SITUATION AND INTENTION.
This is a technique where an standing opponent on the left side (about 15 to 30 degrees) attacks your head. Intercept the strike and counter-cut to the opponents neck.
a] Whilst sitting 15 to 30 degrees to the diagonal right of Shomen, a standing opponent closes and cuts to the head.
b] When the opponent’s Kamae is close;
Turn the toes up to touch the ground.
Take hold of the Tsuka with the right hand.
Lift the left knee (the right knee is still on the floor).
Move the right foot one pace towards forward right.
Start to draw the sword taking A correct defensive posture with Metsuke focused upon the opponent’s eyes.
c] Stand up with the left foot. Draw the sword simultaneously covering the head with the blade. The right fist is above and a little to the right side of the head when intercepting the opponent’s Kirioroshi.
d] As soon as the opponent strike is parried above the head, remove the right foot to the right rear with it pointing slightly inward. Then twist the body to the left. At this time the left hand is either on the hip or gripping the Koikuchi.
e] Bring the left foot close to the right foot pointing at the opponent and take Kirioroshi action. The time to grip the Tsuka with the left hand is half way through Kirioroshi action. The posture for this action is Iai-goshi with the knees separated. Both arms are moderately stretched and the lower abdomen is pushed forward to maintain correct body balance.
f] Pull back the left foot with a large pace, dropping the Kissaki.
g] Chinugui: Rest the mono-uchi part of the blade on the left knee, edge pointing downward front for Chinugui. The right hand grip is softened and the left hand is straightened moving left forward to wipe the blood.
h] Noto: The right hand is turned to re-grip the Tsuka. The left hand grips the Koikuchi. Swing the Kissaki backwards for Noto. Smoothly lower the left knee to complete.
EXPLANATION OF THE MAJOR POINTS.
DIRECTION OF THE SITTING POSITION.
PREPARATION AGAINST THE OPPONENT’S ATTACK FROM JODAN
The opponent and draws his sword to take an attacking Kamae. In reaction to this situation, take one pace forward and draw the sword horizontally about half way out. Focus Metsuke upon the opponentŐs eyes with an upright body posture to be ready to counter attack if need be.
At this point ;
Eyes are on the opponent.
The blade is half drawn towards forwards right.
The upper body is straight and upright.
Turn the body to the left into Hanmi (half turn)
This is the preparation against the opponent’s attack.
a] After drawing the blade half out, drawback from the opponents attack in a flexible posture. Standing up, cover your heard and shoulder with the blade held by the right hand. The left hand is holding the Koikuchi, or is placed on the left hip.
Moving the right foot, 3 to A, behind the left foot 2 to catch the opponents strike. Then move the left and right in that order to position 4 and 5 to take Kirioroshi action. Metsuke must be on the opponents eyes during these movements. The timing of the feet landing on position 4 and 5 is left foot first, then the right with different timing. The sound of the feet landing is essential. Next, take Kirioroshi action the left hand takes hold of the Tsuka halfway through the technique. It is completed in Iaigoshi with straightened arms.
THE TIMING OF UKENAGASHI ACTION.
In this technique the following three points must be studied carefully;
The timing and deflection of the opponent’s strike.
The standing and receiving motion.
Catching the rhythm and flow. The left foot takes one pace forward to the front of the right knee from the Seiza posture. As the counter action, draw the sword halfway with Metsuke on the opponents eyes. Continue to draw the sword and stand up to protect the head and left shoulder. At this moment the left foot is in front with the other foot directly behind it. The practical movement is shown in the diagram.
These movements can be analysed as follows.
The moment of the opponent’s decision to attack the left foot moves one pace forward as preparation for the protective action.
Consequently the movement of the right foot is not the correct time to receive the opponent’s strike. After all, these actions are taken a limited moment regardless of exact logic.
An important point is how on can perform this technique safely and practically.
Sword control for covering the head and left shoulder.
When taking Ukenagashi action the right hand should be to the right and above the head protecting it and the shoulder with the blade. If one is not careful this right hand could become a target.
Details and techniques of Ukenagashi are;
Deflect the opponents strike with the Shinogi and at the same time use this energy. Bring the right foot behind the left to deflect the strike. Bending the upper body backward at the same time swing the sword backward.
A theoretical explanation is included in the following three points:
a] There is no danger because the blade is covering the head and shoulder held diagonally to deflect the opponent’s strike.
b] The moment of receiving this Kirioroshi the right foot moves forward and outward in a curved path. This is the reason why the opponent’s strike ends in flowing off and missing the expected target.
c] Also using the opponents Kirioroshi power assists the body in turning to the left to face the target in a square on body posture.
These three points have to fit together to make sensible harmony. One can only perform a precise Ukenagashi by harmonising these three points.
There is another method of deflecting the opponent’s strike. This is holding blade above the head in a more horizontal position. However because of the power of the downward strike, the blade involuntarily drops after the two blades connect. As a result of this the blade safely covers the head and left shoulder. Not being able to pull back the left foot in a sweeping curve is the main disadvantage.
Flowing off the opponent’s strike with turning body work.
A more detailed explanation is perhaps necessary on technique and strategy.
a] Assume the Kamae protective posture.
b] The moment the opponent attacks move the right foot immediately behind the left foot.
c] Bend the body back to avoid the opponents Kirioroshi. As to this element; Some people say that it is unnecessary to bend the body backwards to avoid the attacking stroke if the footwork and body twist is properly controlled. This sounds quite straightforward, but practically it does nott seem to be suitable.
Passing off the opponent’s attack with a flowing action.
Avoiding the attack with the body turn.
Shaking off the opponent’s strike with the motion of the body turn.
Using these three points together in timing and control is of great importance.
The second form of Nihon Kendo Gata is a good example of this type of technique.
Drop the Kissaki to avoid the opponent’s kote.
The left foot is pulled to back left.
Avoid the opponent’s Kirioroshi by footwork that withdraws away from the Kote cut.
These above actions must be done as smooth as possible. To be exact, the right hand is relaxed when the opponent makes his attacking move. Ukenagashi technique is almost the same as this. The diagonal sword covers the head and shoulder, also the bends back and spins to the left.
I was taught this technique by Yamamoto Takuji Sensei and the 19th Master Fukui Harumasa.
I was particularly given firm advice by Master Fukui. He advised me to lift the left knee with a feeling of trying to hit ones own face with it whilst bending over backwards before spinning the body to the left. He demonstrated this especially for me.
According to Inoue Tsuchiro Sensei, Master Oe’s private student Yamauchi Toyotaki Sensei also performed in this method. These three previously mentioned points of Kamae, foot position and dynamically bending the body back and three unavoidable requirements to successfully perform Roppon-me Ukenagashi. These techniques are performed from Seiza which means they are fundamental moves. There is great difference between the techniques used Seiza and Oku Iai.
In Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu there are basic differences between Seiza, Tatehiza and Oku Iai depending on individual experience and technical ability. Tutors and instructors should bear this in mind.
From the posture of holding the sword with a single right hand and beginning to twist the body it is impossible to take Kirioroshi. This is the reason that both feet land on the floor making a sharp sound. At that time the sword is gripped with two hands two immediately execute Kirioroshi to the opponents neck. Following this action the hips are dropped into Iai-goshi. For beginners the timing of the feet landing should not be too fast. The finishing position is in Iai-goshi, but the upper body should be almost upright with the knees slightly open.
a] After Kirioroshi focus Metsuke on the fallen opponent with full Zanshin. Drop the Kissaki a little to rest the blade on the right knee. Then pull back the left foot with one large pace and rest the mono-uchi part of the blade on the knee. Take Chinugui action by moving the blade from right front to left front. The left grip ends up in front of a slightly lowered left shoulder.
b] Point to pull the left foot backwards. At this moment the right knee is kept in the same shape as when Kirioroshi was completed. Pull the left foot backwards with a large pace without lifting or dropping the waist.
c] When shifting the left grip downward in front of the left shoulder a clear blood wiping action must be shown.
d] The position of both fists after Chinugui should be in front left of the chest with arms comfortably straightened. Also hold the Tsuka with the mono-uchi still resting on the knee.
e] This Chinugui is not practical because only one side of the blade is wiped on the Hakama. Therefore this movement is only a formality. However Zanshin and Metsuke must be strongly maintained.
From the Chinugui position the right hand is released and turned to hold the Tsuka in a reverse manner. The left hand grips the Koikuchi. The right hand swings the sword down to bring the Kissaki to the Koikuchi.
Start Noto and bend the left knee gradually to quietly touch the floor. The hip and upper body must be kept still until Noto is completed.
a] After Kirioroshi action pull the left foot, turn the blade and bring the mono-uchi above the right knee. Some practitioners do not rest the blade on the right knee when pulling to the left. However if Zanshin is strong enough it is not so important to wipe the blade as it seems to be a formality.
b] When taking Noto action;
Pull the left foot directly backward facing the fallen opponent with direct Metsuke. Pull the left foot back body squarely facing Shomen. Metsuke is directed slightly to the left. I am uncertain which is the original function. Further study and research will be necessary.