Part of educating ourselves (and our children) - has involved the continuous stimulation of mind and body through visiting museums, examining the past and striving to understand humanity as a broad expression of culture and creativity. During 2018, myself, Gee, Mei-An and Kai-Lin visited Torquay Museum (in South Devon). Astonishingly, this place has a Medieval Japanese Battle Kite! Oddly, I believe this object has been subsequently 'returned to storage' not long after our visit - and despite enquiring - I could not find out any further data as to provenance.
An Imperial Archer (the Medieval equivalent of Early Japanese 'Special Forces') would be 'affixed' to the centre of a large (bamboo) kite and extended (through the use of a rope anchored to the ground) around 200 feet into the air above the battlefield. Sniping with arrows would then ensue - whilst the position of the enemy would be relayed to the Command on the ground! The kite could be moved with the soldier kept up in the sky if the terrain, weather and enemy activity allowed. What these individual soldiers went through whilst having to stand on such a flimsy device - we can only speculate! Their bravery, however, must be beyond doubt!
I was forwarded this short video clip from a colleague involved in high-level Aikido practice - which in their Japanese School involves Katana (Long Sword) 'cutting' (carried out in a peaceful, meditative state). It was explained to me that their Sensei had explained that prior to WWII - many 'Official' Sword Smiths in Japan possessed a 'Permanent' Governmental Permission to 'Test' the effectiveness of freshly forged blades on the necks of judicial prisoners Sentenced to Death. As the process of 'Test Cutting' blades today (only using rolled-up tatami mats) is referred to as 'Tameshigiri (試し切り) - could I decipher, translate and transliterate this Japanese term to see if this 'history' is denoted in the concept. My research is as follows:
1) 試 (Tame) = Trial, Experiment and Exploration.
2)し(Shi) = Death, Execution and Judicial Decapitation - achieved through s single (efficient) Sword 'cut' or 'swing' - where the blade does NOT oscillate (wobble) left and right when in movement.
3) 切 (Gi) = Slice, Cut and Cleave apart.
4) り(Ri) = Perfected Form, Finished and Completed Movement.
The data obtained when forensically translating this term - which requires rolling-back layers of 'politically correct' (interpretive) terminology accrued over several post-1945 decades - does indeed support the history lesson as transmitted by the 'Aikido' Sensei concerned. The tatami mats - which must be struck and cleaved with a 'graceful ease' - have 'replaced' the necks of condemned Japanese criminals (who are now 'Hanged' in private). This is in fact a 'Death-Cut' - or a sword strike designed to render an opponent DEAD in the quickest and most efficient manner!
This is a 'PS' to my earlier 'Gyaku Tsuki' article regarding the Karate-Do 'Lunge Punch' or 'Leading Forward Punch' (追 い 突 き). The last two Japanese ideograms (突 き- Tsu Ki) we may take as read. Therefore 'Oi' (追 い) can be read as follows:
a) 追 (zhui1) - Japanese Kanji (ou) = chase, follow and pursue
b) い (I) - Japanese Hiragana = 'to do' (verb) as in '追い払うこと' (Oi harau koto) or to 'drive something away'
This seems to suggest that an 'Oi Tsuki' is a leading punch which (fluidly) follows the movement of an enemy target (similar to - but not identical with - a Western Boxing 'Jab') - and is used to 'drive' the opponent away! There might also be an implication that this punch 'follows' the opponent and then is 'driven' through their centre of mass using immense 'penetrating' power!
Within the Wado Ryu Karate-Do tradition 'Oi' (追 い) is replaced with the Chinese ideogram '順' (shun4):
1) 順 - Japanese Kanji (also written as 'じゅん') and pronounced 'Jun' - meaning 'order', 'sequence' and 'obedience'
The Chinese ideogram '順' (shun4) is comprised of two constituent particles:
i) Left-hand particle = '川' (chuan1) - river, flow and direction
ii) Right-hand particle = '頁' (ye4) - head, top and beginning
Therefore, the use of '順' (shun4) within the context of a 'Jun Tsuki' - refers to a 'leading' (as 'head' equals 'forward') and 'penetrating' punch (like a torrent of rushing water hitting and overcoming an obstacle) which follows closely the movement of the opponent. However, as with all these concepts - a play on words might be in operation. It could be that a continuously 'flowing' punch strikes at the spiritual and physical origin of an opponent ('driving' through their literal and metaphysical centre, so-to-speak) - thus rendering them useless and unable to respond.
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.