Idle thought on Muso Shinden Ryu
It's from 2013 Kyoto Taikai, the fellow in it is Nakamura sensei (no idea what the first name is, I've just read the nametag), and this is a Renshi group demonstrating.
It's beautifully done, of course, as can be expected from a Kyoto demonstration.
Well, it's Shinden, it has the flavour of MJER, it has the history… but looking at the Takiotoshi there, and Ukenagashi (Or Ryuto, as Shinden calls it) I had a stray thought.
What a shame, that Nakayama Hakudo was not permitted to teach proper MJER, and had to invent Shinden to avoid "copyright infringement" (and what a shady story that is).
Ukenagashi, the way Shinden folks like to do it, it looks sharp, it looks cool, but does it really block the attack before cutting into the midriff? Maybe, but is it as effective as even Ukenagashi in Seitei? After all, while borrowing many things from Shinden for Seitei, somehow Ukenagashi became distinctively not Shinden. (And yeah, an argument can be made, that Seitei was designed by a committee, equal representation of schools, all the good stuff. Whatever. Shinden guys try to do the movement as fast as possible, staying pretty much in place, it's a heck of a scary kata in the first place, and the way it is done, with the nukitsuke and raising the sword over the head in one movement, it's even scarier.)
And Takiotoshi…. We tried that once, with a plastic saya (I was too afraid to use a wooden one, since wooden ones cost money). MJER saya manipulation actually works. Down, up, loads up the shoulder, changes direction, either breaks the grip, or offbalances the attacker. Shinden one, with wavy motion in circle…. Well, maybe it can be made to work, and free the saya from the grasp (I couldn't make it work), but is it the most effective way?
I can almost think, that Nakayama Hakudo, when redesigning Shinden, had to settle for second best techniques. What a pity.