This past Saturday in class we reviewed most of the fundamentals (kihon) of using the kusari fundo historical training tool. Naturally when training one should NEVER use the metal version of the training tool, substituting it for soft rope, under the appropriate supervision.
The first part of practice begins with kusari fundo kamae- body postures and ways of holding the tool. Using the angling and distance created by the postures to allow one the best use of the chain and weights. A good drill to practice this is a type of flow drill- start in one posture with the kusari fundo and while walking around shift to another posture with the kusari fundo, trying to be as smooth as possible in the transition from posture to posture, while at the same time minimizing any kyusho that you might present to your training partner- using the physical placing of the chain in-front of you and your training partner to plug any kyusho.
As we become more aware of kamae and moving smoothly with the tool, ways of striking are added as the next layer- using the rocking and stepping of the body to swing and propel the chain/weight so one can hit a target and not have the weight snap back. Paying close attention to moving both the upper and lower portions of the body at the same time.
Next step is to begin practicing catching a punch or a kick with the chain, and wrapping around the limb to be able to control or retrain it. With this it is not so much chasing after a punch, but rather through distance and timing knowing where they strike is going to be, and letting it fall into the chain.
Catching it vs. grabbing it.
Which lead us to the last set of lessons to explore- using the chain in combination with nage waza (throws) so not only is the power of those throws magnified, but they are done with the kusari fundo complimenting them so taking ukemi with the throw, from the perspective of uke, becomes impossible.