Sunday, July 30, 2006

The hikiotoshi demon

Hikiotoshi uchi is a surprisingly versatile and robust technique. There are several different ways it is practiced in the syllabus. The solo practice allows one to concentrate on getting the right angles and the right timing of the hands and feet, while the paired practice allows us to simulate contact with a sword. Hikiotoshi can be done as suburi in sets of 25 or 50 or 100. It can be offensive (hikiotoshi) or defensive (tsukihazushi) and these two versions also demonstrate that it can come from a fairly wide range of angles and still be effective.
I don't know about all the rest of you jodoka out there but I know that I have a tendency in paired practice to try to strike too hard. Friday I practiced it just dropping the jo into the centerline with my weight behind it and was getting good results. The presence of a guy with a bokken in front of me seems to change things in my mind. Makes it more urgent to get that sword out of the way. I ended up getting harder and harder until uke flinched and I missed, throwing myself into position for a perfect decapitation.
That seems like the same demon that pops up in tegatana when we switch from simple taisabaki to pushing motions. In tegatana it manifests itself as a desire to take larger steps, while in jodo it seems to manifest as a desire to hit harder in paired practice than in solo practice. Interesting...

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