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Thread: Nakamura Senseis article

  1. #1
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    Default Nakamura Senseis article

    I found this thread over at kendo-world. I thought I might share it here seeing the guy didnt get any responses on that forum.

    http://kendo-world.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20397

    Anyone with any insight in this article by Nakamura Sensei?


    Have a good one.

    David Torez

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    Those recommendations by the late Nakamura Sensei were mostly based on his experiences with the current steels of that time. Also, keep in mind that Sensei also stood about 5' 5", so anything longer than that would have been more difficult to wield and perform the proper technique. Today we have more modern steels that can take more abuse and can be longer, thinner, and lighter.

    Jay
    Jose "Jay" Mijares
    Nakamura Ryu Batto-Do -- Kenshinkan Dojo (San Francisco Bay Area)

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    Smile

    It's a great article and worth reading several times.

    Nakamura-Sensei wasn't large by our standards perhaps, but some of his students were significantly larger than he, and he would have had experience helping fit swords to them.
    Several times in the article he mentions that larger swords might be used by larger people.

    So take it for what it is, a general guideline, to which there are naturally exceptions.
    Michael Mason
    Shinkendo New York @ Brooklyn Dojo
    www.brooklyndojo.com/shinkendo

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    kendoworld is off line for some reason... but I will pop on when its back up for a read...
    Tim Hamilton

    Why are you reading this instead of being out training? No excuses accepted...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chidokan View Post
    kendoworld is off line for some reason... but I will pop on when its back up for a read...
    try here...
    http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/articleh.htm
    Michael Mason
    Shinkendo New York @ Brooklyn Dojo
    www.brooklyndojo.com/shinkendo

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    just for info, the poster over on kendoworld emailed me. I tried to answer some of it, but he was not very specific and has not answered my reply.
    oh well.

    Dave
    Dave Drawdy
    "the artist formerly known as Sergeant Major"

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    This is another piece of writing from Yamaoka Tesshu , stating his thoughts on sword lengths, for those of you who have not read it before:

    "In the past, various well known swordsmen have made strong comments about proper sword length in their writings and transmission documents. For example, in 1883, "sword saint" Yamaoka Tesshu posted a notice in his dojo regarding that focused on this subject:

    From ancient times, the standard sword length has been set at ten hand-breadths. Ten hand-breadths is approximately one-half the length of the body [or one-half the distance between both arms outstretched either side]. Hence, when swords are crossed the space between two opponents is twenty hand-breadths, i.e., one body length. There is also a sword eight hand-breadths long. Because this sword is so short greater attention and sharper focus is necessary when confronting an opponent. In the past, swordsmen followed this standard approach and all [ryu-ha] used bamboo swords ten hand-breaths or less in length.
    These days, virtually all [ryu-ha] have fallen under the spell of shenanigans; because hardly anyone is aware of traditional standards, the use of excessively long swords is now the custom. This lack of study and proper knowledge is indeed lamentable. Anyone with at least a little background in swordsmanship should know better than to engage in such ostentation. Since present day instructors like to show off with gimmicks while avoiding real man-to-man contests, it is no surprise abuses occur. All those who wish to restore the Way of the Sword must construct their bamboo swords according to the ancient standards, wielding it as if it were a live blade. Future generations too must preserve this standard."
    Quote http://www.tsuki-kage.com/faq.html#4

    Also, for those of you who didnt know, Tesshu was a large man in his time, about 6 foot tall, and preffered to use "shorter" swords, like the standard 2-3 shaku length for his style of swordsmanship, and as you can see, slightly condemns the use of overly large swords in this writing:

    "Our nation has a well-established tradition regarding the length of a sword. All the founders of the various [ryu-ha] of swordsmanship followed the ancient standard which I believe must be restored. Ever since Oishi Susumu of the Yanagigawa [aka: Yanagawa] clan began using a long sword during the Tempo era, the [ryu-ha] have lost sight of the merits of a short sword, gradually abandoning the traditions of their predecessors. Use of a long sword is now nearly universal - the Shinkage ryu, Shinkei ryu, Munen ryu, Itto ryu, and all the rest have capitulated. As the old saying goes, "keep to the source and foster the Way." There may be some value in conducting matches, but if the traditional teaching is not maintained it will be impossible to attain the ultimate principles no matter how long one trains. Present day sports contests depend on the use of long swords; that is not the true Way of practice. I beseech all students of swordsmanship to reflect deeply on this matter." Quote http://www.tsuki-kage.com/faq.html#4

    I thought id just add this in for some further insight for those who are interested.

    Kind regards,
    Jeremy Hagop

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    a little entertainment for you all... Iwata sensei once mentioned that it was once recommended in Kochi that if you wanted to 'try a new sword out', you always picked on someone with a long sword and a large tsuba. The idea was you could draw your new (shorter) sword and small tsuba a lot faster than the other guy could draw his...
    Tim Hamilton

    Why are you reading this instead of being out training? No excuses accepted...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chidokan View Post
    a little entertainment for you all... Iwata sensei once mentioned that it was once recommended in Kochi that if you wanted to 'try a new sword out', you always picked on someone with a long sword and a large tsuba. The idea was you could draw your new (shorter) sword and small tsuba a lot faster than the other guy could draw his...
    Makes sense actually. Other than my iaito or L6, my favorite training weapon is my gunto, which is about 2" shorter than my iaito or L6. Having done fencing for many years, I always preferred slightly shorter foil and saber because once I was able to get inside my opponent's tip the point was mine.
    Jose "Jay" Mijares
    Nakamura Ryu Batto-Do -- Kenshinkan Dojo (San Francisco Bay Area)

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