View Full Version : Do we need a new sword art?

20th May 2016, 12:08
Due to a recent thread where a particular person/group was criticized as not being in an association. I thought I would open this thread. Since as long as I can remember people both in Japan and in the West have broken away to do their own thing. In many cases it happens too early before people have even got a good handle on the original concept. The recent thread leaned on the age old realism theme where someone want to go between Kobudo and Budo to create a full contact concept. In view of the fact that many of us have now spent a considerable time in Japan learning to understand these things a lot of us know what is reality and what is not. We know to the extent that we can even spot a Japanese group that 'makes it up'. I welcome any comments in future when people want to know about a particular sword art. I am sure someone can chip in to help them. But I would request that matters are kept on a civil level. This is not Facebook.

21st May 2016, 04:39
Good question, I'm sure it will be an interesting, civil, discussion.

I have 2 very much in GENERAL questions for a GENERAL discussion.

1-What is a "new" art needed for? What is its purpose? Fully prepared to accept that it does not have to have a "purpose"--except what I mean is what would a "new" sword art provide that none of the old ones don't?

Would it be like inventing a "new" form of baseball or basketball?

2-In terms of "realism" what is meant by that precisely?

I have always felt the mental/emotional aspects are important in a fight, and my personal experience is that anything "safe" enough to fight with, with current technology won't give a sense of "realism" depending on how that word is defined.

I used to fence saber a long time ago, and I can still recall the feeling when my teacher asked us to take off the mask and jacket and glove and then try to fence. The sudden fear of being exposed to even a non-real blade, made us fight like pure novices, suddenly nobody was willing to risk getting a blade in the eye to even try to score a point. We just moved around each other for a while.

I can't help but feel that a similar problem will exist with whatever someone comes up with until the materials technology will give a weapon that is the same weight and handling characteristics, heavy enough to scare you into taking it seriously--cause enough pain to do so---while not killing or crippling you.

Its not "real" so people would not treat it as such--with even the wooden stand-ins, you still feel the fear so you act accordingly.

I had similar experiences with gendai arts and sparring with people from various schools with various rules people get trapped in the "rules' of their respective systems--myself included.

Since I don't really see myself as going to fight a lethal dual with live blades anytime soon, I'm not sure that overt sword-combat "realism"--depending of course on how one defines it--is really the point. Authentic as possible of course, just it IMO it really depends on how one defines "realism."

21st May 2016, 09:52
Some of my Kendo students used to get intimidated and back off. I would get quite angry with them as they are not going to get hospitalized unless someone plays dirty. 1mm bogu is as hard as hell.

I settled for the Kobudo route for realism. No armour and a need to either get out the way of attacks or end up in hospital. The only advantage lies in the fact that you do know what is coming. So a senior can lead a junior by cutting slower to give him a feeling of winning. Then for embu it's no holds barred full on. With us what makes it so different is that some cuts stop a centimeter of the floor. Trying to parry things like this done with hara is like trying to stop an earthquake. Ironwood or hardwood bokuto get shattered. Its also the ability to be able to stop a cut. 1 mm off the skin is fine but if we so much as touched an opponent with a bokuto Soke would go ballistic.

As I already said realism nowadays is somewhat different. A lot of killing and robbery where I live is fueled with Methamphetamine. You need a lot of stopping power to deal with someone like that.