Training began with shurikenjutsu, focusing on the te no uchi and its effect of the shuriken’s flight, before keri renshu, atemi no tanren, and ukemi taihenjutsu looking at tenkai and koho kaiten, leading into kaiten from omote gyaku.
This lead into Taijutsu practice, starting into the Okuden Gata of Kotō Ryū Koppōjutsu, detailing the history, levels and layers of koryū in general, and that of Kotō Ryū specifically and its relationship with Gyokko Ryū and Togakure Ryū. We begun with the main form of the first kata of the level, Santō, looking initially at the throw and various alternative throws that could be taken, before looking at the hyoshi and kotsu of the atemi. We also examined a formal henka, using atemi and kotsu to plunge Aite.
Following on from this we reviewed some preparatory Battōjutsu drills, refining each part of each step before examining how each varied strike built upon the same foundations. After this we reviewed a selection of Battōjutsu kata, working through each step and relating them back to the preparatory drills, and maintaining the correct kihaku and zanshin.
“Sword is a stiff weapon. You may move very softly without a sword, but when you use one, there is a tendency to stiffen up. It should be the other way around. You should be able to make the sword soft like your taijutsu.” – Hatsumi Sensei