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John Boswell 06-18-2004 10:01 AM

Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
I've been curious about the video Satome Shihan has on the use of two swords and was wondering if anyone here has practiced this?

How applicable is the use of two swords to standard tachi-waza? What benifits have you gained?

Fishing for thoughts and comments on this subject before I spend the money on the video, though I may yet do it.

Thanks!

Fred Little 06-18-2004 11:18 AM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
I can't claim any great in-depth understanding of the two-sword exercises developed by Saotome Sensei, beyond a limited amount of seminar time, some in classes taught by Saotome Sensei and some taught by students who've worked directly with him on this material.

But at this very, very, very basic level, I've noted a number of benefits that translate back into both empty-hand and single-sword practice.

1. Enforced awareness of what both sides of the body are doing and improved posture. Narrowly, this translates into a reduction in the frequency and seriousness of the typical problem of having the "inactive" hand go dead. More broadly, it encourages full body movement from center, and better use of the internal musculature of the torso to effect changes in position, range, and level of pressure at the point of contact (as opposed to simple arm movement and upper body strength.

2. Better awareness of multiple ma-ai in a single situation, simply because the number of
combinations set up by two practitioners, each with two swords of different lengths, is geometrically higher in obvious ways. This translates into a different, somewhat softer and more inclusive mental/perceptual focus that is, again, useful in both armed and unarmed technique.

If Robert Deppe is lurking anywhere nearby, he knows the material far better than I and could likely provide a more substantive response. There are other folks who could do so too, but I haven't seen them on this board and thus, I'm not mentioning them by name.

Hope this helps,

Fred Little

John Boswell 06-18-2004 12:36 PM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
Bingo!

Thank you, Fred! That was exactlly what I was looking for. I knew there was something greatly benificial from such a practice, but I couldn't put my finger on it... but you did.

Enforcing awarness of the other hand would be extreamly benificial as I often times find myself concentrating too much on one hand and not the other. I often have to make myself work on one aspect of the technique and then the other before looking at the whole picture. That's good.

And I see your point on "multiple ma-ai." It has me greatly looking forward to the video and seeing it further explained and demonstrated. Excellent!

I'd be curious to hear more, but thanks for pointing out just what I was looking for. :)

PS: My apologies for my spelling. It isn't my strong suit by any stretch of the imagination. :eek:

akiy 06-18-2004 02:47 PM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
I think Fred put it pretty darn well!

Our senior student at the dojo just started teaching two sword a few weeks ago a couple of times a week and it's been great. I've been exposed to the method from Saotome sensei many times in the past, but it's nice to get another perspective on things.

I'd say, though, that the video itself isn't too well-suited towards learning about Saotome sensei's two sword stuff. I'd consider it more an auxiliary medium and think it would be pretty difficult to pick up a lot of what goes on...

By the way, Fred, you mentioned "two practitioners, each with two swords of different lengths" up above. I can't say I've ever practiced with Saotome sensei wherein both practioners wielded two swords each...

The best memory I've had in two sword is being one of five uke armed with bokuto (one each) in randori trying to cut Saotome sensei who had his two swords. I think all of us uke were "killed" at least a few times each...

-- Jun

Chris Li 06-18-2004 07:37 PM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
Quote:

Jun Akiyama wrote:
I'd say, though, that the video itself isn't too well-suited towards learning about Saotome sensei's two sword stuff. I'd consider it more an auxiliary medium and think it would be pretty difficult to pick up a lot of what goes on...

The bulk of the tape is from a seminar at the old Chicago dojo around (?) 1988, when he was first starting up with the two sword stuff - I'm actually in it, if you can spot the back of my head... :)

Anyway, I always thought that the biggest benefit of the two sword stuff is that it tends to be a clear expression of Saotome's thinking on empty hand work. I never thought much of it as swordwork, although it does look awfully cool.

Best,

Chris

Fred Little 06-18-2004 08:01 PM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
Quote:

Jun Akiyama wrote:
By the way, Fred, you mentioned "two practitioners, each with two swords of different lengths" up above. I can't say I've ever practiced with Saotome sensei wherein both practioners wielded two swords each...

The best memory I've had in two sword is being one of five uke armed with bokuto (one each) in randori trying to cut Saotome sensei who had his two swords. I think all of us uke were "killed" at least a few times each...

-- Jun

Jun --

What I've seen and worked of this material was bits and pieces at seminars and dojo visits, for the most part prior to a "standard" form being set down on an instructional tape. My memory may be going, but I could swear that at least a few times, the "single sword" partner drew the shoto.

The place I'm sure I've seen two and two wasn't really even forms per se, but simply working through the kamae while facing someone else doing the same thing. Put that together with an overactive imagination and unclear wording and you've got the quote you busted me on.

While I've seen the full original of the Chicaog Aikikai tape, chunks of which are included in the ATM two-sword tape, I must confess that I have not been a good consumer and purchased, or seen the entirety of the ATM tape John is asking about.

With the other weapons tapes Saotome Sensei has done, while they're great references, there are a great many variations that have been taught but aren't on tape, and I suspect the same is true with the two-sword material.

Bottom line, what I would say to anybody who wants to work this material is that there is a short list of folks who know it really well, although they aren't really well-known. Per your other remarks, that has the makings of an great -- and affordable -- seminar for a small dojo with a group of serious practitioners. Feel it from someone who knows it, then use the tape as a reference for practice until you can get them back again.

Best,

Fred Little

akiy 06-19-2004 04:26 PM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
Hi Fred, Chris,

Thanks for your replies. We're hoping to get a copy of the original "full" tape from the Chicago Aikikai seminar; Chris, now that I've seen pictures of you from the front, I'll see if I can spot you from behind!

One thing that certainly came to mind while practicing this morning was that two sword certainly emphasizes that concept of "koubou ichi"...

-- Jun

George S. Ledyard 06-22-2004 01:44 AM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
Quote:

Jun Akiyama wrote:
Hi Fred, Chris,

Thanks for your replies. We're hoping to get a copy of the original "full" tape from the Chicago Aikikai seminar; Chris, now that I've seen pictures of you from the front, I'll see if I can spot you from behind!

One thing that certainly came to mind while practicing this morning was that two sword certainly emphasizes that concept of "koubou ichi"...

-- Jun

The original Chicago Two Sword Seminar tape is the most complete reference for Saotome Sensei's two sword forms. I have worked through it and have about 25 forms noted down but there is more on the tape, although I think I have all of the main principles contained in the 25. The tape available from ATM on Two sword is the only generally available source for these asides from the few Camp tapes which show sensei doing a class or two on two sword.

In some way two sword is closer to empty hand than single sword in that you can actually use each hand separately which is of course how we use or actual hands. Single sword teaches us to keep our hands in front of our centers and gets us to utilize the hands in a unified way but this is somewhat restrictive compared to how we really use our hands.

Two sword work does a lot to even out left and right hand dominance. I found that after I had been doing two sword for some time, technqiues which I used to only do well on one side got much more even.

Saotome Sensei's two sword is, as Chris noted, completely tied in with his empty hand technique.

Paula Lydon 07-15-2004 01:21 PM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
~~Over the past month and a half one of my instructors, Hofmeister sensei, has been teaching Satome's two sword practice. I'm greatly enjoying the sensation of really having to focus on and use my entire body (as I should be doing with all things but it slips by at times). There's no way to be lazy with a weighty piece of wood in each hand! Also, I appriciate the natural flow from side to side--when I get my bits intigrated. I think there is much to be gained from this practice :D

Ron Tisdale 07-15-2004 01:25 PM

Re: Satome's Two Sword Practice
 
Man, I just love it when my bits get integrated...

Ron (sorry, couldn't resist...)
:)


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