Dai ichi kyoushu is a renzoku exercise that consists of continuous striking in a pre-set series and can be considered one of the most fundamental exercises. You can have different patterns but the basic strike sequence demonstrated in this video is omote, ura, omote, shita, nodo (or omote if practicing without men and trying to be safe). After each strike the motodachi retreats a single step and, in time with the strikers nuki, attempts to cover the mokuju creating the opening for the next strike.
Important points to bear in mind for motodachi:
- Start just outside of maai. Give the command ‘dai ichi kyoushu’ and as you step in aggressively to maai invite them to attack with the command ‘hajime’
- Ensure that your retreat after each thrust returns you to correct maai – that is 10cm crossing of the mokuju
- Keep you movements small – don’t open up too much when providing the next opportunity but make sure that the opportunity is clearly made
- Minimise sound as the mokuju is drawn back to maai – the weapons should remain in contact but not create a loud sound as they meet.
Important points to bear in mind for shuugisha (striker):
- As soon as motodachi steps into maai, simultaneously giving the command of ‘hajime’ begin your attack.
- Keep the attack moving. This is a renzoku exercise so the idea is to keep the momentum of your attack up and not to pause too long in between. As soon as motodachi creates the next opportunity, strike.
- Keep your movements small and smooth
- After your strike, relax the grip on the mokuju as this helps to reduce the noise as motodachi slides theirs back to return you to maai
- Focus on the feel of the small movements as the motodachi moves your mokuju off centre so that you can start to instinctively tell when an opening has been created