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PghBudo
18th December 2001, 22:17
I was wondering if anyone can tell me if there is a sword school out there that wears the daisho with the katana across the belly and the wakizashi where the katana is usually worn?

fifthchamber
19th December 2001, 15:58
Hello.
I am not too sure of this point but to me it would be unwise to carry the Daisho in the way you ask about because like that the Katana would be far more difficult to keep awareness of position..Saya-ate would not be difficult to cause carrying the swords like this..Having the Katana in line with your direction is difficult enough on Zanshin..Let alone creating those problems for yourself..
As for Iai from that position...Hmmm.. I am no expert but my arms are not built that way! Again it would create a serious difficulty when there did not need to be one!
That said it would amaze me if any Ryu-ha used the Daisho in that way..And if they can pass us any MPEG's of the waza!
Abayo..
(P.S. Sorry bout the sarcasm here..Not meant to offend)

ghp
20th December 2001, 03:50
Some teachers incorrectly allow the sword to "cross over the belly" when worn. I've seen it with both Japanese teachers and American teachers, and it is not encountered commonly, as most teachers are aware of the proper orientation of the sword during "taito" [belted]. Some adherents state the "over belly" orientation makes wearing the sword easier when seated in seiza. This reasoning is not historically accurate simply because the sword was not worn while in seiza.

One practitioner declared wearing a sword while seated is correct -- otherwise, why else are there seated [seiza] techniques in many iai syllabi? The answer? Because the seated techniques were contrived by Omori Rokurozaemon Masamitsu after he was expelled by Hasegawa Chikaranosuke Eishin (7th inheritor) from the Hasegawa Ryu [today known as Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu]. Omori apparently "borrowed" Eishin's battlefield kneeling exercises, modified them with Ogasawara Ryu [a school of social ettiquite "how to properly sit, properly move, etc.] and came up with what today is called the shoden-seiza bu(Introductory formal seated section) in MJER, MSR, and a slew of other off-shoots.

Oops ... again I've managed to stray off tangent. Anyway, the vast majority of Japanese masters (and therefore, their students) will tell you the katana should never be worn "across the belly."

Regards,
Guy

hg
20th December 2001, 06:58
Originally posted by ghp


One practitioner declared wearing a sword while seated is correct -- otherwise, why else are there seated [seiza] techniques in many iai syllabi? The answer? Because the seated techniques were contrived by Omori Rokurozaemon Masamitsu after he was expelled by Hasegawa Chikaranosuke Eishin (7th inheritor) from the Hasegawa Ryu [today known as Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu]. Omori apparently "borrowed" Eishin's battlefield kneeling exercises, modified them with Ogasawara Ryu [a school of social ettiquite "how to properly sit, properly move, etc.] and came up with what today is called the shoden-seiza bu(Introductory formal seated section) in MJER, MSR, and a slew of other off-shoots.

But if Omori derived waza for sitting in seiza wearing a sword, does that not mean that there were people sitting in seiza wearing a sword (and feeling uncomfortable about it because they had no good Iai-techniques until Omori came up with some ....)

ghp
20th December 2001, 18:35
Hans-Georg,


But if Omori derived waza for sitting in seiza wearing a sword, does that not mean that there were people sitting in seiza wearing a sword(and feeling uncomfortable about it because they had no good Iai-techniques until Omori came up with some ....)

No ... the only sword worn while sitting in seiza was the wakizashi/maezashi/tanto type of sword. From what I recall from my MJER training, all the Omori shoden waza (or most) derive from either the chuden tatehiza waza or the okuden waza. Omori just redefined these so they began in seiza.

I'm sure someone will tell me the shoden forms that have no correlation with the other levels (e.g., Kaishaku or Tsukekomi) -- but you can easily detect the origins of most the waza.

--Shohatto [and with it, Sashin, Ushin, and Koshin]? All variations of Yokogumo or maybe even Kasumi.

--Yaegaki? A variation of Sunekakoi.

--Ukenagashi? A variation of okuden tachiwaza "Ukenagashi."

--Tsukikage reminds me of a modification of Sunekakoi.

-- Oikaze? To me, I think it is a modification of Sodesurigaeshi, but without the "pushing aside" movements of the arms.

-- Nukiuchi? Wasn't added until the Taisho era in the 20th century. But, its origin is in Itomagoi (1, 2, and 3).

Regards,
Guy

FastEd
22nd December 2001, 16:51
Originally posted by ghp
This reasoning is not historically accurate simply because the sword was not worn while in seiza.
Regards,
Guy

It depends on what you are defining as historically accurate, does it not? They may not have done it during the 1600's, but Omori was doing it during his lifetime. Are you going to tell us that he was wrong to do it, and everything that has derived from his changes has no historical relevance?

Regards
Ed

Dan Harden
23rd December 2001, 03:34
Ed

Leaving persons and personalities aside; there is simply no historical connection to wearing a katana while seated in seiza, lest of all inside. While there are VERY few of us qualified to make that statement-it has been made often enough by those eminently qualified to do so; that is, Doctorates in the field of Japanese history.
Several Koryu still have various squatting postures that are training for low attacks, possibly at night, or for training to grab the katana as you rose up. But to think you were wearing one in a house is simply not accurate.
This says nothing about Iai; go for it, and train that way. But just because an art started to do it that way inside its own doors does not suggest an applied history elsewhere in the real world.
We shouldn’t try to stretch a connection that just isn’t there. It does our founders, forebears and descendants alike, a disservice.


Dan

Nathan Scott
23rd December 2001, 08:15
Wearing the daito while in seiza is as historically accurate as wearing the shoto on the side and the daito across the belly.

Wearing the daito in seiza may have been adopted by certain iai groups during the more peaceful times of the Tokugawa period, but that does not mean it is "proper" to do so in terms of etiquette. Proponents of suwari-iai consider the practice to be a useful training method, but it would be incorrect to think that these methods would be used for self defense from a seated position. Etiquette would not allow the opportunity.

As far as reversing the way in which daisho are worn, as asked about originally, I strongly suspect that this was not a popular idea. Daisho are worn as they are for a reason, and that is because it provides the most efficient and versatile combative positioning.

Wearing the daito across the belly, for example, would greatly reduce the practicallity of at least half the draws I know. It also would leave you substantially more open for saya-based controlling techniques/surprise attacks.

Regards,

Dan Harden
23rd December 2001, 17:57
Nathan touched upon a few other points; drawing the sword in various positions.
The older style of "katana" wearing (as opposed to tachi) is with the Sword more vertical and with the tsuka carried higher. The auxiliary weapon- whether it be Wakizashi or Tanto- is carried cross wise, and through another length of Obi to keep the Saya from rubbing together. One style I know of teaches a method of raising the hand; thus clearing the kimono before drawing across and above the auxiliary weapon. If you simultaneously articulate the shoulder while doing this- your hand automatically lines up with the proper grip. This works in any manner of rotating the Saya for a draw. It eliminates a squared grip, or the "reaching" for a proper grip.


Anyyyyway.......just another view

Dan

Nathan Scott
23rd December 2001, 20:05
Hi Dan,


The older style of "katana" wearing (as opposed to tachi) is with the Sword more vertical and with the tsuka carried higher.

Oh really? I didn't know that - where did you learn this, if I may ask?

The habit of wearing the daito more vertically, which has a name I can't remember right now, is apparently something ronin did also. One reason for this was to indicate that they were out of work, in case anyone might be interested in hiring them, and another was that it enabled them to draw quickly with one hand if necessary. The employment of the daito for samurai who become ronin shifts from battlefield/administrative considerations to that of the continous hazzard of mingling with commoners.

I believe Yakuza wear them the same way, when they wear daito.

BTW, you can see Mifune Toshiro doing a version of the sleeve-clearing in movies like Yojimbo and Sanshiro Sugata. His method telegraphs the draw quite a bit, but is a necessary step (in some manner of technique) in drawing the daito with the sode exposed.

Some samurai, and ronin in particular, would simply leave their sode tied back with tasuki all day long, covered with a haori so it wouldn't be noticeable to others. This is one reason why you see some samurai with their arm inside their sleeve (of their kimono or haori).

Anyone who hasn't tried drawing a daito while wearing kimono/monzuki WITH a tanto or shoto in their obi may be in for a surprise. The sleeve sometimes likes to catch/wrap on the tsuka or tsuba (if applicable) of the maezashi, making it more difficult than simply drawing while wearing daito. Especially if wearing silk.

Japanese clothing was not designed to move quickly or dynamically in!

Regards,

Richard Elias
24th December 2001, 04:26
"The habit of wearing the daito more vertically, which has a name I can't remember right now..."

Otoshi-zashi.

Jack Hilton II
29th December 2001, 00:02
Mr. Scott,

Anyone who hasn't tried drawing a daito while wearing kimono/monzuki WITH a tanto or shoto in their obi may be in for a surprise. The sleeve sometimes likes to catch/wrap on the tsuka or tsuba (if applicable) of the maezashi, making it more difficult than simply drawing while wearing daito.
Do daisho ever grace the obi of shinkendoka or naginata practitioners? If they don't, why is that?

Thank you in advance for your time taken in reply.

Respectfully,

Jack Hilton

Dan Harden
29th December 2001, 00:27
Jack
Nathan will answer you I'm sure but just a quick note
Don't know about Shinkendo but in a classical combative situation there would be no need.
Think of it like bringing a hunting rifle weather case into combat. once you're in a fire fight and tracers are making a pretty little light show path to your door-you're gonna wip off the case start firing, and worry about its whereabouts later.

If your weilding a naginata; a brace of swords gets in the way real fast.
A saya through an obi or a tachi mount while walking is not something you will willing have bopping around your legs and gettin tied up in the things.

As for normal wear; that is why some styles have draws for dealing with that (see above).

Dan

Nathan Scott
29th December 2001, 07:44
Hello Mr. Hilton,

In shinkendo we do not have any policy for or against wearing daisho during practice or enbu. Of course, common sense should be used, and permission and instruction from a senior instructor should be obtained before "experimenting" with this idea (for those that are shinkendo-ka).

Based on my experience being a student of the founder, I'd say that Obata sensei feels that wearing traditional clothing, daisho, and moving/cutting with such weapons is useful experience for a kenshi. He has instructed me on more than one occaison how to wear daisho, cut with wakizashi, and various other related skills.

He has unique experience in traditional etiquette, clothing and manner, wearing armor, and even using swords and bow from horseback while wearing armor in calvary movement/formations (Wakakoma/ NHK training). He often speaks from experience and research about such matters, and it is always quite fascinating. Obata sensei is like a walking Japanese encylopedia.

On the other hand, we generally practice much like every other art currently does, and that is wearing/using only a daito. Almost all classical styles I've ever seen, heard of or read about do not wear additional weapons on them unless they intend to use them for a specific technique. And then it is typically removed soon afterwards.

Why more arts do not practice wearing daisho is a bit of mystery to me, and apparently to everyone else I've asked about this in private. I don't view it as odd so much because of the missing benefits of using additional buki, but more importantly, the experience in moving correctly while wearing additional obstructions in your belt. It is valuable experience. Perhaps in pre-Meiji times, budo-ka (samurai) were already accustomed to wearing daisho, and chose not to include shoto in training since they were so rarely used.

FWIW, Obata sensei told me that he can think of very few times you would realistically need to use a wakizashi. It was worn with the daito primarily to seperate samurai from the common class (a badge of sorts), some of which were allowed to wear one sword legally. Kind of like how the law enforcement officers used to carry their jutte in plain site as their symbol of authority.

So I don't know how well that answers your question, but I do know that some of the senior instructors in shinkendo have gained some degree of experience and instruction in wearing and using wakizashi and tanto. I actually have MPEG's of me cutting with wakizashi, tanto and even a natagama on my web site (much of which performed while wearing daisho) if your curious. Scroll down to the MPEG's section:

Tsuki Kage dojo - Tameshigiri MPEG's (http://www.tsuki-kage.com/library.html)

As far as Naginata, as Dan indicated, daisho seems to have been mostly (if not completely - I don't know for sure) avoided when the bushi was using polearms. They would typically wear a tanto, kodachi, or perhaps a yoroi doshi somewhere in their belt though, depending on how the tradition used their polearm. I believe Mr. Amdur mentioned on e-budo once that the placement in which some koryu choose to wear their backup weapon is considered a secret of the art.

I have some exposure to Tendo ryu, which I've seen employ tanto and/or kodachi at times when the tachi side has overcome the naginata. Some of these techniques are shown on the Nippon Budokan Kobudo video, but since I don't know how Tendo ryu feels about this subject, I'm not comfortable with discussing the placement of their backup weapons myself. Perhaps Mr. Skoss or Mr. Amdur will add comments if this information is considered public knowledge.

Also, I don't know how historically authentic this is, but one Japanese chanbara movie I remember watching has a scene in which (if I remember correctly) a guard carrying a daito picks up a spear to defend himself against multiple attackers. Before he does, he pushes the daito back behind his left leg, vertically (parllel to his body) so that it was out of his way while using the spear. Then pulled the sword around and drew it once the spear broke.

I've tried this with a spear and daito with mixed results, but either way, it seems to be a reasonable idea.

Regards,

Jack Hilton II
31st December 2001, 17:39
Thank you Mr. Harden and Mr. Scott, for taking the time to reply; also to any future commentators: Many thanks!

Jack Hilton

BTW cool MPEG's Mr. Scott.