Iai 居合

 

 
Here's a video of two senior members of Tatsumi Ryu performing various kata at the annual demonstration at Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto. They start with iai, and you can see the standing and seated variations of Muko and Marui at the same time.
 
One of the things that makes Tatsumi Ryu unusual is that it has paired kata for weapons other than the sword. Here you see long sword vs spear (yari) and also short sword vs spear. Traditionally in most old Japanese arts like Tatsumi Ryu where the sword is the primary weapon, the sword always wins: the kata exist mainly to prepare the kenshi to use the sword against various weapons.
 
However in Tatsumi Ryu there are kata for weapons versus sword where the other weapon wins, and also kata that don't involve the sword at all, such as spear vs spear. In fact Tatsumi Ryu spear kata demonstrate the spear's amazing versatility: it can be used to strike at distance using its great length advantage (around 2.5m), but it can also be held near the tip and used at close quarters like a dagger.

By the way, in Japanese arts, the spear is never thrown. We often think of a spear as something you might hunt an animal with if you're a stone-age hunter (perhaps flung using a force-multiplier like a woomera). So in martial arts, the term javelin is used to differentiate a spear that is a missile-weapon from one like the Japanese yari that is a thrusting weapon.
 
PS: it looks like the previous kata video was taken down from Youtube for copyright violation. Oh well...
 

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