Basic Techniques

Basic Forms of Throw

In the Negishi and Shirai Ryu, there are 2 basic types of throw; to the front, and to the side. Front throws involve 3 forms,1. Koso no I, 2. Jikishin and 3. Uranami.

Front Throws

The Basic Form, Manji No Kata

The method of learning the front throw, indeed all throws, is by first going through a series of steps from basic form to advanced form. The basic form is called Manji no kata, and is practiced for the first 6 months without holding a blade. It is a simple set of 8 movements, which form the essence of the constant throw, and cannot be neglected. The reason why it is practiced without a blade is to prevent the mind from becoming attached too early to scoring a hit, which would otherwise distract one's concentration from the form.

For any throw, there are several steps one must go through, in order to set up the conditions for an accurate hit, and this kata, or form, drills the body through these steps. Even though the form looks very rigid and the movements seem superfluous, this is necessary as it causes the body to succumb to the form, and allows the correct throwing movement to dictate how the body moves during the throw, rather than have the untrained body upset the movement of the blade during throw.

Manji No Kata, the basic form

Preparation, Nyujo, or entrance. Just before the desired distance, stop, and bow to shomen, (shrine) or the east, then step with the left foot to the throwing position.

1. Stand in shizentai, or natural stance with the heels slightly apart, and the feet open at a 60 deg. angle. The arms hang relaxed down by the sides, and face directly to the front, towards the target. Look at the target in a state of metsuke, which is striking a line from your hara, or abdomen directly to the target. As you strike this line, feel a response from the target, as though the target is informing you of the correct line.

2. Yoi, or ready. Turn the feet inwards, so they are pointing forward, and straighten the arms, holding the fingers together and palms flat to the sides.

3. Manji (a). Raise both arms together, swinging them forward and up in an arc, so they meet palm to palm directly in front of the chest horizontally to the ground, as though making a diving posture with the hands.

4. Manji (b). Slide forward with the left foot along the line, and turn the right foot so it is angled about 60 deg. from the front, until a long but comfortable stance is achieved. As you slide forward, open the arms horizontally backwards, so they are 180 deg. apart to your sides, both at right-angles to the line forward. This is the manji, or swastika shape.

5. Manji (c). Turn on the hips, 90 deg. to the right, while maintaining your gaze on the target, so that the left hand is pointing directly to the target, and the right hand is reaching directly behind you. Both hands remain upright with the palms at right angles to the ground.

6. Shuriken no kamae Raise the right hand by bending at the elbow, bringing it up behind the right ear. The hand and wrist remains straight, and the rest of the body does not move.

7. Te no uchi, or throw. Turn on the hips to face forward, lean forward on the left knee, and cut the right hand downwards and forwards as though it were a sword, straight towards the target.

As the right hand cuts down, the left hand drops to the left side in a natural position.

The hand follows through down next to the left knee, then returns upwards to the forehead, where it stays for a moment. The right hand remains at the forehead, fingers together pointing upwards, thumb resting on the hairline, while you maintain zanshin, where you feel the result of the throw, but are in a state of readiness.

8. Step back to shizentai, dropping the right arm to its side, and pause for a moment, looking at the target.

Once the 8 movements of the form have been absorbed by the body and become familiar, the form begins to control how the body moves, and at this stage the student is ready to hold a blade while practicing the form. Manji no kata then becomes an 11 step form, as it now incorporates extra steps which involve passing the blade from the left hand to the right. The shuriken are carried in the left hand, tips pointing to the rear as you step up to the throwing position. This is an inoffensive gesture, as having shuriken in the throwing hand would be seen as offensive action. Between step 2 and 3 of the sequence above, 3 further steps are added. 1. The left hand is raised, holding the shuriken, to the front of the hara, tails pointing to the right. 2. The right hand raises to meet the left, the thumb goes behind the blade while the fingers cover the blade, thus hiding the blade from view. The grip is transferred to the right hand. 3. Both arms drop to the side together.

The second level of Koso no I (see fig. 24) is called Toji no kata, and simply involves a shortened, or abbreviated number of steps to the Manji no kata form. The swastika shape, or manji is subtracted, and the arm is raised to shuriken no kamae (step 5) behind the right ear from the side as though raising a sword (shomen uchi movement in Aikido). This arm movement is the same movement used in Jikishin Ryu, although the Jikishin grip of the blade is different, and the right foot does not step forwards during the throw.

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