#86 Waitakere Seven Suburi - ワイタケレ七素振り


This time, I would like to introduce you to the Waitakere Seven Suburi. There are dozens of ways to practise swinging, but we have chosen seven forms that are necessary and beneficial for all members, including beginners.

In Suburi exercises, you will learn how to use your elbows and knees, foot work, and relax your shoulders to improve your posture. Every class will have Suburi session after the stretching.

Before explaining the Waitakere Seven Suburi, I would like to make some notes.

1. Standing bow:
Line up in two rows facing the front. The Bokken should be held in the right hand at the beginning and end of the training. The tip of Bokken is lowered forward at 45 degrees, the handle is behind, and you hold from above with the right hand. During the practice, you can hold the Bokken in the left hand and bow.

2. Sageto (提げ刀), Taito (帯刀), Batto (抜刀):
"Sageto" is the posture used after standing bow and before pull up the Bokken to the side of the waist. The Bokken is held in the left hand, blade up. Arms outstretched, Bokken held at 45 degrees. This is a calm and relaxed posture.

"Taito" is the posture before drawing the sword, ready to fight at any moment. The tip of the Bokken is raised as it is pulled up to the waist with the thumb of the left hand on the Tsuba (sword guard). At Waitakere Dojo, it is not necessary to put the Bokken on the belt.

"Batto" is the act of pulling the sword from its scabbard. The way to pull out the sword is the image of cutting the object in front of you by stroking it while pulling it out.

3. Hanmi stance:
"Hanmi" is the Aikido stance. When cutting up the two-handed sword at the centre line, the body faces the front (square). When striking, the waist is twisted to generate power. As the waist twists, the heel of the back foot turns inward to return to "Hanmi" stance.

4. How to grip:
With the little finger and ring finger of the left hand, grip strongly from the end of the handle. The middle finger, index finger and thumb should be gripped lightly, as if they were sticking to the handle. The V-shape between the thumb and index finger should be pointing upwards. The feeling is that the left hand is mainly used to hold the Bokken and the right hand is used only lightly to prevent wobbling. The two hands should be held only a fist's distance apart.

5. How to swing up:
With the shoulders down, cut straight up on the centre line of the body, drawing a circular arc with the tip of the Bokken. If your right hand is stronger than your left, you will not be able to swing straight, so practice swinging straight without straining while looking in the mirror. By drawing the beautiful circular arc, it is possible to cut objects as if you were stroking them while swinging up. This is in line with the "Kiriage" movement in Aikido Taijutsu. You are not swinging a heavy stick, you are cutting up a sword. Also, in Waitakere Seven Suburi, the angle of the swing should be 45 degrees above the head so that even beginners can make stable strikes.

6. How to swing down:
Stop the Bokken straight in front of the belly button without bending your elbows. The centre of gravity should remain at the same height without moving up or down. The blade of the Bokken strikes vertically without wobbling.

7. Whole group practice:
Line up in two rows, front and back. In turn, count 10 Suburi each from the one on the far right to the one on the far left. At 10, all shout out with "Kiai". However, we do not shout under COVID-19 Alert. This is repeated from form 1 to form 5. Form 6 and form 7 are eight strikes on outward and return.

< Waitakere Seven Suburi >

Form 1. Shomenuchi:
Practice swinging straight with relaxed shoulders. Lower the centre of gravity lightly. Swing up without bending your elbows from the middle position and hold it at 45 degrees above your head. Swing down and stop straight at the belly button. Beginners swing slowly and straightly, without adding any lower body movement.

Form 2. Okuriashi-shomenuchi (Okuriashi-mae, Okuriashi-ushiro)
When the movement of the foot is added, it becomes difficult to swing straight. Swing big and slowly at first, keeping in mind that the blade should be vertical. Prevent swaying with your right hand.

Form 3. Zengo-shomenuchi (Cut front and back)
Drop your centre lightly and cut front and back. Swing the Bokken straight so that it passes directly above the head while making a turning motion (Tenkai).

Form 4. Fumikomi-shomenuchi
First, step back and swing your Bokken up to 45 degrees above your head. Step forward (Fumikomi) and cut the front from directly above your head. As the waist twists, the heel of the back foot turns inward to return to "Hanmi" stance.

Form 5. Fumikomi-wakigamae-shomenuchi
While stepping back, swing up your Bokken straight from top to back and hold it as if you were hiding it behind your body. Step on and cut the front. As the waist twists, the heel of the back foot turns inward to return to "Hanmi" stance.

Form 6. Kirikaeshi-shomen-oiuchi
Practice Kirikaeshi by parrying the opponent's slash to side. You can have the image that you parry the opponent's sword to the front foot side (Kirikaeshi). It means that if you are Migihanmi (right foot front), guide the opponent's sword to the right hand side. At the start, without stepping back, cut the front and parry to side and cut again. Cut 4 times while chasing the opponent (Oiuchi), turn (Tenkai), cut 4 more times, turn (Tenkai) again and back to 1.

Form 7. Kirikaeshi-shomen-tuki-oiuchi
Practice Kirikaeshi (parry) when your Tuki (poke) attack is pushed sideways. First, take a step back and hold the Bokken 45 degree over the head. Step and cut the front, rotate the Bokken half a turn and hold it horizontally for Tuki. Do Tuki with Okuriashi. You can have the image that your bokken is flipped to the sideways by the opponent's sword after Tuki. Then, you parry (Kirikaeshi) the oppomnet’s sword and cut the front (shomenuchi) again. Cut 4 times while chasing the opponent (Oiuchi), turn (Tenkai), cut 4 more times, turn (Tenkai) again and back to 1.

Shihogiri (Cut in 4 directions)
Zagi/Suwariwaza Shihogiri
Happogiri (cut in 8 directions)

As an aside, with the increase in the number of Aikido instructors studying Iaido/Kendo, there are more and more opportunities for the introduction of Iaido/Kendo manners in Aikido. In particular, the way of standing bow with the Bokken and the way of swinging the Bokken are different in each Dojo. For example, in the standing bow of Iaido/Kendo, the sword is first held in the left hand and then switched to the right hand so that the "Mine" (backside) is facing upwards. Also, the way of swinging up of Kendo is often done by using the principle of leverage to lift the tip of the sword and then swing it up. We do not assume that we will use a thick and heavy sword called ''O-tachi'' that is difficult to swing without the use of leverage, so the emphasis is on making a beautiful circular arc with the tip of the Bokken without bending the wrists. This is also in accordance with "Kiriage" movement in Aikido Taijutsu.

Related article: Push and Cut - correct way to strike "Shomen-uchi"




正面を向いて2列に並びます。 稽古の最初と最後には、右手で木剣を持ちます。 剣先を前にして45度に下げ、柄を後ろに向けます。 練習中は左手で持って礼をします。
















関連記事:押して切る - 正面打ちの正し方


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初心者にも分かりやすく、理論的に基礎知識を説明します。なんとなく他人の動きを真似るのではなく、普段から考える力を育てていくことを目的としています。In this blog, I explain the basics in a theoretical way that is easy to understand for beginners. The aim is to help you to develop your ability to think, not to copy the movements somehow. Aikido is not magic. I will explain things that are not so clear, such as Ki and O-Sensei's philosophy.