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© Marko Grönroos, 1998

    Hontai Yoshin Ryu Kodachi kata

    These are my notes from our iaido seminar on 24.-26. February, 1995, by Pasi Helsten, 4. dan Muso Shinden Ryu iaido.

    Please note that these are just my personal notes and I'm not an authority of any kind. The information presented here is incomplete and actually plainly false!

    Bug reports are welcome.


    These katas can be practiced in three different ways:
    1. Omote. Practice is done with wooden swords. This is the form presented below.
    2. Ura. Practice is done with shinken, but with the back side of the sword, so to demonstrate subduing. Understandably recommended only for advanced students.
    3. Hashirigakari. Practice is done with shinken, the opponents starting some 50 feet apart. Then they sprint towards each other and the technique is done at full speed run. Understandably recommended only for very advanced students (masters?).

    Bows and other formalities

    In the beginning of the practise, bows are made to the shinzen, the instructor and the sword from standing position. Practice in made in pairs. Other partner holds a daito and other a kodachi. When they meet, they draw their swords, take chudan kamae, bend down from knees like they do in kendo, bow (tips of their swords lowering) and stand up.

    1. Uen

    Starting position. This is same in all katas. Both have chudan kamae, with about 30cm between the kissaki. Shorter distance would be worse for the daito. The nage (or whatever - the student side with the kodachi) stays in a quite low stance and feet rather close together to be able to advance forward fast.

    Advancement. The nage attacks and tries to take control of the uke's daito by pushing it down and then strike in. The uke, however, tries to avoid the blade contact and steps back, taking a jodan kamae. This is because kodachi is more effective at short distance or with blade contact than daito. The nage ends in position with the sword pointing forward-up-left, a bit above the line between the heads of the opponents. The nage's stance is quite low and ready to move easily in any direction. The more near nage is to the uke, the better for nage. This can be easily felt. The stance is quite protective for the nage.

    Opening. Since uke cannot easily attack now, the nage opens his defence by dropping the kissaki of his blade down. The opening should be big enough when the uke sees the blade going below nage's head. Other and maybe easier way to make the opening is to move the tip to both down and left.

    Irimi. As the uke sees the opening, he attacks with kiri otoshi. Nage steps right-forward and strikes the uke's neck from right, pushing strongly in.

    Finishing. Both step back to the starting distance. Uke performs yoko chiburi with his daito and nage o-chiburi with his kodachi.

    2. Saen

    This is same as the first technique, except it is done to the left side of the uke.

    Irimi. As the uke attacks, the nage first moves to left-back, and then forward to strike uke's neck from left.

    3. Irimi

    This is same as the second techique, except the nage makes a tsuki in uke's chest.

    4. Hien

    Irimi. This starts as the second and third techniques, except that nage steps left-forward with his right foot first. He turns facing the uke as he steps with his left foot and cuts uke's right hand from below. This cut is not his real aim, however, but he takes the kodachi to his left side, a little behind the uke while bringing his right foot closer and then strongly cuts his side horisontally, stepping strongly to the right at the same time. After having cut the uke's side open, the kodachi continues far right (a tip for the uke: raise your arms to protect your hands).

    5. Ichimonji

    Irimi. This is done like in the first techique, except that the strike is made from to uke's side, from left to far right. After the cut, the nage continues his movement below uke's arm, hitting him hard in chest with shoulder and entire body, so that he would fly far off and drop dead (not necessary in a practice situation).

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