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Old 10-01-2011, 03:08 AM   #51
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

I can't speak for anyone else, and I certainly have no real sword fighting experience, and I suspect that none of the previous posters nor any koryu people alive today have any either.

I train in Iwama weapons. Several years ago, after about five years of training I tried tameshigiri and had no problems making cuts or handling a katana. I found that the skills translated easily.

I also have a good friend who only had experience with Iwama weapons, and used a jo in Dog Brothers stick fighting (for those that don't know, this is full contact, no joke) with success. He felt many of the jo forms fit naturally.

We were both serious students of a very good teacher, but my point is many people commenting on the difference of various styles or systems have no grounding for their opinions.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:12 PM   #52
HL1978
Dojo: Aunkai
Location: Fairfax, VA
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Allen, I'll be the sacrificial lamb and get the ball rolling...

I was taught that aikiken and aikijogi should be seen along the same lines as the aiki taiso. The aiki taiso is intended to be a solo exercise to help one develop "aiki". Of course we hear phrases like "to get our ki flowing" and stuff like that which is not necessarily all that descriptive in any sort of scientific fashion. However, what was impressed upon me was that the aiki taiso are not to be done as warm ups, not as just movements, but as discrete methods of developing both the body to do "aiki" as well as developing better awareness of what is going on in your body. As we are a Ki Society offshoot, these things are assessed via tests to see if we are exhibiting our four principles to unify mind and body. So the taiso are to help us develop our abilities. And I was told that the aiki jogi and aiki kengi were intended for the same purpose -- additional "exercises" if you will to develop the same things. So we test for unification of mind and body thoughout these "kata" of sorts. We strive to keep one-point, etc. as we do the movements. Our stated goal is to better develop our understanding of "aiki" within our own bodies.

So, as with the aiki taiso add a stick with it's associated movements and style and you have new movements, new things to learn. Same with adding in a wooden sword with it's own associated movements and requirements simply gives another means to test ourselves, to develop, to improve.

So FWIW I view them not as kenjutsu or sojutsu or whatever. They are solo exercises to allow us to better develop that elusive feeling of aiki. So we focus on balance, relaxation and control while trying to develop the ability to strike/cut/thrust with power. For me it is being able to deliver a powerful strike with the jo, for example, while maintaining good form. That means the strike is using the as much of the body structure as possible to deliver that strike. Not swinging with the arms, but learning to connect throughout the body and use the ground, your legs, core, and arms with each strike. And then this is done from a variety of directions, angles, and styles that forces you to learn more ways of being powerful while maintaining the principles. Currently I'm still working on loosening up those tight hips. It's like a point of power constipation for me -- everything gets clogged up in the tightness there. But that's getting better slowly...

So, for me it is about learning how to generate powerful movements.
I'll preface that I have had a single aikiken experience, but have 14 years of both Seitei/MJER iaido expereince and kendo experience.

Keith,

I think your post is rather on target with regards to what the whole point of that sort of practice is useful for. The waza themselves are not really all that important, even for kendoka who practice iaido. Its more of how to build the body. It seems like many others are going off on other tangents.

Its only recently that I had an experience where I learned how the cut itself through properly closing the body would result in it feeling as though my whole being slammed into my foot while cutting. It was quite different than how many discuss fumikomi in kendo. It wasn't merely slamming my foot into the ground with my leg, or a good push from the rear leg, or using the hips, or dropping my body lower into the ground. With regards to "whole being" im not saying it in a spiritual sense, but rather in a physical sense. Quite literally my whole body drove into the foot.

As for test cutting, its pretty easy to do. Most people can do it on their first try even with no experience. If you click on the link below and select the battodo video, and skip to the 3:10 mark you will see a local reporter trying it for her first time at our dojo. (Note I am not a member of the batto do class).

http://capitalareabudokai.org/

That isn't to say that her cuts are good, just that it isn't hard to do unless you have poor hasuji. One can watch that video as well and judge how much arm/shoulder is being used by the regular class.
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:13 PM   #53
Brian Beach
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
I have read many times that Aiki Ken's purpose is to illustrate the "the Principles of Aiki." Some questions immediately come to mind for me.

Is Aiki Jo's purpose to illustrate "the Principles of Aiki?" If so, are the principles illustrated different from the Ken? If not, why the redundancy? If not, what is the difference?

Is Aikido's waza's purpose to illustrate "the Principles of Aiki?" If so, are the principles illustrated by waza different from the Ken and Jo? If not, why the redundancy? If not, what is the difference?

O-sensei practiced with other weapons and weapon (like) objects, do these illustrate "the Principles of Aiki" as well? If so, are the principles illustrated different from all others. If so how are they different. If not, why the redundancy?

If so many people agree that Aiki Ken "illustrates the principles of Aiki" or "Aikido," than it occurs to me that many (most?) people pointing to this fact must be able to share the universally agreed upon "Principles of Aiki or Aikido" that they so often refer to.

Would someone care to list the principles that are referred to by both those inside and outside the art? They seem to be commonly known. For communication's sake and for a common understanding of the core of the art it would be very helpful to have a list of these principles posted.

Thanks in advance!

Allen
What's the difference between the principles shown in different Aikido techniques - why not just one technique?
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Old 10-02-2011, 05:07 PM   #54
HL1978
Dojo: Aunkai
Location: Fairfax, VA
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Quote:
Brian Beach wrote: View Post
What's the difference between the principles shown in different Aikido techniques - why not just one technique?
You can express the same principles to power many differnt waza. Or the waza kind of just happen as a result of those principles.
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:18 AM   #55
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
I also have a good friend who only had experience with Iwama weapons, and used a jo in Dog Brothers stick fighting (for those that don't know, this is full contact, no joke) with success. He felt many of the jo forms fit naturally.
Geez. Did he kill anybody?
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:38 AM   #56
kewms
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Quote:
Brian Beach wrote: View Post
What's the difference between the principles shown in different Aikido techniques - why not just one technique?
Because doing nothing but Ikkyo for 20 years would get really boring...

More seriously, the different waza show the principles from different perspectives, emphasizing different things.

Katherine
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Old 11-02-2011, 04:14 PM   #57
edshockley
Dojo: Aiklikai of Philadelphia
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

I am always disappointed when people paint any martial practice with a broad brush. The ability of each person to transfer lessons from bokken to katana is decided by their interest, innate ability and the quality of instruction. Within a single school the experience of students vary widely. At Aikikai of Philadelphia for example, I was introduced to Henry Smith Shihan (Chiba/Sugano weapons), Nizam Godan (Nishio/Seito weapons) and Paul Manogue Yondan Aikido (Yagyu Iaido master plus a bunch of other weapons training including Shioda Shihan) all in my first two days. In the intervening years I have studied with Gleason Sensei(Saotome influenced), John Stevens (Shabata), Dwight Epps (Crane Iwama interpretation) et al. My "aiki weapons" is unlike any of the other students in my school as well as unique from each of the schools that have seasoned my continuing study. The rambling point that I humbly submit is that we are best served to actively pursue whatever level of expertise we choose and abandon all judging of the illusory/intellectual merits of various weapons styles. The goal is always self mastery. Aiki weapons is a beautifully wide and flexible path.
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:01 AM   #58
Brion Toss
Dojo: Aikido Port Townsend
Location: Port Townsend, Wa.
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Quote:
Ed Shockley wrote: View Post
I am always disappointed when people paint any martial practice with a broad brush. The ability of each person to transfer lessons from bokken to katana is decided by their interest, innate ability and the quality of instruction. Within a single school the experience of students vary widely. At Aikikai of Philadelphia for example, I was introduced to Henry Smith Shihan (Chiba/Sugano weapons), Nizam Godan (Nishio/Seito weapons) and Paul Manogue Yondan Aikido (Yagyu Iaido master plus a bunch of other weapons training including Shioda Shihan) all in my first two days. In the intervening years I have studied with Gleason Sensei(Saotome influenced), John Stevens (Shabata), Dwight Epps (Crane Iwama interpretation) et al. My "aiki weapons" is unlike any of the other students in my school as well as unique from each of the schools that have seasoned my continuing study. The rambling point that I humbly submit is that we are best served to actively pursue whatever level of expertise we choose and abandon all judging of the illusory/intellectual merits of various weapons styles. The goal is always self mastery. Aiki weapons is a beautifully wide and flexible path.
Amen brother,
Over the years I have practiced with a lot of Aikiken people, and a few koryu people, both in kata and in sparring. I have often presumed to be annoyed by a going-through-the-motions quality that is all too typical of Aikiken practitioners, and likewise presumed to be annoyed by a -we're-the-real-deal-because-we-have-a-lineage attitude of some koryu people. But broad brush strokes are a disservice to the truly talented people who can be found in Aikiken and in koryu.
To get back to the original question, I would urge the student to visit potential teachers, do some research, and do some thinking, before deciding what and where to study, just as for any other aspect of martial training. To dismiss Aiki weapons training would be to dismiss, for instance, Ledyard Sensei, who practices some very powerful stuff indeed. And to prefer koryu because, well, because it is koryu, might be to embrace a vitiated echo of a once vital art.

Regards,

Brion Toss
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:25 AM   #59
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Quote:
Ed Shockley wrote: View Post
I am always disappointed when people paint any martial practice with a broad brush. .
what if folks paint with a bundle of small brushes which make a pretty broad stroke? i would be more disappointed if folks didn't. incidentally, i liked spray paint which cover more area and faster, and who care about the mess of generalization.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:10 AM   #60
NTT
 
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

I would like to question the word similarity that seems not to have been examined yet, in this thread.
I do Aikido and Kenjutsu.
Kenjutsu is a koryu art which means one has to learn it from a koryu, directly from the soke or an authorised teacher. Otherwise it is inspired by kenjutsu. Same as if you learn Aikido from a book, a DVD or a Kung Fu teacher.
The practice of Kenjutsu offers a taste quite different from Aikido as it has the flavour of its founder, in my case Musashi.
Musashi's art does move on in a different manner than Aikido.
Kenjutsu sprung from sword fight but more so from the experience of sword fighters who have thought and or meditated on their art.
Musashi wrote that his 60 first wins were due to lack of strength form his opponents or just mere luck for him. He won but did not consider his understanding of his art. This shows that kenjutsu is not mere sword fighting.
Aikiken is the fruit of Ueshiba sensei's understanding.
Thinking that all martial arts are to be compared on the level of fight is too restrictive.
In the Japanese way, one should practice and not compare. I see the reason of this in the fact that most of the people who practice compare what they know at the stage of their advancing along the way. One compares a leg when another compares the arm. Then they decide if the different bodies have similarities.
Kondo Katsuyuki sensei wrote that the day he had learn all the curriculum he got another understanding of Daito Ryu.
To see similarities between Aikido and Kenjutsu, one should learn through the curriculum of each and right through, to the end. Then if one has time and interest, one can then compare.
I am studying Aikido and Kenjutsu. At first, I had to maintain the identities of each. Now I go on studying. No time yet for the global sight and less comparison.

Nguyen Thanh Thien
Walk the distance, keep the distance
Aikido Yuishinkai in France
Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:14 AM   #61
JJF
 
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Well... I have been training Kendo - and that probably dosen't qualify me to fight somebody else in a sword - match. Neither does my aiki toho training (a form of iaido by Nishio sensei) or my training in ken-tai-ken.. At least not compared to somebody that have dedicated themselves to studying ken-jutsu in a style oriented towards sword fighting. However I'm pretty sure I will fare a lot better than someone with background in boxing, karate (which I also did for five years) or parachuting.

The answer is - as it always seems to be - neither a sounding yes or no. It's somewhere in between... Training with bokken or even iaito in combination with aikido practice will no doubt give you skills that would be useable in a sword fight, but if being able to slay someone in a sword fight is your end goal, then other paths are likely to get you there faster.

Just like if your goal is to kill people then it would be better to hone your skills in firearms than in swords...

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:35 AM   #62
ryback
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

In my opinion any effectiveness depends on the way one is training.In our dojo,the way we train in aikiken teaches us how to use the katana in a real fight,even though the chance of having such a fight is minimal.We practice with heavy bokken that is not very far from the feel of the real katana sword, and we also practice in iai-do katas with real, sharp, heavy "old school" katanas.The use of aikiken and aikijo is to help us understand and polish our tai-jutsu technique,nevertheless they are effective on their own...
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Old 11-29-2011, 07:39 AM   #63
NTT
 
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Re: Aiki Ken and Ken justu

Quote:
Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
Just like if your goal is to kill people then it would be better to hone your skills in firearms than in swords ...
Well, becoming psychotic is the straigth way to learn to kill people.
Again, effectiveness is just one way of considering martial arts and it may be the first to come in the meeting of Aikido or Kenjutsu but one cannot stay stuck with it. Effectiveness embrasses much more than making someone yield to one's own will. It starts with knowing what is one's own will and what are the multiple paths to the realization of one's own will. Then one has to understand if they are worth the pain inflicted, to oneself in the training and to the other in doing the action. After one has to consider to what extent one wishes to push one's own will forward.
Being the most powerfull does not give instantly the effect one aims at. Effectiveness does not imply victory but attaining the effect one has in mind. Then what is in one's mind? Personnal will to the extent of being able to kill?
There must be limits. Or one ends up with becoming psychotic, etc.
Practicing martial arts, Aikido or Kenjutsu or else leads us to learn what one really is aiming at and deepening the understanding of our mind.
Without such an inspection, one projects outside an ugly inside.
As I see it, power does not make an army victorious, neither does it attain victory in a peaceful land. It just secures the weak from the feeling of their weakness.
If power submits to understanding, then it is a brilliant find and validates the search.
One has to meet Kenjutsu before declaring the aim is to kill fast and direct. The truth is rarely what is held as obvious. It requires a thorough study. Please study Kenjutsu. After, lets discuss.
In such depth, it may not differ from Aikido.

Nguyen Thanh Thien
Walk the distance, keep the distance
Aikido Yuishinkai in France
Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu
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