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socho
13th February 2004, 01:40
Yet another spin-off of the two previous shinken threads.
Was working last night with a friend on some introductory basics for batto-do. He is an aikido sensei who is kind enough to let me rent dojo space once a week, and is interested in seeing some of what we are about. While reviewing the grip, I noticed that he had more of his right hand on top of the handle. When going over the basic overhead straight cut, he was having a lot of trouble with the mechanics of our cut vs his experience with aiki-ken (no, this thread is not about that). Even when he got the beginning of the 'big cut', he tended to push the blade through it, leveraging the handle, instead of lettiing the sword cut, and moving with it. Anyway, after numerous (gentle and respectful)corrections, he turned to me and said that this cut was not strong, it would not move the opponent, it would not 'push through' resistance. hmmm.
Well, of course not, (blinding flash of the obvious for me), it is not supposed to move an opponent, it is supposed to cut him. Completely different thing. It is the difference between using a bokken strongly enough to move someone, and using a sword smoothly enough to cut them.
Suddenly the different hand position made sense, it was stronger on top of the blade, as if for pushing. Whereas ours is stronger laterally, to lock the blade into the proper angle for a cut. A cut ideally goes through a person's space (and the person. ok, through the target, sheesh). You don't have to knock the person/target down. It does not take a great deal of strength, just acceleration and control. There is usually very little resistance if the cut is good, something that always surprises a first-timer.
Anyway, this put the aiki-ken bokken work and the kendo shinai strikes into a whole different perspective for me.

Any of this make sense? Comments invited.

Dave

szczepan
13th February 2004, 02:46
Hey, aikiken it is NOT a sword system. It is not even a weapon system :D So be generous for that aikido sensei, tell him that he is a lamer ;)

gmlc123
13th February 2004, 03:44
Originally posted by socho
Suddenly the different hand position made sense, it was stronger on top of the blade, as if for pushing. Whereas ours is stronger laterally, to lock the blade into the proper angle for a cut.

Any of this make sense? Comments invited.

Dave

Each Ryu has it's own definition of these two grips and from our Ryu's viewpoint many Teachers have this confused or a lack of proper understanding.... so this may stir up some discussion for sure.

In the first instance, you're describing what we in SMR call a Gyakute grip.. and it is designed for just that "pushing". Typically, this grip will not allow full ki to the kissaki, but rather just behind the elbows. Anyone with tennis elbows from doing sword work.. well something aint right with your grip. Back to basics IMO.

We have another grip called, Honte, which I'll describe as a saddle bag position of hands on tsuka. This grip enables full ki to reach the kissaki, ideal for cutting or thrusting.. it in essence makes the sword a full extension of the hand, enabling connection to the hara and creates maximum surface area of hand to tuska for the grip and tenouchi. Tenouchi, and the "wringing the towel stuff" thats another topic worthy of discussion ;)

Nishioka Sensei has explained that the reason so many ZNKR & Aiki Teachers confuse these two grips is because, typically they were introduced to swordsmanship thru Kendo at a very young age in school, (hang on I'm not flaming Kendo) and as such their wrist bones have not properly formed until after 14 or so.

This inturn means they can only hold a long sword or Shinai with a gyakute grip prior to that age, and if it's not corrected later on then that Student eventually becomes a Teacher and passes it on "incorrectly". For us, we see so many practioners say "we use a Honte grip", but to us it's actually a Gyakute grip they use.

I'd say do some uchikomi sword drills with your Aiki friend, using kiriotoshi principle with proper de-ai & hasuji and move him by putting the kissaki lightly on his forehead. He'll move unless he's like a rabbit in headlights :D in which case you see it in his eyes. You moved him anyway ;)

DCPan
13th February 2004, 15:31
Originally posted by gmlc123

In the first instance, you're describing what we in SMR call a Gyakute grip.. and it is designed for just that "pushing".

Now I'm confused :)

Are you using the terms honte and gyakute the same way that they are being used in honte-uchi and gyaku-te uchi?

If so, this would appear to be very different from what is being described by the initial poster wouldn't it?

From what I read of the initial post, it would appear that the aikido sensei is gripping more squarely with his right, but it is otherwise the same general hand orientation.

Whereas, with honte & gyaku-te uchi in jodo, in honte, the grip is like kendo chudan where the leading hand's thumb points toward the kissaki whereas in gyaku-te, the leading hand's thumb points toward the tsuka-gashira....

The distinction above sounds more like kiri-te and tome-te.... :D

So... :D

Jack B
13th February 2004, 17:26
To me, the distinction sounds like kiriotoshi vs oshigiri....

The cuts I was taught in Aikido include moving the sword forward through the point of impact by continuing your step with the trailing foot. In Iaido, the cut occurs just as the front foot stops and the back foot plants, so the cut is a pulling motion with the point of impact being the maximum distance the cut reaches. The natural swing of the shoulders after impact rotates the sword back toward your center in front of which the tsuka locks. Aikido seigan was higher and more forward than Iaido seigan kamae. The two cuts have entirely different dynamics and power source. The way to fix it is the feet -- if you do the Aiki cut with your body movement, change the feet and the cut will have to come down. If the Aiki cut is done by pushing the hands, then it's something else. Emphasize setting the feet and bringing the hands to their ending position with good tenouchi. (The hands should already be set in their final, max power position at the moment of full extension, when you will strike the point of impact.)

gmlc123
13th February 2004, 23:25
Don't worry it's a common issue, confusing I mean.

To answer your questions. Yes, and no. BTW I'm referring to grips for just sword work.

Your comment re: reverse hand (and I expected someone to raise it in relation to Gyakute Uchi with the Jo). This strike utilises two Gyakute grips, the one as you say that is in simple terms backwards (top hand) and the bottom hand. It's not a mixture of Gyakute top hand and Honte bottom hand.. it's Gyakute with both hands. In ZNKR they'll never explain it cause generally they just don't understand it, they just think the top hand is Gyakute cause it's round the other way.

Nishioka Sensei makes a very clear distinction between these two grips, gyakute grip doesn't just mean the hand is facing the other way. It refers to the Jo or in this context Ken position within the hand.

In the same way Hiki Otoshi is not just Honte to Honte. It's technically Honte - to Gyakute - back to Honte (and I'm referring to lead or power generating hand).

http://www.swordspirit.com/gallery/imgs/novabatto.jpg

I'll use this photo from the thread starter web page. (I'm not using them to flame or anything else) and it's a bit hard to see from the angle, but the two on the right. Most definitely Gyakute grips, the gentlemen on the far left look's like Honte. (note. I said look's like, I can't be definitive from this photo source)

Like I said it's gonna cause some discussion.. and in my mind that's a good thing.

Greg



Originally posted by DCPan
Now I'm confused :)

Are you using the terms honte and gyakute the same way that they are being used in honte-uchi and gyaku-te uchi?

If so, this would appear to be very different from what is being described by the initial poster wouldn't it?

From what I read of the initial post, it would appear that the aikido sensei is gripping more squarely with his right, but it is otherwise the same general hand orientation.

Whereas, with honte & gyaku-te uchi in jodo, in honte, the grip is like kendo chudan where the leading hand's thumb points toward the kissaki whereas in gyaku-te, the leading hand's thumb points toward the tsuka-gashira....

The distinction above sounds more like kiri-te and tome-te.... :D

So... :D

socho
14th February 2004, 01:23
the folks in that picture are doing chiburi, not a cut. It was a posed picture (I took it), so I wouldn't necessarily draw any conclusions.

Am enjoying the discussion, though. Good points and lots of detail, not just about technique but the thought behind it. Thanks to all for your contributions, I hope there will be more?

Dave

gmlc123
14th February 2004, 01:38
Hi Dave

I posted the link with some reservation... as I knew it was following chiburi. I decided to use it because it shows a clear difference in hand position on the tsuka which can be easily seen between the three in a single image source.

I was trying to show others the concept of what I'm talking about with a Gyakute grip, in context to my initial, perhaps confusing, post re: Honte and saddle bags.

I didn't post it in any way to make a comment about the Chiburi waza of a different Ryu or in between practitioners, it doesn't matter to me. It was just the quickest and easiest example I could find to try to demonstrate what I'm going on about, not to draw any conclusions. I already understand what I'm on about, but others may have some difficulty.

My apologies if the pic gets taken out of context, it's not my intention at all.

Cheers
Greg


Originally posted by socho
the folks in that picture are doing chiburi, not a cut. It was a posed picture (I took it), so I wouldn't necessarily draw any conclusions.

Dave

socho
14th February 2004, 03:19
Greg,
no problem, as I said, I'm enjoying the discussion and appreciate your detailed comments. In the picture you referenced, theoretically they are all doing the same thing :) . The gentleman in the white dogi has a bad angle, incorrect plane of the blade, hand is too high, tip is too low, so that may be what you are seeing.

Here are a couple of clearer pics of the hand positions I was originally describing, hastily taken and posted, apologies in advance for the quality.

The front hand position in these pics is what I noticed. First is our normal position, or something close to it
http://www.pixhost.com/pixd/drawdyd/grip3.jpg

but here the front hand is much more on top of the tsuka, as if pressing it down or forward, in the context of a strike vs a cut
http://www.pixhost.com/pixd/drawdyd/grip4.jpg

The descriptions of the SMR grip and the kendo grip are helpful, as I do not have background in those and have not seen them discussed in depth before.

Dave

gmlc123
14th February 2004, 04:19
Dave

I fear if I use your photos to try to explain it's just going to lead to a lot more confusion.

So please bare with me, I'll put something together tonight using my own images.. and then endeavour to expand further, tomorrow.

Thanks
Greg

dixiecron
14th February 2004, 23:14
Mr. Clarke,

I knew there was a reason why I hate being photographed!

I am the guy in the white dogi in the photo above (Drawdy Sensei mentioned this thread in class this afternoon).

I studied Iwama Ryu Aikido (as in lots of aiki-ken) in a previous lifetime, and was about 1 month into batto at the time that photo was taken. In the aiki-ken I was taught, one of the big things stressed was using a LOT of tenouchi, and immediately Drawdy sensei had to start "de-programming" me on that one. That in itself may explain the differences you see in grip.

As for the Kendo-pushing grip, an aside that may be relavant to this discussion is that I was told a few months ago that the Kendo "powers that be" want to get back to a "Cutting Kendo" as opposed to a "Striking Kendo" (something to do with the 'do' vs. 'sport' issue perhaps, but I'm not -even- going to go there), so maybe in the future we'll see more kendoka using grips that look a bit different from what we see today.

Either way, this is a great thread since I've been thinking about my grip in general over the last few weeks.

gmlc123
15th February 2004, 03:23
As I mentioned in my first post, each Ryu has its' own definition of grips. So this is all in the context of how we in SMR have been taught, by our Seiryukai head, regardless of whether we use the sword one handed or with both.

The picture below, is what we call a Honte grip. In particular, the palm pad isn't on top of the tsuka but to the side ie. bulk of hand/s is/are just like a saddle bag on a horse. This grip gives all the benefits as I outlined in the initial reply (re-read if necessary).

<IMG SRC="http://www.jojutsu.com/images/stories/honte_grip.jpg">

The next picture, is what we call a Gyakute grip.. you can see that the palm pad is on top of the tsuka. Some might argue that it has to be there otherwise how can you stop the sword on the spot, as in Nukitsuke for example? I've heard it before. Well the answer, IMO, is proper tenouchi, and as Hyakutake san has admonished in many posts before the importance of the "fingers".. esp the thumb and index ones for tenouchi. And especially if cutting with one hand... as we do in SMR a little.

<IMG SRC="http://www.jojutsu.com/images/stories/gyakute_grip.jpg">

So this relates back to the now hi-ranking ZNKR Teachers in Japan, that were introduced to swordsmanship at an age were it's impossible for them to hold a long sword or shinai with a proper Honte grip due to their wrists and bones not being properly developed. They tend to use the palm pad as a leverage point to stop the sword or shinai on the spot or keep the tip up.

In the case of cutting with this gyakute grip, well if you grab an iaito or shinken, and cut from an extended Jodan with 110% of your effort/power then stop it on the spot in Seigan no Kamae without backing off before.. you'll feel what I'm talking about re: ki to just behind elbows, especially if you cut with your elbows in not out (maybe why so many ppl keep elbows out to compensate perhaps).

Be careful, the more power you put into it the more you'll feel it... do it 100 times with full power, then you'll definitely know what I mean (time for the Dencorub). Do the same with Honte, you probaly won't be able to stop it that easily at all without proper tenouchi ;} but you should feel the ki go right to the kissaki.

Here's even a better way to understand for yourself the benefit of a honte grip in regards to the weapon as an extention of the hand, maximising grip surface area.. and moreover connection to your hara.

Pick up a broom hand or a jo if you have one (something perfectly round)... place it by your right side naturally with it horizontal to the ground. Look at your grip, it will be in fact a gyakute grip, like if you had to push or pull (lift) something. ie. bar of weights.

Then find a tree or pole outside, something immovable. Then thrust the end of it into the tree as hard as you can (with the Gyakute grip). You'll feel it in your wrist, your hand will likely slip down the weapon and you can't get a connection to run from your centre down the arm thru your forearm and then down the stick to the end, let alone maintain it. It blocks at the wrist for thrusts when you use a Gyakute grip.

<IMG SRC="http://www.jojutsu.com/images/stories/gyakute_jo.jpg">

Now do the same with a SMR honte grip, you'll see in the pic below that with a honte grip and proper waza (& I'm not saying mine is), the stick is in line or near enough in line with the forearm to enable the dogu to act as an extension of the hand, forearm and body. Ki gets right to the end, and no pressure in the wrist unlike the gyakute example.

<IMG SRC="http://www.jojutsu.com/images/stories/honte_jo.jpg">

You feel the connection to the hara and koshi with a honte grip, especially when you do it to an Uchidachi that's trying to walk thru you rather than just a tree or pole in ground. With a gyakute grip, Uchidachi will walk thru you every time as you thrust him in an attempt to stop him.. you can't halt him especially if he's bigger than you with that grip.

So I hope this helps to explain what I've been talking about for those that are interested, just experiment with it yourself and make your own mind up. I'm not trying to teach anyone or correct the world, each to his own, just endeavouring to share some theory and practically behind some things as I understand it from what I have learned thru SMR so far. Still plenty more to learn though :)

Greg

gmlc123
15th February 2004, 03:30
Steve

Please call me Greg, and I sincerely apologise for using you as an example. It was wrong of me.. and I should have taken the time to use my own image sources, so it would be me the one subject to the opinions of others.

We're all beginners, and many ppl have been doing swords arts longer than I've been alive.. I guess the lesson in this too is that we all can learn from each other, both inside and outside of the dojo, regardless of whether you're a beginner, Kohai, Sempai, and even a Sensei.

I'm sure if my Sensei was to see my photos, he'd also have some corrections for me too.

Again, my apologies.
Greg


Originally posted by dixiecron
Mr. Clarke,

I knew there was a reason why I hate being photographed!

I am the guy in the white dogi in the photo above (Drawdy Sensei mentioned this thread in class this afternoon).

I studied Iwama Ryu Aikido (as in lots of aiki-ken) in a previous lifetime, and was about 1 month into batto at the time that photo was taken. In the aiki-ken I was taught, one of the big things stressed was using a LOT of tenouchi, and immediately Drawdy sensei had to start "de-programming" me on that one. That in itself may explain the differences you see in grip.

As for the Kendo-pushing grip, an aside that may be relavant to this discussion is that I was told a few months ago that the Kendo "powers that be" want to get back to a "Cutting Kendo" as opposed to a "Striking Kendo" (something to do with the 'do' vs. 'sport' issue perhaps, but I'm not -even- going to go there), so maybe in the future we'll see more kendoka using grips that look a bit different from what we see today.

Either way, this is a great thread since I've been thinking about my grip in general over the last few weeks.

Grisha
15th February 2004, 04:45
Using the Gyakute grip, this is essential for Nukitsuke? I am unfamiliar with some concepts of even basic drawing techniques of Iaido but, when I usually use Gyakute, my top finger is somewhat sticking out and unable to properly hold it at the moment, maybe this can be corrected after practicing with this grip more? Or is this the correct way of holding.

gmlc123
15th February 2004, 05:00
Dear Grisha

I'm unsure and don't know the answer to your questions, maybe that's a good question for your Sensei though. Your Ryu may have good reasons as to why they do things.

Cheers
Greg

Grisha
15th February 2004, 05:20
My Ryu is a form of Kenjutsu and not Iaido, I was asking a question on drawing of the sword to a cut using this grip.

gmlc123
15th February 2004, 05:49
Likewise, I don't do Iaido.. only Kenjutsu. I know a few Iaidoka though.

Hopefully, an Iaidoka can answer you question.


Originally posted by Grisha
My Ryu is a form of Kenjutsu and not Iaido, I was asking a question on drawing of the sword to a cut using this grip.

SeventhSentinel
15th February 2004, 09:38
Likewise, I don't do Iaido.. only Kenjutsu. I know a few Iaidoka though.

Hopefully, an Iaidoka can answer you question.



Well it is my understanding and I say this with the understanding that I am a mere student and in no way an expert. When I do Nukitsuke the grip starts one way and ends up another. It is definately more of a Honte grip as shown by Greg, my Sensei likened it to holding a brush, and not a Gyakute grip. The grip sort of spreads out at the very end. In the first cut of Ippon Me mae the cut ends with the arm fully extended the blade comming straight out of the arm with the tip a bit down shoulder height. After reading this thread I tried to do it with a Gyakute grip and found that I had the hardest time keeping the blade parallel with the ground and getting the tip speed in the arc up. Without your first finger out a bit like in Honte grip it felt just "wrong" to me. Slow, unbalanced draw and trouble just stopping the blade, also felt like I was leading too much with the tsuba like all the power was there instead of going to the first quarter of the blade.

Brian Owens
15th February 2004, 10:19
Regarding the term "Gyakute Grip" -- can someone tell me why it is called that, and in what style(s)?

Gyakute means, as far as I understand, "backwards" or "reverse." I don't see how that fits here.

Originally posted by gmlc123
...So this relates back to the now hi-ranking ZNKR Teachers in Japan, that were introduced to swordsmanship at an age were it's impossible for them to hold a long sword or shinai with a proper Honte grip due to their wrists and bones not being properly developed. They tend to use the palm pad as a leverage point to stop the sword or shinai on the spot or keep the tip up...
Well, I was taught to hold a sword in a grip very close to your "wrong" photo, and a jo close to your "right" photo. They are two different weapons. With the sword, having the pisiform bone of your hand on top of the tsuka allows more control in certain situations than having it lying "in the groove" between the hamate bone and the base of the thumb.

Also, if you look at the photos of proper sword grip in Volume One: Iaijutsi, Bojutsu of that famous series of books on the famous, very old koryu that non-members of the ryu shouldn't name( ;) ) -- you'll see that the famous shihan who's name we have been asked not to use is holding his sword in what appears to be a grip midway between your two extremes.

I would say, as I've said before, that differences in technique -- unless wildly wierd -- are just that: differences, not worong vs. right. When in doubt, ask your sensei what is right in your school.

$0.02

gmlc123
15th February 2004, 10:34
Brian

Like I have re-iterated in each post, my descriptions and the definitions of the grips I use are only in the context of SMR, and moreover Seiryukai. I'm sure, in fact know, that other SMR practitioners.. do things differently.

You'll also notice that I try not to speak outside the boundries of my Ryu, unlike many others here at e-budo.com. Although I expressed the personal view of a Sensei on ZNKR. Plenty of other threads on that topic ;)

I'm not saying one way is right or the other way is wrong. Each to his own.. I think I've done a fair enough job substanting my opinions or understanding.. unlike again many others here at e-budo.com. Don't construe what I have said as gospel and I'm not a Sensei... as I said, you make your own mind up, if you desire. I care little what others do, but happy to share what I know in context to my Ryu.

Again, in SMR we use the jo with the same principle as if it were a sword to the point of it having a Ha. You have been taught differently, and I respect that.

Greg


Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
Regarding the term "Gyakute Grip" -- can someone tell me why it is called that, and in what style(s)?

Gyakute means, as far as I understand, "backwards" or "reverse." I don't see how that fits here.

Well, I was taught to hold a sword in a grip very close to your "wrong" photo, and a jo close to your "right" photo. They are two different weapons.
$0.02

Brian Owens
15th February 2004, 10:36
Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
...lying "in the groove" between the hamate bone and the base of the thumb...
Should have said "lying "in the groove" between the pisiform bone and the base of the thumb."

Brian Owens
15th February 2004, 10:42
Originally posted by gmlc123
Like I have re-iterated in each post, my descriptions and the definitions of the grips I use are only in the context of SMR, and moreover Seiryukai. I'm sure, in fact know, that other SMR practitioners.. do things differently...I'm not saying one way is right or the other way is wrong...
Yes, I understood that.

I was just presenting another view for "balance."

I, too, try to say (and remember myself -- not always succesfully) that "differences in technique -- unless wildly wierd -- are just that: differences, not wrong vs. right."

Brian Owens
15th February 2004, 11:10
Originally posted by socho
...Anyway, after numerous (gentle and respectful) corrections, he turned to me and said that this cut was not strong, it would not move the opponent, it would not 'push through' resistance. hmmm...
Sounds like it's time to put a shinken into his hands, point him to a row of rolled goza, and say "show me." It's amazing how failing to cut a target can change one's whole approach to, and confidence in, one's technique.

BTW Dave, in my old school -- an Aikiken/Aikijo style not affiliated with Aikikai or Ki Society -- I was taught to hold a sword exactly as you show in your photo of your "normal position, or something close to it."

Originally posted by socho
...Anyway, this put the aiki-ken bokken work and the kendo shinai strikes into a whole different perspective for me...

Originally posted by szczepan
Hey, aikiken it is NOT a sword system. It is not even a weapon system :D

So be generous for that aikido sensei, tell him that he is a lamer ;)
Yeah?! So's your mamma! :D

Seriously, though, if anyone is interested in good books on Aikiken and Aikijo, of a style more closely resembling kenjutsu and jojutsu (although still, obviously, mostly influenced by Aikido), I'd recommend the three volume The Structure of Aikido by Gaku Homa. The books are sort of out of order, because Volume Three actually has the ken and jo basics, while Volume One has the Aiki/Ken relationships, and Volume Two has the Aiki/Jo relationships.

For a JSA practitioner wanting to see more clearly what Aikiken is all about, or an Aikidoka wanting to get a better idea of what Aikiken can be, these are pretty good references.

A lot of the Aikiken you see today is Aikiken, whereas Homa Sensei's comes closer to being Aikiken in my experience.

Dan Harden
15th February 2004, 13:45
Interesting discussion. We do neither grip. More of something in the middle of both.
The push through vs. pull cut and the ki to kissaki question is more a description of how your style or just maybe YOU generate power.
One observation I might make is that the person who was analyzing the Aikido’s sensei’s grip stated that you don’t need that kind of pushing power and that “the sword cuts?”

Then I will flip the logic back to you to state that the grip doesn't matter that much as the "sword will cut."

And guessing that he could not cut while just using grass rolls as an indicator wouldn't offer much by way of empirical evidence anyway. It's so easy my wife can do it. Further, the te-no-uchi towel ringing aspect taught by many puts over-the-top pressure in a similar way. In truth I think many were and are surprised at just what will and what will NOT work while cutting hard targets.

I would echo the comments about the differences being "different" not just “bad or good.”
Example: The push-cut with a lever-action on the handle that was described here as a failure that loads the elbows?” It is possible that is because people are only "seeing" what it does to THEIR use of the elbows in their styles body alignement. I know that a Kendoka and a MSR guy had trouble learning to cut this way. Make sense?
We do a push-cut levering the handle with bent elbows that uses full body power that cuts through 3” trees. Not a high arcing cut that pulls back at the end.
So, again! If one were making the argument that “the sword cuts” (mind you I'm not- its just what was stated) then pushing-through or pulling-through would be a non starter for discussion. The real question is ability to maintain Hasuji through the cut, while controlling it’s finish and what sort of recovery you can make to re-cut as fast as possible.
I can and have used the over hand cut to cut through trees and I have used the other "rounder" grip as well. They both work for me with the way I cut things.
I do not like the round(er) grip as it rely’s to much on the Koba; which is a principle place to attack the weakest point of someone’s grip (AKA jujutsu). The inverse is that the shape of the hand (There are three I refer to here ) to make a relaxed grip that is extremely forcefull and manipulative does not include anything resembling a rounder grip using the koba. So- relying on that grip for sword just rubs me the wrong way. Even when pushing through it with the stick it leaves a weak vector open. I like the idea of stick-hasuji.
Anyway, there is more than one way to skin a cat. I have watched the idea of the first finger pointing or sticking out. While we do not do that either- I have seen a very well respected art(ist) that does.

Cheers
Dan

A. M. Jauregui
15th February 2004, 18:55
3-inch trees… The humanity… Think of those poor hapless trees cut down in their youth. ;)

On a serious note: I find it best to vary handgrip, position, and motion according to that of the situation. Sound moderate advice Dan... For a change :)

DCPan
15th February 2004, 20:52
Hi Greg,

Like Yagyu Kenshi, I was wondering, could you provide the the kanji for your use of honte and gyakute? The reason is, I find it hard to relate your explanation of the grip to the kanji commonly used to write honte-uchi and gyakute-uchi.

Another question is this, using your saddle-bag style gyaku-te grip, how do you control a one-handed cut?

Thanks!

David

DCPan
15th February 2004, 21:07
Hi Greg,

I have a non-sequitor question for you.

This is something I've been wondering for a while, and your picture happens to serve as a perfect example.

The way your front hakama himo is above the obi...in kata where you have to insert your bokken or saya into the obi, isn't it harder when the top of the hakama himo isn't even with the top of the obi?

Thanks!

David

DCPan
15th February 2004, 21:14
Hijacking the thread here :D

To further explain the hakama himo relation to obi bit....

I've heard (in no particular order):

1. in front, the top edge of the hakama himo is even with the top edge of the obi, in back, the bottom of the hakama himo is even with the top of the obi.

2. in front, the bottom edge of the hakama himo is even with the top of the obi (like photo above).

3. in front, the top edge of the obi is 5mm lower than the top edge of the obi, so actually, a little of the obi shows through.

4. in front, the middle of the front hakama himo rests against the top edge of the obi.

Somewhere along there, there's also the bit of tying the front hakama himo on the second loop around on top of the tip of the tail bone to facilitate and remind you to "pelvic tilt"...assuming you aren't wearing a double-layer keiko-gi so you can't feel a thing! :D

:D

gmlc123
15th February 2004, 21:54
Hi David

My worst fear is coming true, everyone probably thinks I know more than I actually do ;) ... I don't know the Kanji for them sorry, but I could look it up. All I can say is this is what I've been taught and shown by Nishioka Sensei, as it relates to my Ryu. And other teachers teach it differently, of course, even within SMR.

I guess the main point that started this all off, is I tried to make a distinction between what is a pushing hand grip and a cutting one. As Nishioka Sensei does.

In relation to the saddle bag, it's only a Honte grip that I referred to and not gyakute. I personally, and it's just that a personal view, think that our grip is not that effective for single hand cutting. Especially, with the placement of our thumb over index finger instead of inbetween the index and middle finger, which seems like a common grip variation.

Perhaps the question of single hand cutting and grip is best left to someone more likely to know, like Hyakutake san from his NIR viewpoint.

In relation to my Obi... well apart from your observations, yes.. whenever I put the bokuto in my Obi I have to wind it around a bit to make the room (so I probably tie it too tight). I've also been told by my teacher than I tend to wear my Obi and Hakama like a lady. ie. too high up. The lack of hips on my part may account for me overtighting my hakama as well.

Cheers
Greg

ulvulv
15th February 2004, 22:37
Originally posted by DCPan
Hijacking the thread here :D

To further explain the hakama himo relation to obi bit....

I've heard (in no particular order):

1. in front, the top edge of the hakama himo is even with the top edge of the obi, in back, the bottom of the hakama himo is even with the top of the obi.

2. in front, the bottom edge of the hakama himo is even with the top of the obi (like photo above).

3. in front, the top edge of the obi is 5mm lower than the top edge of the obi, so actually, a little of the obi shows through.

4. in front, the middle of the front hakama himo rests against the top edge of the obi.

Somewhere along there, there's also the bit of tying the front hakama himo on the second loop around on top of the tip of the tail bone to facilitate and remind you to "pelvic tilt"...assuming you aren't wearing a double-layer keiko-gi so you can't feel a thing! :D

:D

mr pan, you should reread nr3.
hehe

if i tie my hakama, so the top of my hakama is level with the top of my obi, the himo will slacken after some saya-work, and the front will drop down. Therefore, i tie my hakama like shown in the picture, after some practise, the top of the hakama and the top of the obi is even, and stay even. we are of different built, and like you state once in a while: "mileage do vary", it takes time to find the proper fit.

Things were easier in my judodays, nobody knew how to dress, and nobody cared.
:rolleyes:

ulvulv
15th February 2004, 23:10
For quite a while in my first time doing iai, I did a wrong tenouchi, and my hands ended up with the "push-grip" I am not familiar with the use of gyakute/honte in this thread, coming from a jodo-background i am stuck in the "jodo-meaning"
doing the push-grip, my arms got too outstretched, my albows locked, and I had to "unlock" them, for another attack. today, I try to cut in a more relaxed manner, without twisting to far inwards. This way, I cut softer but sharper than before, and I am ready for another cut immediately
I find the "pushgrip" to be a dead grip, where you make yourself vulnerable. I may be misunderstanding, still feeling dizzy after all this gyakute/honte talk.

another connected question:
do your palms move on the tsuka during tenouchi ?

gmlc123
15th February 2004, 23:35
Hi Roar

I think that's the essence of Nishioka Sensei's point re: gyakute. It's a dead grip.

Re: Tenouchi. I've heard it explained in two ways, the first is simply the palms of the hands, which in our case are on each side of the tsuka, are pushed horizontally together from the side with tsuka in the middle like sandwich, rather than rolled over the top or move around the tsuka ie. "wringing the towel type". But hands don't move on tsuka.

I asked Nishioka Sensei to explain more, especially in the context of how about with one hand. His response was simple, just close your hand.. and put more emphasis on your thumb and index finger, regardless of one or two hands.

Again, all this is in context to SMR Kenjutsu & Jodo. I don't think there's any definitive answer to any of these topics. I just do it as I'm told to do it, regardless of if I even see my Sensei do it slightly differently.

Greg




Originally posted by ulvulv
I find the "pushgrip" to be a dead grip, where you make yourself vulnerable. I may be misunderstanding, still feeling dizzy after all this gyakute/honte talk.

another connected question:
do your palms move on the tsuka during tenouchi ?

DCPan
15th February 2004, 23:41
Originally posted by ulvulv
mr pan, you should reread nr3.
hehe


:D What's "nr3"???


Originally posted by ulvulv

we are of different built, and like you state once in a while: "mileage do vary", it takes time to find the proper fit.
:rolleyes:

Well, if you subscribe to the idea that the way you tie your obi provides biofeedback to teach you how to breath in a way specific to the style which you practice, "mileage variation" can be a dangerous thing.

Just two weeks ago, I finally tried wearing tetron iaido-gi instead typical kendo keiko-gi...a lot of what I couldn't do before, I now can, simply because I don't have the double-layer keiko-gi in the way...it was really funny...height of chudan, end position of kiri-o-roshi...etc etc.

Also, in my experience with the way I tie my hakama at least...it's not the saya work that makes the himo drop...instead, it's dragging my knee in suwariwaza... :D If I only practiced tachi-waza, I don't have noticeable himo drop in the front.

:D

Nathan Scott
16th February 2004, 00:00
What, you mean there is more than one way to grip a sword?!? :D

Glad to hear others finally accepting this idea. For so many years I've had to sit through "this is the proper grip and the left hand is always used for power" speech.

My experience has been that there are a number of gripping methods and manipulation at higher levels of swordsmanship, that are all - predictably, function driven.

I do agree that (proper) tameshigiri will teach you a lot about what type of grip is necessary, as will full power pre-arranged partnered kata/tachiuchi and uchikomi.

The grip most typically seen in "aikiken" is great for people like me, who like to cut/harai the weapon out of the opponent's hands. But then again, if the goal of aikiken is to swing the bokken around in solo-forms in order to improve aikido, perhaps this is o.k. (?).

Regards,

socho
16th February 2004, 01:35
Hi Dan, thanks for joining the discussion. Good points, as always.


Originally posted by Dan Harden
... One observation I might make is that the person who was analyzing the Aikido’s sensei’s grip stated that you don’t need that kind of pushing power and that “the sword cuts?”

Then I will flip the logic back to you to state that the grip doesn't matter that much as the "sword will cut."

Agreed, of course, but my point was that he was having difficulty handling the concept and physics of our big-reach, cleaving type Toyama cut. And perhaps that it was because of his history with bokken. He has not seen us cut (and agreed again that it is a fairly easy thing to teach). Perhaps that would show our technique in the needed context? (again, not in the framework of right vs. wrong) I am sure he and I will get to this eventually.


The real question is ability to maintain Hasuji through the cut, while controlling it’s finish and what sort of recovery you can make to re-cut as fast as possible.

Exactly. Not necessarily something needed for modern tameshigiri, but an essential element, I think, of the required context of using a sword. And hasuji is controlled by ? ... Grip, neh? (ok, also blade acceleration, momentum, follow-through) Maybe shibori in addition to the tenouchi? Or is that a given? (in the context of the big, arcing cut) Yes, you can control it with the 'on top' grip (did we decide what to call that? It was not quite the honte) but that would seem to require a stronger grip with the left hand, with more 'guidance' with the right. It seems easier to teach hasugi to beginners with (a) the hands working together more evenly and, once they show sufficient control,(b) with an actual chance to apply the concept and see the results, i.e., tameshigiri. Ok, ok, a bo-hi and 'tachikaze' can help, maybe.

As far as the 'gyakute' grip (the explanation and pics were very helpful, Greg) with the palm pad on top, within our style it does seem to be pretty key to stopping a one-handed cut, particularly if you are doing a big Toyama-style one-handed kesa with a monster cutter like ... (insert your favorite blade here).

For Grisha, I don't know if most iai styles teach using that grip (palm pad to stop the cut)for nukitsuke. I am not sure many teachers get that far down 'into the weeds', at least not for a long time.

Ok, put 'em up :)

Dave

gmlc123
16th February 2004, 02:44
Originally posted by gmlc123
I've also been told by my teacher than I tend to wear my Obi and Hakama like a lady. ie. too high up.

Just wanted to correct myself. I should have said "a teacher" not my. You never know who's going to read this thread.

Dave, looks like everyone has gone quite. :D

Jock Armstrong
16th February 2004, 04:35
About the hakama/obi thing. I live in a fairly country area in Japan [Chita hanto, south of Nagoya] and train in the local budokan in Toyama ryu. Some students wear their hakama top strap and obi at the same level, some, like me, waer the top strap above the obi and some [mainly older guys] wear the obi protruding above the hakama by a couple of inches in some cases. It seems to be very much a matter of personal preference. As long as it doesn't hamper performance its OK. I find it much easier to insert my saya into the obi as it seems to stick out slightly from the hakama strap.
As for grip, I was told to have the "V" of the thumb and forefinger on the back of the hilt and that there was no difference in the grip one or two handed. Sensei is very much "what works for you" within basic parameters. We do a lot of cutting, usually rolled tatami and this approach seems to work. BTW I thought gyakute referred to a backhand grip.

PS have a look at some old Edo period photos of samurai- most of them look like a bag of spuds tied in the middle- obi popping out. Not exactly the elegant image most of us have!

gmlc123
16th February 2004, 05:06
Originally posted by Jock Armstrong
BTW I thought gyakute referred to a backhand grip.

Hi Jock

My context of the use of gyakute in this thread is just related to Shinto Muso Ryu. I'm not underplaying it for striking, it's a very powerful grip. I was basically, drawing a distinction between a grip for the purpose of cutting and striking as I've been taught.. that relates to my Ryu. Not the technical or dictionary term for Gyakute, which I tried to explain earlier.

Cheers
Greg