5 Kumi Tachi

Paolo Corallini and Francesco Corallini - Kumi-tachi

The kumi-tachi (kumi: to unite, group; tachi: sword) refers to advanced partner practice with the sword, encompassing 5 basic forms plus variations. The kumi exercises and their variations are the respective beginnings and the in-depth study of the martial applications of the basic training exercises. Associated with these exercises are strict rules of engagement based upon traditional fighting methods developed over centuries of use and refinement in a feudal society, and because they have a great practical basis they therefore dictate many of the reasons behind the movements. There is a great collection of variations that stem from these kihon (basics), due to the variables of combat, and the creativity of instructors. Once these exercises are properly learnt through slow, controlled and relaxed training, the movements can be performed more quickly and strongly, with the timing and flow varied to enable the student to experience a wide variety of possibilities in attack and defence.

Starting in shizen-tai and moving together with your partner, perform a standing rei (bow) towards your partner and say the name of the series outloud: “kumi-tachi-gohon”. The movement to draw the ken is called nuki-tsuke in Japanese. Moving together with your partner, grab the handle below the tsuba with the right hand and at the same time advance with the right foot, moving into ken-no-kamae-migi, in which the left hand grabs the ken at the end of the handle (tsuka), while the right hand grabs above, just below the tsuba; the feet are in migi-hanmi (right foot forward). The end of the sword handle, or hilt (called the tsuka-kashira) is in front of your hara, while the tip (kissaki) is pointed at your partner’s throat in front of you.

Then, say the name of the kumi-tachi being practiced.

Once you have completed the series, the movement to sheath the sword is called noto-tsuke in Japanese. Moving together with your partner, while stepping back with the right foot and aligning it with the left, release the ken with the left hand and with the right bring the ken to your left side with the blade turned up; then, grab the ken in the middle with the left hand and return your right hand to your right side, thereby returning to shizen-tai.

From the shizen-tai position and moving together with your partner, perform a standing rei (bow) towards your partner to complete the exercise.

Ichi no Tachi (The 1st Kumi-tachi)

“As I raise my sword, intending to strike, he blends with me and thrusts at my chest. I step back, dodging his sword to protect my body, and cut downward. He steps forward with his left leg to strike me. I step backward and parry him from the left hanmi. He comes to attack me in the right hanmi. Stepping back from the left hanmi to the right hanmi I strike downward to the parallel position parrying him and then thrust. It is important that we do not end up in a mutual kill situation. This is an important sword principle.” – Morihiro Saito Sensei

Count Uchi Tachi Uke Tachi
  Migi-ken-no-kamae Migi-ken-no-kamae
Count 1 (ichi) Enter naname towards the left and cut uke-tachi’s abdomen (yoko-guruma); then bring the ken horizontally above your head.[1] Cut shomen-uchi (and uke-tachi who has the intention of attacking first), then lower your body while retreating with ushiro-tsugi-ashi.
Count 2 (ni) Yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s right temple.[2] Step back with the right foot, parrying uchi-tachi’s strike with shomen-uchi.
Count 3 (san) Gyaku-yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s left temple.[3] Step back with the left foot, parrying uchi-tachi’s strike with shomen-uchi, ending with maki-otoshi.

Notes

1. In the dan-kai form you execute three movements for the ichi count.
2. In the dan-kai form uchi-tachi strikes yokomen-uchi targetting uke-tachi’s right elbow.
3. Uchi-tachi moves on the line.

Ni no Tachi (The 2nd Kumi-tachi)

“He, the uchi-tachi, or attacking sword, slowly raises his weapon and I, the uke-tachi, or receiving sword, slowly match his movement. He attempts to attack my leg since he cannot attack my forehead and I parry. As I attempt to cut his wrist, he thrusts using the movement contained in the seventh suburi. Then, I take a step back, twisting my hips to parry his sword. He steps forward to strike me and I take another step backward and I again parry and press his sword downward. He again uses the thrusting movement from the seventh suburi and again I parry. I counter his final strike by bringing my sword to the horizontal position to execute the decisive movement.” – Morihiro Saito Sensei

Count Uchi Tachi Uke Tachi
  Migi-ken-no-kamae Migi-ken-no-kamae
Count 1 (ichi) Begin to lift for shomen-uchi (at the same time as uke-tachi); lower your body cutting the right knee (hiza-guruma). Begin to lift for shomen-uchi (at the same time as uchi-tachi); then cut shomen-uchi with ushiro-tsugi-ashi backwards to block uchi-tachi’s strike to the knee.[1]
Count 2 (ni) Choku-tsuki (stepping forward with the left foot as in the 7th ken-no-suburi). Lift the ken, returning to ken-no-kamae; step back with the right foot and guide uchi-tachi’s tsuki away from the trajectory (as in the 7th ken-no-awase).
Count 3 (san) Gyaku-yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s left temple, stepping forward with the right foot. Step back with the left foot, parrying uchi-tachi’s strike with shomen-uchi.
Count 4 (shi) Lower uchi-tachi’s ken.
Count 5 (go) Choku-tsuki (stepping forward with the left foot as in the 7th ken-no-suburi). Step back with the right foot and guide uchi-tachi’s tsuki away from the trajectory (as in the 7th ken-no-awase).
Count 6 (roku) Gyaku-yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s left temple, stepping forward with the right foot. Step back with the left foot, parrying uchi-tachi’s strike with shomen-uchi and maki-otoshi.

Notes

1. In the dan-kai form you execute three movements for the ichi count, the first of which is performed together by uchi-tachi and uke-tachi, and three movements for the ni count; uchi-tachi moves on the line.

San no Tachi (The 3rd Kumi-tachi)

“We parry our partner’s sword and counter-strike. Or, I check his intention and direct his mind downward. For example, when he strikes the kumi-tachi changes, in the manner of the fifth suburi. Immediately, I parry his sword and withdraw. Then, he again tries to strike me, and I parry, finishing in the horizontal position.” – Morihiro Saito Sensei

Count Uchi Tachi Uke Tachi
  Migi-ken-no-kamae Migi-ken-no-kamae
Count 1 (ichi) Strike uke-tachi with gyaku-yokomen-uchi to the right temple, stepping forward with the left foot with kiri-kaeshi. Strike uchi-tachi’s ken with the inention of advancing to be able to enter and cut with shomen-uchi. Then, as uchi-tachi attacks, step back with the right foot and parry uchi-tachi’s strike with shomen-uchi.
Count 2 (ni) Yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s left temple, stepping forward with the right foot. Step back with the left foot and parry uchi-tachi’s strike with shomen-uchi and maki-otoshi.

Yon no Tachi (The 4th Kumi-tachi)

“If we were to perform this kata at close range, it would be dangerous and injuries would be likely to occur. We both move forward, executing irimi or entering thrusts. Therefore, for safety’s sake during training we both take one step back. He thrusts straight forward and I thrust him, using an irimi movement. If he raises his shoulder and strikes too high, he will injure my face, so please execute the proper basic thrust without raising the shoulder. I too must execute a proper irimi thrust to his chest. Next, I deflect his sword downward. He then enters to thrust as in the 7th suburi and I parry. We control his next attack in the same manner as in the first suburi.” – Morihiro Saito Sensei

Count Uchi Tachi Uke Tachi
  Migi-ken-no-kamae Migi-ken-no-kamae
Count 1 (ichi) Tsugi-ashi backwards at the same time as uke-tachi. Tsugi-ashi backwards at the same time as uchi-tachi.
Count 2 (ni) Choku-tsuki to uke-tachi’s solar plexus, directly on the trajectory, with the blade pointed down towards the ground. Moving slightly off the trajectory to the right, perform a tsuki to uchi-tachi’s chest with the blade of the ken turned to the left and making sure that the two ken do not make contact.
Count 3 (san) Lower uchi-tachi’s ken with the inention of entering and cutting.
Count 4 (shi) Choku-tsuki to uke-tachi’s solar plexus (stepping forward with the left foot as in the 7th ken-no-suburi). Step back with the right foot and guide uchi-tachi’s tsuki away from the trajectory (as in the 7th ken-no-awase).
Count 5 (go) Yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s left temple, stepping forward with the right foot. Step back with the left foot and parry uchi-tachi’s strike with shomen-uchi and maki-otoshi.

Go no Tachi (The 5th Kumi-tachi)

“He (uchi-tachi) takes a large step forward to attack. I step off to the left side, bringing my right leg to the rear. My role changes from that of the attacker to that of the defender. After parrying, he again steps forward with his right foot to strike. I step backward and enter in the manner of a tachi-dori movement. Basically speaking, in Aikido we never lock swords. If he pushes with his sword, we turn. Therefore, as soon as I approach him, he turns to the left, entering, and attacks my leg. Then, I change my position to receive his attack. Next, he comes to strike my forehead. At that moment I match his sword and deflect it downward.” – Morihiro Saito Sensei

Count Uchi Tachi Uke Tachi
  Migi-ken-no-kamae Migi-ken-no-kamae
Count 1 (ichi) Strike shomen-uchi; then strike yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s right temple, turning 90° to the left to avoid uke-tachi’s strike, ending in ken-no-kamae-hidari. While uchi-tachi hasn’t yet finished their shomen uchi, turn 90° to the left and strike uchi-tachi with a yokomen-uchi to the right temple, ending in ken-no-kamae-hidari.
Count 2 (ni) Yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s left temple, stepping forward with the right foot. Parry uchi-tachi’s strike (as in the 5th ken-no-awase), stepping back with the left foot.
Count 3 (san) Tsuba-zeriai to prevent uke-tachi from attacking. Advance with the intention of striking and tsuba-zeriai.
Count 4 (shi) Hiza-guruma (strike to uke-tachi’s back knee) entering behind uke-tachi with irimi-tenkan. Parry the strike to the knee, changing from ken-no-kamae-migi to ken-no-kamae-hidari, matching uchi-tachi’s movement.
Count 5 (go) Yokomen-uchi to uke-tachi’s left temple, stepping forward with the right foot. Step back with the left foot and parry uchi-tachi’s strike with shomen-uchi and maki-otoshi.

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About Takemusu Aikido South Africa

The Takemusu Aikido Association South Africa (TAASA), formally Iwama Ryu™ South Africa, is a free group of black-belted practitioners of Aikido based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our aim is to promote and spread the traditional teaching method of Morihiro Saito Sensei, direct student of the Founder of Aikido, to all communities in South Africa.