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Mitsugi Saotome Sensei - a direct student of Aikido's Founder - demonstrates and explains his system for using two-swords at once.
Beginning with basic stances, he moves to defenses against attacks with a single sword and eventually to defenses against multiple opponents. He also illustrates the direct connection of two-sword movement to Aikido's empty-handed throwing technique.
Besides recently filmed instruction, the video contains rare footage of Saotome Sensei's 1988 Two-Sword Seminar at the Chicago Budokan.
Enjoyable for the beauty and ingenuity of Saotome Sensei's movement, this hour-long instructional video explores martial exercises for integrating and balancing the body's right and left sides. (57 min.)
Dynamic, fully two sword style, but not for beginners
Unlike the little information I found on the net, Saotome's method uses the left-hand sword not only for blocking, but also for attacks and threats. His style is dynamic, where while one sword does one move, the other always gets into position for another move. He also demonstrates several double blocks (X blocks) and double attacks techniques.
The video starts with a short interview, followed with basic stances. The basic stances section unfortunately does not show leg positioning.
The video quickly follows into choreographed movements with a partner. This is by far the longest part of the video, and the most worthwhile. A large section of this set of choreographed movements is from the Chicago seminar, and while a bit blurred, the quality was clear enough to see the movements he made.
It is always 2 swords vs. 1 sword, and it would have been interesting to see 2 swords vs. 2 swords. Nevertheless, there are plenty of moves demonstrated for blocking and following with attacks. These are clearly shown, with slower pace than actual fighting so that observers can clearly see what is happening, but can be confusing to the novice. Again, both swords are used effectively throughout most of the tape (only in rare occasions is one sword passive while the other sword does all the work). Many exercices are symmetric, thus can be done either side.
The section against multiple opponents however was not too informative. The basic strategy is to get out of the way of other opponents, thus reduces the combat to one vs. one. Once you know that, then multiple opponent tactics brings nothing new to the method. This section did not last long, and movements were too fast anyway to clearly see what he did. It would have been helpful to see techniques to rotate to face opponents, and attack / defend / position the two swords simultaneously - much like what you'd expect from Haidong Gumdo.
The last section illustrating empty-hand equivalents was also very short, and in my opinion very useless.
In short, if you want to learn effective 2 sword vs. 1 sword techniques from demonstrations with a partner, and you have some experience in sword fighting (even with single katana), then I recommend this video for you, and for that reason this video fulfilled my expectations (5 stars). The rest I see as a quick introduction and conclusion, but was skimmed too lightly to be considered useful.