Saito Sensei's Thoughts on Training

Excerpted from his lectures and books

Patterns for tegatana, striking,
and ken holding
(from Traditional Aikido, Vol. 5, pgs.33-42 by Morihiro Saito)

Tegatana can be used in numerous ways. As the basic rule, it is important to strike always from above the head of your partner.
In using Tegatana, keep the fingers apart, stretch the peripheral area out and arch semi circularly the shoulder-to-fingertip portion like the curve of the sword.
The descending pattern of a circular strike should be the same as that of a straight strike. The motion peculiar to a circular strike is caused by a twist of the hips.
When delivering a circular strike, some trainees are often seen using their Tegatana horizontally instead of landing it from above the head, it is wrong.
In Ken Holding, grip it first with the little finger, followed by the third finger, middle finger and forefinger in that order. When striking down from above your head, grip it mainly with your left hand using your right as an aid.
Squeeze the palms of your hands as you swing down. Your Ken is supposed to stop descending in front of the lower abdomen but a full descending momentum is called for in this exercise. Twist your hips effectively in making a straight strike, letting that part of your body do the "cutting"........
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