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Old 04-14-2005, 08:02 AM   #1
feck
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Freaky! Bokken Training

Hi,

I'm fairly new to Aikido (5 months) and am just getting into weapons training. The quesiton i have is this, when new to practising with a bokken, would the person training, practise extremely slowly to better adjust to this training.
I notice that when practising ken suburi 1 that when swing the ken downwards that the ken wavers in mid flight. I have got into the practice of using one corner of a room to use as a guide to slice in a perfectly straight line, although this can only at present be achieved very slowly.

Has anyone got any tips on this.

thanks
feck
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:48 AM   #2
jss
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Re: Bokken Training

Your left hand/arm gives power to the strike, the right hand/arm is used for controling (the direction of) the strike.
If you use both arms for power and control, they'll interfere with each other, the result being the wavering of the strike.
Or at least that's my experience.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:46 AM   #3
Ed OConnor
 
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Re: Bokken Training

Best mnemonic I've received is:

Body, hands(left then right), ken... in that order.

Also try training with only one hand on the weapon... then the other.

HTH.

Peace,
eD

http://www.aikidocenters.com/
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:27 AM   #4
DevinHammer
 
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Re: Bokken Training

Keeping the previous comments in mind, repetition is your friend. For most people that kind of motion is a bit foreign for a while. There is no "trick" or secret technique to making your strikes laser-straight, but each strike you make will shave a tiny bit off of those wobbles. Practice 100 of this strike and 100 of that strike and don't worry about it too much. As your muscles strengthen and get familiar with that motion, your control will gradually improve.
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:22 PM   #5
Walter Wong
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Re: Bokken Training

And do it slowly for awhile since you just started.

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Old 04-14-2005, 01:14 PM   #6
MaryKaye
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Re: Bokken Training

Check to make sure you aren't clutching your bokken with a death grip. It's difficult to cut straight if you are tense. This, too, will improve with practice, but paying specific attention to relaxing can pay off. As a side benefit, you can do more cuts with less physical pain if you aren't tense.

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-15-2005, 05:56 AM   #7
hobbit_marco
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Re: Bokken Training

Of course you learn it by doing it a lot (as stated above). Our teachers say you should also relax your shoulders and not bring them up to stop your ken. And also (again stated above), you should grip your sword lightly. because the more you clutch it, the more it can shake and wobble because you're putting force on it from the sides.
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:29 PM   #8
samurai_kenshin
 
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Re: Bokken Training

what style do you do, Feck?

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
-Barry LePatner
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Old 04-19-2005, 11:09 PM   #9
RebeccaM
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Re: Bokken Training

Relax, repeat, and try not to think too hard.
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Old 04-20-2005, 12:35 AM   #10
Zoli Elo
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Re: Bokken Training

More happo giri, maybe?

As Ed OConnor mentioned indirectly: try moving while cutting; not cutting from static.
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:07 AM   #11
ruthmc
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Re: Bokken Training

Quote:
Darren Paul wrote:
I notice that when practising ken suburi 1 that when swing the ken downwards that the ken wavers in mid flight.
Has anyone got any tips on this.
Rather than concentrating on keeping the bokken straight, concentrate on what your arms do while you cut. When raising the bokken, bend your wrists first, then raise your elbows, and finally your shoulders. Relax your grip on the handle. When cutting, drop your shoulders, then your elbows, and finally your wrists, applying a slight wringing grip to the handle at the end. Do this slowly and aim for smoothness. Once your body has got it, you can increase your speed while maintaining the same order (wrists-elbows-shoulders-shoulders-elbows-wrists aka the bokken mantra )

You should find that staying relaxed and sticking to the mantra improves the line of your cut.

Ruth
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Old 04-20-2005, 10:18 AM   #12
feck
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Re: Bokken Training

Hi people

Thanks for all the replies, have been helpful, and to samurai_zenshin, I practise Iwama-ryu style.

Thanks again everyone

feck
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Old 04-20-2005, 11:35 AM   #13
Kevin Kelly
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Re: Bokken Training

When gripping your weapons, you can also try gripping the hardest with your pinkies, that's what I was told anyway.
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Old 04-20-2005, 05:35 PM   #14
James Young
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Re: Bokken Training

In addition to other comments given here, try keeping focus on the tip of the blade and moving that through the cut first.
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Old 04-21-2005, 08:01 PM   #15
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Bokken Training

Practice cutting with just the right hand - shomen, left & right yokomen - lots of times, and aim at something (like a leaf of a tree), then gently add the left, do it all again, and see how it feels.

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Old 04-22-2005, 12:05 AM   #16
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Bokken Training

always practice slowly

Better to do 5 perfect cuts than 5000 incorrect ones.

Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes PERMANENT. Start infusing good habbits from the begining. THEN move up to a more dynamic swing.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 05-07-2005, 12:46 PM   #17
samurai_kenshin
 
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Re: Bokken Training

Quote:
Darren Paul wrote:
Hi people

Thanks for all the replies, have been helpful, and to samurai_zenshin, I practise Iwama-ryu style.

Thanks again everyone

feck
Ever heard of the "Iwama shake"?

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
-Barry LePatner
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Old 05-07-2005, 09:39 PM   #18
aikigirl10
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Re: Bokken Training

I found as a little kid when i first started aikido that it was difficult for me to even hold the bokken steady (it was probably heavier than i was). Cutting slowly helped me get the straight-cut form down and later on when i got older i was able to cut straight and w/ speed altogether. Hope this helps
-Paige
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Old 05-25-2005, 02:11 PM   #19
jsm
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Re: Bokken Training

In addition to all the good advice here, make sure your grip is correct. An incorrect grip will leave you with less control of the boken. As stated before, your pinky and ring fingers should hold the tightest (but not a death grip). Your right hand index finger knuckle should be on top of the handle lined up with the back of the blade. It feels really uncomfortable at first but gives you much more control.

When raising the boken, inititate it by using your left hand to "push through" on the handle which will raise the tip of the boken. And don't be afraid to ask seniors for help.
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Old 05-26-2005, 03:40 PM   #20
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Bokken grip

Quote:
Jeff McKeon wrote:
In addition to all the good advice here, make sure your grip is correct. An incorrect grip will leave you with less control of the boken. As stated before, your pinky and ring fingers should hold the tightest (but not a death grip). Your right hand index finger knuckle should be on top of the handle lined up with the back of the blade. It feels really uncomfortable at first but gives you much more control.
When raising the boken, inititate it by using your left hand to "push through" on the handle which will raise the tip of the boken.
Hear, hear!
Exactly.
By the way, focusing of raising the bokken, instead of on cutting with it, is very good suburi practice. Raising the sword by pushing it forward from the center - that's the same thing in reverse, as cutting. One leads to the other.

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 05-27-2005, 09:14 AM   #21
Mike Sigman
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Re: Bokken Training

After reading all the posts in this thread, I find that I'm curious how "moving from the center" fits into these excellent and different approaches to bokken swinging. Could people describe that portion of the mechanics, please?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-27-2005, 05:26 PM   #22
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Moving from the center

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
After reading all the posts in this thread, I find that I'm curious how "moving from the center" fits into these excellent and different approaches to bokken swinging. Could people describe that portion of the mechanics, please?
I am not sure that my explanation fits in with other descriptions of bokken swinging, but here it is:

All movements in all budo are either from or to the center (tanden). It is particularly clear in two-handed sword cuts: when you raise the sword, it moves away from the center - from chudan kamae to jodan kamae - and when you cut, the sword moves back to the center, to chudan kamae.
Since you don't allow the arms to bend, the sword will make a cutting movement.

In aikido, this is expressed by shihonage - from the center, then back to the center.

The center is also the base of kokyu breathing, of course. Breathe in to the center, breathe out from the center.

I would say that there is nothing more fundamental and important in any budo, than learning to use your center, and exploring what this leads to.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 05-30-2005, 07:31 AM   #23
Mike Sigman
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Re: Moving from the center

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote:
All movements in all budo are either from or to the center (tanden). It is particularly clear in two-handed sword cuts: when you raise the sword, it moves away from the center - from chudan kamae to jodan kamae - and when you cut, the sword moves back to the center, to chudan kamae.
Hi Stefan:

Would it be possible for you to expand on what you mean by this? As I read it, it appears that you are simply saying that the bending is done at the waist and not at the arms and that is what you mean by moving from the center. Is there more that you would add to this description that could differentiate "moving from the center" versus normal arm movement that worries about the grip, etc., etc.? Thanks.

Mike
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Old 05-30-2005, 08:24 AM   #24
Stefan Stenudd
 
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To and from the center

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Would it be possible for you to expand on what you mean by this?
Hi Mike,

I will try my best:
The center, tanden, is not just a center of gravity, but the starting and ending point in most budo. It is a relation one should have to all of one's movements - not just because it brings stability, but also because the center is the "birth place" of one's interactions with one's surroundings, the source of one's ki, et cetera. It is the "I am" of budo.
Its role can hardly be exagerrated.

The tori and uke relation is fundamentally one between their centers. When uke attacks, the attack generates from uke's center and is (in principle) directed towards tori's center. When tori acts in aiki, it is with acceptance and guiding of uke's center, and the energy coming from it. For tori to be able to do that, it is important to remain in his/her own center all through.

Let's take shihonage as an example: It is very much a sword move - drawing the sword, then cutting with it. There are some body turns involved, as well, but essentially the arm movement is that of a sword cut.
Now, the straight sword cut should be done in front of one's center, or it will lose power and sharpness. Shihonage, too, tori should do with both hands in front of the center (and the center line of the body). If the hands deviate to the left or the right, there is a risk of losing the ability to complete the technique.

I am not sure if I am making myself clear, here. When I practice aikido, I always primarily and mostly focus on staying centered, and making my movements from and to the center - also, in relation to uke's center, the rest of uke's body being little more than expressions of uke's center.

Unfortunately, I don't have a shihonage video clip on my website, yet, but in this soft style shomenate ikkyo et cetera, maybe you can see what I mean with staying centered and extending uke's power from uke's center:
http://www.aikiken.com/aikido/video/...kkyo-omote.wmv

Another example is basic style jodantsuki ikkyo ura here:
http://www.budo.net/ikkyo/ikkyo-jodantsuki-ura.wmv
In guiding uke, I focus on doing it from his/her center, as a continued flow from it, and in the ikkyo ura turn, I focus on remaining centered, so that the whole turn is done with my main contact point with uke in front of my center (or center line).

What I focus on is to remain in my center, and to remain in contact with uke's center. I do my technique with uke's center, not his/her arms or body, really.
Of course, arms and body are involved, but at the core is the dynamic relation between tori's and uke's centers.

Am I making any sense?

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 05-30-2005, 08:51 AM   #25
Mike Sigman
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Re: To and from the center

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote:
The center, tanden, is not just a center of gravity, but the starting and ending point in most budo.
And in most correctly-done everyday movements, as well.
Quote:
Let's take shihonage as an example: It is very much a sword move - drawing the sword, then cutting with it. There are some body turns involved, as well, but essentially the arm movement is that of a sword cut.
Now, the straight sword cut should be done in front of one's center, or it will lose power and sharpness. Shihonage, too, tori should do with both hands in front of the center (and the center line of the body). If the hands deviate to the left or the right, there is a risk of losing the ability to complete the technique.
Well, I enjoyed watching your video clips and they look pretty good (bearing in mind that video clips are not the best way to examine things; but they still looked pretty good). However, my question would be along the lines of asking you the required basics of doing a sword-cut "using the middle"... how would you compare a sword-cut done "with the middle" when standing on the ground versus one done "with the middle" after you have leaped straight up into the air? Both could be done "with the middle" as you described, wouldn't you agree? I.e., what further clarifications could you make to a student about the requirements of cutting "with the middle"? Not that I disagree with anything you are saying, either. I think that you are now closer to describing the essence of correct bokken swinging that we have been so far.

My opinion, FWIW.

Mike
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