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Thread: Sitting with Sword in Belt

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    Default Sitting with Sword in Belt

    Why has it become such a fixture in the JMA to practice iai forms whilst sitting in seiza with the sword in the belt?
    Samuel Zavaletta

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    A number of reasons. Because they have incorporated etiquette into sword work. Particularly with indoor training and embu.

    Things seem to have taken a strange turn of events over the years with people actually doing practice outside as one does not traditionally sit in seiza on the ground. So particular schools have developed methods.

    My Ryu is very simple. We dont sit down and all ettiquete if needed is performed before we enter an area. We also respectfully "never" draw a blade facing kamiza.

    Doing Hono Embu, schools that sit in seiza lay out a ground sheet. I particularly remember one embu done on Ganryu Jima to commemorate the death of Sasaki Kojiro. At that time the island had no tourists and the grass was over a meter high. Quite funny for the ryu that only knew how to cut from seiza. No one could see them very well and lawn mowers were not needed that day.

    One well know Ha leader said to me he was told by his sensei that seiza was for sitting in peace to drink tea with friends. And that if.....if ever the other person showed aggression we must be prepared to act in drawing from seiza. To me this rather goes against the grain when one considers that one was not allowed to take daito into someones house.

    Another explanation I have been given by a well known Menkyo Kaiden is that seiza nobu is a method of educating one to cut with the hips.

    No disrespect intended in posting to those that do seiza. You do what you are taught and dont question it.
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyaku View Post
    A number of reasons. Because they have incorporated etiquette into sword work. Particularly with indoor training and embu.

    Things seem to have taken a strange turn of events over the years with people actually doing practice outside as one does not traditionally sit in seiza on the ground. So particular schools have developed methods.

    My Ryu is very simple. We dont sit down and all ettiquete if needed is performed before we enter an area. We also respectfully "never" draw a blade facing kamiza.

    Doing Hono Embu, schools that sit in seiza lay out a ground sheet. I particularly remember one embu done on Ganryu Jima to commemorate the death of Sasaki Kojiro. At that time the island had no tourists and the grass was over a meter high. Quite funny for the ryu that only knew how to cut from seiza. No one could see them very well and lawn mowers were not needed that day.

    One well know Ha leader said to me he was told by his sensei that seiza was for sitting in peace to drink tea with friends. And that if.....if ever the other person showed aggression we must be prepared to act in drawing from seiza. To me this rather goes against the grain when one considers that one was not allowed to take daito into someones house.

    Another explanation I have been given by a well known Menkyo Kaiden is that seiza nobu is a method of educating one to cut with the hips.

    No disrespect intended in posting to those that do seiza. You do what you are taught and dont question it.
    As you've pointed out, the practice seems quite ahistorical. I've never heard that one was "not allowed to take daito into someones house" (though I am aware of contexts/places where certain weapons, or drawing them, was prohibited). However, it is most certainly the case that long weapons are placed aside when "at rest" (whereas short weapons are kept on one's person). One would only keep one's longsword in one's belt (within the context of sitting in seiza with another person) if one had zero respect and/or trust in the counterparty.

    The explanation involving the hips also seems a bit off. If it were the case that drawing from seiza was a means of "educating one to cut with the hips", then one would think that more people drawing in such a fashion would actually be cutting with the hips. However, typically I see a puffed out chest and hips square to the opponent while the arms do the work.

    As you've said, no disrespect intended. Just something that's popped out to me in recent days as an interesting quirk.
    Samuel Zavaletta

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    Well, seiza practice may have several purposes; to teach manners, as a stylized form for being downed, and for techniques intended for kodachi in “real life”.
    No weapons? Not martial.

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    I have heard quite a few reasons and justifications for kata from seiza over the years. The real reason, as Hyakutake sensei pointed out, is that this is what we're told to do. There are a number of schools that do not perform kata from seiza. Therefore, if a person seriously objects, there are options to allow that person to still learn the sword.

    This is an argument that has played out several times in the past. You cold probably find some of them here using the search function.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    Quote Originally Posted by entwidumala View Post
    As you've pointed out, the practice seems quite ahistorical. I've never heard that one was "not allowed to take daito into someones house" (though I am aware of contexts/places where certain weapons, or drawing them, was prohibited). However, it is most certainly the case that long weapons are placed aside when "at rest" (whereas short weapons are kept on one's person). One would only keep one's longsword in one's belt (within the context of sitting in seiza with another person) if one had zero respect and/or trust in the counterparty.

    The explanation involving the hips also seems a bit off. If it were the case that drawing from seiza was a means of "educating one to cut with the hips", then one would think that more people drawing in such a fashion would actually be cutting with the hips. However, typically I see a puffed out chest and hips square to the opponent while the arms do the work.

    As you've said, no disrespect intended. Just something that's popped out to me in recent days as an interesting quirk.
    Well if you are not generating power from tanden and koshi to cut sitting or standing I am really at loss to figure out what kind of sword work you do. In Japan "everything' is powered by the strength of the lower half of the body, even walking. It's the first thing foreigners have to adapt to when they come to live in Japan to do budo. Lack of skill is almost always based on lack of this power.

    In some ryu seiza has been added as an addition. Likewise the addition of etiquette.

    If you have spend some time in a Japanese house you would know that they are so low you have to bend down to get through door ways. Swinging a diato would be impossible. That's why they are curved and pointy. So that you can stab people.

    Olden Japan was very severe. In area I live they even put a wife to death because she let a stranger use the toilet. Taking long blade into a house was considered ill intent. That what the genkan is for. Leave your sandals and swords.
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyaku View Post
    If you have spend some time in a Japanese house you would know that they are so low you have to bend down to get through door ways. Swinging a diato would be impossible. That's why they are curved and pointy. So that you can stab people.
    They are curvy because the curvature aids the cut. They are pointy so that people can be stabbed with them.

    Larger varieties might be a bit too cumbersome for use in the smaller Japanese homes, but many would not be too cumbersome. Though I suppose it's simply a matter of what sword techniques one is familiar with. I'm sure some styles are inappropriate for use in confined spaces.
    Samuel Zavaletta

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    Quote Originally Posted by entwidumala View Post
    They are curvy because the curvature aids the cut. They are pointy so that people can be stabbed with them.
    Not really. That little bit of lore was put forth by one of the early companies making Japanese style swords from China in order to get people to purchase their swords, which had quite a bit of sori. I can cut equally as well with a European sword as I can a Japanese sword. The curvature does aid the thrust because it not only pokes a hole if you stab someone, it also cuts wider than the width of the blade due to the curvature.

    Quote Originally Posted by entwidumala View Post
    Larger varieties might be a bit too cumbersome for use in the smaller Japanese homes, but many would not be too cumbersome. Though I suppose it's simply a matter of what sword techniques one is familiar with. I'm sure some styles are inappropriate for use in confined spaces.
    What sword styles are you familiar with that would be appropriate for using a daito indoors?
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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