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Thread: (Re)starting Iaido and Kendo at the same time? Your thoughts?

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    Default (Re)starting Iaido and Kendo at the same time? Your thoughts?

    Hello community,

    I've recently picked up Iaido (once again) and Kendo (as a newbie). Some 5 years ago, I practised Iaido for about 3 years (only the Seitei Kata). After wandering a few years each in aikido, kickboxing and ninjutsu, I feel that the specialized sword arts are truly my cup of tea. Hence, I would like to practice both Kendo and Iaido, since both are (theoretically at least) complimentary. Whereas Iaido should help me learn to wield the sword, Kendo should help me to carry it with calm alertness. However, there are also some major differences (e.g. footwork), which might hinder development.

    In my case, as someone who's experience with the sword is shaped by the Seitei kata (but lots of finesse was lost, of course) would you recommend to delve into Kendo at the same time when coming back to Iaido (once again focusing on Seitei, I train at the same place as back then)? Or would you recommend focusing on one first? Which one would be best to prioritize in that case?
    (Btw, I'm 28 now and also feel my youth slipping away... D= )

    Thanks in advance for your time and consideration!

    Simon Kuijpers

    P.s. English is not my native language, so please excuse any weird grammatical or syntactical constructions :-)

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    Hello Simon,

    Have you considered a traditional sword art like Katori shinto ryu? There is a highly experienced teacher in the Netherlands called Erik Louw, who lives in Amsterdam. He might be able to give you some advice.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Dear Peter,

    Thanks for your response and advice! In my dojo (http://kendokai-higashi.nl/), Katori Shinto Ryu is also one of the disciplines. The local teacher is Jeroen Smits.
    I did follow a few lessons from him, and I think he is a good sensei. However, the previous five years of ninjutsu have been filled with nothing but paired kata. I feel like it is also good to approach budo from a different angle, if you catch my drift.

    Simon

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    Usually in koryű there should be a balance between paired work and solo work (as long as the curriculum provides this).
    I guess in the Netherlands are a few koryű around. And if you check all of Europe even more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreeuw View Post

    ... In my case, as someone who's experience with the sword is shaped by the Seitei kata (but lots of finesse was lost, of course) would you recommend to delve into Kendo at the same time when coming back to Iaido (once again focusing on Seitei, I train at the same place as back then)? Or would you recommend focusing on one first? Which one would be best to prioritize in that case?
    Hello Simon, and welcome to e-budo. While there's a lot to be said about the differences between kendo, seitei iaido, and koryu, I'll answer the question that you actually asked.
    I would say to go ahead and go for both kendo and iaido. I can't think of a good reason not to do both, unless you are very short on spare time and can't practice both.

    Keep us up to date on how your training progresses!
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgsmith View Post
    Hello Simon, and welcome to e-budo. While there's a lot to be said about the differences between kendo, seitei iaido, and koryu, I'll answer the question that you actually asked.
    I would say to go ahead and go for both kendo and iaido. I can't think of a good reason not to do both, unless you are very short on spare time and can't practice both.

    Keep us up to date on how your training progresses!
    Thank you! And thanks for your answer!
    I am a little bit in doubt due to the different approaches found in both disciplines when it comes to cutting and footwork (amongst other things).
    In Seitei gata, you use suri ashi, but okuri ashi only in the Sogiri kata.
    In Kendo, you strike more with forward momentum, while I feel that in Iaido cuts are more downwards and even a little bit towards you at the very end.
    My hope was that some people with experience in both arts could illuminate how they deal(t) with these diverging demands.

    One more question;
    I like to practice Iaido Kihon and Kendo Suburi each morning. Right now, I practice both with my Iaito. This because it feels like the "better" approximation of the sword (with Bokuto as a runner-up and only in "last place" the Shinai). However, I doubt this approach. Perhaps I should not train judging by the degree to which they approximate a Shinken, but train Kendo with my Shinai and Iaido with my Iaito. How do you guys or girls feel about this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreeuw View Post
    ...Perhaps I should not train judging by the degree to which they approximate a Shinken, but train Kendo with my Shinai and Iaido with my Iaito. How do you guys or girls feel about this?
    That seems reasonable to me. Training with the actual "tool" you'll be using is a good idea. On the other hand, doing suburi with a suburito is also useful, for building strength and stamina. There are many paths to the top of the mountain, as the saying goes.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreeuw View Post
    I like to practice Iaido Kihon and Kendo Suburi each morning. Right now, I practice both with my Iaito. This because it feels like the "better" approximation of the sword (with Bokuto as a runner-up and only in "last place" the Shinai). However, I doubt this approach. Perhaps I should not train judging by the degree to which they approximate a Shinken, but train Kendo with my Shinai and Iaido with my Iaito. How do you guys or girls feel about this?
    Kendo for the most part is fighting with shinai. Kata, when we do it, is with bokken. We don't ever use iaito unless it's a formal kata demo. So you should train with the tools you will use.
    Neil Gendzwill
    Saskatoon Kendo Club

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    On the other hand, doing suburi with a suburito is also useful, for building strength and stamina.
    Suburi with suburito is worse than useless. By doing the same motion with a much heavier and differently balanced tool, you are working on a different skill than a swing with a shinai. This can adversely affect your normal swing. This is why modern sports science advocates against doing stuff like swinging weighted baseball bats.
    Neil Gendzwill
    Saskatoon Kendo Club

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    Quote Originally Posted by gendzwil View Post
    ...This is why modern sports science advocates against doing stuff like swinging weighted baseball bats.
    Swinging a weighted bat just before going up to the plate is a bad idea because it can confuse the kinesthetic sense, adversely affecting timing and accuracy; but using a weighted bat (and barbells, dumbbells, calisthenics, etc.) as part of general conditioning can be beneficial.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    Swinging a weighted bat just before going up to the plate is a bad idea because it can confuse the kinesthetic sense, adversely affecting timing and accuracy; but using a weighted bat (and barbells, dumbbells, calisthenics, etc.) as part of general conditioning can be beneficial.
    Barbells and dumbbells are different animals than weighted bats. There's a difference between weight training for specificity and developing the skill set. I wish I could find the references from a similar discussion I read on mfw a few years ago. This article indicates that you can develop your swing with a slightly heavier bat but a really heavy one that causes different swing mechanics is a problem. This is the issue I have with suburito - they are way, way heavier than a shinai and that causes people to swing differently. Furthermore, if you use tenouchi to stop your swing as you should in suburi, you risk repetitive strain injury.
    Neil Gendzwill
    Saskatoon Kendo Club

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    Quote Originally Posted by gendzwil View Post
    ...This is the issue I have with suburito - they are way, way heavier than a shinai and that causes people to swing differently. Furthermore, if you use tenouchi to stop your swing as you should in suburi, you risk repetitive strain injury.
    Oh, I agree that there is a risk of RSI; but that risk exists in almost any sport if precautions aren't taken and moderation not exercised...if you'll pardon the pun. Also, while a suburito is way heavier than a shinai, it's only somewhat heavier than a katana, and the OP did say that he was interested in Iaido as well as Kendo.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Speaking as someone who did both for some time. You need to keep the kendo and iaido as separate as possible as the habits of one will leech into the other. It may seem a strange thing to say as both are sword related. But as wheels of a cart they have become so specialized over the years that they have very strong and different distinctions. The differences are more apparent as you progress to a higher level and look for more perfection in each. Watching a good Iaidoka do Kendo this is apparently obvious. Being on the receiving end is obvious too. People in Japan are so intense about doing one art they rarely have time for two anyway.
    Hyakutake Colin

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    http://www.hyoho.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyaku View Post
    Speaking as someone who did both for some time. You need to keep the kendo and iaido as separate as possible as the habits of one will leech into the other. It may seem a strange thing to say as both are sword related. But as wheels of a cart they have become so specialized over the years that they have very strong and different distinctions. The differences are more apparent as you progress to a higher level and look for more perfection in each. Watching a good Iaidoka do Kendo this is apparently obvious. Being on the receiving end is obvious too. People in Japan are so intense about doing one art they rarely have time for two anyway.
    Thanks! Could you elaborate somewhat on the obvious characteristics of watching an Iaidoka do Kendo, and those of being on the receiving end?
    What are general bad or good habits of an Iaidoka or hybrid fighter compared to a pure Kendoka?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreeuw View Post
    Thanks! Could you elaborate somewhat on the obvious characteristics of watching an Iaidoka do Kendo, and those of being on the receiving end?
    What are general bad or good habits of an Iaidoka or hybrid fighter compared to a pure Kendoka?
    People with more of a background in Iaido tend to cut down very hard. Not all that many cuts to the head in Iai Also very stationary rather than stretch out and try to go through using the feet.
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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