Kendo, Aikido, martial art related

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fundamentals of Kendo III : Nigiri

10:44 PM Posted by author No comments
Nigiri (the hand grip)
The method of gripping the hilt is the foundation of the cut and the movement of the Shinai. If the hands are incorrectly placed it is impossible to deliver a correct stroke, especially with regard to the left hand. Because of the gloves, this is difficult to see clearly but the position is the same as in the plate.

The left hand is always at the very end of the hilt, regardless of whether the student is left, or right-handed. The hilt lies transversely across the palm of the hand along the line of life, crossing under the base of the index finger and the butt lies in the heel of the hand. The three smallest fingers curl back over the hilt to point back at an angle of forty-five degrees to its length, and tighten firmly to pull the butt into the inner palm which we call Tenno-uchi (inside hand). The fore-finger and thumb just curl about the hilt in a comfortable position.

The Tuska-gawa (hilt leather) of modern Shinai are constructed with more length and the right hand is placed with an inch or so clearance below the guard. This is to avoid the excessive wear of the glove constantly rubbing against the guard.

The wrists are snapped well inwards so the hands lie along the top of the hilt and the knuckles of each fore-finger should be aligned with the edges. The Shinai should form a natural extension of the arms and the hands be in the ideal position for maximum control. The correct grip will only be possible if the wrists are supple and again this is a question of practice.

The Tenno-uchi (inner palm) of the left hand is the main cutting source and the placing of the left hand most important. The right hand does almost nothing, merely supporting the Shinai and guiding direction. Once the correct grip is understood the left hand is aligned with the Chushin (body centre) and thrust about four inches forward.

Students should avoid grasping squarely since this stiffens the arms and shoulders, or allowing the hands to slip around the sides of the hilt. In this case it is impossible to control the cutting and movements of the Shinai.

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