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akiy 06-21-2000 09:46 AM

Geordy Ledyard mentioned in the Aiki Buki thread that he had developed some weapons exercises for himself and his students derived from some of his koryu experience.

Do people have any good weapons exercises they can share?

-- Jun

Norman 06-21-2000 12:04 PM

OK BIG DISCLAIMER here;
I have never studied any budo swordsnamship, but have trained extensively in european styles and perhaps could offer a few insights.


European styles differ mainly on the weapon used.
for example fencing, depending on foil, sabre, or eepe, is generally very target orientated. you are aiming for specific organs in the body. There is no such crushing blows in fencing, so the strategy basically is to feign the opponent in to moving his defenses out of the small above the waist target area, then strike with a precise killing blow.

The tactics, and style are altogeather different when figting with a broadsword. Usually you are both fully armored (about 80 pounds of armor) and the strategy is either knock your opponent off balance then once on the ground, follow ontop of him and with your dagger cut the throat, or to bludgeon specific armor pieces to cause an internal injury, or lack of movement.

then fighing with a shield, or on horseback, are again totally different styles, but one thing holds true to all of them...

When I am instucting beginning swordsfighters they are unaware about two things,

One, the only part of the blade you are ever going to hit with is from the tip to six inches down. that is the area that will gain the most momentum.
and likewise the only are you wil block with is the 12 inches from the guard up. this tis where you can sucessfully block a stike.

Two, people often think that it is wrong to use your hands. when you close the distance you can easily punch, push, bash or pommel the opponent. this also includes grabbing ahold of their sword. (remember the only part worth shapening is the 6 inches at the tip and usually your hands are gloved)

I would also like to say that since no one martial art is compleete, I see no problem with western warriorship blended with eastern.

Just a note on credability, I traveled with the Hanlon-Lees Action Theater for a few years. They are a troupe of jousting knights that perform at rennisance faires. I lent my blacksmithing skills to make whatever repairs were needed to tack, and armor and weapons. Yes the groundfighting is all worked out ahead of time, but everyone there after hours would spen all night sparing and learning from one another. So all my knowledge is from books and mainly from real combat expiriance. Also the jousting is real to a great degree, the horsemanship is crucial to a safe show.

I do not claim to be any great european swordsmaster, but many many bumps and bruises later, I feel I can offer some insights that may or may not bennifit someone.
Also a post like this can never lend a great deal of information on any topic, but I hope the insights may help someone

Norman Harvey
New England Aikikai

BC 06-21-2000 01:49 PM

Alot of my fellow aikidoists practice happo undo with a bokken. I like that and I still practice some Kali stick exercises I learned a few years back.

typewriting_monkey 07-19-2000 04:48 PM

weapons for a non-offensive martial art?
 
Would an Aikido practitioner learn to use various weapons simply for the sake of defending him/herself from those who would use them offensively, or do Aikido practitioners occasionally use weapons for offensive purposes (i.e. knocking someone unconscious, assistance in a joint lock, etc.)?

adriangan 07-19-2000 06:06 PM

Whenever there's no class and I'm at home and have this urge to practice:

I get my bokken and then go to the driveway and practice 100 shomen-uchi in migi hanmi and another 100 in hidare hanmi. Then I practice/review the 7 ken suburi and perform eack mov't at least 10 times. After that, I practice ken-tai-ken ikkyo, nikkyo and sankyo with an imaginary opponent.

Afterwards I get my jo and do 100 jodan-gaeshi. Then I practice the 20 jo suburi and 31 jo kata. And finally, I practice ken-tai-jo ikkyo, nikkyo and sankyo with an imaginary opponent.

Btw, I'm looking for a good weapons book. Any ideas?

- Adrian

Nick 07-19-2000 06:48 PM

you're kidding... I do almost that same exercise, except for I do more cuts, and use my iaito.

Wonder if that means anything?

-Nick

Guest5678 07-21-2000 06:39 AM

Re: weapons for a non-offensive martial art?
 
Quote:

typewriting_monkey wrote:
Would an Aikido practitioner learn to use various weapons simply for the sake of defending him/herself from those who would use them offensively, or do Aikido practitioners occasionally use weapons for offensive purposes (i.e. knocking someone unconscious, assistance in a joint lock, etc.)?
typewriting_monkey:

Answer to question one - yes!
Answer to question two - Not sure what you mean by offensive, but weapons training improves timing, distance, extension etc... It's also a good way to do moving meditation.

Regards,

Mongo

George S. Ledyard 07-24-2000 07:45 AM

Exercises
 
Quote:

akiy wrote:
Geordy Ledyard mentioned in the Aiki Buki thread that he had developed some weapons exercises for himself and his students derived from some of his koryu experience.

Do people have any good weapons exercises they can share?

-- Jun

One exercise that I found to be very good for developing speed, strength and intention is loosely derived from the Maniwa Nen Ryu. It utilizes light protective gear and shinai. One partner delivers a constant series of continuous shomen attacks wit his shinai. The defender starts in front gedan, uses one of three responses at random to receive the attack: 1) enter and cut using a falling spiral deflection, the cut should make medium contact with the helmet; 2) moves left, evades the cut and pulses the partner's sword down with a left to right spiral downward pulse then instantly rebounds to a shomen strike; 3) draws back and evades the cut by executing a tip down block then instantly bounds back in for a shomen strike. The helmet should have enough padding to allow for medium intensity hits. This exercise is exhausting and develops strong intention. Because the partner is able to attack with power because you have gloves and a helmet you will quickly find out if your moves are working. If your timing is off or your own intention is weak you get hit.

Another great training exercise is to start the two partners far apart on the mat and then have them move towards each other at whatever speed they wish. The "attacker" is supposed to initiate a shomen strike as soon as he gets in range. The "defender" has his choice of responses: falling deflect and cut, rising deflect and cut, move off line with Do cut, straight to the center with a tsuki. This type of training comes from classical styles which were designed for battlefield combat in which the opponents started from far apart and then moved towards each other. The psychological aspects of starting apart and them moving towards each other are quite different from two people standing right at the edged of the "critical distance" from each other. What I particularly like about the exercise is that the two partners make an effort to vary the speed at which they approach each other. This makes the timing much more complex (and realistic).


[Edited by George S. Ledyard on July 24, 2000 at 07:49am]

Forrest 07-31-2000 08:38 PM

Weapons Exercises
 
Jun,

Good question. When Isoyama was out here, he told me I should use the Jo and Bokken everyday. Of course, I haven't been able to do it that often, but when I do, I do about the same as the exercises that have already been listed.
When I go out to Cali to train with him in November, I will ask him about a good regiment and write it down for you as well.

Hope you had fun at summer camp,
Forrest

adriangan 08-04-2000 04:43 AM

Re: weapons for a non-offensive martial art?
 
typewriting_monkey wrote:
Would an Aikido practitioner learn to use various weapons simply for the sake of defending him/herself from those who would use them offensively,

yes.

typewriting_monkey wrote:
or do Aikido practitioners occasionally use weapons for offensive purposes (i.e. knocking someone unconscious, assistance in a joint lock, etc.)?


I guess my answer to that question is: if one needs to. A good example I thought of is in the case of multiple attackers, I'd lock them all up I could. Given that I only have two hands, I wouldn't mind knocking someone unconscious. :D


-Adrian

Jason 08-04-2000 09:07 AM

One thing I sometimes do on off nights is to take my old bokken and jo and do as many shomen/yokomen/tsuki suburi as I can hitting my canvas heavy bag. It's interesting how weak my attacks were at the beginning and how unusual it feels to actually *strike* something... and how weak my hidari attacks are compared to my migi ones!

aiki_what 08-04-2000 01:59 PM

Weapons Training
 
Try doing paired kumitachi without weapons (or any other paired kata)...in other words imaginary weapons.....making sure that all the particulars, such as posture, grip, miai, are still adhered to.....

AikiTom 08-05-2000 09:18 PM

Jun,
To answer your question, we do a number of exercises at our dojo in pairs, but we also have quite a few that can be done alone. We do the bokken happo undo mentioned above, a 4 short "striking" katas where the footwork is basically shihonage, ikkyo, and kokyunage/iriminage (depending on what your school calls it). We also have 3 bokken katas and 3 jo katas, the last of which is done as suwari-waza.

Just a few observations on a letter above:
Quote:

Norman wrote:

European styles differ mainly on the weapon used.
for example fencing, depending on foil, sabre, or eepe, is generally very target orientated. you are aiming for specific organs in the body. There is no such crushing blows in fencing, so the strategy basically is to feign the opponent in to moving his defenses out of the small above the waist target area, then strike with a precise killing blow.

Not so, on a couple of counts. I've fenced all 3 weapons, including foil competitively, and I've not known anyone to seek a "precise killing blow."
Perhaps this a weakness of competition, but points (more precisely, "touches" or "cuts") are sought, and anywhere within the alloted area counts the same.
In sabre, the upper half of the body is the target area, and we used a lot of arm and shoulder cuts - could be "killing blow", but not likely.
In epee, the whole body is the target, and since the foot of the opponent is often closest, it was a favorite target, and again hardly a "killing blow" or "organ" being tageted, although I suppose you could bleed to death from a cut foot. :)
And, lastly, foil. I fenced with, and against, some nationally-ranked coaches and fencers, and never heard of or saw "organ" targeting or much concern for precision targeting as such. In fact, one fencer I knew used ma-ai well to draw in his opponent and then "flicked" his foil downward to the target, holding his wrist in the same place, much like someone casting with a fishing pole. It was very fast, in the target area, but not a killing blow.
SO, I don't mean to be overly critical, but that's my take on it. The feints in fencing can be useful in studying aikido atemi, but except for certain parry/riposte combinations, the foil arts are essentially linear in nature and not circular like aikido. A footnote, fencing derived as an art from ballet(!)

DJM 08-06-2000 12:54 AM

I have to agree with Tom on the fencing issue - I fenced for 7 years or so, primarily foil and sabre, some epee. I fenced foil competitively, though only once at a particularly large event (not in my nature - the whole 'competitive thing').

For what it's worth, I actually have some bad habits from fencing that take some beating for my Aikido, the main one is not standing with hips square on when in posture - too tempting a target area in fencing...

Couple points I'd like to add, just to add my pennies to the pile..

Quote:

AikiTom wrote:

In sabre, the upper half of the body is the target area, and we used a lot of arm and shoulder cuts - could be "killing blow", but not likely.

Yep, but I also used to use a few head cuts too - similar target area to yokomen cuts I guess.. Also explains the scar you used to get with German fencers when they used to fence without protective gear (macho thing as opposed to sport).

Quote:

In epee, the whole body is the target, and since the foot of the opponent is often closest, it was a favorite target, and again hardly a "killing blow" or "organ" being tageted, although I suppose you could bleed to death from a cut foot. :)
Epee is bad! For the non-fencers, imagine fighting with pokers. About as much flexibility as the epee!!

Quote:

And, lastly, foil. I fenced with, and against, some nationally-ranked coaches and fencers, and never heard of or saw "organ" targeting or much concern for precision targeting as such. In fact, one fencer I knew used ma-ai well to draw in his opponent and then "flicked" his foil downward to the target, holding his wrist in the same place, much like someone casting with a fishing pole. It was very fast, in the target area, but not a killing blow.
Yes, very useful technique with foil - only of any use when fencing with an electric foil. When fencing with non-electric foils this doesn't give you the 'bend' that it needed to ajudge a hit..

Peace,
David

AikiTom 08-06-2000 10:15 PM

Quote:

DJM wrote:

For what it's worth, I actually have some bad habits from fencing that take some beating for my Aikido, the main one is not standing with hips square on when in posture - too tempting a target area in fencing...

You know, I find myself doing the same, although I don't know if that's all bad. I've seen some experienced aikido teachers on video who appear to use such a stance, that is more of a chest-facing-to-the-side rather than open-to-the-front kamae.
Quote:

DJM wrote:

Yep, but I also used to use a few head cuts too - similar target area to yokomen cuts I guess..

Funny you say that....after I wrote that I looked at the letter above making reference to "no crushing blows" and I thought I remembered some blows to the head, too, although ours were more of the shomen type than the yokomen. I guess we thought that was cool :)
Quote:

DJM wrote:
Epee is bad!

I think it's also bad because it encourages getting points at the expense of realistic fighting strategy. If you went after a foot in a real fight, you might get the foot, but lose your arm (!)
Quote:

DJM wrote:
Yes, very useful technique with foil - only of any use when fencing with an electric foil. When fencing with non-electric foils this doesn't give you the 'bend' that it needed to ajudge a hit..
Exactly right, another one of those problems with making a supposed combat form into a sport.

Dan Hover 08-26-2000 11:56 AM

Re: weapons for a non-offensive martial art?
 
Quote:

typewriting_monkey wrote:
Would an Aikido practitioner learn to use various weapons simply for the sake of defending him/herself from those who would use them offensively, or do Aikido practitioners occasionally use weapons for offensive purposes (i.e. knocking someone unconscious, assistance in a joint lock, etc.)?
Yes, to both

Dan Hover 08-26-2000 11:58 AM

Quote:

adriangan wrote:
Whenever there's no class and I'm at home and have this urge to practice:

I get my bokken and then go to the driveway and practice 100 shomen-uchi in migi hanmi and another 100 in hidare hanmi. Then I practice/review the 7 ken suburi and perform eack mov't at least 10 times. After that, I practice ken-tai-ken ikkyo, nikkyo and sankyo with an imaginary opponent.

Afterwards I get my jo and do 100 jodan-gaeshi. Then I practice the 20 jo suburi and 31 jo kata. And finally, I practice ken-tai-jo ikkyo, nikkyo and sankyo with an imaginary opponent.

Btw, I'm looking for a good weapons book. Any ideas?

- Adrian

Gaku Homma's Structure of Aikido Vol 1. Kenjutsu taijutsu relationships

invaluable source of info

Suru 08-26-2000 03:06 PM

I've found weapons training to be essential in developing proper timing and spacing (maai). Also, training with weapons reminds me of the roots of aikido dating back to feudal Japan. Also, for self-defense purposes, weapons encountered in real life may resemble a bokken, jo, or tanto. Therefore, weapons training is important for confidence as well as improving our sense for distancing and timing.

--Drew

Dan Hover 08-26-2000 10:00 PM

weapons
 
basically the bottom line really depends on your teacher and their philosophy on weapons training, Ken teaches you technique whereas Jo teaches you principle. Most people are split between whether Aikido is a empty hand art or not. Honbu rarely if at all uses weapons, here in the US it is only required usually at advanced levels. and then either tachi dori or jo dori. with their particular "styles" of kumi waza. I have an open weapon class each week. which I use to expand on taijutsu and on the traditional use of each weapon, but you will always need to remember Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo are not the same as Ken or Iaido and even jodo. They are their to teach you aikido not to teach you to become a master swordsman. As the sense that training in Aikido will not make us Samurai. Although an active imagination is a wonderful thing...

Dan Hover

akiy 08-26-2000 10:12 PM

Re: weapons
 
Quote:

Dan Hover wrote:
Ken teaches you technique whereas Jo teaches you principle.
Can you please explain?

-- Jun

Dan Hover 08-26-2000 10:22 PM

can you please explain
 
O'sensei based Aikido stance, footwork and hand work all off of the various styles of Kenjustu he trained under. So although various schools of JuJutsu may have the same joint locks and throws. in Aikido our waza comes from his study of the Ken, Shihonage from Shihogiri, from Shiho Hai( four directional gratititude)
Whereas Aikijo teaches us the principle of extension without connnection(in the physical sense) such as we see in comparing Jo dori's to kokyunage, the technique looks the same, because the principle is the same. and the application of Aiki principle is the common thread throughout most(if not all) techniques, ergo most technques were never named(saito) and ergo Kokyunage has thousands of variations that all answer to Kokyunage.

Dan Hover

Dan Hover 08-28-2000 12:39 PM

helpful hint
 
For any one interested, and can't get Saito's tapes:
Saito's 20 jo suburi are demonstrated on the Crane's tape series Vol #5. Same order.


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