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Old 08-19-2001, 01:35 PM   #1
Erik
Location: Bay Area
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Too many cuts?

There's been a lot of weapon's threads so I thought, "why not add another."

The other night I led a class which began with 100 bokken cuts, moved to a couple of drills and finished with one of the ASU kumitachi. There was probably a total of 400+/- cuts. I have been told that it was too much by some of the students. In fairness, the bokken isn't used much in our dojo but I actually thought I was keeping it way toned down.

Am I nuts? That doesn't seem like a lot to me but clearly others saw it differently.

Thoughts?

Last edited by Erik : 08-19-2001 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 08-19-2001, 03:35 PM   #2
Chuck Clark
 
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Eric,

During our intense buki sessions we often warm up with 500 cuts and then work kata for 2.5 hours which most likely adds up to around 2,000 cuts during the practice.

You're being very nice to them.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 08-19-2001, 03:38 PM   #3
guest1234
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You may very well be nuts, but I don't think your weapons work was out of line. My first weapons instructor would put me in a corner to do left hand only bokken cuts for an hour while he worked with the senior students; the goal was 1000 but it took me more than an hour to get there. Finally he took pity, and set me to doing happo giri for an hour without stopping.

I was recently in a weapons class that did a fair number of cuts, and my main criticism of it was that it seemed like speed and a high number took precedence over form (I've been in several classes like that lately)--the instructor would count as fast as he could, and the students were swinging away to keep up, but that's all it was, folks swinging sticks as fast as they could, even the blackbelts...seems like during drills sometimes folks forget the importance of building correct body memory in the quest for a high number of cuts as fast as they can be knocked out.
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Old 08-19-2001, 06:52 PM   #4
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck Clark During our intense buki sessions we often warm up with 500 cuts and then work kata for 2.5 hours which most likely adds up to around 2,000 cuts during the practice.

You're being very nice to them.
Hi Chuck! I told them there were people like you out there.

Seriously, I've done those kind of workouts before and I've led classes where I've done some pretty big numbers of continuous cuts. I was more than a little surprised by the comments as they came from more than one person. I have to admit it put me on the defensive. Here I am thinking I'm taking it really easy and it still got comments. Then I started thinking about pitch counts for major leaguers and it all went down hill from there.

Thanks for the support.
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Old 08-19-2001, 09:24 PM   #5
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
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At our dojo, when we do cuts using various methods, we will average from 500-700 in a class period although we will only do that once in a while. Our shihan told our instructor that in order to learn to cut with the bokken correctly, he would have to do 1000 cuts a day for 1000 days. On many a day, I have arrived early to class and found my teacher working on his thousand cuts.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 08-19-2001, 10:59 PM   #6
Chuck Clark
 
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As Colleen said above, many people just wave the bokuto around while they count as fast as they can and feel good with themselves that they did a bunch of cuts.

It's very important to make each cut as if it was the last one you'll ever do and it must be the "best" cut you can do. It's better to do them more slowly and even less of them with strong intent and focus. I know it's difficult and you won't get them the way you want them for awhile... do it anyway. Do enough cuts that you get tired and tired of them... keep going... do them until you get bored with them and your thoughts begin to wander... keep going and focus... when you think you can't do any more.... do twenty more... slow down and make the last twenty the best you can do. Just cut and monitor your posture, movement, grip, hasuji (cutting line), target, etc. After awhile your subconcious will do the monitoring while you fill your intent with "Just Cut!"

Regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 08-26-2001, 10:37 PM   #7
Mares
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In the past we used to do heaps of cuts a class at what seemed like a quick pace for me at the time. However the Udansha had no trouble keeping up with the pace Sensei set. It was just the juniors who would struggle.

These days in our normal classes we do 10 cuts then stop, and sensei usually gives some pointers, then we do another 10. He now places an emphasis on quality and not quantity. If you do 1000 bad cuts then you are bound to pick up a lot of bad habits in the process and as we all know bad habits are difficult to get rid of.

I believe it is important to go slow and get your forma and shape correct especially with junior students because the sword is the basis of all our techniques. However in our Udansha class we go nuts and have a tendency to do many repetitions before doing Kumitachi.
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Old 08-27-2001, 12:08 AM   #8
Mike Collins
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I just spent the weekend training in a seminar (well, okay the afternoon classes anyway) with Kato Hiroshi sensei. He had an interesting thing to say about sword cuts, I 'll pass on what I can remember.

The idea was, if you do bokken cuts for about an hour or so a day for a while, you get to the point, as Chuck was saying, where your subconscious takes over. He said to keep going from there and you may learn something else, worth the work.

This is a guy who spent a lot of time training himself, and I feel, has gotten a lot of the art. I haven't really done a lot of repetitive cuts since about the time I was an ikkyu; maybe I need to take it up again in a serious way.

I find it curious that Kato sensei said a thing and Chuck Clark said the same thing in the same weekend, and I happened to catch both. There must be some significance there, huh?
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Old 08-27-2001, 01:57 PM   #9
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Too many cuts?

Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
There's been a lot of weapon's threads so I thought, "why not add another."

The other night I led a class which began with 100 bokken cuts, moved to a couple of drills and finished with one of the ASU kumitachi. There was probably a total of 400+/- cuts. I have been told that it was too much by some of the students. In fairness, the bokken isn't used much in our dojo but I actually thought I was keeping it way toned down.

Am I nuts? That doesn't seem like a lot to me but clearly others saw it differently.

Thoughts?
What? I am sorry. First, you didn't even push them as far as the workout was concerned. It takes me about a half an hour to do one thousand cuts and as Chuck Clark sensei says it is important to put real attention on each one as much as possible. But second, are you training at one of those places where every body gets to comment and make judgements about what is being taught? I once had experience teaching in an environment in which every body felt that they should have an opinion about everything. I never taught a single technique without first thinking about who it would piss off and what flack I would take for it later. It has been my experience that if that is what is going on you will find the training degenerating into lowest common denominator Aikido. If people are being injured or humiliated in class that is cause for concern and comment. But if you've simply given them a bit of a workout that may have made their little arms tired, I don't think you should feel in any way out of line. It sounds like there is a bit of disagreement between yourself and others about what constitutes real training. If you back off you will damage your own training and spirit, ifd you don't back off the whiners will complain and eventually leave to be replaced by people who really want to train. If it is not your own dojo that may not be your call. Then you ask yourself if it's the right place for you. Just don't think it's your problem because it's not. Not on a few hundred sword cuts it's not.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 08-27-2001, 04:51 PM   #10
michaelkvance
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Yeah, I agree.

The only time I've ever commented to an instructor about the content of the class was during a recent heatwave. Sensei had posted that instructors should teach more static technique with less rolling ukemi to keep people from heat exhaustion. After a pretty intense class I jokingly mentioned to the instructor that he had obviously failed to read Sensei's note (which he had).

m.
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Old 08-27-2001, 07:16 PM   #11
Erik
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George, thank you for your comments. The situation isn't exactly what you described but it's pretty damn close. I don't teach regularly (I have elsewhere in the past) but the few times I've taught here have always had me wondering who I was going to upset this time. I never expected this one would get even a slight comment.

I don't want to go into the rest out here, but it was pretty much dead on and supported a lot of what has wandered through my mind.
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Old 08-28-2001, 04:20 PM   #12
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Too many cuts?

Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
... I led a class which began with 100 bokken cuts ... probably a total of 400+/- cuts ... told that it was too much by some of the students ... Thoughts?
Erik,

Dunno. Depends on what you were tyring to achieve. If your folks don't generally do sword work, yeah, 400+ cuts could be a bit extreme all at once.

Heh. Karl Friday (author of Legacies of the Sword, an EXCELLENT book, BTW), taught a wonderful Kashima Shinryu class to group of sword-swingers in Guelph, Canada, recently.

During his class, he told us "About 20 cuts a day is the most you should do."

He explained that outside of partner practice and kata, that the KSR theory is that when you swing a sword or bokuto, you are cutting kami and the style's philosophy is that about 20 sliced up kami a day is all the karma you need to carry ...

In our classes, we use weapons about 50 percent of the time. In an average sword class, a student might do a few hundred cuts as they perform tachi and uchi roles, but we don't do much suburi, as such.

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Old 08-28-2001, 09:29 PM   #13
guest1234
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Oh great

I worried enough that I was throwing Harvey (my imaginary uke) too hard, now I've got to worry about slicing up kami ...
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Old 08-29-2001, 02:40 AM   #14
Mares
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
Oh great

I worried enough that I was throwing Harvey (my imaginary uke) too hard, now I've got to worry about slicing up kami ...
Well if that bothers you then perhaps you should think of it as slicing up salami. That way you can have an imaginary sandwich after training as well.
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Old 08-29-2001, 04:38 AM   #15
ian
 
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Hi Erik,

I think you definately have to push your students to that point where they think it is too tough - its only then when they reassess their boundaries.

Next time when you only do 300 cuts the beginners will be saying it was too many whilst those that remember this session will be saying 'that's nothing!'.

I would often do around 200 cuts for a warm up. I find it is also useful to make them all do it in time so it helps blending (they react as soon as sensei cuts), and also you can control the pace so if the cuts get shabby you can slow it down or even stop.

Ian
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