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Old 02-05-2011, 07:23 AM   #1
Cezar Tipa
 
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Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Hi,
Does someone know wherefrom the lighter bokkens come? As far as I know O Sensei teached bukiwaza only in Iwama, hence he was using the "Iwama bokken".
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Old 02-05-2011, 08:31 AM   #2
grondahl
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

First of all: If Ueshiba only taught bukiwaza in Iwama, why did he issue a aiki-weapons certificate to Hikitsuchi in Shingu?

Second: It´s not exactly like Ueshiba invented the bokken, there has always been a lot of different kinds of bokken out there.

Third: Are you sure that he didn´t use a Kashima Shinto Ryu-bokken? After all, he entered Kashima Shinto Ryu and at least the first kumitachi is modeled after a Kashima kata.
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:11 AM   #3
gates
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink

FYI
These are O'Sensei's weapons (Picture taken in Iwama). As you notice none of them have the distinctive flat tip of an Iwama style bokken. I understand that the flat tip is due to the fact that somebody got poked in the eye at some point in time, so the tips were cut off for safety. Not sure exactly when this happened.
Regards
Keith

Last edited by gates : 02-05-2011 at 09:17 AM.

Enjoy the journey
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:17 AM   #4
Fred Little
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Peter's point is well taken. Though it is my understanding that the certificate was in aiki-bo, Ueshiba also taught Hikitsuchi a set of bokken forms apparently drawn from Shinkage Ryu called "Sho-Chiku-Bai."

One also needs to remember that a number of Ueshiba's students had periods of military service in occupied lands at the periphery of the Japanese Empire in the Thirties and Forties -- during the Thirties, he also taught at the Nakano Gakko, the Toyama Gakko, other naval and army training centers for officers and non-commissioned officers, and Kenkoku University in occupied Manchuria -- and some of those students became intimately acquainted with the use of a sword on living flesh, though one wonders how often the victim was, in fact, armed.

More interesting is the provenance of the "Iwama bokken."

Quote:
When the Founder was alive, his wife Hatsu mended his keiko-gi and hakama until they were threadbare. The bokken he used in Iwama was the handle for a hoe, and his jo the handle of a water ladle for watering crops in the fields. I hope that these instructors can remember that most likely when they arrived in the United States, the uniform they owned was worn, and the bokken and jo they carried were not expensive and probably carried in a hand-made case.

In the United States it seems at times like we are kindergarten students dressed up in adult professional football gear. We get lost in the materialistic trappings and forget the true spirit of Aikido. Football is played all over the world…in most countries however it is played barefoot with only a ball…
http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_ar.../fairness.html

The situation with koryu is quite different. Individual koryu use the sword in differing ways and each has its own preference with regard to weight, thickness, curvature, blade & tsuka length, and so forth. Without access to a qualified instructor, one can easily misconstrue the pedagogical intention or combative application of the choice of bokken for regular training, training exercises or paired forms publicly demonstrated.

This site has a nice set of links to images of bokken used in various schools. (I've never handled bokken from this supplier, but people whose judgement I trust have, and they have been complimentary about the quality of workmanship).

Inasmuch as they have trained in koryu systems, whether formally or informally, many aikido instructors use a bokken of the type associated with whichever koryu they studied.

Hope this helps,

FL

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Old 02-05-2011, 10:51 AM   #5
Cezar Tipa
 
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Thanks a lot for your answers. In fact I was wondering why we use different types of kens. You could imagine different types of shinai in Kendo? Perhaps one answer is that Aikido is not a competitive martial art. All the fencing swords or foils have exact the same shape, length and weight (and perhaps alloy) eliminating any possible advantage which could occur from this. I understand that in Aikido the weight of the ken could varies a lot due to the wood essence, but the differences from the "Iwama bokken" and the "Daito bokken" are quite big. I tried one day to practice suburi with a Daito bokken and the filling was... odd. Practicing kumitachi with two types of sword is probably even more strange. Of course, nobody will do this in his dojo if he is not insane.
My point is: why we (different Aikido schools) could agree (to a point) on taijutsu and aikijo, but not on aikiken?
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:53 AM   #6
Keith Larman
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

It isn't a sport with regulation training gear. Traditionally all these things were handmade including weapons like real swords. As such each was unique.

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Old 02-05-2011, 12:39 PM   #7
Cezar Tipa
 
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Keith, I have to disagree with that, but most of the weapons manufactured today, starting with AKM and ending with swords are mass production, otherwise you would not buy a bokken with less of 50 euros.
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Old 02-05-2011, 01:57 PM   #8
Keith Larman
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Since you apparently already *know* the answer, why did you ask?

Geez, nevermind, have a lovely day.

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Old 06-13-2011, 10:49 PM   #9
jester
 
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink

FYI
These are O'Sensei's weapons (Picture taken in Iwama).
Anyone know what the weapon at the top is? Some sort of sword I assume.

-

-It seems to be all about semantics!
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:42 AM   #10
Hanna B
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote: View Post
Anyone know what the weapon at the top is? Some sort of sword I assume.

-
Hoe handle, perhaps? (see Fred Little's post above)
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:36 AM   #11
jester
 
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Hoe handle, perhaps? (see Fred Little's post above)
It actually looks like some sort of sword to me. I believe a hoe handle is just straight like a jo so I doubt he ever used it as a sword.

-

-It seems to be all about semantics!
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:34 AM   #12
chillzATL
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote: View Post
It actually looks like some sort of sword to me. I believe a hoe handle is just straight like a jo so I doubt he ever used it as a sword.

-
Hoe handles are not always straight, but if that is the bokken in question, it could very well have been when it was being used as a hoe and then steamed/bent and carved down when made into a bokken.

http://dogonlanguages.org/photos/037...aradawa_JH.jpg
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:43 AM   #13
jester
 
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Hoe handles are not always straight, but if that is the bokken in question, it could very well have been when it was being used as a hoe and then steamed/bent and carved down when made into a bokken.
Hmmm

Have you ever seen a Japanese hoe that is that shape? That looks African. I tried to look for old Japanese hoe's but couldn't find any that weren't straight.

I hope no one checks my browsing searches for Japanese Hoe!!

-

-It seems to be all about semantics!
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:00 AM   #14
chillzATL
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote: View Post
Hmmm

Have you ever seen a Japanese hoe that is that shape? That looks African. I tried to look for old Japanese hoe's but couldn't find any that weren't straight.

I hope no one checks my browsing searches for Japanese Hoe!!

-


I could not find any examples from his era at all, but as I mentioned, it could very well have been straight when it was a hoe handle and was bent into the shape we see now. I did find quite a few examples of hoe handles from less developed areas that resembled the one in the pic I posted, with the thicker downward curve at the business end. I think it's impossible to know for sure, but all things considered I see know reason why that bokken couldn't have come from a hoe handle if that's what's being claimed.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:58 PM   #15
Gerardo Torres
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

The other day I grabbed my old Iwama bokken, took a knife and gave it a kissaki. Now it looks prettier and ready for kenjutsu (albeit a bit short)!
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:41 AM   #16
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Quote:
Cezar Tipa wrote: View Post
Hi,
Does someone know wherefrom the lighter bokkens come? As far as I know O Sensei teached bukiwaza only in Iwama, hence he was using the "Iwama bokken".
My teacher, Saotome Sensei, did extensive weapons work under the direction of the Founder at the Aikikai. Additionally, the Founder arranged for interested deshi to have exposure to various koryu such as Yagyu, Kashima, and Itto Ryu. It is simply wrong that the Iwama dojo was th eonly place at which weapons work was done. I have trained with Chiba Sensei, and Imaizumi sensei as well, both from that same time period and they also received substantial weapons instruction.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:57 AM   #17
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Quote:
Cezar Tipa wrote: View Post
My point is: why we (different Aikido schools) could agree (to a point) on taijutsu and aikijo, but not on aikiken?
Actually, I have several, quite different bokken I use regularly and have no issue switching back and forth. It's all about the "feel". A few swings and I know how it moves and exactly where the tip is.

a) I don't see much agreement on empty hand

b) I think that only a few of the Founder's students had any jo experience outside the jo forms codified by Saito Sensei. That's why everyone's jo work is so similar. A very few, like Nishio Sensei had soe Jodo.

But many deshi had sword experience of one form or another. Some worked with Inaba doing his personal version of Kashima Ryu. Some, like Saotome Sensei. Imaizumi Sensei, and Chiba Sensei, just as the examples with whom I am familiar had private classes in various koryu. If you look at the post war deshi, many had substantial sword work in their curriculum and not a one was the same as another. Imaizumi Sensei actually taught a whole set of Itto Ryu forms. Saotome Sensei, Chiba Sensei, and Nishio Sensei each emphasized sword work but each had completely unique exercises. O-Sensei never taught a unified sword curriculum and each of the deshi did training on his own to develop his understanding of what the Founder had shown them.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:23 AM   #18
nickregnier1
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Gentlemen, thank you for the postings! Very interesting indeed...

Nick Regnier

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Old 03-01-2012, 07:48 PM   #19
roadtoad
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

In the sixtys Iwama, we used that second bokken.That picture is modern, so that's very different.Saito would carry a bunch of them around in a bag.
As far as the first one, all I can say is that some katana schools, including Aikido, people have told me that the actual length of ones katana should be the length that exactly clears the scabbard as you draw. This was from the only caucasion ninth dan in any major japanese art, Werner, who wrote, 'Kendo', and other books. (also happens to be a phd in english) He was 6'4", so his katana, and bokken was very long.
I also knew a 6'7", pure japanese, an 8th dan in Iaido, he could cut a (dead) japanese horse in two with one stroke. His Katana was super long.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:20 AM   #20
sakumeikan
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

Dear All,
As far as bokkens are concerned there are various types. Depending on what aspect of bokken work you are doing you can tailor the bokken to suit.For example if you are training tanrenuchi [hitting a rubber tyre for example ] you need a heavy bokken.If however you are training /studying the relationship between Aikido and Batto Ho you can use a much lighter bokken.Its the same when you wish to study Kiri Otoshi, Maki otoshi, Tsuri Otoshi [cutting with full power ] you would be wel advised to get a bokke which is resembes a Kendo shinai .This bokken is shorter, has no tsuba and is heavily padded.Thse are a bit hard to come by.Anybody out know a low cost supplier of these?
Cheers, Joe
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Old 03-03-2012, 02:23 PM   #21
Andrew S
 
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken


Japanese hoe with curved handle.


"Aikido bokuto" from the bokken shop. The length (103 cm) and weight (750 g) match the usual Iwama specs.


Kashima Shinto Ryu bokuto


Hokushin Itto Ryu bokuto

Warning: Do not bend, fold or otherwise abuse... until we get to the dojo..


合気道研心会 Aikido Kenshinkai
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:45 PM   #22
edshockley
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Re: Iwama bokken vs. "the other" bokken

I try to use the same type weapon as whatever sensei is instructing me. Certain approaches work better with different bokken. The subtle one handed cuts of Nishio lend themselves to a lighter weapon for example.) I ultimately take most practice back to my katana and "slowly" recreate the movement solo kata. The weight, handle, and and awareness of danger often reveals intensions that I had missed.
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