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Old 03-08-2010, 03:23 PM   #24
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: Sword tip movement

Steve Nelson wrote: View Post
How many of you Iaidoists (Iaidoka? not sure the name) watch us Aikidoka swing swords and want to barf?
Sheepishly raises hand.

Now before anyone yells at me... I also agree with the link Jonathan posted from Toby. It's all context. If you're swinging the bokken to do aikiken, well, talk with your sense about improving your form. There ya go. It is what it is. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just don't confuse that with traditional swordsmanship.

Go on-line and look up shomenuchi cuts aikido on youtube. Or Happo aikido. You'll see mostly person after person who does a shomenuchi that would only strike shomen if the target was a dwarf. Or 5-years-old. A short 5-years-old at that. So... Hypothetical. Why call it a shomenuchi if you can't reach the shomen of someone your same height? Second thing. Look at how much distance they cover. Let's assume the other guy has a sword too. You need to be out of range of a quick tsuki. Is their cut covering sufficient distance to even remotely get to the target? Are they reaching the head or is the cut starting mid-chest? Do they actually do a cutting motion or is it an axe hammering blow?

Or are they really demonstrating how to cut an unarmed child who's standing way too close to them...

Put something out at head height at the correct distance away. Now do a shomenuchi. Did you do it differently when you actually have a target? If so, are you actually doing shomenuchi when you do the kata without the target? What is your primary goal? Even if it is improving your aikido, do you *want* to do the sword cut correctly first and *then* work on all that other stuff in that context?

If you want to compare it with traditional swordsmanship, well, you need to get some traditional swordsmanship training. Or work with someone in Aikido who also trains in something like iai. Proper cutting mechanics is something that requires some very precise and consistent training. And it just ain't done on-line. Lots of small corrections. Lather, rinse and repeat.

Speaking for myself and myself only, I prefer to train with the starting point being proper form in the traditional Japanese Sword Art sense. So I work hard on my form. For me that is the starting point to all the rest of the aikido related aspects. But weapons is one of those things that is so variable across styles, dojo and even instructors within styles. So... Talk with your sensei.

Man, I must be getting old and crotchety -- I'm agreeing with Szczepan. At least I think I am...

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