Recently I've been looking at reverse grip cutting and I find myself also looking at my noto. Its a simple matter to flip the sword around and go for a noto that I feel comfortable with but I thought the best place to start would be with a reverse grip. makes sense right? I looked at the normal reverse style that I used to use and noticed that there were parts of it that didn't feel too fluent and decided that I would modify it to suit my needs. I wanted something that looked fluid but a little more flashy and I've come up with something that I feel is comfortable to perform, can be done at a moderate speed and is still safe to do.
The basic structure of the move comes begins with a a forward grip stance. The tip of the blade is dropped down laterally to the right hand side and the hand position is then changed to a single right handed reverse grip. The saya is checked with the left hand and the blade is flipped around to the side and returned to the saya in the same reverse grip.
I like this noto because of it's complexity, but I want something that involves those mechanics in fewer motions for my everyday use. I'll save the longer one for closing up when I've managed to do something clever ;) Also consider that in this occasion I already have the blade in a reverse grip and usually to the right hand side.
So anyway, I decided to modify, add to , trim and change a lot and ended up with something simpler, different and yet still safe to do on a day to day basis. I'll try and explain this as best as I can.
- The sword is held in reverse grip to the right of your body, roughly paralell with the ground, sharp edge down and the saya is held with the left hand in the normal thumb and forefinger manner.
- The left hand forefinger is extended from your grip so it is pointing forwards and outwards from the body.
- The blade is brought round to the side with the blade facing outwards from the body and is passed underneath the forefinger.
- The tsuka is brought up and to the right of the saya, the forefinger allowing the side of the blade to be flipped over it.
- Stepping forward, the blade is moved around counter clockwise until it is paralell with the saya.
- The saya is brought backwards, the blade brought forwards until the tip of the sword drops in. At this point, the saya is moved up halfway and the sword is brought downwards to complete.
Now this probably sounds a lot more complex than it is and that's another reason why video is so damned useful. In this video I will not only show you the noto from various angles, I'll walk you through it as simply as I can until you can see what I mean.
The noto itself is a lot simpler than the description makes it sound so don't worry if my explanation has baffled you. This isn't the most practical noto I'm sure, but it's quite satisfying to perform and that's why I like it.
NB: Someone has mentioned to me that they believe that it is possible to cut your arm whilst performing this noto. I haven't had any problems with this myself, in fact the normal step forward you take will angle your body in a way that makes this a non issue. nonetheless, please make sure you pay attention to this when you're experimenting. Theres a quick video elaboration underneath the main article about this.
A small concern
And so, the concern that was expressed about cutting yourself was that whilst drawing the sword forward to drop the kissaki into the saya, the arm holding the saya may be sliced.
It is of course, always a risk when you're using a sword that you might cut yourself. We have to be aware of that every time we pick up a sharp and wander outside with it.
I am always as careful as I can be when discussing new techniques with everyone, but every now and then I overlook something. It's my reponsibility to make sure that if this is the case, I make amends as quickly as possible. Now on this occasion I don't believe I can see any danger but I know it's up to me to address the issue.
Bottom line is that you should be careful when using a sword. It's common sense but we're all capable of messing up. Watch the video below and you'll see the point that was raised and why I don't believe it is of real concern.