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AriesS
06-14-2004, 11:33 PM
I been reading some of the post on the weapon section of Aikiweb and I was fascinated about the discussion of the Bokken practice. I would like to comment on the following items and would like to hear yours.

1) Several posts mentioned that practioners of Bokken will have a hard time when it comes to practicing real blades . Its even mentioned that those who did not practice Bokken will learn a faster or do better that those who did. Several kenjetsu ryu and art were mentioned to support the post.

2) On the same thread it was stated that Aikido's Tachiwaza would be useless against these arts. An aikidoka will be reduce to a mince meat as one claims.

So my thoughts on the above.

Although I have not practiced Kendo or other Kenjutsu art I will have to agree to the author of the post when he said that, Bokken practioners will have a hard time when it come to the real blade.

My training with KALI/Arnis taught me this lesson. After practicing sometime with just sticks alone I went for a KALI training that uses real blades. Yes it was hard. The emphasis on making sure that the live blade hitting its target was not just there with me.

With live blades one has to be very thorough with your strikes. One cannot affort to simply threw a strike,just as we do with the sticks. Doing this may result to the side of the weapon hitting target and not the blade itself. I would assume that this experience is similar to what Bokken practioners are encountering with real blades. On the basis of learning in striking the real blades those who did not practice with sticks before tend to do better that those who did.

However I must say that this does not make them better when it comes to fighting skills. The advantage is clear, those who practiced with sticks move, weave and parry strikes better than those who did not.

Do you think its safe to assume that this holds true with Bokken practioner?


As for item 2, if I will just consider the knife fighting traing of Kali, Aikido's tanto tori practices in not enough. We can then claim of making mince meat our of thos who practice it. However I do believe the tanto-tori practices are taught to better prepare the aikidokas for such eventuality.When the time comes all those preparation by Aikidoka combined with the tanto tori will save his life when confronted with a knife wielding thug.

Dont you think that Tachitori aims is the same?

PeterR
06-14-2004, 11:56 PM
Well I don't know of any Koryu that don't use bokken especially with beginners. Cheaper, safer. I assume we are talking about kumi tachi (sword against sword) practice rather than drawing or test cutting.

As for unarmed versus armed its pretty much a given that the latter has advantage but every Koryu demonstration I have seen seems to have a large number of sword take aways. Some by the way look more silly than anything I've practiced in an Aikido dojo.. The story goes that the sword master of the Tokugawa Shoguns got hired because he took the the sword away from Ieyasu in a demonstration. He was unarmed. These techniques can't have been that useless.

Some people who call themselves "Koryu" have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. I think we should learn a little sword and a bit more tachi dori mainly because of the historical association between unarmed and armed techniques. Beyond that if someone came up to me with a sword I wouldn't risk proving me right.

SeiserL
06-15-2004, 08:08 AM
Also coming from a FMA/JKD background, I would suggest that people train more "blade conscious". That means to pay attention to where the bladed edge is and how it slices and dices.

BTW, the first time I tatami cut, it went just fine.

p00kiethebear
06-15-2004, 04:12 PM
I am inclined to politely disagree with a few of these points.

Although I have not practiced Kendo or other Kenjutsu art I will have to agree to the author of the post when he said that, Bokken practioners will have a hard time when it come to the real blade.

I think this is ridiculous. If this is the case then you're not training correctly. You should always train with a wooden sword as if it were real.

Putting a 27 inch razor blade in the hands of someone who has never held anything resembling a sword in their life is like giving a three year old a loaded gun. When I train in kenjutsu everyone uses bokken at the begining. No exceptions. Those who gain experience move on to iaito. Those who have shown control and safety over a long period of time with bokken and iaito are permitted to own a live blade.

With live blades one has to be very thorough with your strikes. One cannot affort to simply threw a strike,just as we do with the sticks. Doing this may result to the side of the weapon hitting target and not the blade itself. I would assume that this experience is similar to what Bokken practioners are encountering with real blades.

This assumes that people who train with bokken just wave them around without any idea what they're doing. When you train with bokken, you practice addressing the edge to where your target would be. I myself have spent hours and hours practicing in a mirror, attempting to perfect my haso, my stances, my chudan, my post cut etc etc. When I first had a live blade put in my hands, and went up to cut for the first time (on igusa goza, not those butter targets or beachmats that bugei and other companies sell) I didn't miss one cut, after 8 months of training with a bokken (not iaito). I had never held a live blade before that time and my cutting was just fine because i had trained with a bokken the same way i would train with a real sword.

This next statement may be a little biased because i have no idea how your dojo practices aikiken, but, in defense of aikiken. From what i've seen, the purpose behind it is not to learn to cut through things but rather to learn the rythm and timing aspects of the sword, which in itself is a very important thing to learn. This i think, is why you would assume some of these things such as bokken people not cutting well. When i practice aikiken the sensei puts little or no emphasis on precise cutting and more on timing and entering.

Chris Li
06-15-2004, 07:32 PM
As for unarmed versus armed its pretty much a given that the latter has advantage but every Koryu demonstration I have seen seems to have a large number of sword take aways. Some by the way look more silly than anything I've practiced in an Aikido dojo.. The story goes that the sword master of the Tokugawa Shoguns got hired because he took the the sword away from Ieyasu in a demonstration. He was unarmed. These techniques can't have been that useless.

IIRC, someone actually asked him (Yagyu) how often he could do that under battlefield conditions - the answer was a very low number (on the order of four times out of ten, but I don't recall exactly). I'm sure that number would be much lower for me :).

Best,


Chris

PeterR
06-15-2004, 07:53 PM
Well a 40% chance of survival is better than nothing. Definitely worth training for.

I would think that a swordsman was similarly disadvantaged on the battlefield vis a vis the Dojo or Demo hall. Rough ground, surrounded by several people that want to kill you in addition to the guy who just lost his sword. Not too mention that armor slowing you down.

Chris Li
06-15-2004, 07:58 PM
Well a 40% chance of survival is better than nothing. Definitely worth training for.

I would think that a swordsman was similarly disadvantaged on the battlefield vis a vis the Dojo or Demo hall. Rough ground, surrounded by several people that want to kill you in addition to the guy who just lost his sword. Not too mention that armor slowing you down.

I'd imagine that he took that into account when making the estimate (which is just a guess anyway). In any case, 40% isn't bad, but it isn't how it looks in the demonstrations :).

Basically, I think that it was mostly a kind of last ditch thing - a way that you could at least go out looking like you tried something. Alternatively, it might be useful against an untrained peasant who happened to be holding onto your sword, I suppose.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
06-15-2004, 08:07 PM
I'd imagine that he took that into account when making the estimate (which is just a guess anyway). In any case, 40% isn't bad, but it isn't how it looks in the demonstrations :).

Which brings us to my often harped point of enbu versus shiai and finding out which waza work under what conditions. :p

Basically, I think that it was mostly a kind of last ditch thing - a way that you could at least go out looking like you tried something. Alternatively, it might be useful against an untrained peasant who happened to be holding onto your sword, I suppose.
Probably - I can see grappling situations developing quite often but a situation where the ma ai favors the swordsman has got to be bad news.

If an untrained peasant has gotten hold of your sword - you deserve to die :D

Chris Li
06-15-2004, 08:12 PM
If an untrained peasant has gotten hold of your sword - you deserve to die :D

It could be someone else's sword, as well, there were a lot of small revolts and conflicts after Sekigahara where the peasants ended up with weapons. And after all, unless you're Musashi you've got to bathe sometime.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
06-15-2004, 08:18 PM
It could be someone else's sword, as well, there were a lot of small revolts and conflicts after Sekigahara where the peasants ended up with weapons. And after all, unless you're Musashi you've got to bathe sometime.

The operative words were your sword and the situation was the battlefield. If you were there and taking a bath you not only deserve to die but die slowly.

Chris Li
06-15-2004, 08:52 PM
The operative words were your sword and the situation was the battlefield. If you were there and taking a bath you not only deserve to die but die slowly.

Hey, even on the battlefield a guy's gotta stay clean!

"Alway keep your hair well groomed, for it is your head that goes to the enemy camp."

-The Hagakure

Best,

Chris

PeterR
06-15-2004, 09:00 PM
"Alway keep your hair well groomed, for it is your head that goes to the enemy camp."

-The Hagakure
Touche' Note to self - never fence with Chris.

Famous last words.

Excuse me peasant scum, hold my sword while I fix my hair.

Lyle Laizure
06-15-2004, 10:07 PM
I have to agree with Nathan. It is important to train with bokken prior to a shinken. It is important for practitioners to treat their bokken as it is a shinken. I can't imagine it being otherwise for safety reasons alone.

Zoli Elo
06-16-2004, 02:13 AM
What about sleep, Peter and Chris? Everyone, except for me, has to sleep at some point. ;)

As for the original questions:
1) Bokuto then shinken. (However, one never stops using a bokuto as they are excellent teaching tools...)
2) "Makiage" like movements found in aikiken are extremely applicable...

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2004, 02:30 PM
You guys crack me up!

Ron

AriesS
06-16-2004, 10:43 PM
To the BEAR:

BTW the bokken and real blade thing was not ORIGINALLY my post. I suggest you check the posts about the bokken in the weapons area.

Nevertheless, my kali experience taught a lesson similar to the one mentioned there. Until my training went to the blade I tend to hit with the back and sides of the sticks.

If you notice my post I did mention that beginners who did not start with the stick tends to do better on emphasing BLADE HITS. To clarify the matter, I mentioned that this does not make them better fighters since those with kali background move waeve and parry better.

Just to clarify my point.



quote:
I think this is ridiculous. If this is the case then you're not training correctly. You should always train with a wooden sword as if it were real.

Putting a 27 inch razor blade in the hands of someone who has never held anything resembling a sword in their life is like giving a three year old a loaded gun. When I train in kenjutsu everyone uses bokken at the begining. No exceptions. Those who gain experience move on to iaito. Those who have shown control and safety over a long period of time with bokken and iaito are permitted to own a live blade.

quote: :)

kironin
06-17-2004, 09:28 AM
Actually, organizations do exist that insist you train only with shinken from the beginning. They believe dulled blades or iaito foster sloppy or incorrect movement.

I've always wondered what their insurance premiums were. :)

I personally prefer my students to start out with iaito that are not completely dull. Tozando has what they call semi-sharp. Knowing that there is some danger however reduced is good for student's awareness.
I just don't trust their awareness enough to let them use something razor sharp initially.

I have met many non-aikido martial artists doing iaido, some are kendoka but there are a good number of karateka also who have never picked up a bokken before beginning with an iaito. I don't see much of a difference after a few years of training than those who may have done aiki-ken, in fact I would suggest they don't have bad habits to unlearn.

I have practiced aiki-ken of Saotome, Toyoda, and Saito Sensei style. I have done Nishio style aikiken (They call it iai but it really seems more like aiki-ken to me since it's meant to relate to aikido techniques.). All of it, is great stuff in the context of the particular aikido styles. The goal does not seem to me in any of them to really teach much about sword, but more to inform you about aikido movement. People may think they are training with a bokken as if it was real, but unless they have actually trained with a shinken I think this is more a delusion. It would be a rare individual that has that talent.

I for example certainly don't have that talent. Only because I have trained for a number of years with iaito and shinken with some very patient teachers, can I just pick up a bokken and treat it like a sword.

Craig

Yann Golanski
06-17-2004, 10:13 AM
I'm sure someone has successfully claimed to use Iaido as self defense in a court of law in modern times.

</joke> <--- Look, a little tag meaning this a joke (http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=joke&x=0&y=0)....

Chris Li
06-17-2004, 05:14 PM
Putting a 27 inch razor blade in the hands of someone who has never held anything resembling a sword in their life is like giving a three year old a loaded gun. When I train in kenjutsu everyone uses bokken at the begining. No exceptions. Those who gain experience move on to iaito. Those who have shown control and safety over a long period of time with bokken and iaito are permitted to own a live blade.

quote: :)

As Craig said, there are a number of traditional styles that train with shinken from the beginning. I trained in a few in Japan, and they never had any particular problems with safety. Let's not exaggerate the danger level of a "27 inch razor blade". After all, a sword doesn't explode accidently in your hand - a few simple safety rules and there really isn't much of a problem. Japanese children were generally given shinken from around 7 years old - probably much the same as in other cultures that commonly used swords.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
06-17-2004, 09:11 PM
Hi Chris;

Just out of curiosity do these schools which use shinken from the beginning complete eschew (I actually got to use that word correctly) bokken in their training. I am specifically talking about kumi-tachi rather than solo work.

Chris Li
06-18-2004, 12:57 AM
Hi Chris;

Just out of curiosity do these schools which use shinken from the beginning complete eschew (I actually got to use that word correctly) bokken in their training. I am specifically talking about kumi-tachi rather than solo work.

For kumi-tachi? Sure, plenty of bokuto. You wouldn't smack shinken against each other in day to day training - they're too expensive.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
06-18-2004, 01:10 AM
As I was led to believe - thanks Chris.

Berney Fulcher
06-18-2004, 09:51 AM
Out of curiousity, when practicing with live blades, are the exercises similar to when practicing with bokken? For example, in a typical exercise one person might "win", i.e. end up simulating a strike at the other persons neck or wrists.

For kumi-tachi? Sure, plenty of bokuto. You wouldn't smack shinken against each other in day to day training - they're too expensive.
I'm not sure what the term kumi-tachi means exactly. Are you saying that duo practice always uses bokken? You say plenty of bokken implying sometimes it is duo live blades. Do you just adjust the distance out slightly then, or only do this with more advanced practitioners?

kironin
06-18-2004, 10:16 AM
For kumi-tachi? Sure, plenty of bokuto. You wouldn't smack shinken against each other in day to day training - they're too expensive.
Best,
Chris


Yeow! you bet not! Leave that to millionaires.

bokuto is dangerous enough for kumitachi.

shinken should be a danger only to yourself assuming you have checked your mekugi.

best,
Craig

Chris Li
06-18-2004, 02:23 PM
Out of curiousity, when practicing with live blades, are the exercises similar to when practicing with bokken? For example, in a typical exercise one person might "win", i.e. end up simulating a strike at the other persons neck or wrists.


I'm not sure what the term kumi-tachi means exactly. Are you saying that duo practice always uses bokken? You say plenty of bokken implying sometimes it is duo live blades. Do you just adjust the distance out slightly then, or only do this with more advanced practitioners?

Kumi-tachi would be pair practice, and I've never seen any that involves contact between the blades done with shinken, although I've seen people do pair work with live blades that involves no actual contact between the blades I wouldn't recommend it for beginner's, though).

Best,

Chris

Ron Tisdale
06-21-2004, 08:16 AM
Kumi-tachi would be pair practice, and I've never seen any that involves contact between the blades done with shinken, although I've seen people do pair work with live blades that involves no actual contact between the blades I wouldn't recommend it for beginner's, though).

Gives new meaning to your life...that's for sure...

Ron