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Thread: Hidden in Plain Sight - Discussion

  1. #91
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    Reg - I honestly don't know the answer to your question regarding sunden. I learned a lot about use of the gaze, and I also learned information on driving attention/energy through the top of the head in kiai. But the training I've done neither refers to the word or focuses on the concept.

    I'm going to punt that one and say, "ask your teacher(s)."

    Best
    Ellis Amdur

  2. #92
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    Hi Ellis,

    I just came back from Japan and here I was, awake at an impossible hour reading the discussion. Although not very coherent (due to Jet lag) here some comments:

    I don’t know sunden. I looked it up in the Japanese English dictionary of kendo (All Japan kendo Federation), which is my bible for kendo related terminology, and couldn’t find it. Also the upper tandem is unknown to me. From the kanji I presume it is Jōtandem, which I also don’t know.

    Having said so, I just want to agree on how important koshi (hips) is. Having had twice a hip replacement in the last 10 years (too much Karate competitions when I was young and of course genetically influenced) , I can testify how this influences one’s ability. I am now recovering from the right hip operation and although I don't have any problems in daily life, finding the right energy balance during training is still not 100%.

    Talking about Hozoin-ryu, I am not an expert at all but I had the chance to participate in the anniversary embu of that school in Nara (representing Hontai Yoshin-ryu, together with soke and members of the sohonbu dojo). After that we were invited for some classes at their dojo and I was impressed by the low but very stable position they use. All the energy came from the hips and the abdomen).

    Now their position is quite different from let say Kenjutsu, so I agree that you have to consider things in the right context. For instance I briefly stopped at Sasamori soke’s dojo this week (ono ha itto ryu) on my way back and again experienced a different use of body position and hip work. The idea of their school is illustrated in Kiri otoshi, where they create the principle of ue dachi, the idea that your sword has to come over the sword of the opponent, like a wheel that rolls over his sword. Of course this requires a totally different energy base than in Hozoin-ryu.

    Now I am not an expert in these arts (I only touched Hozoin-ryu, because I was invited and now, after more than 20 years of Hontai Yoshin-ryu, I am just beginning to train Itto-ryu as a complement to Hontai Yoshin-ryu, which is still the school I devote most of my time to). Nevertheless, I do find it useful to feel different approaches and incorporate them in my own work (without changing the art itself). Of course I had done a lot of Karate when I was young and even touched on some Kendo, but it took me quite a long time to appreciate the energy use in different forms (before I was only interested in the waza). Again my hip problems forced me to concentrate on this.

    A last remark on kiba dachi (which I thought was a specific shotokan karate name). From the little that I experienced, in hozoin-ryu the stance is similar but the front foot is turned towards the opponent. This gives a totally different energy balance than in karate. Their typical moving (sideward, crossing the feet) allows to move laterally towards the opponent but still allows them to direct a lot of energy towards that opponent.

    I currently don’t train in Hozoin-ryu (how should I with such little experience) but I still use their moving steps as an exercise to reinforce my moving in our bojutsu. Similarly we have a technique with the bo called makiotoshi, which I only started to understand better after having done the similar technique with a yari. Here also the energy that is employed is quit important but although the hips are needed to create a good balanced position, we can’t deny that the upper body plays an important role in the execution of the movement.
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
    BELGIAN BRANCH http://www.hontaiyoshinryu.be/

  3. #93
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    Mr Amdur

    Thank you for the fair answer. I will definately make it a discussion when the opportunity presents itself. Mr Buyens that was a very interesting insight. You are correst we do not use the term kiba dachi in Hozoin, I was only trying to give a general image, my bad sorry.
    Mr Amdur, just off topic but interesting for me, I would like to hear your input. In HIPS you discuss the formative years of Takeda Sokaku and the inpact on his personality. I have a great interest in Miyamoto Musashi and from all that I have read they only really give 2 reliable instances of his childhood. All of these recorded by his students so they must have been what he talked about. 1) At the age of 9 he was watching his father carve tooth picks and was critical of his technique, I'm not sure if this is critical of his tooth pick carving or his technique in general. So Munisai threw a tanto at his son's head. Musashi then moved only his head with the tanto sticking into a post. Munisai then threw another blade at him only for Musashi to have dodged that one as well. I don't know but that seems a little extreme in dealing with anyone especially a 9 year old! 2) At the age of 13 Musashi kills Arima Kihei by knocking him down and beating him to death with a stick! Is there some anger issues here? I am not trying to be flipent but that is a very interesting behaviour pattern for a 13 year old. He must ahve had an interesting childhood. Any of your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks again for your time.

    sincerely Reg Sakamoto
    Reg Sakamoto
    a student of applied kinesiology through combatives.

  4. #94
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    Reg - I actually wrote a little about the Miyamoto Munisai and Musashi in Old School in the chapter, "The Origins of Araki-ryu," the reason being that Munisai was almost surely the teacher of the founder of Araki-ryu (Araki Mujinsai). The relevant passage:
    The son, apparently of volatile disposition, displays the symptoms of an early history that sociologist Lonnie Atkins calls “violentization.” A child, particularly a male child, helplessly experiencing abuse by a parent, and also absorbing other early exposures to violence, often embraces that behavior as the best way to survive. This young man killed his first man at age thirteen, reportedly grabbing him, throwing him to the ground and then beating him to death with a stick when the latter advertised himself as a master swordsman seeking challenges. Soon afterwards, he left home, taking the name of the small village in which he grew up. Then Shinmen Musashi no Kami Fujiwara no Genshin, better known as Miyamoto Musashi, marched forth to history., p. 246
    To me, however, both Musashi and Takeda represent the triumph of the human spirit. Musashi was a terrifyingly violent youth, became a brilliant artist and remarkable warrior - and in his old age, reading the words of his last work, the Dokkodo, which on the surface, seem to represent the words of an ascetic, realized being, but a closer reading, even in translation, ache with a kind of depression, a striving to need nothing and no one - because it all can be taken away.

    Similarly, Takeda Sokaku, paranoid, harsh man that he was, perhaps suffering from PTSD and a profound injury to his ability to attach to others, created Daito-ryu as a vehicle by which he could leave a legacy that helped others. Further, he had disciples - despite the problems he had in his relationship to many of them, including his own son (similarly throwing a knife at him when awakened unexpectedly) - and in his own way, it is clear that he cared for them.
    Ellis Amdur

  5. #95
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    Again my many thanks. I am familiar with your book Old School, got it on my book shelf with your other works. I am aslo familiar with the Dokkodo but did not see it that way. One of the reasons that I appreciate Musashi so much is that after 30 he really seemed to change dramatically. Thank you for all of your time, I enjoyed the conversation.

    regards Reg Sakamoto
    Reg Sakamoto
    a student of applied kinesiology through combatives.

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