View Full Version : Jigen-ryu gokui?
07-13-2000, 10:27 PM
I was attending a lecture on martial arts in Japan two years ago, and the speaker was talking about how the romantic perception of two swordsmen facing off in a state of fudoshin, mushin, etc in dead silence for many minutes, only to end it in one quick action was really not the norm in the old days. People would jump around, hitting the swords and basically (and naturally) be a bit more scared. He went on to mention that in one ryu (Jigen-ryu if the translator was correct) that they even taught to close your eyes when you cut. The idea being that "fear can freeze your feet" and if you are not yet experienced in the sword arts, the best thing to do when an opponent cuts is the step in and cut..with the eyes closed!
Anyone else heard this? Of course this would not be used in all situations, but it is supposed to be part of the gokui of this ryu.
07-14-2000, 12:37 AM
I guess that we (myself anyway) forget the levels that the swordsman were at. If you think of your basic training in the army and the weapons you are introduced to, and the level to which you are trained to with each (unless you go onto specialised training, or become the section gunner); then you would think that the swordsman of yesterday was not that well versed in their weapon before being "put to the test".
They may have had a handfull of waza, that they were proficant in. But then they may have actually faced death and may well have seen others die beside them.
I have been in the australian army for almost ten years, five as a combat/para engineer and the last years as a draftsman while I study for my architectural degree. In that time I have only spent 3 months on active service. And that was only 4 months ago in East Timor.
Their levels of training would have been inversely proportional to the state of readiness or state peace within their domain. Higher state of readiness less time to train due to other concurrent training and tasking.
I guess I will answer with another question, what holds better, a hand full of tried and provine waza, or a swordsman of today with a wider range of waza but may or may not have "combat" exposure? (but never with a sword I would say)
07-14-2000, 11:40 AM
This brings to mind a pet theory of mine - Musashi was successful in so many duels and from such an early age because he was crazy to begin with. I site as evidence his first duel in which he supposedly beat the guy to death. He was young and though trained probably not yet polished, but he did have great will to win and seemingly no fear - crazy. Throughout his life he displayed a maniacal approach to fighting even as his skills became more polished. He became a sword saint because he was born without a healthy fear of death and a lack of empathy for his fellow man. This is why I like the movie Unforgiven so much. It portrayed the fear and emptiness of killing, dying, and even victory. William Mony triumphs in the end because he is at heart a psychopath and willing to drag everyone into hell with him.
07-14-2000, 11:50 AM
Glad to know that there is somebody else out there who feels the same way about Musashi as I do. I don't pretend to be a scholar, and I mean no disresepct to members of the Niten Ichi Ryu, but I have read the available translations of Go Rin no Sho, and judging from what he has written, it seems that Musashi was not a normal person, if by normal one means a person who has a certain amount of fear, among other things. If two people are fighting, and one is afraid of dying while the other is not, then the outcome will be obvious. Indeed, it is precisely losing one's fear of death that allows one to respond appriopriately in a fight and thereby win, thus preserving one's life. I think that Musashi understood this. I also think that it is probably beyond the grasp of most people. In additon to that, Musashi realized that once swords are drawn, it is a fight to the finish and that in order to win, one can have no pity and must think of nothing but striking down the enemy. This seems to indicate a lack of pity, but I think that it is simply a realization that that is what fighting is all about. This is also why someone with a true understanding knows that swords must stay in their scabbards, since once they are out, there is no turning back and blood will be shed.
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