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-   -   Bokken for empty hand training (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5139)

Jesse Candy 03-11-2004 10:15 PM

Bokken for empty hand training
 
I'm spending a lot of time with the bokken these days. I feel it helps with body movement and many aikido techniques. However, I'm wondering if the placement of the hands in the same position--right hand forward, left hand back--overtrains one side of the body for empty hand aikido. This is the reason that I've preferred the jo over the bokken for off the mat training. What are your thoughts? Would it be OK to switch hands during my personal training or is there a negative that I'm not seeing?

Thanks

PeterR 03-11-2004 11:00 PM

Re: Bokken for empty hand training
 
Either Erik on Ian recently said that all that bokken training does is get you really good at using a bokken - can't find the quote but in context it struck me as funny and a truism at the same time.

I do think the bokken is a part of what we do and that there are lessons to be learned through practice with said weapon that will help your Aikido. The wielder of the bokken has his focus, posture and Ido Ryoku worked on with none of these affected really by how you grip the bokken. Nage has these and a few other lessons but of course certain techniques can only be practiced one sided. Like all great learning tools, those lessons should be easily applied to left or right side when you do actual Aikido techniques.

Long and short of it - enjoy the practice and don't worry about it. It is a good idea to constantly think how the weapons version of techniques applies to toshu and to practice those lessons.


Quote:

Jesse Candy wrote:
I'm spending a lot of time with the bokken these days. I feel it helps with body movement and many aikido techniques. However, I'm wondering if the placement of the hands in the same position--right hand forward, left hand back--overtrains one side of the body for empty hand aikido. This is the reason that I've preferred the jo over the bokken for off the mat training. What are your thoughts? Would it be OK to switch hands during my personal training or is there a negative that I'm not seeing?

Thanks


tedehara 03-12-2004 02:39 AM

My understanding of this is there are no left-handed Japanese swordsmen. Everyone is trained from the right side. This is why you've been trained with right hand forward and left hand back.

PeterR 03-12-2004 02:44 AM

Quote:

Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
My understanding of this is there are no left-handed Japanese swordsmen. Everyone is trained from the right side. This is why you've been trained with right hand forward and left hand back.

Somewhere, someplace (probably on E-budo) I read that occasisonally there have been lefties but rare, very rare.

Charles Hill 03-12-2004 07:29 AM

Jesse,

When I trained with John Stevens, we would do a thousand cuts switching back and forth from right to left. However left hand cuts were never done during specific sword kata. I keep this as part of my daily practice and haven`t noticed any negative effect.

Charles Hill

JMCavazos 03-12-2004 08:56 AM

I think that one of the best lessons to learn from bokken training that can be applied directly to empty hand aikido is maiai (distance). Another good lesson is timing. Maybe footwork.... also extension of ki....

Wow, maybe there is more to bokken training than meets the eye.

happysod 03-12-2004 09:22 AM

Peter, I'm certainly guilty of similar sentiments re bokken (bleh, hate long weapons :p ).

So, with that caveat in mind: Jesse, try substituting your bokken for a shorter stick or a knife with a long handle (large cook's knife is ideal) and try exactly the same bokken movements. Check whether you feel your body movement is the same (pay particular attention to where your centre is) and then move on to one-handed (either hand). Not only do you get to practice your nice bokken kata footwork, but you'll hopefully get used to having a more realistic-sized weapon in your hands and realising what your striking distance is with different lengths of weapons.

Bokken/jo practice for me is one of the more impractical bits of aikido (ducks flames of "but its where aikido comes from" and "Maia! movement!"). However, I have always been taught all moves on both sides, so just give it a go.

Jesse Candy 03-12-2004 09:29 AM

Thanks for all the replies.

Ted: I understand, and certainly wouldn't attempt paired Kata left handed. I'm not trying to become a left handed swordsman, just a balanced aikidoka.

Charles, thanks for the information that really helps. Maybe I'm not totally off base after all.

Joe, Peter: Yes, I agree. The more I come to understand the bokken, the more I see it in the empty hand techniques, and the more I understand when the techniques are demonstrated. I least it works that way for me.

Jesse Candy 03-12-2004 09:34 AM

An interesting idea Ian, thanks. That would also make it possible to practice indoors.

tiyler_durden 04-02-2004 06:33 AM

Hey,

I am only training with Bokken at the moment.

PaulieWalnuts 04-02-2004 07:25 AM

Depending on what style of Aikido you practice will dictate how the bokken is represented to your taijutsu. many Aikidoka dont practice Aiki-ken Or Aiki jo and instead practice a completely different martial art ie kendo,kenjutsu,jodo etc. even though Aiki ken-jo has its origins in these traditonal systems that is were it ends, The fonder designed Aikido so that there is no difference between taijutsu-aiki ken-jo they are 1 and the same you must practice both left and right hanmi with your saburi. when you finish your cut there should be no difference between how you finish in taijutsu like taino henko and how your hanmi is after cutting they must be the same as they are the same.the ONLY diff is that in Tai no henko your hands are out in front with palms facing up projecting kokyo in ken your hands are over ken like yonkyo projecting kokyu. so if you drop the ken and open out you hands and foramrs not your upper arms they should fall into same postion. Also always trie to think about awase(blending) that is what Buki waza is all about .

aikidocapecod 04-02-2004 08:04 AM

Gleason Sensei always stresses that training with bokken is an integral part of Aikido training.

One point he makes quite often, still I am not able to get it through my thick head, is that one should not think of swinging the arms to move bokken, but rather all bokken movement begins in one's center. And is this not also true of all Aikido movements? (Just my opinion).

When I watch Gleason Sensei move with bokken, it appears to me that the bokken is part of his body. Each move is so fluid and smooth. And those are only the moves I can comprehend.

What I cannot see(strictly through my own blindness) is how each move he makes starts with his center.

IMHO, I think bokken training is a most valuable tool if one wishes to have their empty hand techniques begin from their hara..

MaryKaye 04-02-2004 08:24 PM

My experience (as a relative novice) is that having my teachers say, of empty hand techniques, "This bit here is essentially a bokken strike" has helped me a *lot*. It helps just as much with left-hand as right-hand techniques, because once I get a feel for doing it correctly I know what I'm trying to do, whichever side it is.

This analogy has been particularly helpful with shihonage and zenpo-nage.

I still don't love bokken work. It makes my back ache and it's not as exciting as bare-hand. But I am coming to see why we bother.

Mary Kaye


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