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stelios
01-30-2007, 05:37 AM
When does weapon training become a necessity?
The reason I am asking this is because many different dojos approach weapon training via different angles. Some schools train weapons once a week, some once a month, some not untill 3rd Kyu etc. The link between weapons and "standard" aikido training is so strong that the one completely melts into the other in the sense that it is all aikido and unseperatable. One of my teachers once told me that unless you train weapons you might not be able to comprehend aikido in full (true) and might not learn how to stand upright and perform the simplest waza (also very true).
My problem is that due to lack of time I am restricted to non-weapon training only (my dojo trains weapons at a day not convenient to my schedule). It has been ages since I used my bokken & jo and it will be like that for quite some time in the future.
Is there an era in aikido progress when one MUST embed oneself more into weapons? In other words when will weapon's training become adamant for one's progress?
Your lights please?

SeiserL
01-30-2007, 07:48 AM
When does weapon training become a necessity? ... Is there an era in aikido progress when one MUST embed oneself more into weapons? In other words when will weapon's training become adamant for one's progress? Your lights please?
IMHO, it is very useful to see/train the body of Aikido derived from Ken-jutsu (swords).

When is it necessary? When your Sensei tells you its part of your curriculum, picks up a piece of wood, and hits you with it.

scarey
01-30-2007, 08:47 AM
We just had an all day weapons seminar at Shinkikan and it was the best class I've had since starting in Aikido. If you aren't able to practice weapons in the scheduled time, I would recommend at least practicing on your own or finding someone to go to a park with. One of the points stressed in this past weekend's seminar is that if you can't do a technique with the weapon, it won't work without a weapon. I think that should provide a glimpse into the relationship of hand and weapons training.

Cory Hansen
01-30-2007, 09:26 AM
I always found weapons to be really important when it comes to my Aikido training.

Weapons can really show where you are strong or where you are weak in your open hand. If you have a problem doing a certain technique with weapons then more than likely you have the same problem with your open hand. Then weapon just amplifies it so sometimes it is easier to see where the problem is in the technique.

Whenever I hit a Plateau I focus more on my weapons and it usually helps me get over my plateau.

Upyu
01-30-2007, 10:22 AM
I'd agree. Weapons training is pretty central to pretty much any budo.
It trains the body to move correctly. (Spear work anyone?)
Dont think its any great coincidence that most of the great MAists back in the day trained Spear work day in and day out.
Personally I'd rate spear work over sword for its simplicity and depth. But thats my insight so far, I'm sure it'll change in a another couple of years.
Interestingly enough, I was working out with a couple mma kids, and had them do a little spear work, then do a little visualization game where they imagined they were holding a spear when they were striking. Surprise surprise their balance improved, penetration increased, and overalll efficiency increased dramatically. Until the adreline kicked in during sparring and they went back to their normal mode of movement. Which is why this stuff has to be trained daily and isn't some kind of quick fix I guess :)

ChrisMoses
01-30-2007, 12:59 PM
I'd agree. Weapons training is pretty central to pretty much any budo.
It trains the body to move correctly. (Spear work anyone?)
Dont think its any great coincidence that most of the great MAists back in the day trained Spear work day in and day out.
Personally I'd rate spear work over sword for its simplicity and depth. But thats my insight so far, I'm sure it'll change in a another couple of years.


Unfortunately sojutusu is nearly unheard of in the aikido world, or outside of the Chinese arts over here. Sure there's jo work and some 'bojutsu' but they both work a lot different than the kind of stuff you're talking about. It's also been my experience that aiki-jo and aiki-ken are taught as very external arts, meaning they place great emphasis on what the weapons are doing rather than what internal structures are being formed and manipulated to generate the movement of the weapons. Working some of the aiki-jo stuff with a very heavy jo (meaning in the 12+lb range) can give some insight, but a four foot staff is just too easy to move around to really be a teacher in and of itself the way a 9+ foot spear can be.

Eric Webber
01-30-2007, 07:15 PM
To answer the first question of "when," I'd say as early as possible.

To deal with the "no time in class" issue, I'd answer that weapons practice is probably one of the easiest at-home training methods available. Suburi exercises are incredibly valuable and simple to perform (didn't say easy to perfect, please keep that in mind). Just learning to be proficient in a "simple" shomen strike can take years. I have spent many an hour on an iaido draw and cut, and feel that after several years of this one draw and cut I may have a glimpse of understanding.

To answer your question of when one "MUST embed oneself more into weapons," I'd answer: when you realize the importance of weapons training.

HL1978
01-31-2007, 09:33 AM
For a more japanese sword art perspective in teaching exercises like those mentioned by rob with the spearing exercises, I came accross thefollowing exercises by Kim Taylor.

http://ejmas.com/pt/ptart_taylor_1200.htm


"Any of the normal suburi (practice swings) of your sword art can be done with the tanren bo. Since it is so much heavier than a bokuto it will throw your balance off thus forcing you to work at staying in form. This helps keep your mind on your tanden."

And later

"The same movements can be done while walking forward as if in uke nagashi to examine what is happening with your hips and shoulders as you move. Use the weight and momentum of the tanren bo to examine technique while you are loosening the wrists.

If you try these exercises remember to keep good tenouchi and shibori. Isolate the desired muscles and do the movements slowly. Concentrate on your tanden at all times, not on the arm or shoulder strength, it is, after all called a tanden bo."

Freerefill
01-31-2007, 02:59 PM
I found that weapons training greatly enhanced my hand-to-hand training. When using weapons as metaphores, such as "Imagine your energy traveling in the direction of the jo", and then applying that to, say, ikkyo, I feld a huge improvement. Similarly and more noticably with bokken. After getting the basics of a bokken shomenuchi, sankyo became much easier. Also, in my dojo at least, one of the philosophies we follow is "Don't think about doing anything to uke, think about doing something to yourself." so, when you have a connection to uke and you imagine that you aren't holding a person but a sword, you don't get into a strength-vs-strength wrestling match and the technique moves much more fluidly.

Just my tiny bit of personal experience.

Besides, as my senpai says, "It looks cool." And senpai is always right. ;)

Amir Krause
02-01-2007, 05:11 AM
In my opinion, weapons training is never a must for progressing in learning to utilize Aikido for empty hands situations.

Weapons training can be a way to improve your learning process, since each weapon being practiced has the tendency to actually emphasize some specific principles. Thus the weapons training becomes a shortcut to faster progress. But, the progress is not dependent on it, and further, without a good teacher and a diligent student, the weapons training can become a fun detour without any real consequence.


Amir