V. General Techniques
- The initial strike is performed by pulling the pommel out straight towards the target with the lower hand, and starting to rotate the body.
- Then, as the arm extends and the lower hand is forced to move sideways across your body by the body’s rotation, the real force of the blow is provided through the upper hand by the twisting of the body, using the lower hand as a fulcrum.
- The twisting of the body, rather than the extension of the arms, is the real basis of the applied force.
Thrusts of different ranges can be used, controlled by a lunge, and possibly by sliding your hands on the pommel.
- Tip-down blocks from longer range
These blocks flow from the downward movement of a strike, and can be assumed very quickly. My test of efficiency is whether I could swing at my opponent’s shield leg, and block the return blow towards my head.
- For both sides, the lower hand pulls the pommel of the weapon back and up, while the upper hand pulls the blade down closer to the body. It may be necessary to relax the grip of the lower fingers of each hand.
- As the sword is pulled in close to the body, the body is rotated to position the blade to intersect the attack.
Strikes after blocks
- Subsequent strikes are started from the blocking position by pulling the pommel of the weapon initially up.
- Then, simultaneously, the pommel is pulled down and out to the target, causing the lower arm to be extended to provide the fulcrum described in Initial Strikes, while the rotation of the body and pressure from the upper hand provide the power for the blow.
The strike with the naginata takes its power from a twisting of the body to a point at or just before the blade meets the target. The purpose of this technique is to produce a whipping motion of the blade that strikes a sharp blow to the target, instead of creating a fast push. If the upper hand can be slid slightly down during the strike, the whipping effect is intensified.
The blow is started by extending the back arm down, if it is not already extended, or at least, stable, and using the back hand as a fulcrum upon which to rotate the length of the weapon. The rotating force is applied through the upper hand by twisting your body and a partial extension of the front arm.
It can be useful to use the shorter thrusts to draw your opponent’s weapon out of line, then after a short pause to allow your opponent’s weapon to move in reaction, to continue the thrust into a longer range.
I don’t use one. The last place that I want my weapon is horizontal at shoulder height. Admittedly, a butt spike can be useful in a surprise move, but I have chosen to give up that occasional advantage in order to remove the temptation to place my weapon in a position where it is useless for defense. If you can train yourself to use the butt spike while avoiding the defensive liabilities of having the weapon in that position, then, by all means, do so.