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Thread: Developing striking skills

  1. #1
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    Question: Is there any systematic striking practice in the study of jo? I.e., do practitioners go out and whack things (e.g., dead trees and wooden posts, etc., not people...necessarily) to develop, strengthen and/or test their striking ability?

    Thanks!

    Eric Baluja

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    Hi Eric,

    Trust you got home safely last night!

    I've been advised to use a tree or post for targeting practice for thrusts, but we typically develop our strikes (honte, gyakute, and hikiotoshi uchi) via solo practice, tandoku kihon, (for coordinating stick, body, hands, and feet and basically learning the moves), paired basic practice, sotai kihon, (to develop trajectory, distancing, timing, targeting), and uchikomi (repeated striking of a sword).

    This last is essential, in my opinion, for developing accurate and efficient strikes (you don't really need a lot of power to do serious damage if you hit the right spot on the right angle). The feedback you can get from your partner and the "feel" of the stick striking the sword help you adjust the angle and correct and body anomolies (hands crossing the center line, when they shouldn't, for example).

    Because the process of developing the strike involves learning how to do them as cuts, it would be difficult to do them initially against some sort of inanimate object, since you need to learn to pass through a full striking trajectory. That's why working with the sword is handy. We do practice control and stopping strikes by hitting the body (and of course, there are places in various kata, where one hits/cuts the opponent's body).

    Hope this helps.

    ------------------
    Diane Skoss
    Koryu.com

    [This message has been edited by Diane Skoss (edited 06-14-2000).]

  3. #3
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    Yes, I got home just fine. Unfortunately, the wise folks who fix our highways and bridges decided to close both the highway and the bridge that Kevin needed to use to get home. I hope he finally made it, irregardless of my half-assed directions, and greatly appreciate his huge kindness.

    And thank you for your assistance last night and today!

    Eric Baluja

  4. #4
    Meik Skoss Guest

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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Eric Baluja:
    [B]Question: Is there any systematic striking practice in the study of jo? I.e., do practitioners go out and whack things (e.g., dead trees and wooden posts, etc., not people...necessarily) to develop, strengthen and/or test their striking ability? Thanks!

    I think Diane answered your question well so I will just add a thought or two. We train in uchikomi against the sword because that's the way we do kata. In actuality, there *is* a difference in how one strikes with a stick and how one cuts with a sword (involving the way in which one focuses power) and uchikomi training against a sword does not completely translate to an effective "real" technique. It's a thing one learns over time. If there is an uchikomi ningyo in your dojo, that's a very good target to use in striking practice.
    The problem is, if it's a typical striking dummy all dressed up in kendo bogu, the end of the jo's hard enough to really damage the men, do or kote, so...

    Hope that helps.


    ------------------
    Meik Skoss
    Koryu.com

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    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Meik Skoss:
    If there is an uchikomi ningyo in your dojo, that's a very good target to use in striking practice.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Uh...nan des' ka?

    Grazie mille,

    Eric Baluja

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    Wink

    I used to practice in space rented from some guy who teaches BJJ and some karate to kids. Well, he had this little green rubber kid shaped ... thing. I can only guess for what it was used.


    He has this mean, ugly look on his face, which never sat real well with me. So, after bowing out of jo practice, I would go over jack him all the way up, then work on my strikes. It was ... interesting.

    I did this after bowing out, as I feel that beating up Martian children doesn't really have any place in my SMR practice.


    ------

    william schutt

  7. #7
    Jeff Bristol Guest

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    I usually practice my strikes against someone holding a bokken, we go through the first few basics on each other.

    Jeff bristol

    ------------------
    It may come to pass that myriad people suffer from the evils of one man, in such a case are not myriad people saved by killing one man? Is this not a true case of the sword that kills is the sword that gives life?

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    Hi Eric,

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Uh...nan des' ka?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    An uchikomi ningyo is a striking dummy. The little green munchkin is a good example. I've also seen people tape up on the dojo wall outlines of heads with the correct angles drawn across them to help practice trajectory.

    ------------------
    Diane Skoss
    Koryu.com

  9. #9
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    I to practice against a partner with a sword (usually my Wife) and itis fairly easy for her to know when I'm using strength instead of technique. With her I find that her technique is good it's her aim and ma-ai that need work. To each his (or her) own. I will say that we don't do partner work until we have completed at least 10 repetitions of each of the 12 so called Kihon waza (I know that there's a more accurate term for this but I don't know it) Very recently we were taught Nishioka Sensei's warmup exercises which I haven't mastered yet(damn footwork) but I do enjoy...Please don't ask me to explain it I just play follow the leader at this point Since we only know two Kata so far we practice these singly First and then as a swordsman/stickman. In the begining (where I still am)I find single practice much more usefull than hitting something (except with Makiotoshi however that is a whole differant problem) On can Fake it in partner pratice with strength however it is tiring (unless you are really strong and your partner isn't). Stick to practicing the forms (a lot) and eventually the motions become natural (except makiotoshi)



    ------------------
    Peace
    Tony Peters

    When Two flashing swords meet there is no place to escape;
    Move coolly, like a lotus flower blooming in the midst of
    a roaring fire and forcefully pierce the Heavens!

  10. #10
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    Striking big wooden objects such as oak trees with your little wooden object (e.g., a stick), is very hard on the stick. Seriously.

    A further problem is that many (most?) wooden sticks today have been kiln dried. As a result, they may have internal stress fractures. Slow-drying works well with oak and the like, while fire-hardening works better with rattan. (Most jo people won't like rattan; it's too light and moves differently. That's not to say that if you get whacked on the head with an arnis stick that you won't see stars upon awakening, it's just that a rattan stick moves differently.)

    That said, rattan has the advantage of shredding rather than splintering, which makes it much safer.

    Either way, consider hanging an old steel-belted radial and using that as your target. It's resilient -- if you break the tire, I think Dupont will want to know, as Kevlar's usually better than that -- and not too hard on your sticks.

    If you insist on hitting trees, make sure that the tree you hit is of a softer wood than your stick. For example, hitting a pine tree with an ash stick is probably okay. However, hitting an ash tree with an oak stick is not so good, as the two woods are equally dense.



    ------------------
    Joe
    http://ejmas.com

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    Speaking of targets, I remember once seeing a photograph of an Okinawan makiwara. It was cruciform structured, and had the same sort of rope wound about it that the traditional makiwara for body practice has. I was told that it's form was designed for practicing some of the weapons of Okinawan Kobudo on. Has anyone else seen these? Better yet, has anyone had the opportunity to train with something like this?

    ------------------
    Krzysztof M. Mathews
    " For I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me"
    -Rudyard Kipling

  12. #12
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    To pick up Joe's idea of an effective jo makiwara the tire is a great idea. A tire may, however, get black all over your jo. So years ago I got some scrap carpet & a T-50 (heavy) staple gun. I cut a long strip and stapled it to the upper rim of the tire for practicing suburi strikes shomen & yokomen.

    I also cut a circle roughly the diameter of the highest ridge of the tire, about 2-2.5 ft. In the center of this carpet remnant I cut a hole about the size of a silver dollar.
    Then I stapled the bejeezuz out of the big carpet circle on the face of the tire. Then I practiced ts'ki (thrust) into the little hole in the carpet. Start as slow as you need to not hit the carpet.

    Later you get a real aerobic rhythm: yokomen, (watershed) block, tsuki the little hole, block again (changing left/right), yokomen, on and on. In Florida things rot fast so when my makiwara fell apart I never redid it. But it was cheap, easy, it worked, and it was huge fun.

    Keep in mind the strength of your jo is straight on tsuki. Yokomen and other strikes will stress the wood and jos break all the time. Invest in a good weapon. It'll last for years.

    Enjoy!!

  13. #13
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    Another possibility is to build a cruciform target out of PVC pipe. Upon completion, wrap the thing in duct tape and it should survive at least a year of heavy use. Total cost is maybe $25, so replacement is more hassle than expense.

    Easier on the sticks, and flying debris isn't nearly as likely to threaten your eyesight. (If you strike trees, I'd recommend safety glasses. A sixteenth century French king died from a splintering lance sending a sliver into his eye while jousting, so injuries are possible.)

  14. #14
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    I have been working on a design that revolves around a bokken in a sprung holder. This can be attached to a wall or tree and 'hold' the bokken in a normal posture and allow you to belt it. The spring will then return the bokken to the correct position and so on.

    There are a number of problems, primarily in the control of the bokkens movement, but these are manageable. All I need to do is find someone to build one so I can see if it works!

    It would be simple to add padded 'shoulders' and strike areas in the chest/face region for a well rounded training device. It may be of benefit to other styles that train against a swordsman.

    I'm just wondering if there is enough call for me to patent the design or whether I just distribute it freely to the few people that may want to use it, I'm open to ideas! Do you see a need for a device like this or am I wasting my furtile mind?

    Regards
    Neil

    ------------------
    The one thing that must be learnt, but cannot be taught is understanding.

  15. #15
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    Hi Neil,

    Last year I built a bokken device similar to what you mentioned. I used weights/pulleys and counter weights to solve the problem of bokken movement. It has helped my technique and power considerably. I think your idea with a spring is probably easier than setting up all the weights and pulleys. Several in our dojo took photos and measurements but a year later no one has tried to reproduce one.

    will

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