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Old 02-19-2004, 07:07 AM   #1
argengon
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The sword in aikido

Hi,
I have a dout, in aikido teach about how to use the bokken, but want to know about the katana, if it is a real sword o a sword of wood. I refer to the samurai sword.
The only sword is the bokken (that's made of wood) or also is teh katana that is made of metal?

Sorry for my ingles in firsth time, and thanks you for read this.

Salute

"Winning means winning over the mind of discord in yourself"
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:50 AM   #2
Yann Golanski
 
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Katana are swords made of metal. Generally they have a sharp edge. However, others have a blunt edge and are used for training.

A bokken is a safer version of a katana since it is made of wood.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:55 AM   #3
Jack Robertson
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If you know how to use a bokken, you know how to use a katana. We practice with bokken because they are safer.
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:29 AM   #4
akiy
 
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Quote:
Jack Robertson wrote:
If you know how to use a bokken, you know how to use a katana.
I disagree. I've seen plenty of people who have trained only with bokuto in an aikido context go up with a shinken (live blade) for tameshigiri (test cutting through rolled up tatami mat covers or bamboo), only to have their hasuji (blade angle) off or use too much strength so that they basically just knock over the target.

Even in the few times in which I've done tameshigiri and watched good kenjutsu folks, I can see that there's a lot that's missing in using just bokuto.

-- Jun

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Old 02-19-2004, 09:36 AM   #5
Yann Golanski
 
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Does anyone know how Aikiken compares to Kenjujitsu or Kendo? Anyone cross-training cares to join in?

(Yes, I do have an opinion but it's based on very little training in either kendo or kenjujitsu so I'd rather keep quiet. *shocker*)

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
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Old 02-19-2004, 10:11 AM   #6
Brian Vickery
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Quote:
Yann Golanski wrote:
Does anyone know how Aikiken compares to Kenjujitsu or Kendo? Anyone cross-training cares to join in?
Hello Yann,

Well, I've crossed trained in Shinkendo, which is different than kendo in that a live blade is used for tameshigiri (target cutting), battoho (drawing & resheathing), and suburi (individual cutting practice), and bukuto/bokken is used during tachiuchi (paired sparing). It's my experience that aikiken techniques are only appropriate for use in aikido practice, like tachiwaza (sword taking techniques). An aikidoka wouldn't last a second against a shinkendoka during tachiuchi, and the aikidoka would not be able to use any of his tachiwaza techniques, he'd be cut to ribbons.

Aikiken is ok for what it's intended for, to improve your aikido skills, but it's a far cry from being even close to actual swrdsmanship!

...but that's just my opinion ...I'd suggest anyone truly interested in swordsmanship to go give it a try themselves!

PS: Tameshigiri is truly a BLAST!!! ...if you ever get the chance to try it, go for it!!!

Last edited by Brian Vickery : 02-19-2004 at 10:18 AM.

Brian Vickery

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Old 02-19-2004, 11:11 AM   #7
MikeE
 
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Brian, I too have trained in Shinkendo and a few other sword ryuha.

You sound like you are parroting Obata Sensei. I agree most modern Aikido uses the sword as a training tool to see where taijutsu originates, or give a reference for energy.

I think that Aikiken infused with the idea of striking first and to kill, can be just as effective as any sword art. It usually comes down to the practitioner. True, in Aikido we train less for killing and more for control with our tachiwaza, but, if need be, a good Aikidoka who trains diligently would hold his own.

I agree totally on tameshigiri. I teach it at my schools as a form of tanren.

Mike Ellefson
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Old 02-19-2004, 11:34 AM   #8
Rich Babin
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True, in Aikido we train less for killing and more for control with our tachiwaza, but, if need be, a good Aikidoka who trains diligently would hold his own.

Several of us in our dojo have been doing Iaido and Battodo for years. I think it may be dojo specific. Most aikiken seems to me to be used for learning timing, distance and Zanshin, not as a sword art in its own right. Aikiken is certainly similar to some kenjutsu but it is not like using a live blade. On the other hand kendo and iaido are not like fighting a battle with a sword either.

At least in Aikikai circles, more emphasis is being placed in two man kumitachi with bokken. They can certainly be done with real blades too, but not as safely.
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Old 02-19-2004, 11:51 AM   #9
Jack Robertson
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Quote:
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
I disagree. I've seen plenty of people who have trained only with bokuto in an aikido context go up with a shinken (live blade) for tameshigiri (test cutting through rolled up tatami mat covers or bamboo), only to have their hasuji (blade angle) off or use too much strength so that they basically just knock over the target.

Even in the few times in which I've done tameshigiri and watched good kenjutsu folks, I can see that there's a lot that's missing in using just bokuto.

-- Jun
I see your point Jun. I agree, there is a difference between the live blade and the wooden sword. But I think there's just a little getting used to it, that needs to be done.

I think if you gave someone with no sword training experience a live blade and you gave someone, who trained with a bokken, a live blade, the one who trained with the bokken would be a better swordsman.
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:05 PM   #10
Gabriel A
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I noticed that there is a difference in the bokken used in aikido and Iaido. Is it ok to use either one?

Regards

Gabriel

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Old 02-19-2004, 12:51 PM   #11
Brian Vickery
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Quote:
Michael Ellefson (MikeE) wrote:
You sound like you are parroting Obata Sensei.
Mike,

Yah, I guess training in Obata Sensei organization for 12 years has had a strong influence on my training & views of both aikido & shinkendo, but I was responding with my own experiences when it comes to swordsmanship, rather than just mimicing my instructor views.

..and granted, a very, VERY highly skilled aikidoka would be able to do some sort of tachiwaza against an average swordsman (...although I'd just suggest doing some sort of tai sabaki to avoid from getting cut, then just running away!) ...but thank God in these days that will never be put to the test!

I've also done some training in Toyama-Ryu, which to me, seemed closer to aikiken then Shinkendo, but that was just my take on it!

Regards,

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:57 PM   #12
Brian Vickery
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Wink

Quote:
Jack Robertson wrote:
I think if you gave someone with no sword training experience a live blade and you gave someone, who trained with a bokken, a live blade, the one who trained with the bokken would be a better swordsman.
Hi Jack,

Well, neither one of them would be a "swordsman" by any means ...*LOL*..and they'd probably just kill each other ...which might be the outcome if they actually were both trained swordsmen anyway...kind of like discussing who would win in a fight, Bruce Lee or the Green Power Ranger, you know what I mean?!?!

Brian Vickery

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Old 02-19-2004, 02:27 PM   #13
Rich Babin
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[quote="Gabriel Arias (Gabriel A)"]I noticed that there is a difference in the bokken used in aikido and Iaido. Is it ok to use either one?

I'm not aware of any difference. Getting a bokken that fits you and is strong enough to take a lick is all that is important.
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Old 02-19-2004, 02:33 PM   #14
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Jack Robertson wrote:
I think if you gave someone with no sword training experience a live blade and you gave someone, who trained with a bokken, a live blade, the one who trained with the bokken would be a better swordsman.
I can't count the times that I've seen people trained with bokken in Aikiken have real trouble cutting when given live blades - two many ingrained bad habits. OTOH, I've seen many first timers cut with no problems at all - just set them up and tell them what to do.

What it comes down to, I think, is that most people training (and teaching) Aikiken with bokken have very little idea what they're doing in terms of swordsmanship.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-19-2004, 04:18 PM   #15
kironin
 
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Quote:
Christopher Li (Chris Li) wrote:
I can't count the times that I've seen people trained with bokken in Aikiken have real trouble cutting when given live blades - two many ingrained bad habits. OTOH, I've seen many first timers cut with no problems at all - just set them up and tell them what to do.
I have to say that has been exactly my experience also. Just the most recent example that comes to mind was iaido camp this past August. Beginners after a little basic instruction did a beautiful job of cutting.

and again last night I was watching two iai students of mine do cuts. One is a sandan in another style of Aikido who has extensive experience in practicing Aikiken and is still fighting some atrocious habits after over a year of training in Iaido. The the other began with me when he was about 3rd kyu in that other style of Aikido. He did not have the habits and it shows.



Craig
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:27 PM   #16
MikeE
 
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Brian,

In my experience, I've found that someone who is interested in sword will often step outside of Aikiken (like myself) to get a deeper understanding of kenjutsu.

Also, I see alot of Toyama-ryu in Shinkendo. In fact, if I am not mistaken Obata Sensei says the roots of Shinkendo are found in Toyama-ryu (I'll have to check my copy of Samurai Aikjutsu) but, I think I paraphrase correctly.

BTW, when I say tachi-waza, I'm talking about cutting in tachiuchi, as well as, grappling. Lord knows I wouldn't want to try to grab a guy with a 3 foot razor blade.

Brian, you should check out budowear.com

Pretty cool Daisho shirt.

Mike Ellefson
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Old 02-20-2004, 07:33 AM   #17
Brian Vickery
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Quote:
Michael Ellefson (MikeE) wrote:
Brian,

Also, I see alot of Toyama-ryu in Shinkendo. In fact, if I am not mistaken Obata Sensei says the roots of Shinkendo are found in Toyama-ryu (I'll have to check my copy of Samurai Aikjutsu) but, I think I paraphrase correctly.
Mike,

You are correct sir! Obata Kaiso developed Shinkendo after many years of training in Toyama-ryu. Toyama-ryu is fun to practice, especially for someone like myself who is primarily interested in studying aikido, due to it's limited curriculum as compared to Shinkendo. My instructor used Toyama-ryu to get dan-ranked aikido students to study the sword more in depth, to take them beyond what aikiken had to offer. And once those students got the tameshigiri "bug", it was hard not to want to cross train in Shinkendo! I don't know if it's just me, but tameshigiri is VERY addictive!!!

Brian Vickery

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Old 02-20-2004, 07:50 AM   #18
Brian Vickery
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Quote:
Jack Robertson wrote:
If you know how to use a bokken, you know how to use a katana. We practice with bokken because they are safer.
Hello Jack,

You know, I had practiced with a bokken for years before I started cross training in Shinkendo, and I thought the same thing you do about using a live blade, but I came to find out that there's a HUGE difference between the two ...the weight, the balance, just the 'feel' of the blade in my hands! But the biggest difference came when it was time to resheath the blade, pretending to resheath a bokken into your empty left hand is just child's play when compared to putting a real katana back into its saya!!! ...try it some time!

Brian Vickery

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Old 02-20-2004, 09:20 AM   #19
Brion Toss
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Hello,

My experience has been mostly with Aikiken, but I have done a little bit of cross-training with other styles, and what I've seen is at odds with most of the above postings. Certainly Aikiken is primarily a way to develop Aikido principles, not for sword fighting, but it seems to be a sound art in itself.

Perhaps other correspondents have encountered less-skillful practitioners -- or perhaps I have! -- but there doesn't appear to be anything intrinsically inferior about Aikiken, at least in regard to bokken use.

As for cutting, that practice must surely inform one's bokken use, but again, this isn't the core of the art; any ryu practitioner unaccustomed to cutting is unlikely to cut well, and likely to need re-education.

Tachi uchi, actual sparring is such a wide-open experience that it would seem difficult to make generalizations about it. Invariably, you're likely to descend into a style-vs-style debate. Much better, I think, to seek out friendly practitioners of other styles, for constructive comparison and mutual evolution. Sparring can happen too, but the context will be less rivalry-inclined. There is, for instance, a very experienced sword person in my weapons class. He is very generous with his perspective, offering variant techniques, tactics, and strategy that complement our curriculum. And he keeps attending because Aikiken has something to offer him.

Finally, tachiwaza is a long-odds art, no matter what style one is facing, which is precisely why it is so valuable a practice. If Shinkendo,or any other art, has attacks that are harder to perform takeaways on, then that is a good art to practice with.

Yours,

Brion Toss

Regards,

Brion Toss
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Old 02-20-2004, 05:12 PM   #20
kironin
 
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Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
Finally, tachiwaza is a long-odds art, no matter what style one is facing, which is precisely why it is so valuable a practice. If Shinkendo,or any other art, has attacks that are harder to perform takeaways on, then that is a good art to practice with.
I think sometimes it's not emphasized just how long the odds are. I have never seen any aikido tachiwaza that didn't require some assumption of a mistake in the basics that a competent swordsman is pretty unlikely to ever make.

I am reminded of the story of O-Sensei and the marksman that was summarized on another thread.
Quote:
Shortly after O'Sensei performed his "Bullet dodging" feat; he was challenged by a master Japanese shooter; whose name I cannot remember. As the story goes; when the man readied and raised his weapon; Ueshiba raised his hand; said "Stop!" and conceded; saying essentially, "I cannot beat a man who aims before he raises his weapon."
Idiots are another matter of course and a student of mind who is a police officer did one time end up taking away a sharp HSN blue ninja whatever special from a nut case. Saved his partner at the time from being cut and saved he nut case from being shot most likely to death. He didn't have time to think about the wisdom of doing it.

Craig
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:05 PM   #21
otto
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Agree with Jun..

I havent had the lucky chance to try cutting with a live blade yet , but according to what i've saw during bokken practice and what ive read about proper cutting technique with a katana...I would say the problem is that most Aikidoka tend to "cut" instead of "slice" while doing waza...

So it makes plenty of sense that when trying a live blade against a cutting target "I" will probable knock it off rather than cutting it....

yours in AiKi

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Old 03-06-2004, 03:57 PM   #22
argengon
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Thanks you to everyone, im very glad to read all yours replys and i understand all that you wrote.

And i have learn some things more.

Thanks!

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Old 03-12-2004, 05:43 AM   #23
Robert Cowham
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I agree that there is a quite a bit of difference between a katana and a bokken. A katana is a lot more challenging than a bokken and requires a well developed tanden in my experience.

It also depends on the size and weight of the bokken and what you do with it though. We practise KSR as taught by Inaba sensei. KSR bokken have to survive frequent clashing in some kata, and so are straight and quite heavy in comparison to many aiki bokken. This changes their nature and brings them closer to a katana in my experience. (Because they are heavier you tend to learn better how to move your body in order to move the bokken).

The key thing I find with kenjutsu is that people often take a while to become aware of how inaccurate their cut is in terms of the position of the blade and back of the weapon at all points during the cut. It usually takes a while to get the weapon moving in a flat plane as opposed to some curvy 3-d trajectory - which would result in getting stuck in tameshigiri, quite apart from being less efficient.

My one go at tameshigiri was a lot of fun!

Robert
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Old 03-18-2004, 06:35 AM   #24
Mark Uttech
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After a few years of training with bokken, I bought a katana set- both long and short swords. After practicing with them outside on my farm for awhile, it dawned on me that "swordsman, or samurai play is a strange fantasy" So I put the katanas away and went back to the bokken (again, both long and short) Here I found a study of natural body movement intriguing, especially out in the woods, on uneven ground, in all sorts of weather. There is no end to this sort of personal study. It is especially useful when practicing with a jo on uneven ground out in the woods. No offense to anyone intended, this is my practice experience. In gassho.

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Old 03-18-2004, 08:09 AM   #25
kung fu hamster
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cutting mats

Hi,

I've got a question for those of you who have done tameshigiri. In the past I think I remember being told that the power of the cut/slice should be focussed/extended into the tip of the sword, since if you were cutting flesh, a long shallow cut (2-3" deep?) will suffice to do the job. Would you say it's the same feel in tameshigiri, or is that more of a power slice with the pressure exerted/applied throughout the length of the sword from hilt to tip?
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