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Old 11-23-2004, 07:31 AM   #26
TheWonderKid
Dojo: Memorial University Aikido Club
Location: St John's, Newfoundland
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

This is probably a bit late to add things but I'm relatively new to akiweb and obviously didn't get a chance to discuss this topic when I wasn't a member.

I disagree that a lefty would find themselves at a disadvantage in combat for quite a few reasons. Some of which I have drawn from history and some from fencing, which is vastly different from bokken I know but some principles still apply I think.

Back in the day, lefties were considered 'sinister,' in fact I think in latin (or some language anyway) that is the word for 'left.' Why was this? It was because outside castle staircases were constructed to spiral clockwise from top to bottom. The idea being that a righty defender could swing a sword easily with no wall in the way whereas the attacker's arm would be restricted by the aforementioned wall. However, if a left attacked, they had the same advantage as the righty and oftentimes the righty didn't know what to do about it as the left side isn't as good a target anymore. Thus lefties became 'sinister.'

In fencing I fence left against mostly righties. In my class there are about 20 of us and only myself and another are lefties. If everyone fenced against everyone, then I would fence 1 left, and 18 rights. They would fence 2 lefts and 16 rights. Ergo, a lefty would be much more accustomed to fencing a righty than they would a lefty. Your technique is different as well because of the mechanical different of fighting a mirror image. Being used to fencing against righties, I have little problem with it but I can see holes in their otherwise excellent defenses just because they can't correctly adjust, this leaves openings.

Perhaps simply being a lefty I'm trying to salvage some dignity for my handiness, I don't really know. Personally my class does little with bokken and focuses more on jo (which I switch back and forth depending on what I'm doing). Most of my bokken practice is what I can gather from seminars, guest instructors who teach bokken, as well as instructional clips and texts. And then I practice both to allow the switch more easily.

Again, my two cents are probably worth very little here but that's just what I think.
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Old 11-23-2004, 09:51 AM   #27
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

As at least one other poster has noted, jo practice routinely allows for a "reversed" grip.

As Rocky Izumi noted in the article that kicked this off, wearing the sword on the right would have presented all manner of practical difficulties that rise to the level of the suicidal.

But.....whether the swordsman is right or left side dominant, even with the sword worn on the left, once it's out of the scabbard.....

Although my group often practices forms using both "lefty" and "righty" grips, what this spurs me to think is that we might do well to examine what happens if one partner is playing "lefty" and the other "righty."

Even then though, that would imply having a good knowledge of the standard form, which is righty by default.

Best,

Fred Little
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Old 11-24-2004, 05:50 AM   #28
TheWonderKid
Dojo: Memorial University Aikido Club
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

Well out of the sheath as mostly what I meant as it would apply to fighting.

I understand the etiquette part of things and it makes sense to some degree. Though I think that if one wore a sword on the left and drew with their left hand, they would find a solution to allow them to draw quickly. For simplicity's sake it would make sense to wear it that way for day-to-day uses. Even if that's kind of tossed now that most people I know don't wear swords walking down the road.
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Old 02-07-2005, 02:21 AM   #29
simonpaul
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

I find the author a little bit dumb and naive.

Want to know the real reson you don't get left handed swordmen (I am right handed btw).

Because they would DOMINATE swordsmanship!!!

And here is the reason...

Look at the number of laft handed boxers and the number of lefthanders in other sports. Particually where the 2 sportsmen compete directly - such as boxing. There is a higher proportion of left handers at the top than chance alone would dictate.

The reason for this is as follows. During practise a left handed boxer fight right handed people 90% of the time. He is well used to fighting right handed people so to him, this is normal. But a right handed boxer only fights left handed boxers 10% of the time. So to him fighting a left handed boxer is unusual and not what he is comfortable with.

Thus, in sports where left and right handed people compete directly, the left handed people fair better.

The same would apply in swordmanship. Lefties would be well used to fighting right handed people, but the right handed people whould not be used to fighting lefties.

The left handed people would dominate more than by chance alone such as they have done in boxing.

Now does the author call himself rocky because he is as dumb as one?
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Old 02-07-2005, 09:44 AM   #30
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

Left - handed swordsmen would not dominate. What is different with boxing is that the hands are separate. In fact, left-against-right matches are often not made because they are boring. Both boxers try to circle so that their lead foot is outside the others - southpaw against rightie leads, often, to two people each shuffling, neutralizing themselves, so there is often not much action.

As for two-handed weapons, the sword is the only weapon with a right hand bias. There are left and right lead naginata, bo, and spear styles, and in some ryu, it was both. One is not superior to the other. Some schools have a 'secret' technique (Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, for example) where the swordsman shifts hands and attacks with a left lead. In my Araki-ryu school in Japan, we did considerable experimentatioin over a three month period with left hand lead swordsmanship. Made no difference whatsoever. The reason is that with two-handed weapons, you track the center of the opponent, the weapon moving in congruence with the center. There are a few counters to moves that "depend" on one hand leading - with the other hand leading, one would be cut by the sword if you tried. But these are easy to perceive in action.

It goes back to the original thesis. There is a cultural bias. Swords on either side wouldn't work socially - because clashing weapons was a pretext for a duel, you wouldn't know on what side to pass.

Best

Ellis Amdur

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Old 02-07-2005, 10:44 AM   #31
bryce_montgomery
 
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

I agree that lefties wouldn't dominate...but I definitely think that they could have an advantage against someone that wasn't experienced...I mean, having anything thrown at you that's out of the ordinary makes it harder to deal with...I however like practicing against left handed swordsmen because it's interesting sometimes...but that's just me...and I really don't think that you could prove this point either way...

Bryce
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Old 02-07-2005, 04:20 PM   #32
Bronson
 
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

When I was still fencing and doing the medieval armored fighting lefties never really posed any real difference in threat. Once you get the idea of some of the different angles and whatnot they can use it's not any harder defending from them. Skill is much more important that handedness. Besides we all had to learn at least the rudiments of fighting with either hand leading. Maybe that's why I've never had that much trouble with the left hand techniques in Aikido...hmmmm

Bronson

Quote:
Now does the author call himself rocky because he is as dumb as one?
WARNING! WARNING! TROLL SIGHTED AT 12:00

Last edited by Bronson : 02-07-2005 at 04:23 PM.

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:56 PM   #33
Eliott Beazley
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

my views on this are that i think it should change to be more accepting to left handed people. Most of you are saying that it is tradition that everyone "should" be right handed. but back then woman were also treated like objects. i don't think anyone here would argue that we should stay with the old ways with that, so why are left handed people discriminated against so easily, when all other types are widely accepted in martial arts?
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Old 04-12-2005, 05:45 AM   #34
Tim Griffiths
Dojo: Nes Ziona Aikikai
Location: Suzhou, China
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

Quote:
Elliott Beazley wrote:
my views on this are that i think it should change to be more accepting to left handed people. Most of you are saying that it is tradition that everyone "should" be right handed. but back then woman were also treated like objects.
You're right! I'm left-handed and now I realise I've been treated like an object all my life!
Seriously, what nonsense. Firstly to equate left/right handedness with sexism, and secondly because people aren't saying its tradition. Its convention, and that's a quite different thing. Do we drive on one side of the road because of tradition? I don't suggest ignoring that one.

Quote:
simonpaul wrote:
I find the author a little bit dumb and naive.
Want to know the real reson you don't get left handed swordmen (I am right handed btw).
Because they would DOMINATE swordsmanship!!!
Err...they DO dominate fencing - at intermediate levels - for these reasons. After a certain skill level, it matters much less.

Quote:
TheWonderKid wrote:
Back in the day, lefties were considered 'sinister,' in fact I think in latin (or some language anyway) that is the word for 'left.' Why was this? It was because outside castle staircases were constructed to spiral clockwise from top to bottom. The idea being that a righty defender could swing a sword easily with no wall in the way whereas the attacker's arm would be restricted by the aforementioned wall. However, if a left attacked, they had the same advantage as the righty and oftentimes the righty didn't know what to do about it as the left side isn't as good a target anymore. Thus lefties became 'sinister.'
I'm trying to cut down on my sarcasm, I really am, but honestly....
Yes, sinister is Latin for both left and unlucky. Already. i.e. lefties were considered unlucky before spiral castle staircases. The connotation of the left side being unlucky comes from doing anything with the hand which is used for wiping your arse. And no, not holding the paper, the hand itself. Eat with that hand and you'll get pretty sick pretty fast. Sounds unlucky to me.

Train well,

Tim

If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 05-13-2005, 10:28 AM   #35
ShugyoSystems
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Re: Article: Southpaw Swrodsmen by Hiroaki "Rocky" Izumi

Don't think left hand/right hand, think Yin hand/Yang hand......

Learned the answer to this question doing kungfu
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