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Robert Cowham
03-14-2008, 06:49 PM
Dear All

Thought I might upload a video of some simple kesa giri suburi done in my back garden - comments welcome!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0w0vEe4uWM

Video seems to have a got a little squashed - have to look into resizing if possible, but hopefully gives a reasonable idea.

Apologies also for plane noise in the background - the perils of living in SW London.

Regards
Robert

Robert Cowham
03-16-2008, 01:58 PM
I have worked out how to avoid the "squashing", so new copy loaded:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njbg66MKYxs

Note that this is using a Kashima style straight bokken.

I am interested in comparing thoughts and views on basic cutting principles and mental images.

For example, the current ideas I am working with:

- total relaxation of shoulders (still some dropping forwards as can be seen - working on reducing that)

- some element of throwing from the centre - this is particularly on cutting up. On cutting down there is also a sense of dropping the sword, or at least allowing it to drop (surprisingly difficult not to interfere with the natural movement I find). I only fairly recently got a good feeling for this

- there is also a sense of space up above, and on cutting down a slightly elastic contraction of the body. I have worked on a physical side to this, but find it tends to be more a mental image these days, leaving the physical to just happen as a result.

What do you find are the key elements for your sword practice?

Regards
Robert

Brett Charvat
03-16-2008, 10:34 PM
What school of kenjutsu do you study?

Robert Cowham
03-17-2008, 01:38 AM
Kashima Shinryu with Inaba sensei (and Paul Smith sensei) - see www.movingeast.co.uk/tetsushinkan/ksr.html for details

Chris Li
03-17-2008, 08:55 AM
Kashima Shinryu with Inaba sensei (and Paul Smith sensei) - see www.movingeast.co.uk/tetsushinkan/ksr.html for details

Interesting comments about Inaba sensei by Karl Friday here:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3673

Best,

Chris

Robert Cowham
03-17-2008, 09:54 AM
As the Tetsushinkan pages mention Inaba sensei is not part of the offical KSR organisation. Beyond that we are into some politics which I am not particularly interested in for now (different thread, and not likely to be that productive).

I am interested in technical thoughts though - what guides your sword work Chris?

Chris Li
03-17-2008, 11:32 AM
As the Tetsushinkan pages mention Inaba sensei is not part of the offical KSR organisation. Beyond that we are into some politics which I am not particularly interested in for now (different thread, and not likely to be that productive).

I am interested in technical thoughts though - what guides your sword work Chris?

Mostly Aiki-ken - with Saotome to start in the US, then in Japan Saito's Aiki-ken, with some dabbling in Shinto-Katori Ryu (like you, with a somewhat heretical branch), and some Ono-Ha Itto-Ryu.

Best,

Chris

Robert Cowham
03-17-2008, 12:10 PM
So what principles and mental images are you working on?

Chris Li
03-17-2008, 04:13 PM
So what principles and mental images are you working on?

Exactly the same ones as I work on when I don't have a sword :).

Best,

Chris

NagaBaba
03-17-2008, 07:32 PM
Pretty nice done kesa. One little remarque, you are bending wrist when you cut up. May be it is happend because you are too much relaxing? You may try to cut tatami with shinken to check it up.
I used to do this kesa to warm up and to build strenght and flexibility at the same time.

For me the key element of cutting is to cut with all my body - that is what I'm working on presently. Use of all my weight to cutting power.

Robert Cowham
03-18-2008, 03:13 AM
Thanks Szczepan. Have only ever tried tameshigiri once - was a lot of fun! Will consider the wrist thing.

I am working on the whole body, but find it needs to be quite subtle and extremely well coordinated. Most people I work with tend to hear "use the hips" and then start wiggling them but not coordinated with their arms! A common mistake is to finish the hip movement before the arms/sword have finished their movement.

Chris Parkerson
04-22-2008, 08:29 AM
So what principles and mental images are you working on?

I really like what you are doing.

Specifically, you move your legs to intitate momentum and allow your relaxation of the upper torso to follow using the leg momentum.

Secondly, you spoke of just relaxing, i.e. I would call this "getting out of the way and letting gravity do it".

One suggestion.... It may help.... So many styles want to project the blade centrifugally. This almost demands that the shoulder muscles (deltoids, etc.) tighten to some degree. To compensate, is suspect we try to make them relax by shrugging a bit.

The problem is that the blade has a mass of its own. Our intent of projecting it also causes its mass to pull on our center of gravity. The further away it goes, the more pull it creates.

If we quit trying to project the blade, and just let it take its natural course by relaxing our back muscles, our deltoid, then our humerous, a different arc develops. It is more centripital in nature.

You might find that this centripital arc cut makes less of a slashing noise (cutting wind). In fact, it is rather silent. But test the two cuts against a lateral post and the sound is the real comparison. The centripital cut makes a much more powerful strike. Less becomes more as gravity is not being impeded by the deltoid and too much extension.

As for imagry, I avoid hard focussing on the item to be cut. Hard focus presents a "barrier" and thus the fulcrums within my body change. I start putting muscle into it to get through the percieved barrier and my center raises because I have gone into the conscious mind/ eyes/emotion connection. When I do it right, it is without effort and like going through butter. Cutting butter, a great mental image.

I also like to focus on breath, relaxation in sequence, and hara.

Just some thoughts. I am sure I am preaching to the choir.

Chris Parkerson
04-22-2008, 03:26 PM
Robert,

If you would allow me one final observation, In the Men cut, you might experiment with "putting on the breaks" at the end of the cut so that the blade stops more clearly at one point. Do this by letting the forearm turn outward. Both forearms do this naturally at waiste level. When they turn outward in conflicting directions, it stops the sword. This will also protect the wrist. In te waza, the same motion provides fantastic torque for wonderful throws but must be timed right at the highest point of kuzushi.

Robert Cowham
04-22-2008, 05:25 PM
Thanks for the comments Chris. I also spotted I was slightly off centre after the shomen cut - was practising this afternoon to correct that. Am also working on tenouchi (wringing) with the wrists.

I am in agreement regarding cutting down - less effort and more gravity/natural cut. I am not yet sure about cutting up - what is most effective (gravity doesn't work quite so well!).

Chris Parkerson
04-22-2008, 07:54 PM
I am in agreement regarding cutting down - less effort and more gravity/natural cut. I am not yet sure about cutting up - what is most effective (gravity doesn't work quite so well!).

I noticed that by the 3rd kesa cut, you seemed to be concentrating on relaxing more and you extended less by definition.

Regarding the upwards cut, it is not my strong point either. Centripetal force is still necessary. Munenori say to keep your rear hand no more than two fists distance from your hara. That has been a good start for me.

I would love to hear how things progress. I am also in the perpetual student phase on cutting..... at least until I can learn to cut the silk cloth in mid air.

But even then, I will probably figure out that cutting the silk cloth is just the beginning of the next pathway.

Regards