By Asaf Hochman
Koto Ryu is one of the Japanese martial arts systems learned in Bujinkan and the various X-Kans. It is an extensive martial art system that exits also outside the Bujinkan.
In Koto Ryu Kata we can see, even before applying reverse Kata analysis the extensive use of Daken, hitting vulnerable points, and the use of the third AKBAN timing – attacking simultaneously with the opponents attack.
The Kata I’m referring to today is Setto no kata, where, even in the variations, one can see the use of pressure point hitting and various timings used in Koto ryu.
In Setto no Kata tori pushes a pressure point with the boshi, the end of the thumb, to unbalance the opponent. This unbalancing (kuzushi) using pressure points is very common in some of the martial systems learned in AKBAN. Here, in the variation it is used to move the opponents balance to the rear leg enabling the front single leg grab.
Different stages of Kata learning according to the Methodical pyramid
1. Preserve – in this stage we do the Kata exactly as it was transmitted.
The tori stands in hidari seigan no Kamae, uke grabs with right hand, tori uses a boshi to unbalance uke and uses a second punch to the ribs to push tori away.
2. Break – this is the stage where we change different parameters of the kata, look for a different ways of doing it and for context usability.
Tori now can do the kata against a Tsuki attack and use the first or second boshi to unbalance the Uke to prepare him for takedown.
3. leave – this is the stage where we try to perform the kata or the sequence in free sparring.
My advice is to practice this and other kata in randori situations. It is also important to practice the simultaneous timing as it is this feature that make these Koto Ryu kata so useful.