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Old 11-26-2005, 12:35 AM   #1
RDReavis
Location: Tucson, Arizona
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Question Bokken orientation when bowing...

I'm just going to begin Aikido, and I would like to know how, first of all, how to bow with the bokken and how to properly present/transfer it to another person. I would like to know blade and handle orientation.

Thank you!
Richard Reavis
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Old 11-26-2005, 12:49 AM   #2
Jerry Miller
 
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

It can vary. You should follow local custom. So I would ask your Sensei.

Jerry Miller
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Old 11-26-2005, 12:50 AM   #3
RDReavis
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Ah, I see. My instructor trained under Shihan. Does anybody know anything about his customs?

Thank you!
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Old 11-26-2005, 12:39 PM   #4
RDReavis
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

I'm sorry, I was confused for a second...K. Chiba is the sensei she practiced under...geez I feel so stupid. =\
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Old 11-27-2005, 04:45 AM   #5
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

The most important rule is to think of the bokken as a real sword. Never treat it as a lifeless piece of wood, never lean on it, never handle it carelessly. As a real sword, it would have a sharp edge. Make sure the sharp edge never faces the kamiza or the person you are bowing to. The sharp edge should always face your own body, also when you present the bokken to another person. There are many variations, but to the best of my knowledge, this general rule of politeness applies everywhere.

With a real sword, one would not bow to someone else unless the sword were sheathed. So pretend to sheathe the bokken, hold it in the sheathed position at your left side with your left hand, sharp edge facing upwards, handle pointing forward and your left hand thumb on the (virtual) tsuba. From that position you can take a standing bow or sit down to bow. If you bow *to* the bokken, lay it in front of you, sharp edge facing yourself and the handle pointing to the right. Actually the Japanese factories help you by putting a sticker on the left side of the handle of the bokken. As long as the sharp edge is facing you and you can see the sticker, you are fine.
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Old 11-27-2005, 12:31 PM   #6
RDReavis
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Okay, I will do it that way unless I am corrected.
Thank you!
Richard Reavis
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Old 11-27-2005, 12:36 PM   #7
akiy
 
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Quote:
Ilja Pfeijffer wrote:
The most important rule is to think of the bokken as a real sword. Never treat it as a lifeless piece of wood, never lean on it, never handle it carelessly. As a real sword, it would have a sharp edge. Make sure the sharp edge never faces the kamiza or the person you are bowing to. The sharp edge should always face your own body, also when you present the bokken to another person. There are many variations, but to the best of my knowledge, this general rule of politeness applies everywhere.
I've seen and experienced otherwise...

-- Jun

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Old 11-27-2005, 12:39 PM   #8
RDReavis
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Uh oh...
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Old 11-28-2005, 07:49 AM   #9
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Find out the reiho (etiquette) used in your dojo and follow that. Almost every system and many individual dojo have their own set of rules. I could tell you how 'we' do it, but the way 'we' do reiho might just be annoying to your teacher.

When in Rome ...

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Old 11-28-2005, 09:20 AM   #10
ian
 
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

ha ha ha! The source of many interesting arguments! I wouldn't dare to get into this one again!

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-28-2005, 12:06 PM   #11
cconstantine
 
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Quote:
Richard Reavis wrote:
I'm just going to begin Aikido, ... and how to properly present/transfer it to another person. I would like to know blade and handle orientation.

Thank you!
Richard Reavis
As others have mentioned: local custom varies. Here is a particularly *safe* way to pass a live blade to someone else; I find that doing this with bokken helps to remind me that all practice should be taken seriously even if I'm holding a chunk of wood at the moment.

So...

1) start with your bokken in a right-hand-only grip. Your right hand is of course where it belongs, up near where the tsuba would be (or where it is if you're holding an iaito or katana.)

2) in a smooth motion: raise the tip to a straight-up position (keep it there), and turn the edge towards yourself.

3) with your left hand, grasp the handle below your right hand. Leave space between your hands. Release your right hand.

(You now have a bokken in your left hand, tip up, edge towards you, with your hand nearer the end/bottom of the grip.)

4) open your right hand palm up and place it under the end of the grip.

5) move forward and extend this whole arrangement to the recipient

(who, without any help from you, will automatically put their right hand exactly where it belongs on the handle. As the recipient, it is delightfully obvioius and comfortable.)

6) when you feel their grip take hold, you can relax and release your *left* hand (which is on the handle), but do not move your right hand (which is palm up.)

7) the other person now has full control of the weapon and is free to lift it away from the palm of your right hand.

In the context of day-to-day practice: you're not developing habits that will remove your fingers (if you ever handle a live blade) or leave hand oil on the blade of someone's Iaito. Noone has to swing the tip around, and the recipient doesn't have to flip it over or change their grip after the hand off.
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:34 PM   #12
RDReavis
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
ha ha ha! The source of many interesting arguments! I wouldn't dare to get into this one again!
Pretty wise, might I say ..

Anyway, I shall double check to see what my soon-to-be sensei(s) would want done, as I can see that there are many different ways to do such a thing...I would have thought that there would be a standard method, but I was wrong . In the meantime, I shall use the safe method (that is, unless I can pick up the perferred method from another student).

Many thanks,
Richard Reavis
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Old 11-28-2005, 11:32 PM   #13
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Quote:
Ilja Pfeijffer wrote:
The most important rule is to think of the bokken as a real sword. Never treat it as a lifeless piece of wood, never lean on it, never handle it carelessly...
I used to think that too, but now I see a bokken as a lifeless piece of wood that can be handled as any lifeless piece of wood. If someone attacked me and I had one in my pocket I would likely hold it by the so-called blade and whack them with the handle.

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Old 11-29-2005, 09:28 AM   #14
RDReavis
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
I used to think that too, but now I see a bokken as a lifeless piece of wood that can be handled as any lifeless piece of wood. If someone attacked me and I had one in my pocket I would likely hold it by the so-called blade and whack them with the handle.
So true...
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Old 12-01-2005, 04:12 AM   #15
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

It may be true, but it is not the point. One may, under circumstances, be tempted to throw a ikebana flower arrangement at a burglar's head, but this does not mean that that is what ikebana is all about.
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Old 12-01-2005, 05:47 AM   #16
Amir Krause
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote:
Find out the reiho (etiquette) used in your dojo and follow that. Almost every system and many individual dojo have their own set of rules. I could tell you how 'we' do it, but the way 'we' do reiho might just be annoying to your teacher.

When in Rome ...

Even inside our dojo, the etiquette may change when we practice Kata taken from varying sources (Koryu Ryuha). In some cases, the proper behavior is almost the opposite of the other. And yet, interestingly enough, good teachers will know to explain the reasons for their style etiquette.


Amir
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Old 12-02-2005, 03:02 PM   #17
ESimmons
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

Quote:
Richard Reavis wrote:
Ah, I see. My instructor trained under Shihan. Does anybody know anything about his customs?

Thank you!


Thanks for the laugh.
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Old 12-26-2005, 10:47 AM   #18
Ed Shockley
Dojo: aikikai of Philadelphia
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Re: Bokken orientation when bowing...

My dojo has Henry Smith Sensei who encountered weapons with Sugano and Chiba Shihan, Nizam Taleb Sensei who studied it Scandinavia with Icchimura (sp?) shihan, Paul Manogue Sensei who teaches iaido and various sempai trained by Tohei, Yamada etc. I preface this to say that I have encountered no two instructors who follow the same rei. My solution is to ape whatever the instructor does then, when appropriate, ask for explanations after class. I have found that each has specific reasons why they offer the sword in their particular way and when they sit with blade facing themselves ("In a comfortable environment, like your mother's house, and would rather risk cutting myself accidentally than hurting the innocent bystanders"), offering the ken hilt first ("you are placing your life in your partner's hands), perpendicular to the floor blade facing up (" you don't know what this guy is going to do so you may snatch the weapon back) etc. My goal always is to support the current instructor and honor my sensei. When I visit other dojo I find a senior student to follow until the instructor begins to lead the weapons ceremony. The short of it is, "be respectful and you can't go wrong." When I teach I have adopted a single etiquette from a single instructor because it feels rude to mix and match but part of my training is learning each style that I am exposed to with particular attention to the stories behind each movement.
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