DIVERGENT MEMORANDA : By Kono Hyakuren
This section is devoted to memoranda written by the 20th Headmaster MJER Kono Hyakuren
It shows the progress of his feelings and attitude corresponding to his achievements in Iaido.
1 : THE LIFE AND SECRET OF IAI - August 1935
Our ancestors used to say The secret of Iai is in the Saya. It would be masterful if you could defeat the opponent without having to draw the sword. However if forced to do so the most crucial moment is when the Kissaki exits the Koikuchi. Batto (Nukitsuke) is Iaido in real life. To win 100 times in 100 encounters is not the way of mortals. To win without drawing is the secret. Iaido enthusiasts should study and try to understand the real meaning of Saya-no-Uchi.
Addition : As Kono Sensei stated, It is essential to follow and study the original methods and style of Oh-e Sensei.
2 : ATTITUDES IN STUDYING OUR IAI RYU - May 1935
I sincerely hope that the followers of the Ryu will practice with a strong belief in the originators (Oh-e Sensei ) method by preserving the basic forms without rearranging them their own way. Consequently it will be possible to pass on fundamental Iai to subsequent generations.
There are 40 fixed forms and several additional ones within this Ryu. The originator ordained these forms to the next generation and subsequently through each headmaster. Therefore the notion of altering forms now would be disrespectful to these forerunners. The most beneficial thing to do beyond any doubt, is to retain the originators fundamental logic.
Addition : No matter how much a students techniques improve, the tradition of the Ryu must be passed onto the next generation without the interposing of individual premature conceptions, methods or techniques. It is rather sad to see the present-day circumstances of trying to modernise forms because of gradings and competitions. The safekeeping the originality of the Jikiden Ryu is the obligation of all Instructors and practitioners.
3 : AN OPINION ON IAI - 3rd March 1936
With regard to Kendo equipment; The Shinai is a representation of Nihon-to. Therefore in theory the handling should be the same. On the contrary. In Iaido Kiritsuke is completed in one cutting action. However in Kendo there are Renzoku-waza (continuous techniques like Kote-Men Kote-Do etc.). Also Kendo has fixed targets. For these reasons handling techniques are different.
In Iaido the neck and wrists are cut through except in Kaishaku. Thrusts into the chest must be deep. In Mak-ko (Tatehiza No 10) Kirioroshi is from the top of the head to the waistline. Each move is with positive action, but is so difficult to perform realistically for immature students including myself because all the opponents are imaginary. This is why a performance quite easily resembles a replicated sword dance. An Ancestor stated, Artistic technique is never ending. The time to finish training is when one dies.
Consequently the correct attitude for beginners in studying Iaido is;
a, To comprehend and understand that the way of Iaido is long and deep.
b, To respect the sword.
c, To augment achievement by daily practice.
d, Also, to hope to reach the stage that finally one is able to perform correctly, expeditiously and peacefully.
Addition : There are obvious differences between Kendo and Iaido cutting action. In Kendo if the Shinai hits the target, the result is concluded. However in Iaido, Kirioroshi is a cutting through movement. Therefore the posture and concept is different in each. To hit a target with a Shinai, body weight is unnecessary. However in actual cutting, body weight is essential to create energy.
This should explain the difference between hitting and cutting.
Naturally there are marked differences in body posture. One of the exemplary differences is stance. The Kendo stance is narrow and Iaido is wide. However both are judged to be Shizentai (natural posture) in their own way. In these Shizentai one must be immediately prepared to take adequate movement.
I once saw Aikido Grand Master Ueshiba Morihei perform . I was astounded by his body and footwork. The followers of Muso Jikiden Ryu should maintain practice to achieve quality and ability without stepping away from Oh-e SenseiÕs original path.
4 : IAI & TACHIAI - August 1935
The word Iai was composed in compatibility with the word Tachiai in Kendo. Both words have been retained developing together for a long time. The relationship between them is inseparable. However one major differential that Iaido has preserved to date is Nukiuchi/Nukitsuke technique. Alternative words used to describe Iaido as a speciality could be, A crucial strength depending on the moment the Kissaki leaves the Koikuchi.
Addition : The 20th Headmaster Kono Hyakuren described the relationship between Kendo and Iaido as Iaido in many ways is a part of Kendo. Although Masuda Torahiko Sensei 16th Master of Tosa Eishin Ryu Shimomura-ha said, As I practice both Kendo and Iaido, I think Kendo training is for Iaido. Also Batto technique can only be found within Iaido. This must be an outstanding point.
Kendo action starts after;
1. Rei at the entrance into the fighting area.
3, Stand and take up Chudan Kamae.
4. Then begin.
Iaido starts with;
1, Enter the area after Rei
2, Seiza or Tatehiza.
3, Start with Nukitsuke or Batto.
As you can discern from above critical points are contained in Nukitsuke action.
To conclude the significance in Iaido is to understand the ensuing points;
a, How to handle the Tsuka.
b, The speed of Nukitsuke movement.
c, The angle of the blade.
d, Position of Koikuchi at Nukitsuke.
e, Control of Tenouchi.
f, Kissaki movement after Nukitsuke.
g, Control of the right hand grip.
h, Movement of the Kissaki after drawing.
i, Horizontal Nukiuchi and Kissaki movement.
j, Body movement following Nukitsuke action.
k, Position and height of right elbow, sword direction and body posture etc. at the end of Nukitsuke.