Thread: Why no tsuba?
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:20 PM   #252
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: Why no tsuba?

Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Actually, I had a couple of points. Rather than let you put words in my mouth, why don't I just tell you what they are?

* First, the claim that "all" Japanese martial artists of a given era have sword knowledge is not nearly as obvious as you seem to think.
* Second, even if they do have (or are willing to claim) "knowledge," that doesn't mean they have any degree of competence whatsoever.
* So exactly what is the point of bringing this large collection of martial artists with "sword knowledge" into the thread? That randomly waving sticks around is okay because lots of people do it?

I'm also having trouble with this whole notion that aikido principles are so unique among the martial arts that, when demonstrating them with a bokken, apparent incompetence can actually hide total mastery. You may believe that, but that's not what any of the teachers in my lineage claim, and it's certainly not what I've felt in their classes.

Yes, I'm completely ignoring the whole "using bokken to demonstrate principles" line of argument. Balance is balance. Openings are openings. If your "demonstration of principles" allows someone to lop off your head, your principles are unsound.

The point of bringing anything into a thread is usually for illustration purposes. I don't even remember the precise point and it's not of much significance anyway.

My using it to demonstrate principles has nothing to do with with someone lopping heads off. You imply leaving openings etc. as if you have seen me demo suburi or some such which you haven't.

Using bokken to demonstrate principles is not a line of argument it's a fact of how I teach. You not being used to it or having experienced it is not my problem. Now as I have said many times before if you don't understand then ask. My way of teaching is obviously different to some here but that doesn't mean they have to assume anything.

I can tell how good a person is with a sword quite well purely by the use of their tegatana in standard practice. I can perform simple tests for such, no bokken needed. Aikido sword is merely Aikido in my view.

Secondly, as and when I teach anyone it for real then they must first be able to face and handle a bokken empty handed.

Therefore I could quite easily watch videos of actual suburi practice and 90% of the time say they are merely waving sticks around. But I don't as it is a waste of time saying such things, has no value. Also, I understand their way of learning is 'the norm' in their particular style.

My zen approach is not new and my view of spiritual principles is not new either but unfortunately not common either.

Further discussion would have to be by pm or another thread.