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Old 04-07-2006, 06:29 PM   #26
James Kelly
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote:
Anyway, this will become assimilated in the "Crunch" line of workouts I'm sure....like yoga pedicures, and stripercize, and cooking while you work out.
Hey. Don't knock stripercizing. It has a lot of hidden benefits.
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:07 PM   #27
dan guthrie
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

I always figured that these people probably have four or five legitimate martial arts dojos within limousine range. Why bastardize a legitimate art form when the realdamn deal is actually closer and could use the money and attention?
I would love to have a kendo/kenjutsu dojo closer than 90 miles.
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:25 PM   #28
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Dan Guthrie wrote:
I always figured that these people probably have four or five legitimate martial arts dojos within limousine range. Why bastardize a legitimate art form when the realdamn deal is actually closer and could use the money and attention?
I would love to have a kendo/kenjutsu dojo closer than 90 miles.
Billy Blanks was the man smart enough to realize that there was a whole group of folks out there in America who would do the martial arts ifthe "martial" was removed.

The whole point of "bastardizing" the real art form is that the vast majority of people would have no interest whatever in doing the real thing. We have quite a few kendo clubs here in the Seattle area and I don't believe even one supports anything like a professional instructor. If you are interested in making money, do not open a kendo school.

These guys are definitely about making money. They have the program, the instructor certifications, the varying levels of certification, the requirements for re-certification, etc. Since what they do doesn't hurt anyone and it would be a positive thing for someon to do (like Billy Blanks Tae Bo) from the standpoint of exercise....what the hell. I guarentee you that the people enrolled in this program wouldn't have lasted ten minutes in a real kendo class. Those shinais hurt when you get hit...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:53 PM   #29
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Dan Guthrie wrote:
I always figured that these people probably have four or five legitimate martial arts dojos within limousine range. Why bastardize a legitimate art form when the realdamn deal is actually closer and could use the money and attention?
You mean...like Morihei Ueshiba did?

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-07-2006, 09:00 PM   #30
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
These guys are definitely about making money. They have the program, the instructor certifications, the varying levels of certification, the requirements for re-certification, etc.
Most Japanese arts - including things like calligraphy and flower arranging have similar certification requirements with the accompanying steep fees. Japanese martial arts (even traditional ones) are, of course, no stranger to them either. And people don't blink when the NY Aikikai charges $150 a month - much more than most "Tae Bo" type programs...

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-07-2006, 11:14 PM   #31
justinc
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

That's the difference in volume pricing. Filling a gym room with 40 people a day bouncing swing swords to music is much easier than doing the same with real martial arts.

Mostly it boils down to the yuppie-types: "I wanna get fit, not fight"

Justin Couch
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Old 04-07-2006, 11:42 PM   #32
xuzen
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Better off taking Kendo... gives you all the work-out you will ever need. Bah! Stupid fad.

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Old 04-08-2006, 12:20 AM   #33
dan guthrie
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
Hay, HAy, HAY!!! I been swinging a sword for 40 years myself. I even on occasion cut with one of them things. How come I ain't all buffed out like them folks? I must have had the wrong teachers!! I want my money back.

Oh wait I'm old, but I remember now. I do it for different reasons. If one of these folks ever comes into the dojo I am going to have to break them of so many bad habits it may be easer to just send them to baseball camp. They are on their way to swinging a mean Louisville Slugger.
IF this fad brings a few sincere people into their local dojos then it will all be worth it. I agree with your comment about breaking bad habits.
I have enough already and I got them all in my own dojo when sensei wasn't looking.

There is a good comparison to wiffle baseball or T ball and this fad, IMHO.

Christopher Li: I don't think the comparison of this fad to Osensei and Daito Ryu is a good one. He was a serious practitioner in several arts and created another. These people are only serious about aerobics and cashing in.
It'd be a better comparison if Osensei had acted more like Richard Simmons or Jack La Lane (i.e. a showman) and created something more like jazzercise.
If people get a good work out from this, fine. I imagine, however, that someone who's been training in kendo or aikido for a few years is going to do some poaching and I wish him/her all the luck in the world. If I ever get the chance I'll do it.

P>S> What about the strain on the lower back??? I saw nothing about that. Waving a bokken is deceptively hard on that area.

Last edited by dan guthrie : 04-08-2006 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 04-08-2006, 02:28 AM   #34
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Dan Guthrie wrote:
Christopher Li: I don't think the comparison of this fad to Osensei and Daito Ryu is a good one. He was a serious practitioner in several arts and created another. These people are only serious about aerobics and cashing in.
Well, the only art that he really practiced seriously was Daito-ryu, and I've met more than a few Daito-ryu folks who felt that he was in the "cashing in" category as well. It all depends where you happen to be standing.

Anyway, nothing wrong with aerobics, or cashing in either, in my book.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-08-2006, 07:20 AM   #35
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Dan Guthrie wrote:
P>S> What about the strain on the lower back??? I saw nothing about that. Waving a bokken is deceptively hard on that area.
Straying off-topic...

I used to get a really stiff lower back from weapons class, but lately I've been working on adjusting my posture so that there's less strain on that area. Basically, I've been tucking my pelvis a bit, taking more weight and energy in the lower stomach muscles. It seems to help. Does anyone else here have any strategies to help with lower back strain in bokken work?

--Amelia
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:06 AM   #36
Don_Modesto
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Dan Guthrie wrote:
Christopher Li: I don't think the comparison of this fad to Osensei and Daito Ryu is a good one. He was a serious practitioner in several arts and created another. These people are only serious about aerobics and cashing in.
Sorry. I find this presumptuous. Presumptuos of the woman being a dilettante. Why do we assume that the woman isn't serious? The woman who did the infamou aiki-golf demo at the Expo had very nice aikido, thank you very much. This one may as well.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Well, the only art that he really practiced seriously was Daito-ryu, and I've met more than a few Daito-ryu folks who felt that he was in the "cashing in" category as well. It all depends where you happen to be standing.

Anyway, nothing wrong with aerobics, or cashing in either, in my book.
Chris, I do love your posts. Thanks for many years of reading pleasure.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:08 AM   #37
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Xu Wenfung wrote:
Better off taking Kendo... gives you all the work-out you will ever need. Bah! Stupid fad.
Can't help but recall that the sales of books goes up when those books are made into real movies.

Maybe people doing sword-light will get interested in the roots (speaking as an aikidoist who got interested in DR...)

"Bah!" ?!

Why would you quote someone here famous for changing his mind?

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Old 04-08-2006, 11:24 AM   #38
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

I understand the context by which you mention NYA's fees, but I do take a certain degree of offense by the use of NYA as being an example of being over priced or priced with the idea of ripping people off with hidden fees.
NYA does have to support to 8th dan salaries, taxes, utilities and the alike associated with living and owning a building in the largest city in the world. Not to mention, NYC is an expensive place to live. In the past but not anymore, Yamada sensei would allow students from other dojos pay a reduced rate to be a member at NYA. He used to subtract the cost of your dues from NYA dues and that is what you owed him.

Not that I privy to the particulars of NYA's expenses, but I thought that should be said.
Bill

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Old 04-08-2006, 11:51 AM   #39
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
William Oakes wrote:
I understand the context by which you mention NYA's fees, but I do take a certain degree of offense by the use of NYA as being an example of being over priced or priced with the idea of ripping people off with hidden fees.
I never said that they were overpriced (and I never mentioned any hidden fees) - my point was that everybody, even Aikido folks, have got to make a living, and that Aikido folks sell their services just like the aerobics folks (dojo fees, seminar fees, books and videos). Nothing wrong with that, anyway, in my book.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-08-2006, 11:56 AM   #40
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

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Don J. Modesto wrote:
Chris, I do love your posts. Thanks for many years of reading pleasure.
We aim to please ! Thanks for the kind thought.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-08-2006, 12:08 PM   #41
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Most Japanese arts - including things like calligraphy and flower arranging have similar certification requirements with the accompanying steep fees. Japanese martial arts (even traditional ones) are, of course, no stranger to them either. And people don't blink when the NY Aikikai charges $150 a month - much more than most "Tae Bo" type programs...

Best,

Chris

Like I said , I know how it was meant to be read. Your post was about steep fees, and the price of NYA was compared to the tae bo fad. I felt obliged to make sure NYA wasn't lumped into fads or the way over priced for gross profit bin. This way there are no misunderstandings.

Last edited by SmilingNage : 04-08-2006 at 12:19 PM.

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Old 04-08-2006, 12:34 PM   #42
tedehara
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Sorry. I find this presumptuous. Presumptuos of the woman being a dilettante. Why do we assume that the woman isn't serious? The woman who did the infamou aiki-golf demo at the Expo had very nice aikido, thank you very much. This one may as well...
From Forza About the Author (pg.140)
"A gifted teacher with innovative ideas, Ilaria Montagnani is an unstoppable force in fitness. Since 1987 when Ilaria touched down in New York City from her native Italy, she has carved out a new niche in the fitness world. Recently selected a Nike Fitness Athlete and named by New York Magazine as one of the leading fitness "gurus" in the city, Ilaria has transformed the practice of martial arts and become one of the most well-respected and sought after professionals in the fitness industry. With a black belt in Shorinjiru Karate and over twelve years of training in kickboxing and Samurai sword fighting. Ilaria intertwines high intensity training with the Zen of martial arts..."

In another part of the book (pg. 5), she mentions she "devoted a lot of time to learning Aikijujitsu and Iaido, traditional Japanese swordfighting disciplines..."

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 04-08-2006, 12:51 PM   #43
Don_Modesto
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
In another part of the book (pg. 5), she mentions she "devoted a lot of time to learning Aikijujitsu and Iaido, traditional Japanese swordfighting disciplines..."
Do you suppose that that's more or less than Osensei put in to learning NAGINATA?


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Old 04-08-2006, 02:45 PM   #44
tedehara
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Do you suppose that that's more or less than Osensei put in to learning NAGINATA?

I've always wondered about that.

She does mention she's also (pg. 4) "trained in many sports and fitness disciplines, including swimming, rowing, running, weight lifting, diving and ballet." She sounds like a very busy lady! You know, the ballet alone will kill you.
Seriously

But perhaps this does speak to the heart (kokoro) of the the matter. People will do these activities not to achieve a high level of performance, but to gain an overall increase in health and fitness. You can practice sword work to achieve more hits in kendo competition. You can do kata to preserve tradition. You can develop mind-body-spirit through kata. It is this last reason she gives for developing Forza.

She writes (pg. 6) that "Drawing on samurai tradition, I teach a series of authentic sword sequences and movements including all the basic cuts and strikes." The katas depicted do look like old style sword sequences. I don't consider myself an expert to judge either way and she didn't give historical references. These are solo sequences using a bokken.

Coming to a fitness center near you? According to the book, she's been teaching instructors and people in various countries like Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany, Brazil and Japan. That's right: Japan.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 04-08-2006, 04:10 PM   #45
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
William Oakes wrote:
Like I said , I know how it was meant to be read. Your post was about steep fees, and the price of NYA was compared to the tae bo fad. I felt obliged to make sure NYA wasn't lumped into fads or the way over priced for gross profit bin. This way there are no misunderstandings.
Interestingly, one of the reasons Yoshimitsu Yamada gave to US immigration when applying for his visa was that he wouldn't be able to make enough money to support himself and his family in Japan.

Forza The Samurai Sword Workout: $9.72 on Amazon

Ultimate Aikido (Yoshimitsu Yamada): $11.67 on Amazon

Now, I'm not saying that Yamada, the NYA, or any other Aikido folks are "way over priced for gross profit", but they are in it for a profit, just like everybody else, and the fees are quite steep. Now, since the major figures in Aikido are far from non-profit monks, aren't we looking at a double standard here when we criticize the fitness gurus?

After all, Morihei Ueshiba, who taught both sword and jo for money, had very little formal training in the sword and none at all in the jo - and none in the bo either, despite awarding an "aiki-bo" certification to Hikitsuchi Michio. Also, who can the forget the weapons training certifications being offered by Morihiro Saito a number of years ago - said certifications to be based upon evaluations of mailed in video tapes, or those "Ki stones" marketed by Koichi Tohei?

As for fads, Omoto-kyo, which Morihei Ueshiba based both his personal and Aikido spiritual world views on, could most certainly be classed in the "fad" category of 20th century cult religions. And, as I said, there are Daito-ryu folks who view Aikido as just that - a fad art created by Morihei Ueshiba. Whether something is a "fad" or an "innovation" often depends on where you happen to be standing.

For me, if someone can create an exercise program that help people get a little bit more fit and make some money in the process then I say more power to them!

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-08-2006, 05:04 PM   #46
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Now, I'm not saying that Yamada, the NYA, or any other Aikido folks are "way over priced for gross profit", but they are in it for a profit, just like everybody else, and the fees are quite steep. Now, since the major figures in Aikido are far from non-profit monks, aren't we looking at a double standard here when we criticize the fitness gurus?
Just as an aside, according to the martial arts trade journals I get, the average dues for martial arts training in the US is about $120 / month. That's a national figure... so if you are talking about a dojo in NYC, one of the most expensive cities in the US, $150 / month puts them only slightly over average. I'm willing to bet that the $150 entitles you to attend far more classes than does that $120 that many folks are paying for their training.

Most of the standard commercial schools try to get people training twice a week. If they train more than that they are participating in some sort of special program that they pay more for. The basic dues amount covers that twice a week. If someone is training more than that, it starts to cause overcrowding in the classes. Getting more space costs alot more money; so the standard commercial approach is to get folks doing their twice a week so they can maximize the number of members that can train in the space. One of my students did some Kung Fu style before he did Aikido and the guy who ran the dojo actually told him not to train so much... pretty funny.

Anyway, it has been my experience that either Aikido people expect to pay less each month than those who do almost any other activity do, or, if they pay the same amount, they expect to get alot more for their money.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 04-08-2006, 05:50 PM   #47
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Just as an aside, according to the martial arts trade journals I get, the average dues for martial arts training in the US is about $120 / month. That's a national figure... so if you are talking about a dojo in NYC, one of the most expensive cities in the US, $150 / month puts them only slightly over average. I'm willing to bet that the $150 entitles you to attend far more classes than does that $120 that many folks are paying for their training.
As I said, I don't think that it's overpriced - but it certainly isn't cheap, and it certainly runs more than most of thevarious aerobics type programs. FWIW, training at Aikikai hombu runs around USD $85/month for as many classes as you like (and Tokyo isn't cheap either).

My point was primarily that Aikido is no cheaper (and probably more expensive) than the various aerobics and fitness programs that get criticized because they're "in it for the money", and that there's something of a double standard going on here.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-08-2006, 08:28 PM   #48
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
We have quite a few kendo clubs here in the Seattle area and I don't believe even one supports anything like a professional instructor. If you are interested in making money, do not open a kendo school.
Don't neglect the (kendo-)cultural aspects to this. In kendo, even in Japan, pretty much the only people who get paid to teach kendo, even part time, are school/university instructors and police instructors. Having your own, dedicated practice space and being able to make a living from it just aren't part of the general kendo conciousness.

As a counterpoint, many, if not most, kumdo (kendo done by Koreans--pretty much the only thing that changes is the language) dojang in the US are for profit ventures. I've not heard of one kendo dojo (affiliated with the AUSKF, the organization for kendo in the US) where the head instructor receives any money from the dojo, let alone teaches kendo as their sole occupation.

Oh, and to keep this related to the original post, we had a huge increase in beginners for about 6 months after "Last Samurai" and to some extent "Kill Bill" came out, but that's pretty much over and didn't seem to result in anymore "keepers" than the regular numbers.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:07 PM   #49
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Quote:
William Oakes wrote:
NYA does have to support to 8th dan salaries, taxes, utilities and the alike associated with living and owning a building in the largest city in the world.
NYA maintain a dojo in Mexico? No wonder the fees are a bit above average.
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Old 04-10-2006, 05:16 PM   #50
Michael O'Brien
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Re: Is there a new fad "sword exercise?"

Just to chime in on the "in it for the money" aspect. Our dojo has been running here in Nashville since 1982 and is run completely as a non-profit organization. All dues collected from members, all seminars, etc go into covering operating expenses only. All instructors volunteer their time to teach the classes, and considering that we run between 12-15 different classes a week with there being at least 1 class every day (Mon-Sun) this is a considerable sacrifice to be made.

So before we go asserting that everyone running a dojo, selling a t-shirt, or hosting a seminar is looking to get rich we might want to re-think that since I'm sure that ours is not the only non-profit dojo out there.

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