forwards and backwards, left and right)

Week 4 - Suburi (two hour sessions  from now on)
  • Review ashi-sabaki with shinai
  • Shomen suburi (straight cutting of men without following through)
  • Tenouchi (the action of the hands)
  • Suburi with partner (shinai as target for men)

Week 5 - Kihon uchi
  • Review ashi sabaki
  • Review suburi with partner
  • Kihon men uchi (basic men cuts) including seme (assailing opponent by stepping into striking range), kikentaiitchi (cut, footstep and voice in unison) and zanshin (following through past your opponent)
  • Kote and do uchi depending on progress

Week 6 - Striking bogu
  • wearing bogu (armour) do and tare (apron and breastplate)
  • Review kihon uchi (all basic cuts: men, kote and do) against each other
  • Practice kihon uchi against main group. Striking target areas directly on the bogu (armour).

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