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Thread: Draeger & MSR/MJER Bashing

  1. #46
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    Re Earl Hartman's questions:

    !) The arching cut I refer to usually has locked elbows, and is typified by one or both of the following: Leading with the tip of the blade or "pushing out" with the hands. Antoher example can be seen in some individuals (not all - I'm not interested in "maybe you say that, but I don't" replies) who focus on tameshigiri done in a way that is, in truth, the most effective way to cut stationary objects - a drwing cut in which the person is not protected if they miss or are deflected or don't succeed in killing/immobilizing when they cut. Many iaido schools also cut with their hands together - creates more velocity at the tip, making the whistling sound more likely, but provides very poor stability/leverate if you actually contact something rigid.

    In short, an effective cut (and different schools do it different ways) most be an efficient way to cut flesh and/or bone, or in some systems, through thick fabric or even armor, all on a moving enemy - and is done in such a way that the person is protective, able to continue with another attack, or withdraw if the attack fails.

    2) REgarding "orgianl MJER" and Masaoka S., that you for providing a substantiation for what, on my part, was logical (so I believe, anyway, inference). I do wonder if Hayashizaki may have worn his sword handachi style (basically, a tachi with some fittings removed, thrust blade up in the belt), as that was common at the time of his life. In any event, those considering MJER, Draeger/Skoss/my own and other's opinions would be justified in regarding the changes in MJER either progressive evolution or degeneration. Based on my own tastes, in which I believe that spiritual development best occurs when using something practical (I prefer tea bowls that actually hold water to those which are lovely but leak), I would consider the changes to be a loss. However, some of the estimable men who practice the "modern" style of MJER or other iaido would certainly provide a counter argument, at least in regards to character development. Nonetheless, I could(personal taste again) never imagine spending a minute doing any modern iaido form, but were someone to surface who could reliably be regarded to practice something close to the original style, I'd leap at a chance to study.

    3) Re SMR - I am not referring to the seitei jo per se. The contimination has spread like mold into the older forms of many of the senior teachers, in a way that I believe has done tremendous damage to the subtle treasures of knowledge contained in the ryu I am well-aware that the group you practice with does not use the kendo ashi-sabaki, kamae etc. Note above that I specifically highlighted those practicing with Kyushu and Nishioka Tsuneo as groups which exemplify the older, in my opinion, less or uncontaminated approach.

    Best

    Ellis Amdur

  2. #47
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    Originally posted by Ellis Amdur
    I believe that spiritual development best occurs when using something practical
    Ellis:

    Thanks for putting my own thoughts so succinctly. Over time, I have come to feel the same way, that is, that in order to understand the spirit of whatever it is that you are doing, you must develop a reasonable skill at it. This presupposes that there is some practical effect that can be measured and objectively evaluated. This, in its turn, presupposes that the art that you practice is technically sound enough to yield that practical effect. Of course, in this day and age, there are no battles, so these things cannot be proven on a battlefield. Two solutions have been adopted, each limited in their own way: sparring with rules or kata practice.

    Interestingly enough, I believe that in its own way, kyudo offers a good way to easily judge practicality and technical correctness: you have to hit the target, and the arrow must fly straight and true. This is objective proof that the technique has been executed correctly, which in turn presupposes that the spirit driving it is correct. People who have been taken in by Herrigel think that hitting the target is unimportant, but they are wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I realize, of course, that the kyudo of today has no practical battlefield effect or application to self-defense or any kind of fighting and that its techniques are no longer "practical" in that sense, so perhaps it is of no interest to you. However, even in its attenuated modern incarnation it can, if correctly understood, give a person great insight into the real relationship of spirit (Do) and technique (jutsu).

    I think that you will like the following quote, from the late Saito Chobo, a very high-ranking Ogasawara Ryu stylist and a respected kyudo historian who trained under Ogasawara Kiyoaki, the 29th headmaster of the Ogasawara Ryu:

    "Among those who practice kyudo, there are those who say that in yumi it is not necessary to hit the target, or that all that is necessary is that your form is good; indeed, there are even those who go so far as to say that form doesn't matter, that spirit is the most important thing.

    Of course, those who have a twisted spirit are a pain in the neck no matter what they do; and practicing yumi with bad form is not good. However, to have good form (shooting technique) and to not hit the target is against nature. Do not be misled by nonsense. If your shooting form is good, accuracy will surely follow. I want you to not forget that missing the target means that something is wrong.

    If you practice yumi diligently, you will gain some kind of spiritual benefit. However, kyujutsu is by its nature a physical activity, so if you want to engage in spiritual training, you will get faster results if you do something like zazen rather than archery."

    Truer words have rarely been spoken.

    Earl
    Earl Hartman

  3. #48
    JohnRay Guest

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    To this august group,
    First, I don't know about other Eishin-ryu teachers, but mine has from the beginning hammered in intricacies of the system based on it's effectiveness.
    Second, the purpose of iaido is to first and foremost develop the technique and skill necessary to support a nearly instantaneous attack on an enemy either in the process of physical attack, or with deadly intent. This attack commences from a sheathed sword.
    This technique and skill includes, but is not limited to rote moves within the systems waza. In fact, the deciding factor in technique is the swordsman's general control of the sword based on fundamental principals inherent throughout the waza.
    It is not primarily concerned with training involving static cuts, nor 2-man prearranged kata using bokuto, although they are often utilized. These training devices are deemed inferior to the primary task in iaido, control of a katana within an open-ended number of life threatening situations. It is not assasination, nor is it battlefield technique.
    Concerning the postures used, everything used within a training hall is considered training.
    Character development is/should be important for any art with the taking of another human being's life central to it's core, whatever it may be labeled..... this is also necessary for functioning in a situation producing the highest levels of fear and excitement.... This aspect was neither talked about nor specifically trained in my dojo. It is within the people who came before me and was handed down throughout years by their example.
    Finally, it seems painfully obvious to me that many of the posters on this forum are sorely lacking in the most basic of higher human characteristics: sensitivity, humility, and open-mindedness.
    John Ray
    Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Seidokai
    Zen Nippon Iaido Renmei

  4. #49
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    Hi John.

    May I disagree?

    It is not assasination,....
    Gee, John ... maybe it has developed to that point today -- but some waza were based on "assasination." Witness Itomagoi 1~3. Also, Oikaze ... (and maybe even Tanashita and Shinobu). I know today Oikaze is taught that you are facing your enemy and you first break through his retainers -- but I was taught that you break through "innocent bystanders" in a crowd and then strike your target from behind.

    Anything can be made into a "DO" so that we may "polish our Self" -- ballet, rifle marksmanship, motorcycle maintenance, etc -- but that doesn't mean the original intent was so.

    It's nice to talk about perfecting the self, but I think it is a travesty if we "forget" the original intent: to kill. And remembering the original intend does not mean we glorify it. We just remember.

    Regards,
    Guy
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

  5. #50
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    Originally posted by ghp


    It is not assasination,....
    Gee, John ... maybe it has developed to that point today -- but some waza were based on "assasination." Witness Itomagoi 1~3. Also, Oikaze ... (and maybe even Tanashita and Shinobu). I know today Oikaze is taught that you are facing your enemy and you first break through his retainers -- but I was taught that you break through "innocent bystanders" in a crowd and then strike your target from behind.

    Anything can be made into a "DO" so that we may "polish our Self" -- ballet, rifle marksmanship, motorcycle maintenance, etc -- but that doesn't mean the original intent was so.

    It's nice to talk about perfecting the self, but I think it is a travesty if we "forget" the original intent: to kill. And remembering the original intend does not mean we glorify it. We just remember.

    Regards,
    Guy
    It might also be a travesty to lose the soundness of the principles and waza that made it capable of its original task. Without an eye to original intent, the correct method and edginess are the first things to degrade -- usually via faulty transmission -- and disappear.
    Cady Goldfield

  6. #51
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    Originally posted by ghp:

    I know today Oikaze is taught that you are facing your enemy and you first break through his retainers -- but I was taught that you break through "innocent bystanders" in a crowd and then strike your target from behind.
    In Oikaze one also pursues an enemy. But isn't it Sode Surigaeshi when you first "break through" bystanders?

    BTW, I also was taught Iwanami as anything but defensive. I was told that when this Kata was explained to my teacher for the first time, he noticed: "But that means clearly to commit murder!" - "Manchmal muß sein" ("sometimes has to be"), was the answer in broken German.

    Regards,
    Robert

  7. #52
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    Default Seiza no Bu and Tatehiza no Bu

    Regarding Seiza, Tatehiza, 'dead' positions, and not wearing a daito when sitting like that (indoors).

    A lot of people - most of them much more knowledgeable than me, I assume - already debated that matter. I just wanted to add one thought, and ask if you had considered that:

    While the techniques may have been changed or rearranged also in more modern times, the introduction of Tatehiza and Seiza clearly happened at a time, when people like Hasegawa Eishin and Omori Masamitsu must have known all that things, because they where part of their daily life, but nevertheless included that positions in their training and teachings. Obviously they found some value in using them.

    I just wanted to point out, that, while these methods may not origin from Sengoku Jidai, they clearly are not modern inventions added by people that have had no clue about everyday life with the sword.

    Regards,
    Robert

  8. #53
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    Mr. Reinberger writes -

    "Regarding Seiza, Tatehiza, 'dead' positions, and not wearing a daito when sitting like that (indoors). [SNIP] While the techniques may have been changed or rearranged also in more modern times, the introduction of Tatehiza and Seiza clearly happened at a time, when people like Hasegawa Eishin and Omori Masamitsu musthave known all that things, because they where part of their daily life, but nevertheless included that positions in their training and teachings. Obviously they found some value in using them. I just wanted to point out, that, while these methods may not origin from Sengoku Jidai, they clearly are not modern inventions added by people that have had no clue about everyday life with the sword."

    That is the core question! AS my interests circle around the Sengoku period and the use of weapons in that context, I have no idea of the answer. But you are right. Why did these men, some of them incredibly skilled with the weapon, some of them of intellectually high caliber, choose to change things the way they did? Obviously, the changes had social and practical utility in the context of the society within which they lived. And equally obviously, their primary concern was no longer sneaking thru tall grass or dealing with surprise invasions or rolling in the muck and blood in melee situations.

    Best

    Ellis Amdur

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    Originally posted by JohnRay

    ... It is not assasination....
    John Ray
    Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Seidokai
    Zen Nippon Iaido Renmei
    With all due respect, the sotai for Koranto, for an example, is chasing teki and cutting him dowm from behind. NukiUchi is another nasty example.

    Best,

    John Mark

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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by john mark
    [B]
    Originally posted by JohnRay

    ... It is not assasination....
    John Ray
    Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Seidokai
    Zen Nippon Iaido Renmei
    With all due respect, the sotai for Koranto, for an example, is chasing teki and cutting him dowm from behind. NukiUchi is another nasty example.

    Best,
    .....................
    Glad you mentioned that one Mr Ray,

    It was brought up at a Roshukai (Iwata) Seminar some years ago. Many people working out the finer points of the waza had assumed that the opponent had turned around at the last minute and thought cutting his back was a bit off. Iwata said, “That’s the way it`s done. These things happen.”

    Hyakutake Colin

    http://www.bunbun.ne.jp/~sword




  11. #56
    Dan Harden Guest

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    It was brought up at a Roshukai (Iwata) Seminar some years ago. Many people working out the finer points of the waza had assumed that the opponent had turned around at the last minute and thought cutting his back was a bit off. Iwata said, “That’s the way it`s done. These things happen.”

    Its seems he is right!
    Currently, on the history channel there is a program about the Burma Thailand railroad (the truth of the river Kwai) and the taking of Singapore by the Japanese. On the show are interviews with hundreds of the 130,000 men taken. They are showing the Japanese films of the starvation, beatings, stabbing and so forth of helpless people both sholdier AND!!! citizins.
    Included in this are films of Chinese women (citizens)being attacked and stabbed from behind, and then decapitated
    So it appears your teacher was right. "These things happen"
    and of people in hospitals being stabbed in their beds as well as citizens being stabbed in the street. Overall they murdered 20,000 civilians by gun, bayonet and sword.
    Then proceeded to starve, torture, stab, and murder 13,000 prisoners of war, and and unnumbered amount of asian slaves. In fact they frequently stabbed them and left them hanging for days to die slowly in the sun. The men had to suffer as well. It seems they could hear the cries of histeria of the victims at night who were hung up as they slowly drowned in their own blood.
    I guess Jukendo works pretty well. And you get to practice on live tied up dummy's. Oh the glory days of Japanese Budo.
    I just thought the film of stabbing and beheading from behind might be of interest to those studying such things. As it is apprapo to the discussion at hand.

    [Edited by Dan Harden on 12-02-2000 at 11:30 PM]

  12. #57
    Goon Jhuen Weng Guest

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    "Budo? What a joke!"
    By Mr Dan Harden

    I've been following this post with tremendous interest as I practise MSR Iai myself and I haven't added any comments yet as my knowledge of Iai (or any Japanese martial art) is near to nil. But, seeing the above statment posted by Mr Dan Harden made me quite confused. Its true that the Japanese soldiers during WWII committed terrible atrocities to allied troops and civilians but I fail to understand the statment that Budo is a joke. No offense Mr Harden but are you trying to say that all of us Budo practitioners are in reality, bloody-thirsty, cruel, monstrous, evil, deceiving, merciless etc, etc, etc.....people? I for one, strongly believe in what I practise. Its true that, on the surface level, we study systematic methods of violence but in the deeper and overall sense, our training in Budo allows us to truly see the good and the ugly side of our lives and the lives around us. If you say that Budo is just violence, I might as well have just signed on and become a regular soldier in the Singapore army after my term of conscription. I don't know. Maybe I'm just a young, idealistic nitwit with my head up in the clouds but like I said, I believe in what I practise and I believe that Budo is NOT a joke. Period.
    Anyway, back to the topic of MJER/MSR iaijutsu, I have to agree with Mr. Ellis Amdur that spiritual development best occurs when using something practical. I honestly don't like doing Seitei Iai and would concentrate more on MSR as it is more practical that the former. (I know MSR is not exactly a practical art but it is better than doing Seitei. MSR also has TachiUchi no Kurai, i.e Kenjutsu, which Seitei does not which makes MSR definately more practical in terms of learning distance and timing) Only reason why I do Seitei is because Sensei asks me to do so and that it develops the principles of Iai and (sigh!) for grading purposes.

  13. #58
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Dan Harden
    [B]It was brought up at a Roshukai (Iwata) Seminar some years ago. Many people working out the finer points of the waza had assumed that the opponent had turned around at the last minute and thought cutting his back was a bit off. Iwata said, “That’s the way it`s done. These things happen.”

    Budo? what a joke!

    Dan

    Sorry you feel so badly about it Mr Harden.

    Perhaps you might find my other web pages of interest.

    http://www2.saganet.ne.jp/sword

    Regards Hyakutake Colin


  14. #59
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Hi Colin


    I really must apologize. It was late and I was greatly moved by what I saw in the films. Not the least of which were the sword and bayonet attacks on women and helpless prisoners. To this day I cannot watch the Holocost or the Nagasaki/Hiroshima films . I tears me up. So.....
    Sorry for emoting. Of course there is some truth to wheigh in with. View points about the various cultures "mindset" at the time to balance things out.


    Dan

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    Default MJER

    Hi all,

    although i certainly don´t have at least a half of the experience and knowledge of the other gentlemen around in this forum, there is one point which i still miss in this thread:
    Draeger Sensei always wrote in his books about the ineffectiveness of seiza and tatehiza forms (for example in MJER), but as far as i know (which is actually not very much) he never mentioned that first every member of the MJER knows about this ineffectiveness and second everyone there is taught that these Kata sets are taught for strenghtening the hips and learn the basic bodywork of Iai-fashioned swordsmanship. No practitioner of MJER would ever think of Seiza no Bu as effective, for it just is not meant to be effective in combat at all. It is a means to develop certain abilities which are required later for the "effective" forms (in the Tachiwaza sets). This should be clear alone through the fact that no bushi ever sat in seiza wearing a Katana.
    This just to join the discussion.
    All the best,
    Nicki


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