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Old 05-30-2005, 09:33 AM   #26
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Bokken swinging with the center

Sorry, Mike,

I forgot we were talking about ken, not taijutsu.
It's all the same to me, but I should have remained "on the thread".

I agree with you: using the center when cutting is the same, whether you are rooted on the ground or jumping in the air.

When drawing the sword, some people tend to bend their arms to move the sword vertically straight up. To my understanding, this is not correct. Drawing the sword, as well as cutting with it, is a circular (or to be exact: elliptic) center thing.

When I draw, I keep my arms extended (in the unbendable arm form) and sort of push the sword forward from my center. Because my arms are connected to the shoulders, this movement brings the sword up to jodan, over my head, in a circular track.
Cutting with the sword, is pretty much the same thing in reverse: I cut forward, not down, without bending my arms. Thereby, the sword returns to my center in the same circular track.

So, drawing the sword is pushing it from the center, and cutting with the sword is pulling it back to the center.
Pushing is from the center, pulling is to the center - in all budo.

Unfortunately, I don't have a video clip of just that, on my website, but this (rather mediocre) ukenagashi followed by kesagiri shows pretty much the same thing - draw forward from center, extending arms, cut forward to center, extending arms:
http://www.aikibatto.com/avi/aikibatto05-OMOTE.avi

Maybe it's even more clear, in Seitei iai nukiuchi, done by my student Tomas Ohlsson:
http://www.budo.net/Enighet/video/seitei-12.wmv

Chudan kamae is by Musashi regarded as the "field marshal" of guard positions with the sword. It is in front of the center, therefore optimal as a starting point. One should always have a very firm relation between one's center and one's sword.
Maybe that can be seen here, in some kote attacks:
http://www.aikiken.com/aikido/video/...harai-kote.wmv

Hoping to make some sense

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 05-30-2005, 09:57 AM   #27
Mike Sigman
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Re: Bokken swinging with the center

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote:
I agree with you: using the center when cutting is the same, whether you are rooted on the ground or jumping in the air.
Hi Stefan:

Well, I was trying not to take a position. I was trying to elicit your opinion of these things. My opinion, however, is that one is more powerful when on the ground than when in the air. It is why learning to step correctly is harder than learning to hit.
Quote:
Cutting with the sword, is pretty much the same thing in reverse: I cut forward, not down, without bending my arms. Thereby, the sword returns to my center in the same circular track.
Is cutting forward more powerful than cutting downward?
Quote:
So, drawing the sword is pushing it from the center, and cutting with the sword is pulling it back to the center.
Pushing is from the center, pulling is to the center - in all budo.
Well, perhaps an even simpler way to look at the dichotomy is that the body opens and the body closes. There is up and there is down. Pushing and pulling are perhaps more of a secondary description than up and down? What do you think? In other words, swinging a bokken is more of a push, but upward, and a pull, but downward, in a pragmatic sense, than a circle. A circle, whether elliptic or truncated, will involve the center moving forward and backward in order to accurately involve a horizontal pushing and pulling. Are we talking about the same thing?
Quote:
Hoping to make some sense
Of course it makes sense. I am just trying to elicit details. Although not as dramatic as some of the pictures in Yoshinkan Aikido, I think the up-swing of bokken practice if very much powered the same way as hiriki no yosei (with some modifications, of course). In other words, just looking at the upswing for a moment, is the power of an upswing just as powerful on the ground as it is when you have jumped into the air?

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 05-30-2005, 11:12 AM   #28
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Up and down and so forth

Oh, I see what you mean about in the air and on the ground. I certainly agree with you: one should be rooted on ground when cutting, and not between steps.

Or, in a high speed situation: one's step should be on the way to a solid position, when the cutting commences. Basic training is step, then cut, while "action" timing is to cut at the last part of the step, right before the foot lands on ground. That's not for beginners, though, since they would risk not learning the importance of a firm stance.

I believe that cutting forward is more powerful than cutting downward - but I don't mean snapping the sword forward, like, say, in badmington. I mean extending the sword out, almost upwards, and doing the actual cutting while the sword moves in a curve back to one's center.
In traditional cutting, the full length of the blade was used, not just the tip of the sword. The cutting was done with an inward move, not outward.
Some people cut very much downward instead of outward. This would be better with an axe, or for that matter a bokken - but it is not ideal for the shinken, IMHO. The blade cuts best with a slicing move, on the way back to the center.

Body opening and closing? That's an interesting way of describing it. I usually teach my students to do tsuki with a feeling of making their center expand, thereby pushing the sword forward.
It is not exactly how I do it, but I believe that the idea of opening and closing can be a very good one, for studying the sword art (and other things in budo).
I know that friends of mine in another aikido dojo, use this idea much in teaching ukemi.

Pushing and pulling is not the best way of describing the sword cut, I agree. I am not that fond of up and down, either, because students then tend to make their sword moves linear and vertical, instead of circular/elliptical. I always nag my students about drawing and cutting with forward movements, extending forward, not worrying so much about up and down.
I am sure that has its drawbacks, too, but what can you do

"A push, but upward" and "a pull, but downward" - that's a great way of putting it. If that is done without bending the arms, then I believe the draw and the cut will get to be really decent.
What about a push outward, a pull inward?

The pushing and pulling should not be horisontal, of course, nor vertical. They are curves extending forward.

The hiriki no yosei is a very good comparison.
Speaking in terms of the center: when extending from the center in a sword move, there should always be two additional directions extended from the center: 1) straight up for posture, 2) straight down for balance. When up in the air, this is indeed difficult

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 05-30-2005, 11:43 AM   #29
Mike Sigman
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Re: Up and down and so forth

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote:
I believe that cutting forward is more powerful than cutting downward - but I don't mean snapping the sword forward, like, say, in badmington. I mean extending the sword out, almost upwards, and doing the actual cutting while the sword moves in a curve back to one's center.
In traditional cutting, the full length of the blade was used, not just the tip of the sword. The cutting was done with an inward move, not outward.
Some people cut very much downward instead of outward. This would be better with an axe, or for that matter a bokken - but it is not ideal for the shinken, IMHO. The blade cuts best with a slicing move, on the way back to the center.
Hi Stefan:

I more or less agree that a blade may be more effective with a slicing motion than just a linear chopping motion, but that is a function of how a blade cuts, not the power of the body which I was discussing.
Quote:
"A push, but upward" and "a pull, but downward" - that's a great way of putting it. If that is done without bending the arms, then I believe the draw and the cut will get to be really decent.
What about a push outward, a pull inward?
I think that a close examination of a slow push outward and a slow pull inward will show that they are just variations of a push from the ground upward and a pull with the weight downward. As in all variations of bokken swinging, probably? The only point I was trying to make on the topic was that all the finer points of bokken swinging are good to know, but that the bokken must be attached to the middle for all movements (even upward) foremost of all... that is the most important instruction, IMO, and I think you concur.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-30-2005, 01:53 PM   #30
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Up and down and so forth

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The only point I was trying to make on the topic was that all the finer points of bokken swinging are good to know, but that the bokken must be attached to the middle for all movements (even upward) foremost of all... that is the most important instruction, IMO, and I think you concur.
I certainly concur

Stefan Stenudd
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