Professor Tomiki believed strongly that a combination of jūdo and kendō principles (genri) were vital to development of practical jūjutsu (what he later called his aikidō). Tegatana dosa is a core piece of kendō principles applied without a blade. Nariyama Shihan later distilled these are the 3 Principles and 6 Concepts.

Tegatana Dosa (Drilling)

The power of tegatana dosa does not come from hand motion. The hands themselves are relatively poor at doing anything but grabbing small things. Tegatana is a weapon, and the body wields it. True swordwork comes from the hips (koshi) and core (hara), transmitted through the musculoskeletal system and extended through the hands.

The ten movements of tegatana dosa are meant to develop and refine the transmission of power through tegatana. The movements are distinct because the body movement is distinct. The movement of tegatana is powered through the shifting of gravity in the lower body to produce kinetic energy which is redirected and amplified through the core. 

Katana and Tegatana

Two 15th century blades, mounted by Iwamoto Konkan in the 18th century. On display in the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We are all familiar with the katana, the curved steel blade of the samurai. This curved shape is practical, reflecting a very specific method of cutting; and that method can be translated into our movements in aikido through tegatana dosa. 

The vestiges of old sword work are still present in kendo’s terminology for the three large sections or zones of the sword. Each zone can be described by its function. Tegatana can then be described in roughly the same terms.

Tsubamoto (鍔元)
Beginning at Guard
Nakahodo (中程)
Middle Section
Monouchi (もの打ち)
Striking Point
Ude (腕)
The upper arm
Hiji/Kote (肘/小手)
Te/Shote (手/初手)
Hand/Edge of Hand

It is the monouchi that does the cutting in a sword, just as te is the cutting edge of tegatana. This is why monouchi is also called satsu. But it is the middle section, nakahodo on the sword and hiji/kote on tegatana, that transmits the body’s power to the cutting edge. The body makes the cut. The hand makes the kill.

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