Intro to iai



We've started to look at Tatsumi Ryu iai as a group in our Zoom training sessions. This is because it is something purposeful we can learn while in isolation. The movements relate to Kendo, whilst also teaching us more about the use and history of the sword. As I mentioned at training, one of the many things that iai teaches is how to use a sword safely. It is only once you have a sword in your hand that you realise they are very dangerous things: to the user as well as the user's enemy!

This clip has some recent footage of the current Headmaster, Kato Takashi soke. He is the 22nd Headmaster in direct descent from Tatsumi Sankyo who founded the style in the 1500s. It is therefore one of Japan's oldest extant koryu bujutsu, or old school martial arts.

Watch from 7:19 to 9:30 to see many of the basics I have mentioned, performed by Kato soke:
  • muko (7:19) - block from the draw then cut through 
  • marui (7:45) - cut kote from the draw then cut through 
  • yoto (8:08) - bringing the sword with both hands in a twisting action into the hara (stomach) prior to drawing
  • kowa-uchi (8:20) - the distinctive cutting action where the sword whips around in an arc behind you before you cut downwards
  • fumi-ashi (8:54) - the stamping action of the foot, same as fumi-komi-ashi but without follow through
  • finally, noto (9:10) - the action of putting the sword away safely.
There are many other videos of Tatsumi Ryu on Youtube, many taken in the last few years of Kato soke and his students, including his son Atsushi. 

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