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Jon Shickel
11-23-2007, 08:02 AM
I was wondering how much Weapon forms vary across different styles of Aikido? If I get a DVD of weapon forms from a different style, would its Jo 1 be the same as my Jo 1? :confused:

aikidoc
11-23-2007, 08:11 AM
Not likely. I have seen the weapons forms of Saotome and Saito, have practiced some of Saito's and now practice the forms of Kato. They are aikikai and yet all different. Some have more weapons material than others, some little if any. Kato sensei for example has kumitachi and kumijo sets for ikkyo through rokyo, omote, ura parts 1-3 .

Janet Rosen
11-23-2007, 09:52 AM
It seems like each very high level instructor has developed his own preferred katas based on what weapons arts he trained in and principles he wants to impart. So, no, instructional tapes would really only have value within the style you are learning.

aikispike
11-23-2007, 11:17 AM
Even within Yoshinkan dojo they vary considerably. The factor to consider is how close your dojo was to Kushida Sensei. For those in Canada and the Eastern US, if you do weapons they are probably fairly close to what Kushida taught.

If there is no connection to Kushida Sensei there is a good chance no weapons are done at all. If there is no connection to Kushida Sensei and weapons are done they are probably stolen from Saito Sensei.

At AYC, Kimeda Sensei ( a.k.a. Dad, not referring to myself in the 3rd person) had redone all his weapons forms over the past 10 years or so as a result of his studies in Jodo and Iaido.

Spike

George S. Ledyard
11-23-2007, 11:36 AM
It seems like each very high level instructor has developed his own preferred katas based on what weapons arts he trained in and principles he wants to impart. So, no, instructional tapes would really only have value within the style you are learning.

You have to realize that there is no "official" weapons work in Aikido. O-Sensei did not teach anything systematic at all (weapons or empty hand).

Certain students of the Founder, notably Shirata, Hikitsuchi, and Mochizuki of the pre-war group, and Nishio, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Saotome, Chiba, Kani, Imaizumi, etc got exposure to some degree or other to various koryu plus iaido and kendo. Each had his own version of aiki waepons work. Some have managed to pass on that work to larger communities of students but others did not and what they knew / know isn't commonly seen.

Saito Sensei appointed himself as the great systematizer of O-Sensei's weapons work. He tried to take all of the material he got from O-Sensei while training at Iwama and make something organized and teachable out of it. Much to the chagrin of the folks in Tokyo at Headquarters, his teachings morphed into what is now called Iwama Ryu, which included this systematic presentation of weapons training. To the extent that many of the post-war Shihan do weapons work, for most it was learned on their trips to Iwama and this was due to Saito's structuring of the curriculum. This went directly in the face of the direction taken by Headquarters which decided to de-emphasize weapons training completely. So the Aikido as presented by the current Doshu is devoid of any systematic weapons as part of the system. It's all being kept alive outside Hombu.

A few teachers like Nishio and Saotome went beyond and made up their own systems. Nishio's sword and jo work is entirely his own and he even took his training in Iaido and created a set of iai forms for Aikido folks. Chiba Sensei's efforts were especially notable in the area of the jo where he created a unique form called Sansho which is quite different than anyone else's work.

Saotome Sensei uses Saito's jo forms as the core of the jo training but created a number of other jo forms in addition (his Patrol Kata). His sword work is entirely his own. The sword forms used in the ASU are Saotome Sensei's and you won't see them anywhere else. In addition Sensei created a whole body of two sword technique which is unique in Aikido.

So, to my way of thinking, there isn't anything that can be called "official" weapons work in Aikido; it all depends on who you train with. However, one thing should be clear, if it can be legitimately considered aiki-sword or aiki-jo, then the weapons work should be using the same principles of aiki as the empty hand ones does. Since there is an issue with people understanding what aiki is or should be in their empty hand, it is even more true of their weapons work. Most folks would have a very hard time telling you exactly why their sword work utilizes the same principles of aiki as their empty hand work. This is because it largely doesn't.

Jon Shickel
11-23-2007, 12:02 PM
Thank you all for the resonses! As my icon may suggest, I train in Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido ("Ki Aikido") style.

MikeE
11-23-2007, 02:26 PM
I believe Tohei Sensei's jogi 1-3 and kengi 1 & 2 were from his training with O' Sensei. Being originally Aikikai (post-Tohei obviously), and then jumping the fence to Tohei lingeage (through Bill Sosa Sensei) I see commonality between the ken and jo taught. The 31 step jo kata taught in (most) Aikikai dojos resembles in many ways Tohei's jogi 1. Since Saito Sensei was a student of Tohei and of course, O'Sensei, it seems logical that there are more similarities than differences.

It does seem that all the Shihan, mine included, put their own personality and spin on their weapons work.

aikidoc
11-23-2007, 03:01 PM
Agreed there is a lot of interpretation out there. Kato sensei has a very extensive weapons system. Kumitachi/kumijo (72 patterns), misogi no jo, happo undo, etc. I saw the majority of it recently when he did a seminar at my dojo and was able to video it. His is as extensive as Saito's and then some. He uses the weapons to connect to the taijutsu.

George S. Ledyard
11-24-2007, 02:25 AM
Agreed there is a lot of interpretation out there. Kato sensei has a very extensive weapons system. Kumitachi/kumijo (72 patterns), misogi no jo, happo undo, etc. I saw the majority of it recently when he did a seminar at my dojo and was able to video it. His is as extensive as Saito's and then some. He uses the weapons to connect to the taijutsu.

Kato Sensei is another "old timer". Do you know what his training background was?

CitoMaramba
11-24-2007, 04:12 AM
...Since Saito Sensei was a student of Tohei...

Did Koichi Tohei ever teach at Iwama?
Just curious..

aikidoc
11-24-2007, 08:11 AM
Kato Sensei is another "old timer". Do you know what his training background was?

My understanding it has only been aikido. He worked out against other arts only to make sure his aikido worked against them. He did do a lot of personal weapons training but I'd have to ask him if he has studied weapons arts other than aikido or with other aikidoka doing weapons.

aikidunk666
01-24-2009, 06:28 AM
Is there an old martial art O sensei learned where i can see the jo techniques of aikido coming from? like looking at daito ryu & seeing the connection.

Aikilove
01-24-2009, 09:09 AM
As for Tohei teaching in Iwama or not. He was apparently present when Saito started his training there 1946, but, he was not teaching. The founder did. He was a sempai, however, and of course acted as such vis a vi Saito in the beginning (i.e. Tohei wiping the floor with him rather than the reverse case).

Regarding the weapons of Tohei and Saito, I would say that the Jo kata are similar due to both of them being in Iwama at the time of the founder really teaching the stuff. O-sensei had a set of different movements and patterns that he incorporated repeatedly in his Jo-playing and misogi.
I believe he "faught" real, or otherwise, kami as he did these type of play. His long katas varied from time to time leading to the small variation in 13, 31 and 22 kata of Saito and Tohei respectively.
Normally, as he acually taught, he wouldn't teach the long kata, but rather various parries, simple strikes and cuts, and 1-3 movement variations. At most.
The one who experienced this type of training the most was, without a doubt, the late Saito sensei. He then formulized the various block, parry and strike/cuts sequences inte longer patterns - today called kumijo.

Several of the founders students, including Kisshomaru Ueshiba, stated that the founder would build upon old-school forms or sequences, but would aikify them - saying: This is how you do that with Aiki...
I believe, just like George says above, in that if you are going to incorporate bukiwaza in aikido training you better make sure it actually conforms with the way you perform your taijutsu. Otherwise you might as well just call it something else.

The origins of aikijo have been debated alot.
Ellis Amdur wrote some about it over at Aikidojournal.com There was also a fruitful discussion at their forum: Aiki jo revisited (http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5962&sid=80d59e4eaf7ef6d48f453876f1fe61ca)

/J

Chris Farnham
01-25-2009, 05:48 PM
Is there an old martial art O sensei learned where i can see the jo techniques of aikido coming from? like looking at daito ryu & seeing the connection.

The main Jo Koryu that I know of is Shinto Muso Ryu. I believe that Nishio sensei studied it quite a bit and incorporated it into his Aik-jo. As for O sensei, and I am no expert, I don't know if he ever trained in any classical Jo school. From what I have heard alot of his Jo work came from spear, and from bayonet work he learned while in the Army. However, I am sure that there are others here that know much more than me.

Aikibu
01-26-2009, 12:22 AM
The main Jo Koryu that I know of is Shinto Muso Ryu. I believe that Nishio sensei studied it quite a bit and incorporated it into his Aiki-jo.

Correct. :)

William Hazen

Andrew S
01-26-2009, 01:44 PM
Is there an old martial art O sensei learned where i can see the jo techniques of aikido coming from? like looking at daito ryu & seeing the connection.

Perhaps Hozo-in Ryu. I'm not sure which ryu of sojutsu O-Sensei studied, but there is some Hozo-in Ryu in Takeda's background prior to the formulation of Daito Ryu.

James Edwards
02-04-2009, 05:08 PM
Another note on Chiba sensei's weapons work, other than the sansho he also has the 36 partnered jo basics, his 8 bokken suburi and some other additions on top of Saito sensei's weapons syllabus (e.g. 7 bokken suburi and 20 jo suburi). If you look though, his movements look different compared to Saito sensei's as well. For example, from my own observations, there is more emphasis on twisting the jo and having a solid support in jo choku tsuki. The cuts with Chiba sensei's bokken style also seem to more resemble cuts with a live sword. I guess this is just modifying what he had learnt with his own philosophies.

Chris Farnham
02-05-2009, 08:27 PM
I studied Chiba Sensei's style of weapons for about five years in the US and now I am learning Iwama weapons here in Japan. The jo tsuki is very different between the two styles, and Chiba sensei's jo work generally seems a bit more circular than Saito's to me, but as I have started to become a bit more familliar with Iwama style, I can definitely see how the two are connected.

As for Chiba sensei's Aiki-ken, I have often heard that his way of handling a boken comes from his Iaido experience. Having done a bit of Muso Shinden Ryu at home, and currently studying Katayam Hoki Ryu Iaido in Japan, I can definitely see a connection to the cutting done in Iaido, but the cuts done in Iaido and the cuts I learned for Chiba style Aiki-ken are not identical. My old sensei who taught me both Muso Shinden Ryu and Chiba sensei's Aiki-ken once told me that Chiba sensei changed his Aiki-ken technique to better illustrate principles found in his empty handed technique.

Chris Farnham
02-05-2009, 08:32 PM
I studied Chiba Sensei's style of weapons for about five years in the US and now I am learning Iwama weapons here in Japan. The jo tsuki is very different between the two styles, and Chiba sensei's jo work generally seems a bit more circular than Saito's to me, but as I have started to become a bit more familliar with Iwama style, I can definitely see how the two are connected. I am beginning to see how some of the 36 jo basics and even some sections from Sansho could be adaptations of what Chiba learned in Iwama from O sensei and Saito sensei.

As for Chiba sensei's Aiki-ken, I have often heard that his way of handling a boken comes from his Iaido experience. Having done a bit of Muso Shinden Ryu at home, and currently studying Katayam Hoki Ryu Iaido in Japan, I can definitely see a connection to the cutting done in Iaido, but the cuts done in Iaido and the cuts I learned for Chiba style Aiki-ken are not identical. My old sensei who taught me both Muso Shinden Ryu and Chiba sensei's Aiki-ken once told me that Chiba sensei changed his Aiki-ken technique to better illustrate principles found in his empty handed technique.

denman
02-11-2009, 09:51 PM
I personally don't understand why weapons training varies or why folks make up their own stuff. How credible is that in relation to Aikido? They were established by O'Sensei. O'Sensei sent Saito Sensei to the Hombu dojo to continue that aspect of his art. And after O'Sensei passed Saito Sensei was told he was no longer needed. Fortunately for us Saito Sensei continued on his own to train others in O'Sensei's Buki Waza. I wouldn't describe Saito Sensei as appointing himself. O'Sensei instructed him to do so when he was alive and it looks like nobody else wanted to.

I think the root of the problem is - do you agree with the fact that weapons training is an important aspect of training in Aikido, and - do you understand how weapons training will improve your Tai-jutsu? If you agree and understand then your on the right path. If you don't then it doesn't matter, do your on thing as others have.

If you want one of the best ways to train in O'Sensei's Buki Waza pick up the video series "Aikido in Training." You'll learn Iwama style Buki Waza, demonstrated properly.

Good luck...

raul rodrigo
02-12-2009, 07:03 AM
I personally don't understand why weapons training varies or why folks make up their own stuff. How credible is that in relation to Aikido?

How credible is Shoji Nishio in relation to aikido? Or Chiba, Saotome, Hikitsuchi or Shirata? All of these were deshi of Ueshiba, each with their own take on bukiwaza. The Yamaguchi aikido lineage tends to do ken with a strong Kashima Shin ryu flavor that looks nothing like Iwama aiki-ken. Of course, Iwama style folk will say that there is only one correct way to do weapons.

George S. Ledyard
02-12-2009, 10:15 AM
I personally don't understand why weapons training varies or why folks make up their own stuff. How credible is that in relation to Aikido? They were established by O'Sensei. O'Sensei sent Saito Sensei to the Hombu dojo to continue that aspect of his art. And after O'Sensei passed Saito Sensei was told he was no longer needed. Fortunately for us Saito Sensei continued on his own to train others in O'Sensei's Buki Waza. I wouldn't describe Saito Sensei as appointing himself. O'Sensei instructed him to do so when he was alive and it looks like nobody else wanted to.

I think the root of the problem is - do you agree with the fact that weapons training is an important aspect of training in Aikido, and - do you understand how weapons training will improve your Tai-jutsu? If you agree and understand then your on the right path. If you don't then it doesn't matter, do your on thing as others have.

If you want one of the best ways to train in O'Sensei's Buki Waza pick up the video series "Aikido in Training." You'll learn Iwama style Buki Waza, demonstrated properly.

Good luck...

The whole idea that there is one way to do anything is completely mistaken. Saito Sensei froze in time what he had been doing with the Founder. he was a good systematizer of that work.

O-Sensei barely taught the same thing twice. He taught different things at different places based on the background and interests of the deshi he was working with.

He had students who already had good weapons skills. He didn't tell them "No, it's this way or that way" he just worked with them and they took whatever they could from it.

The idea that the Iwama Ryu stuff is more authentic, more correct, more orthodox is simply not the case. It's simply what O-Sensei was doing in the early fifties at Iwama. He did very different things with my teacher, Saotome Sensei.

What makes weapons work aiki weapons? Not some official external set of movements. Aiki Buki is weapons work done utilizing the principles of aiki. That can take any external form you wish. That's why each teacher worked things out on his own and they don't look the same. O-Sensei didn't want them to look the same, he wanted them to internalize the principles.

Some students had an interest in this and worked very hard at their weapons and others virtually ignored them completely. Its fairly obvious who is who. The idea that their weapons work is some how less valid than what Saito did is totally ridiculous. They created their weapons systems based on what they got from the Founder and then kept training, which is, I believe, the whole point.

sorokod
02-26-2009, 05:10 AM
The idea that the Iwama Ryu stuff is more authentic, more correct, more orthodox is simply not the case. It's simply what O-Sensei was doing in the early fifties at Iwama. He did very different things with my teacher, Saotome Sensei.

What makes weapons work aiki weapons? Not some official external set of movements. Aiki Buki is weapons work done utilizing the principles of aiki. That can take any external form you wish. That's why each teacher worked things out on his own and they don't look the same. O-Sensei didn't want them to look the same, he wanted them to internalize the principles.

Some students had an interest in this and worked very hard at their weapons and others virtually ignored them completely. Its fairly obvious who is who. The idea that their weapons work is some how less valid than what Saito did is totally ridiculous. They created their weapons systems based on what they got from the Founder and then kept training...

In my humble opinion much more should be written to make the first and the last sentence of the quote consistent.

grondahl
02-26-2009, 05:31 AM
And what should that be?

Have you read Ellis Amdurs blogs about the origins of aiki weapons over at Aikidojournal.com?

In my humble opinion much more should be written to make the first and the last sentence of the quote consistent.

sorokod
02-26-2009, 06:57 AM
And what should that be?

Have you read Ellis Amdurs blogs about the origins of aiki weapons over at Aikidojournal.com?

Well, if one creates a new weapons system which is different from the one developed by the founder, adjectives like "authentic" and "orthodox" do not describe it well (to put it mildly) without further explanation.
I always enjoy reading Ellis Amdur's stuff. Can you point me at the relevant content?

sorokod
02-26-2009, 10:02 AM
The discussion following the "Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10" column ( http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15066 ) is quite relevant here.

Russell Davis
03-20-2009, 09:12 AM
Not being an expert on forms, but not to bad at the sparring game.
weapons forms most likely vary because every weapon has its optimum effective range E.g. close range=knife and empty hand
Middle range= Stick or sword
Long Range= Bo, Jo, Spear.
also each weapon will have slightly different methods of parrying/blocking.

Forms are all to often fixed and not enough time or effort is given to a more flexible free form format for EFFECTIVE training.

raul rodrigo
03-20-2009, 09:39 AM
Not being an expert on forms, but not to bad at the sparring game.
weapons forms most likely vary because every weapon has its optimum effective range E.g. close range=knife and empty hand
Middle range= Stick or sword
Long Range= Bo, Jo, Spear.
also each weapon will have slightly different methods of parrying/blocking.

Forms are all to often fixed and not enough time or effort is given to a more flexible free form format for EFFECTIVE training.

Actually, I think we were discussing why different shihan have different forms for the same weapon, eg, why Saito's jo work is different from Chiba's. The same goes for their sword forms. Optimum effective range doesn't come into the equation.

Russell Davis
03-20-2009, 09:58 AM
add onthanks for that little bit of enlightenment. people like weapons have their strengths and weaknesses, they also come in all shapes and sizes, maybe one was a little guy and the other was really tall with very long arms?
I thought that would have been obvious, dont you have a fav tech that is not everyone elses fav tech?

PS as for Optimum effective range yes it does! Eg I have a 20inch reach combined with my sword it reaches 58inches, my training partner has a reach of 30inches and with a sword it becomes about 70inches. thats a lot of inches to overcome in a fight!

Erick Mead
03-20-2009, 10:20 AM
Actually, I think we were discussing why different shihan have different forms for the same weapon, eg, why Saito's jo work is different from Chiba's. The same goes for their sword forms. Optimum effective range doesn't come into the equation.I have considered this for some time. I have trained in all three systems, although my short time with Chiba in 1994-1995 did not permit much weapons exposure. It is my belief that at least in the case of Saito's and Saotome's kumitachi and awase exercises, that these are essentially compilations of ShoChikuBai sword combinations that were O Sensei's personal "flavor of the era" for the the deshi that were training at the time.

John Stevens has used the basic set in seminars. Sho (pine) shomenuchi -- Chiku (bamboo) yokomen, and Bai (plum) tsuki. Stevens used them in a progression in which you essentially "ring the changes" on the attack/response matrix in two-fold combinations:

sho/sho, sho/chiku, sho/bai,
chiku/sho, chiku/chiku - chiku/bai .
bai/sho, bai/chiku, bai/bai.

From there, of course, one would work from doing that progression as isolated 1-2 count engagements to flowing progression in the same series. Then, with ki no nagare in the basic exchanges established, begin to work the engagements in threefold and fourfold combinations and larger sets. Saito's and Saotome's kumitachi seem like instances of these larger sets.

I liken it to learning reading and writing (bun bu ichi)-- whole-language versus phonics -- Saito and Saotome seem to have faithfully taken down the major sequences that O Sensei happened to be teaching in their eras and taught them like whole-language as complete words. However, the basic sequences can also be approached more like phonics, like building up from basic two and three "letter" words into any arbitrary combinations of more complex four, five or eight letter words. That seems to be the source of the differences -- O Sensei changed the sword "words" he was contemplating from time to time. Another way of looking at the "word-spirit" of kotodama, perhaps.

raul rodrigo
03-20-2009, 11:00 AM
And what would be your response if two shihan were the same height and yet their sword work varied? Eg, Sekiya shihan and his son in law Chiba. One was Kashima shin ryu influenced, the other much more eclectic.

Russell Davis
03-20-2009, 07:50 PM
Thank you Erick Mead, a very informative post. with respect how many of you have fought a duel?
Training is one thing, when your life is on the line its something else.
From my own experience (Sabre) I think that any flow of more than 3/4 cuts is unrealistic, most real sword fights are of that nature, as you want to disengage from your opponent to see what damage you might have inflicted. Its a bit like boxing
jab, to see his defence Cross or Hook when you see an opening or create one.

So Its all guess work, but I'm thinking one has fought for real, the other ain't.

Russell.

For those interested, my fight was stopped because of a cut across the top of the nose between the eyebrows, I could not see for the blood, but fought on for a bit, the other guy called it a day (lucky for me) he didnt want to take advantage of the situation.

Flintstone
03-21-2009, 04:30 PM
Rusell, with all due respect, they're not talking about duels, but form. Also... have you ever had a look at the length of Katori Shinto Ryu katas? There are a number of reassons to train long sequences.

Now, back on track...

Russell Davis
03-21-2009, 08:41 PM
Thanks for that, I do know what they are talking about, but its something that is really annoying, when it is explored into the minutest of detail.

Yes I do agree with "long form" katas, this is basically to build up your endurance, as on the battlefield you go from one fight to the next, and the next, and the next etc etc.
and if your sword breaks (as it often did in them days) you pick up whatever else is lying around. which brings me back to my other question "all weapons are one and the same"

here we go again.

patf
04-15-2009, 05:57 PM
FWIW I don't particularly care for weapons in Aikido much anymore. After some exposure to Iaido from a very capable sensei, Aiki bokken just didn't make a lot of sense any more, at least from an attack/kata point of view. I consider that there are merits of bokken in aikido only from the nage point of view, in disarming the uke. Almost everything I was taught in Aikido bokken got thrown out the window when I started Iaido, but that is to be expected somewhat as Iaido is focused solely on the sword .

Flintstone
04-16-2009, 02:07 AM
FWIW I don't particularly care for weapons in Aikido much anymore. After some exposure to Iaido from a very capable sensei, Aiki bokken just didn't make a lot of sense any more, at least from an attack/kata point of view. I consider that there are merits of bokken in aikido only from the nage point of view, in disarming the uke. Almost everything I was taught in Aikido bokken got thrown out the window when I started Iaido, but that is to be expected somewhat as Iaido is focused solely on the sword .
Depends in your "aiki bokken"... and moreover it depends on you. How long have you been exposed to Saito or Chiba or Mochizuki?

Carsten Möllering
04-16-2009, 04:59 AM
Well it's not only different kata of the same weapon, but it's also different weapons:

Hikitsuchi Michio hast been taught a bo kata by O Sensei.
The only style of aikido which uses the bo as I know?

Well, in our style we do aiki ken and also a little ken jutsu which is derived from kashima shin ryu. (I know, I know: That's why I wrote "derived from".)
So we have two sorts of swordworkin one style of aikido aikikai.
(Katori shinto ryu also is very popular, but not taught in aikido lessons.)

Carsten

Flintstone
04-16-2009, 05:04 AM
(Katori shinto ryu also is very popular, but not taught in aikido lessons.)
Yoseikan...

Carsten Möllering
04-16-2009, 05:24 AM
(Katori shinto ryu also is very popular, but not taught in aikido lessons.)Yoseikan...
Oh sorry:
I meant in our aikido, our dojo: In our aikido we train aiki ken and the ken jutsu kata derived from kashima shin ryu. Both are part of our aikido.

My aikido teacher also teaches katori (his dojo is the german shibu of the sugino dojo) and some of our aikido practioners are also doing katori with him.
But katori is not part of our aikido.

Carsten

Flintstone
04-16-2009, 05:31 AM
I meant in our aikido, our dojo: In our aikido we train aiki ken and the ken jutsu kata derived from kashima shin ryu. Both are part of our aikido.
Sorry, my mistake!

My aikido teacher also teaches katori (his dojo is the german shibu of the sugino dojo) and some of our aikido practioners are also doing katori with him.
You're very lucky then, if you have the chance to train with them!! Give it a try! Nothing wrong with your derivative of Kashima Shin Ryu, of course......

patf
04-16-2009, 12:10 PM
Depends in your "aiki bokken"... and moreover it depends on you. How long have you been exposed to Saito or Chiba or Mochizuki?

I think you'll find that most of those instructors have an Iaido background. I think that finding Aikido instructors with an Iaido background is more the exception than the rule. In retrospect the whole concept of attacking with bokken is an art form itself and I don't expect Aikido instructors to train their students to that level. What I'm saying is Aiki bokken attack/kata are often taught "robotically" (perhaps not the best word, but best I can think of at the moment) with very little understanding of the real sword fighting principles involved.
Perhaps it boils down to practicality for me (though I don't know how much practical use anyone would get out of wielding a sword correctly), but in terms of the pure art form, the weapons usage in Aikido don't seem practical to me. However, I do understand there are other benefits than can be gained, like proper defense, muscle relaxation techniques, moving from center etc.

IMO Iaido and Aikido are complementary in a lot of respects, except perhaps one, the end goal in Iaido, once the sword is drawn, is the killing/maiming of your opponent.

Ed Shockley
04-20-2009, 08:42 AM
Everything that we do in any dojo is simply an exercise to improve ourselves and prepare ourselves to adapt to the unique reality of a martial confrontation. The validity of each practice approach and weapons style lies in the reverence of the instructor and the diligence of the student.

Ed Shockley

Abasan
04-21-2009, 07:07 PM
Patrick,

at the expense of being called a cheapo ;) , would you mind terribly to explain a bit about the differences in Iaido and aikiken? Maybe for the 3 different basic moves say:

1. Our ready stance
2. Men
3. Barai

I would love to learn the art (actually no :o , I don't have the time) but since there's no Iaido teachers here in my country I really don't have the chance.

Michael Varin
04-22-2009, 12:01 AM
Ahmad,

I know it's not quite the same, but you could always get James Williams' DVD. It will introduce you to the basics of what he teaches, but believe me, it's stuff you can work on for years.

James is one of the very best with a sword. And I feel that what he teaches is much more practical than what you see in most iaido.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS2YcBbubs8

Can you own real swords in your country?

By the way, I found my aikido training (Iwama) with bokken was a great foundation for using a katana. There is a different feel to each weapon that you have to get used to, but I was able to do very nice tameshigiri almost right away. One handed cuts took more getting used to, especially off the draw.

patf
04-22-2009, 01:28 PM
Patrick,

at the expense of being called a cheapo ;) , would you mind terribly to explain a bit about the differences in Iaido and aikiken? Maybe for the 3 different basic moves say:

1. Our ready stance
2. Men
3. Barai

I would love to learn the art (actually no :o , I don't have the time) but since there's no Iaido teachers here in my country I really don't have the chance.

Hi Ahmad,
I only practiced Iaido for about 6 months, the class schedule conflicted too much with daily life and I was already overloading my free time with Aikido, so I was getting a lot of complaints from the family. In the end I decided to cut back on the Iaido because I felt I couldn't really give it all the time and attention it deserved.

As I say my experience is fairly limited, so
1. Ready stance. The way i was taught is that ready stance is both feet pointing forward which differs from the hanmi stance in aikido. The reason for this is that it is easier/quicker to move in any direction from this stance.

2. Men, I presume you mean moving forward by this. In Iaido we practiced moving in all directions and there was definitely a lot of focus on footwork, ayumi-ashi, tsugi-ashi,okuri-ashi, crab-ashi ( I can't remember the correct term for this but it is basically moving and drawing the sword while facing forward but stepping sideways crosslegged, apparently useful when moving/attacking in confined spaces like stairwells). The footwork involved moving then drawing, and moving/drawing/moving, and variations of moving/drawing/sheathing etc.
A lot of emphasis was put on keeping the head level as bobbing the head makes it harder to track the target.

3. Barai, a lot parrying exercises, from standing and seiza. A lot of emphasis on the fact that the sword is both weapon and shield and correct parry location on the back edge of the blade. Parrys were generally followed by strikes and there were multiple strike types, high, mid, low etc. Plenty of multiple person attacks and a lot of emphasis on timing and waiting for the attacker to commit.

There was so much stuff in Iaido that I never came across in aiki weapons, just in terms of pure practicality of using the weapon, but as I mentioned in a previous post, Iaido is purely focused on the sword and one should expect that level of detail/attention. What I particularly remember was the slow-fast-slow style where the pace in katas would change depending on the particular action. Other little things like the sword was pointed towards the enemy's face at all times and the emphasis on speed/precision of cuts.
The sensei was also a very interesting character, he knew much about the history of samurai and ninja and had many interesting stories to tell. This included the history of the sword and sword makers.
He had this one move where he would be sitting seiza and in one move would hop into the air, draw his sword and perform a downward cut on an attacker about 3 mat widths away, it was pretty amazing.

I hope you get a chance to try it out some day.