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Old 01-09-2012, 10:45 PM   #1
dapidmini
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the purpose of suburi in aikido?

what's the purpose of suburi in aikido? by suburi, I mean the simple moves of lifting and lowering the bokken (or heavier suburi to). not the kata.. is it to develop more arm strength? (I thought we're not supposed to rely on strength in aikido?) or is it to familiarize our body with the correct way to move a sword with minimal strength? (if it is, then I've been training incorrectly all this time) we almost never had any sword training in my dojo so my knowledge about these stuffs is very little.

Last edited by dapidmini : 01-09-2012 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:44 AM   #2
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

We do suburi with ken, jo or - this is what we do most often - without any weapon for developing / improving posture, the structure of the body , the connection of the movement to the tanden, timing (of one's own body), When doing suburi with a weapon then connecting the weapon to the body is one element of practice. Things like that.

And - as a result - one aspect indeed can be to move the sword just like so, with no more "strength" than raising the elbows.

To develop muscular arm strength - which I believe to be important also in aikido - we mostly use other exercises: Some of us do suburi with a steel rod or something like that. A suburito will of course help also. But developing strength is not part of the keiko in the dojo. It's something everyone does on a individuel base at home.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:57 AM   #3
Eva Antonia
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Hi,

it's also to improve precision in your way of using the sword.
At least that's what my teachers recommend me when complaining about the very impredictible way my sword goes down - "do 1000 suburi per day, and it will improve in the next 20 years".
The more often you do it, the better you control your sword.

Best,

Eva
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:44 AM   #4
graham christian
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

I'm sure you have read before how the purpose is to reach a point where the sword becomes merely an extension of you.

Therefore understanding this means the point to reach is where it feels no different to the feeling thet you have now of raising your arms.

So I am maybe questioning your view of what you have been doing rather than 'wrong' method firstly.

In other words as long as you see it as a foreign thing rather than part of you you will never reach that point.

Here's some advice from me. If you see your legs and arms as extensions from center then develope seeing the sword as an extension from center too.

Thus you have a verticle center line that you are lifting it up on and cutting down on. Meanwhile extending straight out from center is it's line of rest that it starts from and returns to.

Thus when you cut down and through you hold that extending line so that it bounces back to it's place of rest.

As for different methods of training to attain such then we were trained in continuous cutting until we could do no more. Then we were informed that only now or at that point could we start cutting and lifting it properly. Thus we were trained from the view that until we had no strength left then we couldn't learn the correct way.

I visited a class by Kanetsuka Sensei where he had students non stop cutting up down up down using big tuck tyres to hit. Thus he was 'teaching' them to get rid of their shoulders and to experience the 'bounce back' feeling at the same time. Quite creative.

Regards.G.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:53 AM   #5
Cliff Judge
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

I think suburi practice is a great way to study structure.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:02 AM   #6
sorokod
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I visited a class by Kanetsuka Sensei where he had students non stop cutting up down up down using big tuck tyres to hit. Thus he was 'teaching' them to get rid of their shoulders and to experience the 'bounce back' feeling at the same time. Quite creative.
This tanren practice has a history in Iwama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isAYqzkBTsk&t=15m50s Latter, Saito sensei used a car tire instead.

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Old 01-10-2012, 10:39 AM   #7
dave9nine
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Wink Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
This tanren practice has a history in Iwama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isAYqzkBTsk&t=15m50s Latter, Saito sensei used a car tire instead.
ive never seen that footage. thanks

for the OP, ive also been taught that suburi should help develop kokyu;
kokyu, particularly in the left hand, should facilitate the raising of the weapon, as opposed to muscle.
doing this is what helps in doing many reps, otherwise the arms get tired quick.

also, as the strike lands horizontally, ive been taught that one should practice rolling the index knuckles over top (also related to kokyu, i guess?), which helps one feel 'on top' of things--something that i find is related to the moment in ikkyo-yonkyo where uke's balance is taken and they are made to go down; if they are trying to bounce back up, it is this feeling of being 'on top', through the grip, that helps one maintain control. i find it develops a strong sense of center.

also, fwiw ive always thought that doing suburi strictly for repetition and without watching these things closely is a waste of time. im a big fan of iwama weapon-work, but i can see how there is a very fine line between suburi that teaches one something vs. people just waving sticks around and at each other

-dave
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
dapidmini
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
so that it bounces back to it's place of rest.
are you saying that instead of just stopping the cutting down motion, we should add a little upward (bouncing) movements? at least that's what I understand after watching the video sorokod posted..
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:54 AM   #9
sorokod
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

The ken doesn't stop dead at the end of the cut, it rather "vibrates" as you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdp1F7GWBhA This is sometimes referred to as "kime".

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Old 01-10-2012, 12:07 PM   #10
grondahl
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
are you saying that instead of just stopping the cutting down motion, we should add a little upward (bouncing) movements? at least that's what I understand after watching the video sorokod posted..
Definitly no adding of upward movement. Try making a dead still stop while still cutting with power on a tire It will bounce.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:01 PM   #11
inframan
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

so is the idea to hit the tire or stop the cut on top of it for minmal bounce back?
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:16 PM   #12
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

It's not for arm power, it's for hip power. Staying relaxed, with good posture, projecting energy into the tip, grounding with your feet, turning your hip into the strike -- it's really hard to do all this together, let alone with any speed.

Working on this by yourself is very useful. Think about shihonage -- it's very close to the same motion. The same principles apply all over the place in techniques.

The other challenge that I find with suburi is being able to focus and concentrate. It's easy to start drifting off and daydreaming. Keeping your mind on the suburi is good training for staying in the moment when executing techniques.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:48 PM   #13
grondahl
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
Andy Strawn wrote: View Post
so the idea is to hit the tire and stop the cut on top of it for minmal bounce back?
Yep. That´s for tanren uchi. For suburi post number 7 plus synchronisation of breathing/movement and initiating movement from the body.

Last edited by grondahl : 01-10-2012 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:08 PM   #14
dapidmini
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
The ken doesn't stop dead at the end of the cut, it rather "vibrates" as you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdp1F7GWBhA This is sometimes referred to as "kime".
if we're supposed to stop the sword right before it reaches the target, won't it make our arms tense up? I imagine it would make my technique become stiff too.. will it not? I also imagine that it will make me stop the technique (e.g shihonage) in the middle of it's track too.. will it not?

Last edited by dapidmini : 01-10-2012 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:22 PM   #15
graham christian
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
are you saying that instead of just stopping the cutting down motion, we should add a little upward (bouncing) movements? at least that's what I understand after watching the video sorokod posted..
Hi David, yes in effect.

Remember I said that the extension line out from center? Feel that line as you lift the sword up and you will feel at the same time centre opening and relaxing. Know that this is the line you are cutting through, without stopping. (hence the emphasis on through)

Now the word to use here is Allow rather than Make the sword return to that line. If you keep that line, that extension and and allow the sword to cut through and return back to it you will experience this 'bounce' effect as it returns.

This is the true practice of cutting for it is cutting through. Now when someone says to cut and stop the sword on that line it ends up being a chop. A sword does not chop.

O.k. So now the differentiation for when you look at videos of others cutting and stopping the cut on the line: First notice that those using too much shoulder etc. are chopping whilst those not are more relaxed, at one with and thus are still cutting thus the sword vibrates, it stiill shows that bounce effect. Why? Because they are doing what I said earlier and thus letting their power go through (cut through) even though stopping the sword on the line and thus the effect.

Knowing this and practicing cutting taking into account the points I mention you will feel the difference and become much more aware of what a cut is as different to a chop and how the power comes from center.

Try it, feel it. You'll love it.

Regards.G.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:39 PM   #16
phitruong
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

any idiot can swing the stick. there are right ways and wrong ways to swing the stick. it takes a pure genius of an idiot to do it right.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:06 PM   #17
Josh Lerner
 
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
This tanren practice has a history in Iwama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isAYqzkBTsk&t=15m50s Latter, Saito sensei used a car tire instead.
I think I've seen this before, and it looked to me at the time like two people wildly and somewhat randomly striking a target together. I don't know why it's taken me so long to realize this, but this footage seems to be showing a way of practicing sparring without any danger. It looks to me like the stand is being used as a stand-in for your partner, and it looks like Osensei is cutting the stand in response to Saito sensei's cuts, as if he was cutting Saito sensei directly. You can see him shifting angles and trying to preempt a few cuts, and you even see Saito sensei thrust at Osensei at one point. It's like no-contact sparring where you can hit full force and don't have to worry about pulling your cuts. Pretty cool, actually. Or is this generally well known and I am late on the bus?

Josh
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:13 PM   #18
Josh Lerner
 
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

And the mysterious way everyone emerges from the woods now looks like another type of no-contact sparring. You can see him swinging around and kind of responding to some of the others in the background, then his attention returns to Saito sensei. It's like multiple randori.

Josh
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:57 AM   #19
sorokod
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Quote:
Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
I think I've seen this before, and it looked to me at the time like two people wildly and somewhat randomly striking a target together. I don't know why it's taken me so long to realize this, but this footage seems to be showing a way of practicing sparring without any danger. It looks to me like the stand is being used as a stand-in for your partner, and it looks like Osensei is cutting the stand in response to Saito sensei's cuts, as if he was cutting Saito sensei directly. You can see him shifting angles and trying to preempt a few cuts, and you even see Saito sensei thrust at Osensei at one point. It's like no-contact sparring where you can hit full force and don't have to worry about pulling your cuts. Pretty cool, actually. Or is this generally well known and I am late on the bus?

Josh
I agree with your analysis, don't know about the timing

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Old 01-11-2012, 11:41 AM   #20
Walker
 
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Nice insight Josh.

I seem to remember that Ueshiba had a standing offer of a 10th dan to anyone who took him unawares. Now that's training.

-Doug Walker
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:22 AM   #21
sorokod
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Some more on the tanren practice here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5dAUfTQjSw and a discussion here: http://www.e-budo.com/forum/archive/...p/t-37238.html

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Old 01-12-2012, 02:34 PM   #22
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

A simple explanation for why we study Aiki ken saburi is to understand and develop the 3 main principles of Aikido so that they are the same with or with out ken. 1. Hanmi, 2. Awase and 3. Kokyu. In Iwama these are the 3 principles that make up Traditional Aikido and Saburi is one of the best ways to understand them.

Ken Saburi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6UjPDsdPso
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:23 AM   #23
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Sorry Guys I posted that answer in the wrong thread (awful jet-lag sorry), maybe a moderator will move the message or cancel the previous one...

To answer your question about suburi, it may be useful to get a clear understanding of what can be learned form suburi and what to look for.

I can only talk about so called "Iwama ryu" ( I don't like the name itself but it has become common place so let's use it ... The net is only useful to catch the fish, etc).

Saito sensei's method includes 7 ken suburi, each of them having a precise role. Maybe we could begin with the first one as it is the foundation of pretty much everything else.

Aikiken is not a sword school per se although after some practice you wouldn't feel lost in a ken centered practice. It is all linked to aikido principles, it is a method to teach the body how to move, and refine its perceptions.

I doubt this can be done on a forum but let's try to summarize. (If you speak french - but the article will be soon translated - you can read this as it provides with a clear understanding of what to seek in the 1st suburi).

Let's try to summarize:
- ichi no suburi is a way to discover irimi tenkan principle (too long to explain here but let's say that when you step forward -irimi- , your spine rotates - tenkan- the leg spiraling backward being only a consequence of the rotation and not its engine...)
- it teaches the correct way to rise the sword (not with the shoulder but with the entire body) therefore your hands in tai jutsu
- it leads to a more rational use of the body in all aikido techniques
- it creates kokyu power (that ellusive internal power too often described as mysterious... it's a bit like drawing, all is known, the technique is known, let's go to work ;-)

Technically
- hanmi right, feet in hitoemi position, the right front foot comes in front of the inside of the left foot
- the movement drags the whole right side of the body back, allowing your right hand/arm to pull the sword back and up with a minimum effort of the deltoids muscles
- relatively the left side pushes the sword, creating a leverage with the right side in order to minimize the effort upward and collaborate with the right side.
- ultimately after a few (dozen) thousands ( more depending on your commitment) you'll feel that both hands end up pushing the te gatana, creating and developing the kokyu power inherent to Aikido (a work refined by the 2nd and by the 3rd suburi even more - a pure kokyu breeder...). In that case the link with kokyu ho becomes obvious, these are two closely related movements, similar in essence, leading to the discovery of the principle behind the forms.

Through the rotation on the spine axis, the whole body is unified to set the ken in motion with a minimum effort of the arms. The consequence is a better use of the body in all tai jutsu techniques (example: fifth suburi > shiho nage but it starts with ikkyo really). As such, weapon training - starting with suburi - helps the practitioner right form the start and not after years of endless air cutting although commited training is required to get the best of it, like everything else.

It is worth trying different speeds and amplitudes of movements with a quite heavy bokken (900 g is fairly enough, the number of pain-free suburi being an indicator of the correctness of the exercise) in order to identify the issues revealed by cramps even if these are a bit inevitable, let's be sensible here, no physical practice is completely pain free but it is a good excuse to get a nice massage.

I really discourage the use of any heavier weapon (furibo 3,5 kgs for instance) to avoid back injuries. These tools require a deep understanding of the movement, otherwise you may ruin your back very easily. Of course after a year of daily suburi, the furibo will deepen the feelings and lead to a stricter self correction.

Hope this can help.
Best
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:56 AM   #24
Mark Uttech
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

Onegaishimasu, training in suburi prepares you for partner practice. That's a simple answer I know; when Bill Witt Shihan learned the suburi from M. Saito Shihan, he practiced them for 2 years and when he returned to Iwama, he learned that he was ready for partner practice. That's the story I read in Aikido Journal many years ago.
In gassho,
Mark

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Old 01-19-2012, 10:15 AM   #25
graham christian
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Re: the purpose of suburi in aikido?

The same principles of the sword apply to tegatana.

Regards.G.
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