BODY POSTURE AT THE END OF KIRIOROSHI ACTION.
One of the Iaido proverbs says Iaido techniques related to Nukitsuke are done with the Tanden and Noto is with Tanden. The actual meaning of this seems to be;
To use Tanden power when an explosive action is required, not only in Nukitsuke but also in Kirioroshi. Tanden power - Hara - Lower abdominal power is a physical potency that only human beings can produce with an intention to take sudden and powerful action. If Tanden power is to be produced correctly, shoulder joints and arms can be moderately relaxed in Kirioroshi. A straight upright posture is required to enable the Tanden to transfer power into the sword. In other words the knee, hips, upper body and head must maintain a straight line. Also the body must not lean forward. In the case of the right foot accidentally having taken too large a pace forward, bring the knee forward smoothly to maintain balance.
Mori Shigeki Sensei
Above all things Iaido practitioners should be more concerned about body posture than hand technique.
GRIPPING THE TSUKA The method of holding the Tsuka and movement of the sword have been outlined. The gripping and squeezing control with both hands produce either a sharp or mild action depending on requirements and different situations. The method of gripping the Tsuka is expressed in Japanese as Chakin Shibori (wringing out a tea-towel). This method is often used in Kendo because the Shinai Tsuka is round. Also there is no actual top bottom or side to grip. Fortunately in Iaido we use an oval Tsuka. Therefore it is not so difficult to discern a natural grip.
Chakin Shibori is to squeeze both hands slightly inward. At the same time the third and little finger must grip the Tsuka tighter. However over squeezing will be uncomfortable as the wrist joints will lock.
KIRIOROSHI FROM JODAN POSTURE.
The sword must follow the centre line. Some students take Nukitsuke action holding the sword off centre. If there is too much power in the right hand the sword will pull to the right. It is essential to cut through the centre line by balancing the gripping power of both hands.
When the right foot is placed too far to the right ones own body moves off the centre line to the right this will lead to miss cutting centre of the target. Any bad habits including this particular one should be corrected at an early stage in practice.
CHIBURUI The original classical pronunciation is Chiburui (see note). Nowadays some people especially the younger generation say Chiburi. Both are acceptable in Iaido. However Oe Sensei always used the term Chiburui For this reason I shall use this pronunciation. Chiburui is the action which shakes the blood off the blade before putting it back in the Saya. In Seiza forms Chiburui movements are remarkably large and industrious.
From the end of Kirioroshi; Stretch the right arm upwards to the right. Bend the right elbow bringing the fist to the right temple. Then swing the sword forward to the left and continue until the Kissaki reaches out in front of the right foot. In Tatehiza, Chiburui is not so big
Unfortunately there are no writings to explain the necessity of having two different types O-Chiburui (Seiza section) and Yoko Chiburui (Tatehiza section). Why is it necessary to have two different types of chiburui in one school? This is a question that many people ask. My personal opinion is that the original Chiburui was smaller. However with the influence of Oe Sensei and Mori Shigeki Sensei the large Chiburui was retained for teaching beginners fundamental movement. Next it is vital that I analyse differences from a physical and psychological viewpoint.
(Note: The word “Buri” in Chiburi is singularly pronounce as Furi from the verb Fureru; to shake, oscillate, swing or lean to. Another term Chinugui is sometimes use which has another completely different meaning In Chinugui, Nugeru or Nuguu refers to; come off, slip off, wipe off, mop etc.)
HOW TO BEGIN CHIBURUI?
As the right fist is brought to the temple directly from the Kirioroshi position, it must simply be a formal movement without containing any hidden meaning. This movement does not show any Zanshin or spiritual awareness.
It is essential to check the result on the opponent even if it is for a fraction of a second.
Because of the necessity to check the opponent’s reaction after Kirioroshi, one cannot rush too soon into the next movement.
Pressure must be maintained on the fallen opponent for a time in case he counter attacks.
Even whilst paying full attention to the opponent, the power in the Tanden must be maintained to control the opponent if the need arises.
My teacher Yamamoto Takuji explained as follows;
To start with observe and check the injured opponent for a moment holding a good posture with full power in the Tanden.
Push the sword and body towards forwards right with spirit.
For a second maintain the position of Kissaki with the right hand.
At the same time the left hand moves to the left hip.
Raise the Kissaki a little a turn the blade to the right. Without stopping this movement, bring the right fist up to the right temple.
At this point the Tsuka-gashira is pointing left forward and the Kissaki is pointing right behind. The fingertips are almost touching the right temple.
Proceeding with these actions one by one takes a certain amount of time. However it is not a matter of speed. Careful movements are essential.
THE METHOD OF BRINGING THE RIGHT FIST TO THE TEMPLE.
This movement seems in one sense to be very unnatural and illogical. But there is an alternative analysis which seems to make sense to beginners.
Moving the right fist to the temple;
As stated, strengthen Zanshin and spirit after Kirioroshi, Then gradually raise up the sword. When the fist is raised up to shoulder height, bend the elbow and bring the fist to the right temple. This posture looks like a soldier doing a military salute.
At this point the Tsuka-gashira should be pointing left forward and the Kissaki right backward.
The right elbow is pointing out to the right, The chest is stretched wide and the chin pulled well in to keep correct posture.
FURIOROSHI (DOWNWARD SWING) OF THE SWORD.
The right fist next to the temple raises and starts to pass over the head and the left side of the face. It then drops down diagonally to the right.
At the same time the back foot is pulled forward to meet the front foot and rises to Iai-goshi.
Both knees are opened and bent a little. The hips are dropped slightly and the upper body is kept upright.
The right grip of the Tsuka stops in front of the right leg (rather close to the foot).
The body must not lean forward too much.
In this posture the face and Metsuke can be observing form a closer point. The head must be kept upright.
Up to the end of the Tokugawa era, the Samurai (Bushi) used to wear their hair in a knot on top of their heads. This is the reason that Chiburui must be done carefully, so as not to cut ones own hair. Some other Schools do a narrow Chiburui so that the blade does not traverse the top of the head in doing Furioroshi. However within any school the angle of the edge must be correct to shake off the blood properly.
FINISHING POSTURE OF FURIOROSHI.
Open and bend the knees a little.
Try to keep the body as upright as possible, (leaning slightly forward is inevitable).
The hips are dropped a little.
Metsuke is focused further forward than the fallen opponent.
The sword is to the right front of the body with the Kissaki inclined downward near ones own right foot.
At this point the right hand must grip the sword firmly.
The Kissaki must not be too high.
The blood should be shaken off on the ground near to ones own body. Shaking the blood off all over the place is not a Tanimura concept.
The right arm should be reasonably straight and directed downward right almost parallel to the body line.
MENTAL PREPARATION APPROPRIATE FOR CHIBURUI.
Pay full attention to the injured opponent before Chiburui action. Pressurising with forceful strength of pressure and a dignified posture is imperative.