Ki Musubi No Tachi

Ken practice with O-Sensei and Saito Sensei in Iwama

“All Aikido techniques begin with blending movements. Tai-jutsu, the ken and jo techniques all begin with blending movements. This type of movement represents the essence of Aikido. We can learn this important principle through practice of the ken. We both raise our swords above our heads, matching movements. We have the feeling of absorbing the ki of the universe and we attempt to cultivate a mushin or self-less state in the same way as in zazen seated meditation. As his strike comes, I move off to the right and counter-strike. When he tries to raise his sword to attack me, I thrust him from below by matching his movement. Then, I avoid his strike moving to the left and strike him. He steps backward to raise his sword and I match his movement, cutting him at the wrist.” – Morihiro Saito Sensei

Ki-musubi-no-tachi (ki: energy, spirit, intention; musubi: to tie together, to bind; no: belonging to; tachi: sword) is regarded as the sixth kumi-tachi (paired sword practice in Aikido) and is also known as otonashi-no-ken, or “the sword of no sound”.

An extension of the ken-awase, this exercise introduces the realism and the meaning behind the kumi aspects of partner training, by performing a set of movements in awase that emulates realistic application of the basics. This exercise is first performed slowly in a controlled manner until the movement and the feeling is understood, and then speeded up with added power, with the timing varied to create a broader range of situations. The technique begins and ends with the bow; and all movements in between are performed with the feeling of ki-musubi.

Because the definition of ki-musubi-no-tachi suggests an intertwining of uchi-tachi and uke-tachi’s ki, dividing the various steps in a dan-kai (step-by-step) form is difficult. Morihiro Saito Sensei therefore said this exercise should only be performed in awase.

Uchi Tachi Uke Tachi
Migi-ken-no-kamae Migi-ken-no-kamae
At the same time as uke-tachi, advance slightly, lifting the ken to perform san-no-suburi. At the same time as uchi-tachi, advance slightly, lifting the ken to perform san-no-suburi.
Shomen-uchi on the trajectory. Migi-ken-no-awase.
Lift the ken for shomen-uchi. Block the opponent’s strike entering with a tsuki to the chest (similar to shichi-no-suburi, but the cutting edge pointed up).
Lower your body with a forward step with the left foot and pull the tsuba back to parry uke-tachi’s strike. Hidari-ken-no-awase striking uchi-tachi’s right temple first and then the wrist.
Lift the ken for another shomen-uchi, stepping back with the left foot when uke-tachi blocks the strike. Block uchi-tachi’s strike with the blade of the ken below uchi-tachi’s left wrist and advance with a tsugi-ashi.


1. The tsuba follows the movement of the hips, which rotate backwards slightly.
2. There is no impact between the two ken, nor between the two bodies: otonashi-no-ken.

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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.