2007-03-29 21:49 #0 av: AnnaL

Inoue Yoshihiko (8 dan hanshi) i katakommitén i All Japan Kendo Federation skriver en artikel om hur en gedigen tenouchi ska vara. Detta är en översättning som publicerats i <a href="http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/" target=_blank>Kendo World Forums</a>.

TenouchiIt is often written in books that tenouchi is one's way of gripping the shinai, but this is not the case. Tenouchi refers to the actions that allow the shinai to be controlled within the hands. In other words, it is an operation that involves the most effective use of both wrists and all ten fingers.

Firstly, with regards to the wrists, we can divide their use into the two categories of 'semete' (attacking hand) and 'ojite' (countering hand). The difference is slight, but with semete the wrists are less bent in a downwards direction, in other words, the angle between shinai and arm is closer to a right angle (although not close, just closer). Changing the angle of the wrists when actively pressurizing, or when trying to reverse an opponent's technique, is a teaching of our predecessors. One also makes changes depending on the opponent, and within the span of a single shiai it is necessary to make changes depending on circumstances (maybe 'phase of the shiai' is better).

Now, with regard to the fingers, we call the index finger the attacking finger, the little finger the deciding/finishing finger, and the middle finger the power finger. When striking, one moves first from the attacking finger, or index finger, and at the instant of impact, 'sae' is produced by a tightening of the finishing finger. The middle finger, which is the power finger, acts both when attacking and finishing. The third finger has no particular name, but it lies next to the middle finger and adds to its power. This is mainly about the left hand, but it applies to the right as well.

These days you don't hear these names much, but any person from the old days knows them. They are words that naturally developed from long years of teaching, and their content is important.

'chakin shibori' does not mean twisting inwards

We are often told to grip as if 'squeezing out a chakin', and this describes tenouchi at the moment of striking. These days people think of it much as they would squeezing out a rag, or tenugui, and make beginners hold a tenugui and wring it to the left and the right, but this is not what it means. A chakin is a thin cloth used in tea ceremony, and when you make sushi or sweets, you rinse the cloth in water and while gripping it lightly, move your hands up and down - this is what we call chakin shibori. It most likely originally came from the method used in tea ceremony.

Whatever the case, one does not squeeze it out by rotating the fists. If you do that, the resultant power is zero. At the moment you strike, you squeeze up and down.

We call the right hand the 'pushing hand', and the left hand the 'pulling hand'. The instant we strike, we push with the right hand using the idea of chakin shibori, and pull up the left hand, tightening the little finger firmly. If you do that, then your strikes will have 'sae'.

Takano Sasaburo, who taught that the shinai should be held with the little finger half on the tsukagashira (hangake), and Nakayama Hiromichi, who held the shinai with a little protruding from his left hand (not the most literal translation, but probably a little easier to understand for those who haven't looked at the topic in detail yet).

How to hold the shinai

Next I'd like to talk not about tenouchi, but how to hold the shinai. Firstly, just like the teaching of old that it should be like 'holding an egg' from above, one should hold the shinai comfortably. Holding from above is the best way in terms of the range of movement of the joints and the properties of extension and contraction of the muscles. A grip from the side doesn't allow one to swing up, and you can't strike. All sorts of problems, such as hirauchi (hitting with the flat of the blade), and strikes without any 'sae', will occur.

Then again, the great master Naito Takaji (or Kouji, or something else, I don't know) of Busen gave the impression of gripping slightly from the side. Since Naito sensei had a large body and his stomach stuck out, his way of holding the shinai was to have a deep, comfortable stance.

I was questioned just the other day as to whether or not to have the little finger of the left hand half sticking off the end of the tsukagashira. Takano Sasaburo, of the Tokyo Koutou Shihan Gakkou where I trained, taught us to do so, so everyone there held their shinai like that, but bit by bit I've come to hold it level with the end of the tsukagashira, or with the tsukagashira projecting from my hand. Mihashi sensei also did this, and most people who take chudan naturally do it this way. I feel that it allows you to fully employ the power of the little finger and make decisive strikes. Takano sensei took jodan, and for jodan this hangake is more comfortable, and also makes one-handed thrusts easier to perform. On the other hand, Nakayama Hiromichi sensei held the shinai with the tsukagashira projecting out of his left fist.

There are various ways to decide the length of the tsukagawa, such as measuring from the inside of the arm or measuring from the outside of the arm, but by and large four fist lengths is ideal. You should match it to the size of your body.

If it's too long, you have the problem of your kendo becoming right hand-centric. Too short, and the tip feels heavy and you can't swing well.

'Swinging diligently is the only way to master tenouchi'

There are no other methods for mastering tenouchi except for taking up a shinai and swinging it. As you swing, you'll come to comprehend all sorts of things about the left and right hands. In Shinkageryu, there is a teaching called 'jikitou' (straight sword). It concerns striking shomen absolutely straight. They say that Yagyu Jubei dedicated himself exclusively to jiktou for a whole three years. This is because it's the best way to correct hasuji. At first, no matter what you do you'll end up with tension in either the left or the right hand, but if you repeat this over and over, the tension will disappear and there will be no deviation in your hasuji.

Miyamoto Musashi talked about the 'path of the sword'. 'If you understand the path of the sword, then you will be able to swing quite freely with just 2 fingers, and this will not be due to efforts to swing rapidly.' You don't swing up with your own power and down with your own power, the sword descends by itself. It's the same with the kendo we do now. The shinai strikes the opponent due to its own weight. If this isn't happening, your kendo will not have 'sae' nor will it develop into something splendid.

Of course, kirikaeshi has the effect of improving hand reversal, relaxing the shoulders, and developing kikentaiicchi. But, these days it is carried out with just a shomen strike and strikes to the left and right at 45 degrees, and the left and right strikes are carried out alternately, which is the Shinkageryu method - in the past, there were various methods. For example, it was carried out with the left and right strikes being perfectly horizontal. This is very effective for developing hand reversal. Takano Sasaburo sensei had a large scar above his eye, and apparently he received this when doing Onoha Ittoryu style kirikaeshi, in which the number of strikes to left and right are not pre-decided, so you could, for example, strike two right then three left, and furthermore, at that time they used bokuto.

What's most important but has been most forgotten is the fact that the shinai comes back due to the reaction force from striking. You strike and it comes back, and then you make use of that returning sword. That's why we call it 'uchikaeshi' (striking and returning, his name for kirikaeshi). These days it's done with a feeling of striking and then stopping (the shinai), and people try to do it quickly. There's no need to do it quickly. It's important to relax and feel the return of the sword.

 

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Av: AnnaL

Datum för publicering

  • 2007-03-29