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Old 09-30-2004, 03:48 PM   #26
dracones
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

1.As I said and kironin agreed but of course he had something to say just to counter-attack, the left foot in front stance is for attack, that means I have an advantage and I don't care much for protection but for an accurate attack. When I said about the balance of body weight I was thinking about this: if the body weight is on the back foot that means I can launch an attack with more power and less accuracy, if the body weight is on the front foot I have less power and more accuracy.

2.A katana can easily and with the smallest amount of power cut half of the body. So the heart is in the close range. And if the most attacks are around neck or upper or lower body, an attack on the middle body is a surprize.

3.Oh yes! A lot of samurais woud do a lot for the smallest advantage. There were many who would do nothing but the honourable thing. They are exceptions. Just say no and I'll give you some well known examples.

4.The most important if you fight with a bow (I'm talking about the right handed ones) the left hand has a fixed point in the middle of the bow, the right arms makes all the movements. (The heart is in front maybe because a bow can't reach the heart.) When you are holding the katana it's exactly the opposite. Why is that????

Last edited by dracones : 09-30-2004 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 10-01-2004, 08:16 AM   #27
Erik
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

It may have been mentioned in the article but one of the reasons you might see one-sided training is because of battlefield formations. The Romans, I believe, tended to fight with the shield on the left arm and the gladius in the right hand, while adhering to a very structured spacing. I imagine that it makes things simpler and less dangerous because you know where and what the guy next to you is doing.

I used to wonder about the same thing because we tend to only think about duels or relatively small confrontations. In a duel it makes sense that messing up the pattern could be an advantage whereas it doesn't make so much sense in the larger picture.
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Old 10-01-2004, 12:06 PM   #28
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

Quote:
Any "cheap" or dishonorable attack I very much doubt would be used
Ahem. Miyomoto musashi, arguably the greatest swordsman japan knew... lets think now.

He's challenged to a duel on a beach. So on the way over he carves and oar into a bokken. When the boat lands he runs onto the beach and debrains the guy before he has much of a chance to react.

He challanges a master who supposedly has an unbeatable cut. He throws a shuriken at him to catch him off guard and kills him during his distraction.

He waits in the bushes and attacks without warning in order to kill people who challenged him.

Plenty of samurai chose practicality over honor.

The 47 ronin was mentioned earlier. You remember that these samurai used the trick of pretending to be a bunch of worthless drunkards so they could easily kill their adversary when he let his guard down.

Their adversary used the dishonorable tactic of coaxing their leader into drawing his sword in the emperor's garden so that he would be executed (or in this case, given permission to commit seppuku)

Not all samurai were the epitomy of honor and loyalty.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 10-02-2004, 12:48 AM   #29
kironin
 
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

Quote:
Nathan Gidney wrote:
in response to
"Any "cheap" or dishonorable attack I very much doubt would be used"

Plenty of samurai chose practicality over honor.
...
Not all samurai were the epitomy of honor and loyalty.

read here ...

http://www.koryubooks.com/library/kfriday2.html


enough said.

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Old 10-02-2004, 03:44 AM   #30
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

Excellent article Craig, thank you!

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 10-22-2004, 03:41 AM   #31
Jorx
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

Two facts:
The heart is not very much to the left side anyway.
Japan has a generally lower rate of left-handedness. I do not remember exact numbers but I think it was just a little over 5%.
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Old 10-23-2004, 02:13 PM   #32
dracones
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

1.
I've seen recently on Discovery a documentary about
samurais. A teacher was showing the student the most
sensitive parts of the body:
-neck (cutting, death in 2-3 sec after the jugular is cut)
-heart (stabbing, death in 2-3 sec after the heart is stabbed)
-tendons (enemy is out of fight)
why expose the heart?

2.
someone said that the romans were fighting with the gladium
in the right hand and the shield in the left hand.
let's say it may be useful for the discipline and for the turtle
formation.
BUT: THE SHIELD IS IN THE LEFT HAND. WERE IS THE HEART?

3.
offtopic:
the 47 ronins also used about 10cm longer swords than
usual to gain an advantage.

Last edited by dracones : 10-23-2004 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 10-23-2004, 02:30 PM   #33
dracones
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

i'm sorry i post this kind of messages but i heard a nice joke related to this subject.

HOW DO YOU CALL A PERSON WITHOUT HIS LEFT EAR EYE, ARM, LEG?

allright.
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Old 10-24-2004, 05:23 PM   #34
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

1. Japanese culture has had a visceral a rejection of left-handedness as many European cultures (gauche, sinister, to use two allusions). I've seen Japanese parents hit their children very hard on the hands when they use their left hand to eat - the rejection starts very young, altho', like lots of things, modern Japanese culture is changing rapidly. One parent told me that a lefthander wouldn't be able to write properly. Another told me, with an expression of disgust, that being left-handed was "different."
2. If swords were sheathed on either side, it would have required much more attention to avoid clashing weapons - a pretext/cause of duels.
3. The reason given to me for Japanese driving on the left side of the road supposedly goes back to horseback/pedestrian traffic - not passing on the sheathed sword side.
4. Japanese warriors did not train in close-order drill, but they did have battlefield formations, particularly with spears - and generally, they were wielded with the right hand back - opposite where sword and kodachi were sheathed. Armed on both sides increased the likelihood of tangling weapons.
5. I may be wrong but I recall that from Nara and Heian periods, the bow was carried in the right hand, particularly in formal settings - thus, being not immediately offensive - and the sheathing of the word followed that.
6. Some schools do have "secret techniques" in which the swordsman shifts to a left handed grip. Yagyu Shinkage-ryu is one. I've had people do this during free-sparring training, and it's not a big deal. They shift their hands too close, and they'll be "cut" because of that moment where they are not attacking or defending. At a further ma-ai, it's obvious, and one simply attacks what's exposed in the shift of the body.
7. One thing I find interesting is that both ryu I've trained shift hands on bo, naginata and other weapons, so that the sword-fighter does train against both-sided attacks against them. But despite equal comfort with a naginata, for example, wielded either way, as soon as I pick up a sword, it feels very strange to reverse hands.
8. Different kusarigama ryu used either the left or the right on the sickle - depended on the school.

On another matter, this concept of the samurai as being "honorable" is quite misunderstood. It does not, nor did it ever mean "fighting fair." A lot of the gokui in many ryu are cheap shots, surprise attacks, and in some ryu, include poisons, curses, and explosives (Not "ninja" schools, BTW - run of the mill samurai training). The entire history of Japanese warfare is rife with as much betrayal as that of modern Afganistan, another culture obsessed with honor. Honor actually means not being held up in another's eyes in any way that you believe shames you. But it does not interfere with expediency. Literally, one has not broken one's "word" when one lies, because one didn't mean it in the first place. I recently read an account of a journalist who exposed two Afgan warlords of selling Stingers to Iran. One confronted her and threatened to kill her. She asked if it was not true that he'd sold the missles. He was taken aback, honestly puzzled and asked, "What does that have to do with it?"

With respect

Ellis Amdur

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Old 10-25-2004, 01:04 PM   #35
dracones
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

I've seen recently an haidong gumdo demonstration.
It's resemblance with the samurai's fihgting style it's obvious.
Well, in this style I've seen a swordsman, standing with the left-foot (and of course the left side of the body in front) while the opponent was on the ground. As soon as the opponent was on his feet,
ready to attack, the body weight was moved on the right foot (which is lead in front, and of course the right side of body also). In close combat heart is in the back, and this weight transfer puts more power in the sword.
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:40 AM   #36
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

Quote:
Morris Dacia wrote:
I've seen recently an haidong gumdo demonstration. It's resemblance with the samurai's fihgting style it's obvious.
Eh? Sorry, Morris, I just can't make that statement make sense to myself.

Haidong gumdo has defintely had some Japanese influence, but if you told a Korean HGD practitioner that he was using samurai fighting style, he'd likely be vastly insulted.

And quite frankly, from what I've seen of HDG, it's really drifted far away from the kenjutsu/kendo/iaido that might have influenced in the past.

If you get a chance to observe any of the older systems of kenjutsu, you'll probably not see any standing on one foot, twirling the sword or using the style of stomping cuts I've seen HDG folks use.

It's an apples and oranges thing ...

And besides, if you want to talk about samurai fighting styles, you'd really need to look at Hozoin Ryu spear, maybe. The sword was always a secondary (or even tertiary) weapon. Pole arms, bows and (according to something historian and budo researcher Karl Friday said once) rocks were more frequently used by samurai on the batlefield.

Sword fighting was something that hapened when you expended all other options.

The Japanese sword styles may lack the flash and panache of HDG, but that's fine with me, I far prefer simple elegance to truly spiffy twirls and leaps ...

Chuck

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Old 10-27-2004, 01:53 AM   #37
Joe Bowen
 
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

What's with the obsession of the heart position relative to stance? Granted if you get stabbed in the heart you are going to die, but that is true of a number of other places as well. Your stubbornness regarding this point is far exceeding your ingenuity in dreaming it up.
Speaking as a left-handed person in intellectual endeavors (writing, drawing, painting, eating etc) who practices all-physical endeavors (sports, Aikido, rifle marksmanship, European fencing) right handed, (this by the way I attribute to being taught most of my physical endeavors at a young age by my older right handed brothers and right handed father) if you practice the Asian style of calligraphy left handed it is extremely difficult. I had a Chinese friend of mine teach me some of the basic strokes for the calligraphy and found that when I tried it left-handed it didn't work so well. When I normally write, my left forearm rests on the desk and sometimes on the sheet of paper, this is almost impossible to do with the ink. When I tried it with my right hand, the characters actually came out better. So, without a reprimand from my friend for using my left hand, I naturally switched to the right. There is a method to the madness which may not be easily explained, nor even consciously known. This probably applies to the use of the sword as well. While the ideas put forth about military formations and social conformity make sense, your are unlikely to get a definitive answer to the question. And while, I may disagree with your heart position theory, you can even keep on believing that if you like.....

-joe
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Old 10-28-2004, 12:30 PM   #38
dracones
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman



That is probably the right answer.
I can't get something clear because, this problem has
many aspects.
I still believe that "hidding" the heart is one of the reasons.
And an important one!
As someone told me on aikido.ro forum,
"finnaly the reason defeated the assumption".
Thanks all.
Bye-bye.

Last edited by dracones : 10-28-2004 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 11-01-2004, 07:35 PM   #39
The Molinjir
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Re: Left-handed vs. Right-handed swordsman

I am still fairly new to Aikido, so I know very little about the weapons training, but I am left handed, so I usually have a large advantage against my opponents when I fence, unless I meet one of those rare people who fences well, and equally well with both hands.....

I know, at my level of fencing, very few people can quickly adjust from fighting a right-handed person to a left handed person. I am not sure if it is the same in Aikido, but just my two cents,

Paul
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