Seitei Iaido Bowing procedure

April 20th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments
In 'seiza' with the sword reting.

In 'seiza' with the sword resting.

Seitei Iaido bowing procedures

This article is a ‘photo-technical’ article in respone to those who cannot fathom the intricacies of formal ZNKR bowing procedures and in response to questions concerning the exact ‘reiho’ for Seitei iaido which is now a complex procedure. Much more of the details are now formalized compared to in the past where the student had a number of options. Please note that some of the sageo control is suggested, rather than formalized. I saw people fail the ZNKR iaido grading in Tokyo this year for bowing errors, so the details are important.

First the hajime-no-rei. After initially bowing to your fellow participants move forwards on the command of ‘kotai’ to assume your position behind the line. On the command of ‘hajime’, move the sword across your body from the left (pic1), first to the middle(pic 2), and then to the right(pic 3), and bow to shomen(pic 4). Pass the sword back to the left and begin to kneel down parting the hakama(pic 5), and kneel down first with your left knee(pic6), and assume ‘seiza’(pic 7). Bring the sword forwards a little with your left hand, and then, with both thumbs on the tsuba(pic 8), continue to bring the sword forwards controlling the sageo with your left hand and lay the sword in front of you at an angle(pic 9). Adjust the sageo with your left hand (pic 10). Bring your right hand back (pic 11), followed by your left (pic 12),and begin to bow moving your left hand down(pic 13), followed by your right(pic 14). Bow down (pic 15)and then come up(pic 16). Bring your right hand back (pic17), followed by your left (pic 18)Now bring your right hand to the kojiri sageo area (pic 19), and bring your right hand to the tsuba holding the sageo over your fingers and the tsuba with your thumb(pic 20). Next bring the left hand two inches above the kojiri(pic21), and bring the sword up placing your left thumb in your obi at the center followed by the sword(pic 22). Adjust so that one layer of hakama tie is on the inside (pic 23) and push the sword back. Without adjusting the length the right hand loops the sageo through the obi and the hands tie the knot (pic 24). Adjust the sageo to the left with your left hand if you wish and assume seiza with correct metsuke and hangan etc((pic 25).

Complete your waza in accordance with your grade level.

Now the awari-no-rei.

Assume seiza and release the sageo with your right hand(pic26), and with your left hand bring the sword forwards a little and join it with your right hand. The right index finger should be straight on the tsuba(pic 27) Bring the sword forwards with the right hand and bring the sageo all the way back with your left(pic 28). Bring the sageo forwards with your left hand and loop it over your right thumb (pic 29), and bring the sword out and place the kojiri to your right with the right hand (pic 30). Place the sword on the ground moving it forwards as you do so ensuring the blade is straight and towards you with the tsuka on your left(pic 31)and adjusting the sageo with your right hand. The left hand should be resting on the obi. Bow to the sword once again as before and return both hands to your thighs. Next bring your right hand to the sageo at the kojiri and loop it over your right thumb, and then pick up the sword with that hand with your index finger on the tsuba once more. Bring the sword up to the middle placing the kojiri on the ground and bring your left hand down the vertical sword to the kojiri(pic 32). Now bring the sword back to your left thigh in a long sweeping motion ensuring the left hand sweeps back with the kojiri. Next bring your left hand back to the kurikata and take hold of the sageo and tsuba. As the sword rests on your thighs, you transfer your right hand to your thigh. Now stand up beginning with the right leg. As you do this the right leg is brought forwards, but not past the left knee, prior to you rising and assuming taito-shisei once again with the sword on your left hand side at 30 degrees to your body. The tsuba should be at your left hip bone with the kashirae in the middle of your body. Pass the sword to your right and complete your second bow to shomen as before. Pass the sword back to your left. On the command ‘kotai’ slowly take three steps backwards beginning with your left leg. After your third step, turn clockwise with your right foot and walk to where your small group of examinees is waiting. Complete your final kneeling bow.

To cover ‘Seitei bowing procedures in one article is hard, as a four or five page article would be needed to examine all the points. This article is really an introduction to the bowing needed to pass a ZNKR iaido grading, so instruction should be sought prior to attempting any national gradings.

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