In Kiritsuke the Kissaki position height has increased within our Ryu, because of the cutting aim.
In the case of cutting down with a dynamic action, the Tsuba is hidden behind the head and the blade also drops behind at an angle of about 45 degrees.
On the other hand, in the case of an emergency (Nukiuchi, Makko ) a quick Kirioroshi is required. Therefore the Kissaki does not extend behind the head. Action starts from above.
Students of my generation were taught two different positions to be taken on different occasions. However the present style is, taking a shallow Kamae in all forms, one is unable to display different situations.
In present day Iaido, the Kissaki stops in a horizontal position in almost every Tachiwaza form (standing forms).
In our Ryu there are two different sword positions when Kirioroshi is completed.
1, When Kiritsuke is performed to cut the head of the opponent i.e. Tsuki-kage, Oikaze.
2, To cut as deep as possible until the Kissaki reaches knee height.
Recently as Shiai (match/contest) have become popular, the stopping height of the sword is at waist level. To perform realistically or intelligently, I do not think anybody can say which is right or wrong because Both techniques have their own aim, method and logic.
Referring to the above, many techniques have been changed in the past few decades. Training must be obediently maintained until lessons can be digested without displaying overconfidence. In receiving tuition an obedient and honest attitude is an essential requirement for ongoing improvement. Endless repetition finally produces the best results.
The method of tuition nowadays is overindulgent.
In other words all movements are taught theoretically in detail. Consequently students misunderstand, as they know everything but unfortunately the body cannot keep up with what the brain tells us! According to the teaching methods of Oh-e Sensei, he would teach movements in brief, then students would continue with repetitive practice. He would then occasionally give advice whenever he thought it necessary. It was almost the opposite of the present teaching method. However at any rate repeated practice is essential with or without tuition. I feel that I have just started to do some decent Iaido practice after more than 50 years of learning. It is my personal opinion that one should consider that one is still a student up to about 6th Dan standard and repeatedly practice what ones teacher advises. However this is not saying that 7th or 8th Dan is good enough. Because Iaido is a lifetimes work. There is no end to Do study.
SEIZA SECTION - PREPARATION FOR EMBU.
All techniques in the Seiza section are done sitting in the Seiza posture. It is a very basic technique, one person against a single opponent. Although it is questionable as to fact that the Samurai ever sat in Seiza wearing a long sword on their hips, Seiza is a valid method of perfecting basic Iaido technique. The conditions are as follows;
a] Initial action is taken from the Seiza position.
b] A long sword is worn.
c] One man with one opponent.
d] No difficult or complicated techniques are used.
All these conditions are very basic and most suitable for learning fundamental techniques. In other words;
1, Seiza is a reasonably comfortable sitting position for Japanese and some other Oriental nations. However it seems to rather uncomfortable for Westerners. Even if it is difficult to begin with Iaido and Kendo enthusiasts soon get used to it. One should always wear Tabi with Montsuki. However demonstrations outside present a problem. For this Tabi with rubber soles are available. Seiza practice promotes the following points;
a] It teaches the association between the Tanden and breathing.
b] Controls mental unbalance.
c] Teaches one to use both arms and feet adequately with speed and timing.
d] Teaches basic form against an opponent.
2, Our school has a custom of using a long sword, even so;
a] A long sword is difficult to control.
b] Control the timing of Nukitsuke and settle the Tanden.
c] With the added weight of the sword and tightness of the Obi the whole body has to work more actively.
3, As to the one man one opponent situation. This position seems to be adequate as either can initiate action.
4, Throughout these forms, movements are relatively simple. The Seiza section was created by the 9th Master Hayashi (omori) Rokudayu for the purpose of practising fundamental technique. It actually seems easy to accomplish basic movements, however the reality is different. Simple movements are far more difficult than complicated ones. Unfortunately beginners do not realise the importance of this and tend to go on to Tatehiza and Oku-Iai to quickly. Seiza techniques must be studied and practised repeatedly for a long time. After many years of accumulated practice each technique is finally established within the body both mentally and physically. To understand the essence of Seiza, the following points should be carefully considered;
a, Ample Tanden power.
b, Large technique.
c, Power generated by the whole body.
d, Correct posture.
e, Follow basic logic.
f, Full spirit in Zanshin.
This method is used in Kendo for exactly the same purpose. Kirikaeshi and Uchikomi are fundamental exercises for all experienced Kendoka. They display the significance and importance of fundamental exercise. However there is one issue. How should one instruct beginners? When I teach Seiza to beginners, I tell them to perform slowly with broad actions checking each movement. I recommend that Tatehiza and Oku-Iai be performed smoothly at a reasonable speed.