I spent much of this weekend working on my Kongōshu style, doing kata in the yard of Akane’s and my house in Hoshiakari. This style is an offshoot of the Steel Road ryū, which is a fairly complicated sansetsukon style in the Three-Headed Dragon school.

I was surprised by how well I still remember it. I was able to make much progress… until I ran into a complicated maneuver that I can see will be very necessary. But I cannot yet determine how to accomplish it.

Some day, I have hopes that this style will be useful for people carousing in Kusatsu — I am working on some aspects that will be particularly useful in the environs of that rapidly-growing city. But it still has a long way to go.

Akane says she remembers the days when I was a member of Clan Tenya. I would come home from my battles in Ōmi Province and have no desire to pick up another weapon for the rest of the night. Even on the weekends, I was too tired to practice kata. But now, I have spent much of the weekend practicing blocks, strikes, and swirling sansetsukon attacks.

She says this makes her very happy to watch.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

Since the Emperor declared a day of rest on today, in memory of a great man, we had a long weekend. And I spent some of it relaxing in Hoshiakari, doing kata in my own Kongōshu style. This is a style I have been inventing especially for people who go carousing in taverns a lot, and it is based on the Steel Road ryū.

This means I must refresh my memory of the Steel Road, for I have not used it in some time. So I spent part of the weekend out in the yard outside my house, whirling the sansetsukon around, practicing strikes and blocks.

My style is not yet ready to use… but I have definitely made some progress on it this weekend! Some day, perhaps it will be useful to others.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

I have spent the past few weeks mostly scouting, lurking in alleyways and reconnoitering territories in Sanigata. On the rare occasions when I’ve found enemies who must be removed, it has been a simple task to slay them with my kama.

Aside from those few, occasional instances of combat, I have spent much time in meetings with Clan Hekoayu.

Yesterday, I spent hours doing kama practice, learning the hikichigaido maneuver, trying to understand it — or at least make it work correctly. Having reached the point where I can follow it by rote, I went back to Yokuaru Shitsumon this morning. There is a warrior there who I needed to kill, for the good of my clan.

After much waiting and lurking, I finally spotted him. Quickly, in my mind, I recalled the motions of the hikichigaido attack. As he drew close to me, I sprang from my concealment and attacked with my kama.

He blocked the first strike, but the hikichigaido is a two-part attack. With my left hand brushing across his eyes, I whirled and completed the maneuver… leaving him dead at my feet!

I was slightly surprised that it had worked. I was even more surprised to see two of his allies coming toward me — and one of them pulling a kusarigama from his belt!

It has been too long since I got to use my chain skills. I am afraid I may have gone a bit overboard… both of my attackers were on the ground in moments. I made a quick getaway, knowing that Yokuaru Shitsumon is now safe for our forces.

The only way that could have been better is if I’d had an excuse to use the rooftops. Sadly, Yokuaru Shitsumon is one of the small towns of Sanigata; there’s just no point.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

I have been sick for the past few days. On Monday afternoon, I was in Yokuaru Shitsumon, scouting out the opposition. It is clear that I will need to master a particular technique to have any hope of prevailing here. It is called the hikichigaido attack — a kata using the kama that should really be quite simple.

Still, it eludes me.

I do not know if this is because of my illness, or if there is something I am misunderstanding. But now I am in the courtyard of Castle Noriaibasha, practicing this technique. I must hone it until I can go back to Yokuaru Shitsumon and eradicate a pair of enemies who will otherwise cause us trouble there.

Practice, practice…

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

There is a fair in Iga tomorrow. Akane and I will be having friends over to join us at our house, so we have made sure it is clean and welcoming. Between bouts of cleaning, I have spent the day playing with a ninja-tō kata that my friend Michio described to me recently:

“I can see that there will frequently be situations where I have to hang from a tree branch, roof, or overhang, stab an enemy, then haul his body up into the place where I am in order to avoid being detected. And I have a kata that seems to work for that. It was a good learning exercise.” Curiously, I have never had to solve this exact problem, though it’s similar to one I’ve dealt with before.

So I agreed to work out a kata for it, without having seen Michio’s. Then we can compare them. It will make a good way for him to check how well he is learning the martial arts, too.

Well, either it’s harder than it looks, or I’m going at it entirely the wrong way. But my focus has been very scattered these past few days.

I did not go to Yagyū today, of course. But while I was practicing in the yard in front of Akane’s and my house, I got a message from a herald anyway. A singularly unhelpful message, much like the previous message from one of this herald’s gumi yesterday: It specifies what weapon skills and fighting styles I would need to know, but nothing else. There is no mention of any of the things I need to know to decide if I am interested or not.

Where is the clan’s headquarters located? Would I be constantly on the road from Iga to their castle, and exhausted by all the travelling by the time I even arrived every morning? And is this with a clan at all, or with a larger army? Where do they fight, and what are their objectives and strategies?

On Monday, I have appointments with two other herald gumis. Perhaps I can have lunch with a friend along the way.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.
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