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Jennifer Yabut
03-10-2008, 11:32 AM
Came across these...um, interesting..."aikido bokken" clips on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px4YbdlchMw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeWa9CbfgFI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YSvbBxbQ6E

Anyone know which Aikido style this guy is practicing? Because none of this stuff remotely resembles any kind of aiki-ken I've seen.

ChrisMoses
03-10-2008, 11:48 AM
I'd say Kompetitive Krotty Roo, with a bit of watching TSKSR vids on youtube. There are some Korean styles that flit about like that too, but it's not my bag. :freaky:

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 11:51 AM
:D The kick in the middle of a sword kata (first clip) is a dead giveaway. Someone is making stuff up :D All things considered, I've seen worse...

Best,
Ron

Jennifer Yabut
03-10-2008, 11:58 AM
Yeah, well...at least it's a step above this other guy's "sword style" :yuck: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lueuQu62nRQ

Seriously...I'm actually more interested in the Aikido style the guy in the other videos is practicing. Says he's a 2nd kyu, and at his dojo, everyone wears white hakama until shodan. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't white hakama normally saved for high-ranking koryu practitioners?

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 12:00 PM
Hi Jennifer,

I wouldn't waste too much thought on it...woo woo is out there in many flavors. I'm trying to learn to just shake my head and move on.

Best,
Ron (to make bold statements means I actually have to research it, qualify my comments, etc. Too much time involved.)

akiy
03-10-2008, 12:01 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't white hakama normally saved for high-ranking koryu practitioners?
I know of certain places (ie one aikido organization in Germany) that wears hakama in accordance to the practitioner's belt color (eg white belt = white hakama).

-- Jun

Jennifer Yabut
03-10-2008, 12:11 PM
I know of certain places (ie one aikido organization in Germany) that wears hakama in accordance to the practitioner's belt color (eg white belt = white hakama).

-- Jun

Ah...gotcha.

ChrisMoses
03-10-2008, 12:47 PM
:D The kick in the middle of a sword kata (first clip) is a dead giveaway.

Generally true, although Taisha Ryu kenjutsu (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX4g-2Xw3tI)is a notable exception. Legit by all accounts, but their history has so many red flags you'd swear it was all made up!

I mean come on, their second head master was a Chinese pirate kung fu practitioner? Wha??? :freaky:

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 01:01 PM
Yeah, but the kick at least (if it's the one in the begining kata) made sense in that
a) aite's sword could not be brought into play to cut off your leg yet
b) the kick actually created space for shite to draw and cut.

At least that's what I THINK was going on...didn't waste a whole lot of time on it...

Best,
Ron (that's my story and I'm sticking to it...I think...)

PS I think I remember a Doshinkan short kata where we kicked the lead leg as it came forward, halting uke's progression, and actually effecting a throw of sorts. Again though, it was before or as aite was drawing...not after the sharp pointy thing was deployed. Though I guess if uke goes into jodan you could do the same thing...oh, I have no clue... :D

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 01:18 PM
ok, I just watched some more of that vid Chris, and ... ew...no, it may be legit but I'm pretty sure *I* wouldn't kick there...

Best,
Ron

Connor Haberland
03-10-2008, 03:14 PM
I dont know if im right. Isnt this Iaido? Or Kenjutsu? I can tell that this is NOT anything from the Aikido Style I take, and I'd be willing to bet my own Bokken this is not Aikido.

Don_Modesto
03-10-2008, 03:44 PM
What a hoot!

Again.

Jeez, what a shame. The kid looks like he's had some serious training. Why do that stuff?

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 03:48 PM
I was impressed by some of his movement...even when he lost his balance he recovered well. Shame really.

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
03-10-2008, 04:36 PM
I dont know if im right. Isnt this Iaido? Or Kenjutsu?

HRRRR

sorry, do not pass go or collect $200...

This is all the Kompetitive Krotty stuff, there's a whole culture of Krotty that does these tournaments. Lots of times it's to music and it's just how flashy and fast can you move. Pretty much crap.

Some other examples of the genus:

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

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

Real Iai or kenjutsu is often quite boring, like watching dry paint...
Me from a few years ago (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=369_A5VjXBI) doing a couple Shinto Ryu kata. Keep in mind we're considered kind of 'showy' for Iai. :) (beware, shaky hand held video ahead... click at your own risk, may cure insomnia however.)

MM
03-10-2008, 04:47 PM
Real Iai or kenjutsu is often quite boring, like watching dry paint...
Me from a few years ago (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=369_A5VjXBI) doing a couple Shinto Ryu kata. Keep in mind we're considered kind of 'showy' for Iai. :) (beware, shaky hand held video ahead... click at your own risk, may cure insomnia however.)

I loved the way you moved sooo fast, the sounds came a second after the movements. Man, lighting fast. :D

Seriously, it was cool to see it. Thanks for the post.

Mark

ChrisMoses
03-10-2008, 05:00 PM
I loved the way you moved sooo fast, the sounds came a second after the movements. Man, lighting fast. :D


First you see the flash...

;)

Yeah, my camera does this weird thing where the sound gets off almost instantly. Drives me nuts... :grr: Between that and the shaking it looks like the video is sped up, but I *swear* it wasn't. You can trust me, I'm on the internet. :p

Jeremy Hulley
03-10-2008, 05:19 PM
My shaky hand shot that video. thats real time:)

Jennifer Yabut
03-10-2008, 07:48 PM
What a hoot!

Again.

Jeez, what a shame. The kid looks like he's had some serious training. Why do that stuff?

My Iaido sensei emailed us this video clip of a high-ranking Aikido sensei twirling around his jo like a baton, with a sped-up "Hooked on Classics" as background music. I don't remember who this particular sensei was, but apparently, Saito Sensei was among the observers - and he was *not* impressed.

Kaze0180
03-10-2008, 11:38 PM
Man, all these videos look really cool! Both new and old forms have their place. The good thing about Aikido and Martial Art in general is that it's a living art not a dead one. Meaning it is still changing and will change with time, nothing will stay the same. This is a law of nature and of the Tao. Hopefully we can make it better than before.

This seems to be an evolution of the forms portion of martial art, just like the fighting portion has evolved into Mixed Martial Arts fighting. Where will this go? Hm...interesting to find out! Maybe we'll hit a revolution point in Aikido that will bring it to an even better point!

-Alexander
:triangle:

ChrisMoses
03-11-2008, 11:31 AM
This seems to be an evolution of the forms portion of martial art, just like the fighting portion has evolved into Mixed Martial Arts fighting.

Er, except it's lacking any martial validity. These kids are too young to be 'evolving' anything. It's just gymnastics, they might as well be using those ribbon things and dancing about. I'm glad people have a venue for this kind of thing, but budo it ain't.

Jennifer Yabut
03-11-2008, 11:58 AM
Er, except it's lacking any martial validity. These kids are too young to be 'evolving' anything. It's just gymnastics, they might as well be using those ribbon things and dancing about. I'm glad people have a venue for this kind of thing, but budo it ain't.

Exactly. I don't doubt that these kids have skills (heck, I wouldn't mind having more of their gymnastic ability), but I *do* have a problem when they pass off their showboating as "real" aiki-ken or Japanese swordsmanship - which it ain't.

Mary Eastland
03-20-2008, 04:53 PM
So what would your problem be? Why does it matter?

We do movement with weapons that O'Sensei would have loved if he thought of it.

I hear him chuckle with glee every time we practice.

Mary

Al Gutierrez
03-20-2008, 05:18 PM
Mary,

So what would your problem be? Why does it matter?

We do movement with weapons that O'Sensei would have loved if he thought of it.

I hear him chuckle with glee every time we practice.


Oh, really? You knew Ueshiba Sensei well enough to know what he'd love and chuckle with glee over and about? Especially pertaining to weapons practice?!? And at your dojo???

It seems that in actuality Ueshiba Sensei actually was known to be pretty critical of his senior-most students for not "getting it", for not practicing the way that he'd been trying to teach them. By their own accounts he could be pretty ornery about it sometimes.

Unless your practice far surpasses theirs I'd suggest putting the Quija board away - aikido is not about channelling (IMO).

Mary Eastland
03-20-2008, 05:25 PM
Mary,

Oh, really? You knew Ueshiba Sensei well enough to know what he'd love and chuckle with glee over and about? Especially pertaining to weapons practice?!? And at your dojo???

It seems that in actuality Ueshiba Sensei actually was known to be pretty critical of his senior-most students for not "getting it", for not practicing the way that he'd been trying to teach them. By their own accounts he could be pretty ornery about it sometimes.

Unless your practice far surpasses theirs I'd suggest putting the Quija board away - aikido is not about channelling (IMO).

lol
I don't recall asking for your suggestions nor do I need them. I am happily praticing Aikido. :)
Mary

Rocky Izumi
03-20-2008, 06:50 PM
Hey guys,

Relax. Take it for what it is and enjoy watching or ignore it.

Even the Aikido we often do in our day-to-day practices has much less martial validity than it probably should have.

If martial validity is all you seek, then go and practice on the streets by picking a fight with anyone who looks decently capable of taking your head off. You don't need Aikido to do that.

If you do want to do Aikido and have martial validity, then you would still have to go and give out some challenges to conduct research on other styles, test out your techniques, and test your abilities.

Rock

Shannon Frye
03-21-2008, 09:25 PM
While we're pointing out Youtube gems, I'd like to add another to the mix:

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

I shot this beauty at a tournament about a year ago. At least he never claimed to be related to aikido!!

Is fly swatting considered a Do, Fu, or a Jitsu?

Ron Tisdale
03-22-2008, 02:44 PM
Hey Rock, hope all is well. On the one hand I agree with you, but on the other...

When folks start channelling Ueshiba, and misrepresenting what he actually said and how he acted, I get a little weired out. A lot of aikido weapons doesn't fit the bill either...but then people like myself never claimed it did. You'd go to koryu for that, if that was your bit.

Best,
Ron

Hey guys,

Relax. Take it for what it is and enjoy watching or ignore it.

Even the Aikido we often do in our day-to-day practices has much less martial validity than it probably should have.

If martial validity is all you seek, then go and practice on the streets by picking a fight with anyone who looks decently capable of taking your head off. You don't need Aikido to do that.

If you do want to do Aikido and have martial validity, then you would still have to go and give out some challenges to conduct research on other styles, test out your techniques, and test your abilities.

Rock

Mary Eastland
03-22-2008, 03:29 PM
Maybe Ueshiba lightened up after he died....and stopped taking everything so seriously, Ron.
Try a little whimsy...it's fun. ;0)
Mary

Ron Tisdale
03-22-2008, 03:40 PM
Oh, I'm whimsical... :D

And I love to laugh and have fun with *some* of my budo keiko, especially with certain teachers. But in the end, I must admit, my failing is that I find room for this stuff to be serious too...

Best,
Ron

Al Gutierrez
03-22-2008, 05:30 PM
Whimsy and fun are both well and good, it's the more absurd and/or delusional notions that aren't healthy for individual practitioners as well as the arts in general.

Aikido is based in part on reigi as are the other Japanese budo - without that honor and respect for the tradition, it's founder and it's forebears as well as for each other as a basis, it loses much of it's strength and dignity as well as appeal. My point is I think we should be real rather than silly out of respect for the art.

G DiPierro
03-22-2008, 09:26 PM
Whimsy and fun are both well and good, it's the more absurd and/or delusional notions that aren't healthy for individual practitioners as well as the arts in general.

Aikido is based in part on reigi as are the other Japanese budo - without that honor and respect for the tradition, it's founder and it's forebears as well as for each other as a basis, it loses much of it's strength and dignity as well as appeal. My point is I think we should be real rather than silly out of respect for the art.

Well put. I think this is especially relevant when dealing with an archaic weapon such as the Japanese sword. Anybody who claimed to know or teach the use of a firearm but who did not handle their weapon with the proper respect for its capabilities would be considered laughable at best and dangerous at worst. Yet when it comes to classical weapons no longer in common use people seem to think anything goes. A sword is not a toy. It is a deadly weapon and should be treated as such.

Mike Sigman
03-22-2008, 10:13 PM
We do movement with weapons that O'Sensei would have loved if he thought of it. That's pretty amazing, Mary. To have passed O-Sensei is a great deed, indeed.

Regards.

Mike Sigman

Aikibu
03-22-2008, 11:46 PM
I don't know the style and the video reminds me of a Kenjutsu Kata I saw executed at the U.S. National Martial Arts Championships some years back. It was some kid from Texas and he was amazing...

Watching some of those kids perform thier particular Kata was awesome.

William Hazen

Kent Enfield
03-23-2008, 05:25 AM
I don't know the style and the video reminds me of a Kenjutsu Kata I saw executed at the U.S. National Martial Arts Championships some years back. It was some kid from Texas and he was amazing...The video in the original post has as much to do with legitimate kenjutsu as the Paso Doble does with bull fighting.

Mary Eastland
03-23-2008, 07:12 AM
Thanks guys.... for your resistance...it really made me think about what I said. Especially you, Mike.... you have that abillity to really get to the core of things.

I don't understand why people need to post videos so others can make fun of them. I don't have the need to make others wrong so I can be right.

Your ideas made me think about what we do and why we do it. So thanks, again.

On another note.... what Ron is doing with weapons is innovative and fun.
Mike..... it's too bad you are so grumpy about everything...you would really like how relaxed and strong and centered we are. I think in a perfect world if would be fun for you to come by and see what we are doing.....we have no need to go outside Aikido to understand what you are talking about. I know you will probably read this and say something sarcastic back...and that's okay.

I read your ideas and try the ones that make sense to me....the ideas in the internal discussions have helped us a lot. Thinking of old ideas in new ways is a good thing.

Have a great day and see ya on the mat,
Mary

Mike Sigman
03-23-2008, 09:42 AM
Mike..... it's too bad you are so grumpy about everything I know. It's probably just some personal character fault that needs to be discussed fully on an open forum. A discussion like that is far more important than one that just deals with issues, so I see your point. ...you would really like how relaxed and strong and centered we are. I think in a perfect world if would be fun for you to come by and see what we are doing.....we have no need to go outside Aikido to understand what you are talking about. I know you will probably read this and say something sarcastic back...and that's okay. Why don't you *tell* us how "relaxed and strong and centered" you are, Mary? Maybe I'd like to see it, indeed. As you have seen over a long time, I tend to like very clinical, straightforward discussions about how things are done, etc. It's a holdover from all the time I spent in school learning how to write, solve problems, etc. Blame my misspent youth. ;) I read your ideas and try the ones that make sense to me....the ideas in the internal discussions have helped us a lot. Thinking of old ideas in new ways is a good thing.
Well, good. The exchange of ideas seems to be helpful. ;)

Best.

Mike

Aikibu
03-23-2008, 10:43 AM
The video in the original post has as much to do with legitimate kenjutsu as the Paso Doble does with bull fighting.

LOL...Easy does it there fella.... I was not referancing "ryu" just presentation...

Let's all remember rule #62 folks. :)

William Hazen

David Yap
03-24-2008, 02:38 AM
Is fly swatting considered a Do, Fu, or a Jitsu?

Let me guess:

Do - When it tries to land on your donuts...Fu - on the fresh tofu garnished with fried shallots. Jitsu - swatting it with your tongue:D

Cheers and beers

David Y

Jennifer Yabut
03-24-2008, 12:16 PM
I don't understand why people need to post videos so others can make fun of them. I don't have the need to make others wrong so I can be right.

With all seriousness, I *didn't* start this thread with the intent to "poke fun". However, I *did* have a problem with someone calling something "aiki-ken" - when it isn't. Especially someone who appears to have legitimate Aikido training.

And since I also train in one of the koryu, I can get rather touchy about the XMA "showboating" that tries to pass itself off as "real swordsmanship". For those of us who practice *real* JSA, it is a downright insult. And unfortunately, it seems like many folks (especially kids) think that the flashy sword twirling/throwing is a "real" art. Call it "modern sword-dancing", "sword-play", or something else. But that flashy stuff has NO place in a legit JSA dojo.

Mary Eastland
03-24-2008, 12:29 PM
And since I also train in one of the koryu, I can get rather touchy about the XMA "showboating" that tries to pass itself off as "real swordsmanship". For those of us who practice *real* JSA, it is a downright insult. And unfortunately, it seems like many folks (especially kids) think that the flashy sword twirling/throwing is a "real" art. Call it "modern sword-dancing", "sword-play", or something else. But that flashy stuff has NO place in a legit JSA dojo.[/QUOTE]

I guess you can be insulted but why?
Of course we have never claimed to be legit...and I have no idea what JSA is but we are having lots of fun and getting stronger by the minute. :cool:
Mary

ChrisMoses
03-24-2008, 12:36 PM
and I have no idea what JSA is

Japanese Sword Arts

Ron Tisdale
03-24-2008, 12:56 PM
http://www.miron-enterprises.com/berkshirehillsaikido/videos.html

I think I understand your perspectives better now.

Thanks,
Ron

Jennifer Yabut
03-24-2008, 01:29 PM
Japanese Sword Arts

Thanks, Christian. Next time, I should spell out all acronyms. :o

"Koryu" are the "classical" Japanese sword arts (e.g., Muso Shinden Ryu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu), as opposed to "Gendai" - which are the "modern" sword arts (e.g., Nakamura Ryu, Toyama Ryu).

Aikibu
03-24-2008, 01:39 PM
With all seriousness, I *didn't* start this thread with the intent to "poke fun". However, I *did* have a problem with someone calling something "aiki-ken" - when it isn't. Especially someone who appears to have legitimate Aikido training.

And since I also train in one of the koryu, I can get rather touchy about the XMA "showboating" that tries to pass itself off as "real swordsmanship". For those of us who practice *real* JSA, it is a downright insult. And unfortunately, it seems like many folks (especially kids) think that the flashy sword twirling/throwing is a "real" art. Call it "modern sword-dancing", "sword-play", or something else. But that flashy stuff has NO place in a legit JSA dojo.

To each her own... However I for one do not feel "insulted" by it. The "Aikidoka" in the clip obviously devoted allot of time and effort into it and if it leads some kid to further investigate the JSA I see no harm in it...I have already heard enought about Aiki-Toho-Iaido...

Anyone who can execute any kind of Kata in real time (at speed) with control and "grace" should be admired for the effort they put into developing themselves...



William Hazen

Ron Tisdale
03-24-2008, 01:58 PM
I think many if not most of the detractors did just that William.
The kid looks like he's had some serious training.

I was impressed by some of his movement...even when he lost his balance he recovered well.

I'm glad people have a venue for this kind of thing, but budo it ain't.

I don't doubt that these kids have skills (heck, I wouldn't mind having more of their gymnastic ability),

Of course, we also mentioned some of the issues with this kind of thing. Which strikes me as rather balanced. Apparently others disagree. That's fine.

As to why it matters? If we identify something properly, people may not make themselves look like idiots when they claim the garden variety sword-fu they do is kenjutsu. People may not pay exhorbitant dues to some chump who's teaching sword-fu and mis-packaging it as koryu, instead of 10 dollars a month to a legitamate koryu instructor. And all the other rather obvious reasons.

A lot of this could be forestalled with just a simple disclaimer...

this is not aiki-ken, or a legitimate Japanese Sword Art. We enjoy movement with a stick or a blade and that's it.

Such a disclaimer might go a long way.

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
03-24-2008, 02:15 PM
For the record, I don't get insulted, it just kind of bumms me out, to see that much effort going into something that doesn't seem to reflect even a shadow of truth. Everyone is free to do what they want.

Mary, you're free to disregard this, but I assure you that I intend this as constructive feedback. You and your dojo might consider how much of your swordwork/experimentation you would attempt with a shinken.

We do things kind of backwards (from an Aikido perspective) in my sword school in that new students start with iaito and only as they are getting ready for shodan do they start to use a bokken. This is necessary for safety as it's when we start our paired work. In this way, the student should have a good idea of the limitations, strengths and flavor of moving with a katana. We also do target cutting (basically from day one) so when most people first get to use bokken, they have years of experience moving with a fairly realistic training tool and actually having the experience of cutting through objects. Even then, it's a struggle for everyone to keep that focus and integrity of movement when they switch to bokken (behold the amazing disappearing saya!). I'm a big believer in that whatever you do with a bokken, should closely as possible mimic what you would (or would be able to) do with a live blade.

Again, that's just something to think about, nothing more, nothing less. :)

Jennifer Yabut
03-24-2008, 02:24 PM
As to why it matters? If we identify something properly, people may not make themselves look like idiots when they claim the garden variety sword-fu they do is kenjutsu. People may not pay exhorbitant dues to some chump who's teaching sword-fu and mis-packaging it as koryu, instead of 10 dollars a month to a legitamate koryu instructor. And all the other rather obvious reasons.

...and there are a TON of "fakers" in the sword community who are doing exactly that. There was this one fellow who used to post his "training videos" on YouTube, with claims of teaching students swordsmanship for free at a local park. However...he also admitted to having NO training in any kind of sword art - or in ANY martial art. He was only "teaching" with bokken, but even wooden swords can do damage to a human body if misused.

Not only are these people misleading to the public, they are probably (okay, most likely) putting their students in serious *danger* with their own lack of training. In the end, these "bad apples" make *all* of us (including the legit practitioners) "look bad".

RonRagusa
03-24-2008, 02:27 PM
You and your dojo might consider how much of your swordwork/experimentation you would attempt with a shinken.

Chris -

We do not use the bokken as a proxy for a real sword. For me a bokken is a weapon in it's own right and, consequently, I feel free to work with it in ways that I would never consider with a real sword. Reasons for weapons work at our school include ki development, movement training, conditioning and strengthing.

Ron

Mike Sigman
03-24-2008, 02:31 PM
However...he also admitted to having NO training in any kind of sword art - or in ANY martial art. He was only "teaching" with bokken, but even wooden swords can do damage to a human body if misused.

Not only are these people misleading to the public, they are probably (okay, most likely) putting their students in serious *danger* with their own lack of training. In the end, these "bad apples" make *all* of us (including the legit practitioners) "look bad".Heh. Reminds me of a trust-fund baby I met in Boulder, Colorado (just to set the tone) who opened a health spa that had tons of movement therapy classes and corrective movement stuff in it. I asked him where he'd gone to school to learn so much about physiology, kinesiology, therapy, etc. He sort of flashed on me with pride that he never went to any school and got polluted by all the wrong ideas that are out there. Sadly, he ultimately ran out of dough and had to close/sell. ;)

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-24-2008, 02:38 PM
We do not use the bokken as a proxy for a real sword. For me a bokken is a weapon in it's own right and, consequently, I feel free to work with it in ways that I would never consider with a real sword. Reasons for weapons work at our school include ki development, movement training, conditioning and strengthing. Ron, I took a look at those vids and my personal opinion is that you could perhaps go a little further with learning to use ki in movement. Don't get me wrong; none of us are perfect.... but um, don't ever be satisfied and keep going forward and all that.

There was a famous story that was posted on the internet a number of years back and in it the comment was made to an Aikido teacher who had just gotten his butt handed to him... "You have *some* ki.... come back when you have more". It's true of all of us.

Best.

Mike Sigman

RonRagusa
03-24-2008, 02:46 PM
Mike -

I don't expect I'll ever be satisfied. I want to keep growing in Aikido as long as I continue to practice. It's as true today as it was on day one 30 years ago.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
03-24-2008, 02:52 PM
Hey, as long as your students understand that, no harm no foul. I can't say that much of the aikido weapons stuff out there does any more or less than that. I know to take aikido weapons with a grain of salt from exposure to koryu, so I don't get soooo het up about it. Most aikido weapons is used to enhance the empty handed skills. I guess there's not so much wrong with karate or whatever doing the same thing.

But then again, I look at Shirata Sensei's buki waza, for example...and I see something completely different. I guess some part of me wishes that all aikido weapons had that "edge" to it. My penchant for something more showing again...sigh. ;)

Out of curiosity, exactly how do the 'weapons' clips there illustrate "ki development"? I kind of get the movement training, and if you are moving, I guess conditioning and strengthening kind of come naturally.

Best,
Ron
Chris -

We do not use the bokken as a proxy for a real sword. For me a bokken is a weapon in it's own right and, consequently, I feel free to work with it in ways that I would never consider with a real sword. Reasons for weapons work at our school include ki development, movement training, conditioning and strengthing.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
03-24-2008, 03:23 PM
There was this one fellow who used to post his "training videos" on YouTube, with claims of teaching students swordsmanship for free at a local park. However...he also admitted to having NO training in any kind of sword art - or in ANY martial art. He was only "teaching" with bokken, but even wooden swords can do damage to a human body if misused.

I remember that! I think there is a post around here with a linky. He even got a reporter from one of the papers to do a fluff piece on him! Yikes...

And I know of someone else local that fits the bill too...a branch dojo I trained at was all set to have him come in to teach a seminar...until the reporter posted a retraction after it was found the guy was lying about his credentials AND his self-defense expertise. And this is all before we get to the fact that getting hit with a wooden stick hurts, and one breaking during class can have an end fly off and impale someone.

Best,
Ron

G DiPierro
03-24-2008, 03:44 PM
We do not use the bokken as a proxy for a real sword. For me a bokken is a weapon in it's own right and, consequently, I feel free to work with it in ways that I would never consider with a real sword. Reasons for weapons work at our school include ki development, movement training, conditioning and strengthing.The only problem is that a bokken is not a weapon in its own right. It's designed as a training tool that serves as a simulation of a sword. What would be the point of having a wooden weapon with a small handle at one end, a slight curve, and most of the length shaped in a tapered diamond-like pattern? There is none, apart from simulating another weapon.

If you are using the bokken as a "weapon its own right", then you are not doing sword techniques but essentially jo/tanjo (a bokken falls some between them in length) techniques with a deformed stick. You might as well just take a jo and cut it down to the length of your bokken and use that. Then at least there would be no confusion about what you are doing.

Aikibu
03-24-2008, 05:53 PM
I agree with everything that has been posted and I spent a few years myself getting all hot and bothered by fakes, posers, and wannabes...

In fact I have done more than my share to put a few out of business...

This is not the case with this video...

The founder of our Aikido with O'Sensei's blessing tore everything apart and created something new with it and also developed his own expression of "Aikido Sword." In the end he was awarded one of Japan's highest Budo honors for it....

There are two groups of folks here (Ahhh Ying and Yang)

Those who feel that somehow anyone who tries to develop something new can be classed in the same sentence with posers fakes and wannabes

And those who recognize this as a sincere effort to "try something new" and support it....

It amazes me that others cannot make the same kind of distinction...

William Hazen

Aikibu
03-24-2008, 05:59 PM
The only problem is that a bokken is not a weapon in its own right. It's designed as a training tool that serves as a simulation of a sword. What would be the point of having a wooden weapon with a small handle at one end, a slight curve, and most of the length shaped in a tapered diamond-like pattern? There is none, apart from simulating another weapon.

If you are using the bokken as a "weapon its own right", then you are not doing sword techniques but essentially jo/tanjo (a bokken falls some between them in length) techniques with a deformed stick. You might as well just take a jo and cut it down to the length of your bokken and use that. Then at least there would be no confusion about what you are doing.

Thats funny...Miyamoto Musashi thought enough of a "bokken" aka "wooden stick" to beat a few highly accomplished swordsmen to death with one. :)

You might want to do some further study about what a Bokken is and what it does. :)

Respectfully,

WIlliam Hazen

G DiPierro
03-24-2008, 06:23 PM
Those who feel that somehow anyone who tries to develop something new can be classed in the same sentence with posers fakes and wannabes

And those who recognize this as a sincere effort to "try something new" and support it....It has nothing to do with the value of creating something new. It has to do with whether what you create is grounded within a legitimate tradition. The fact is that most of the videos posted in this thread are not. If you want to see an example of something "new," apparantly designed specifically for XMA-style kata competitions, that still reflects some understanding and respect for the traditions of the sword, look at this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpJB9fsKGyI). Now I'm in no way a fan of this "kata," but it's obvious that, unlike these other people, this person has actually had some proper training in how to use a sword.

You might want to do some further study about what a Bokken is and what it does. :)A bokken is a wooden replica sword. What it does is simulate a real sword.

Mike Sigman
03-24-2008, 06:40 PM
There are two groups of folks here (Ahhh Ying and Yang)

Those who feel that somehow anyone who tries to develop something new can be classed in the same sentence with posers fakes and wannabes

And those who recognize this as a sincere effort to "try something new" and support it....That's a good thought, Bill, although I've seen that argument in a number of martial arts, over the years. Wouldn't the determining criterion be whether O-Sensei would have been willing to acknowledge it as his Aikido, conforming with the principles of his art? Or, as another thought along the same lines, are you suggesting that every innovation someone can dream cannot possibly be a misuse of the term "Aikido" because, in your opinion, the "try something new" deserves unquestioning support?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Aikibu
03-24-2008, 06:57 PM
That's a good thought, Bill, although I've seen that argument in a number of martial arts, over the years. Wouldn't the determining criterion be whether O-Sensei would have been willing to acknowledge it as his Aikido, conforming with the principles of his art? Or, as another thought along the same lines, are you suggesting that every innovation someone can dream cannot possibly be a misuse of the term "Aikido" because, in your opinion, the "try something new" deserves unquestioning support?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

I don't think I'll ever know what O'Sensei would think of what some folks do as Aikido... and to be fair Mike both you and I know that question is moot...It's all a matter of intent...and in most cases respect...You Tube is a poor medium in most cases for getting the "feel" of someones intention with thier "innovations" To paraphrase a Supreme Court Justice on another subjective criteria. "I'll know it when I feel it."

When I was a child I remembered how hot and bothered The Karate Folks I was learning from used to get over Bruce Lee and his form of no forms in Jeet Kun Do...All the innovators I have met are grounded in tradition and only then do they try something new...

What I am suggesting Mike is that you know the differance too...and so do some others. So what are we talking about?

Every few years some whiz bang super duper death touch artist comes along and we know right away he is bogus...and then get a few vids like this one that is subject of this thread and from what I can see I am not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water quite yet. :)

WIlliam Hazen

ChrisMoses
03-24-2008, 07:57 PM
The founder of our Aikido with O'Sensei's blessing tore everything apart and created something new with it and also developed his own expression of "Aikido Sword." In the end he was awarded one of Japan's highest Budo honors for it....


I think you're glossing over the understanding/learning paradigm in Japanese budo (shu, ha, ri). What you're describing is one way that the "ri" phase can be realized, the breaking down what you already knew and forming something new *from the valid and extensive understanding that you already had*. That's hugely different than someone who hasn't progressed through the stages of development and is experimenting and developing something new basically with no real understanding or valid knowledge.

Mike Sigman
03-24-2008, 08:02 PM
I don't think I'll ever know what O'Sensei would think of what some folks do as Aikido... Well therefore, everything is acceptable, then, Bill. I love it now that post-modernism has come to Aikido. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Aikibu
03-24-2008, 09:42 PM
I think you're glossing over the understanding/learning paradigm in Japanese budo (shu, ha, ri). What you're describing is one way that the "ri" phase can be realized, the breaking down what you already knew and forming something new *from the valid and extensive understanding that you already had*. That's hugely different than someone who hasn't progressed through the stages of development and is experimenting and developing something new basically with no real understanding or valid knowledge.

Hmmmm.I am trying to figure where in my quote you were able to assume I knew nothing of shu ha ri?

Real understanding and valid knowledge can only be gained through practical experiance and again all I am trying to 'explain" that one can actually parse the true from the false here and with out making it another worn out riff on Argumentum Ad Athoritum...

The original vid hinted at the fact the demonstrator knew what a bokken is... How one might use it.. and featured a number of Martial Artists in the background including one who appeared to be observing and perhaps "grading" his efforts...

To put that in the same catagory as Poser Fake Ha Ha Ryu might be a bit of a stretch is all I am saying Chris...

William Hazen

Aikibu
03-24-2008, 09:47 PM
Well therefore, everything is acceptable, then, Bill. I love it now that post-modernism has come to Aikido. ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Wow Mike...Your awesome cognative abilities are wonderful to behold!

What a conclusion!!! What brevity and lucidity!!!

Thank You!!! :)

Bowing Down to You Sensei!!!

William Hazen

RonRagusa
03-24-2008, 09:55 PM
Hey, as long as your students understand that, no harm no foul. I can't say that much of the aikido weapons stuff out there does any more or less than that. I know to take aikido weapons with a grain of salt from exposure to koryu, so I don't get soooo het up about it. Most aikido weapons is used to enhance the empty handed skills. I guess there's not so much wrong with karate or whatever doing the same thing.

But then again, I look at Shirata Sensei's buki waza, for example...and I see something completely different. I guess some part of me wishes that all aikido weapons had that "edge" to it. My penchant for something more showing again...sigh. ;)

Out of curiosity, exactly how do the 'weapons' clips there illustrate "ki development"? I kind of get the movement training, and if you are moving, I guess conditioning and strengthening kind of come naturally.

Best,
Ron

Hi Ron -

First off let me set the record straight. The way I move with the bokken & jo staff is a direct result of many years of watching Maruyama Sensei wield his weapons informally. His instruction was decidedly different however. He limited himself to the katas that are pretty much standard throughout Aikido. And while one could gleen some of what he was doing watching him perform them, the real stuff became far more evident when he was just casually weilding a bokken or jo. Even though I haven't been affiliated with Kokikai for seven years now his teaching has formed the foundation upon which my Aikido has grown.

The turning point with weapons came one class at summer camp when a student commented that Sensei would have just cut his fingers off because his hand moved too far up the blade. Sensei looked at the student, looked back at his bokken and ran his finger up and down the blade.

"It's wood.", was all he said.

From that point on I realized that a bokken is a bokken is a bokken...

I make no bones about the fact that my weapons work has nothing to do with fighting. Like I said, it's about movement, conditioning, ki development etc. I have taken what I learned from Sensei and tried to build on the knowledge in ways that are meaningful to me and hopefully my students.

Regarding your question about how what you see in the videos illustrates ki development it's necessary to understand how I view the nature of ki. For me, and again a lot of this comes from Sensei, ki involves more than developing inner strength. Ki is also about movement, posture, how I relate to and form a connection with my uke etc.

What you see in the videos is surface stuff. What doesn't come across are the feelings engendered from the practice. My weapon becomes my partner and I don't seek to wield it as much as move with it. I try to minimize my arm movements and simply follow where the weapon is moving while simultaneously leading it along a continuous path that that doesn't retrace any arcs.

Weapons work comprises one portion of our ki development syllabus. We also have a large number of solo and paired exercises. Taken together all the exercises, weapons based and empty hand, provide students with tools they can employ to explore the development of their own ki.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Ron

ChrisMoses
03-24-2008, 10:11 PM
Hmmmm.I am trying to figure where in my quote you were able to assume I knew nothing of shu ha ri?

I'm trying to figure out in my quote where you assumed that was what I was implying. ;) I said that I felt you were "glossing over" the distinction, not that you were ignorant of it. I don't think OSensei gave that kind of permission/encouragement to many ikkyu students who had never studied any actual JSA. I felt that you were blurring the huge distinction that I see between someone like Nishio Sensei (whose aiki-toho is generally quite respected in the JSA) and Kompetitive Krotty tournament kids playing Samurai.

The original vid hinted at the fact the demonstrator knew what a bokken is... How one might use it.. and featured a number of Martial Artists in the background including one who appeared to be observing and perhaps "grading" his efforts...

To put that in the same catagory as Poser Fake Ha Ha Ryu might be a bit of a stretch is all I am saying Chris...

William Hazen

Actually most Poser-ha SokeyDokey Ryu goof balls actually have *some* training basis for their "art". Which would put them (just a little bit) ahead of what *I* see in the OP video. They at least often have something of the flavor of a real Japanese based system. There is *nothing* that I see in the OP video that has the flavor of Japanese budo. Now, as I and other folks have pointed out, there's nothing wrong with that. But putting on a hakama and grabbing a wallhanger to get yer grove on doing some admittedly impressive gymnastics is (IMHO) dishonest. It presents the surface of something without having any traceable heratage back to what it is attempting to emulate. The fact that there's a guy watching his demo, does nothing to make me feel that what he's doing is any more legitimate. The guy watching him, probably knows just as little about the JSA as the kid doing the flips.

A few years ago I was up at an embukai with various JSA schools. People demonstrated according to their rank within their school, and at the end there was a demonstration of an Aikido group's weapons work. The Aikido school listed what they would be demonstrating as "MJER and Yagyu Shinkage Ryu". They got out and did their thing, and part way into their demo, one of the senior guys who was organizing the thing stopped them and asked (very politely), "So, excuse me, but I'm familiar with the entire MJER syllabus and have seen YSR when I lived in Japan. What you're doing is neither, so I really look forward to your explanation of what it is you're acutally demonstrating for us today." Turned out they did Chiba's weapons katas and they decided that since it all comes from traditional JSA, they would just pick some of the better known "branches" of JSA to credit. But what they were doing simply did not have the look and feel of what they claimed to be presenting. People didn't have a problem with them presenting Aiki-ken because it wasn't an ancient and storied lineage. In fact they were specifically invited to do just that. They didn't like the seeming misrepresentation of what they were doing.

If you want to do acrobatics, that's cool. But do it without hiding behind trappings of a tradition you're not part of.

G DiPierro
03-24-2008, 11:17 PM
The turning point with weapons came one class at summer camp when a student commented that Sensei would have just cut his fingers off because his hand moved too far up the blade. Sensei looked at the student, looked back at his bokken and ran his finger up and down the blade.

"It's wood.", was all he said.

From that point on I realized that a bokken is a bokken is a bokken...That's an interesting story, but I suspect you read a little more into it than you should have. Some people seem to think that a bokken or iaito should be treated as if it were a live blade at all times. Personally, I think the idea is ridiculous: a bokken is not a live blade, nor is an iaito. However, when using a bokken or iaito as if it were sword, which is to say in the context of practicing sword techniques, then it should be treated as if it were a sword, and touching the blade should be considered an error.

Now when you say that his hand "moved too far up blade," if you mean that he simply gripped the sword slightly above the shaped handle because there was no tsuba, then this obviously doesn't matter, since on a real blade the tsuba would prevent that. On the other hand, if he had actually grabbed a spot well into the blade area, as I have seen many people in aikido do when performing tachi-dori, then clearly it was an error. However, even if it was this kind of error, most Japanese teachers would not take well to having such a thing pointed out by a student, and might brush it off with a response such as the one given here.

Either way, I seriously doubt that his intention was to imply that one should train with a bokken as if it were just a piece of wood rather than a representation of a sword. Anyone who would suggest such a thing does not understand the concept of what a bokken is for, and is actually just using it as an oddly-shaped stick, as I described earlier.

Aikibu
03-25-2008, 01:51 AM
I'm trying to figure out in my quote where you assumed that was what I was implying. ;) I said that I felt you were "glossing over" the distinction, not that you were ignorant of it. I don't think OSensei gave that kind of permission/encouragement to many ikkyu students who had never studied any actual JSA. I felt that you were blurring the huge distinction that I see between someone like Nishio Sensei (whose aiki-toho is generally quite respected in the JSA) and Kompetitive Krotty tournament kids playing Samurai.

I can kind of see where you "felt" I was glossing over the huge distinction? All I said was I enjoyed the vid and support most efforts to experiment and try to improve upon something...You can do that with most Gendai Arts however I do understand the Koryu Arts are etched in granite with regard to thier syllabus.

If you want to do acrobatics, that's cool. But do it without hiding behind trappings of a tradition you're not part of.

I must have missed that part where they stated they were hiding behind some traditions they were not a part of? If that is the case I could not agree with you more and it puts a different perspective on things...

Take Care Chris,

William Hazen

Ron Tisdale
03-25-2008, 08:03 AM
Hi Ron, thanks for the replies. I get what Maruyama said when he said it was just wood. Even as a representation of a sword, it is in fact, still a piece of wood.

Some of our bokken work involves a movement *similar* to chiburi before the bokken is returned to the hip. But it is always stated when this is taught, that this is NOT chiburi, because the bokken is NOT a sword. So the movement in aikido should represent zanshin, a focused close to the buki being deployed. Un-necessary force as if you were shaking blood off a blade (if that could even work) is not encouraged. Rather, a calm, reflective, aware state of mind.

On the other hand, if during Hashu Giri, I was to touch what would be the blade portion of the bokken IF it were a sword, my teacher would correct me. So while there are differences between how a bokken is used and a sword is used, the bokken is still treated "appropriately", based upon what it represents. I believe that in most schools, passing the blade under my arm pit would be like committing seppuku so your opponant didn't have the pleasure of cutting you down ;)

By the way, my first exposure to aikido was under Cecelia R. in Philadelphia. Do you keep in touch with her by any chance? Powerfull lady...

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
03-25-2008, 12:12 PM
First, let me be clear that I really don't lose much (any) sleep over this kind of thing. My knickers are not in a bunch.

All I said was I enjoyed the vid and support most efforts to experiment and try to improve upon something...

So at the risk of seeming petty, I don't see what would be improved by this kind of thing. I suppose I think of the (physical) goal of swordsmanship as the efficient deployment of a particular lethal weapon. What's in the vid, isn't particularly efficient or particularly lethal, so it would seem to be going away from what I would consider a desired end state, thus not an improvement. Again though, different goals might be in play here. This looks a lot cooler than real JSA. Real JSA is pretty boring stuff in general. I am reminded of the beautiful scene between Indiana Jones and the saber wielding opponent in "The Raiders of the Lost Ark" however... ;)

You can do that with most Gendai Arts however I do understand the Koryu Arts are etched in granite with regard to thier syllabus.

First I'll offer the following distinctions/definitions. I admit that these are not uniformly agreed upon, but this is how I break things down.

- Koryu: Japanese budo older than 1968 (example: TSKSR)
- Gendai: Japanese budo founded after 1968 *in Japan* based on older (probably koryu) traditions. (example: Aikido)
- Goshin: Japanese *influenced* budo founded outside of Japan or by non-Japanese. (example: Danzan Ryu or Icho Ryu)

So there's how I break it down, and I would say that it's been my experience that even the koryu are more flexible than many people would give them credit. If that weren't the case, we wouldn't see the various branches (ha) or factions. Many of the koryu have nearly gone extinct over the years and were often revived by interested students who had to rebuild aspects of their art that had been nearly lost. It might seem arbitrary that I require gendai budo to have been born in Japan, but I think the distinction is important. An art (like my own sword line) that was developed after the Meiji restoration in Japan, was still surrounded by and influenced by older arts. These arts faced the criticism of their peers who would have been in a place to judge their value. When we visit Japan for embu, there are quite a few koryu schools that attend and the room doesn't magically divide into koryu and gendai practitioners. We actually got invitations to come and stay with a few koryu instructors on our last visit. Goshin budo, no matter how martially valid, is a different animal. At its best, it can be held to similar standards of the gendai budo, but always seems to be at its best when it admits its origins and trains accordingly. To really be considered goshin budo, I believe there needs to be a real traceable connection back to Japanese budo (koryu or gendai). It's that connection that may be honored in the terminology and appearance of the art.

Then there's other martial arts. It doesn't matter how martially valid your stuff might be, if your art isn't actually based on any real knowledge of a Japanese art, it isn't budo.

I must have missed that part where they stated they were hiding behind some traditions they were not a part of? If that is the case I could not agree with you more and it puts a different perspective on things...


Again, I just have to assure you that I'm not on a witch hunt here, I really don't care what other folks do. I'm just talking about a phenomenon that I find kid of silly and more than a bit pathetic.

I think (possibly incorrectly) that there is an idea in certain Karate circles, that they're tapped into the spirit of budo and that they have a kind of free license to explore all of Japanese budo without any actual experience of it.

As an example, there is a VERY senior Karate instructor here in the US (Japanese born and trained, thousands of students) who lists on his resume that he is the Chief Instructor of Shinto Ryu USA. This is based on the idea that he is a very senior martial artist here in the US, and worthy of representing nearly the entirety of Japanese Budo. This is despite the fact that he doesn't even know any of our curriculum, but did host our senior shihan from Japan a few times in the 80's for seminars. Now it doesn't seem to matter to him, that neither he or his students study our curriculum (or that my teacher instructs all 12 of the SR practitioners in the US directly), he is entitled to that position based on his seniority in karate.

I admit, that these are different things, but I think it's kind of indicative of some of the martial culture that we see in the Kompetitive Krotty scene as well.

Timothy WK
03-25-2008, 12:29 PM
- Koryu: Japanese budo older than 1968...
- Gendai: Japanese budo founded after 1968...
I assume you meant 1868, the start of the Meiji period...

ChrisMoses
03-25-2008, 12:37 PM
I assume you meant 1868, the start of the Meiji period...

DOH!

That's what I get for typing while tired...

Thanks for the catch.

Ron Tisdale
03-25-2008, 12:52 PM
TWT beats DWI anytime...day or night! ;)

B,
R