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Old 09-15-2012, 11:39 AM   #12
ChrisHein's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Location: Fresno , CA
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,646
Re: Bokken Sparring- Chushin Tani Aikidojo

Lyle Laizure wrote: View Post
Just my two cents....Try removing the protective gear. What is being done in the video is fun and will be great for upbeat exercise but isn't realistic.
When creating any kind of sparring practice there is lots to take into consideration. First what are you trying to accomplish, second how are you going to accomplish that goal in a reasonable/sustainable way.

For example, if your goal is very simple and general like, " I want to get good at sword fighting". You do this by practicing sword fighting- you fight with swords. How are you going to accomplish that in a reasonable/sustainable way? You're not- sword fighting is inherently dangerous, if you fight with swords, someone is going to get cut/maimed rather quickly. So you make your first concession, ok we'll use dulled swords. Then you find out that even dulled swords can maim. Then you make your next concession, we'll strike more slowly, not full force. Then you realize that it's hard to actually recreate the kinds of things that will happen full force full impact. So you need another solution. Then you make your next concession, armor or bokken or both. This goes on and on until you arrive at a sparring practice that is reasonable and sustainable that accomplishes your goal. If your goal is actual sword fighting itself, this cannot be done. I would guess this is what you are talking about when you say "realistic". You are NEVER going to realistically recreate sword fighting by doing a sparring practice in a Dojo; unless you're using real swords, fighting each other with the intent to kill. That is not sustainable, so we have to make concessions.

Our goal is not to actually learn how to fight with a sword. We are simply recreating many of the types of situations that might happen in a sword fight, and learning how Aiki might appear in these situations. We are interested in learning how to do this dynamically, so we need to move fast, hitting with some force. We could (and sometimes do) use padded/foam swords. But padded swords don't offer the kind of "sword on sword" feel that hard solid objects do. We have also worked with dulled steel, this gets rather hairy rather fast, and is hard to stay safe with with moving at higher speeds. We started without any armor, but our attempts not to hurt each other slowed our motions, and didn't allow for more violent attacks. So we added the armor to speed up the practice while maintaining safety.

This sparring practice is an example of one of the dozens of types of sparring practices we do at the Chushin Tani Dojo. None of them completely/perfectly emulates any kind of actual fight, they can't by their nature (we're in a dojo, we like each other. etc). However in each different exercise/practice we can get at one or two parts of the whole. This is the best I feel we can do.

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