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Old 03-26-2004, 11:47 AM   #1
aikiSteve
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk
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Daily Bokken Practice

Does anyone here do daily Bokken cuts? If so, how many do you do? Has it gotten any easier?

Steve Nelson
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Old 03-26-2004, 02:44 PM   #2
Mark Uttech
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I used to do them,back when I was much more enthusiastic about it. What worked for me then was that I told myself to just do ten, but I had to do ten. everyday. It turned out that I would average thirty or forty daily, and it helped everyday to just tell myself I only had to do ten.One problem that does arise is when people use a heavy bokken. This tends to create calcium buildups in the wrist area. Best to focus on posture and enjoy your practice. It generally takes forty-five minutes to do a thousand, and the first four hubndred are hard.

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 03-26-2004, 11:04 PM   #3
Nafis Zahir
 
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Bokken cuts are a must. They help you to develope a good strong aikido grip. Your grip should be strongest at the pinky finger. When you do your bokken cuts, ring your hands at the end of the cut. This will make your cut more powerful and your grip as well. I'm not as regular with it as I should be, but just on a daily basis, 100 cuts is good.

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Old 03-27-2004, 05:32 AM   #4
Doka
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They only help if you do them right!

Hips and shoulders square, front leg bent with hara above your ankle, back leg locked.

Hey that's kamae! What a surprize! No wonder it is vital training!



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Old 03-27-2004, 09:20 AM   #5
Greg Jennings
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In general, I tend to be suspicious of claims of "right", "truth", "best", "only", etc.

YMMV,

Greg Jennings
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Old 03-27-2004, 12:57 PM   #6
mj
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I do, but not daily. Usually 3-4 times a week.

Bokken, jo and maybe just some body movement too. ('just some body movement' lmao)

I always have a better day on those days.

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Old 03-27-2004, 02:14 PM   #7
thatoldfool
 
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Hm, i'm interested in this. I may be going away to a dojo-less place for 5 weeks, and would like to practice some kata's and suburi to stay as fresh as possible.

Semi related to this topic, but can anyone suggest a routine? I'd like to practice the aforementioned cutting, for starters...

"Best to be like water,
Which benefits the ten thousand things
And does not contend."
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Old 03-27-2004, 02:40 PM   #8
Yo-Jimbo
Dojo: formerly Windward Aikido, formerly at Keewenaw Schools of Aikido (ASU)
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Smile

When training for my shodan, I went a year or so doing 800 a day every single day without fail. Your mentioning it makes me want to add it back into my life. Learning from that experience though, I think I will set my goals/targets in terms of a how many I can do per year. It puts a lot of pressure on me to promise myself to do something everyday (it is both a mathematical and religious compulsion I suspect). I found that when I traveled that it was possible to carry my bokken nearly everywhere, but sometimes annoying and generally disruptive to the populous at large. I don't know about you, but I'm sometimes out of the country for a month or more and I don't always want to pack bokuto. If one makes the mistake that I did of making it a truly "daily" thing, then one finds oneself up near midnight trying to squeeze of 800 in the next 20 minutes and/or eventually disappointed when the streak is finally broken by forgetting one day. Instead, my aim will be to average (a running arithmetic mean) 800 per day until my coming birthday and then reevaluate.

I agree with Mark that at somewhere around 400 they get easier again. This is an important observation, because by that time fatigue and monotony will drive some of the bad habits out. Fatigue will attack the over used muscle groups hardest and force one into using the whole body more fluently. Monotony of the movement attacks the romantic idea of how it is "supposed to be done" that resides in (at least) my mind. I didn't mention the repetition itself as something that burns the movements into muscular memory; in that respect, I don't see that there is that much difference between 10 and 1000 (other than the two orders of magnitude) as long as it is done approximately everyday. This is a comparison of the value of doing 1000 on just one day, 100 for ten and doing ten for 100 days. There is most likely a saddle point for everyone that lies in there somewhere. I wonder at the value of one cut for 2.7 years.

I really like "eight directions cutting" and would highly recommend it as a portion of a typical daily routine. Yokomen strikes from/with watershed blocks on alternating sides are also a very nice change from lots of shomen uchi.

Thanks for bringing it up and giving me both the excuse to rant and the nudge to begin again.

"One does not find wisdom in another's words." -James D. Chye
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Old 03-27-2004, 03:08 PM   #9
Michael Bravo
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why stand-up only?

Quote:
Mark Dobro (Doka) wrote:
Hips and shoulders square, front leg bent with hara above your ankle, back leg locked.

Hey that's kamae! What a surprize! No wonder it is vital training!
You can also do it in seiza (sp?)

Speaking of heavy bokken, I know some people who use "red-neck katana"-style (term taken from Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson) training "bokken" made of full-scale iron crowbar (the one they use to break ice on the pavement with) sawed in half. Carefully, of course, and avoiding muscle/ligament overload.

/\/\ike
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Old 03-27-2004, 03:11 PM   #10
Doka
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
In general, I tend to be suspicious of claims of "right", "truth", "best", "only", etc.
Too bad for you.

If you practice something badly you will get really good at doing it badly!

I saw someone cut with a sword by bending both knees - ridiculous!!!

I have even seen someone try to do nikajo/nikyo by bending both knees! They tried it on me and I stood there and wondered why they were curtsying to me before doing the technique!!!

Don't be afraid of "right" and "wrong"!

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Old 03-27-2004, 03:14 PM   #11
Doka
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Re: why stand-up only?

Quote:
Michael Bravo wrote:
You can also do it in seiza (sp?)
Yep!

Hips square, shoulders square!!!

OSU!
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Old 03-27-2004, 09:20 PM   #12
Magma
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I go in cycles of what I'm working on... normally in terms of months. Several times, this has been bokken or weapon work, and during these times a bokken is in my hands nearly every day.

(btw, I've done 2000+ cuts several times, and the 1100s to 1300s are far worse than the first 400)

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 03-28-2004, 12:35 AM   #13
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Mark,

Are you saying that you keep your knees straight when you cut?

Charles
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Old 03-28-2004, 12:40 AM   #14
Charles Hill
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Oops! I just now read your post #4.

However, I have to say I have never heard of locking the back leg while cutting.

Charles "I should read all the posts before posting." Hill
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Old 03-28-2004, 07:53 AM   #15
Mark Uttech
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Charles Hill are you the same guy I used to know? You had a newsletter: Innen... Well, if it is you, good to be in contact with you again!

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 03-28-2004, 08:46 AM   #16
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Mark Dobro (Doka) wrote:
Too bad for you.

If you practice something badly you will get really good at doing it badly!

I saw someone cut with a sword by bending both knees - ridiculous!!!

I have even seen someone try to do nikajo/nikyo by bending both knees! They tried it on me and I stood there and wondered why they were curtsying to me before doing the technique!!!

Don't be afraid of "right" and "wrong"!

Otake Sensei, the headmaster of the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu, is one example of someone that disagrees with you about the form you say is the only "right" way.

To address your "both knees bent", the Kashima Shinto Ryu uses that kind of "lowered" kamae. I gather that it was to provide stability when moving over a battlefield in armor.

While he was not a recognized sword authority, it may be interesting to some that there are many pictures of Ueshiba O'Sensei in a triangular kamae versus the square one you say is "right".

So, Mark, put your cards on the table: what is it that makes you such an authority that you can say that the headmaster of the oldest extant school of the sword is "wrong"?

Gambatte,

Last edited by Greg Jennings : 03-28-2004 at 08:56 AM.

Greg Jennings
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Old 03-28-2004, 09:42 AM   #17
Doka
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Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
However, I have to say I have never heard of locking the back leg while cutting.
It is to push the hip forward so that the cut of the sword comes from pushing to the center. The same way that movement comes from the back foot.

Greg,

There are many sword schools and many ways to stand and cut, but this is about sword training to benifit your Aikido. You should practice bokken and jo just as you would do Aikido without the bokken and jo.

My perspective comes from Yoshinkan, but I have trained quite a few other AIkido schools. I have seen some schools where the sword and jo technique is completely different to the rest of their Aikido, and when I comment on this I don't get a reason why. I can give reasons as to why they should be the same, and why they should not be different.

I never said it was the "only right way" and I hope I have explained above what I did mean.

As for the picture of O'Sensei you talk about, I have seen this and also pictures in a square kamae too. A number of years ago I questioned why O'Sensei was not in Kamae and was told - "You enter through form and exit from form!" Meaning O'Sensei's budo was beyond standing this way or the other.

I have to say that you have misquoted me and I hope I have explained, Greg, and you really don't need to shout. I'm not so old that I am deaf (pardon?), at least not yet!


Last edited by Doka : 03-28-2004 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 03-28-2004, 10:23 AM   #18
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Mark Dobro (Doka) wrote:
Greg,

There are many sword schools and many ways to stand and cut, but this is about sword training to benifit your Aikido. You should practice bokken and jo just as you would do Aikido without the bokken and jo.
I do and I do all of it in a triangular kamae.

I come from an Iwama school. The kamae that we use in our taijutsu is exactly that of our bukiwaza.

The Iwama school is, in fact, *all about* the riai of the bokken, jo and taijutsu. We're not about the sword-for-the-sword.

I learned the kamae directly from long-term students, including uchi-deshi, of the late Morihiro Saito Sensei and have had this confirmed by training with Saito Sensei directly in his seminars before his passing.

I'm not claiming that it's "right", but that it's the way we do things and it mostly works for us.

I've been told that Shioda Sensei asked Saito Sensei to be his successor at the Yoshinkan. I don't know this first-hand, but it is from sources that are very good. So, evidently, Shioda Sensei didn't think too badly of Saito Sensei's sword-for-aikido.

Take it for what it's worth,

Greg Jennings
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Old 03-28-2004, 12:51 PM   #19
Doka
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Name Dropper!

If you are practicing for your Aiki then it is right, but remember, there is not just one right! There is only one right way to practice with the sword to your Aikido - that is the way that mirrors your empty hand.

OSU!
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Old 03-28-2004, 05:28 PM   #20
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Mark Dobro (Doka) wrote:
If you are practicing for your Aiki then it is right, but remember, there is not just one right! There is only one right way to practice with the sword to your Aikido - that is the way that mirrors your empty hand.
Quote:
Mark Dobro (Doka) wrote:
I saw someone cut with a sword by bending both knees - ridiculous!!!
So if my empty hand technique has me bending both knees then is it still ridiculous if my bokken work has me bending both knees?

Or is it simply ridiculous to bend both knees in empty hand thereby making it ridiculous to do it with bokken? If the latter then I would say you are taking the postition there is one way that is more proper, the way that doesn't bend the knees.

Bronson (we don't call it a knee bend we call it a hara drop/bounce)

"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 03-29-2004, 07:17 AM   #21
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
Charles Hill are you the same guy I used to know? You had a newsletter: Innen... Well, if it is you, good to be in contact with you again!
Hi Mark!

Yes, it`s me. We met at the Madison dojo about eight years ago. I think I still have your business card. It was too expensive for me to keep putting out the newsletter, but I have been entertaining thoughts of doing something on the internet.
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Old 03-29-2004, 10:52 AM   #22
Doka
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There is more than one way to cook an egg, but the real question is whether the result is edible!
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Old 03-29-2004, 12:05 PM   #23
Magma
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That comparison does not fit, Mark.

The end result is not to cook the egg, but to make it edible. So the axiom should be:

There are more than one way to make an egg edible.

Of course, that puts the focus back on you for explaining why bending both knees is wrong - so wrong as to earn a "ridiculous" from you. If by bending both knees the egg is made inedible, then the egg is a failure. The bokken work "ridiculous," and you are back to advocating one proper way to do things, it seems. One way (one knee bending, only), preferred over another (both knees bending, dropping the hara).

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 03-29-2004, 12:53 PM   #24
Doka
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The method I experienced of bending both knees was ineffective. Bending the knees removed the use of the hips by pulling them back, the opposite direction to the cut/technique. It didn't work!

Now if I see it done where the hips are with the cut/technique and it is effective, then that is (to use your words) "right"!

Like I said before, there is not just one right!

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Old 03-29-2004, 12:56 PM   #25
Doka
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I should also point out that the method I described first of all is not about bending knees, but about focusing the hips in the direction of the cut, the power coming pushing through the back leg.

One way to skin the cat!

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