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Thread: "Cross Training"?

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    Default "Cross Training"?

    Hello everyone. This is my first post: I joined to get more educated on traditional Japanese martial arts. Very nice to be here and nice to meet everyone here!

    I have a question for those practicing tradtional kenjutsu/iaijutsu (or in correlation to a complete bujutsu system)... Do you cross train in other sword related arts such as (and I am particularly interested in) kendo?
    (And for that matter... are you allowed to?) What about other martial arts?

    I am interested in making more regular trips to Japan (I have family there so it's possible) to study kenjutsu/bujutsu systems. And I am currently practicing kendo... Just curious.

    Thank you in advance
    Al Chang

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    Aloha, Al, & welcome to the forum.

    My wife & I study Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu iaido under our Sensei who also teaches kendo. She trains in kendo, while I do not (I teach judo & European fencing, which keeps me busy enough!). Our Sensei claims that iaido & kendo are extremely complementary martial arts because in iaido, you only have a virtual opponent, while in kendo you have a real one who is training opposite you.

    We both also train in Shinto Muso-Ryu jodo, where we most definitely have an opponent, & that Sensei is developing a series of iai waza that do not have an opponent, but certainly do prepare us for the jodo kata.

    Does this help, or have I just confused you?
    Ken Goldstein
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    Judo Kodansha/MJER Iaido Kodansha/Jodo Oku-iri
    Fencing Master/NRA Instructor

    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to be worth the effort."

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    Well I do more than one art and teach more than one. I have done both Iaido and Kendo for years in Japan. But cross training is not good way to describe it. Problem lies in the fact that one tends do mix them up most of the time subconciously. One tends to substitute the bits one does not know in one art by filling in with the other.

    It can be done though. As with anything its a lifetimes work. Kikentai timing with Jutsu and Kendo differ greatly.

    Good luck.
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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    Hi Al,

    Welcome to E-Budo!

    I study Nakamura Ryu Batto-Do and the late Nakamura Sensei had always said that he believed a well-rounded swordsman should practice iai (for technique), kendo (for maai/distance and -- as Ken said -- knowing how to deal with a real opponent), and tameshigiri (for technique in actually cutting through a real target).

    Iai and Kendo are definitely complementary.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahc1272 View Post
    I have a question for those practicing tradtional kenjutsu/iaijutsu (or in correlation to a complete bujutsu system)... Do you cross train in other sword related arts such as (and I am particularly interested in) kendo?
    (And for that matter... are you allowed to?) What about other martial arts?
    Well, this is an interesting "first" contribution.

    First of all, I believe there is a difference between gendai budo and koryu. I am a true believer that training in gendai budo is an excellent way to prepare, complement or even help to develop aspects of a koryu. Therefore any combination of a koryu with for instance kendo (or may-be especially kendo) is theoretically a good thing, provided you are not at a level where what you are supposed to do differently, confuses more than it helps you to progress.

    I have a long Karate background and although in theory this has nothing in common with the traditional jujutsu I am doing now, it surely was a big help in getting me to understand techniques faster.

    When it comes to iaijutsu and kenjutsu, I also love to complement it with kendo and my only frustration is that I don’t have enough time to do this more.

    In Koryu, combining different schools is more tricky. Becoming part of such a system is also starting to belong to a family, headed by a soke. So my suggestion is to do nothing without discussing it with your soke.

    In the past (when the 18th soke was in charge), I did different iai schools to complement what we did and recently, we were able to attend classes of yari from Hozoin-ryu in Nara but this was in agreement with our soke (in fact he came along to introduce us and we received a lot of attention from their menkyo kaiden, since we were considered guests). I also had the chance to participate in different embu in Japan and afterwards there were always friendly meetings with different schools and besides drinking, it always ended up with discussion on how a specific situation is approached.

    I know of several people involved in different koryu at the same time and when their core technique is complementary (for instance a naginata school and a kenjutsu school), I can understand it. Nevertheless, I do wonder how you can consider yourself a true follower of both or how to position yourself in the art that you do only to complement your main system. Note that this is my own reflection and I don't want to lecture any-one who has a different approach.

    In any case, good luck with your study.
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
    BELGIAN BRANCH http://www.hontaiyoshinryu.be/

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    Guy, you're awfully lucky if you can ask your Soke about anything at all! In Eishin-Ryu, there are probably about a half-dozen layers between even my Sensei & our Soke. And as far as asking him whether I should study another martial art, that just ain't gonna' happen!

    I've trained & taught both judo & European fencing since the early 50s, & my MJER Sensei was kind enough to let Linda & me train in SMR jodo as well. I personally think that this level of permission should be handled at the sensei level. Our jodo Sensei does have Menkyo Kaiden, & certainly has no problem with my other training, & in fact appreciates the fact that I can add details found in, say, saber fencing. In fact, he has already modified at least two of our kata based on my observations. Truly a living art!
    Ken Goldstein
    --------------------------------
    Judo Kodansha/MJER Iaido Kodansha/Jodo Oku-iri
    Fencing Master/NRA Instructor

    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to be worth the effort."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken-Hawaii View Post
    In Eishin-Ryu, there are probably about a half-dozen layers between even my Sensei & our Soke. And as far as asking him whether I should study another martial art, that just ain't gonna' happen!
    Points well taken, our situation is somewhat different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken-Hawaii View Post
    I've trained & taught both judo & European fencing since the early 50s, & my MJER Sensei was kind enough to let Linda & me train in SMR jodo as well. I personally think that this level of permission should be handled at the sensei level. Our jodo Sensei does have Menkyo Kaiden, & certainly has no problem with my other training, & in fact appreciates the fact that I can add details found in, say, saber fencing. In fact, he has already modified at least two of our kata based on my observations. Truly a living art!
    I also admit that although many old schools want to preserve their tradition, almost every soke from time to time has made minor adjustments based on personal experience. Of course a solid background includes information from training and exchanging with other people. There should be no contradiction between traditional art and living art.

    There is although a difference between occasional training in another system and progressing to a more advanced level in 2 systems at the same time, especially when the systems are related (e.g. both kenjutsu or both jujutsu). And again this probably is only relevant in systems where the DEN students interact closely with their reciproke soke.
    Last edited by Guy Buyens; 10th May 2010 at 02:52.
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
    BELGIAN BRANCH http://www.hontaiyoshinryu.be/

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    Default Thanks!

    Thank you for the quick and informative replies!!
    I currently do have a live blade and although i don't feel proficient with it, it's not a "dead" blade in my hands.... I'm still in the process of becoming friends with the blade

    I was worried that some teachers of iai/ken jutsu schools would not permit training in other sword arts. I find kendo (at least the way I'm learning it) very fast paced and very rigorous.

    Also it's amazing I'm interested in several styles of swordsmanship... one of them being Nakamura style swordsmanship... I first saw Nakamura in the documentary "Budo"..... Do you study this style in Japan?? Where in Japan can I find a dojo that teaches it?

    Thank you
    Al Chang

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    the main dojo is in Yokohama, and there are branches and affiliated federations dojo throughout Japan (and several outside of Japan). If you PM me with where you might visit, I can ask if there is a dojo nearby.

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

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    I used to do kendo, seitei and MJER... however had to drop kendo due to injury, and dropped the seitei when I realised that it was 'interfering' with my MJER practise as Colin mentions above. I also came to realise that to be any good at something I only have a limited time each week and should focus on just the one...
    I miss the kendo, but I have learnt to live without it...
    Tim Hamilton

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

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    Many of the senior exponents of Tatsumi Ryu Hyoho have practiced or continue to practice kendo. For example the current Headmaster's father actively practiced both kendo and judo to a high level and in 1937 was awarded Kendo Renshi 5th dan at the tender age of 24 (at that time 5th dan was the highest dan awarded by the DNBK). Some more details here.

    b

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    Quick comment: I find that Iai complement SMR-Jo quite nicely
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

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    Depends on what you mean by 'cross-training' ...

    I practice the sword and other weapons systems that fall under the broader jujutsu system I've studied for about 35 years, but also train in Shinto Muso Ryu jo and Shinto Hatakage Ryu iai. I've done MJER iai (through the omori Ryu only, however), but haven't practiced that much lately, and have dabbled in a handful of other arts through seminars or personal exchanges.

    Limited time and all that. Additionally, I find it necessary to mentally compartmentalize the various studies that I DO have time and energy for, as the core physical 'philosophies' are somewhat different in each (comparing, for instance the most basic of cutting motions in kiri otoshi, for example).

    Has the SHR informed my SMR? I couldn't say that it has in any broad way, but observing and contrasting the approaches to close armed combat IS interesting, and exposes some of what may be openings (in at least the most basic application of techniques) due to the divergence of methodologies.

    Mainly, each of the systems I train in offers something for me, and, importantly, is engaging, interesting, challenging and fun. If they weren't, I wouldn't do them.

    I don't expect to become a latter-day samurai, I know better than that (despite some rather misguided notions when I was a younger budo student), and primarily seek to fulfill a need and desire internally, to know more about the systems, get better and physically and mentally representing the activities contained therein, and ... again ... have fun doing so.

    To expect anything different, I think, is a bit unrealistic. YMMV, of course ...
    Chuck Gordon
    Mugendo Budogu
    http://www.budogu.com/

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    I would say from my own experience that training in two different arts has been very beneficial. In my case, both German longsword and HNIR. At first, it was hard separating the two (especially the hand position at the end of a strike), but I think I'm getting better at it. What I'm finding lately is a good synergy between the two. I'm lucky to have good training partners. I add to this a lot of work by myself, but the bulk of my solo training time consists of fundamentals that are common (or nearly so) to both arts. That way I can "double dip" to a certain degree. At this stage in my development, training in one certainly seems to help my performance in the other. Could be in my head, but I don't think so.

    The usual adivce for this kind of thing is to get a good grounding in one art before adding another.

    I guess you could liken it to learning both Spanish and Latin at the same time. There are bound to be mixups, but with diligent practice you can become fluent in both without making a hybrid of the two.

    Best regards,

    -Mark
    Mark Winkelman, Calgary AES
    www.swordsmanship.ca

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    I definitely agree with Fred that SMR jodo is a great complement to MJER, especially as I don't train in kendo. I thought my many years of European fencing would make up for the difference, but ma-ai is not something that can be cross-trained quite like that....

    And I'm particularly lucky that my SMR Sensei is ready & willing to consider incorporating techniques from other martial arts!
    Ken Goldstein
    --------------------------------
    Judo Kodansha/MJER Iaido Kodansha/Jodo Oku-iri
    Fencing Master/NRA Instructor

    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to be worth the effort."

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