Going up on toes when swinging katana

J. Pickard

Blue Belt
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
244
Reaction score
205
Hi, I know nothing about japanese sword arts but saw some vids recently that made me curious. In the videos (I think it was iaido) the swordsman would draw the katana and strike down but when he did he went up on his toes at the same time. What is the reason for this footwork?
TIA.
 

isshinryuronin

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,379
Reaction score
1,372
Location
Las Vegas
That was the way I was taught the downward cut. As the katana is raised, the heels come up. No reason was given but it may just add one's mass into the cut as one comes back down for the down stroke. Also, quick stepping (kind of a shuffle) as you approach with the attack is done on the balls of the feet. That's all I got. It's been 25 years since I've been to Iaido class so others in the art may have additional insight.
 

Jared Traveler

Purple Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
354
Reaction score
109
Hi, I know nothing about japanese sword arts but saw some vids recently that made me curious. In the videos (I think it was iaido) the swordsman would draw the katana and strike down but when he did he went up on his toes at the same time. What is the reason for this footwork?
TIA.
In Muay Thai most kicks require you to come up on your toes, that's because you have to pivot your body and heal mid strike. It's very hard to do. I'm not familiar enough to know with Iaido if that is the reason I'm that art.
 

Gyakuto

Black Belt
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
532
Reaction score
426
Location
UK
That was the way I was taught the downward cut. As the katana is raised, the heels come up. No reason was given but it may just add one's mass into the cut as one comes back down for the down stroke. Also, quick stepping (kind of a shuffle) as you approach with the attack is done on the balls of the feet. That's all I got. It's been 25 years since I've been to Iaido class so others in the art may have additional insight.
I believe its called counter rotation and its due to Newtons Third Law of Motion -every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Ive never seen it performed with the heels coming up but have seen the hips being rotated in the opposite direction to the rotation of the sword in its arc.

Heres a nice example of the late great Iwata Sensei showing this movement. His feet arent visible but his heels may well be lifting.

 

Hyoho

Black Belt
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
683
Reaction score
295
Hi, I know nothing about japanese sword arts but saw some vids recently that made me curious. In the videos (I think it was iaido) the swordsman would draw the katana and strike down but when he did he went up on his toes at the same time. What is the reason for this footwork?
TIA.
A great variation as to how many koryu do this. But fundamentaly the feet have already settled momentarily before a cut to allow us to power up from kosh/hara. Also the legs are already bent and flexed. In my ryu sometimes both the feet leave the ground to add the power of body weight and yoroi if worn.
 
Top