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Old 09-21-2013, 07:26 AM   #16
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: bokken strike style

Patrick de Block wrote: View Post
Hello Keith,

I had another look and I think I agree. He goes up and down and back and forth which is not the same as Aiki Age and Sage which I thought at first. My answer to your first question would also be 'no'.
Well, for me there are a lot of confounding issues when discussing whether something is "aikido" or "aiki". There are so many different understandings of those terms. Then there are also issues of why one does what one does within the context of Aikido. Meaning the "value" of something often has a lot to do with a variety of other things, and some of those things we are no doubt not aware of. Finally, "swordwork" in Aikido has its own form and definitions. And when I see a senior person in Aikido doing something, well, by definition almost that is Aikido (for better or worse sometimes). Not saying that's the case here, mind you, just that when senior folk in Aikido do what they do, well, what they do is aikido for that style. I have no problem with that notion. So when I see stuff like this, well, I have zero problem with it, I'm not sure I'd want to use an actual sword that way to try to cut something. But then again that may not be the intent at all in the first place...

So when we talk in this thread about sword "striking" style (and I really don't like the word "striking" as you don't tend to strike with a sword), well, the way some things are done will work better than other ways. And fwiw I have trained with folk who use a more short "slashing" style rather than the larger casting cuts you see in some iai (not all). And a variety of methods in between. Some seem to have varied ideas with respect to how to cut, but most would work well enough I suppose. But a "cut" with no draw (or push for that matter) that simply lands flat will do some damage but will be very unlikely to cut through much at all -- it's simply a matter of how blades work (which is why I added the caveat above about pushing down the opponent's sword as an interpretation of the movement). The Japanese sword doesn't work all that well as an axe -- wrong blade shape and design. And an awful lot of Aikido Bokken "cuts" I've seen over my time would really not work well with a real blade against, well, most anything as a target.

So all that said I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Saito had tremendous skill, power, etc. And I think the weapons work they do is fantastic in the context of Aikido training. No doubt at all because the context is large, wide ranging and includes a lot of training in how to move the body, connecting up, blending, flowing, timing, etc.

But if an Aikido student wanders out and joins a koryu sword style or a more modern sword style, you'll likely find that the first thing they do is start tearing apart the person's cutting form and building it back up.

Enough from me. Have a grand day everyone.

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