View Full Version : bukiwasa

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10-11-2002, 01:08 AM
in response to a post by Peter Goldsbury in another thread where he states that a group of beginners in his dojo are about to take their 5th kyu but have not been allowed to handle the weapons yet.

at my dojo, bukiwasa is as standard a part of the training as taijitsu, both are given equal training time per day and weapons are also considered an important part of the grading curriculum. beginners are required to do repeated saburi until sensei is satisfied they know the techniques and are then allowed to join the partner practice.

what emphasis does your (in the general sense) dojo blace on bukiwasa?

do you see it inseperable from tai jitsu?

i train this way, but i take it as given and get bored training so much weapons. but i do think they have added greatly to all aspects of my aikido training.

Bruce Baker
10-11-2002, 11:07 AM
I don't think you can fully appreciate the complexity of Aikido without training with bokken and jo.

It would be like running on a tread mill for a long distance race. You are indeed moving the muscles, running, but adapting to the varying weather conditions, road conditions, being tempered by the outdoor environment itself is part of distance running, isn't it?

So too, the insight and practicallity of using bokken and jo to hone the empty handed practice.

Since everything in our"weapons practice" (since we practice as an adendum to Aikido I don't think these sticks qualify under the term weapons in todays world) is the foundation for empty hand pracice, I don't see how you have one without finding the validation of Aikido in both segments of training.

10-11-2002, 11:51 AM
Bruce, did you hear about the Canadian woman who trained for a marathon using nothing but the treadmill; and won!

There are many different ways to approach training. Weapons may be extremely important for most people, but not necessarily all.

Anyway, that was kind of off the point on my part; just wanted to chime in about the treadmill analogy



10-11-2002, 12:49 PM
One of the people I trained with at Multnomah Aikikai was second dan I believe, and he just didn't like training with weapons. For one reason or another, he decided that he would focus all his energy to "physical" practice.

He is, fantastic.

His knowledge of aikido blow me away, and I find it very interesting that his insight is unique is certain ways. Who knows, if this a function of little weapons training, but I find it very interesting.


mike lee
10-12-2002, 06:22 AM
For one reason or another, he decided that he would focus all his energy to "physical" practice.

Weapons training can be very physical. In defending against ken or jo, nage must cover a greater distance to execute waza.

Using the running example, it would be like training regularly at 20k for a 10k race. In other words, after weapons training, which often also heightens the danger level and awareness, unarmed combat is easier.

Nevertheless, the association I am in, traditionally does not begin to teach weapons until shodan. But, I teach at a college, and the students take many breaks throughout the year (winter break, spring break, mid-term study break, holidays, etc.) We also only practice twice a week when school is in session. Plus, their grip strength seems to be unusually low.

So, during our brief summer training session, we learned basic sword cuts and a simple 21-count sword kata.

All the students were at least 5 kyu (they had taken at least one aikido test.)

The students were very enthusiastic about learning ken. I didn't have to pressure or cajole them. I kept ken training sessions short -- no more than 30 minutes. This was for reasons of attention span and because I wanted their muscles to stay relaxed.

I think the overall benefit was very positive. Grip-strength increased, and now the students have something to practice during their free time or when school is not in session.

We call the bokken our "personal trainer." :ki:

I think students who do not eventually acquire at least a minumum level of weapons skills at their dojo are being short-changed. It's an integral part of aikido training.

10-12-2002, 09:51 AM
I put physical in quotations for this very reason. I couldn't give you further explanation of his motives, because... well I am not him. But the way he explained it to me was he felt there was a connection between two via flesh contact. This connection was different in weapons training, and just didn't float his boat.

As far as the heightened sense of danger is concerned, there was many a time were we attacked and defused attack with the tanto. I enjoy that alot and wish my new dojo would pick up the habbit :)


mike lee
10-12-2002, 10:34 AM
But the way he explained it to me was he felt there was a connection between two via flesh contact. This connection was different in weapons training, and just didn't float his boat.

Well, I think weapons training "floated the boat" of O'Sensei as well as most shihan that teach aikido.

10-12-2002, 07:45 PM
I think some Aikido authorities treat lower Aikido levels as is they were retarded or idiots, and make the train exagerated slowly keeping you in the ilussion you will be good just when you old, thats a mistake, so they are dreaming, dreaming they are strong and young like you.


Deb Fisher
10-12-2002, 08:23 PM
Ah, the old Wax On - Wax Off Syndrome...

10-12-2002, 10:18 PM
Every dojo I've visited has taught weapons radically differently. Each dojo has introduced the weapons at a different level. Each dojo meant very different things when they said that 'weapons are important to AiKiDo.' At some dojos, it seemed that the instructors saw the weapons as central to learning the art; at other dojos, they saw it as being largely peripheral like a little bit of spice to pepper up the training.

I don't see any reason not to accept all of these perspectives as valid revealing different aspects of what AiKiDo can be and allowing each dojo to excel in different ways.

Peter Goldsbury
10-13-2002, 05:32 AM
The initiator of this thread started it in connection with a comment I made in another, unconnected, post. This might have given the impression that I have unusual methods of weapons training.

I myself began to use the bokken and jo about six months after beginning aikido. During the 30+ years I have been training I have moved around quite a lot, but have always trained with weapons. I think some weapons training is fundamental to understanding aikido as a martial art.

However, I do not believe in teaching weapons at too early a stage and would not even consider teaching Aiki-ken kumi-tachi or kumi-jo till at least shodan. There is no point in teaching kumi-tachi or kumi-jo until students can do suburi properly. Saito Sensei wrote that it took two years to learn how to do suburi correctly, but perhaps he had in mind the special conditions in Iwama.

And this is just in relation to Aiki-ken. I think Shoji Nishio Sensei's weapons system is more interesting in many ways than Aiki-ken, but it is also more difficult to learn.

I think a fundamental aim in teaching beginners is to teach body awareness, e.g., where your head, arms and legs are, when you do ukemi. Weapons training can help this process, but can also hinder it, if it is done too early.

Finally, verbal explanations on web sites are always liable to be misunderstood or exploited. If you really want to know how I train and teach weapons, you need to come to my dojo and train.

Yours sincerely,

G DiPierro
10-13-2002, 07:52 AM
at my dojo, bukiwasa is as standard a part of the training as taijitsu, both are given equal training time per day and weapons are also considered an important part of the grading curriculum.That kind of emphasis on weapons is characteristic of the Iwama style of Aikido. Most other styles do not emphasize weapons to the same extent. It is said that O sensei did most of his weapons work at the Iwama dojo and would even become upset when people practiced at weapons at Honbu, presumably because they didn't have sufficient basic weapons skills to be doing what they were doing.what emphasis does your (in the general sense) dojo blace on bukiwasa?Very little. The problem outside of the Iwama style is that there is little standardization of weapons practice. Weapons experience varies greatly among teachers and some highly ranked Aikido teachers may not have the skill or interest to teach weapons.do you see it inseperable from tai jitsu?Generally, no. They are obviously related, as jujutsu originally developed in Japan as an adjunct to weapons systems and weapons, particularly the sword, strongly influenced origins of Aikido taijutsu. However, in modern practice, there is little practical need for weapons training, and Aikido in general seems to be moving away from an emphasis on weapons.
i train this way, but i take it as given and get bored training so much weapons. but i do think they have added greatly to all aspects of my aikido training.Weapons training can help with understanding certain aspects of taijutsu, but I think that beyond a certain point one is studying the weapons as skills in and of themselves. Unfortunately, because of the inconsistent nature of weapons training throughout Aikido, the correct use of weapons is often not being taught, and much of this work is of limited value. For this reason, I prefer to study weapons in arts such as iaido where there is a proven, fully developed weapons curriculum.

10-13-2002, 08:33 AM

G DiPierro
10-13-2002, 09:43 AM
Opher, I assume your rather terse post was a reply to my statement about other arts that have a "proven, fully developed weapons curriculum." The techniques of the traditional weapons schools (koryu) were developed at a time when these weapons were actually used and students of these schools employed what they were learning in real life-or-death situations. Because these schools incorperated this kind of experience into their curriculums, I consider those curriculums to be "proven." BTW, I consider the jujutsu techniques of Aikido to be similarly proven.

10-13-2002, 11:30 AM
someone please correct me if I'm wrong:

I get the impression, from what I've read and from friends who have been there, that the Aikikai Hombu Dojo does not have a specific curriculum for weapons training.

If that's correct, then how did the current generation of instructors in the Aikikai develop their technique? I've had the opportunity to attend seminars taught by Endo sensei, Osawa sensei, Yokota sensei and alike and weapons training is hardly mentioned. From what I've seen or felt, I wouldn't even begin to think that that their technique is the least bit hampered by a lack of weapons tranining.

10-13-2002, 06:43 PM
my sensei has several of the weapons scrolls given by saito sensei and has an impressive technical knowledge of all the weapons techniques taught in iwama style aikido.

we are required to do saburi for at least a year before taking part in partner practice, and this year also involves practicing every day (at home if not at the dojo).

after this year we take part in partner practice and over time i have been taught pretty much every technique in the weapons curriculum. at the moment we are doing the 31 jo-no awase partner practice.

i think this is an experiment (for lack of better words) on my sensei's behalf in testing the effectiveness of weapons in the learning process. by shodan grading we are expected to show just about all the weapons techniques. the kumi-tachi, kumi-jo, jusan no-jo awase, san ju-ichi no-jo awase, ken-tai-jo and so on.

this is pretty much the way i have trained since starting aikido so i have no way of telling wether if i had trained without the weapons my progress would still be the same. although many little revelations come to me during weapons training that i can apply directly in the tai-jitsu which follows.

im interested if any people out there have gone from a dojo not training regular weapons to one that does and felt a marked improvement in progress, or nothing. and those who have gone from a dojo training regular weapons to one that doesnt and felt any difference.

10-14-2002, 03:21 AM
I have done that, moving from Germany (where I trained in Dojos with hardly any weapons exposure) to the US - where I joined an ASU-Dojo.

I must say that training in Aikido weapons has helped me a lot, and I would not want to miss it today. In fact, at my own dojo now back in Germany, we have 2 out of 6 (time-)hours per week dedicated to weapons.


10-18-2002, 05:12 AM
In my dojo we begin doing weapons-practice from the first day we start. This includes suburi-practice, jo-sabaki, to-sabaki, ken-tai-ken and ken-tai-jo. Off course we exsercise extrem causion when doing paired weapons-techniques with beginners, but then again, I guess we should allways be extremely causius when practicing :)

The special Nishio Sensei style of Iaido (Aiki-to-ho) is taught as well. Though it is not mandatory - it is highly encouraged.

I have done no other style of Aikido, so I am not going to try to judge whether or not 'correct' aikido (if there is such a concept) is possible to acchieve without weapons practice, but I am becomming more certain all the time that becomming really good at the style of Aikido which Nisho Sensei teaches, requires getting to know the jo and the bokken as weapons and exploring how the movements of (his) aikido has developed from the way of the sword.

10-18-2002, 05:57 AM
Does anyone else name their weapons? or am i just wierd?

Bokken - Mr sticky.

Jo - The woppie stick of infinate doom.

Tanto - Jason.

I've even engraved their names on them too.

anybody else do this?

btw we were supposed to learn the 31 jo kata by our 6th Kyu, but we never did as sensei couldnt remember it, he hadnt done it in like three years or sommat and he hates Kata's

still we train alot with the jo and the bokken.


10-18-2002, 09:18 AM
Giancarlo. Thanks. I just wanted to know what you meant by that word.

mike lee
10-19-2002, 02:44 AM
Does anyone else name their weapons? or am i just wierd?

My heavy bokken is called "The Enforcer."

My light-weight white-ash bokken is "White Lightning." :blush:

10-22-2002, 11:12 PM
My first "sensei" encouraged learning the weapons early and often. Of course he wouldn't teach you anything unless you paid for those classes which were convienlenty separate.

That was a long time ago. My opinion regarding weapons training is: Train early, often, and continuously with both the bokken and jo. They will in-effect teach you many aspects of aikido. If also you practice jo dori and bokken dori, you've pretty much got a complete package (except ukemi :D) . Not bad for two wooden sticks.