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Old 06-14-2006, 03:36 AM   #1
david evans
Dojo: Newcastle Iwama Aikido
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Bokken - from the spine or not?

When cutting with the bokken (ichi no suburi, ni no suburi etc), do you raise the weapon so that it runs down your spine or do you prefer to cut from a position that is more perpendicular to the spine?

If you respond, could you say why, as there seems to be some contention over this point.

Sincerely,

David.
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Old 06-14-2006, 03:51 AM   #2
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

As far as I know, it is a matter of learning stage:

As a beginner some schools and teachers recommend starting from the spine, this should assist you in learning larger sword movement and align your movement to your center.
"Practical" sword cuts start from above your head, each ryu has it's own kamae version, from horizontal sword to perpendicular. Cutting from the spine is not recommended at this level since it is longer (more time) and tends to distort your stance (make you lean backwards).

Amir
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Old 06-14-2006, 03:54 AM   #3
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Ask you sensei and do what he does. It does not really matter. Most Aikido sword work is done to improve your Aikido not to teach you swordmanship. If you want to learn swordmanship, seek a Iaido and/or kendo dojo. Then you'll find yet another "my art is more pure than everyone else's since ...." with regards to how to yield a sword.

In real life, the one who kills the other guys and survives has done the right thing. Thankfully, this is not so much the case now a days since sword fights are kind of history.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-14-2006, 04:08 AM   #4
Mark Uttech
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

I was surprised the first time I saw the bokken aligned down the spine thing. It looked completely awkward. The way I have always done it is that all cuts and strikes fall from the top of the head
"like fruit falls from the branch of a tree."
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Old 06-14-2006, 05:15 AM   #5
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
Yann Golanski wrote:
Ask you sensei and do what he does. .
Its just a tool to learn Aikido. As Yann says do what the instructor does since he's doing it that way to teach something.

Looking at 1st Ken suburi I've been taught 3 versions of this.

Firstly a vertical ken. This is a form of ki misubi. A 'mental' preparation perhaps. Like a lightening conductor the ken and man are a single join between the heavens and the earth. Ten chi nage concepts spring to mind.

2nd version where the ken is lowered down the spine is a more physical preparation. It opens the lungs promoting effective breathing for instance.

Finally there is the martial version where the ken is drawn back covering the head at an angle of approximately 45 degrees.

This provides protection but also enables swift counter strikes.

So you have metal preparation, physical preparation and the martial form itself. In most dojos I've been in this is the same structure as the tai jutsu lessons.

Regards

D
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Old 06-14-2006, 05:29 AM   #6
david evans
Dojo: Newcastle Iwama Aikido
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

[quote=Yann Golanski]Ask you sensei and do what he does. It does not really matter.

Yann, it is not a case of asking my sensei what he does; there is no confuson there. Rather, I'm more interested in individual opinions. As it happens, all our cuts are from this point.

Thanks,

David.
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Old 06-14-2006, 05:34 AM   #7
Karen Wolek
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Do you mean that the bokken is down your back? If so, we are taught not to do that. We start in jodan, with the bokken above your head.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 06-14-2006, 05:48 AM   #8
david evans
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
Do you mean that the bokken is down your back? If so, we are taught not to do that. We start in jodan, with the bokken above your head.
Karen,

Do you mean that when you cut, even though you may begin from jodan kamae, that the bokken does not extend down your back?

I know this may seem trivial, but I am curious as to how people feel about this movement; is it superfluous? does it generate more power? does it help with alignment and give a "truer" cut? Whatever?

Thanks,

David.
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Old 06-14-2006, 05:51 AM   #9
ChristianBoddum
 
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

If your back is straight , then your bokken can go all the way down to your "behind",
if not it will hit something on the way down there !
The exaggeration will introduce you to the centrifugal power that starts the cut,then it ends centripetally (going inwards),
if you start from jodan position you may not get the feel of it,later on you should get these powers going from jodan position.
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Old 06-14-2006, 06:10 AM   #10
david evans
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
Christian Boddum wrote:
If your back is straight , then your bokken can go all the way down to your "behind",
if not it will hit something on the way down there !
The exaggeration will introduce you to the centrifugal power that starts the cut,then it ends centripetally (going inwards),
if you start from jodan position you may not get the feel of it,later on you should get these powers going from jodan position.
Christian,

Two questions:

1. Is bokken an exercise in posture and stance, which of course it is, but more-so as an end unto itself?

2. And, if "later on you should get these powers going from jodan", why the emphasis regardless of experience?

Sincerely,

David.
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Old 06-14-2006, 06:15 AM   #11
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
David Evans wrote:
Karen,

Do you mean that when you cut, even though you may begin from jodan kamae, that the bokken does not extend down your back?

I know this may seem trivial, but I am curious as to how people feel about this movement; is it superfluous? does it generate more power? does it help with alignment and give a "truer" cut? Whatever?

Thanks,

David.
The bokken never extends down my back, no. That would make Sensei cringe.

If your bokken was way back behind you, wouldn't that leave you wide open in front? I guess I don't understand why you would want your hands to be that far back, also.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 06-14-2006, 06:18 AM   #12
grondahl
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Iwama aiki-ken in my experience
Ichi no suburi: From the spine. In ichi no suburi I have been told specifically to stretch all the down to the spine as the first suburi is also a warm up and a stretch. Combine that with the possibility to check your center alignment by aligning the bokken with the spine. Focus on breathing, center and sinking the hips in the cut.

Ni no suburi: From the spine, although probably not always. When i focus the suburi from the hips I tend to drop the bokken to the spine. Creates a kind of whipping motion/feeling.

go no suburi: I haven't been instructed to align the bokken with the spine in the fifth suburi but I have seen ex Pat Hendricks sensei do it, and it seems to be standard practice fore those that follow H. Saito sensei.

And in kumitachi the general rule is: no dropping of the bokken to the spine, more of a 45 degree angle.
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Old 06-14-2006, 06:23 AM   #13
grondahl
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
The bokken never extends down my back, no. That would make Sensei cringe.

If your bokken was way back behind you, wouldn't that leave you wide open in front? I guess I don't understand why you would want your hands to be that far back, also.
Suburi is an exercise for learning certain traits such as centered hipmovements, coordination of breathing and movement etc.. For partner practise (in awase and kumitachi) the bokken should not dipp to the spine in the same way.
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Old 06-14-2006, 06:45 AM   #14
david evans
Dojo: Newcastle Iwama Aikido
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

If your bokken was way back behind you, wouldn't that leave you wide open in front? I guess I don't understand why you would want your hands to be that far back, also.

Karen,

Though this would seem to be the case, you are actually extending with the left hand - pushing outwards, while your right hand does not pass the back of your head. In my opinion, it really is an effective cut that does not leave the front open.

What do others think?

David.
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Old 06-14-2006, 07:05 AM   #15
Dazzler
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
David Evans wrote:
If your bokken was way back behind you, wouldn't that leave you wide open in front? .......

What do others think?

David.
David

Its an exercise!! Allowing the development of some but not all of the requirements of Aikido.

Yes it would leave you wide open in front.

But in front of what?

As Peter has already said, when a partner is present then you do not drop the sword down the back.

Not everything is technique.

Regards

D
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Old 06-14-2006, 10:20 AM   #16
JohnSeavitt
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

I'm not really sure how to judge answers to a question like this - largely because we are talking about aiki-ken.

The aiki-ken (yoshinkan and seidokan) that I have done enough to comment on isn't intended to prevent you from being "open" in a swordfight (or, in fact, relevant to a swordfight at all). We don't decide if aikiken is "real" or "correct" on those terms, but (I imagine) on whether it aptly teaches aiki principles or tests a student's understanding of same. From what I've seen, different teachers view buki as useful for some different - and nonoverlapping - things, so one would have to consult (imagine!) with your instructor.

Koryu weapon arts obviously have a different test (persistent historical use in battlefield engagements or duels). Two koryu weapons arts (at least) have sword strikes that initiate from well below 45 degree angles, so I'm not much swayed by contemporary arguments that such attacks aren't well thought out.

John
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Old 06-14-2006, 10:37 AM   #17
Karen Wolek
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Even in suburi, I have been taught to go up to jodan and cut. In my dojo, we are not taught to ever let the bokken end up down behind you.

Every dojo is different. Just like in pretty much everything else!

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 06-14-2006, 02:04 PM   #18
ChristianBoddum
 
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
David Evans wrote:
Christian,

Two questions:

1. Is bokken an exercise in posture and stance, which of course it is, but more-so as an end unto itself?

2. And, if "later on you should get these powers going from jodan", why the emphasis regardless of experience?

Sincerely,

David.
David, I am sorry but I don't really understand ?!?

In our dojo we only bring the sword to the back in shomenuchi tsuki,
which is a basic drill and not a technique or focused cut.
In the beginning you can learn from being observant on the tip (Kissaki) which will generate larger movement - late on you will
have three points of focus going at the same time .
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:59 AM   #19
david evans
Dojo: Newcastle Iwama Aikido
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote:
David

Its an exercise!!

Yes it would leave you wide open in front.

But in front of what?

Not everything is technique.

Regards

D
Darren,

Fair enough, but I did not say this. It is a quote from a previous post.

Of course I am aware that it is part of an exercise, so I can only assume that the double exclamation marks are a typo.

Regards,

David.
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:36 AM   #20
Dazzler
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Hi David

You are free to assume that but it was actually a deliberate attention to re-emphasise the point made by myself and other posters.

By not using the quotation protocol it appeared that you were endorsing Karens concern on the lack of practicality despite the number of posts explaining the reasons as per your initial request.

No matter - it would seem that most of those that drop the bokken down the spine recognise its lack of practicality and are prepared to accept this for the benefits that it can offer.

Those that do not generally do so because they do not wish to compromise practicality at any stage.

At least your thread has enabled clarification of why each style is practiced and hopefully enlightened some who may have thought that different equates to wrong.

Regards

D

Last edited by Dazzler : 06-15-2006 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:50 PM   #21
TigerJK
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Re: Bokken - from the spine or not?

Quote:
David Evans wrote:
When cutting with the bokken (ichi no suburi, ni no suburi etc), do you raise the weapon so that it runs down your spine or do you prefer to cut from a position that is more perpendicular to the spine?

If you respond, could you say why, as there seems to be some contention over this point.

Sincerely,

David.
You do realize the correct answer is neither? On top of this you never specified the stance?

However you are more than likely talking about "jodan no kamae."

Well in this position, the bokken is at an angle. It really depends on your school, some say about 30 degrees, most say 45 degrees, but rarely past 45 unless they are also doing some other sword school, and that is more for the purpose of hiding the length of the sword or a low crouching block in some kata ("hiding under a shelf")

The majority of the time people who say 45 say it out of convenience or common geometric thinking rather than actual purpose but that is not to discredit all of them.

I myself prefer between 30-45 degrees (still working out the angle with practice) but like I said it depends on the school.
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