Shirotaru no Kon (3) – The Pole Fencing Techniques of Shirotaru

Below follows my descriptive translation of Shirotaru no Kon as given by Miki in 1930.

Let me note a few things:

First of all, in the original text, some descriptions were shortened by making a reference to a technique from a different kata also described in the book. For example, the starting position of Shirotaru was described by a reference to the respective moves in Shūshi no Kon. In that case I have included the description that was referred to.

Secondly, when reading the original text I noticed that one part was obviously missing, namely a combination towards direction E. However, the rest of both lanes (towards directions E and F) in the kata are performed perfectly symmetrically. Therefore, it is logical that the gap is an error. For this reason I have added the numbers 33–2 to 33–4 in below descriptive translation. It was easy to reconstruct simply by using the description of the same combination mirrored towards direction F as numbers 42–44.

Additionally, while the original text had a numbering of techniques, it is not really in order according to connected combinations and directions. That is to say, connected combinations are ripped apart and were seemingly arbitrarily fragmented. This is important to understand.

Finally, there was obviously no standardized terminology for techniques in use at that time. For this reason there are many descriptions in the text, such as the following:

“With both hands from their previous position, strike down in a swinging motion from slanted upper left to the front below in direction B. The left hand is now on the right side of the body, the right hand is at the lower front.”

This of course is nothing but a gedan-gyaku-uchi.

When taking all of the above made points together, while in general Miki did an incredibly awesome job, his written description is not really user-oriented and does not favor a practical reproducibility of the kata. In other words, from the description alone it is extremely difficult to carry out a holistic structural and morphological motion analysis of the kata. This may be the exact reasons why Miki’s description of the kata has never been practically reproduced (at least as far as I know).


 

Shirotaru no Kon as described by Miki in 1930

Enbusen (route of the course of actions).

Enbusen (route of the course of actions).

  1. 02The left foot remains in its original position. Step forward with the right foot one step towards direction A and at the same time from its below right position comb (the ) upwards with your right hand, and thus strike [upwards] from the right side. The right hand is now slightly slanted upwards and to the front, the left hand is at the side of the body.
  2. The left foot remains in its original position. Step forward with the right foot one step towards direction A and at the same time from its below right position „comb (the ) upwards” with your right hand, and thus strike [upwards] from the right side. The right hand is now slightly slanted upwards and to the front, the left hand is at the side of the body.
  3. Both feet remain unchanged in zenkutsu-dachi towards direction A. Bring the right hand near the right pelvis at a distance of 55–58cm, and the left hand to the right temple at a distance of about 30cm, and in this way perform a defense in direction A.
  4. Both feet remain unchanged in zenkutsu-dachi towards direction A. Raise your right hand to your right shoulder near the head and immediatley strike from the right top down in direction of A, thereby pulling the the left hand to the left side of the body. Then rotate the  so as to strike the out of the opponent’s hand.
  5. Pull the front right foot back a little towards direction B and at once proceed with the left foot, so as to cross the right foot. Next, with the left foot remaining unchanged, step one step forward with the right foot in the direction A and simultaneously from the left side of the body thrust the to the front.
  6. Again perform the same action as in # 5 towards direction A.
  7. 03With the left foot as the pivot, turn backwards [clockwise] towards B and place your right foot forward towards direction B, one step in front of the left foot. Simultaneously, with both hands from their previous position, strike down in a swinging motion from slanted upper left to the front below towards direction B. The left hand is now on the right side of the body, the right hand is at the lower front.
  8. With the left foot unchanged, position your right hand near your right buttock and thereby raise your left hand to your the right breast and lift your right foot behind the left knee. Body and eyes are directed towards direction of B.
  9. Put down the right foot to the front in its previous position and at the same time shoot up the tip of the with your right hand starting from your right buttock towards direction B. This is similar to the movement number 2.
  10. Slide forward with both feet simultaneously, thrust towards direction B and then rotate the .
  11. With the left foot as the pivot turn around backwards towards direction A, step forward with the right foot in the direction A one step in front of the left foot and at the same time strike sideways from the right side of the body. The right hand is in front, the left hand is close to the left side of the body.
  12. Both feet remain in the previous position. By pulling back your right hand close to your left shoulder and left side of your head, strike [upwards] to the front with your left hand, and thus strike from below upwards with he lower [left] tip of the towards direction A. Next, bounce your right hand forward and pull back your left hand to your left side of the body, and thus strike downward and to the front with the front [right] end of the .
  13. Both feet remain in the previous position. Take the right hand close to the right shoulder and immediately strike diagonally downward to the front. At the same time pull back the left hand to the right side of your body.
  14. Perform the actions numbers 8 and 9.
  15. Perform action number 10 towards direction A.
  16. 04With the right foot remaining unchanged, step forward with the left foot towards direction A, placing it one step in front of the right foot. Take the right hand approx 30cm in front of your right breast and with the left hand push upwards over head and to the front. In this way you catch the opponent’s attack from below. Immediately take your left hand about 30cm in front of your left shoulder and thrust to the front. Quickly pull back the right hand into the overhead position.
  17. With the right foot unchanged, step back one step with the left foot behind the right foot towards direction B and at the same time raise the with both hands high above your head: Unlike the overhead position in Sakugawa no Kōn referred to as daijōdan the here transversely runs from left to right over head.
  18. Rotate the right end of the clockwise [on your right side backwards, and forward again on your left side] and perform a sweeping strike downwards towards direction A. Both feet remain in the previous position. The right hand is now in the front below, the left hand on the right side of the body. This is the same action as in number 7.
  19. Perform the actions of numbers 8, 9, and 10 towards direction A.
  20. The right foot remaining unchanged, step forward with the left foot one step in front of the right foot and simultaneously switch the grip of both hands and perform Yoko-uchi from the left side. The left hand is now in the front towards direction A, the right hand at the right side of the body.
  21. Both feet remain in the previous position. Perform the movements of action number 12, just with hands and feet reversed.
  22. Both feet remain in the previous position. Perform the movements of action number 13, just with hands and feet reversed.
  23. Perform the actions of numbers 14 and 15, just with hands and feet reversed.
  24. Perform the actions of number 16 towards direction of A, just with hands and feet reversed.
  25. Perform the actions of number 17 towards direction of A, just with hands and feet reversed.
  26. Perform the actions of number 18 towards direction of A, just with hands and feet reversed.
  27. Perform the actions numbers 8, 9, and 10 towards direction A, just with hands and feet reversed.
  28. The left foot remains unchanged in its position. Turn body and eyes towards  direction E and place the right foot foot one step behind the left foot [towards direction F] and at the same time defend towards direction E. The position of the left hand is about 58cm from the left pelvis, the right hand is about 30 cm from the left temple.
  29. Both feet remain unchanged in zenkutsu-dachi towards direction E. Take the left hand close to your left shoulder and immediately strike down diagonally towards direction E. The right hand is now at the right side of the body.
  30. Both feet remain unchanged, perform the actions of number 12, just with hands and feet reversed.
  31. Both feet remain unchanged, perform the actions of number 13, just with hands and feet reversed.
  32. Both feet remain unchanged, perform the actions of number 8, just with hands and feet reversed.
  33. Both feet remain unchanged, perform the actions of number 9 and 10, just with hands and feet reversed. 33-2. Perform the same actions as in numbers 16 and 17 towards direction E. 33-3. Perform the same actions as in number 18 towards direction E. 33-4. Perform the same actions as in numbers 8, 9, and 10 towards direction E.
  34. The left foot remaining unchanged, turn towards direction A by placing the right foot one step behind the left foot towards direction B. Take your left hand to your left shoulder and diagonally strike downwards from above towards direction A. The left hand now is in front, the right hand at the right side of the body.
  35. The right foot remains in its previous position. Pull back the left foot to the right foot, then place the right foot one step in front of the left foot, and exchange the grip of both hands. With your right hand from the right shoulder strike diagonally downward to the front, and thus attack towards direction A.
  36. The right foot remains in its previous position. Place your left foot one step backwards towards direction E  and turn around towards direction F, and at the same time defend towards direction F. This is the same action as in number 28, just with hands and feet reversed.
  37. Perform the same actions as in number 29 towards direction F, just with hands and feet reversed.
  38. Perform the same actions as in number 12 towards direction F.
  39. Perform the same actions as in number 13 towards direction F.
  40. Perform the same actions as in numbers 8 towards direction F.
  41. Perform the same actions as in numbers 9 and 10 towards direction F.
  42. Perform the same actions as in numbers 16 towards direction F.
  43. Perform the same actions as in numbers 17 and 18 towards direction F.
  44. Perform the same actions as in numbers 8, 9, and 10 towards direction F.
  45. The left foot remaining in the previous position, place the right foot one step towards direction A, body and view towards direction A, and in doing so strike sideways with your right hand from the right shoulder towards direction A. The right hand is now in front, the left hand at the left side of the body.
  46. Perform the same actions as in number 12 towards direction A.
  47. Perform the same actions as in number 13 towards direction A.
  48. Slide backwards with both feet towards direction B, and rotate the right end of the clockwise and perform a sweeping strike downwards towards direction A. The right hand is now in the front below, the left hand on the right side of the body.
  49. Perform the same actions as in numbers 8 towards direction A.
  50. Perform the same actions as in numbers 9 and 10 towards direction A.
  51. 51Both feets remain at their places. Turn your body and view towards direction B into neko-ashi-dachi and defend towards direction B. To do so, take the right hand about 30cm in front of the forehead, the left hand about 55–58cm in front of the left pelvis.
  52. With the left foot raised in neko-ashi, press down the left end of the in a circular motion, slide forward with both feet, and thrust forward and downward. The method of performing this tsuki equals the last gedan-zuki in Shūshi no Kon, number 8 [That is, “The fingers of the left hand form a loose ring (around the ). Now you glide forward with both feet (…) and simultaneously pierce/thrust forward, by letting the glide (through the loop made of your left hand’s fingers)”].
  53. With the left foot remaining in its place, place the right foot one step diagonally to the left in front of the left foot. Simultaneously strike from the side in a large scale from your lateral right to the front.
  54. With the right foot remaining in its place, place the left foot one step diagonally to the right in front of your right foot. Simultaneously change the grip and strike from the side in a large scale from your lateral left to the front. Numbers 53 and 54 use the same methods of striking.
  55. 55endWith the left foot remaining in its place, place the right foot one step diagonally to the left in front of the left foot and change the grip. With the right end of the scoop (pull up) from below upwards, and directly slide forward with both feet and thrust to the front towards direction B.
  56. With both feet remaining in their place, turn body and view towards direction A, thereby releasing the left hand from the ; let your left arm hang down naturally on the left side of the body, while placing the left end of the on the floor. Then return the into the initial position under the right armpit.

[End of description]


You see: It is complicated. Therefore, I will decrypt the meanings of the description in a forthcoming article.

© 2018, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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