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graham christian
01-09-2011, 04:38 PM
This is some views on the three weapons used in Aikido, namely the Spear, the Sword and the Jo.

Once again I am posting a view of mine for I feel some may benefit from it and many may not have looked at weapons from this viewpoint. Now as it's in the general category I won't translate them spiritually so all those (what's the opposite of Aikibunnies? maybe Aikibulls?) not interested in the ki side of things need not worry.

So first of all-the spear. When you look at the operation of a spear and it's purpose or function you see it is a piercing weapon. It has a point or even two points one at each end and thus we get thrusting actions. All things which have this function ie: darts, bullets even a finger jab work off of certain principles. They follow a straight line. Even if you send a laser beam through a wall or whatever it is piercing and going through.

Now for the view you may not have looked at it from. For all intents and purposes it is operating on ONE dimension.

So when we come to the sword we find it is a cutting impliment and it is fascinating to see it cuts in a straight line yet the tip of the sword always makes a circle. Anyway the point here is that the sword cut is two dimentional. It cuts on a plane.

Then we come to the Jo and we find it is three dimentional. The basic operation of the jo is circular as it turns around its center but it can turn or be turned vertically, horizontally in fact spherically.

Now the difference with the Jo is it can be used as a spear, it can be used as a sword and it can be used as itself. Just seeing this and knowing the differences will improve your handling and understanding of the weapons to that degree.

To me the Jo is like a handle on space, it's diameter, but we won't go there

Suffice to say that as you study and see the difference then you will notice how they fit in with the Aikido techniques that you practice ie; nikkyo and shihonage as the sword, ikkyo as the jo and depending how you finish the technique is whether you keep it as a jo (cicular) or if you finish it by thrusting the person to the floor (spear).

Then you could even take it a step further and notice that when a person is striking or indeed even kicking then he or she is merely giving you a jo (his arm or leg) to practice with.

Much can be learned from these basic views so I hope some find them useful. G. .

Tony Wagstaffe
01-09-2011, 05:38 PM
This is some views on the three weapons used in Aikido, namely the Spear, the Sword and the Jo.

Once again I am posting a view of mine for I feel some may benefit from it and many may not have looked at weapons from this viewpoint. Now as it's in the general category I won't translate them spiritually so all those (what's the opposite of Aikibunnies? maybe Aikibulls?) not interested in the ki side of things need not worry.

So first of all-the spear. When you look at the operation of a spear and it's purpose or function you see it is a piercing weapon. It has a point or even two points one at each end and thus we get thrusting actions. All things which have this function ie: darts, bullets even a finger jab work off of certain principles. They follow a straight line. Even if you send a laser beam through a wall or whatever it is piercing and going through.

Now for the view you may not have looked at it from. For all intents and purposes it is operating on ONE dimension.

So when we come to the sword we find it is a cutting impliment and it is fascinating to see it cuts in a straight line yet the tip of the sword always makes a circle. Anyway the point here is that the sword cut is two dimentional. It cuts on a plane.

Then we come to the Jo and we find it is three dimentional. The basic operation of the jo is circular as it turns around its center but it can turn or be turned vertically, horizontally in fact spherically.

Now the difference with the Jo is it can be used as a spear, it can be used as a sword and it can be used as itself. Just seeing this and knowing the differences will improve your handling and understanding of the weapons to that degree.

To me the Jo is like a handle on space, it's diameter, but we won't go there

Suffice to say that as you study and see the difference then you will notice how they fit in with the Aikido techniques that you practice ie; nikkyo and shihonage as the sword, ikkyo as the jo and depending how you finish the technique is whether you keep it as a jo (cicular) or if you finish it by thrusting the person to the floor (spear).

Then you could even take it a step further and notice that when a person is striking or indeed even kicking then he or she is merely giving you a jo (his arm or leg) to practice with.

Much can be learned from these basic views so I hope some find them useful. G. .

Me thinks your "ki" is absolute B.S. Graham, the trouble is you just don't realise how deluded you have become. I suggest you go and get some help.... seriously :straightf

lbb
01-09-2011, 05:56 PM
I could maybe accept that the spear is one-dimensional, having never seen its use in aikido (I don't think as used in the ko-ryu it could be called one-dimensional). But I don't see how the jo is any more three-dimensional than the sword. Any argument for the sword as used in aikiken being two dimensional could equally well be applied to the jo; any argument for the jo being three-dimensional could equally well be applied to the sword.

(for an example, see the kumitachi...ki musubi no tachi, say)

Andrew Macdonald
01-09-2011, 07:18 PM
I am sorry but these views on weapons are wrong and not useful at all

George S. Ledyard
01-09-2011, 07:20 PM
So when we come to the sword we find it is a cutting impliment and it is fascinating to see it cuts in a straight line yet the tip of the sword always makes a circle. Anyway the point here is that the sword cut is two dimentional. It cuts on a plane.

Graham,
I hate to be negative... but this simply doesn't make sense...

A sword has everything a jo has and more, except the switching the grip from end to end. There are basically four "actions" with a sword. There is cutting (and a couple manifestations of that), slicing, thrusting, and striking (with the tsuka). Add to that "trapping", both with the tsuka the blade, and you have a very versatile weapon. Each of these actions corresponds directly with an empty hand principle. The sword is certainly no more dimensionally limited than jo and has some principles operating which jo doesn't have.

The jo has thrusting... It also has an action that is the same as one of the two cutting actions of the sword (like a cut in kendo with the shinai) but does not have the other (the cut of the live blade in tameshigiri). Certainly it has "trapping" but not really more than the sword... There is some action with a jo that could be considered "slicing" but largely in jo nage but not as striking too much.

Anyway, in talking about spear, you really didn't come close to describing what is there. First, it depends on how long a yari you are talking about. Some are like a jo but with sharpened tip. Some are 12 or more feet long. The shorter spears have everything a jo has plus the ability to slash with the tip and pierce rather than break. Striking with the butt end is standard in yari and naginata, as is striking with the shaft. In many styles of koryu, the bo work is really meant to be what you'd do if the tip of your sword were to come off... most of what you do with a bo, you do with a spear plus some.

So, I am sorry. It makes a nice, tidy presentation to describe the weapons this way but it simply is wrong. Each of these weapons is used multi dimensionally and your distinctions simply ignore that.

graham christian
01-09-2011, 08:53 PM
Graham,
I hate to be negative... but this simply doesn't make sense...

A sword has everything a jo has and more, except the switching the grip from end to end. There are basically four "actions" with a sword. There is cutting (and a couple manifestations of that), slicing, thrusting, and striking (with the tsuka). Add to that "trapping", both with the tsuka the blade, and you have a very versatile weapon. Each of these actions corresponds directly with an empty hand principle. The sword is certainly no more dimensionally limited than jo and has some principles operating which jo doesn't have.

The jo has thrusting... It also has an action that is the same as one of the two cutting actions of the sword (like a cut in kendo with the shinai) but does not have the other (the cut of the live blade in tameshigiri). Certainly it has "trapping" but not really more than the sword... There is some action with a jo that could be considered "slicing" but largely in jo nage but not as striking too much.

Anyway, in talking about spear, you really didn't come close to describing what is there. First, it depends on how long a yari you are talking about. Some are like a jo but with sharpened tip. Some are 12 or more feet long. The shorter spears have everything a jo has plus the ability to slash with the tip and pierce rather than break. Striking with the butt end is standard in yari and naginata, as is striking with the shaft. In many styles of koryu, the bo work is really meant to be what you'd do if the tip of your sword were to come off... most of what you do with a bo, you do with a spear plus some.

So, I am sorry. It makes a nice, tidy presentation to describe the weapons this way but it simply is wrong. Each of these weapons is used multi dimensionally and your distinctions simply ignore that.

Thank you George your view is always welcome. I know each weapon is USED multidimentionally but the main purpose of a blade is to cut and the main purpose of a point is to pierce, thus the differenciation.

When samurai used to test their blades it was through the action of cutting was it not? Need I explain what spears are mainly used for as their primary purpose, just ask a masai warrior.

Now of course I could use a chair like a table but thats not it's primary function. O.k. Having said that I expect a person to extrapolate for themselves the other ways you could use a sword ie: thrusting it like a spear etc. and also look at the slashing of the point of a spear but what is that slashing? Is it not cutting as with the point of a sword for the end portion of a sword is the cutting part.

The point of this thread is to differenciate first and then to see how and when you can use one weapon like another even though they have their primary functions.

When you do a good Nikkyo it is more like a sword cut than any of the other two weapons is it not?

When you do ikkyo it is more like turning a jo and then thrusting it like a spear is it not? Or you could do ikkyo taking the opponents arm back over their head and cutting down with tegatana in which case it would be a cut like a sword would it not? Thus there are two ways to differenciate on the same technique and thus gain a better understanding not so?

I can do shihonage from the viewpoint of the sword and thus do two cuts and get the understanding of it conceptually as well as practically but I can also do it from the way of the jo in a more cicular fashion and I can do it from the way of the spear where I am leading straight out taking their balance stepping through and turning it back to them but this time like a stabbing motion as in psycho. Once again three ways all related to different weapons, they all work as long as the Aiki motion is correct and yet they all have different feelings to both the nage and the uke.

So I put it to you my ideas are not wrong for I pointed out that from the basic differenciation aperson can learn many things. If I had said they were the whole of all there is to weapons then I would indeed be wrong.

As I've said before your views are welcome and respected. However I only say things on this forum that I can personally see and do and demonstrate, otherwise I say nothing. How anyone can criticise when they can't personally do it themselves is what I find strange. If a person doesn't believe what is being said he can always ask for clarification and then agree or not. This does mean I don't look foreward to constructive criticism but the truth of the matter is only those who can already do what is being said can criticise constructively, the rest are on another mission.

Now I believe you already know most of what I've said and so I wonder why you put it down. Or am I wrong?

Regards.G.

Janet Rosen
01-10-2011, 12:02 AM
Um ... OK so in the first post you posit a very simplistic view of three weapons. When this is criticized, you reply by offering that - if I am reading it correctly - any given aikido technique, depending on HOW it is applied, can be likened to pretty much any weapon or weapon-like action.
To which my thought is: if anything can exemplify anything, what exactly is the teaching point we are supposed to take away?

Budd
01-10-2011, 12:25 AM
Or am I wrong?


Yes.

George S. Ledyard
01-10-2011, 01:27 AM
When you do a good Nikkyo it is more like a sword cut than any of the other two weapons is it not?

Actually Graham, if you do Nikkyo like a sword cut. anyone with strong wrists will stop it dead. Nikkyo actually has more in common with the staff. The late Koriwa Yoshio used short sticks to demonstrate this action.

When you do ikkyo it is more like turning a jo and then thrusting it like a spear is it not? Or you could do ikkyo taking the opponents arm back over their head and cutting down with tegatana in which case it would be a cut like a sword would it not? Thus there are two ways to differentiate on the same technique and thus gain a better understanding not so?

Sure, I can do an ikkyo that utilizes certain principles as the thrust or the cut, In either case, it is not specific to a weapon but to an action with one of several possible weapons. I could perform the action referred to with either a sword or a staff.

I can do shihonage from the viewpoint of the sword and thus do two cuts and get the understanding of it conceptually as well as practically but I can also do it from the way of the jo in a more cicular fashion and I can do it from the way of the spear where I am leading straight out taking their balance stepping through and turning it back to them but this time like a stabbing motion as in psycho. Once again three ways all related to different weapons, they all work as long as the Aiki motion is correct and yet they all have different feelings to both the nage and the uke.

I am not saying that you can't do various techniques using the various principles described. You can. I am saying that each of these principles can be found in the various weapons mentioned. You started with overly simplified statements about particular weapons embodying certain of the principles and and ignored the fact that all of these weapons are used variously depending on the situation. One can cut with a sword and one can cut with a jo. One can thrust with a staff and thrust with a sword. Your original oversimplification was incorrectly stated and made it appear that you had little familiarity with the weapons being described.

So I put it to you my ideas are not wrong for I pointed out that from the basic differentiation a person can learn many things. If I had said they were the whole of all there is to weapons then I would indeed be wrong.

No disagreement here at all. This isn't what I questioned. I simply said that your categorization of the various weapons was imprecise and misleading and due to that fact the analogies you used were unclear and not very helpful.

As I've said before your views are welcome and respected. However I only say things on this forum that I can personally see and do and demonstrate, otherwise I say nothing. How anyone can criticise when they can't personally do it themselves is what I find strange. If a person doesn't believe what is being said he can always ask for clarification and then agree or not. This does mean I don't look foreward to constructive criticism but the truth of the matter is only those who can already do what is being said can criticise constructively, the rest are on another mission.

Now I believe you already know most of what I've said and so I wonder why you put it down. Or am I wrong?
Regards.G.

Yes, I can in fact do what I have been discussing. I bothered "to put it down" because what you had stated was misleading for those here on the forum who do not have the background I have. You throw material out, as if you are sharing your experience and knowledge but don't expect that if what you are saying directly conflicts with the experience and knowledge of someone else that they will say something about it. There are people who post here who really know something about weapons work. I have trained with a number of them. If you want to post and not have critical responses regarding your posts, then you need to sound like one of them because oft times you do not. You may know, I have never met you. But your posts do not indicate that you do and on the forums, barring personal experience with someone who is posting, the verbal expression of your experience is all anyone has to go on. You have kindly added video clips but I have to say that the clips you have chosen have not made it more clear to me than your posts. Tony is less polite... perhaps unnecessarily blunt at times. I am open to having my mind changed but I would have to read or see something I haven't yet.

niall
01-10-2011, 02:15 AM
This classification of weapons is familiar, clear and normal to anyone who uses weapons analytically.

Spear thrust along a line - one dimension.

Sword cut along a plane - two dimensions.

Jo used as for both of those plus rotating similar to a sphere - three dimensions.

It's the differentiation used in hoplology - the analytical study of combat systems.

The system analysis was purely meant as a field tool to provide a shorthand idea of how a system or weapon was being used. It was to be a backup for photos and video. For example, we would look at a weapon, its striking edge or point, the target it was being aimed at, and how it moved to the target. So, for example, you say a curved sword. Well, it is a cutting-edge weapon, and its aimed effect on the target is to achieve some type of trenchant action, a cut; generally speaking, the blade moves through an arc. If we look at a spear, you are not looking for a trenchant action so much as a perforation or penetration effect on the target, and the spear point is going to move to the target in a line. All right, so these were the basics of it, and you can pretty much define any weapon in that manner. http://www.hoplology.com/articles_detail.asp?id=9

lbb
01-10-2011, 07:37 AM
This classification of weapons is familiar, clear and normal to anyone who uses weapons analytically.
How useful is a system of categorization that ignores what happens in the real world? Not talking about corner cases here, or "well, in theory you could...", but examples of standard techniques that are taught in various ryu, and that defy this "dimensional" categorization of the three weapons.

Keith Larman
01-10-2011, 08:49 AM
This classification of weapons is familiar, clear and normal to anyone who uses weapons analytically.

Spear thrust along a line - one dimension.

Sure, but only if you're just talking about one small subset of how the yari was used, ignoring the vast complexity of the weapon as it was made and used. I think what people are pointing out is that it misses a vast domain of how the yari (as an example) was used historically. It is a gross oversimplification. But I'd agree if you're only talking about one movement -- the thrust. But even within that thrust (say you're using a jumonji yari) there's a lot more potentially going on.

If you're only focusing on that in exclusion to anything else and not making any points about anything else such as the larger nature of the diverse weapons systems of Japan, well, fine. But these weapons didn't appear out of the blue. They have a history and an evolution. And there are vestiges of the evolution still contained within. Also, remember that in many martial arts styles there was a consistency of training that reflected that they wanted what worked with the stick to also work with the yari (as an example). So you might see a movement with a jo that looked odd to your eye. You'd be missing the point. The movement is to learn to move a certain way so it would be effective if you're using the jo *or* the yari. You train to be consistent across "weapons platforms" to ensure proper mechanics. But that's probably another post there... Back to yari -- what I wanted to post on having long been a fan of antique yari blades.

Many in the world of nihonto collecting feel the word 'spear' is a misleading word when used to describe the Japanese yari. Most collectors just call them yari knowing full well that saying spear just muddies the waters. Spear brings up images of a stick with a sharpened head and that image often leaves people with a very limited idea of both how they were used and how they might look. In most cultures the spear is just wood with a sharpened head - one of the simplest of weapons. The spear can be used as a thrusting weapon and it is often also used as a projectile (think of a javelin). The Japanese yari is vastly more complex (leave it to the Japanese to take something to the Nth degree of complexity and refinement).

Yari "points" are incredibly diverse reflecting the variety of ways they could have been used with the notion of a 'spear' being only a subset. Even the smallest yari is more than a sharpened point -- they literally have a "ha" (edge) running on at least 2 sides. The smallest of them have a few inches of cutting surface for cutting movements. But beyond that there are a huge variety of yari that are vastly larger, longer, many with multiple, complex blade surfaces. In this day and age of google I'll let you guys do the footwork, but look up the varieties of jumanji yari for example. Within jumanji yari there are probably another 20-30 subtypes of different blade shapes, sizes, proportions, etc. These are yari with cross blades that are incredibly complex and sharpened along *all* those edges. It can cut on the thrust, on the pull, on a cut, heck, I couldn't figure out how the heck the polisher even manages to polish the (literally) bloody things.

And if you want to see some really interesting shapes look up styles like these... Tsukagata. Kuwagata. Tsukikami. Karamata. Kakehazushi (variation of jumoji). Katakama. Or for a really bad nightmarish style, look up the Futamata yari which is actually two very long "katana-like" blades oriented such that the nakago align creating a large "V" going forward with the sharpened parts on the inside of the 'V'. "OFF WITH HIS HEAD!" Yikes.

Sure, they're thrusting weapons. And cutting weapons. And some could take the legs off a charging horse. Some could do massive damage being pulled back. Some even had secondary blades or guards mouted 2/3rd down the pole. All these variations meant a great deal of variation in how they were used. They were certainly not weapons limited to our simplistic notions.

And I've not bothered talking about all the types of ishizuki you'd see on the various Japanese pole-arms, some of which were made to clearly leave a mark on your forehead (over the skull fracture underneath). I remember one I had for a while that I pulled off a really nice naginata. Sharpened point of iron that looked like a hershey's kiss if that helps with the imagery. The thing was hefty. I remember mounting it temporarily on a pole I had and thrusting a tree in my yard. Amazing the damage it could do. I didn't try using it for a strike as it wasn't attached correctly, but imagine having a heavy piece of iron on the end of a long pole hitting you under the chin in a hard rising strike -- soft food forever.

The point is that the yari is a very complex weapon and the usage would vary depending not only on the yari itself (jumoji vs. nata yari for instance) but also depending on the training of the person holding it. Sure, you can focus on a very tiny subset of how the weapon could be used then make some observations about relationships. This is taking this to an extreme, but that would be like saying that a gun can be used to knock out an opponent with its heavy barrel (which is true of course) and building up a nice weapons theory based on guns being a bludgeon. Of course it *can* be used as such, but you're missing a heck of a lot of details about the way a gun works.

niall
01-10-2011, 09:22 AM
Thanks Keith. Those details are interesting and really deserve a thread of their own - it would be a pity for them to be lost in the middle of this thread. But knowing all that isn't going to help you deal with a tsuki attack. Thinking of it as a one-dimensional thrust along a line certainly might. Which was perhaps Graham's point.

Keith Larman
01-10-2011, 09:38 AM
I think the issue for many is that there is simplification for the purposes of teaching (a necessary thing) then there is being overly simplistic (i.e., simplifying to the point of losing essential information and giving what becomes a misleading account).

I think there is some value in breaking down into the dimensions as Graham has done. I've done similar things in a weapons class but always made a point to explain how we're looking only at one very small aspect of a particular movement and cautioning against making any sort of generalizations about how the weapon was or should be used based on that simplification. It might be just fine for a really basic, intro class if presented with a larger context to make sure students don't generalize too much. But that need to contextualize may in fact call into question whether it was a good idea to go that way in the first place.

Basia Halliop
01-10-2011, 09:41 AM
My weapons experience is pretty limited, but I don't know that this model really corresponds with what I've seen either... E.g., where do blocks and parries with the bokken come into this, or more complicated cuts involving rotation of the body during the cut?

RED
01-10-2011, 09:45 AM
Where do blocks and parries with the bokken come into this?

You mean like watersheds?
Aikiken, doesn't really have traditional parries in its movements from my understanding.

Watersheds are circular means of deflecting and getting under/past some common strikes, which lead back into a cut.

Basia Halliop
01-10-2011, 09:48 AM
I'm probably using the wrong terminology, I'm slow at terminology... roughly speaking I'm thinking of all the times you use your sword to move the other person's sword...

also to get around it, etc

lbb
01-10-2011, 09:59 AM
You mean like watersheds?
Aikiken, doesn't really have traditional parries in its movements from my understanding.

Watersheds are circular means of deflecting and getting under/past some common strikes, which lead back into a cut.

I've never heard the term "watershed" used to describe this (I'm guessing you mean things like kiri gaeshi?). What's the origin of this term?

George S. Ledyard
01-10-2011, 10:29 AM
Aikiken, doesn't really have traditional parries in its movements from my understanding.


Hi Maggie,
I think this may be style specific. There might be certain teachers whose sword work doesn't have traditional parries but certainly the sword work I was taught had pretty much all the elements one would find in more traditional sword.

Saito Sensei's break down of O-Sensei's sword forms the back bone of what many folks consider Aikiken. But so many great Aikido teachers didn't follow that model that it's really hard to call anything Aikiken and have it mean anything specific. Gleason Sensei's sword work looks nothing like Saito Sensei's and Saotome Sensei's doesn't look like either one.

In my book what makes sword work "aikiken" is that the weapons technique is utilizing the same principles as the empty hand. One should be able to do a weapons technique and talk about how that applies in empty hand and visa versa. This was, in fact, what Graham was doing and I agree that it is useful for having folks understand their empty hand. The whole logic of Aikido (and Daito Ryu for that matter) is really weapons related since the samurai were really walking weapons systems.

However, given the wide range of what people even consider "aiki" in the first place, I don't see that folks will reach any agreement about what constitutes "aiki"-sword in any very specific sense.

Keith Larman
01-10-2011, 11:01 AM
FWIW I just remembered that the Northern California Japanese Sword club has a page on Yari on their site. Just fwiw. They list a few of the common yari shapes showing proportions quite well.

Northern California Sword Club page on Yari. (http://www.ncjsc.org/gloss_yari.htm)

They're a great club, btw. They put on the best sword show in the US IMHO in San Francisco every August.

RED
01-10-2011, 11:26 AM
Hi Maggie,
I think this may be style specific. There might be certain teachers whose sword work doesn't have traditional parries but certainly the sword work I was taught had pretty much all the elements one would find in more traditional sword.

Saito Sensei's break down of O-Sensei's sword forms the back bone of what many folks consider Aikiken. But so many great Aikido teachers didn't follow that model that it's really hard to call anything Aikiken and have it mean anything specific. Gleason Sensei's sword work looks nothing like Saito Sensei's and Saotome Sensei's doesn't look like either one.

In my book what makes sword work "aikiken" is that the weapons technique is utilizing the same principles as the empty hand. One should be able to do a weapons technique and talk about how that applies in empty hand and visa versa. This was, in fact, what Graham was doing and I agree that it is useful for having folks understand their empty hand. The whole logic of Aikido (and Daito Ryu for that matter) is really weapons related since the samurai were really walking weapons systems.

However, given the wide range of what people even consider "aiki" in the first place, I don't see that folks will reach any agreement about what constitutes "aiki"-sword in any very specific sense.

My school's weapon work has lineage from Chiba Sensei/DiAnne Sensei (through one instructor) and Sugano Sensei (through another instructor). All I know is what some people traditionally call parries, our instructors have been very clear to point out that what we are performing is not a true parry. They use the term watershed in place of parry, there is some technical difference in which is beyond my grade to differentiate.

RED
01-10-2011, 11:34 AM
I've never heard the term "watershed" used to describe this (I'm guessing you mean things like kiri gaeshi?). What's the origin of this term?

It like what people are calling parry. Defense from an over head attack. There is an issue of terminology. My instructor's have always been clear to say it isn't a true parry what we are doing...that's where me personal confusion comes from.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUfDlFOg74g <-- closest thing I could find.

lbb
01-10-2011, 12:16 PM
Maggie, I just wondered why the use of the word "watershed", which I've always heard used to describe a drainage basin, or (metaphorically) a dividing point.

RED
01-10-2011, 12:19 PM
Maggie, I just wondered why the use of the word "watershed", which I've always heard used to describe a drainage basin, or (metaphorically) a dividing point.

I think it has to do with the movement and the function of the movement. I've heard more than once an instructor that calls it "watershed" describing it as an actual watershed; like a slanted roof shielding your head from rain. The slant in the parry/watershed/whatever deflects a downward attack off and away from your center as you enter to strike. The energy from the attack deflecting off the watershed is also redirected into your own cut to power your counter attack.

Basia Halliop
01-10-2011, 01:03 PM
Whatever you call them, they're 3-D :).

Demetrio Cereijo
01-10-2011, 01:07 PM
4-D if we consider time.

graham christian
01-10-2011, 02:10 PM
Actually Graham, if you do Nikkyo like a sword cut. anyone with strong wrists will stop it dead. Nikkyo actually has more in common with the staff. The late Koriwa Yoshio used short sticks to demonstrate this action.

Sure, I can do an ikkyo that utilizes certain principles as the thrust or the cut, In either case, it is not specific to a weapon but to an action with one of several possible weapons. I could perform the action referred to with either a sword or a staff.

I am not saying that you can't do various techniques using the various principles described. You can. I am saying that each of these principles can be found in the various weapons mentioned. You started with overly simplified statements about particular weapons embodying certain of the principles and and ignored the fact that all of these weapons are used variously depending on the situation. One can cut with a sword and one can cut with a jo. One can thrust with a staff and thrust with a sword. Your original oversimplification was incorrectly stated and made it appear that you had little familiarity with the weapons being described.

No disagreement here at all. This isn't what I questioned. I simply said that your categorization of the various weapons was imprecise and misleading and due to that fact the analogies you used were unclear and not very helpful.

Yes, I can in fact do what I have been discussing. I bothered "to put it down" because what you had stated was misleading for those here on the forum who do not have the background I have. You throw material out, as if you are sharing your experience and knowledge but don't expect that if what you are saying directly conflicts with the experience and knowledge of someone else that they will say something about it. There are people who post here who really know something about weapons work. I have trained with a number of them. If you want to post and not have critical responses regarding your posts, then you need to sound like one of them because oft times you do not. You may know, I have never met you. But your posts do not indicate that you do and on the forums, barring personal experience with someone who is posting, the verbal expression of your experience is all anyone has to go on. You have kindly added video clips but I have to say that the clips you have chosen have not made it more clear to me than your posts. Tony is less polite... perhaps unnecessarily blunt at times. I am open to having my mind changed but I would have to read or see something I haven't yet.

Thanks for the response. I like your style even if I do disagree with certain points.

First I must say that a strong wrist has no chance against nikkyo done like a sword cut using tegatana correctly, and ki of course. If you extend ki and cut through the person at the same time as cutting through the wrist with tegatana and you are aligned with cutting down their center line then it cannot fail no matter how strong the wrist. If you do not agree with this then fine we shall just have it as my opinion.

Secondly, if it conflicts with with anothers experience I welcome their response as I have clearly stated but mere put down shows only a lack of integrity and indeed worth in my eyes. My posts have also had good responses by people who do not know me therefore they must see something there and understand what I say. That's the point isn't it? Those who don't understand are free to ask for clarification.

Pointing out there are people who post who really know something I find strange as it implies I don't believe there is. There are many Aikidoka I admire and respect from many organizations past and present, from O'Sensei to Tohei, Sugano to Kanetska, most all of them plus people on this forum. So let me point that out before a wrong picture is painted.

The one purpose I have in posting anything here is very simple and very clear, it is to help. Simple. If it helps one person, good. I do not make destructive comments, I do not undermine and belittle what others say, the most I can do is disagree and explain why so I fail to see how anyone could be upset unless it is within theirself to be so.

Finally, if someone criticises me and I challenge that criticism is that not reasonable? For I get the feeling by what you have told me that you think I am offended. Rest assured I am not offended.

Once again, good talking to you. G.

graham christian
01-10-2011, 02:12 PM
This classification of weapons is familiar, clear and normal to anyone who uses weapons analytically.

Spear thrust along a line - one dimension.

Sword cut along a plane - two dimensions.

Jo used as for both of those plus rotating similar to a sphere - three dimensions.

It's the differentiation used in hoplology - the analytical study of combat systems.

Thank you Niall.

George S. Ledyard
01-10-2011, 02:52 PM
Finally, if someone criticises me and I challenge that criticism is that not reasonable? For I get the feeling by what you have told me that you think I am offended. Rest assured I am not offended.

Once again, good talking to you. G.

Graham, you are unflappable... a very admirable trait.
- George

graham christian
01-10-2011, 03:45 PM
Hi everyone. I see this thread created some interesting debate so that's all good.

What I gave I said were some basics to look at and as with all teaching or imparting information you cannot account for the whole of the audience getting what you are referring to. But as I've said they can ask for clarification if they are interested.

Marc, I see what you mean by oversimplification from your point of view but for me what one person needs in order to understand is different to what another may need so I choose to give a little rather than write a book so to speak rightly or wrongly. It's not much different to teaching in the dojo, if you give too much data then some students get lost, if you give too little then some get confused, so you choose and then observe and thus judge if more is needed or if it needs simplifying. I'm not quite as extreme as a zen master though.

Mary, you wonder how this fits with reality? O.k. I'll try to explain.

If you understand the straight line, the cut and the turning from center it can help you when observing someone cutting with tegatana and getting stuck for example. You may notice they are chopping rather than cutting for example. If someone is doing tsuki improperly you may notice they are not striking through in a straight line and if you see someone stuck trying to throw someone when receiving the jo you may notice they are turning it around one end rather than it's center or that they are not seeing the right turn needed. This is one example of reality in teaching and indeed learning.

Now if you also see that they can all then be used in like each other then that is the next stap rather than the first step I would say.

Finally if you then study them from the viewpoint of energy motion and practice with them from this viewpoint you will then be able to recognise and automatically do in life in real situations. For example; The thrust of the jo is merely energy or force coming at you in a straight line as is tsuki as is a left jab as is a thrust with a knife or broken bottle as is some bullet head running straight at you. These things happen in reality but in truth they are directed forces.
The right hook or a swinging bottle is force coming at you but is circular and so due to training with the sword and jo used in those ways you learn to either keep outside of that circle or to turn into the center of it etc. etc. This harmonizing with the attacking force as learned in Aikido helps you in reality with other similar motions of force. This is my explanation anyway.

George, your explanation of the scene as far as Aikiken is concerned I find interesting as I assumed wrongly that most had a fixed view on how it should be done and must be done. Plus I'm pleasantly surprised to find we have at least one view in common, thank you for that. May I add purely as something to share that I teach that there is no blocking in Aikido or in swordwork and thus for me it gets my students relying more on correct aiki movements and the resultant cuts etc. Having said that I also hold to thae principle of no blocking and insist that the student learns how to meet rather than block which from the outside may look like blocking but when one knows the difference is a world apart.

Niall, your explanations are clear as usual.

Regards all and any I didn't respond to. G.

George S. Ledyard
01-10-2011, 04:00 PM
Having said that I also hold to thae principle of no blocking and insist that the student learns how to meet rather than block which from the outside may look like blocking but when one knows the difference is a world apart.

Niall, your explanations are clear as usual.

Regards all and any I didn't respond to. G.
We have movements in Saotome Sensei's kumitachi that in the basic form would be considered "blocks" although if done well they really establish a stickiness to the blades and receive the energy of the cut rather than oppose it. But since very few folks understand it that way, I'll call them "blocks". At the heart of it though, I was taught that there are no blocks, in weapons or empty hand and that what looks like a block is really a cut or strike.

So, for instance, the aforementioned "watershed" block isn't a block or deflection at all but is really a cut. Rather than move off the line and do the move, one enters and the blade is actually under the attacker's arms rather than under his sword. This causes him to break his posture and momentum allowing him to be cut.

Even movements that look like deflections eventually change as ones sense of timing changes and blades that used to touch no longer due so. Deflections morph in to "slipping" movements which are far harder to counter.

Essentially, in the end, anything that puts your attention on the other guys blade is wrong. If you are blocking or even deflecting, you aren't cutting him. The movements only become blocks if you were late in your cut.

graham christian
01-10-2011, 04:07 PM
We have movements in Saotome Sensei's kumitachi that in the basic form would be considered "blocks" although if done well they really establish a stickiness to the blades and receive the energy of the cut rather than oppose it. But since very few folks understand it that way, I'll call them "blocks". At the heart of it though, I was taught that there are no blocks, in weapons or empty hand and that what looks like a block is really a cut or strike.

So, for instance, the aforementioned "watershed" block isn't a block or deflection at all but is really a cut. Rather than move off the line and do the move, one enters and the blade is actually under the attacker's arms rather than under his sword. This causes him to break his posture and momentum allowing him to be cut.

Even movements that look like deflections eventually change as ones sense of timing changes and blades that used to touch no longer due so. Deflections morph in to "slipping" movements which are far harder to counter.

Essentially, in the end, anything that puts your attention on the other guys blade is wrong. If you are blocking or even deflecting, you aren't cutting him. The movements only become blocks if you were late in your cut.

Agreed. Thank you . G.

Cliff Judge
01-10-2011, 04:25 PM
I think it has to do with the movement and the function of the movement. I've heard more than once an instructor that calls it "watershed" describing it as an actual watershed; like a slanted roof shielding your head from rain. The slant in the parry/watershed/whatever deflects a downward attack off and away from your center as you enter to strike. The energy from the attack deflecting off the watershed is also redirected into your own cut to power your counter attack.

You know, the term "watershed" rings a bell. Not sure where I heard it..

From what you are describing, it sounds like a derivative of Kashima Shinto Ryu nagashi, or "flow".

The youtube video you posted actually looks like a rising cut to the wrist, but that's not neccessarily a different movement. :)

Cliff Judge
01-10-2011, 04:32 PM
This is some views on the three weapons used in Aikido, namely the Spear, the Sword and the Jo.

Graham, what if like...

the spear is actually the TRIANGLE.

the sword is actually the SQUARE.

and the JO is actually the CIRCLE?

:cool:

graham christian
01-10-2011, 06:10 PM
Graham, what if like...

the spear is actually the TRIANGLE.

the sword is actually the SQUARE.

and the JO is actually the CIRCLE?

:cool:

Hi Cliff. Not sure exactly how you personally relate them or if indeed anyone else does or has. However I have already related the jo to the circle. I can relate them to Aiki motion and techniques. However I'm sure there is a lot of data on them somewhere in this forum as I believe they originate as symbolic representations from shinto, maybe you start your own thread on that topic.

Regards, G.

jonreading
01-10-2011, 06:38 PM
Hmmm, some interesting points here. My two cents...

I am not familiar with the use of Yari in aikido. I am familiar with the use of jo, ken, and tanto. Of which, I have heard many analogies of these weapons to their application in aikido. This is a new one to me.

Like others, the over-simplification of the weapons seem to demean their role in our training. Yari is for thrusting? Sure, amongst other things. I think we need to respect our weapons and the complexity of their role in combat. I have been taught primarily that good combat education is about the competency to use these weapons interchangeably (indeed with empty-hand too). From my experience the range of these weapons seems to be the most different application using each. I am not sure if I would buy or disseminate anything that would oversimplify or understate the role of weapons in training.

I can hear my dying thoughts now... "ohh good, a spear. That's thrusting, right? Wait, no. I needed striking... Dang..."

Basia Halliop
01-11-2011, 10:20 AM
I'm not finding the idea of thinking of each weapon as working in a certain dimension helpful, but... I do think it makes some sense to think of particular attacks/strikes/movements that way, and to analyze the shapes described by the weapon during the attack... just not entire weapons. As I said, my experience is limited, but since we're talking about what's helpful to beginners I might as well say what I as a beginner find helpful. For me, if people give me an analogy or rule like that I tend to get more confused if everywhere I look I see so many exceptions.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-11-2011, 10:43 AM
Graham, what if like...

the spear is actually the TRIANGLE.

the sword is actually the SQUARE.

and the JO is actually the CIRCLE?

:cool:

And all three together plus "the cross of aiki" make the ultimate weapon: the playstation controller (http://gamerlimit.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/playstation_controller.jpg).
:D

C. David Henderson
01-11-2011, 11:07 AM
What about the wii nunchuck -- much more mobile and flexible...

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2011, 11:29 AM
I'm not finding the idea of thinking of each weapon as working in a certain dimension helpful, but... I do think it makes some sense to think of particular attacks/strikes/movements that way, and to analyze the shapes described by the weapon during the attack... just not entire weapons. As I said, my experience is limited, but since we're talking about what's helpful to beginners I might as well say what I as a beginner find helpful. For me, if people give me an analogy or rule like that I tend to get more confused if everywhere I look I see so many exceptions.

Hi Basia,
My feeling is one should teach people properly from the start. Dumbing stuff down and over-simplifying to make something comprehensible for beginners that is actually far more complex doesn't do anyone any favors. Beginners are generally quite capable of understanding more than they are apt to be given.

It's rather like the time I was at the Zoo with my young kids and we were looking at the Great Apes, and the Orangutans in particular. My kids could have named them all properly plus any number of the monkeys in the complex next door. A couple was next to us at the same time and they told their child to "look at the monkey"... That child was perfectly able at that age to recognize and remember the differences but they didn't bother (I am being charitable by assuming they actually knew the differences themselves).

It's the same with Aikido. If you make things too simple or make things too easy, the beginners like it because they aren't confused and they aren't intimidated. The problem is that later on, when you try to bring them into the reality zone they quit because now it's not what they thought. Everything's harder and more confusing.

We created a VERY user friendly beginner program at my dojo in order to try to raise the retention rate. It has worked marvelously. As recommended by Ikeda and Saotome Senseis, I don't even teach the beginners. It is so basic and "nice" that I find it fairly mind numbing. Not even in the same dimension with how I trained with Saotome Sensei back in the 70's (which was te intention).

However, the problem is that I have been unable to get the beginners to leave the beginner program and start training with the upper levels. They find it intimidating and confusing. So they stay in the beginner classes and have a gay old time. It's like a separate dojo inside my dojo. It accomplished the job of helping support the dojo overall, which from my standpoint is important. But I have never liked the idea of a sort of "class system" in Aikido, which in my opinion we have, where the folks on the bottom of the pyramid are there simply to support those of us who are at the top of the pyramid. But because we made it so safe and so nice up front, we attracted people who want safe, simple and nice. They don't want to change that. Did we do them any favors by doing that? I think maybe not...

That's why I think it is important on the forums to keep the discussions straight. There are any number of folks who read these threads, far more than actually ever post, and they read things that seem authoritative, written by someone who is running a dojo somewhere, and if it seems to be on something they don't know much about, they'll believe it and internalize it and even pass it on to others. So, it's important to try to make the information as complete and factual as possible. If that makes it a bit more confusing to a beginner, that's fine. It's complex stuff. Over-simplification on a subject like weapons use ends up just like calling every ape in the zoo a monkey...

lbb
01-11-2011, 12:14 PM
Maybe what we should be striving for is to get beginners to understand that it's okay to be confused, rather than trying to make them comfortable by "knowing" something that turns out to just not be so. I'd say it's one of the greatest gifts you can give a beginner: to teach them that, yes, there are things that are beyond you right now, beyond your ability to do and beyond your ability to understand. So don't try to understand them, and be okay with that. Just do what you can. The understanding will emerge when you've got the framework of experience to hang it on, and really not before that.

OwlMatt
01-11-2011, 12:26 PM
I have only been training for little over a year, so I do not feel qualified to critique the content of this thread, but two things are very obvious to me from the outset: (1) that this thread is posted in the wrong forum, and (2) that this thread was intended as an exhibition of knowledge rather than a conversation starter, which means a discussion board really isn't the place for it.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-11-2011, 12:47 PM
What about the wii nunchuck -- much more mobile and flexible...
But lacks the esoteric symbolism.

RED
01-11-2011, 12:52 PM
I have only been training for little over a year, so I do not feel qualified to critique the content of this thread, but two things are very obvious to me from the outset: (1) that this thread is posted in the wrong forum, and (2) that this thread was intended as an exhibition of knowledge rather than a conversation starter, which means a discussion board really isn't the place for it.

Go Matthew! :D

C. David Henderson
01-11-2011, 01:03 PM
But lacks the esoteric symbolism.

I am such a nonspiritual person.

But my sharpie [http://sharpieuncapped.com/default.aspx?gclid=CIj8qrjrsqYCFcVe7AodrkpJpg] makes wonderful, colorful esoteric symbols on just about anything. :D

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2011, 01:25 PM
Maybe what we should be striving for is to get beginners to understand that it's okay to be confused, rather than trying to make them comfortable by "knowing" something that turns out to just not be so. I'd say it's one of the greatest gifts you can give a beginner: to teach them that, yes, there are things that are beyond you right now, beyond your ability to do and beyond your ability to understand. So don't try to understand them, and be okay with that. Just do what you can. The understanding will emerge when you've got the framework of experience to hang it on, and really not before that.

Yes. There is a line in Ushiro Kenji's latest book that I have quoted before, "What you know is the enemy of learning."

I have found that the folks who stay in the art for any length of time are generally the folks who can be comfortable with being confused, with not being able to be perfect all the time.

On the other hand, it needs to be in a delicate balance between being ok with not understanding everything and the drive for mastery. It's ok to be fine about not getting it right this instant. At the same time, it's not fine to feel ok about not getting it. What you don't understand should gnaw at you, it should be like that itch you can't quite scratch.

Many people have simply developed the habit of not getting it. Especially with teachers operating on a very high level like Saotome Sensei or Ikeda Sensei. Folks go to seminar after seminar, come in Friday night and leave om Sunday night, none the wiser. This happens constantly and is more the norm than the exception. It's as if the Sensei's have become an interesting form of entertainment. You go see some amazing Aikido but you don't actually expect or believe that you can do amazing Aikido.

Every time you tell yourself its ok that you didn't get it, you are surrendering on some level. The folks who are good at this art NEVER told themselves that. Yet, every one of them sat with the discomfort of not getting it for years until they did get it. The type-A, perfectionists tend to quit because they can't master everything instantly. The need to understand everything, all the time is a killer too.

Usually, folks who stay in the art can maintain this tenuous balance for a decade or two. But one sees few who do it when they get very senior. Many of the 6th Dans haven't changed anything in years. It takes more effort to move up another level the higher ranked you are. Additionally, the balance between being expected to act like you know what you are doing, which you have to do as a teacher, and holding the understanding of how little we actually know, which you have to have to keep progressing, is a very hard thing to maintain over the whole of ones life. Usually the desire to get comfortable wins out.

Marian Mountain, in her book The Zen Environment, which is one of my favorite books, calls this "your old home town". It's that place in which you feel secure and comfortable, in which everything's just fine. As human beings we have a drive to make everything we do into "our old home town." Zen training is about not letting anything become your "old home town", instead, being a person of no permanent residence so to speak. For most folks, they will reach a point at which they make Aikido into "their old hometown" and progress stops.

It takes someone special like an Ikeda Sensei to completely retool what hey are doing at 7th Dan. Very rare, I think.

Walker
01-11-2011, 01:45 PM
Marian Mountain, in her book The Zen Environment, which is one of my favorite books, calls this "your old home town". It's that place in which you feel secure and comfortable, in which everything's just fine. As human beings we have a drive to make everything we do into "our old home town." Zen training is about not letting anything become your "old home town", instead, being a person of no permanent residence so to speak. For most folks, they will reach a point at which they make Aikido into "their old hometown" and progress stops.

I haven't thought about that book in years. I remember passing it to friends in High School. A great message to hear at that time. I'm going to have to take a look at it again after all these years. Thanks.

Basia Halliop
01-11-2011, 02:20 PM
So, it's important to try to make the information as complete and factual as possible. If that makes it a bit more confusing to a beginner, that's fine. It's complex stuff. Over-simplification on a subject like weapons use ends up just like calling every ape in the zoo a monkey...

Yeah, this fits with my experience as a beginner and helping people more beginner... teach beginners much less at a time, more slowly, etc... but what you do teach them, try to teach them right... try not to teach them things that aren't true or that they will have to unlearn.

I have found that the folks who stay in the art for any length of time are generally the folks who can be comfortable with being confused, with not being able to be perfect all the time.

Yeah, I've already noticed this too...

I also like the idea of helping new students understand that it's normal to feel confused and doesn't reflect poorly on them. And that as you train what you're confused about does become more clear, while at the same time your further training enables you to see further and be confused about something new that you weren't even aware of enough to be confused about before...