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Old 05-04-2007, 01:25 PM   #1
Yanir
Join Date: May 2007
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O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

Hello all,

I'm new to Aikido. I just started a few months ago and I am excited about having discovered this fascinating martial art and way of life. I have many questions about Aikido but I would like to focus on one I just recently wondered.

I have read conflicting things about sword training in Aikido. I would like to know how important sword training is to understanding Aikido (aside from techniques designed to defend against one).

I have read that after O' sensei's passing sword training was removed from the curriculum at the hombu dojo, and before then it wasn't practiced in regular lessons. I have also read some of O' Senseis poems, one which stated (paraphrasing) that training in the sword arts was a waste of time. I wish I could qoute it, i have been having trouble finding it. I have also read other poems that make many references to sword practice.

We have a weapons class at my dojo which I started attending at which I practiced with the bokken. It was very interesting and fun and I felt I was developing a deeper understanding of stance and positioning to be applied in other techniques. I look forward to continuing it. But I guess I wanted to know why would the sword practice cease after O' Sensei's passing and is it important to practice sword techniques to understand the fundamentals of Aikido.

Thanks

Yanir
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Old 05-04-2007, 02:16 PM   #2
Demetrio Cereijo
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/w...hyweapons.html

Sorry David, but i couldn't resist the temptation.

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Old 05-04-2007, 02:47 PM   #3
Yanir
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

Thanks, that was a good answer.
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Old 05-04-2007, 07:26 PM   #4
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

Personally. I can't imagine aikido without sword. The two are inseparable to me.

Though this is coming from a guy who took up aikido to augment his sword training.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 05-05-2007, 04:44 AM   #5
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

Hello Yanir,

I find it hard to believe that Morihei spoke negatively of sword training, although maybe he was making the point that no one actually carried swords anymore. Regardless, weapon training is absolutely essential. It is not possible to develop a true understanding and appreciation for the aikido techniques if empty-hand training is all you engage in.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 05-06-2007, 05:21 PM   #6
Yanir
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

I agree, I was suprised to read it. Here it is, I just found the poem,

Qouted from "Budo Training in Aikido (Best Karate)" by Morehei Ueshiba.

What use to lean this sword work or that!
Cut off all thought of useless things.


This and that
Sword word you may learn
But for what?
Just completely
cut off thought [of useless things]

This poem is what made me post.
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Old 05-07-2007, 10:09 AM   #7
jss
Location: Rotterdam
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

Quote:
Yanir Hirshberg wrote: View Post
Qouted from "Budo Training in Aikido (Best Karate)" by Morehei Ueshiba.

What use to lean this sword work or that!
Cut off all thought of useless things.


This and that
Sword word you may learn
But for what?
Just completely
cut off thought [of useless things]
I think Ueshiba's point is that non-aikido sword work cannot be adopted by aikido without significant changes.
The story goes that Ueshiba invited a sword teacher to teach his son (and some others?) sword work. He would just sit in and watch. Afterwards he would pick up a sword and say "Did you notice how the teacher showed this and that? In aikido we would do ..."

Joep
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Old 05-07-2007, 10:29 AM   #8
Yanir
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

That makes sense. I'm curious to know about how sword work was incorporated into aikido. The hanmi used for aikido and it's sword work is unlike the stance in kendo. Are there any other styles of sword work that use the Aikido stance, or is it that the stance used in aikido unique to it? What are the other differences in Aikido sword work to kendo and other kenjutsu styles?

Thanks for the replies, everyone has been very insightful.

Yanir
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Old 05-07-2007, 10:59 AM   #9
Erick Mead
 
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

Quote:
Yanir Hirshberg wrote: View Post
That makes sense. I'm curious to know about how sword work was incorporated into aikido. The hanmi used for aikido and it's sword work is unlike the stance in kendo. Are there any other styles of sword work that use the Aikido stance, or is it that the stance used in aikido unique to it? What are the other differences in Aikido sword work to kendo and other kenjutsu styles?
My betters will likely correct me. But I reconcile both the study of varying forms of weapons, as well as O Sensei's fundamental dismissal of those forms in terms of how aikido is intended to function.

In aikido the kihon waza are intended to be transcended in favor of takemusu aiki (creative, lively and engaged budo). Stance is to be obliterated. Kamae is just a snapshot of a whole, integrated process, and any given form has no real meaning except in its process of development in an engaged encounter.

Outside of or isolated from that process and the "life" of that development in contact with a partner, it is essentially an empty vessel. It is without the real content that we are studying to achieve.

Dissecting a dead frog can give on useful insights into the elements of a frog's structure -- but it does not really give you the reality of what a frog is. Dissection can only tell you how the frog is structured when it is dead. It cannot disclose to you how the frog structures itself when alive.

Glimpsing the structure of "liveness" is the beginning of this art. At least as I see it. And weapons work is invaluable to that, alone and with others, with attention to your own living structure as well as the life in the structure of your partner(s).

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 05-07-2007, 11:23 AM   #10
Robert Rumpf
Dojo: Academy of Zen and the Ways
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

Quote:
Yanir Hirshberg wrote: View Post
I agree, I was suprised to read it. Here it is, I just found the poem,

Qouted from "Budo Training in Aikido (Best Karate)" by Morehei Ueshiba.

What use to lean this sword work or that!
Cut off all thought of useless things.


This and that
Sword word you may learn
But for what?
Just completely
cut off thought [of useless things]

This poem is what made me post.
Hi Yanir,

He could just as easily said "technique" or "style" instead of "sword work"... For that matter, probably even "principle." The point of what he makes in this is very similar to that of many Zen writings. It seems to mean 'don't get caught.'

My books are in storage at the moment, but it is similar to this idea of "chase sayings and bury the hearty mind" which is a saying that I'm butchering

It is interesting that this is taken in some places as an admonition against sword work, but I suppose it depends on what the goal of the training is.

Good luck in your training,
Rob
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Old 05-07-2007, 12:22 PM   #11
Yanir
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5
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Re: O' Sensei's View on Sword Training

My western mind is definitely struggling with Zen and eastern concepts. I was expecting that I was just not understanding the message in it's entirety.

I read it as an admonition. That's my misunderstanding. I didn't read anything literally saying that this poem means sword work training is wrong. That's why I was confused.

I'm glad to have received so many good responses. I have certainly gained more understanding of from them.
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