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Old 11-19-2003, 07:06 PM   #1
Amassus
 
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Dojo: Aikido Musubi Ryu/ Yoshin Wadokan
Location: Hamilton
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Bokken use

I thought I would add another thread to this poor, forgotten forum.

Using the bokken; I'm a beginner at aikido and have, up to this point found using that curved peice of wood quite a hassle. I don't even seem to be able to do a simple shomen strike with out feeling awkward.
I am told to lift with the left hand then lower with the left hand using the right to put a final snap into the strike. Knuckle of first finger stays on top of handle in line with blade.

All very well and good, but my strikes always look clumsy. I know the most obvious answer to this question is to simply continue to train, and I will. However, anyone got some useful tips to speed the process along?

Thanks in advance.



"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 11-19-2003, 09:55 PM   #2
Nafis Zahir
 
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You can't speed it along. I had the same problem. I hated the Bokken. But I kept training and kept working on the things I was told to work on. Now the bokken is my weapon of choice. I have one at home next to my bed and I often walk around the house with it. Here is one of my secrets to get your cuts right. Sit in seiza. Do your shomen cuts and ring the ken with that knuckle applying the most pressure. (This will give you a strong yonkyo) Focus on someone in front of you and cut there center. Keep doing this and let me know how you make out. Also, when doing kumi ken, always look at your partner and cut down his center. If you watch his ken, you'll do bad cuts. Get back to me.

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Old 11-19-2003, 10:40 PM   #3
Brion Toss
Dojo: Aikido Port Townsend
Location: Port Townsend, Wa.
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Hello,

One thing that I've found helps is to practice Taijutsu as though you were holding a bokken. There are limits to how precisely you can do this, but most Aikido techniques appear to be based on sword techniques. So when you are going for ikkyo from shomen uchi, for example, bring both hands up simultaneously, just as though you are holding a bokken. Likewise, go for a sword strike 'feel' as you bring uke down. You will find (a) that your ikkyo will improve, and (b) that you bokken handling will improve.

As for specific strike hints, keep your shoulders relaxed and well back, work to eliminate blade wobble at the end of the strike, pay attention to all of the scores of other helpful suggestions that you will hear, and, especially, practice.

Fair leads,

Brion Toss

Regards,

Brion Toss
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Old 11-20-2003, 01:56 AM   #4
Michael Karmon
Dojo: Aikido Jerusalem
Location: Jerusalem Israel
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Re: Bokken use

Quote:
Dean Suter (Amassus) wrote:
I thought I All very well and good, but my strikes always look clumsy. I know the most obvious answer to this question is to simply continue to train, and I will.

I will repeat Sensei "1000 Shomenuchi a day takes awckwardness away"

A good way may be to do bokken while ignoring the peice of wood in your hand. Do the Shomenuchi w/o thinking of blade, handle etc. just get the movement going.

Have fun

Eat, Sleep, Exercise and watch out for cars
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Old 11-20-2003, 06:29 AM   #5
Paul Kerr
 
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"1000 Shomenuchi a day takes awckwardness (sic) away"

I would disagree. 1000 shomenuchi suburi is just way too many. The goal should be to develop proper form, and for that you don't need to be doing any more than 100 or so. Better 10 "good" cuts than 990 sloppy, messy ones. If you do 1000 you may well get a benefit in stamina, but your form will definitely degenerate. Train smart, not hard!

Paul Kerr
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Old 11-20-2003, 06:46 AM   #6
Michael Karmon
Dojo: Aikido Jerusalem
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Quote:
Paul Kerr wrote:
"1000 Shomenuchi a day takes awckwardness (sic) away"

I would disagree. 1000 shomenuchi suburi is just way too many. .... Train smart, not hard!
You will have to bring it up with my sensei.

When it comes to bokken my sensei feels that working hard until you are very tired will force your body into a relaxation and efficiency that can not be obtained any other way.

By the way, 1000 shomenuchi does not mean lousy strikes but 1000 good ones.

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Old 11-20-2003, 07:01 AM   #7
Kevin Masters
Dojo: Woodstock Aikido
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It's nice to see that I'm not the only one who is baffled by this piece of wood.

Just when you think Aikido has gotten as confusing as it's going to get- out come the pointy sticks!

I thought that the idea behind doing something 1000(+) times is that as your muscles get tired you begin to naturally fall into the most efficient way of doing it. You rely more on technique since your muscles are too tired to take over.

I like the idea of doing the cuts from seiza because I have really a low ceiling in my house. The landlord wouldn't like if I put a thousand dents in our ceiling tiles!
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Old 11-20-2003, 07:09 AM   #8
Paul Kerr
 
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"I thought that the idea behind doing something 1000(+) times is that as your muscles get tired you begin to naturally fall into the most efficient way of doing it."

Well, this only holds true if your techique and form is good to begin with. Otherwise tiredness will just compound your mistakes rather then improve them.

Michael - if you can truly do 1000 good shomenuchi I'd be very impressed!!

Paul Kerr
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Old 11-20-2003, 07:11 AM   #9
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
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I generally do 100-200 bokken cuts a night. Well, I did until I sprained my elbow a few weeks ago. I got out of the habit, since I thought I couldn't do them one-handed. I was wrong. My sensei had me do them one-handed at the dojo........that impressed several of my dojomates! Ha!

One weekend when I couldn't get to class, I had a goal of doing 1,000 cuts. So that Sunday night, I DID 1,000 cuts. I was pretty proud and my arms were not anywhere near as sore as I thought they'd be! So my cuts must be improving.

I know they are....I can tell when I do them. And I rarely get corrected on them anymore.

I don't think you can "speed the process along"....like ALL of Aikido, it just takes practice, practice, practice!

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 11-20-2003, 07:29 AM   #10
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
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Dean,

Take some free time that you have, but work on bokken cuts while watching TV instead of sitting (just an example).

I'll often do cuts while waiting for dinner, or at night before bed. Sometimes, I'll sneak in 20 or 30 cuts while talking with my wife after work (she doesn't mind).

I like to go through all the cuts that I know by doing 10 of each. I'll do the same thing with the jo, but that I'll do left and right handed.

Just start looking for times when you can practice for a short while. If your sensei corrected you on something, se if you can feel what he or she is talking about.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 11-26-2003, 10:51 AM   #11
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Bokken use

Quote:
Dean Suter (Amassus) wrote:
I thought I would add another thread to this poor, forgotten forum.

Using the bokken; I'm a beginner at aikido and have, up to this point found using that curved peice of wood quite a hassle. I don't even seem to be able to do a simple shomen strike with out feeling awkward.

I am told to lift with the left hand then lower with the left hand using the right to put a final snap into the strike. Knuckle of first finger stays on top of handle in line with blade.

All very well and good, but my strikes always look clumsy. I know the most obvious answer to this question is to simply continue to train, and I will. However, anyone got some useful tips to speed the process along?

Thanks in advance.

The instruction to lift with the left, cut with the left and then addd snap at the end with the right is a stylistic trait of one particular style of Aikiken. It is not how one would cut with a live blade nor is it how I was taught by Saotome Sensei.

The left hand is the power hand, the right is the target hand. The right hand does draw the tip up just a bit at the start of the raise and it does act to cast the tip out at the start of the cut but the rest is all the left hand with the right guiding the cut to the target.

If you get a chance to see yourself in a mirror or on film, take a look at what moves first. If you are really "cutting" the tip will move first as you cast it out. In the style of cutting you mentioned, the handle will move first, then the tip will be cast out. If you get a chace to actually cut something with a live blade the difference will be evident.

Obviously, you have to do what is taught at the school you attend. Just be aware that there are some large deviations.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 11-26-2003, 12:54 PM   #12
thisisnotreal
 
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(try cutting some wood with an axe...with intent..)
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