by Brent Yamamoto – Suarez International Instructor

A few years back I helped set up a film shoot of my Aikido/Sword instructor Koichi Kashiwaya. He is one of the few people that I consider to have mastered this martial art…and indeed one of the very few that I believe can actually use it. But as good as his Aikido is, I think his real gift is with the sword.

I think the video is representative of the elegant simplicity that we seek.

Koichi Kashiwaya Sensei
Koichi Kashiwaya Sensei

So what does this have to do with Close Range Gunfighting?

A lot.

Notice that none of the techniques are overly complex, they are only simple diagonal, horizontal, and downward cuts. This is not to say that any of them are easy (trust me, this takes A LOT of practice and indeed is far more dangerous than firearms training IMO).

Although some of the cuts are from a static position, most involve movement. In most of these sequences, he is moving…either before, after, or even during the cut. There are many good cutters out there, but most do so only from static positions. This is akin to standing still shooting holes through paper at the range…it is useful practice but it is not fighting. Fighting requires movement, along with the recognition that you must balance hitting while not being hit.

Movement is not wasted, telegraphing is minimized. Muscles are relaxed rather than overly tense. Smooth is fast…I think the video actually makes him look slower than he really is.

Accuracy. At this distance the focus is on the target. He is not focused on his own weapon, and yet the cut goes where it’s intended. The perfect sight picture crowd would have you believe this is not possible. There are no sights on a sword.

Notice that the sword comes out of the sheath fast, but it goes back in very reluctantly. Does this look familiar??

Transitions between right & left handed cutting. Just as we must not be slaves to our shooting position, he is not a slave to his cutting position. Use what is right for the situation and change as necessary based on the relationship to the target.

Mindset. I don’t need to describe this, just look at him! There is no emphasis on technique, no concern about proper grip or stance or any of that (those things are necessary but at this point they are “baked in”…they just happen without conscious thought). There is a single-minded goal of cutting the other man down…cut, cut, and cut again. Cut him to the ground, as it were.

I don’t see a rusty meat cleaver in this video. You cannot perform at the limits of your capability with poor equipment.

The concepts apply to whatever tool you are using.


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  1. Gunny G says:

    Reblogged this on BLOGGING BAD ~ DICK.G: AMERICAN ! and commented:


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