Digging deep within ourselves and pushing beyond self-perceived limits is at the heart of our efforts as Students of Aikido. Tanren practice serves a method of austere training as left to us by O’Sensei and should be pursued as part of your foundation in Traditional Aikido. The Japanese word Tanren translates to mean “forging the spirit.” Uchi translated means “strike,” therefore Tanren-Uchi is said to mean “the forging of the spirit through repetitious striking.” Performed with a heavy bladed Ken referred to as a Tanren Ken, this form of striking exercise is not only valuable in training the spirit, but also is an aid in the physical development of the muscles of the lower back as well as the forearms and wrists. Performed on a tire mounted at the height of about there and on half feet, the Deshi (student) attempts to suppress the recoil of full power strikes. To add to the severity of this, the Ken is held in a closed hand Ken grip with heel of right hand in line with webbing (between thumb and index finger) of left hand. Tanren-Uchi may be performed either solo or paired (shown). Basic strikes are performed utilizing Ichi-No Ken Suburi with the addition of lowering the Ken to a position fully behind the back and in line with the spine.
Reprinted with permission from ‘Aikido In Training’ – Copyright Cool Rain Productions 1993, 2002.
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