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Old 02-11-2011, 02:34 PM   #37
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
IOW, were Saotome senseis goals in creating his two sword forms meant to aid in aikido movement..or to state this is what the samurai did? They were and are different things.
Hi Dan,
I didn't think we really disagreed, I just wanted it down for the record. Certainly Saotome Sensei never stated or implied that anything he did had some sort of provenance beyond Aikido. Now the deshi of his time did have some classes provided by unnamed koryu teachers who, at O-Sensei's request, came in and taught interested deshi. None of them will say who these teachers were. At best, with some copious amounts of alcohol involved, they will at least elude to the training.

But Sensei only occasionally would even relate something he showed us to its source. Once in a while he'd say, this came from Yagyu or Itto Ryu or Kashima. His two sword may have been inspired by some embu he observed or even a movie like Chushingura, one never knew with Sensei.

Two sword he did because it more directly related to empty hand and the way he uses his arms than single sword does, since the hands can function separately.

His use of sword was both to teach movement principles but also because so many of he martial principles he sought to teach us were best developed with sword. So much of the martial terminology of the Japanese martial arts is directly from the sword. Whole vocabularies exist to delineate important principles of the martial interaction. I think sword in particular is crucial to understanding these principles and that this understanding is inseparable from good Aikido.

I think this is why sword work has persisted since the fall of the samurai. Despite the fact that no one carries swords any more for practical defense, people recognized that there were valuable things to be learned by working with them. Personally, I try not to go so far off into the "it's just movement practice for Aikido thing", which many folks do, that our sword work starts to be really embarrassing from the standpoint of he folks who really are swordsmen. I try to keep it respectable at least, while fully recognizing that it isn't kenjutsu.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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