What is suburi?
Aiki ken is the name given to the set of Japanese sword techniques as taught first by Morihei Ueshiba (Founder of Aikido) then further developed by one of his most prominent students – Morihiro Saito Sensei. Suburi refers to the basic 7 solo movements of Aiki ken. These solo movements represent the basic cutting movements necessary for partnered sword practice.
In the below Saito Sensei demonstrates and provides instruction for the seventh (Shichi (No Suburi).
Summary of basic movements
- Step 1: Start with 2nd suburi (note the first cut is shomen).
- Step 2: Perform a yokomen-uchi, stepping forward with right foot; turn the blade to the right, step forward with left foot and tsuki.
- Step 3: To change direction, bring the sword over the head and cut with yokomen (do not shift weight too much to rear when striking).
Brief Biography – Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002)
Morihiro Saito Sensei’s practice of Aikido spanned 56 years and he is one of the most important teachers in Aikido history. Saito Sensei was a live-in student of O’sensei for more than 20 years at his home dojo in Iwama, Japan.
Saito Sensei spent his teaching life dedicated to preserving the technical style of Aikido as practised and shown to him by O’sensei in the post-war period. Without his commitment to preserving the Aikido of the Founder and extensive efforts to record and document his teachings, much of the Aikido of O’sensei would have no doubt been lost. The Aikido world owes him a great debt.