Thread: Why no tsuba?
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:40 AM   #42
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,103
Re: Why no tsuba?

Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I often screw up the process of articulating what i am trying to say. it certainly does look like I was criticizing the type of practice Joe was describing, but ultimately I have not trained with Chiba Sensei and I don't know much about what he was describing. I suspect his characterization of that type of training was tilted towards his own badassness.

But still: once again, if you are training how to use a tsuba in some way, then you need a tsuba. I am talking about techniques where you use the tsuba to deflect or catch the striking sword's blade, perhaps as a means of taking them off balance and throwing them or something like that.

However, I do think there is something wrong with your training if you are relying on your bokken's tsuba to protect your hands from sloppy or imprecise technique that is not supposed to involve the tsuba.

A general example is where your maai is too small, or your cut is too shallow, and somebody's fingers get tapped. Somebody screwed something up, so do you want to ignore the mistake, or fix it? If you go "whatever!" and keep hacking away at each other, I think that really is lazy.
You may be overestimating the degree of "protection" that you get from the tsuba in these cases. IME (and fwiw, my teacher learned from one of Chiba Sensei's students, and the practice is as Joe describes), if the attack is successful, believe me, you're not saying "whatever" and continuing to "hack away", as you characterize it. You get, um, feedback. The tsuba prevents serious injury; it doesn't mean you never get hit.

Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
The description of Chiba Sensei's kiri otoshi is interesting because it doesn't sound like you are supposed to strike your partner on the tsuba, you are trying to hit their wrist.
Obviously. Why on earth would you hit an inanimate object that traditionally was made out of metal?

Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
So in this case, it sounds like you want the tsuba there so you learn how to hit the wrist instead. But Joe implied that the tsuba prevents your hand from getting injured by the technique, which is confusing.
What's confusing about it? It keeps you...from getting injured. What's the hard part about that? Help me out here.

Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
If you want to learn how to hit someone's wrist, kote seem to be indicated. But they are not really protective enough for use with bokken.
Since you're fond of kote as a solution to being hit on the wrist, I wonder what you have to say about the use of the tsuba in kendo.