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Old 09-16-2004, 09:45 AM   #1
chris wright
 
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Smile Bokken etiquette

Hi all,
was just wandering about bokken etiquette, in particular with respect to Kamiza.
When you present your bokken to Kamiza before using it - should the 'blade' be facing towards or away from kamiza.
A couple of months ago in class a senior kyu grade set sensei's bokken and jo in front of kamiza before practice for him, and was admonished and told to turn the blade away from kamiza.
Yet many (or most) daisho and sword stands have the blades facing outwards, any thoughs?

Thanks
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Old 09-16-2004, 10:18 AM   #2
akiy
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Hi Chris,

It really depends on what your dojo/teacher teaches. I've seen pretty much all combinations of how to bow to the kamiza (and to other people) with the bokuto -- in front of you, on the right side, on the left side, with the blade facing out, with the blade facing in, and so on. It all really depends upon the "tradition" set down where you train. Best to ask your senior instructor and proceed with his advice.

-- Jun

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Old 11-16-2004, 12:23 AM   #3
Solarius
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Well, you should really ask your sensei about that. But in my Dojo, during the rituals before the training, the blade NEVER faces toward the oponent. (except during training, of course)
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Old 11-16-2004, 05:05 AM   #4
Jim Simons
Dojo: Aikido in the Fan
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Freaky! Re: Bokken etiquette

Heh... Over the course of about a month or so, I was asked to switch all the bokken on the racks two or three times. We had them one way, and then a visiting Iwama instructor (our dojo is mostly ASU, but with one gent teaching Iwama on a particular night of the week) came for a dan grading and remarked that they were supposed to point the other way. Then our chief instructor came back from a trip to Hombu and suggested they should be flipped back... And so on.

Funny thing was, each of these folks had exactly the same reasoning: the point goes away from the door and away from the shomen. See, we train in an old garage; the weapons racks are mostly on the back wall. And there are large doors in <i>both</i> side walls... Fortunately no one was really taking all this seriously, more along the lines of "well, it should probably be this way, so let's go ahead and do it that way."

At least they weren't confused about which way the jo were supposed to point... ;-)
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Old 11-16-2004, 05:46 AM   #5
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Ah the joys of bokken!... We were told by a senior instructor in Iaido that the bokken is just a piece of wood and bowing to it is a disgrace to the katana. *shrugs* Another great case for "When in Rome, do as the romans".

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-16-2004, 08:51 AM   #6
Magma
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Re: Bokken etiquette

You aren't going to please everyone all the time.

I agree with Jun that I have heard so many different explanations and traditions for how to put the bokken and why that it really comes down to how you do it in your dojo.

I've seen a dojo turn the bokken over (point to the opposite direction) just because they were beginning to sag and warp from constantly being stored with the weight bearing in one direction.

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 11-17-2004, 06:34 AM   #7
batemanb
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

In one dojo I train in in Japan, there is a dustbin over in the corner, the bokken and jo are all standing vertically in the dustbin


rgds

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Old 11-17-2004, 05:16 PM   #8
David Humm
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Re: Bokken etiquette

As a student of iai and aiki I am often amused at the 'reverance' placed on a bit of wood by aikidoists with no formal training with a skinken or iaito.

The simple rules of thumb regarding a bokken;

When placing a bokken on a stand next to a kamiza, have the kissaki (tip) pointing away from any images of the founder

When training on the mat try to avoid training directly in front of the kamiza with either bokken or jo (they both have the ability to break things in/on the kamiza if let go of)

As long as there is some uniformaty in the way wooden weapons are stored on walls, there shouldn't be an issue.

When paying respects to the kamiza with a bokken in your hands, turn the so called 'blade' toward youself and have the tsuka (handle) nearest your right hand.

And as already been said, "when in Rome"
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Old 11-17-2004, 09:18 PM   #9
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Aye.....ask your sensei. Other opinions do not matter.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 11-18-2004, 01:28 AM   #10
batemanb
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote:
As a student of iai and aiki I am often amused at the 'reverance' placed on a bit of wood by aikidoists with no formal training with a skinken or iaito.
Hi Dave,

There can be a lot of overkill there, but likewise it can be a bit tricky sometimes. The bokken is a training weapon substituting for the real thing, therefore it has to be respected as much as a real ken, and treated almost as if it is a real ken. There are certain moves that uke will only really respond to if a real blade is cutting your way, obviously we can't do that so uke needs to instill that it is a real blade in their mind and react believing it is a real blade, otherwise they will just stand there looking at a piece of wood brushing against their body, thus defeating the purpose of practicing those particular techniques.

I know I've digressed ever so slightly, but a bokken still needs to be treated with respect.

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 11-18-2004, 02:21 AM   #11
grondahl
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote:
As a student of iai and aiki I am often amused at the 'reverance' placed on a bit of wood by aikidoists with no formal training with a skinken or iaito.
Is there a real difference between a bokken and an iaito? Ain´t both just training props that are used because the real thing is to dangerous for normal training?
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:16 AM   #12
rachel
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Quote:
a bokken still needs to be treated with respect.
I agree with you completely Bryan.
As many people have already said your instructor knows how things should be done within your dojo. When you travel to other dojos, you should follow the way that its members handle the bokken. That's the when in Rome concept of course. There are no official rules, but I've visited many dojos and I've found some things to be generally accepted. As was already said, the tip usually always faces away from images of the founder. The handle is kept close to the right hand. As for other things, all dojos to it differently. When bowing with a bokken to the founder, some dojos have the blade turned in, and some turned out. Also, some dojos always (when standing) hold the bokken in the left hand ready to be drawn, and some hold it in the right hand until the practice begins, or until they are facing a partner rather than the instructor. Just follow.
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Old 11-21-2004, 03:54 PM   #13
Thomas Ambrose
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

At the dojo I train at, the handles of the bokken are on the right hand side of the rack when stored. The weapons rack is on the same wall as the entrance, with the Tokonoma on the opposite wall. When we first pick it up for the day, we bow holding the bokken, handle to the right hand side and facing the Tokonoma. When carrying it, we carry in our left hand, edge pointed upwards. When in seiza either carrying it as when standing or laying it down edge pointed at ourself on our right hand side. Obviously it is out when practicing, or demonstrating. Also, we are not supposed to put it down and leave it by itself, or step over it for safety and respect reasons.

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote:
Is there a real difference between a bokken and an iaito? Ain´t both just training props that are used because the real thing is to dangerous for normal training?
I have never used an iato since I don't do iado, but I have observed part of an iado class at my dojo and from the looks of it, an iato is probably more dangerous than a bokken since it is actually metal and has a finer point (my bokken has a slightly flattened tip). Maybe not as dangerous as a live blade, but still more than a wooden sword.

For my own newbie opinion, it may be a piece of wood without a real edge on it, or even an edgeless steel or aluminum blade, but isn't the point of training to train "as if it were the real thing?" So the way I see it, yes it may be a bokken used for safety reasons, but for all training purposes, I treat it like a real sword, like it has a razor sharp edge.

Just my newbie thoughts
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Old 11-25-2004, 10:32 AM   #14
bryce_montgomery
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

As previously stated, "When in Rome...", so that much said...even if training with a bokken or iaito or even a live blade I really wouldn't want to get hit with any of them....
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:50 AM   #15
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote:
As a student of iai and aiki I am often amused at the 'reverance' placed on a bit of wood by aikidoists with no formal training with a skinken or iaito.
My firm opinion on this and similar issues is that good manners are never a mistake. If I'm going to err, I hope it will be on the side of being overly-polite.

If this 'amuses' you, I'm glad. It's better than being thought of as clueless or rude.
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Old 12-28-2004, 02:40 PM   #16
jonreading
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

When in Rome... Sometimes I ask why bokken faces one direction or another, just to clarify. I find it easier to follow a custom when I understand it.

For example, in our dojo we present bokken with ha facing upwards and tsuka to the left; this display shows Kurigata, the eyelet for sageo. This position allows the user to grasp saya and sageo with the right hand and place the weapon in obi easily. This is one of many positions that I have seen for presenting bokken/ken.

Aikki ken is not iaijistu or kenjitsu, so the customs will not necessarily be the same. I heard an earlier comment on erring on the side of etiquette and I agree. A bokken is more than a piece of wood, and should be treated as such. The attitude with which the instructor and students treat their weapons will reflect upon how the treat eachother..
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:25 PM   #17
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Bokken etiquette

This is the subject of conversation among students in many dojos. The best advice is to ask your sensei how he/she wants it done as it varries so much depending on the background of your organization or sensei.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 12-30-2004, 11:56 AM   #18
rachel
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Re: Bokken etiquette

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
It's better than being thought of as clueless or rude.
I like that...
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