hip, shoulder, sword

More stating of the obvious: don't swing the sword with the muscles of the arms and shoulders. Let the natural movement of the body going forward, starting with the hips, carry the sword. Placement of the foot should be secondary to the hips moving forward.
Things I need to fix:
* Too much arm strength
* Too much weight on the front foot
* Too much adjusting the back foot to compensate for bad form
* Too tight a grip
* Too much shoulder tension

obvious: cut with the monouchi

"Mono" means thing, and "uchi" means to hit. So monouchi is literally "thing hitter" or "the part you use to hit/cut with."
Sanno-sensei has an amazing ability to break things down and state the obvious, or at least explain what should be obvious but, until he mentions it, it didn't really occur to me. Obvious statement of the day: don't think about cutting with the very tip of the sword, think about cutting with the monouchi.
That makes you more aware of the right hand grip, how far out and down the sword body is moving, where the point of impact is and where the enemy is standing.
In just a couple of hours, I felt my cuts getting bigger and more relaxed, with less arm force and more natural extension.
Now if I could only learn to draw without twisting my body so much...

to cut or not to cut

Thought I'd be all alone in Honbu tonight, as Naganuma-sensei is still out with his leg injury, but Ando-sensei showed up looking for Niina-gosoke and ended up watching me practice for an hour or so.
He corrected several of my false assumptions, including:
* The first cut of shin doesn't miss, but it also doesn't kill the enemy. From the force of the rising cut, he is knocked back and up. Attempting to get up and retreat, he is finished with a closing-in cut from above.
* The cut to the leg at the start of inchuyo also connects, though it doesn't completely sever the leg. If it did, the enemy, stepping in and cutting down, would continue to fall forward. But instead he retracts his wounded leg, injured but attempting to flee, and again he is finished with a closing-in cut from above.
* The first cut of ren has to move with the body. So first draw more up than out, tighten up the right pinky as soon as possible to bring the sword tip up, and do NOT move the right hand back. Leave it in space where it is, then once the body moves forward to come underneath it, move the hand with the body to thump the blade into his head.
* To cut immediately after the feint in ryoguruma, the sword most be basically drawn, so that the simple act of turning the hips to the right and drawing out brings the sword into the enemy's temple. Of course, the left foot must stay anchored where it is for that and the following cut as well. And don't lead with the right hand, letting the business end of the sword lag behind; move the whole sword with the right side of the body as it steps across to finish the left enemy in one stroke.
After a bit, Niina-gosoke showed up and clarified some details on the newly introduced Basic #3:
Start with the right foot and immediately draw out and stop the enemy's draw. The body turns to open up for the draw, but don't stay in hanmi, bring the left hip back in a bit. The the left foot comes up to even with the right as the left hand grips and the sword tips rises to solar plexus height. Stepping forward with the right foot drive the sword straight and flat into the enemy's solar plexus, blade turned 90 degrees so that the right hand is on top. Shuffle the left foot up a bit as the blade retracts, keeping the sword tip at solar plexus height. Slowly follow the falling opponent with the sword tip, them chiburi and noto.
The first cut is katsujin-ken; non-killing sword. You merely stop the enemy's attack, giving him a chance to rethink and live another day. But obviously he doesn't, and as he slides back to get clearance to draw, he is skewered like so much dead meat.


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yamagata day 2

Managed to get a couple of hours sleep, though I think the party last night raged until about 3 or 4 in the morning.
Didn't get up in time for the purification ceremony down the hall, but the thumping taiko drum woke me up.
Gray and drizzly, and the mountains were wrapped in mist as we drove up to Hagurosan.
Once again we entered the main shrine and did a short purification ceremony, and then Niina-gosoke did a small demo in the innner main hall as an offering to the shrine.
Once again we went next door and practiced for a couple of hours. It was pretty cool, actually, with the sound of the rain and all the doors open to forest and shrine grounds.
Exhausted, we got back on the bus about noon, drove into town for lunch, and then started back to Tokyo.
Traffic was light and we made it to Tokyo Station just at 9:30pm.