left-handed stab?!

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So. "Killing Technique" eh? The gatotsu is a ficticious killing technique straight out of Ruroni Kenshin. Warning: usuable only with people with swords. Basically, the sword's weilder holds the thing in their left hand, and runs forwards to stab their opponent. Doesn't sound like a killer technique to you? Just wait. I spent hours of my own time being bored analyzing just what makes this thing so deadly. I DO have a life! I swear!

Anyways, the first thing revealed to me as I sought to learn the secrets of the Gatotsu was that, damn, there's a good reason that Saitou holds his sword in his left hand! Holding the blade in your left hand is pretty much unexpected by whoever you're fighting. If you charge each other, the other guy is used to striking/slashing/cutting with his right hand! Therefore, if you start running down his left side, he's going to get confused, and will have alter his strike to hit you.

Okay, I lied.  You don't need a sword for a gatotsu.I don't know how many of you play sports like tennis, squash, and badminton, but if you do, you know that a backhanded swing is harder to pull off than a forehand. So while dude you're fighting is swinging his sword 'backhanded', you have the forehand thrust, and BOOM! he's dead. The same metaphor can be used for a left-handed hitter in baseball.

Now, before everyone goes off thinking a 'stab' is weak, and can be parried easily (think Europeon fencing), hey, we all know that the katana is way stronger than a rapier. Plus, even if the gatotsu misses, it can easily be made into a sideways cut. See? The gatotsu can kill even when it misses.

So now, here's the heavy duty stuff on the gatotsu. First off, before you start practicing this technique, you should know how to properly hold your sword. First, grip the weapon near the end of the hilt, with your left hand, the edge facing outwards. Then, with your left shoulder back farther than your right shoulder, stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart, your right foot leading. Your weight should be on your right leg and your back should be straight.

When you have decided that it is time to strike, crouch, and point your right hand at your target. Push off with your right foot, and when your right hand is sword length from your target, snap your left shoulder forwards to skewer your enemey. You should snap your shoulder forwards as your left foot hits the ground, so that you lunge at your opponenet.

Now, a big thing that a lot of people can't figure out when doing the gatotsu is the follow through. I mean, sure you've gotten the other guy, but to be truly great, you can't just suddenly stop there. You've got to go all the way. When the sword hits, take one more step forward, bringing your right arm behind you, and put on the brakes. The force due to friction should slow you down.

Should you miss, as previously described, immediately make a sideways cut, and return to a normal stance, bringing your right hand to grip your sword above your left. Defend and attack as needed in order to position yourself for another Gatotsu.

Don't be discouraged is you don't get it on the first try. Moving at a reasonable speed while keeping your arms in the proper position can difficult to say the least. Just keep practicing, and eventually, you will get it. Remember that looking cool is a big part of the Gatotsu.

Notice the follow through

    Types of Gatotsu

    1. The ordinary gatotsu is the one mentioned above. It's the basic form, standard for a lot of different situations. Remember, there is no constant angle. Keep your opponent guessing.
    2. The second stance of gatotsu is cutting diagonally downwards. Instead of just trying to run your opponent through, instead, drive your blade from high to low. Good against short buggers and people who duck.
    3. Third form is the 'anti-air' (taiku no gatostsu, i think) gatotsu. The form is pretty much the same as the normal gatotsu, but this time, point your sword upwards. Jump, then stab up, and you've got it. It's pretty simple.

    4. Finally, comes the ultimate technique, also known as the ogi, secret sword, Zero stance, and Gatotsu zero. It's a high risk move, in an all or nothing situation. It's a gatotsu from point blank, putting all the upper body strength plus the springing of the legs into one strike. If this misses, it's all over. If it hits, it's all over.
So, remember this then. The gatotsu isn't just any boneheaded technique that street thugs use. It's refined, classy, and smooth. When using the gatotsu, remember, your blade should be weilded for justice. Aku. Soku. Zan. Kill evil instantly.
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