Bokken arts are not formally examined as part of the grading syllabus in Aikido Yuishinkai until shodan (black belt). However, due to the many transferable skills that Bokken arts offer in aiding our tai jutsu (unarmed) training it is quite common for students to be introduced to these wooden sword based arts almost from the outset.
Bokken happo giri is an 8 direction shomen cut that makes for an ideal introduction to solo bokken practice. This multi-direction kata is an excellent aid to learning and developing spatial awareness, proper posture, heaven-man-earth body quality, balance and footwork while continually moving and cutting in different directions.
Bokken happo giri is also helpful in developing the ability to maintain focus in all directions while continually turning. This ability is particularly useful when dealing with multiple attacker situations in unarmed practice.
At our dojo we regularly practice 3 different forms of bokken happo giri. These are omote, ura and irimi. All 3 forms involve an 8 way cut, however, the footwork differs in each. Each form directly translates into our tai jutsu practice by automating correct footwork and centred relaxed movement in our Aikido techniques.
The video demonstration below by our Chief Instructor Peter Kelly Sensei is of bokken happo giri omote.
- Pass me a bokken ..better make it a big one (2015)
- Training tips – Bokken arts (kata and exercises) (2015)