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Old 11-12-2015, 04:06 AM   #26
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: The use of weapons

I am not sure if this source is reliable, but after searching the web (bokken, shinken,musashi wooden) I found:

https://books.google.nl/books?id=1N9...oden&f=fals e

this preview chapter informs us that indeed some fighters preferred bokken over shinken....
but I do not know the period this refers too....some truth might be in there though...

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:03 AM   #27
sorokod
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
So, David, I wonder what you think of the following questions.

- In view of the general belief in the Iwama community that Saito Sensei came the closest to full transmission of O-Sensei's aikido, do you believe that O-Sensei viewed the bokken primarily as a striking weapon, rather than a cutting weapon?

- Is there any training exercise in the Iwama curriculum that is understood to be using the bokken as if it were a cutting instrument?

These questions are very interesting to me, as my own feeling is that the experience of aikido as uke is very different if tori has the intent to cut, rather than to strike.

Alex
Saito Morihiro was extremely respectful of the material the founder left behind (e.g. "Osensei will be cross at me if we don't do tainohenko" (glances at the picture of the founder on the kamiza). Given this, I believe that his teaching was faithful to the original in general, and with regards to the use of the bokken in particular.
Having said this, when a kami was possessing the founder, the weapon he was wielding was probably an extension of his persona and so it could have been a cutting weapon a striking weapon or a photon torpedo launcher for all I know ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_TmFosN6bE ).
Many of us have an expectation that the subject we study is coherent and contradiction free. Even if the founder had the same expectations of his own work, I find it quite unlikely that he and I share the same underlying assumptions so that even if his system was coherent in his judgement, it may not look like this to me.

In post 10 I said that "Things do get more nuanced outside of suburi" but things are already not quite clear cut "inside". To save time I will borrow from JW's post and note that all his "Why"s do point to the use of bokken in Iwama system being rooted in the shinken.

In pair practice we have many other examples e.g: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geIIkMkG4Jw#t=3m0s around 3 minutes timestamp. I have seen the uchitachi's first move done as a slice, a tsuki followed by a slice and a strike to the sternum followed by more of a protective move then a slice.

So there you have, not contradiction free as I would like it to be, but what part of Aikido is?

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Old 11-12-2015, 06:39 AM   #28
sorokod
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
...my own feeling is that the experience of aikido as uke is very different if tori has the intent to cut, rather than to strike.
Alex
I am sure that is the case.

It is pretty clear to me how developing solid striking is applicable to taijitsu and developing cutting/slicing skills, using bokken as a shinken substitute, is applicable to kenjitsu, My question to you Alex is how, in your opinion, does developing cutting/slicing skills, using bokken as a shinken substitute contributes to taijitsu?

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Old 11-12-2015, 07:22 AM   #29
Alex Megann
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
I am sure that is the case.

It is pretty clear to me how developing solid striking is applicable to taijitsu and developing cutting/slicing skills, using bokken as a shinken substitute, is applicable to kenjitsu, My question to you Alex is how, in your opinion, does developing cutting/slicing skills, using bokken as a shinken substitute contributes to taijitsu?
Hi David,

For many years, my teacher assiduously studied Saito Sensei's books and taught Aiki-ken and jo. In the late 1970s he took a left turn and started practising and teaching the kesagiri style of cutting from the Kashima-shinryu, which he himself learned from Minoru Sekiya. I believe that this was much more helpful for him in understanding the aikido of his teacher (Gozo Shioda) and of Seigo Yamaguchi: it certainly made is body much softer and improved his kuzushi skills. This way of cutting is not obviously "stopped", as I understand the Iwama shomen and yokomen cuts are, even though I have vivid memories of him making strong and clean shomen cuts that made the wooden tsuba on his heavy Kashima bokken rattle.

My understanding is that cutting, as a kind of metaphor for hand/arm movement in taijutsu, is through the partner, rather than into or onto them. I currently teach both shomenuchi and kesagiri (a diagonal cut through uke's torso from shoulder to hip) with bokken, but the kesagiri movement, which ends with the sword tip at ground level, feels much more relevant to the way my aikido is going. In particular, it emphasises the spiral use of the body I am learning from my internal power teacher. And, as I said earlier, ukemi feels very different in the two cases.

I'm not sure how well that answers your question.

Alex
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Old 11-12-2015, 08:52 AM   #30
sorokod
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Hi David,

For many years, my teacher assiduously studied Saito Sensei's books and taught Aiki-ken and jo. In the late 1970s he took a left turn and started practising and teaching the kesagiri style of cutting from the Kashima-shinryu, which he himself learned from Minoru Sekiya. I believe that this was much more helpful for him in understanding the aikido of his teacher (Gozo Shioda) and of Seigo Yamaguchi: it certainly made is body much softer and improved his kuzushi skills. This way of cutting is not obviously "stopped", as I understand the Iwama shomen and yokomen cuts are, even though I have vivid memories of him making strong and clean shomen cuts that made the wooden tsuba on his heavy Kashima bokken rattle.

My understanding is that cutting, as a kind of metaphor for hand/arm movement in taijutsu, is through the partner, rather than into or onto them. I currently teach both shomenuchi and kesagiri (a diagonal cut through uke's torso from shoulder to hip) with bokken, but the kesagiri movement, which ends with the sword tip at ground level, feels much more relevant to the way my aikido is going. In particular, it emphasises the spiral use of the body I am learning from my internal power teacher. And, as I said earlier, ukemi feels very different in the two cases.

I'm not sure how well that answers your question.

Alex
Don't know what weapons Shioda had but didn't Yamaguchi came from Kashima-shinryu background? It makes sense (no disrespect intended) that if a teachers taijitsu is shaped by Kashima-shinryu it would be difficult to graft any other weapons system onto a student's taijitsu. This applies both to your teacher and to you.

Metaphor is a super useful tool when tangible feedback is not available and it is great that this particular one advances your practice. I will take a tangible practice (of striking) over metaphor any day.

As I am getting dangerously close to "my martial art is better then your martial art" territory, so i'll step away from all this to ask - why do care what the founder did. I mean, Yamaguchi probably had minimal exposure to the founder as most early post war students in Tokyo and found his own way with taijitsu and weapons.

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Old 11-12-2015, 09:31 AM   #31
Alex Megann
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Don't know what weapons Shioda had but didn't Yamaguchi came from Kashima-shinryu background? It makes sense (no disrespect intended) that if a teachers taijitsu is shaped by Kashima-shinryu it would be difficult to graft any other weapons system onto a student's taijitsu. This applies both to your teacher and to you.
I understand that Shioda Sensei studied kendo at least partly with his father, but I don't know what exposure he had to other koryu, or even how much of O-Sensei's sword work he emulated.

Yamaguchi Sensei was famously eclectic, as far as weapons training went, and claimed he had no formal training at all. Where his style came from in aikido is a mystery to many as well, since his body movement is rather different from anyone else of his generation. He encouraged his direct students to study with Noguchi Sensei, who had some training at the Kashima Dojo, as he seems to have felt that there was an affinity with his aikido.

There are hints that both Yamaguchi and Shioda were influenced at least in part directly by Daito Ryu, in addition to training they had with O-Sensei - in fact there appears to be documentary evidence of the latter having close personal contact with one of Sokaku Takeda's other eminent students. That would make sense to me, as his aiki skills were very distinctive, and the more I find out about the Horikawa/Sagawa branch of Daito Ryu the more I recognise in both Yamaguchi's and Shioda's aikido.

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Metaphor is a super useful tool when tangible feedback is not available and it is great that this particular one advances your practice. I will take a tangible practice (of striking) over metaphor any day.
Perhaps "metaphor" wasn't the right choice of word. Visualisation? Riai?

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
As I am getting dangerously close to "my martial art is better then your martial art" territory, so i'll step away from all this to ask - why do care what the founder did. I mean, Yamaguchi probably had minimal exposure to the founder as most early post war students in Tokyo and found his own way with taijitsu and weapons.
No comment ...

Alex
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:50 AM   #32
Alex Megann
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Re: The use of weapons

A further thought (since I can no longer edit my last post):

Others have noted Daito Ryu influence on Yamaguchi's aikido. In fact, I just remembered an article by Olivier Gaurin where he said "I would even go on to say that one who is not familiar with Daito-ryu cannot understand Yamaguchi Sensei's Aikido." This explains why, to my repeated surprise, I have found so much in common between Yamaguchi and Shioda, even though their styles look superficially very different.

Anyway, I am now drifting well off topic, so I will cease and desist...

Alex

Last edited by Alex Megann : 11-12-2015 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:39 AM   #33
NagaBaba
 
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Hi David,

For many years, my teacher assiduously studied Saito Sensei's books and taught Aiki-ken and jo. In the late 1970s he took a left turn and started practising and teaching the kesagiri style of cutting from the Kashima-shinryu, which he himself learned from Minoru Sekiya. I believe that this was much more helpful for him in understanding the aikido of his teacher (Gozo Shioda) and of Seigo Yamaguchi: it certainly made is body much softer and improved his kuzushi skills. This way of cutting is not obviously "stopped", as I understand the Iwama shomen and yokomen cuts are, even though I have vivid memories of him making strong and clean shomen cuts that made the wooden tsuba on his heavy Kashima bokken rattle.

My understanding is that cutting, as a kind of metaphor for hand/arm movement in taijutsu, is through the partner, rather than into or onto them. I currently teach both shomenuchi and kesagiri (a diagonal cut through uke's torso from shoulder to hip) with bokken, but the kesagiri movement, which ends with the sword tip at ground level, feels much more relevant to the way my aikido is going. In particular, it emphasises the spiral use of the body I am learning from my internal power teacher. And, as I said earlier, ukemi feels very different in the two cases.

I'm not sure how well that answers your question.

Alex
I think the correct use of sword/bokken has nothing to do with stopping tip at plexus level or at ground level. You can cut or hit still preserving both forms. The real difference is what happens in the moment of the contact of the target. If there is a slicing motion, you are cutting, if not, you are hitting.

From strictly martial point of view, waving bokken/sword in large round movements creates too much openings in my position, so I don't feel very safe. In the other hand it is true Iwama start/stop method creates a very rigid body. If you study koryu sword schools, you may learn correct use of sword and flexible body. But I don't believe in direct translation from sword to empty hand aikido techniques. You need to keep them separated, the influence is done by induction not by conscious cerebral work.

Only after, one may use bokken work as an illustration some aikido principles, because bokken became his body extension. That what O sensei did I believe, but it was misunderstood by many people. They took it literally as a method to learn sword skills

Nagababa

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Old 11-12-2015, 10:49 AM   #34
Cliff Judge
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
I am not sure if this source is reliable, but after searching the web (bokken, shinken,musashi wooden) I found:

https://books.google.nl/books?id=1N9...oden&f=fals e

this preview chapter informs us that indeed some fighters preferred bokken over shinken....
but I do not know the period this refers too....some truth might be in there though...
FWIW, Dr. Karl Friday (of the REAL Kashima Shinryu, by the way) wrote this piece a couple years ago, and it has a couple of different things that are relevant to this thread:

Bokuto Jutsu: Straight, Curved, Fat, Thin, Why?

One particular item is the speculation about "bokutojutsu" - the idea that warriors might devise techniques for duels with wooden weapons, or simply adapt to the use of a wooden weapon. One thing I can add is that I asked my own sword teacher, Dr. Hall, if he ever came across a ryuha that had such material in its curriculum and he told me he had never seen such a thing.

Dr. Friday's essay also has some thoughts on how the shape of the training weapon interfaces with the attitude of the ryu.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:59 PM   #35
JW
 
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Re: The use of weapons

So if I understand right:
The founder of aikido, working through a faithful collaborator, left us with a pretty extensive bokken practice, which was clearly meant to represent work with bladed weapons. Furthermore, in taijutsu, the "cutting" terminology has been emphasized in that very same lineage, as opposed to pushing, pulling, or smacking. Also, the founder talked about swords all the time (especially the tsurugi, which is certainly a bladed weapon).

It sounds to me like in aikido, we are supposed to learn and practice a slicing action, to cut "through" rather than "at;" this way of using the intent and the body is supposed to be involved in taijutsu as well as weapon work. I realize the bokken can be used as a club but I am wary of focusing on that if it is not the real purpose of the practice.

I claim to practice aikido so I do in fact care what the founder of aikido meant for us to practice, that's why I think about this kind of thing.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:06 PM   #36
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
So if I understand right:
...Furthermore, in taijutsu, the "cutting" terminology has been emphasized in that very same lineage, as opposed to pushing, pulling, or smacking.
Well its all shomenuchi / yokomenuchi, my Japanese is non existent - does "uchi" means "cut"?

Quote:
Also, the founder talked about swords all the time (especially the tsurugi, which is certainly a bladed weapon).
Tsurugi! Have a look at this video of Maeda Hiramasa (formerly ?) of Omoto kyo practising with his tsurigi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1vUMdSrBIc

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Old 11-12-2015, 06:54 PM   #37
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Well its all shomenuchi / yokomenuchi, my Japanese is non existent - does "uchi" means "cut"?
Well as I understand, that word is nonspecific enough to include cuts and strikes, whereas 切 kiru (as in "happogiri") is only for cuts. BTW that's another good piece of Iwama bokken-as-bladed-weapon evidence-- the happogiri exercise being called that rather than "happo-uchi" or something.

Anyway I wasn't talking about the attacks in aikido. In my experience, there were many times that we were instructed to "cut here" or "cut the arm down," etc. These are moments in throws, typically when you are using tegatana. The idea at these times was always that we must not think that we are pushing down or yanking the arm, etc, but rather, cutting through, while uke is attached.

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Tsurugi! Have a look at this video of Maeda Hiramasa (formerly ?) of Omoto kyo practising with his tsurigi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1vUMdSrBIc
Wow thanks, I hadn't heard of waraku before! What is the history of this? Fairly modern I guess since that guy is the founder?
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:56 AM   #38
sorokod
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Well as I understand, that word is nonspecific enough to include cuts and strikes, whereas 切 kiru (as in "happogiri") is only for cuts. BTW that's another good piece of Iwama bokken-as-bladed-weapon evidence-- the happogiri exercise being called that rather than "happo-uchi" or something.

Anyway I wasn't talking about the attacks in aikido. ...
Shomenuchi and Yokomenuchi are the descriptive names for the relevant ken suburi

Quote:
Wow thanks, I hadn't heard of waraku before! What is the history of this? Fairly modern I guess since that guy is the founder?
New thread here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24592

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Old 11-13-2015, 07:03 PM   #39
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Re: The use of weapons

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
Shomenuchi and Yokomenuchi are the descriptive names for the relevant ken suburi
True, but not sure what you mean to get at regarding that. I thought the word "uchi" includes both hits and cuts so it doesn't tell us anything specific. Anyway I was more trying to get at what Alex was talking about: the idea of "cut" rather than hit, pull, or push has been emphasized in the instruction I have received for taijutsu, so that's why I thought the bokken practice was probably a way to learn to cut rather than hit.
Anyway I'm just clarifying, not trying to get into an argument-- you already said my reasoning seems sound regarding the bokken practice seeming to be a cutting-based practice at least in its inception and early days.
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