Posts Tagged ‘kata’

A Weekend of Practice on My Own Style

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

I spent much of this weekend working on my Kongōshu style, doing kataA sequence of moves in martial arts, performed as a practice exercise to train the fighter’s muscle memory and reflexes in preparation for real combat. May be anywhere from a brief, 15-second movement to a full sequence that takes five minutes or more to complete. Usually solitary, but there are some two-person kata.

You may wish to see some videos of standard karate katas.A sequence of fighting moves used as a practice technique in martial arts. in the yard of Akane’s and my house in Hoshiakari. This style is an offshoot of the Steel Road ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts., which is a fairly complicated sansetsukonA three-sectional staff. Looks vaguely like a nunchaku with an extra section. Famously used as an intimidation technique by one of the bad guys in Raiders of the Lost Ark, who smiled evilly and then folded it up into a coat-hanger.

Three-sectional staff; weapon that looks like a nunchaku with three sticks instead of two. style in the Three-Headed Dragon school.

I was surprised by how well I still remember it. I was able to make much progress… until I ran into a complicated maneuver that I can see will be very necessary. But I cannot yet determine how to accomplish it.

Some day, I have hopes that this style will be useful for people carousing in Kusatsu — I am working on some aspectstrying to make it a good mobile app – using HTML5, not a native app that’s restricted to just one platformtrying to make it a good mobile app – using HTML5, not a native app that’s restricted to just one platform that will be particularly useful in the environs of that rapidly-growing city. But it still has a long way to go.

Akane says she remembers the days when I was a member of Clan Tenya. I would come home from my battles in Ōmi Province and have no desire to pick up another weapon for the rest of the night. Even on the weekends, I was too tired to practice kata. But now, I have spent much of the weekend practicing blocks, strikes, and swirling sansetsukon attacks.

She says this makes her very happy to watch.

Remembering the Steel Road Ryū

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Since the Emperor declared a day of rest on today, in memory of a great man, we had a long weekend. And I spent some of it relaxing in Hoshiakari, doing kataA sequence of moves in martial arts, performed as a practice exercise to train the fighter’s muscle memory and reflexes in preparation for real combat. May be anywhere from a brief, 15-second movement to a full sequence that takes five minutes or more to complete. Usually solitary, but there are some two-person kata.

You may wish to see some videos of standard karate katas.A sequence of fighting moves used as a practice technique in martial arts. in my own Kongōshu style. This is a style I have been inventing especially for people who go carousing in taverns a lot, and it is based on the Steel Road ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts..

This means I must refresh my memory of the Steel Road, for I have not used it in some time. So I spent part of the weekend out in the yard outside my house, whirling the sansetsukonA three-sectional staff. Looks vaguely like a nunchaku with an extra section. Famously used as an intimidation technique by one of the bad guys in Raiders of the Lost Ark, who smiled evilly and then folded it up into a coat-hanger.

Three-sectional staff; weapon that looks like a nunchaku with three sticks instead of two. around, practicing strikes and blocks.

My style is not yet ready to use… but I have definitely made some progress on it this weekend! Some day, perhaps it will be useful to others.

My Chain Is Still Mighty

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I have spent the past few weeks mostly scouting, lurking in alleyways and reconnoitering territories in Sanigata. On the rare occasions when I’ve found enemies who must be removed, it has been a simple task to slay them with my kamaTechnically, a kama is simply a farming tool. It’s like a sickle, or a small, one-handed scythe. Since farmers make up a huge segment of feudal Japan’s population, there’s nothing suspicious about carrying one around. And ninjas like to avoid suspicion.

If you take a chain with a weight or hook on its end and attach that to a kama, you’ve got a kusarigama… much more useful as a weapon, but also obviously a ninja weapon, instead of a farming tool.A farming tool, like a sickle or a small, one-handed scythe. Commonly used by ninjas because they arouse no suspicion – farmers are everywhere, after all..

Aside from those few, occasional instances of combat, I have spent much time in meetings with Clan Hekoayu.

Yesterday, I spent hours doing kama practice, learning the hikichigaido maneuver, trying to understand it — or at least make it work correctly. Having reached the point where I can follow it by rote, I went back to Yokuaru Shitsumon this morning. There is a warrior there who I needed to kill, for the good of my clan.

After much waiting and lurking, I finally spotted him. Quickly, in my mind, I recalled the motions of the hikichigaido attack. As he drew close to me, I sprang from my concealment and attacked with my kama.

He blocked the first strike, but the hikichigaido is a two-part attack. With my left hand brushing across his eyes, I whirled and completed the maneuver… leaving him dead at my feet!

I was slightly surprised that it had worked. I was even more surprised to see two of his allies coming toward me — and one of them pulling a kusarigamaA common ninja weapon: a one-handed scythe/sickle with a length of chain attached to the handle. The chain has either a hook or weight on the end of it.A common ninja weapon: a one-handed scythe/sickle with a length of chain attached to the handle. The chain has either a grappling hook or a weight attached to the end.

The scythe/sickle part alone is a kama, and is a common farming tool. With the chain attached, it’s pretty obviously a weapon, and would be treated as such by any authorities one might encounter.
from his belt!

It has been too long since I got to use my chain skills. I am afraid I may have gone a bit overboard… both of my attackers were on the ground in moments. I made a quick getaway, knowing that Yokuaru Shitsumon is now safe for our forces.

The only way that could have been better is if I’d had an excuse to use the rooftops. Sadly, Yokuaru Shitsumon is one of the small towns of Sanigata; there’s just no point.

This Technique Should Be Easy…

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

I have been sick for the past few days. On Monday afternoon, I was in Yokuaru Shitsumon, scouting out the opposition. It is clear that I will need to master a particular technique to have any hope of prevailing here. It is called the hikichigaido attack — a kataA sequence of moves in martial arts, performed as a practice exercise to train the fighter’s muscle memory and reflexes in preparation for real combat. May be anywhere from a brief, 15-second movement to a full sequence that takes five minutes or more to complete. Usually solitary, but there are some two-person kata.

You may wish to see some videos of standard karate katas.A sequence of fighting moves used as a practice technique in martial arts. using the kamaTechnically, a kama is simply a farming tool. It’s like a sickle, or a small, one-handed scythe. Since farmers make up a huge segment of feudal Japan’s population, there’s nothing suspicious about carrying one around. And ninjas like to avoid suspicion.

If you take a chain with a weight or hook on its end and attach that to a kama, you’ve got a kusarigama… much more useful as a weapon, but also obviously a ninja weapon, instead of a farming tool.A farming tool, like a sickle or a small, one-handed scythe. Commonly used by ninjas because they arouse no suspicion – farmers are everywhere, after all. that should really be quite simple.

Still, it eludes me.

I do not know if this is because of my illness, or if there is something I am misunderstanding. But now I am in the courtyard of Castle Noriaibasha, practicing this technique. I must hone it until I can go back to Yokuaru Shitsumon and eradicate a pair of enemies who will otherwise cause us trouble there.

Practice, practice…

Weekend Kata Practice, and a Hard-Working Herald’s Message

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

There is a fair in Iga tomorrow. Akane and I will be having friends over to join us at our house, so we have made sure it is clean and welcoming. Between bouts of cleaning, I have spent the day playing with a ninja-tōThe short sword most associated with ninjas. Note that unlike the katana and wakizashi carried by samurai, the ninja-tō was straight rather than curved. It was roughly the length of a wakizashi.

The ninja-tō was also generally of inferior workmanship compared to the more expensive blades available to samurai. Even if a ninja could acquire a katana, it would be too long and unwieldy to carry on most missions; ninja generally relied on smaller weapons like the shuriken and manrikigusari, and on more deniable weapons like the kama.

“Ninja-ken” is another perfectly acceptable name for this weapon; it’s like the difference between saying “ninja blade” and “ninja sword” in English.The short sword most associated with ninjas. Note that unlike the katana and wakizashi carried by samurai, the ninja-tō was straight rather than curved. Also known as a “ninja-ken”. kata that my friend Michio described to me recently:

“I can see that there will frequently be situations where I have to hang from a tree branch, roof, or overhang, stab an enemy, then haul his body up into the place where I am in order to avoid being detected. And I have a kata that seems to work for that. It was a good learning exercise.” Curiously, I have never had to solve this exact problem, though it’s similar to one I’ve dealt with before.

So I agreed to work out a kata for it, without having seen Michio’s. Then we can compare them. It will make a good way for him to check how well he is learning the martial arts, too.

Well, either it’s harder than it looks, or I’m going at it entirely the wrong way. But my focus has been very scattered these past few days.

I did not go to Yagyū today, of course. But while I was practicing in the yard in front of Akane’s and my house, I got a message from a herald anyway. A singularly unhelpful message, much like the previous message from one of this herald’s gumi“group”Japanese for “group”; can refer to anything from a “five-person group” (a common work-unit in Japanese corporations) up to an entire branch of the Yakuza such as the Yamaguchi-gumi. yesterday: It specifies what weapon skills and fighting styles I would need to know, but nothing else. There is no mention of any of the things I need to know to decide if I am interested or not.

Where is the clan’s headquarters located? Would I be constantly on the road from Iga to their castle, and exhausted by all the travelling by the time I even arrived every morning? And is this with a clan at all, or with a larger army? Where do they fight, and what are their objectives and strategies?

On Monday, I have appointments with two other herald gumis. Perhaps I can have lunch with a friend along the way.