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Old 09-05-2003, 10:18 AM   #23
Dojo: Lunds Aikidoklubb
Location: Lund, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 273
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
I'm not sure where these impressions of Saito's weapon work come from.
In my case from being a student of his long time students.
Looking at the video footage and his traditional aikido books (now out of print) jodan no kamae is done both stepping back and without stepping back - depending on which kumitachi you're doing. I've seen on some US sites that Saito's kumitachi also appear to differ to what I've seen in these books (maybe it was ammended after 1974) - this could be the cause of some confusion.
I understand, that by looking in books and watching video clips one could get that impression, but again, there are no gamae in any of the kumitachi (unless you possibly count the initial and final stance, chudan no gamae). It's only because of the pedagogic of breaking up the kata that it looks that way. The pedagogic may have changed over the years into even more staticness (not a word I know)or not but the sword kata, the kumitachi, done at real speed (dangerous if you don't have total control) does not have any gamae in them. The only exception is the sword kata, ki musubi no tachi, there one goes from the initial stance up to hasso no gamae and down to the low gamae (waki no gamae?).
Apart from this I tell all my students that aikiken won't teach them how to fight with a sword, but it's purpose is for improving aikido; partly because it's not done regularly enough, also because they are fixed kumitachi and the fact that a steel sword feels quite different from a wooden one.
We practice bukiwasa as regular as taijutsu and so did Saito and according to him O-sensei in Iwama. And all the kenjutsu schools I know of practice paired kata with bokken not with steel swords.
What I've never understood is why the jo (i.e. jo vs jo) is used in aikido.
Same reason that we train the rest, because O-sensei taught it (at least in Iwama according to interviews with Saito, see Aikido Journal for references).

Jakob Blomquist
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