Can you explain about the concept of Kiri-otoshi? Is the concept of Kiri-otoshi wider than the technique of cutting / pushing down the attacking sword? Is there any relation between Kiri-otoshi and Aiuchi?


Everyone has their own understanding and interpretation about the concept of Kiri-otoshi. I think the name of this technique probably comes from the name of the technique of Hiki-otoshi. In SMR Jo, Hiki-otoshi is one of the hidden techniques, and when I first came to understand it I felt that Kiri-otoshi of kenjutsu is also a ‘hidden’ technique.


Aiuchi is the situation of both people being injured simultaneously. Kiri-otoshi looks like Aiuchi, but Kiri-otoshi is the best technique for staying alive. I learnt this in SMR kenjutsu. To understand and apply this requires much spiritual forging. The only way to learn this is kata geiko (kata practice).


Therefore I think there is no relation between Kiri-otoshi and Aiuchi… actually, you should perceive that these techniques come from different dimensions.



Do you think that applications to techniques should be taught at the same time? Or should applications be taught or realised later? What is your opinion as to teaching of techniques and applications? Is the knowledge of applications strictly controlled within the transmission of SMR? (by possibly waiting until the Okuden / Hiden sets?)


I think the answer to many of the questions you are asking now… could be found by asking the following questions: What is kata geiko? Why do we need it? What is Kihon? What is the difference between knowledge and experience? What is the difference between understanding with the mind and understanding with the body? What is relation between mastering a technique and teaching it? What is the relation between Omote (surface) and Ura (reverse side) or Kage (shadow)? What is the relation between Honte and Gyakute? This can all come down to the famous chicken and egg problem…


For example, it doesn’t matter how much I teach various reasons behind techniques, I still have doubts about whether the student could use it or not. It is better to know the reasons behind techniques than not. Also, there is the situation of knowing and not being able to do… which of course will become nothing.


It is necessary for people to talk about the differences between bujutsu and budo. Nevertheless, from a position of understanding you will determine the way you live and then live it. If you don’t act upon your own understanding then your knowledge is useless. Without continuing to reflect upon the concepts of Keikoshokon and Shurikosei, the understanding of the spirit of Uchidachi and Shidachi will be lost. Please think about how your practice of SMR Jo can become useful in your life.


In reply to questions about the control of teaching within SMR… even if I wanted to control the teaching of this knowledge, I couldn’t. If you think of a way to control this, then please let me know.




Do you see the development of personal interpretation of the techniques as dangerous or a natural process in the ongoing development of the art?


I think it is dangerous, because you can rationalise any interpretation that you make.  Even if you receive explanation from masters or skilful people, I think you will not be able to understand these things quickly. Also, your understanding of any explanation will correspond with your current level of understanding. Accordingly, this depends on the process of constant hard practice. Please think about the words Hyakuren-jitoku (hyakuren – ‘being forged 100 times’; jitoku – ‘self acquisition’. So this could translate to something like ‘constantly reforging one’s technique/ideas/anything for the improvement of the self.)



What do you think about Tameshi-giri?


I think that Tameshi-giri (test cutting) is useful for determining the sharpness of a blade. So if you are asking whether it is necessary to test your blade or not, I say ‘Yes’.


However, if you ask my opinion on the Tameshi-giri in Iaijutsu, then I have much difficulty in giving an answer. As I will always give an answer from the position of understanding SMR Jo, then I’m not sure if I will be able to reply. I feel difficulty in answering, but strangely your questions fill me with a mix of responsibility, delight and gratitude.


My opinion is that the actual testing of a blade’s edge is not as important as the proper handling method of a bladed tool such as a katana. One must practice with the aim of determining one’s own ability to maintain an upright blade as it cuts through the hasuji (correct cutting line). I think suburi (solo practice of cutting) is enough. When the blade is upright, a sound will be made as you cut the air. The point is to constantly practice this with the aim of perfecting your Tenouchi (refers to how the inside of the hand makes contact with the sword). For various cutting actions we are able to confirm whether or not the blade is upright and maintaining hasuji (correct cutting line), at the chosen target point.


But correctly applying these things is not as easy as one expects.


Kiri-otoshi and other discussion - Jodojo Nov 04


Interview with Nishioka Sensei - Jodojo Sept 04


My Thoughts on Honte and Gyakute - A discussion by Nishioka Sensei. Jodojo 11 Apr 04


Knowing the ‘suigetsu’ by the round stick. – Jodojo 10 Feb 04


What is the opinion of SMRJ about fighting with multiple enemies at the same time?    – Jodojo 18 Oct 03


What are the essential elements of kata practice? - Jodojo 18 Oct 03


How does training in koryu differ to other, more widely available, martial arts such as karatedo, aikido or judo? - Jodojo 16 Oct 02


What do you think training in the traditional Japanese martial arts means in today's world? What kind of attitude do you expect a person studying kobudo to have? - Jodojo 6 Sept 02


Interview with David Dangerfield, Jan 02