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Old 03-23-2004, 12:44 AM   #1
lures
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Kendo/Iaido

Hello, hope you are well.

I'm thinking about picking up some sword art as a complement to my aikido training, since I've heard that aikido derives from sword principles. What I'm wondering is that which is the best suitable, kendo or Iaido?

Yours sincerely
Lures
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Old 03-23-2004, 01:07 AM   #2
Bronson
 
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I'm really enjoying my iaido classes. Kendo just isn't my thing so no matter how much it could possibly help my aikido I wouldn't do it because it doesn't grab my interest. If you have both available try both. Do the one(s) that appeal to you the most...you'll stick with them longer.

Bronson

"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 03-23-2004, 08:56 AM   #3
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, both are excellent. Watch the practice classes. Pick the one that suits you personally.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-23-2004, 09:13 AM   #4
kironin
 
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Re: Kendo/Iaido

Quote:
Johannes Gehlin (lures) wrote:
Hello, hope you are well.

I'm thinking about picking up some sword art as a complement to my aikido training, since I've heard that aikido derives from sword principles. What I'm wondering is that which is the best suitable, kendo or Iaido?

Yours sincerely

Lures
kendo is a fencing sport about offense. offense. offense.

points gained by wacking with a split bamboo stick (shinai) certain points of the body. ZNKF (if I remember the name correctly) requires at some point that ranked kendo students learn an iai set (setai iai) of 12 kata so that they learn a little about using an actual sword rather than a bamboo stick. There are some kendoka who also study iaido and others who wouldn't know the tsuka from the kissaki. There is also a set of 10 paired kata using bokken (bokuto).

Competitions with the shinai is generally the central focus of practice rather than handling a sword.

iaido is about defense in a proactive way and learning to handle a traditional Japanese sword in ways based on the old styles. Practice involves solo kata with a practice non-sharp metal alloy sword or a sharp steel sword, paired kata using bokken, and cutting practice with appropriate targets. The amount of time spent on each varies with school and organization. Some organizations are involved in competitions - performance of forms or cutting. Others are not.

it would be rarer to find, but worthwhile considering legitimate schools of jodo or kenjutsu.

Some koryu schools have issues with cross-training so you better be sure it's okay to train at more than just their school. Preservation of traditions and form rather than competition is the focus of practice.

never believe what you read on a web forum,

go check out places yourself, do research,

take your pick,

Craig
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Old 03-23-2004, 09:19 AM   #5
p00kiethebear
 
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out of curiosity, what schools of iaido have you been looking at?

Kendo can be fun, but i'm a bit biased to tell you to do iaido. As far as sword teachnique goes, kendo will teach you how to tap things with a stick, iaido (depending on the school) will teach you how to cut properly and use a blade you can draw. Iaido can also be good for learning how to move on your knees.

It's kind of hard for me to think of kendo as a martial art, I see it more as a sport. Because that's what it teaches, how to score points. But everyone is different, give them both a try, either one can augment your aikido pretty well.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-23-2004, 01:56 PM   #6
Kent Enfield
 
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As someone who practices both kendo and iaido, I'd say do them both. You may like both. You may like neither. If your main goal is to improve your aikido and you can only do one, I suggest that you do kendo.

Now I think I should respond to Craig and Nathan's posts, as it seems they probably havn't actually practiced kendo and there are some, um, misconceptions in their posts.
Quote:
"Craig Hocker (kironin)" wrote:
kendo is a fencing sport about offense. offense. offense.
If by "offense. offense. offense," you mean continuous attacking, this is true at lower levels. It is part of the teaching methodology of kendo. It is about learning proper seme, usually translated as "pressure," but I prefer "assault." The ultimate goal is to develop formidable kiseme. This accomplished by first starting with continuous attacks. This teaches one to recognize suki as well as a crude method to seme. From this one learns to not just to see and seize suki, but to create them. This is sometimes described as waza-seme, pressure/assault with techniques. From one learns more subtle technique and enters into kisaki-seme, assualt with the sword tip. This is the stage at which kendoka seem to constantly feel each other out, jockeying for position with their sword tips constantly moving. From this, they move on to kiseme. This what you see those old guys do where they just cross tips, stand there for a little bit, then one steps in and strikes the other.
Quote:
points gained by wacking with a split bamboo stick (shinai) certain points of the body.
I'd call whacking a gross mischaracterization of kendo technique. Even for beginners, there's a lot going on. But, yes, in competition, points are scored by striking certain points of the body with a shinai. It needs to be done with the correct part of the shinai, with correct edge alignment and motion, making use of ki-ken-tai-itchi (everything in unison), while demonstrating zanshin.

Quote:
ZNKF (if I remember the name correctly) requires at some point that ranked kendo students learn an iai set (setai iai) of 12 kata so that they learn a little about using an actual sword rather than a bamboo stick. There are some kendoka who also study iaido and others who wouldn't know the tsuka from the kissaki. There is also a set of 10 paired kata using bokken (bokuto).
You're mixing Japanese and English. It's either AJKF for All Japan Kendo Federation or ZNKR for Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei. The iaido seiteigata are in no way required for kendo students. They're required for iaido students, naturally. The Nihon Kendo Kata, the 10 paired kata, are required for kendo students. Yes, there are kendo students who wouldn't know what to do with a real sword, though they'd certainly know the tsuka from the kisaki. There are also plenty of kendoka who would be fearsome with a real sword, and have never done iaido, or any other sword art.
Quote:
Competitions with the shinai is generally the central focus of practice rather than handling a sword.
This depends entirely on the dojo. It hasn't been true in the dojo where I've practice.
Quote:
iaido is about defense in a proactive way and learning to handle a traditional Japanese sword in ways based on the old styles.
Iaido kata are about killing other people, ideally before they can even get their hands on their weapon. While the low level kata are all defensive, if you count things like "sensing hostile intent" as a reason to open someone's neck, the upper level kata are for situations like sneaking up behind someone in the dark, pushing through a crowd to cut someone down from behind, and hiding under the porch to literally stab someone in the back. Obviously, most practitioners find something else of value in the practice.
Quote:
Practice involves solo kata with a practice non-sharp metal alloy sword or a sharp steel sword, paired kata using bokken, and cutting practice with appropriate targets. The amount of time spent on each varies with school and organization. Some organizations are involved in competitions - performance of forms or cutting. Others are not.
Finding an iaido school that does more than the solo kata with occasional practice of some of the two person forms by advanced students is very rare indeed.
Quote:
it would be rarer to find, but worthwhile considering legitimate schools of jodo or kenjutsu.
Both of these are very rare in North America, though kendo federation jo is growing in Canada.
Quote:
never believe what you read on a web forum,
True. Again, visit both. Try both.
Quote:
"Nathan gidney" (p00kiethebear)" wrote:
As far as sword teachnique goes, kendo will teach you how to tap things with a stick
This is completely untrue. Even the most competition oriented kendoka is going to do more than tap things with a stick. I suspect Nathan has never actually received one of those "taps."
Quote:
iaido (depending on the school) will teach you how to cut properly and use a blade you can draw. Iaido can also be good for learning how to move on your knees.
Iaido will generally teach you to cut air. It generally won't teach you when and where to cut, as your imaginary opponent is always in the location you want moving at the speed you want.
Quote:
It's kind of hard for me to think of kendo as a martial art, I see it more as a sport. Because that's what it teaches, how to score points.
Never actually done kendo, have you? At least not for any significant length of time.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 03-23-2004, 03:01 PM   #7
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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First, I personally think the 'kendo types' were being aggressive with their remarks about iaido. I also think the 'iaido person' response was justified. However, I think we can all agree that the best spirit of harmony would be to avoid a 'style versus style' argument; for the sake of getting along, and perhaps even for the sake of accuracy, let's speak of the positive aspects of each style, rather than trying to make one style seem 'inferior'.

Some schools of aikido have an attached/integrated school of aiki ken/jo (sometimes tanto and/or kodachi as well). These schools tend to be methods of weapons work that contain movements similar to those of empty-hand technique.

Yoshokai aikido teaches a weapons style that emphasizes large, open movements, just like the empty-hands waza. I will take a risk here and make some generalizations, with the hope that others can clarify:

-Some sword styles feature large, arcing strikes, whereas others feature quick, 'snappy' cuts. (Perhaps an armor/plainclothes difference? Or a pull-from-impact/push-on-impact cutting style?)

-Aikido seems to me to be generally about large, balanced movement with the whole body.

I would thus reccomend a weapons style that features a balanced kamae and large, whole-body strikes.

However, I will add that I dabble in kendo from time to time. After seeing how quick and 'unbalanced' it was, I worried it would if anything 'corrupt' my aikido sense. However, I found it had many benefits, precisely because of its nature:

+It's very hard to kill someone with a shinai (be wary about throat thrusts, and strikes at the face). Oh, and if unlike me, you have access to the expensive armor, you can go to town. Shinai are also light. So it is possible to do very quick and 'full-contact' sparring, relative to bokken work.

+Because things move so quickly, it is a good opportunity to develop 'mu-shin'; there is little time to think things through. Kendo helped show me the importance of 'spirit' in sparring. Virtually any technique or movement can theoretically be countered. However, it's a matter of what your partner /will/ do, or is /mentally/ prepared for. This was a very valuable thing to study.

+Kendo does have a certain driving initiative, as said above. As with aikido, within a short time a 'nage' and 'uke' (metaphorical here) naturally develop; one takes control of the situation and the other is pushed into the role of reacting. (Sometimes, anyway.)

So my instinct is that iaido might be more aikido-like in movements. But it's amazing the kind of stuff you can find in the most unlikely places.
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Old 03-23-2004, 03:37 PM   #8
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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I'm sorry, in the above posts, I sort of switched kendo and iaido...anyway, ignore that section. The summary is, let's avoid the appearance of negativity.
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Old 03-23-2004, 07:12 PM   #9
Noel
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Personally, having done Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iai, I think iaido works as a nice compliment to aiki.

On those days when no-one else shows up, or you can't make the dojo, but have time to practice (e.g. naptime for a certain toddler), iai is a wonderful way to practice without having to worry about denting the drywall with a jo.

I also find that iai lends discipline to my aiki. Iai is precise, even if you're just imagining where your opponent ought to be. In aiki, I can always fudge if I'm feeling lazy as usual, and uke is compliant. In iai, there is no (visible) uke to carry me.

Never done kendo, but the tests I've seen look quite vigorous.

My cent-and-a-half,

-Noel
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Old 03-23-2004, 11:51 PM   #10
TheFallGuy
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I would have to agree with Kent.

Another point that wasn't mentioned is that there are seperate styles in Kendo. There's the traditional and the "sport" Kendo. Traditional goes into a lot of the tradition (duh) and goes into a lot of detail.

Sport Kendo treats it just like that -- a sport. Personally, I would much rather do the traditional Kendo. True in the beginning you are learning to attack, attack, attack. But my first time I spent 20 minutes or so with the Sensei and never got a hit in (I know he was laughing his butt off at me, but I was having fun charging him and getting hit on the head for my stupidity -- yes I died a million deaths) One thing that it does teach you is that there are openings when you attack. Then if you meditate on it you can reverse the role. --"If some nut attacked me like I did there, I could do ... like my Sensei did and ..."--

When I was going against my friend who had been doing it a while, I was actually able to "score" some hits on her, but that was because I was doing a more yokomenuchi strike to her shomenuchi. It was fun.

But where I had the best time was doing the iaido. I fell into the meditation while doing it, much like with Tai Chi. It felt wonderful.

Anyways, try them both for a while, find out what you like, and what suits you. (I found out that I don't want to do karate because it makes me too mean and aggressive for my liking, but I wouldn't have found that out without trying it.)

I came
I caused
I seized
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Old 03-24-2004, 05:46 AM   #11
lures
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Hello again.

Thank you very much for the answers. I wasnt expecting such long and informative answers, I was more wondering which sword art principles is the base for aikido. I read taht O'sensei trained kendo while he developed aikido. Anyway, thanks a lot. I'll give them both a try and pick the one that makes me want to return to their dojo.
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Old 03-24-2004, 07:02 AM   #12
Ghost Fox
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On a side note does anyon have any experience on Shinkendo and its relation to Aikido training?
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Old 03-24-2004, 09:45 AM   #13
jxa127
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Quote:
Damion Lost (Ghost Fox) wrote:
On a side note does anyone have any experience on Shinkendo and its relation to Aikido training?
You may need to be more specific. As I understand it, "shinkendo" is a generic term describing training with a sharp sword.

There are many different schools of sword work, many going back centuries. Collectively, they are considered koryu -- old schools. This is in contrast to modern styles like kendo.

People I've spoken with who train in a koryu sword art and aikido invariably say the same two things:

1) Aikiken and aikijo are a very simple subset of the skills one learns in a koryu art. Somebody using just the sword work typically practiced in aikido dojos wouldn't last more than a second against a student of a more comprehensive art.

2) Their study of a koryu sword art has deeply enhanced their aikido practice.

On the flip side, I've also been told by one man who now studies a koryu art that he did basic aikiken for years before studying something else and found the practice very valuable.

One other point: there are some differences between the sword strikes that I've learning in aikido practice and what I understand they do in kendo. For example, we usually move the front foot, then shift weight, then strike as a continuous, wave-like motion. In kendo, the front foot needs to come down at the same time as the strike.

Because of this difference, and I'm sure some others, my instructor has noticed that people who study kendo before aikido have trouble with our way of doing things, but people with a grounding in aikiken have less trouble adapting to kendo's methods.

In any event, if there were a school near me, and it was good, and I had time, I'd love to study kendo. The traditional approach, the kata, and, yes, the competition aspects all fascinate me. []

Regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 03-24-2004, 10:22 AM   #14
willy_lee
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Quote:
Drew Ames (jxa127) wrote:
You may need to be more specific. As I understand it, "shinkendo" is a generic term describing training with a sharp sword.
I think Damion is referring specifically to Shinkendo, the art founded by Obata Toshishiro.

http://www.shinkendo.com/main.html

I have no experience with them myself. However, Obata sensei started off in Yoshinkan aikido, I've heard. They do their own flavor of aikido in addition to the sword work as well.
Quote:
For example, we usually move the front foot, then shift weight, then strike as a continuous, wave-like motion. In kendo, the front foot needs to come down at the same time as the strike.

Because of this difference, and I'm sure some others, my instructor has noticed that people who study kendo before aikido have trouble with our way of doing things, but people with a grounding in aikiken have less trouble adapting to kendo's methods.
Where I've seen discussions online about the shortcomings of aikiken as a sword system, this is usually mentioned. According to sword people, the aikiken method leaves you open to counterattack.

=wl
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Old 03-25-2004, 07:25 AM   #15
jxa127
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Willy said:
Quote:
I think Damion is referring specifically to Shinkendo, the art founded by Obata Toshishiro.

http://www.shinkendo.com/main.html
Oh. I'd never heard of that particular style before. Thanks for the link.
Quote:
Where I've seen discussions online about the shortcomings of aikiken as a sword system, this is usually mentioned. According to sword people, the aikiken method leaves you open to counterattack.
That may well be. Most of the critism I've read have more to do with our direct method of attack, the basic nature of our strikes, the limited number of targets, and the lack of emphasis on swordfighting strategy.

None of which bother me. I think aikiken is meant to be a basic grounding in the concepts of swordwork as it applies to aikido, and I think it serves its purpose.

OTOH, those who study actual koryu sword styles in addition to aikido tend to have really good aikido. Hikitsuchi sensei had mastered a number of weapons, including sword and apparently had excellent aikido. I think there's at least a correlation there.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 03-25-2004, 07:59 AM   #16
David Edwards
 
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I have very limited experience in this area, I've looked into Kendo and Iaido, but have never done the former and not done much of the latter. In our dojo (Aikido dojo, that is) we do a fair amount of Aikiken to compliment our Aikido. As Drew points out (well, a perhaps slightly different, but similar point) above, Aikiken is a very good way of practicing ma-ai and zanshin. Which can only be a good thing.

On a side-note, I'd like to mention that Kanetsuka Sensei, the head of our association, advises all who will listen to do kashima swordwork if you want to understand about contact.

It's a kind of magic
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Old 07-20-2005, 01:38 PM   #17
Stephanie_dee24
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Smile Re: Kendo/Iaido

I have tried both Kendo and Iaido, and I personally prefere Iaido. It is more Kata based rather than sword fighting, and the Katas aren't that long either because the whole aim is to kill the attacker with as little cuts as possible then return the blade to the scabard. It is a very precise art, everything is exact. Kendo is slightly different, it is more offensive and teaches sword fighting. I did enjoy both but had to choose one, otherwise I would have done Kendo too.

Kendo is also more popular and well known than Iaido. Both are very enjoyable and very hard work! Hope you enjoy whichever you pick!

Steph

~.~

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
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