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Maniwa Nen-ryu kiriwari jiai clip (?)Page Title Module
Yes I was a bit disappointed with what I saw: looked a bit 'chanbara-ish'. Obviously not going to judge the oldest living koryu on the basis of that vid though.
It's worth another look. The fellow on the left appears to me to be the senior. He never over-extends, and never gets touched by the other guy, while he lands several clean hits on the kote and men. In fact, he never initiates an attack. It struck me as a very nice demonstration of katsuninken. They both maintain strong, low, stances, never giving up structure for a hit, like you see all the time in sports chambara. The guy on the right is made to look a little foolish once or twice, but it strikes me as being a result of the skill of the other guy, than a lack of skills itself.
Josh – you are a keen observer. The man on the left is Matsumoto Sadayoshi, now chairman of the Maniwa Nen ryu Hozonkai and one of the most senior members of the ryu. Otsuka san is on the right. I heard from my teacher and sempai that he was a formidable training partner in his youth. Unfortunately, he passed away some time ago.
The kiriwari jiai (the word ‘shiai’ is also used) of Nen ryu can take, depending upon the participants, several forms. It can be a match to determine a winner, or, more often, it is akin to the kakari geiko of Kendo or randori of Kodokan Judo. It is intended, among other things, to help the students apply the techniques learned in kata training and improve their skill. Generally, the junior student attacks first and the senior student counterattacks using the fundamental techniques. In that sequence Matsumoto kaicho demonstrates kiriwari, mikiri and makiotoshi. By the way, they do not “drop” their kamae – that is the kamae, known as mugamae (無構).
Having been on the receiving end of Matsumoto kaicho’s strikes I can attest to their speed, effectiveness, and the distinctive 'pop' when he lands a blow cleanly on the men.