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Old 08-17-2009, 02:30 PM   #26
Maarten De Queecker
Dojo: Aikikai Gent, Brugse Aikido Vereniging
Location: Bruges
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 139
Belgium
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Re: Bokken left-handedness

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hello Maarten,
I usually don’t respond to such arrogant newbie as you, but I lived few years in Belgium, so I’ll give some of my precious time to you. I have very good memories from Gent btw.

Here is the situation:
You are coming to the forum as a fairly new user and ask question about the subject you know nothing about. At least two experts (that devoted all their life to study this domain) respond you and explain you in very polite way. You are not only rejecting their responses without any good reason, but what is worst, instead of polite ‘Thank you”, you are writing arrogant and flaming post. Of course for the moment we live in relatively free internet, and you can behave as you like, but many members of this forum are intensively traveling around the world, and may be one day one of these experts will become your sensei?

I would be very funny
Hey Janczuk,

I thought the goal of a forum was discussion, so here I was trying to learn something about a subject I know nothing about. A big part of my personality is that I question a lot of things. That includes everything I'm being taught, be it in school or during aikido class. I understand that a lot of people quickly perceive this as arrogance. So be it. I don't care what some people on the internet think of me. One thing is certain, though: in real life I would ask the same question, in the same tone. I am pretty hard and stubborn in discussions, and knowingly so. I found out that this was the best way to learn new things, because the harder people defend their opinion against someone who gives stupid arguments, the more they share their knowledge. So for that, thank you everyone.

You see, I am more curious than a cat. If it were possible, I would like to know everything about any subject. You only live once, and since there is no higher cause in life, you have to find one for yourself. My goal is the same as the Greeks of old: "A healthy mind in healthy body". That is something that is relatively easy to achieve, but also something you can go incredibly far in, something you can devote your life to. The internet made sharing information a lot easier, so I can easily spend a whole day browsing google about a certain subject.

I registered on this forum because I wanted to learn. So far, it is going pretty well. I already learned a lot of things, so for that, again, thank you, everyone. What some people here seem to find self-evident here is that a newbie like myself knows who 's who. Guess what? I don't. I do not know the grades of anyone here. I do not know who is an expert in which area. Still, is that a reason to look down on me by saying that I am not worth your time and that I'm an arrogant newbie? What did I ever do to you that it gave you a reason to insult me? Nothing. You just came here in this thread, and the first thing you did was insult me. You do not even post anything concerning the topic title. If you have nothing constructive to say, just stay away will you? There are better ways to spend your time.

If you were ever to come back to Belgium (on holiday or so), send a message. We can go have drink some time, or perhaps train together!

Last edited by Maarten De Queecker : 08-17-2009 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:15 PM   #27
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
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Re: Bokken left-handedness

Hi Maarten,

I think what some are trying to get at is, if your goal is good information, maybe being a little more cautious would pay higher dividends. While it sometimes may seem as if pissing someone off over something trivial means that what they have to share isn't worth while, that is not always the case. Sometimes just casual politeness goes a long way.

Keith has probably trained in multiple arts for 20 years or more. Ellis the same or more, and most of that time living in Japan, training in more than one Koryu art, and with close aquaintences in others. Both have been around the block a time or two. A lot of the (pardon me guys) old timers kind of have an attitude of "if you're not interested in the answer, don't ask the question" kind of feel. I don't think they are wrong to have it, either. They've seen plenty of five minute wonders come and go. It's not really about rank, and bringing that up actually makes it seem like you think THEY are depending on their rank. They aren't.

Long and short...my general thing when I post to a new group is to listen first, get a feel for the way people interact, do a google on a few of the posters who seem knowlegable. That's probably saved me a world of hurt when running into a 6'5'' guy well over my weight, who's been training in various martial arts for about as long as I've been alive. And yes, I've probably survived just cause THEY are the nice guys...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-17-2009, 04:12 PM   #28
Russell Davis
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 55
Offline
Re: Bokken left-handedness

Its not that you cant use a bokken left handed, its more like trying to find someone who promotes/teaches left and right.
If you are right handed and it gets cut/injured, you will try to use the left.
NO harm if you keep trying left & right sides, it might not be in anyones syllabus, but it will make you better.
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:48 AM   #29
jss
Location: Rotterdam
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 459
Netherlands
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Re: Bokken left-handedness

Quote:
Maarten De Queecker wrote: View Post
Would you please drop the reprimanding tone? I am incredibly sorry that I insulted your expert knowledge on Japanese swordfighting, sempai. Please forgive me
I read Keith's reply more as an answer to Ellis' post. Ellis said: koryu no way, aikido suburi ok. Then Keith chimes in and elaborates on the "koryu no way" part, although you can find some echoes of the whole "5th kyu shihan" issue from another thread in there.
So yes, Keith did use a reprimanding tone in a post that did not address your question, but that also means that the reprimanding tone was not directed at you either. It seems that's the way these forum-thingies seem to work: threads drift, evolve and sometimes derail...
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:10 AM   #30
Aikilove
Dojo: Lunds Aikidoklubb
Location: Lund, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 272
Sweden
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Re: Bokken left-handedness

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
There's no rule-book that says you cannot traipse into the dojo wearing a mini-hakama with pancakes taped to your butt-cheeks either. Your aikido might even improve. But - - - - -
Ellis Amdur
Made my day!
*cleaning up coffee/spit from computer screen*

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:40 AM   #31
Keith Larman
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,566
United_States
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Post Re: Bokken left-handedness

Quote:
Maarten De Queecker wrote: View Post
Would you please drop the reprimanding tone? I am incredibly sorry that I insulted your expert knowledge on Japanese swordfighting, sempai. Please forgive me
I do apologize -- no insult was intended. The forum went down for a few days and then I was scrambling to get to one of the sword shows I exhibit at each year hence I wasn't on-line much. And I took the family and spent some extra time on the long drive back driving through the wine country of California's central coast (for you wineaux's out there Oreana has a really interesting white based on the Verdelho grape from Portugal -- that was a new one to me). We've not had the time to take a vacation for a few years so these small "micro-vacations" become a big deal for us.

I wasn't directing the comment directly at you --- it was a general comment overall about how things are done. I get people asking me the question all the time myself. And honestly I've tried a number of things with hands reversed just to experiment on my own. But the on my own part is critical.

In my head I was responding to Ellis and by extension anyone reading rather than as a direct response/answer/reprimand to you. As I said, you can do whatever you'd like, honestly I couldn't possibly care less. I've seen things done in some aikido dojo that would make a traditionalist in JSA faint in horror -- I've done them myself.

The larger issue for me was Ellis making a point of the difference between the nature of Koryu and the nature of a wildly morphing gendai art like Aikido. Honestly I do think one of the biggest problems long facing Aikido is that difference. In Koryu arts students do not change the art. The art doesn't change to suit the students -- the students have to change to fit the art. Change can and does occur, but ideally only by what I called in my post the "guy with the scrolls". The theory here is that person is the one who has received the full transmission and is hence responsible for the art. It can evolve. But only once the full art has been fully transmitted.

So my point with Aikido is that we can, as students, do whatever we want on our own time. And many have the attitude of exploration, playing, fooling around, etc. That is a powerful thing as well. But it *is* missing that whole "the art has been fully transmitted thing". What can be missing is that original context of why something was done. Hence my comments about Shodan experts.

As an aside I was leaving the San Francisco Token Kai this weekend I was talking with one of the top habaki/fittings/koshirae craftsmen, well, in the world. I've shown him my work over the years and I was talking with him about the next time I was going to visit him. So I'll be mounting up a Sukesada Wakizashi and taking the completed project for him to look over. What I need to learn is not so much what I did wrong, but to discover what I don't even know that I don't know. The theme here is that the biggest problem are the things you evem don't know that you don't know.

To me Aikido has in some cases lost a lot of that connection. And too many are too quick to adjust, fiddle, and "fix" things they think are broken. This is done at extreme peril, however, if you don't have the solid foundation. Ironically some of that "flexibility" has I think given Aikido part of its remarkable appeal to a larger, broader audience. So it is a constant back and forth battle.

So I go back to Ellis' pancake comment (I would say pancake crack but Ron would probably figure out a horrible pun on that one too, and I'd be force to respond in kind). The bottom line to me is that we tend to forget that the Japanese sword *is* a two-handed weapon. If we are swinging the bokken as if it were a "stand-in" for a Japanese Sword that weapon comes with a rather large owner's manual. Two hands are critical for proper unsheathing, cutting, control, and resheathing. When unsheathing or resheathing the left hand *is* heavily involved in the manipulation of the saya in the belt, around the body, and easing the sword into the saya. *Both* are critical and both are actually quite difficult to learn to do well. With the exception of draw cuts most involve holding with both hands.

Both hands are so critical that handedness is really not an issue. So most who train in sword arts spend their entire lifetime working on perfecting it with that particular grip pattern -- there is no need to switch sides except for the occasional kata that do just that.

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Old 08-18-2009, 09:51 AM   #32
Keith Larman
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,566
United_States
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Re: Bokken left-handedness

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Keith has probably trained in multiple arts for 20 years or more. Ellis the same or more, and most of that time living in Japan, training in more than one Koryu art, and with close aquaintences in others.
Just to clarify -- I'm honored to be mentioned that way, but I don't belong in the same sentence as Ellis Amdur. He was in Japan training when I was still trying to figure out if my "Big Wheel" could get over the plank of particle board and jump the 5 GI Joe action figures just like Evel Kneivel... That was my first experience with "road rash" on my face. Really poor ukemi...

His experience, ability, and depth literally dwarfs mine. I've had the benefit of dabbling in a wide variety of arts for a lot of years before focusing on Aikido. And then working full time as a sword craftsman now for quite some time has meant a lot of time spent getting to sometimes train in but more often just watch and see what goes on sometimes "behind the scenes" in some of the more insular traditional groups. More an academic... So I come to the party with a somewhat different perspective mostly due to full time professional necessity mounting and studying swords.

Mr. Amdur's direct experience in both puts him up on that top shelf. I'm just more of a fly on the wall.

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Old 08-18-2009, 10:02 AM   #33
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: Bokken left-handedness

Understood!

Hey, if you are a fly, I am a speck...LOL

B,
R

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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