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Darren Yeow
13th December 2000, 16:09
Hi,

I was just wondering, after reading numerous threads, as well as articles on Japanese swordsmanship, is Kenjutsu an actual art in itself, with a body of techiques, gradings, doshu, etc?? Or, is it just the general term for all sword related arts(eg. Iaido, etc), which I have been lead to believe?

Thanks, DY

Ruediger
13th December 2000, 17:18
Kenjutsu is just a term for japanese swordsmanship. The way the sword is used differs from ryu to ryu, that's the reason, why there is not just one Kenjutsu (and BTW, Kenjutsu is also just one term, there are several others). You *can* use the term Kenjutsu to identify all related arts (Iaijutsu, Iaido..., after unsheathing your sword, some people say it's all Kenjutsu), but if you talk about Iaijutsu or Iaido it's better to use that terms.

regards

JohnRay
13th December 2000, 18:12
Originally posted by Janty Chattaw
Iaido is not a fighting art.
Wow, you seem pretty clear on what iaido is not. I wonder if you could elaborate on what it is? Thanks.
John Ray

13th December 2000, 19:19
Guys,

Iaido, Iaijutsu, Kendo, Kenjutsu.

I am probably a stickler on the general and historical differences between these terms but I appreciate where Sensei Ray is probably headed here.

We all, regardless of semantics, need to accept the fact that unless we are going out and actually using these arts as "fighting" arts. (ie- using them in battle and really killing with them) that we are actually practicing these arts as a "do" instead of a "jutsu".

Just my humble opinion.

Tobs

FastEd
14th December 2000, 00:35
Originally posted by Janty Chattaw
No offense but Iaido is not a fighting art. It is mostly kata, are you going to use kata, with an aluminum blade against an opponent?

I don't agree....My question to you is, what do YOU know about Iai, have you practiced it seriously? My guess is you haven't. If you had you would realize that kata is the teaching tool, and so is the aluminum blade.



But it is not a fighting art like Kenjutsu is.


Kata is also the basis of all traditional Japanese kenjutsu...what kenjutsu do YOU practice?



Iaido came about after the warring ages, for harmonizing oneself with the sword, and learning proper form. It is not meant for duels, battlefield etc..

Your making distinctions here that are not set in stone.. some Iai schools contain "kenjutsu sets" (eg. tachi uchi no kori (sp)). Some people are not interested in "harminizing" with oneself, they just want to learn how to draw and cut with a sword. In short, there are always exceptions to the rule, especially when the terms that you use are themselves poorly defined.

I am junior to Sensei Ray (and many others)so I will defer to their correction, but to let you know where I'm coming from: (10 years in Iai and 5 in both Kendo and Jodo.


[Edited by FastEd on 12-13-2000 at 09:59 PM]

FastEd
14th December 2000, 01:06
Originally posted by Darren Yeow
Hi,

I was just wondering, after reading numerous threads, as well as articles on Japanese swordsmanship, is Kenjutsu an actual art in itself, with a body of techiques, gradings, doshu, etc?? Or, is it just the general term for all sword related arts(eg. Iaido, etc), which I have been lead to believe?

Thanks, DY

I apologize, I should have attempted to answered your question first. From my perspective (which is subject to correction from others)
Without giving the literal translation of the term "Kenjutsu", it is probably more useful to discribe how the term is current used to differentiate between styles of MA's.
-A simple stylistic classification could be, any sword kata that starts with the sword out of the saya is kenjutsu/kendo, anything that starts with the sword in the saya is iaijutsu/iaido.
-In applying the term to a specific school, it becomes a bit more problematic. How do you define "do" vs "jitsu", some say there is no difference between the terms, othes say there is. You will certainly find exceptions to any hard classification that you try to develope. The "spiritual vs practical" distinction is not a functional classification because it depends on the individual, so where do you go from there...good question, better just to forget broad classifications.

Earl Hartman
14th December 2000, 01:26
Blanket statements about what does or does not constitute a "fighting art" are quite ill-advised and are usually the result of insufficient knowledge. As Toby says, and rightly so, in my opinion, it is hard to make the case that any archaic weapons system, of whatever provenance, constitutes a legitimate fighting art in the present day and age. Nobody uses swords, spears, naginatas, or bows and arrows (or boradswords or rapiers-and-daggers) to fight with nowadays. Today, if one wishes to learn how to fight, one should learn some proven hand-to-hand method and supplement it with pistol shooting and knife fighting (or other modern weapons techniques, such as motorcycle chain, pool cue, broken beer bottle, rubber hose, or blackjack). Learning how to properly gang up on someone and also how to ambush, sucker punch, and dry-gulch unsuspecting enemies would also probably be good additions to the modern warrior`s repertoire, (as they were in the past as well).

That being said, however, it is a mistake, strictly from an historical point of view, to condemn iaijutsu/do out of hand as being useless as a fighting method within its proper historical context. This cannot possibly be historically correct, for the very simple reason that bushi wore swords, and were expected to know how to use them, up until the early part of the Meiji period. The question of whether or not these Edo Period bushi, most of whom had never been in a pitched battle, were as "good" as the ideal Sengoku Jidai warrior that everyone seems to hold up as the standard against which all else must be measured, is entirely irrelevant.

It is true that modern iaido, as it is practiced by large numbers of people nowadays, has lost much of its martial vigor. I submit, however, that this is a function not of WHAT is being practiced, but HOW and WHY it is being practiced. This fundamental attitude changes everything. With combative intent, iai, of whatever type, is combative. Without it, it is not. Once combative utility is assumed as the objective, then the only question is whether the technique is effective or not. This, of course, is the main subject of discussion at any dojo that pratices with this frame of mind. (This never-ending discussion is also called TSWWD, short for "That Stuff Won`t Work, Dude.")

Just for the record, regarding the original question about "kenjutsu", sword fighting can be referred to by any number of terms, kenjutsu being only one of them. For example, I am under the impression that the Maniwa Nen Ryu refers to its sword method as "kenpo" (sword method), and Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, which concentrates on the sword, is called "heiho" or "hyoho" (variant readings for the same characters which are normally translated as "strategy" but can also be taken to mean "military methodology"). I have also heard Yagyu Sensei refer to YSR in general conversation as "kendo", believe it or not. However, nobody ever mistakes it for modern kendo. Everyone realizes that modern kendo is something different.

Also, the term "iai", which refers in general to the sword-drawing arts, can be called "iaido", "iaijutsu", "batto-do/jutsu", or, "iai heiho" which is the term that my teacher used to refer to his practice of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu.

Things are not anywhere as simple as a lot of people like to think.


[Edited by Earl Hartman on 12-13-2000 at 07:30 PM]

bob elder
14th December 2000, 02:15
Does anyone out there know what "uchi mono" means? Bob Elder

yamatodamashii
14th December 2000, 04:10
oops

[Edited by yamatodamashii on 12-13-2000 at 10:18 PM]

yamatodamashii
14th December 2000, 04:17
Originally posted by Earl Hartman

it is a mistake, strictly from an historical point of view, to condemn iaijutsu/do out of hand as being useless as a fighting method within its proper historical context.
[Edited by Earl Hartman on 12-13-2000 at 07:30 PM]

Umm... I don't believe that anyone is saying that iaiJUTSU is not a combat art; it is iaiDO we are discussing. I trained in both iaido (All-Japan Kendo Federation) and iaijutsu (Bujinkan) while stationed in Japan, and I can attest that they are VERY different animals. Also, there ARE instances when sword skills might be used--I take my machete every time I go camping. Much more legal than a pistol in Missouri; much more intimidating than a knife.


Originally posted by Earl Hartman

Also, the term "iai", which refers in general to the sword-drawing arts, can be called "iaido", "iaijutsu", "batto-do/jutsu", or, "iai heiho" which is the term that my teacher used to refer to his practice of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu.
[Edited by Earl Hartman on 12-13-2000 at 07:30 PM]

True; "aiki" also means the same thing whether you are talking about Daito-ryu, aikikai, or Sin Moo--but I think we can agree that there are significant differences between the syllabi of aikijutsu, aikido, and hapkido.

FastEd
14th December 2000, 04:30
Originally posted by Janty Chattaw
Ed we have had this conversation at Bugei's forum. There is a difference between a kenjutsu school, and an Iaido school.


Ahh yes... ;) Bugei...I believe James and I agreed to disagree. Shure there is a difference, ones in and ones out.



I have trained under Yamazaki-sensei Ryobu Kai karate, where we trained in Iaido. A lot of the art was great, but it lacked something, which I didn't know untill I started training in the Bujinkan.


Well thats "your experence", there are alot of other Iai schools out there, I've seen them and I've practiced with them. If your basing your opinion on only one experence, I think you need to do a bit more sampling before coming to that kind of conclusion.



Untill you go train at a "kenjutsu" school you wouldn't know the difference.


I have..(sorry, not meaning to be rude..) and I don't agree with you.



I know many Iaido guys with many years under there belt who felt like rookies all over again the first time they pick up a live blade. This is due to the fact that the sword they practice with are geared toward being lighter, which equals less damage to the wrist from doing kata. No need to get mad, I merely am stating what I know from my 16 years training in the way of Budo.


This statement does not add anything...its your experence (by the way,how many years doing Iai..?), which is not backed up by what I have seen.

I'm not all that mad, just annoyed. Maybe you have only experenced poor Iai, thats too bad, but I would expect you to be a little more open too the fact that, like in Ninjitsu, there are many different groups out there, some better and some worse.
If you state clearly that your generalizations about Iai are your own, and based solely on your experences at "such and such" dojo, thats a different matter.

[Edited by FastEd on 12-14-2000 at 01:57 AM]

Earl Hartman
14th December 2000, 04:46
The point I was trying to make, which has been made by others but which seems to bear a little repeating, is that there is a good deal more flexibility in the use and definition of terms in Japan than we in the West seem to want to accept. This is partially a result of the strict differentiation that Drager introduced in his books. In any case, unless one is discussing specific ryu, making a blanket statement that "iaido" has no combative utility is taking things a little too far. One person`s iaido may be another person`s iajutsu, battojutsu, iai heiho, or whatever.

That being said, if you want to make the statement that "modern Japanese iaido of the whatever-ryu, as taught by such-and-such a group, where they use aluminum swords, never cut anything, and constantly babble about spirituality is not a fighting art" then this is a specific point that can be discussed on its merits.

I never said that learning how to use a sword does not have value. If I thought it didn`t I wouldn`t bother with it. Much of what is learned is applicable to a variety of things, and I am sure that swinging a sword will help a person how to use a machete. However, if the weapon available to you today is a machete, why not just learn how to use a machete? Learning how to use a Japanese sword because you may one day have to drive off an attacker with a machete seems like taking the long way around.

Also, as far as phony swords, aluminum and otherwise are concerned, they`re just substitutes, meant to be replaced at some point during one`s development. A beginner would injure himself with a real weapon, and up until fairly recently real blades were prohibitively expensive.

Re kata: they`re just training methods. Only an idiot would assume that the kata learned at the dojo represent the only possible ways a sword can be used and that they will always work in any given situation.

[Edited by Earl Hartman on 12-13-2000 at 10:48 PM]

FastEd
14th December 2000, 04:52
Originally posted by yamatodamashii
[QUOTE]
Umm... I don't believe that anyone is saying that iaiJUTSU is not a combat art; it is iaiDO we are discussing. I trained in both iaido (All-Japan Kendo Federation) and iaijutsu (Bujinkan) while stationed in Japan, and I can attest that they are VERY different animals.


I believe (correct me if I am wrong, please) that Mr. Hartman's point was that it depends on HOW you practice it.

I don't doubt for a second that the ZNKR IAI set is probably different then what you practice, but you are being criptic....what kind of difference are we talking.
Is it : ZNKR Iai is not as "combat effective" as compared to Bujinkan Iai? How can you possibly make the comparison, what are the criterion?

The ZNKR set is designed to teach Kendoka something about Iai, giving them the chance to handle a sword. Its is also used as a competitive tool for ZNKR Iaidoka. It is ment to be very exacting and precise, with no room for improvisation. The techniques however have been derived from several old iai schools.

[Edited by FastEd on 12-13-2000 at 11:07 PM]

yamatodamashii
14th December 2000, 05:32
Mr. Hartman--
I would agree with you from that perspective, given that I have noticed that the Eishin ryu crowd is fairly liberal with "-do" vs. "-jutsu"; however, I PERSONALLY have not seen this elsewhere in Japanese arts. I do like to keep my Nihongo as Japanese as possible, so please let me know if there are other systems you know which do this?

Also, I think you know that I don't study kenjutsu because I might someday have to fend off an attacker with a machete; obviously, I will simply be better able to defend myself with a machete, because I study sword arts.


Originally posted by FastEd
It is ment to be very exacting and precise, with no room for improvisation. The techniques however have been derived from several old iai schools.

[Edited by FastEd on 12-13-2000 at 11:07 PM] [/B]

I've been trying to think of some way to convey the differences in text only, and it just doesn't work. However, I think that the very fact that there IS no room for improvisation says something about combative application.
Not meaning to be unfriendly, but the fact that it is derived from very old schools does not impress. ALL contemporary martial arts are derived from very old schools, and a whole LOT of them are useless in a fight.

Given all of that--and please don't take this as hostility, it is simply curiosity on my part--I see no reason why anyone would bother to learn iaido (by MY definition of iaido, for simplification) rather than iaijutsu (with the possible exception of geographical difficulties).
If you are going to take the time to learn the sword, why not learn to USE it?

FastEd
14th December 2000, 06:55
Originally posted by yamatodamashii



However, I think that the very fact that there IS no room for improvisation says something about combative application.


So prefect technique is not one of your combative criterion..?



Given all of that--and please don't take this as hostility, it is simply curiosity on my part--I see no reason why anyone would bother to learn iaido (by MY definition of iaido, for simplification) rather than iaijutsu (with the possible exception of geographical difficulties).
If you are going to take the time to learn the sword, why not learn to USE it?

No worries, I enjoy the exercise.

Now for my rebutel:
I'm not clear on what your definition of Iaido/Iaijutsu is, I'll assume it is the same as Janty's.
If you accept Mr. Hartman's well written perspective then you have already answered your question. Whichever you study, Iai(do/jutsu)it is a personnel semantic distinction, not a technical one. Both will teach you HOW to use a sword.

If you still disagree, I don't know what else to say....we can exchange video tapes??. I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours ;)

[Edited by FastEd on 12-14-2000 at 02:03 AM]

yamatodamashii
14th December 2000, 08:39
Thanks for the initials..."Renmei" was on the tip of my tongue, but it just wouldn't come to me :)


Originally posted by FastEd

So prefect technique is not one of your combative criterion..?



Please follow me to the Bad Budo forum... "Walk this way..."

Undmark, Ulf
14th December 2000, 08:57
Like mentioned before, iai, batto, bakken etc are basically different names for the same methods and principles.

The using of suffixes like do/jutsu/heiho etc have changed within most of the ryuha. There are, as mentioned, Eishin ryu iaido, iai heiho, iaijutsu. Shinden ryu was obviously called battojutsu heiho in the beginning, but later on changed to iai and iaido...this, however, did not change the art itself, nor how it was practiced.

Mugai ryu, Tamiya ryu, Hoki ryu etc all use either iaido or iaijutsu to describe what they are doing. What they *are* doing, infact, is the very same thing. And the same thing as they do in the Shinto ryu, Tatsumi ryu and the Sekiguchi ryu as well.

There are no general rules for how to train iai.
It's not a rule to do only solo training, it is not a rule not to use shinken, it is not a rule not to do tameshigiri, it is not a rule to use ineffective methods, it is not a rule only to do kata, it is not a rule to use either "do" or "jutsu" to describe the art.

No matter what it is called... (iaido/iaijutsu/batto/iaikenpo/iaiheiho/bakken/battoheiho/iai/battojutsu/iainuki/battodo)
...strictly speaking, *all* training of iai is based on training in "jutsu" (technique), and it could be done skillfully or poorly, depending on the swordsman. People who belive they become better fighters when they change ryuha generally do not have much skill, since there are in fact very limited ways to draw a sword from the left side, edge up (basically; grab tsuka with right hand and cut!!)!

Ulf Undmark
-My style is better than your style because my style is called The Better Style...

[Edited by Undmark, Ulf on 12-14-2000 at 04:59 AM]

Soulend
14th December 2000, 09:30
I practice Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsu. From what I understand, the benefit of learning and practicing this art is development of discipline and mental and spiritual training. I have seen little practical belief that one will actually use a sword in battle, as this is pretty unlikely.

Aren't arts which have the "do" suffix modernizations of older "jutsu" arts?

Kata or waza have many benefits. These are how the old masters came to be masters. If sword combat in today's age were possible/likely, could you launch into a verbatim Ukenagashi or Yaekagi Ura and be successful? Probably not. But they weren't designed as a "stock" defense anyway, from what I understand. The waza were designed to improve kihon and make your koiguchi-no-kirikata, nukitsuke, kirioroshi, etc. second nature...so that if and when an attack came(or even if you are the attacker), you would have a good repetoire of technique available.

Even if you practice a "do", one should practice as if it's a "jutsu"...perfect your waza as if you may actually have to cut someone down with your technique tomorrow.

Undmark, Ulf
14th December 2000, 10:16
In the 20'th century, it pretty much became a trend to use the 'do' suffix, some accepted it, some did not...and really what difference did it make? Some arts were modernized, some where not (not really connected to the usage of the mentioned suffixes) but all arts keep changing due to different skills and interpretations by the teachers. The 'do' was also used by several koryu before the 20'th century (Abe ryu kendo, Jikishin ryu judo, Kito ryu judo...and what about Kano ryu jujutsu...)
The change of the suffix when it comes to Shinden/Eishin ryu had little or nothing to do with performance.

What would be the difference between Shindo Muso ryu jodo and Shindo Muso ryu jojutsu. It's basically different preferences between different groups concerning the name.
There might as well be more differences between two groups of SMR jojutsu than between a jojutsu and a jodo group (I'm not talking the ZNKR here).

I usually say that you can watch and judge my iaiJUTSU...but you can't see my iaiDO...unless you walk in my shoes (means it's on a personal experience level).

This discussion about effectivness (some like to debate this...) shouldn't be taken too far. It's only possible to experience such a thing when it becomes really, really bad and that is not something one want to become part of the training experience. As soon as you try to *really cut* your opponent with the nukitsuke or kiritsuke, it all becomes very different, and either you *can* cut your opponent...or you *can't*. That nomatter what ryuha does what kind of cut. So, don't ever put in *too* much realism in trying to find out what is and what is not effective...its just about HOW it is done.

Ulf

[Edited by Undmark, Ulf on 12-14-2000 at 05:35 AM]

maney
14th December 2000, 18:11
Originally posted by Janty Chattaw
...snip...
http://www.swordforumbugei.com
...snip...


Umm.... is there some reason why the banner ad for Bugei Trading Company on this site says "Bugei Trading Comapny" ?

fpsm

Dan Harden
14th December 2000, 18:14
meant to be a private message sorry

Dan

[Edited by Dan Harden on 12-14-2000 at 12:31 PM]

Ruediger
14th December 2000, 18:24
Originally posted by Dan Harden


Dan


Just curious..., what kind of kenjutsu (ryu?) do you practice?

regards

I deleted the quotation, because Dan ask me to do so, because it was a private message to Janty.

regards

[Edited by Ruediger on 12-15-2000 at 10:48 AM]

Nicki Gerstner
14th December 2000, 18:34
Hello all,

Janty, why are you talking about Iai arts being ineffective on the battlefield? No bushi would ever have used that in open battle, iai techniques were designed for the use under normal life conditions. And speaking of doing only kata: The most respected Koryu in Japan, e.G. the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu, does practise ONLY kata, and I think they have quite a good reason for this. Also they have Iai in their curriculum since the beginning, which was exactly during the warring ages.
So donīt compare the Iai you have seen with all other that exists and is completely different.

Ruediger
14th December 2000, 19:51
Originally posted by Janty Chattaw

Last thing, we all know kata is a major part of swordsmanship, but to base everything on predetermined movements restricts what may happen on the battlefeild.
Waza and henka within waza are important part of fighting, one must be able to change what you are doing to accomodate what is being thrown at you. this is fundamental knowledge when it comes to any kind of fighting (armed or unarmed). [/B]

The question, whether or not kata should be the one and only tool for practice, or wether or not you should add some free sparring to "complete" your training is as old as martial arts itself.
Who or what is right...? i don't know, but to believe just because someone is a "kata bunny" ( yes i can laugh about myself, i'm a kata bunny), that he's not able to "walk" through the waza (perform henka...) is just...hm... a little bit stupid. There are enough well known and respected ryu where you learn "just" kata, and just the fact that these ryu still exist, shows that kata is definitely one way to learn how to fight.

regards

Ruediger
14th December 2000, 21:07
It seems that your view about kata is different to mine.
I went through different styles (not that i mastered just one of them, it was a journey, searching for what i was looking for), some strictly kata, some kata plus free sparring. Now i'm lucky enough that i am able to practice a classical ryu (BTW. i'm not an expert and what i say is just my personal opinion and i'm not in the position to make any official statements about my ryu). AFAIK, there is only kata, but i have seen my teachers practicing kata, one made a mistake... and in just a split second... no kata, no arranged movements, the one who made the mistake was been attacked from my other teacher - in full speed - and he was able to fight, not just to defend, no...to fight back, to attack, from a totally different situation than expected.
But - as i wrote in my previous post - the question about kata, whether or not... etc. etc. is as old...
Maybe you are not aware that there are different ways to do kata (no offense)?

regards

Dan Harden
14th December 2000, 21:39
deleted.....

[Edited by Dan Harden on 12-22-2000 at 11:27 AM]

Earl Hartman
15th December 2000, 00:49
I think that there is general misunderstanding of what kata training is all about. Bsically, when you are training without armor using long, heavy oak sticks, it`s usually not a very good idea to get hit with them. The only way to train safely with such weapons so that the ryu continues to have members who are alive and not broken is to impose some sort of control on the situation. Thus, kata.

Again, HOW you train is just as important as WHAT you do. Kata is primarily a vehicle to learn fundamental things: basic technique, the application of that technique, and the essentials of timing, distance, and targeting. People seem to think that kata is just learning a set of mechanical actions by rote, but people who believe this have never practiced kata properly, in my opinion. The movements in kata are supposed to be examples of fundamental principles. If you train without understanding why the kata is set up the way it is, you are either a bad student or have a bad teacher. It is assumed that once the essence of the kata is mastered that the exponent will have the ability to apply the technique freely in a real situation. A person who cannot do that does not understand the essence of kata.

There is a danger, of course, that kata can degenerate into the dreaded "Kabuki dance". It is up to the teacher to make sure this doesn`t happen. However, free-sparring in many modern arts, undertaken improperly, is just as dangerous, since it can lead to the mistaken belief that the rules imposed on such sparring to make it safe (modern kendo with its armor, light shinai, and rigidly defined target areas and allowable strikes is a good example) will also apply in a real fight. I once was sparring with a guy who slipped my head strikes like a boxer, ignoring the fact that my shinai consistently hit him right at the junction of the neck and shoulder, since this is not a point in kendo. So the next time he did it, I just followed through and let him have it, thwack!. He was really pissed, but I just told him that he needed to work on his parries.

hyaku
15th December 2000, 02:33
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Earl Hartman
[B]I think that there is general misunderstanding of what kata training is all about.
.........................
I have to agree. Kata should be done with a feeling that it really is a life or death situation. The difference being we do not follow through with the ultimate objective. This practice of perfecting ones technique, posture, timing, attitude etc. then applying it to combat/practice is an essential in the learning ladder of Japanese Budo. To do the same thing again and again until it becomes a natural reaction. Sometimes boring but essential. To say that there can be no kata and just combat is not Japanese Budo. Both pairwork and working on ones own using creative visualization.

The western concept of doing something a few times and saying Ive done that, whats next, will not suffice.

In being a Jack of all trades or reaching a new level of physical and mental self realization is I suppose a personal thing.

These are not just my own personal feelings. Any Japanese teacher worth his weight will tell you that Kata is of the utmost importance. Doing any movement 100,000 times is not enough. This concept runs through Japanese society and is what has made the country strong in inovation.Taking some thing that has already been done. To re-do and re-think it through and improve it.


Hyakutake Colin

Dan Harden
15th December 2000, 03:06
Your entire post on Kata is right on (as usual)Earl. The study of Kata can afford a duality in many arts. There is the "what you see" portion and the "what you cannot see" portion. Omote and Ura.
Paired Kata is not stiff and dead in the particular Koryu I studied. It is VERY dynamic and active. Add to that, that the long series of moves is actually a series of one stop sure kill drills that go unseen or noticed until one day you tell a student "Here. Look at it this way now."

As I stated above there is a desperate need for Kata today. In that it brings about proper footwork /to hand/ to center, distancing, timing, cutting, posture, maai, Kamae, cuts, counters, on and on. Only after this is your body ready to "freestyle anything."
Shiai without kata will eventually degrade from free style proper sword work to "free-for-all."
Kodokan Judo is an example of this as well. Good judo requires kata training. Without it, you might as well just wrestle. How will you refine your technique, Instill muscle memory, or gain a physical acuity? For that Kata is king

But merely saying "Kata is good" is not good enough Earl. Not all Kata has martial or close quarter combative rationale. Some of it IS empty. When you speak of Kata relaize that Joey's "speed Koratee" class does Kata, so does Jimmy lees "Kung foooey" corner Dojo." It would be sad to find that several of their punk students might give a Japanese big gun a run for his money wouldn't it?
We who have decided to take up the more "dignified Japanese arts with roots" are mistaken to believe that our arts have any more merit than these lowly ones, if we are unable to win the day. Otherwise it is just so much hot air, and becomes simple snobishness.

Arguing about it is silly.

Dan
Kata is the root
Shiai the branches
Take away either and the whole dies


[Edited by Dan Harden on 12-14-2000 at 09:21 PM]

hyaku
15th December 2000, 03:55
[QUOTE]Originally posted by hyaku
[B][QUOTE]Originally posted by Earl Hartman
[B]I think that there is general misunderstanding of what kata training is all about.
.........................
I have to agree. Kata should be done with a feeling that it really is a life or death situation. The difference being we do not follow through with the ultimate objective. This practice of perfecting ones technique, posture, timing, attitude etc. then applying it to combat/practice is an essential in the learning ladder of Japanese Budo. To do the same thing again and again until it becomes a natural reaction. Sometimes boring but essential. To say that there can be no kata and just combat is not Japanese Budo. Both pairwork and working on ones own using creative visualization.

The western concept of doing something a few times and saying Ive done that, whats next, will not suffice.

In being a Jack of all trades or reaching a new level of physical and mental self realization is I suppose a personal thing.

These are not just my own personal feelings. Any Japanese teacher worth his weight will tell you that Kata is of the utmost importance. Doing any movement 100,000 times is not enough. This concept runs through Japanese society and is what has made the country strong in inovation.Taking some thing that has already been done. To re-do and re-think it through and improve it.

As Mr Chattaw quotes "In a crisis, one will not rise to the occasion, one will sink to the level of there training"

In a crisis situation all ones thoughts go out the window and enhanced naturalness comes into play. However if our technique is not naturally advanced enough, its one crisis we wont see through.

Hyakutake Colin

Darren Yeow
15th December 2000, 04:00
Hmmm, this is interesting.

So general consensus is that kata still has it's combatative value if performed in the correct mindset, but an exponent who only performs kata will never be as adaptive as someone who performs kata and shiai as well?

DY

Earl Hartman
15th December 2000, 04:08
Dan:

If the kata doesn`t have any combative rationale, it`s a pretty bad kata, ain`t it? If the particular ryu you study is filled with such kata, or is filled with instructors who cannot explain the rationale for the kata, it`s a pretty bad ryu, ain`t it?

HOWEVER, and this is a REALLY BIG however, the teaching/learning method in Japan is differnt from in the West, and being a Westerner, I am always running into this problem, even now after all these years. In Japan, it`s "Do first, understand later". In the US, it`s "explain it to me so I can understand it and then I`ll decide whether it`s worth doing."

In Japan, the teacher will explain the whys and wherefores when he thinks you are good and ready, and not before. For most Westerners, this is usually taken to mean that he is either being mean or that he doesn`t know, and a lot of us say "Well, this really sucks. He just has me stand here every day and do the same damn thing a bazillion times. When is he gonna teach me how to FIGHT, dammmit?" We all know what happens to people like that.

However, I have found that all teachers and differnt ryu are different. Some explain easily, some don`t. At the same time, I have found that in most cases, what I thought,in my youth, arrogance, and inexperience, to be correct and obvious later turned out to be wrong.

Cady Goldfield
15th December 2000, 04:11
Originally posted by Darren Yeow
Hmmm, this is interesting.

So general consensus is that kata still has it's combatative value if performed in the correct mindset, but an exponent who only performs kata will never be as adaptive as someone who performs kata and shiai as well?

DY

It's a principle that is universal throughout the MAs, Darren. The way you train in the dojo, is the way you'll fight on the streets.

Not that any of these jamokas plan to fight with swords on the street, mind you, but it translates into unarmed combat as well. Ask any karateka who has gotten his a** beaten to a pulp on the streets, because all he'd done is kata or no-contact one-step sparring in the dojo.

Neuromuscular wiring that directs timing, distancing, strategy, mindset, footwork and all movement is developed at its basic level in kata, but the element of spontaneity and the ability to "think outside the box" can come only from being thrown into the unpredictable melee of shiai or sparring.

FastEd
15th December 2000, 04:21
Originally posted by Dan Harden


The oft-repeated phrase of "You cannot criticize it unless you have done it for decades" is a last gasp of a dying defense. If the very arts hierarchy criticizes its technical emptiness, if its sandans--godans are unable to use it in any real sense, then it IS unrealistic in any practical sense. You do not need to DO IT, to SEE how hollow it is as a martially viable entity.
Dan



My only beef here are how some people are offering their opinions.

Opinions are fine, as long as they are voiced as such and kept in perspective, but grande prognostications about what IS and what IS NOT a viable Martial Art, are not. If you want to make the bold statements, you need representitive samples, and I haven't seen them here. Shure, there are a lot of people out there goofing around with all kinds of stuff, but do you think, for example, your own observations on some Iaidoka(as valid as they maybe) give you the ability to paint the whole art??? From what I have heard so far, they don't.

And furthermore, would any of us feel comfortable rendering an opinion on an art that is still overwhelingly practiced in another country? We are, after all, really only in the hinterland here.

[Edited by FastEd on 12-14-2000 at 10:49 PM]

Scott Irey
15th December 2000, 08:29
Fast Ed writes:

And furthermore, would any of us feel comfortable rendering an opinion on an art that is still overwhelingly practiced in another country? We are, after all, really only in the hinterland here.

Thank you Ed for stating this obvious yet over-looked fact. We can experiment and dabble all we want in the Japanese sword arts and Koryu (or what some of us think are koryu) but the fact of the matter is that only a very very very and did I say "VERY" few people outside of Japan have any idea about what they are really talking about when it comes to this subject. We can certainly enjoy these kinds of discussions amongst ourselves, but the vast majority of those posting just don't "know" what they are talking about. Please refer back to John Ray's request "tell us what it is" but before you answer, or even think about answering really ask yourself, "Do I "know" what it is, or am I just speculating on what it is?"

Darren Yeow
15th December 2000, 13:25
Hi Cady,

yeah I understand that shiai and kata go hand in hand to create a better martial artist, I mean I've done it for more than half my life (which translates to a helluva lot of free sparring).

I guess I didn't make myself clear, but my question relates more to kenjutsu or working with the sword (or substitute) - as I'm not too familiar with kenjutsu in general.

But how does shiai, or the equivalent of free sparring occur in the sword arts? Do they just teach the techniques to students, then kata, then let them go off and free spar with bokken or shinai? Or do they teach them partnered kata, and try to reach a realistic mindset? I guess that was what I was trying to understand, and didn't translate well out loud.

Thanks, DY

Cady Goldfield
15th December 2000, 17:06
Originally posted by Darren Yeow
Hi Cady,

yeah I understand that shiai and kata go hand in hand to create a better martial artist, I mean I've done it for more than half my life (which translates to a helluva lot of free sparring).

I guess I didn't make myself clear, but my question relates more to kenjutsu or working with the sword (or substitute) - as I'm not too familiar with kenjutsu in general.

But how does shiai, or the equivalent of free sparring occur in the sword arts? Do they just teach the techniques to students, then kata, then let them go off and free spar with bokken or shinai? Or do they teach them partnered kata, and try to reach a realistic mindset? I guess that was what I was trying to understand, and didn't translate well out loud.

Thanks, DY

Darren, you and I have something in common in that we have both spent half our lives, thusfar, in martial arts training and study. With lots of freestyling. :)

To address your question, scroll back to Dan's post in this thread, about "Kiri before Kata, Kata before Shiai, Shiai before Iai."

It translates to the same training philosophy and methodology in which I came up in TKD/karate. If you put a couple of guys with no training onto the mats with bokuto and tell them to freestyle, what do you think they are going to do? Technique and strategy? They have no foundation skills to use yet. Not even the "letters of the alphabet" (the basic sword cuts) with which to write words or sentences. In our dojo, we learned a series of cuts (which we practice on our own at home, mostly), then a series of short kata -- one or two movements -- with which to combine and apply those cuts with angle, ma-ai and footwork practice. Then we learn longer kata that introduce more complex timings, body positionings, angles of attack, and nuances of turning defense into attack.

Then we do shiai and promptly get all of our fingers broken. :laugh:

The formula makes sense to me.
Kiri/cuts first = you learn the "alphabet" of your system. Kata next = you learn to arrange the "letters" into words, phrases and then cogent sentences (a series of movements using footwork, timing, angles, ma-ai, etc.). Then Shiai = spontaneously writing a story that makes sense, even though you must act and react to a variety of "ideas" that people throw at you. Finally, Iai = polishing the "writing" so that you can draw your pen at any moment and write a cogent work of intellect and skill, regardless of the theme your "editors" (attackers) throw at you.

Okay, I've squeezed this lame metaphor for all it's worth. :)


Cady

[Edited by Cady Goldfield on 12-15-2000 at 11:10 AM]

Carlos Estrella
15th December 2000, 21:29
Forgive me for my intrusion into this conversation, but I am compelled to put my two cents worth into this...

It seems that many of us here agree that kata has worth, yet there are still some here that feel that they can eliminate kata and still be an effective martial artist. Let me comment here: think about non-martial artists who are athletes - think about Michael Jordan, practicing those amazing jumps, free throws, dribble drills, etc. Do you think he could've become as good as he is by just jumping in there with his friends and playing? Maybe, but I think he'd argue with you. What about an Olympic shooter? Imagine if you HAD to stay in a prone position, drawing back the trigger hours and hours WITHOUT a round in the chamber, just so you can spend more hours actually shooting and learning new ways to hold yourself still enough under pressure, so you could actually shoot in competition.

For Air Jordan, his battlefield is the court, and he does his "kata" before every game (he's not in the NBA anymore, but he STILL does "kata"... there's a hint for the "instant Grandmaster" club). For an Olympic shooter, he or she isn't in combat, but their "battlefield" is still a fierce one (look up "Camp Perry"). ANY athlete who wants to win, and ANY MARTIAL ARTIST, INCLUDING Bruce Lee when he was alive, MUST LEARN THE BASICS FIRST, even if they digress in the future.

As far as the sword, I've been lucky enough to have been recently corrected on things I was doing wrong, so I can practice my KATA, so I can learn how to apply the techniques to my FIGHTING techniques, just as I practiced against cardboard targets at Quantico so I could save my life and partners life against "bad guys."

Just something to think about.

Carlos

Cady Goldfield
15th December 2000, 23:53
Originally posted by Janty Chattaw
my last name Chattaw means sharp edge/sword warrior, my ancestors were swordsman, so I have always had this passions for training in the way of the sword.

What a fortuitous heritage you come from, Janty. Are you Chetri, then?

Cady Goldfield
"Who, unfortunately, does not hail from ancestors who could extract gold from anything, not even tooth fillings..."

Cady Goldfield
16th December 2000, 00:33
Kewl beans, Janty.
It would be fascinating to compare the style of swordsmanship your culture developed, with those of other cultures including Japan. Do you believe that methodology is strongly influenced by physical environment as much as it is by societal constraints?

My more immediate ancesters were from southwestern Russia too, for the past 500 years or so, and also weren't ethnic Russians. And, they were slaughtered by Russians, too! Difference was, their group was forbidden to bear arms, and so didn't have any weapons. Until they invented the Uzi, that is. ;)

Cady



[Edited by Cady Goldfield on 12-15-2000 at 06:37 PM]

Darren Yeow
16th December 2000, 09:32
Hey guys, great input, whoa, look at the sze of the thread, it's huge!

DY

Soulend
16th December 2000, 09:36
Originally posted by Undmark, Ulf
The 'do' was also used by several koryu before the 20'th century (Abe ryu kendo, Jikishin ryu judo, Kito ryu judo...and what about Kano ryu jujutsu...)


I may very well be wrong, as I am not very familiar with these variants, but to my knowledge, no kendo or judo style is classified as a koryu...is it?

A koryu is an art developed prior to 1860.
Wasn't Judo developed by Kano Jigoro in 1881?
Can't remember exactly when Kendo came about, but always was under the impression it was a reletively modern sporting derivation. (Does the "Abe" in Abe-ryu refer to the Abe clan, wiped out by the Minamoto by 1062?)If I'm wrong, please correct me... I learn a lot from this site.

I think some free sparring is good training, but once again, as Japan was in an almost constant state of war for hundreds of years, I feel they had a pretty good idea of what "works" and most ryu were very kata/waza intensive.

Waza and kata ARE a waste of time the way many martial artists practice them...robotic, and body on auto-pilot. I had a couple of sensei that didn't allow that to happen. They would vary the pace of our two-person waza. Sudden bursts of speed, or worse yet, simply stopping mid-waza (left me feeling like an idiot when Uke is supposed to step backward and me forward- Sensei simply stops with bokken extended and I impale myself.) Also, I have heard of some that will change to a different waza right in the middle of the first. Keeps you thinking.

I find that there are some techniques which many students will not attempt in free-style sparring, usually because they are hard. Spar with these same guys over and over and you forget how to defend against it, while getting really good at the favorite attacks. Waza teach defences against these less-popular attacks. I think it was Mr. Hartman that said something to the effect that waza teach the correct way to perform technique. This is right on the money, I think.

Ruediger
16th December 2000, 11:47
Originally posted by Soulend

Originally posted by Undmark, Ulf
The 'do' was also used by several koryu before the 20'th century (Abe ryu kendo, Jikishin ryu judo, Kito ryu judo...and what about Kano ryu jujutsu...)


I may very well be wrong, as I am not very familiar with these variants, but to my knowledge, no kendo or judo style is classified as a koryu...is it?

A koryu is an art developed prior to 1860.
Wasn't Judo developed by Kano Jigoro in 1881?




According to Draeger (Classical Budo, S. 119) Terada Kan'emon, the fifth headmaster of the Kito Ryu and founder of the Jikishin Ryu, was the first known person who used the term judo to describe his art. Kito Ryu - you may already know it - was one source for Kano's Kodokan Judo.
For Kendo (also mentioned by Ulf), Abe Gorodaiyu (fl. 1668) was the first man known to have used the word Kendo (Draeger, Classical Budo, S. 81). Kendo, or ken no michi, "the way of the sword", describes the teachings of his Ryu, the Abe Ryu. At about the same time, the Heijo Muteki Ryu, founded by Yamanouchi Renshinsai, also used the term Kendo to describes its teachings.
If we accept, that - to be a koryu - a ryu must have been established before 1868 (the Meiji Restauration), then all the above listed Ryu are koryu (also if one or another is extinct today).

regards



[Edited by Ruediger on 12-16-2000 at 06:42 AM]

FastEd
16th December 2000, 19:36
Originally posted by Darren Yeow
Hi Cady,

But how does shiai, or the equivalent of free sparring occur in the sword arts? Do they just teach the techniques to students, then kata, then let them go off and free spar with bokken or shinai? Or do they teach them partnered kata, and try to reach a realistic mindset? I guess that was what I was trying to understand, and didn't translate well out loud.

Thanks, DY

I'm sure this will raise howels of protest from some here, but the answer is simple..go do some KENDO. Just remember
you want to practice cutting Kendo, not tapping Kendo. If you can "walk the talk" with the Kendo guys then people will take you seriously.

FastEd
16th December 2000, 19:52
Originally posted by Janty Chattaw

The problem some kenjutsuka (including myself)have is with groups that only practice kata.
There are multiple things involved in becoming a great swordsman, and kata (which is an important factor) is only one of those things.

I won't argue with you on this point. However, lets compare THIS statement with your original posting in this topic. Do you still feel comfortable standing by it..?, OR do you acknowledge that you are not as informed about Iai as you originally thought....

Come on man..I need some closure...:wave:

Soulend
16th December 2000, 21:05
Thanks Mr. Meier for your explanation.

Darren Yeow
17th December 2000, 04:04
<i>I'm sure this will raise howels of protest from some here, but the answer is simple..go do some KENDO. Just remember
you want to practice cutting Kendo, not tapping Kendo. If you can "walk the talk" with the Kendo guys then people will take you seriously. </i>

It makes sense, and I do kendo, albeit only very recently. But, the thing is that in Kendo, I think it's alot more like a sport, and if you try to use techniques from say kenjutsu, you'll probably find yourself outpointed, because it seems as if sometimes the other kendoka doesn't car about certain "hits" such as on the shoulder, etc, and they'll just hit you like the strike never happened.

The thing with kendo is that it has it's own particular movements and that it's most efficient in kendo to use their own techniques.

I don't know if that makes sense, comments?

regards, DY

Jack B
18th December 2000, 16:33
On the subject of kata being stagnant, how many people have been told "this is the new way it's always been done"? If you have learned the kihon content of kata, when you are told that the form is different, you simply adjust to whatever is being asked of you. This occurs frequently at seminars where a different teacher might tell you a particular cut has a different target, or angle, or stopping point. The beginners are the ones on autopilot, having trouble adapting to the difference, whereas in my experience the people with LOTS of time doing a waza a particular way are the ones who find it easiest to change to the circumstances. Just the opposite of the hidebound, rote response you might expect if you simply consider the huge number of additional repetitions they have. OTOH, they have been around long enough to have the details of the kata change on them, repeatedly. Even in koryu iaido every different teacher and sempai will have their own way of doing things, and you have to do it their way, that time. I guess I'm saying that as long as your kata practice is not empty, the changes and differences we like to argue about are probably an advantage and necessary part of the normal training career. There are many correct ways to transmit the same correct content.

I once asked my teacher what is the target of nukiuchi in Ipponme Mae -- chest, throat, eye, wrist? He continued washing dishes and didn't answer. I asked again about 10 minutes later and he turned, leaned back and smiled. Then he said, "It's not important what the target is. What's important is that you cut what you are aiming at."

Jack Bieler

Soulend
18th December 2000, 20:15
Sounds like a good teacher, Jack. Correct technique and cutting angle, honed through repetition, can be adapted to any target.

FastEd
18th December 2000, 21:55
Originally posted by Janty Chattaw
Ed whenever iaido people hear something they don't like they get mad. I know about Iai, and I have no problem with it. I still stand by my original view of it not being an art for the battlefiled. Sorry but there is a difference.
[/B]

Just to be prefectly clear Janty, you said "Iai is not a fighting art", which Iai people will take exception to. No one here has said Iai is "battlefield art".

Lets not blur these two terms together okay..

Scott Irey
18th December 2000, 22:33
Now I know why they call you "FAST" Ed.... beat me to the punch again :)

But to expand..so as to not feel like I am too far behind the game. Iai has never been a battlefield art. It was not created as an art to be used on the battlefield, but rather as a means of self defense, dueling and in some waza assassination applications are practiced. As for battlefield arts... well that is a whole other topic I believe, and there are even fewer people here who can comment authoritively on "battlefield" arts than on the present topic.

Soulend
19th December 2000, 05:05
Nearly half the techniques used in Eishin-Ryu are performed from tatehiza. What is tatehiza? About the only comfortable position to rest in ARMOR. Why would one be in armor if so far removed from the battlefield?

[Edited by Soulend on 12-19-2000 at 05:53 AM]

hyaku
19th December 2000, 07:04
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Darren Yeow
[B]<i>I'm sure this will raise howels of protest from some here, but the answer is simple..go do some KENDO. Just remember
you want to practice cutting Kendo, not tapping Kendo. If you can "walk the talk" with the Kendo guys then people will take you seriously. </i>

It makes sense, and I do kendo, albeit only very recently. But, the thing is that in Kendo, I think it's alot more like a sport.

..................
Every year at Kendo gradings in Japan many people fail miserabley because their kata is just a series of weak movements. Like their Kendo the actions are far too small and they have little knowlege of things like Jodan kamae and the importance of use of the kensaki as they are so used to standing in Chudan. Every year the ZNKR tries to stress the importance of kata to do correct Kendo.

As what is required in Kendo is what constitutes a valid point and not what consitutes a valid cut it semms doubtfull that kendo will if anything become more distant from real sword work rather thatn back towards its old values.

Hyakutake Colin

Scott Irey
19th December 2000, 09:23
Davic Craik writes:

"What is tatehiza? About the only comfortable position to rest in ARMOR. Why would one be in armor if so far removed from the battlefield? "

This is a very good question, but it is one that if you really think about it long enough, answers itself. One does not have to be far removed from the battlefield to imagine oneself in armor and probably sitting in the tatekiza position, but not on the battlefield in the heat of battle..or more likely one can imagine sitting on a small stool in the tatehiza position recieving orders from higer ranking officers, again not far from the battlefield, but none-the-less still not actually on the battlefield. One can more likely imagine a guard sitting in tatehiza in one of numerous guards closets situated around a palace such as Nijo-jo in Kyoto, wearing armor and waiting for the call to duty. But wearing armor with sword at hip does not equate being on the battlefield. It simply means one is wearing armor and has a sword on the hip.

"I will be the first to say that Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsu IS a battlefield art.."

And let me be the first to disagree with you. How many waza in the MJER catalog have you seen that deal with a yari? A naginata? An armed warrior on horseback? These are all "battlefield" situations but in the 13 years I have been practicing MJER I have yet to have anybody inside or outside of Japan show me an MJER waza that deals specifically with battlefield weapons or situations. I do believe and have indeed been taught that techniques for dealing with weapons other than the sword can be extracted from the catalog of waza we are taught. But the omote waza do not deal with weapons other than the sword in MJER. I will agree that it is a fighting art, as much of the technique practiced today is born of Oe Masamichi sensei's experiences in street fights, and skirmishes during the period leading up to the Meiji restoration. Oe sensei learned what worked and what didn't, and created the current MJER curriculum by throwing out what he felt was useless and retaining what he felt worked, and what would help to bring those who practice his art to an understanding of sound swordsmanship. However..at the core of MJER is Iai... a none battlefield technique and strategy. Iai was born off the battlefield (at least the iai of MJER and it's myriad of off-shoot schools). Infact it was born out of a need to defeat one man in single combat.

" The techniques of MJER are applicable to all situations..."

I agree with you whole heartedly. The principles and techniques of MJER are in my opinion very sound, and should be applicable to various combative situations, even the medievil Japansese battlefield. But although I believe they are appicable, it still does not make MJER a "battlefield" sword art.

"Go defeat Miura Takeyuki Hirefusa then come tell me what my style is and is not."

Not really sure what defeating Miura sensei would have to do with proving MJER or iai in general is not a battlefield art, or how him defeating someonw would prove that it is. However I can see how Miura sensei defeating any of iai's detractors in single combat would certainly go towards proving that iai is certainly a viable combative sword art. But that is neither here not there. It is pretty silly to even think that Miura sensei, or any good sensei for that matter, would even have to think twice about wether or not iai is a combative art. I think much more information and understanding would be gained in aksing Miura sensei about wether or not MJER or iai are "battlefield" arts, than in offering him up on a discussion board for single combat :)




[Edited by Scott Irey on 12-19-2000 at 03:28 AM]

Darren Yeow
19th December 2000, 11:00
Yeah, I agree with Mr. Hayakutake, even my sensei said some time ago alot of the time the proponents would both probably be dead if they did <insert technique here> with real swords - one would get it on the head the other in the gut.

But I still think it's an extremely enjoyable art/sport and it's great for cultivating multiple aspects of oneself.

DY

Darren Yeow
19th December 2000, 11:08
Props off to Scott, theres a definite, but fine line between what is a battlefield and a combatative sword art, and he's nailed it on the head. Most other people have been refering to them as if they were interchangeable.

DY

Soulend
19th December 2000, 12:03
Good post Scott. I was about three sheets to the wind when I left my last one, so plz disregard. :toast:

dbeaird
19th December 2000, 18:54
In this thread and in the thread on koryu arts, I've seen a lot of posts discussing kata and how it is potentially overemphasized in certain arts to the detriment of the practitioner's capabilities to apply the techniques to real world situations. Now, I'm not a martial arts expert, but I have some sound military experience and quite a bit of background in history, including military history. So maybe what I have to say doesn't apply to martial arts, but I think it still needs to be said.

The use of kata, waza (or drills as we called 'em in the Army) has been the principle method for teaching warriors how to function on the battlefield. Soldiers are not taught a vast array of techniques, they learn a small number of proven techniques and repeat them until they can perform the required actions effortlessly and without thinking. As experience and capability increase new and more advanced techniques are added.

One of the first things I learned in the Army, was how to perform immediate action on an M-16 rifle in case of a stoppage. I'm sure anyone who went through the Army can remember SPORTS: Slap upward on the magazine, Pull the charging handle to the rear, Observe the firing chamber, Release the charging handle, Tap the forward assist, Squeeze the trigger. This is a good example of a modern kata, and after 15 years I still remember it. This is a better example in that anyone who has experienced a stoppage on an M16 will know that 75% of the time just slapping the magazine will take care of the problem. Once that bolt rides forward you don't need to go through the rest of the steps. So in application, the kata is not followed automatically, but under pressure, we all knew what to do when the gun wouldn't shoot. Everything we were taught, was taught in the same manner, countless repetition of the basic procedures. Never in my life have I seen anyone competent in a technique attempt to apply it in the wrong situation.

Now the other part about drill, is that it teaches and builds more than just the individual technique. Countless repetition builds confidence, determination, and deeper understanding. Sure, I can learn the steps for a drill in just a few minutes, but the more I practice, the more I will learn. If I stop just after learning the movement, well, I'd be there tapping on my forward assist when I should be shooting. The persistant spirit that is built in doing countless repetitions of any exercise is probably more important than the exercise itself. This spirit is what will enable a warrior to keep going through adversity. He's learned that stopping is not an option.

Every time I go through ippon me mae, I learn something. I find something I'm doing wrong, or some way I can do this part better, or wonder why I made this or that stupid mistake. I'm just starting out, so that's to be expected. When I look at my instructor though, someone who's probably done this technique more than a million times in his life, I have to think about why is he still doing it? Chances are that he won't learn anything new about the waza, it probably won't be any better than the last time he did it. But there he is, doing it all the same. I can't tell you what his motivations really are, but I can say that his determination and persistance are inspiring. I see his example as a testament of his own commitment and a personal challenge that I have to try and meet every time I pick up my sword.

Napoleon said that in war the moral is to the physical as 10 is to 1. (I might have misquoted that but the principle is the same) drill builds more than physical competency, it builds the ability to perservere in the face of adversity and opposition. I don't have the experience to say if the waza I learn are "practical" in combat application or not. I do know that I am learning more than a series of motions that are to be followed mindlessly.

Focusing on something as nebulous as "real combat application" denies the true chaotic nature of combat. Sparring is not combat, drill is not combat, cutting is not combat. Each of these can teach us things we need to know, but only sufficient drill can reach through the fear and pain to give you not only a sensible course of action, but also a determined spirit that must be present in order to keep moving and win despite opposition and adversity. Even in situations where no drill is applicable, the determination that drill teaches will still be there.

People who speak of this technique or that art being inferior or not practical on a battlefield are blind to the realities of combat and the purpose of martial training. No plan ever survives contact with the enemy, but if you can still fight, if you WILL fight, you can win. If all you learn from your martial training is a bunch of various weapon or weaponless techniques, you will still be a poor warrior. Napoleon(again) said: "If you start to take Vienna, take Vienna". Determination and commitment are the true tools of the warrior.

ghp
19th December 2000, 21:33
God love you, Dan. First, I enjoyed reading your post and your analogies to current military training. Then, to top it off, you quote Harry Flashman!

Regards,
Guy

Earl Hartman
19th December 2000, 21:53
Upon reading the appended quote, I knew instantly that only Flashman could have uttered it. I was glad to see my instinct was correct.

Let's hear it for bluff Flash Harry, the terror of the fags at old Rugby, damn their eyes, and the vilest coward to ever flee in terror before the enemy (among other things).

My favorite book in the Flashman series is "Flashman at the Charge", although my favorite heroine, in addition to "the Silk One" from that volume, has to be the Rani of Jhansi from "Flashman and the Great Game", all about the the Great Indian Mutiny.

Should we start a Flashman thread?

ghp
20th December 2000, 01:00
Earl,

For your safety, I must tell our readers that in the UK, a "fag" is an underclassman at Rugby. (well, I *think* it's Rugby -- anyway ... one of the private "Public" schools).

Regards,
Guy

Oh yes, "Flashman at the Charge" was about the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava. Which book was he on the Indian side at Little Big Horn? That was good. Heck ... they're *ALL* good.

Earl Hartman
20th December 2000, 01:13
Guy:

"Flashman and the Redskins".

Thanks for the language warning. Actually, I was waiting to see what would happen, just to see if anyone understood. Of course, any Flashman fan would know. Also, as I understand it, "fag" is (or was) a British slang term for a cigarette, and to be "fagged out" means to be physically exhausted.

Of course, in Britain, you also have foods called "fools", "Spotted Dick" and "Toad in the Hole".

American: "What did you eat for dinner last night?"

Brit: "I ate a spotted dick and a fool."

American: "(Insert your own repy)"

Earl

Scott Irey
20th December 2000, 01:28
Holy Cow David! I thought I was the only one that got plastered before reading E-Budo :) Good to know I have company.

ulvulv
20th December 2000, 03:11
People who speak of this technique or that art being inferior or not practical on a battlefield are blind to the realities of combat and the purpose of martial training. No plan ever survives contact with the enemy, but if you can still fight, if you WILL fight, you can win. If all you learn from your martial training is a bunch of various weapon or weaponless techniques, you will still be a poor warrior. Napoleon(again) said: "If you start to take Vienna, take Vienna". Determination and commitment are the true tools of the warrior. [/B][/QUOTE]


i do not know flashman, but the rest of your message sure was a fresh breath in the gibberishbudohappytalkativeelectronicfamilymeeting.

Thank you

roar ulvestad

Soulend
21st December 2000, 07:14
hehe..Scott..I don't feel so alienated now. Well, I had just got home from the party, where my wife explained away my ignorance of football by telling them I practiced swordsmanship. Naturally, I got the harangue.."what good's that do, why doncha do karroty?" Of course, informing them that I had "done" "karroty" was of no use. Then I came home and surfed around the various MA sites. It occured to me that there are many whiners and armchair quarterbacks in our ranks. Then I came here and scanned the remarks....got the wrong impression. While my idiotic Miura Hanshi remark was borne of frustration, what I was trying to say with the "battlefield art" comment was that although obviously none of the waza would be good to use at Sekigahara, what else does MJER teach? Correct cutting tecnique. Breath control. And with any luck and a whole lot of dedication..maai, zanshin, mushin, heijoshin..all of the mental and spiritual things that appealed to me in the first place. Would these qualities not be of use on the battle field? Anyway...I woke up about 5 a.m. and realized what I had posted...too late. :toot:

Cady Goldfield
21st December 2000, 17:56
Okay, but I'm still getting this crazy scene in my head of a bunch of iai guys on the battlefield. There they are with their swords in their saya, running up to each foe, stopping, drawing their sword, killing with a single indefensible cut, shakin' that blood off, and returning the blade to the saya before running off to encounter their next opponent. :laugh:

Sorry... just can't shake the image.

It seems to me that once you're on the battlefield, the need expands beyond the draw-and-cut aspects, and instead requires a more comprehensive knowledge of combat. I mean, once that sword is out of its saya, the saya gets tossed aside because there is no time to resheath the blade.

Iai represents one small part of the larger picture. To my eyes, it is more at home in duels than in battles. I do know for a fact that in the classical kenjutsu I study, it is the very last part of the curriculum that starts with cuts, then procedes to kata, shiai, and finally iai.

My take on iai is that it has become a hobby that is detached from the greater curriculum of kenjutsu. While it might make for an engrossing lifelong study, and a source of aesthetic appreciation, it is still out of touch with the full scheme of combat with a sword. It's like studying the skill of suturing and stitching, without learning how to do the surgery itself. IOW, an important part of the curriculum, yet just that -- only a part of the curriculum.

In view of that, how can iaido/jutsu be a battlefield art in its own right?

Just some ponderings...

Cady

[Edited by Cady Goldfield on 12-21-2000 at 12:25 PM]

Erik Tracy
21st December 2000, 18:16
Wow - "iaido is just a hobby" - I'll have to relate that to my sensei for his reaction.

Geez - who said iai (lets drop the baggage of do and jutsu for the sake of this discussion) was "battlefield"?

I certainly don't.

Again, the confusion is on the part of those who force the equation of battelfield and combat.

If I am envolved in drawing my sword against a single opponent, while traveling, or on a darkened street, or in a throng of people - is that not combat? It is in my book.

And I would think that kenjutsu is just ONE component of a complete curriculum for a samuri wannabe:
"Hey, not fair! You didn't let me draw first and assume kamae before cutting me!" ;-)

Many arts, including kenjutsu, have become islands of techniques.

Erik "now where is the next stone coming from?" Tracy

Cady Goldfield
21st December 2000, 18:22
Originally posted by Erik Tracy
Wow - "iaido is just a hobby" - I'll have to relate that to my sensei for his reaction.

Uh... it's not? Is it a profession? ;)

Hey, I make no pretenses that my obsession with MAs is anything other than a hobby, however serious. Thus far, no one has offered me money to be good at karate, kenjutsu or jujutsu. :laugh:

What's that great line from Jackie Chan's first English-language movie ("The Big Brawl")? Ah yes -- Jackie's character is being scolded by his father, owner of a small Chinese restaurant, when the son is trying to explain to his dad why he trains so seriously in the martial arts.
Dad: "Why do you do this? Why spend so much time on it?"
Son: "To learn to defend myself."
Dad: "And do people pay you money to defend yourself?"

Cady

Cady Goldfield
21st December 2000, 18:36
Originally posted by Erik Tracy
If I am envolved in drawing my sword against a single opponent, while traveling, or on a darkened street, or in a throng of people - is that not combat? It is in my book.

In what century, Erik?


And I would think that kenjutsu is just ONE component of a complete curriculum for a samuri wannabe:
"Hey, not fair! You didn't let me draw first and assume kamae before cutting me!" ;-)

Many arts, including kenjutsu, have become islands of techniques.

Erik "now where is the next stone coming from?" Tracy [/B][/QUOTE]

Valid points, Erik. Many arts have become "islands of technique." Worse, many have become what a friend of mine calls, "chicken soup" arts -- arts made up of bits and pieces of different systems patched together to try and create a cogent whole. I call 'em "Frankenstein" arts because often the original root arts and schools they're gleaned from are long dead.

Kenjutsu from a classical ryuha would be one component of a larger system of weaponry and empty-handed combat, as well as various and sundry lifestyle traditions and perhaps soup recipes. :)

Still, my personal belief is that if one is fortunate enough to have access to such koryu today, it is healthiest to start out as a generalist, and then work one's way down to being a specialist in one art, not the other way around. Thus, you'd get a background in sword, naginata, bo, etc. -- all of which appear to share the same principles, with an adjustment of ma-ai and concommitant fighting strategy -- and in 30 or 40 years or so you could spend the rest of your life just working on iaido/jutsu.

Sort of like a med student starting out as an internist and ending up being a gall bladder guy. You don't start by focusing on gall bladders and then learning medicine along the way.

Cady

Earl Hartman
21st December 2000, 18:50
I think its time to clear away a few misconceptions here.

As should be well known by anyone who has spent a little time looking into the matter, some of the pre-Edo period martial schools were what is called "sogo bujutsu", or comprehensive martial systems. Their curricula included all of the major weapons, such as sword, spear, halberd/glaive; unarmed or lightly armed techiniques, general strategy, fortifications, etc., etc. In other words, they taught things that were of value in fighting, not only in a pitched battle, but in any situation. In any case, the bushi needed to know how to use, or otherwise deal with, various weapons, since he would be facing them on the battlefield. So he studied all of them, either by studying a comprehensive system or studying various schools which concentrated on one weapon or another.

It was later during the Edo period that many schools concentrating on specific weapons to the exclusion of others came into being and training gradually became more specialized. Thus, in an age where there were no pitched battles, warriors concentrated on things that were of more immediate value: how to draw and strike with the sword quickly if one were attacked late at night in an alley (iai/batto); how to defend yourself against a sudden attack if you found yourself without your long sword (yawara/taijutsu), etc.

At the risk of being considered a crank, I should also point out (I'm getting a little hoarse, here) that MJER, one of the most representative school of "modern" iai (note the quote marks, please) contained, in its original curriculum, more paired sword forms than solo forms, and more yawara forms than sword forms. A "real fighting art"? Obviously. A "battlefield art"? Maybe not.

So far as that goes, the accusation that Whatever Ryu is not a "battlefield" art or even a "real fighting art" (whatever that is) could be leveled against more than one school whose representatives post to this board regularly. Some practice unarmed or lightly armed arts exculsively. No one, of course, would purposely go into battle unarmored and without a weapon. Yet, no one says that these arts are somehow martially deficient. Unarmed arts were designed for fighting without weapons, or defending oneself against a weapon if one were weaponless against an armed enemy. "Real fighting arts"? Obviously. "Battlefield arts"? Obviously not.

Cady Goldfield
21st December 2000, 18:54
Earl,
You forgot to mention rock-throwing as a documented battlefield method. ;)

Cady

Margaret Lo
21st December 2000, 19:21
Rock throwing is nothing to sneeze at. David and Goliath.

M

Cady Goldfield
21st December 2000, 19:45
Margaret,
Right you are! Having had my noggin be on the receiving end of a hurled stone, back in the depths of fourth grade, I can attest to the potency of rocks as projectile weapons.

I believe it was the learned Karl Friday who had made a study of the chief forms of weaponry used in some of the historical Japanese battles, concluding that the use of rocks exceeded that of yari, sword and other weapons. Hope I'm not getting mixed up on the facts here, writing off the top of my head. A lot of folks have taken issue with such findings, and the topic turned into a lively debate on the Iaido-L mailing list group, some time back.

The joke I was attempting to make, was that perhaps we should include rock lobbin' in the curriculum of established ryuha. :)

Cady

dbeaird
21st December 2000, 20:11
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
Okay, but I'm still getting this crazy scene in my head of a bunch of iai guys on the battlefield. There they are with their swords in their saya, running up to each foe, stopping, drawing their sword, killing with a single indefensible cut, shakin' that blood off, and returning the blade to the saya before running off to encounter their next opponent. :laugh:

Sorry... just can't shake the image.



Try this one then:

Samurai guy using a yari, drops it, has it broken by the opponent, suddenly finds himself in too close quarters to use it or something along those lines needs to draw his sword as a secondary weapon. (And indeed on the battlefield, ANY medieval or ancient battlefield, the spear was THE primary weapon of hand-to-hand combat)... so wow, in that situation iai has battlefield utility doesn't it? I won't tell Musashi if you won't.

Iai would have been a part of a warrior's training. We don't teach our soldiers today to only be able to use a single weapon, we teach them to be able to use every weapon that comes to hand. We still call these people riflemen, machine gunners, anti-tank gunners or whatever their specialty may be, but they are not limited by their specialty in their choice of weapons or tactics.

You seem to think that martial arts are somehow mutually exclusive. Even a kenjitsu guy has to get his sword out of the saya now and then doesn't he? Or maybe the REAL kenjitsu folks avoided that problem by just walking around with the thing in their hand. That way they wouldn't have to corrupt their pure art with anything that smells of Iai.

Iai is a combat art, born from the necessity to bring the sword into action quickly and with decisive effect. Like any other method of attacking any opponent, that attack may not work. All of a sudden you're in a swordfight and there's no law anywhere that says you have to put the sword back in the saya after each cut.

The facts of the matter are really very simple. Iai was born from a real world need and if it hadn't filled those needs, it would have died out. We are all trying to keep these various arts alive, each for our own reasons, but the original practitioners learned this art in order to stay alive. Personally, I could care less that you think Iai is useless, I think I'd much rather follow the advice of the men who lived and died with their swords.

Any tactic applied ignorantly can result in defeat. Training also teaches when and where particular tactics will be most effective. It doesn't take a genius to realize that you don't have to perform nukitsuke if you already have the damn sword out of the scabbard. Reading the period texts appears to show that the warriors of the time were more concerned with proper tactical thinking and decision making than they were about creating invincible techniques to be applied to any situation to bring instant victory.

Speaking of all this battlefield application and so on, I assume that you train in full armor against horsemen, archers, and musketeers in order to make sure your art stays ready for combat. I thought I'd spent a lot of money on an iaito...

Cady Goldfield
21st December 2000, 20:26
Of course I can picture there being a time to draw...once... on the battlefield. How many calls there would be for a re-draw, however, I suspect wouldn't be many. Especially in the chaos of battle, where you are not likely to be isolated and have just one foe to deal with.

On the other hand, a sword still in the saya probably would be a fairly decent blugeoning weapon, but you wouldn't want to mess up the laquer.

Still having strange hallucinations...

CG

[Edited by Cady Goldfield on 12-21-2000 at 02:30 PM]

Soulend
21st December 2000, 20:27
I think I can see where Erik was coming from.."hobby" does seem like a somewhat loose kind of term, kind of lumping the Budo together with softball and numismatics. Cady is right that there are many who do approach their art from that sort of angle. There are also many who strive to make their art a more meaningful part of their lives..to "live" their art, even if they don't get paid for it. It is the same with serious artists of every sort. Many of the most famous painters in history made very little money from their work...but if someone told Gauguin that his painting was a hobby, he would probably be insulted somewhat.

At any rate, Iai would be the most useful and perhaps authentic if paired with study and practice of kenjutsu or kendo. As Darrell Craig said, Iai alone is a bit like putting on a tuxedo with nowhere to go. All the same, it seems logical that one must learn how to draw the sword first. If a person has not learned the difference between a skillet and a stock pot, it is useless to try and teach them how to make an omelet.

On the other hand, the study of most of the Koryu is incomplete in this context. If we judge the "battlefield validity" in this way, of what use is skill with naginata and yari if the practicioner doesn't have a clue how to tie their waraji, or correctly don a kobuto so that it doesn't fall over their eyes? Since we aren't going to have to re-fight the Onin War, whether or not something is a "battlefield art" doesn't seem to much matter. Those that study Iai or naginatajutsu or kenjutsu usually know that the practical application of what they practice will never occur. Most I have spoken with pursue their arts to better themselves mentally and spiritually by the quest for excellence. And, of course, to keep alive the heritage of the Bushi. <I> Den.</I>

[Edited by Soulend on 12-21-2000 at 02:46 PM]

Earl Hartman
21st December 2000, 20:31
Margaret:

David didn't throw the rock, he used a sling. (Slingers were important components of ancient near Eastern armies.) The Illiad has a lovely scene, depicted in gory detail, of a chariot driver getting hit in the forehead with a thrown rock and having his eyes spurt out.

Dan:

Thanks for helping to inject the proper reality check. Glad someone else is on the same page.

Anybody who had done iai for even a just a little while and asked a few simple questions will know that chiburi and noto in iai kata are formalized motions just used to finish off the kata so the training goes smoothly from one form to the next. In reality, no one is going to be enough of an idiot to put his sword away before he has properly cleaned off all of the blood, fat, hair, grey matter, and bone chips that would be sticking to the sword after he had offed a few people. He would either wipe the sword off on the clothes of the fallen enemy or use paper he carried around just for that purpose.

It's kind of disheartening to know that in order to really train realistically I need to get a horse in addition to all the other stuff. Do you realize how much space is required to set up proper courses for yabusame and kasagake? Geez.

Brian Dunham
21st December 2000, 20:32
Posted by Cady:
"Iai represents one small part of the larger picture."

Of course this is true. Even Ryu that specialize or emphasize Iai contain paired kata(even some Ryu many would criticize as being 'modern', such as MJER,MSR,Mugai Ryu,etc).

"To my eyes, it is more at home in duels than in battles."

This is what several Iai proponents have been saying repeatedly throughout this thread. However, just because an art is not meant for the battlefield does not mean it is not a martial art. Generally, bujutsu are arts meant for use by the warrior class. Iai is the method of using the sword in day to day situations, or even in encampment. Another great example of this type of art is Shinto Muso Ryu Jojutsu. SMR is clearly a koryu bujutsu, but not a "battlefield" art. It is, like Iai, an art for 'individual combat'(Duel, assassination, surprise attack,etc).

"I do know for a fact that in the classical kenjutsu I study, it is the very last part of the curriculum that starts with cuts, the procedes to kata, shiai, and finally iai."

Interesting. According to available literature, as well as written accounts by people who have trained with either Otake or Sugino, Iai is the FIRST thing taught in TSKSR.

When trying to objectively discuss this art(Iai), it is important to first understand the purpose of the art. It is not meant to replace or compete with a sogo bujutsu. Nonetheless, it played an important role in the life of the classical warrior, important enough to be included in the curriculum of most schools. Also keep in mind that MJER/MSR was, just a couple of generations ago, a fairly comprehensive system(see Earl's post on 11-21-2000 entitled MJER Curriculum), specializing in methods of single combat. AFAIK, the bojutsu, yawara, and some of the paired stuff, is either lost, or very rare. Maybe it's still practiced by a few old men in Shikoku.
I guess my point is this: if you are required to carry daisho all day, you better be able to bring them into action. IMHO, this is where you start--you have to be able to safely draw the weapon before you do anything else.(I have examined an Iaito used briefly by a "kenjutsu" practicioner who constantly feels a need to explain that Iai is not a "martial" art. The saya was almost completely split open from one of his first attempts at nukitsuke). It is certainly not the end-all of training with the sword, but it is an important beginning.

Cady Goldfield
21st December 2000, 21:11
Brian,
I never, ever said that iai was not martial. Only that I do not believe it was meant to be a stand-alone skill. Nowadays, when we can have hobbies (cool yer jets, Erik. LOL!), studying iai alone, kenjutsu alone or jujutsu alone can be a deep and fulfilling pursuit. Soitenly!

cg

dbeaird
21st December 2000, 21:36
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
Of course I can picture there being a time to draw...once... on the battlefield.

So Iai does have battlefield utility, or is it your position that if you only have to do it once it doesn't count? Make up your mind Cady.

I might point out that if you are in the position where you have to draw, even once, and you do it wrong, you'll probably never need to do it again, ever.

Aside from that, did you even read my post?

Cady Goldfield
21st December 2000, 22:01
Oh, fer cryin' out loud, Dan. The only thing I've been trying to say here is that iai is not a stand-alone art capable of providing a solid fighting skill for the battlefield. It was never intended to be. It is one fraction of a much larger, cogent combat method. I'm sure that any good swordsman who knows his iai would have been able to save his a** by drawing that sword and making a cut when his yari broke (and then his "bo," and then his "jo"...).

But, o' come on! To pretend that having only iaijutsu skills could accommodate the strategic needs of all-out combat is just plain dreamin'. I'd compare it to kenjutsu and the other weaponry systems, the way I'd compare the skill of loading, aiming and firing a single pistol shot to the entire gamut of firearm combat and strategies. Think tactics and strategy for the whole-scale fight.

To kill with one stroke is the apex of skill, but for most of humanity, it's going to take a lot more to handle things when your draw-and-cut fails to meet the mark. You need a followup, whether it's a one-on-one duel, or a battlefield melee.

And yes, I read your post.

I get the strong impression that a lot of iai guys are way serious dudes. It's like discussing religion and politics! So different than talking with, say jujutsuka and hard-contact karateka. I wonder whether it has to do with the difference in training? Jujutsuka and the like have had the mettle of their skills tested physically, intensely and often painfully on the mats. So, it leaves little question of whether a technique or approach is effective or "martial" or not. The skilled karateka, jujutsuka and kenjutsuka I've had the pleasure to know have rarely -- if ever -- gotten so defensive over hypotheticals. And when they speak of "actuals" -- what they've encountered in "real life," they are straightforward and frank about the efficacy, or lack thereof, of their waza application.

Fascinating arts, and interesting things to ponder during the holiday madness...

cg

Erik Tracy
21st December 2000, 22:39
Am I wrong in assuming that a popular misconception of iai is that the iai practioner draws a blank look on his face if forced to use his sword after the draw???

From a pure technical standpoint, everything after the draw is "kenjutsu" - and all MJER waza cover a variety of situations (NOT on the battlefield ;-) against one, two, or more opponents - after the draw.

And here again, I think many many people equate iai with seitei kata - which gives the impression that those iaiDO folks only do the solo stuff.

However, many MJER ryuha still practice paired kata (tachi uchi no kurai) which again covers various situations, sword techniques, target areas, distance, timing - just....like....kenjutsu.

I am not espousing the viewpoint that iai (the drawing and cutting with the sword) is comprehensive and the end all of sword arts.

I think most of us agree that it is only one component (dead horse?)

The misconceptions (and hence alot of the arguments and sniping) people have is that all of iai is the practice of waza (solo) and even that does not deal with what happens after the draw. Which is not the case.

And boy, would I love to study more of kenjutsu and jojutsu and even kendo, oh and jujutsu, maybe even aikido.

But dang, real "life" (wife, kids, house, job, teaching iai)seem to suck the little waking moments I have - leaving none to persue other arts. I'm jealous and envious of those who have the luxury of time to do so!!

I'm sure if a "real" samurai from the past were to read these posts he'd be beside himself with laughter - because all of these arts we are discussing would have been studied.

Erik Tracy
MJER iai-jutsu
Jikishin-Kai

Earl Hartman
21st December 2000, 22:45
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
I wonder whether it has to do with the difference in training? Jujutsuka and the like have had the mettle of their skills tested physically, intensely and often painfully on the mats.



Cady:

You seem to be implying that iai people are thin-skinned and defensive becasue of the nature of their training, which apparently does not include having their skills tested "physically, intensely and often painfully" (on the mats or elsewhere).

The impression you give is that you believe that iai people somehow are not qualified to discuss martial things because they haven't been thrown around or punched a lot. I hope I am mistaken.

Did you ever stop to think that if people practiced iai on each other they would all be dead? This gets back to the discussion of the validity of kata. As far as full contact karate goes, I am under the impression that in the Kyokushinkai, for instance, no punches to the head are allowed. I know that I do not have the stones to go into something like Kyokushinkai karate, and I mean no disprespect to those who practice it, but no matter how intense, physical, and painful it is, from a strictly theoretical point of view, it has to be somewhat unrealistic as an unarmed fighting system if you are not allowed to hit someone in the head with your fist.

Regading jujutsu, did the jujutsu practitioners tell you how their skills were tested in "real life"? Were they attacked on the street, did they engage in no-holds-barred matches, did they engage in supervised randori, or did they practice kata (physically, intensely and often painfully, of course).

In any case, we could also question whether any sort of training, even of the most painful kind, so long as it has rules of any kind, is "real" training for "combat". As I have said before, I trained in kendo with Japanese riot squad police. They were all bigger, stronger, and better than me. I was scared to death and it hurt like hell. But I know that kendo, for all of its value as tough training, is not a "real fighting art" in terms of its technique. However, I learned a lot about what a fight feels like (at least a non-deadly one). Still, would this help me if I knew that one stroke from a sword would settle the whole matter? When this is the possibility, the attitude towards training and technique is going to be funamentally different than that of a karateka who knows from experience that he can take a lot of shots and still be able to fight.

This whole thread started when someone said, in so many words, that "iaido is not a fighting art". It may very well be that in this day and age the way in which it is practiced by a lot of people does not prepare someone for "combat", especially as we would experience it today. However, this can be said of many of the arts we practice. Almost all of them, for that matter, if they involve any sort of archaic weapon not readily available to us today. They may help us in many ways, especially in terms of mindset and strategy and just getting used to the idea of a fight, among other things, but I believe that these things can be gotten just as well by training in a modern fighting system so long as it is a solid one and you have a good teacher. Classical Japanese budo are not necessary for this.

This is primarily a discussion about theory and history. It is not a discussion about how many black eyes you have to get before you have the right to talk about your art. Or are we back to the "let's discuss it on the mats" thing?

dbeaird
21st December 2000, 22:47
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
Oh, fer cryin' out loud, Dan. The only thing I've been trying to say here is that iai is not a stand-alone art capable of providing a solid fighting skill for the battlefield. ...(snip)...

But, o' come on! To pretend that having only iaijutsu skills could accommodate the strategic needs of all-out combat is just plain dreamin'....



Nowhere in this thread has anyone even suggested that Iai is all you need to know to survive on a feudal Japanese battlefield or even in a less formal killing affair. Go back and look how it all started. Sweeping statements that Iai is not a "fighting" art, that it is not a "battlefield" art and the further implication that it is not a martial art. Add to that the further arguments that Iai (or in some schools) is too preoccupied with kata which have no use or function in combat. Both of these arguments have been reasonably refuted without casting doubt on the utility of other martial arts and, I might add, without implying that (as John Lennon might say) Iai is all you need.

This is a reasonable discussion, and so far I'm having a lot of fun with it. From the start though, I saw it as a very few Iai folks responding to statements about Iai from non-Iai folks. Someone made a comment early on, that if you really want to know what Iai is, and what it is not, you should talk to some of the senior Iai people who frequent this message board. These are the people who know, not people who have watched a demonstration or dabbled in it at some remote time. I'll defer to the experts when forming my opinions, their dedication and work has at least earned my respectful attention when they speak. They are the caretakers of an art I am trying to learn, what they have to say is important to me, and they have been generous with their time and knowledge.

I have to wonder why these same people aren't posting more on this subject. Perhaps they're wiser than I am and know not to talk when nobody is listening, or they realize that it's easier to get people to change their religion than it is to get them to change their opinion. But maybe there's someone out there like I was a few months ago, who has an interest in a martial art, but hasn't been able to talk to someone about it. If they were to read those early posts, they might think that Iai has nothing to offer. Those people need to listen to the experts. I don't think I'm able to discuss the subject except in very general terms and in light of my other experiences.

Two hundred years ago, if the comments at the beginning of this thread had been made to a student of Iaido, he would probably have responded with a practical demonstration which would make further argument impossible without the assistance of a good spirit-medium.


Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
Fascinating arts, and interesting things to ponder during the holiday madness...

Indeed. Happy Holidays

FastEd
23rd December 2000, 02:44
Cady wrote:

I get the strong impression that a lot of iai guys are way serious dudes. It's like discussing religion and politics!


:redhot:

Happy holidays all!!!!

[Edited by FastEd on 12-22-2000 at 09:02 PM]

Cady Goldfield
23rd December 2000, 03:34
Originally posted by FastEd
Cady wrote:

I get the strong impression that a lot of iai guys are way serious dudes. It's like discussing religion and politics!


:redhot:



See what I mean? See?!

You gotta admit, at least y'all aren't bored on these forums. Keep in mind that all of this is pure recreation and entertainment, and the adrenalin you're pumping is the cheap est high on the market. :laugh:

Happy holidays!

cg

john mark
23rd December 2000, 13:14
Originally posted by Earl Hartman
[QUOTE]

Did you ever stop to think that if people practiced iai on each other they would all be dead? This gets back to the discussion of the validity of kata. As far as full contact karate goes, I am under the impression that in the Kyokushinkai, for instance, no punches to the head are allowed. I know that I do not have the stones to go into something like Kyokushinkai karate, and I mean no disprespect to those who practice it, but no matter how intense, physical, and painful it is, from a strictly theoretical point of view, it has to be somewhat unrealistic as an unarmed fighting system if you are not allowed to hit someone in the head with your fist.



Kyokushin -- As a general rule Earl is correct; bare knuckles to the head in general practice is restricted, but not uncommon. It is quite dangerous and decreases the number of training partners. However in fighting class, bag gloves are used and we could hit to the head.

Iai -- If iai teaches timing, sabaki, trajectory, and maai, then I beleive that it is a fighting art. If you're just swinging swords, well .....

Happy holidays,

Cady Goldfield
23rd December 2000, 14:33
Hm. My former TKD instructor sparred full-bore with Mas Oyama's senior students. In return, Oyama had a lot of respect for my teacher's teacher.

In kenjutsu, once we know the kata (2-man), we practice them at full intensity with bokuto, with intent to kill. What allows us to live and laugh another day, is timing and control. This is also how I survived 20 years of full-intent karate and military-style TKD.

Ditto, in our classical jujutsu practice, we intend to kill. Control allows us to go "to the edge" and not over it.

Even so, in kenjutsu, every one of us in our dojo has had broken fingers (I've had at least 1 digit of every finger fractured or broken at some time), wounds in the face and throat during *controled/limited target* full-intensity shiai (and that's with armor and bamboo shinai), deep contusions and the like. In jujutsu, I've had several concussions, a broken leg, deep contusions and a detached retina. Even my instructor, who is built like a tank, has gotten fractures and broken bones, not to mention knocked out. And that's when we were going "relatively easy." Likewise, in my former P/K life, our hard-contact (yet controled) training provided me with a long list of injuries, from dislocated shoulders and jaws to concussions, broken bonens, muscles and tendons ripped from the bones, and loads of huge, deep bruises.


That's the way it is when you get as close to "real" as you can without killing or permanently damaging your training partners. Sh*t happens, despite the best neuromuscular and psychological control.

I'm a middled-aged lady now, with arthritis in the knee and finger joints, some of it no doubt cumulative damage from years of hard training. Yet, I'm still in pretty serviceable condition. :) I can't afford to go as close to the edge with some things as I did in younger years -- can't afford another detached retina or concussion -- and make no pretense of attempting to train for "combat" anymore. But, I wouldn't give back those years of experience for anything. They served the fire in the belly, and have instilled the intensity I need to maintain a martial mindset.

I offer this only as my own opinion, but ... IMO ... if you do not train with the intensity and mindset of what you'd need to fight, then you WILL NOT have it when you are in a confrontation where you need it. IOW, train the way you would fight, because you'll fight the way you train.

This includes one's approach to iaido, I believe very strongly. If you do not go through the kata with a true intent to kill your opponent (real or imaginary in kata), you are doing nothing more than dancing with a pointed object. Every movement must have purpose and meaning -- not aesthetic, but pragmatic and functional -- which involves the study of human anatomy (and armor, in some cases), as well as the structure, centering and balance of one's own body, both in motion and in transition between movements. Otherwise, you end up with cuts that will not really cut a person, mis-aimed strikes, and being taken completely off center when your blade actually makes impact with a solid object. I have seen this in embu videos, and I have seen this recently watching an experienced and respected iaidoka doing kata.

If you do nothing but practice "air guitar," don't expect to be able to compete in a real-life Battle of the Bands. :)

Cady

[Edited by Cady Goldfield on 12-23-2000 at 11:26 AM]

Kolschey
23rd December 2000, 14:39
if you do not train with the intensity and mindset of what you'd need to fight, then you WILL NOT have it when you are in a confrontation where you need it. IOW, train the way you would fight, because you'll fight the way you train.


Yes. Well spoken, Cady!

Excellent discussion, everyone.

bob elder
23rd December 2000, 18:09
"Servicable condition" , Miss Cady, that's cool. Bob Elder ( hopefully in the same boat.)

Cady Goldfield
23rd December 2000, 18:12
Originally posted by bob elder
"Servicable condition" , Miss Cady, that's cool. Bob Elder ( hopefully in the same boat.)

Well, wouldn't we hope the same for a blade that had come through many a battle in one piece, but could use a good polish and refitting? :laugh:

Cady

FastEd
23rd December 2000, 21:53
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield

This includes one's approach to iaido, I believe very strongly. If you do not go through the kata with a true intent to kill your opponent (real or imaginary in kata), you are doing nothing more than dancing with a pointed object. Every movement must have purpose and meaning -- not aesthetic, but pragmatic and functional -- which involves the study of human anatomy (and armor, in some cases), as well as the structure, centering and balance of one's own body, both in motion and in transition between movements.
[Edited by Cady Goldfield on 12-23-2000 at 11:26 AM]

I agree, practicing with intent is obviously the only way to train.

But your preception of taking it to 'the edge' may not be the same as someone elses.

IMO, listing your various training accidents does not impress me with how 'real' you have taken things. (no anomosity here ;) ). IMO its just not a good yard stick with which to measure.

Cady Goldfield
23rd December 2000, 22:27
Originally posted by FastEd
IMO, listing your various training accidents does not impress me with how 'real' you have taken things. (no anomosity here ;) ). IMO its just not a good yard stick with which to measure. [/B]

LOL... the intention was not meant to impress (if anything, it would lead readers to wonder how anyone could be so incredibly clumsy!). Rather, I'm just saying that when you are not doing "air guitar," and when attacks are focused and accurate, injuries can and will happen, no matter how skilled one is at control. It's certainly a lot safer to fight imaginary opponents. :)

cg

dbeaird
24th December 2000, 05:41
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield

In kenjutsu, once we know the kata (2-man), we practice them at full intensity with bokuto, with intent to kill....(snip)
...

That's the way it is when you get as close to "real" as you can without killing or permanently damaging your training partners. ...



Just curious; How many people in your class were killed in practice?

Okay, idiotic question right? I agree. The point being that there is no intent to kill in practice. If there were, it would be combat and not practice. You can try and put as realistic a mindset as you can on it, but you must still remember that it is practice and you're not going to brain your partner with your boken if he makes a mistake.

In the army, I had to crawl under live machine gun fire, the bullets were real, I could hear them, and it did add a lot of realism as well as all sorts of new incentive to keep my butt down, but even then it was still practice. No one was trying to kill me. It's the same with sparring, it is NOT combat. It may be valuable training for combat, but it is still not the real thing. It is not even remotely close to the real thing and never can be.

Injuries don't prove that the training is any more realistic, or any better than any other type of training. I could take a couple people off the street and let 'em hit at each other with sticks and one of them would probably get hurt. That doesn't mean that either of them have received valuable training. Injuries do have a way of getting your attention though and reminding you of stupid mistakes, mistakes that might possibly have been avoided with sufficient non-contact practice. Then again, the lessons that are easiest to remember are often the ones that are attached to a painfull memory.

I find the thought of anyone training with intent to kill absolutley laughable. I've known people killed in training, four of them as a matter of fact. Each of them died despite all the safety precautions that could be taken and still teach them how to do inherently dangerous things. They weren't in combat, they were training, and it was still dangerous enough to kill them. Just think what the death toll would be like if the instructors, or the other students had been trying to kill each other.

I'll end this with one other observation, kind of a takeoff from an old WWII Willy and Joe cartoon. Willy and Joe are in the rear area and there's a rough lookin' character in uniform sitting at a table swinging a bottle by the neck and looking extra mean. Willy looks at Joe and says "That can't be no combat sojer, he's LOOKIN' for a fight.". The moral of the story is that the people who know what combat is, avoid it. They don't talk about it, except to others who have been there. They don't try to explain it to the uninitiated, because there's no way to explain it, you have to see the elephant before you can know what it is.

Training is nice, but it is not combat. No amount of training can produce a combat veteran. Train hard, train realistically, but don't ever try to pretend that training is combat.

Darren Yeow
24th December 2000, 06:27
Whoa! real machine gun fire? Has anyone ever been accidentally shot by a stray bullett?

DY

Cady Goldfield
24th December 2000, 14:46
Of course I agree with you there, Dan. Outside of actual combat, we can't really enact killing techniques to their fullest in the dojo. The whole concept is absurd, really. Imagine if even the military trained its soldiers in such a way! They would be killing their own men before they could get them onto the battlefield.

However, we try not to lose sight of the original intent of the arts we are practicing, and attempt to take the training as close to that as possible. Keeping the above in mind, even when these arts were being taught for actual "field use," you know that measures had to have been taken so that that people weren't killed or maimed during training, prior to going out on the battlefield, into the daimyo's court, or wherever.

That's why we talk about "taking it to the edge" as best we can, and honing control -- both physical and mental -- to keep from going too far. Even so, all of us have been rendered unconscious by blood chokes and strangles (why take it to the point of death? After all, uke is unconcious and subject to whatever you wish to do.

Why take it to death when this is a dojo? Shite has made his point!), been on the verge of having a limb snapped or a joint popped, a head lopped or a femoral artery slashed open.

It takes so little to go over the edge. Most jujutsuka and aikidoka will tell you that "it's not the throw, it's the set-up," meaning that once you have your opponent's center, his angle, his body seized up and in the place where you want it, the throw (or the choke, or the break or the kill) is anti-climactic. Because at that point, you can do anything you want with him. The supreme skill is not in the killing finish, but in mastering the set-up, and then that exquisite moment of tension when your opponent has nowhere to go and it takes just a fraction, just a smidge on your part to take his life. But you can stop yourself on the brink of that physical/psychological tension. There's the art.

In these old martial arts we practice, there was a pragmatic purpose that no longer exists in a peaceful society, but we recognize the brilliance and cogency of those systems and are loathe to lose their principles and waza.

My goal in training is this: I focus my training energies on honing technique and strategy to the point where I can put my opponent anywhere I want him, and the only outcome for him will be his death.

Except for the fact that the opponent is my friend and comrade, we are training in a dojo, and in a half-hour we'll be pouring glasses of sake for each other. :)

[Edited by Cady Goldfield on 12-24-2000 at 08:50 AM]

Kim Taylor
24th December 2000, 16:56
Getting rather interested in the idea of training with the intent to kill without actually killing, sort of reminds me of when I was 17 and used to say to the girls "let's go all the way but we won't get you pregnant OK?"

Here's one possible way to train in such a way, it's a comment on a session of sharps swordplay in England in 1710 as quoted from Terry Brown's "English Martial Arts" page 52 (Anglo Saxon Books, 1997)

"They began the fight with broadswords. The Moor got the first wound, above the breast, which bled not a little. Then the onlookers began to cheer and call for Wood; they threw down vast quantities of shilling and crowns, which were picked up by his second... In the second round the Englishman, Wood, took a blow above the loins of such force that, not only did his shirt hang in tatters, but his sword was knocked out of his hand, and all the buttons on one side of his open breeches he wore were cut away.

"Then they went for each other with sword and dagger, and the Moor got a nasty wound in the hand, which bled freely. It was probably due to this that, when they attacked each other twice with "sword and buckler", that is to say with broadsword and shield, the good Moor recieved such a dreadful blow that he could not fight any longer. He was slashed from the left eye right down his cheek to his chin and jaw with such force that one could hear the sword grating against his teeth. Straightaway not only the whole of his shirt front but the platform too was covered with blood. the wound gaped open as wide as a thumb, and I cannot tell you how ghastly it looked on the black face. A barber-surgeon immediately sprang towards him and sewed up the wound, while the moor stood there without flinching. When this had been done and a cloth bound round his head, the Moor would have liked to continue the fight, but since he had bled so profusely, neither the surgeon nor the seconds, who act as umpires, would allow this. So the combatants shook hands (as they did after each round) and prepared to get down. "

Brown includes a similar passage on female combatants with like results. Another bout, on the previous page ended when one master had his "sinues split" and could not hold his blade any longer. Granted these were theatre displays and not normal everyday training (which was done with dull blades so you got bruises and broken bones but usually not maimed or dead) but they do show the logical result of training for "reality" and effectiveness. How else could one possibly know if what one is learning is effective without such full-bore tests of skill. All else is just play-fighting.

Now, someone earlier asked why the iaido "seniors" did not comment on this thread. Well I'm not a senior but I do play one on the net so here's my comment from my point of view as to why I'm not defending iaido's "combative effectiveness"

I would very much prefer that any potential student who wants to learn how to kill people go to a kenjutsu school or a ninja school where he will learn such things. Far from contradicting the idea that iaido is combatively ineffective, I would encourage this belief wherever it occurs and I thank those who repeat it here... it's not a new thought by the way, I just tripped over something I wrote in 1990 or so which is on the exact same topic.

In any case, please, if you want to learn how to kill and maim people, avoid my sissy seitei sword school and go to a place where they are willing to teach you such things, let them worry about the liability and insurance problems. If, after you've learned how to kill people effectively on the battlefield and off, you then want to study iaido, by all means give me a call. I'll be here next week, year, decade, and so will the other sissy seitei senseis.

I'd be interested to hear from those who have participated in armed combat with sharps such as described by Mr. Brown to test their battlefield-effective sword skills. If you'd like to do an article on the bouts I'd be happy to publish it in JJSA or on EJMAS. Photos would also be good.

For those who want to train in the unarmed equivalent of "effective skills", I would be happy to arrange a seminar in North America with Jon Bluming. He's trained a couple of pretty good NHB world champions and, although getting up there in years himself, is still willing to "put it on the mat". I'd love an excuse to meet the man personally so let me know if you're interested.

I'm afraid I don't know anybody who fights with sharps though, sorry, but I can put you in touch with some guys who are using metal blades with dull edges who fight full contact and not infrequently manage concussions, broken and split fingers etc etc. It looks like a lot of fun and if I were 20 years younger I'd be right in there.

Kim Taylor
sword dancer

dbeaird
24th December 2000, 16:58
Originally posted by Darren Yeow
Whoa! real machine gun fire? Has anyone ever been accidentally shot by a stray bullett?

DY


Not that I know of. I rather doubt the army would publicize it though.

dbeaird
24th December 2000, 17:26
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield

...
That's why we talk about "taking it to the edge" as best we can, and honing control -- both physical and mental -- to keep from going too far. Even so, all of us have been rendered unconscious by blood chokes and strangles (why take it to the point of death? After all, uke is unconcious and subject to whatever you wish to do.
...


Your post made me see the way you talk about training in a different light. What I have to say may upset you and I appologize for it, but I'll try to explain my reasoning as best I can.

Your post brought to mind the term "Edge Play", meaning specifically seeking the excitement of a dangerous activity in order to enjoy the effects, be it adrenaline or whatever. About half of all thrillseeking kinda activities fall under this category, the other half tend to be people who are afraid to back out of dangerous things in front of their friends.

There is no practical need in training to take an arm lock almost to the point of snapping the bone. In fact it's impossible to know exactly when the bone will snap, so there's likely to be a few mistakes along the way. Even under the best conditions, putting that type of stress on the bones and joints will cause injuries. But there may be an extra kick in taking it that far.

As a general rule I would think training for combat that way would be inferior to methods that emphasized safety on the mats. Training is supposed to be about controlling ourselves under stress after all.

If this is the kind of training you enjoy, by all means continue with it. This is a hobby after all, it's supposed to be fun. I just don't see it as being more "combat effective" just because you hold on till the other guy cries uncle.

Cady Goldfield
25th December 2000, 00:58
Dan,
I guess you misunderstand what I'm trying to say. Believe me, I get no enjoyment out of fear and pain. If that were the case, I'd just have babies one after another. :laugh: It's really nothing about getting "thrills" or adrenaline, it's only trying to keep the art as close to its original purpose and intent as possible, for authenticity's sake. Perhaps the best way to put it, is being an anal retentive perfectionist. :)

cg

dbeaird
25th December 2000, 03:20
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
Dan,
I guess you misunderstand what I'm trying to say. Believe me, I get no enjoyment out of fear and pain. If that were the case, I'd just have babies one after another. :laugh: It's really nothing about getting "thrills" or adrenaline, it's only trying to keep the art as close to its original purpose and intent as possible, for authenticity's sake. Perhaps the best way to put it, is being an anal retentive perfectionist. :)

cg

Okay, here we come down to it. Now I'm going to go way out on a limb here and I hope that someone else who knows better will back me up, failing that feel free to slap me down.

Isn't it a Western myth about training in traditional oriental martial arts that it is supposed to be dangerous to the students? I wonder what the Japanese would say about a teacher who broke a students arm, or who allowed the senior students to terrorize the junior students. While this may be, well, if not common, at least not unheard of in America. That's not saying that the training isn't hard, but there is a distinct difference between the kind of hard that leaves you soaked with sweat and the kind that leaves you soaked with blood.

I've seen enough blood in my life to know better than to go out looking for more I guess. It doesn't make anything more authentic unless you believe that martial arts training is supposed to be some brutal Darwinian process that leaves a trail of injured students as it seeks out the few who are able to survive.

There's a deep ambition in America (and spreading through the rest of the world I may add) for things that are "authentic". What they really want is what feels authentic according to their preconceived notions. We're victims of television and romance novels, our knowledge of history condensed into trite, thirty minute documentaries that we may pay as much attention to as the commercials that cut the time for history down to about twenty minutes.

We're really blind to history as much as we may study it. We don't care to be reminded that most samurai during the singoku period were dead before their eighteenth birthday, or, perhaps more importantly, that serious martial training also included training in classical studies and art. It'd really be interesting to see a conversation of this sort about shodo, or people claiming that their tea school was more "authentic" than another.

Authenticity is a red herring. In my opinion it takes a huge amount of wishfull thinking on the part of anyone who believes that they can create something more authentic than an art that has been passed down through 450 years of direct transmission. If the "authentic" feel of what you do is better for you, then go ahead. I have an authentic feel too, in knowing that I can trace the skills I am learning from my instructor directly back to Hayashizaki Shigenobu.

Cady Goldfield
25th December 2000, 03:42
I'm not sure how "terrorizing" students and teachers breaking students' arms got into the picture here. Training accidents happen when engaging in intense contact. Any teacher who breaks a student's limb or causes injury out of carelessness -- or who allows it to happen at the hands of another student during his watch -- is guilty of using poor judgement and of being irresponsible. There is no room for that in martial arts training.

Don't get any strange ideas from watching "The Karate Kid" too many times. LOL\

Seriously, though, there really are pockets of individuals who practice Japanese koryu and classical arts of other cultures in such a way as to preserve their fire and authenticity. I just watched a very detailed video (and series of old films) of Otake sensei of TSKSR. There was footage of Donn Draeger training with him, as well as some pretty explicit kata work. While there were some things being held from view in the demonstrations, Otake was very much the warrior, however archaic his weapons. His students in the footage were also training in his footprint, with the same intensity and martial focus. It represents what I suspect is a very rare approach to training in the arts today. One of the last of a rapidly dying breed. But there are a few pockets remaining, that adhere to that approach, and some are in the West.

cg

dbeaird
25th December 2000, 04:04
Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
I'm not sure how "terrorizing" students and teachers breaking students' arms got into the picture here. Training accidents happen when engaging in intense contact. Any teacher who breaks a student's limb or causes injury out of carelessness -- or who allows it to happen at the hands of another student during his watch -- is guilty of using poor judgement and of being irresponsible. There is no room for that in martial arts training.cg

Here, let me refresh your memory:


Originally posted by Cady Goldfield

Even so, in kenjutsu, every one of us in our dojo has had broken fingers (I've had at least 1 digit of every finger fractured or broken at some time), wounds in the face and throat during *controled/limited target* full-intensity shiai (and that's with armor and bamboo shinai), deep contusions and the like. In jujutsu, I've had several concussions, a broken leg, deep contusions and a detached retina. Even my instructor, who is built like a tank, has gotten fractures and broken bones, not to mention knocked out. And that's when we were going "relatively easy. Likewise, in my former P/K life, our hard-contact (yet controled) training provided me with a long list of injuries, from dislocated shoulders and jaws to concussions, broken bonens, muscles and tendons ripped from the bones, and loads of huge, deep bruises.

Cady, I can't have a reasonable discussion/argument or whatever you want to call it with someone who won't address the points I've made or who changes their arguments faster than Hershey's puts out those little foil kisses.

By your own definition, your instructors use poor judgement and are irresponsible. How authentic is that? (I hope you see the point I'm trying to make here.)

I could at this point make a comment about how angry those kenjutsu people seem to get...I'll let the thought stand for the deed.

I'll leave you with my favorite piece of Zen advice:

Go and have a cup of tea.

Merry Christmas

Soulend
25th December 2000, 07:32
Unsure now as to the point of the conversation within this thread. Many styles of swordsmanship, including the Shinkage Ryu, include iai techniques. I have never heard or read of a senior practitioner of the Shinkage belittle those who practice Iai exclusively.

Those that follow the way of tea, Chado, also have a temae(their waza or kata) called <I>kinin kiyotsugu usucha</I>. This is the way of serving tea to a Daimyo, or member of the Imperial family. Few seniors in that art seem to question why anyone would practice such a thing when it's uses are nil.

MJER was founded in the 16th century. It's lineage of Grandmasters have continued through an era in which sword combat is a near impossibility. Yet these men, and many more far more worthy than myself considered Iai and Kenjutsu a worthy pursuit. What we have here is <I>nakaima</I>, the "eternal present". That which links the modern bugeisha with the Samurai that preceded him (or her).

Of course, one must train with the spirit and intent of those that needed these skills in battle. However, if bokken and shinai(the <I>fukuro shinai</I> used in the 16th century, so not a modern application) had not been invented, there would be few to continue the ryu. The koryu can be deadly arts indeed..and where one would suffer bruises, scrapes, and fractures in the gendai budo...there is only death and dismemberment in the koryu.

"Swordsmanship has always been held in the highest regard, thought of as most noble, closest to the spirit of Zen"
-Taisen Deshimaru, Zen Master(Roshi)

"I hope martial artists are more interested in the root of martial arts and not the decorative branches, flowers, or leaves. It is futile to argue as to which leaf, which design of branches, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all it's blossoming."
-Bruce Lee
Tao of Jeet Kune Do
1975, pg. 23


Incidentally, "Happy Holidays!" to all those that have one at this time.

David Craik

[Edited by Soulend on 12-25-2000 at 01:50 AM]

socho
25th December 2000, 22:36
David,
Well put, I agree completely. I especially like the Bruce Lee quote, think I'll use it :) . Whatever style or styles we practice, let us end the year by respecting the spirit and intent of the practitioner. Safe holidays to all and best wishes for your progress in budo during the coming year.

Dan Harden
26th December 2000, 17:22
Posted on the wrong thread sorry
reposted on Koryu and stagnancy
Dan

[Edited by Dan Harden on 12-26-2000 at 11:37 AM]

Cady Goldfield
26th December 2000, 17:33
Oy. You and I just aren't connecting on the same wavelength, Mr. Beaird. I haven't changed my "arguement" in the least, but obviously I am failing to adequately communicate my thoughts. Best to just let this discussion die a natural death. :)


Originally posted by dbeaird

Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
I'm not sure how "terrorizing" students and teachers breaking students' arms got into the picture here. Training accidents happen when engaging in intense contact. Any teacher who breaks a student's limb or causes injury out of carelessness -- or who allows it to happen at the hands of another student during his watch -- is guilty of using poor judgement and of being irresponsible. There is no room for that in martial arts training.cg

Here, let me refresh your memory:


Originally posted by Cady Goldfield

Even so, in kenjutsu, every one of us in our dojo has had broken fingers (I've had at least 1 digit of every finger fractured or broken at some time), wounds in the face and throat during *controled/limited target* full-intensity shiai (and that's with armor and bamboo shinai), deep contusions and the like. In jujutsu, I've had several concussions, a broken leg, deep contusions and a detached retina. Even my instructor, who is built like a tank, has gotten fractures and broken bones, not to mention knocked out. And that's when we were going "relatively easy. Likewise, in my former P/K life, our hard-contact (yet controled) training provided me with a long list of injuries, from dislocated shoulders and jaws to concussions, broken bonens, muscles and tendons ripped from the bones, and loads of huge, deep bruises.

Cady, I can't have a reasonable discussion/argument or whatever you want to call it with someone who won't address the points I've made or who changes their arguments faster than Hershey's puts out those little foil kisses.

By your own definition, your instructors use poor judgement and are irresponsible. How authentic is that? (I hope you see the point I'm trying to make here.)

I could at this point make a comment about how angry those kenjutsu people seem to get...I'll let the thought stand for the deed.

I'll leave you with my favorite piece of Zen advice:

Go and have a cup of tea.

Merry Christmas

Cady Goldfield
26th December 2000, 17:51
Originally posted by Kim Taylor
Getting rather interested in the idea of training with the intent to kill without actually killing, sort of reminds me of when I was 17 and used to say to the girls "let's go all the way but we won't get you pregnant OK?"and so will the other sissy seitei senseis.

Lest there be further confusion on the concept of "intent to kill," let's just call it "method acting," okay? It's harnessed aggression and nothing more. It is not a personal focus that says "I will kill YOU." Rather, it is more of a "I wanna cut THAT." But you don't.

Does that make it any clearer?

cg

pgsmith
2nd January 2001, 16:20
Late reply to this thread that I am just catching up on after the holidays. I have to say that it was quite an interesting discussion and pushed quite a few buttons on various people. It even got Mr. Taylor to sign up and post! I just feel that I have to put an opinion forth to everyone that has been following this. The sword arts are no longer a valid combat effective technique. If you want combat effectivness, most of your training should be with firearms. Swords are a quaint and outdated notion, therefore anyone who practices sword is only 'dancing with a sharp object' because it is training that will never be put to use. The only objectives of sword training are personal fulfillment.
Just had to throw my 2 yen into the pot!
:D

Cheers!