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Thread: Origin of Iai arts

  1. #46
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    Mr. Bartlett,

    Thanks for the clarification. I did read your previous post. May I ask what your source(s) are for this information? I'd like to find out more about where this theory comes from.

    That's really all there is to say on that subject.
    I'm afraid I can't agree with this! This subject has been discussed without resolve for several years now.

    Mr. Long,

    Thanks for the information. However, I have read the book you more or less quoted from ("Japanese Swordsmanship" - Draeger/Warner. Weatherhill. 1996), but did not attempt to commit all the iaido sections to memory.

    It is one of the better books on Japanese swordsmanship in the English language though.

    There is much information available to those who wish do do a little research rather than speculate and provide false or misleading information. False information leads to misunderstanding and false confidence in those who profess to be experts in their fields of study.
    I hope this comment is not directed at me, but in the event that it is, I'll take a few minutes to defend my intentions (again).

    My purpose for posting in this thread is because I don't know all that much about iaido, and have not found the answers to the questions I've been asking here in books. I do study Japanese swordsmanship, but I don't study iaido, and have had questions about certain aspects of the art since I first learned of it many years ago. Your post was a useful reminder of what I've read previously, but did not address the specific questions I've been asking (aside from where Oe fits into the lineage).

    I have never "professed to be an expert" in anything, privately or publicly. If I thought that I was, there would be no reason to ask questions on forums such as this, which I do on a regular basis. FWIW, I don't think that Draeger or Warner would have professed to be experts in iaido either.

    In any event, I don't see why this subject cannot be discussed without some contributors becoming overly defensive and killing further discussion.

    Contributions are voluntary.

    Aside from personal curiousity, the only point that might be derived from this line of discussion might be the spreading of a better understanding of what iaido was originally intended to teach, and the historical context of such methodology. It seems to me that such information would be of paramount importance to iaido-ka anyway.

    If my tone has come across as aggressive or rude, please understand that it was not my intention, and that we are talking (for the most part) rather generally about iaido, not specifically about any one dojo or line.

    Regards,
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 28th January 2002 at 23:08.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  2. #47
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    Hello again Gentlemen,

    The information that I posted was actually taken from several different sources including Japanese Swordsmanship. I have been working on gathering this information for one of my teachers upcoming books. I also have several articles from Japan that were given to me regarding the information I posted.They were translated and the info is a combination of printed info as well as that which I have been taught.

    I was drawn into this post by one of our students that remarked that some information was being represented that might not be correct. That information did not necessarily reflect well on his teachers and I was asked if I could help to clarify some of the statements that may have been made.

    So in reference to Mr. Scotts question regarding who the information was meant for, it was meant for some of my own students that may be a bit overzealous regarding the information they wish to disseminate. The SO-called experts that it may reflect poorly on would be none other than yours truly{ME}and several of the instructors in our organization. I repeat So-called because my name was bantered about a bit. I don't consider myself an expert on much of anything. If you took it personally, you certainly got the wrong impression. After all, I certainly know you are a well respected, high ranking member of the Japanese Swordsmanship community. I have no quarel with you or any of the other folks posting here.

    This is one of the reasons that I don't like to post on things like this. Past experience has taught me that someone always takes offense when they think they are being singled out. Unfortunately, the people that the post was most meant for probably didn't get the message anyway.

    I understand you had an interesting meeting with my teacher last weekend regarding your possible participation in the AAU Iaido program. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to meet in the future.

    I will now retire to my cave and leave you fine gentlemen to your information sharing. I have once again been reminded why this posting thing is a bad idea.

    Sincerely,
    Carl Long
    Last edited by Carl Long; 29th January 2002 at 02:02.

  3. #48
    Yamantaka Guest

    Cool TO BE OR NOT TO BE...

    Originally posted by Carl Long
    I will now retire to my cave and leave you fine gentlemen to your information sharing. I have once again been reminded why this posting thing is a bad idea.
    Sincerely,
    Carl Long
    YAMANTAKA : You have a right to your opinions and we respect that. However, if you allow me, I would like to point a few things.
    This is a free forum to ask and try to spread the best possible information, among other things to complement our practical experiences in the dojo. We search for the best information and if people, internationally acclaimed as experts in some specific areas, like you, refuse to participate and help us, we become poorer. Also, such an attitude does not seem very sensible to me. You do not help and worse, you make us poorer by your absence.
    Any debate, face to face or written, is subject to misunderstanding and confusion. But if we refuse to participate, we do nothing constructive. In reality, we delay progress. If someone misunderstands you, try to explain your point. If he refuses to accept your explanation, go discuss with someone else and do not participate in that particular flaming. Many people have disagreed with me. I stay in this List, not because it is perfect but because there are a few things to learn (as your posts and the ones by MEIK SKOSS,WILLIAM BODIFORD, KARL FRIDAY, PETER GOLDSBURY and others). Imagine if all of them (quite knowledgeable guys) share your decision and went away)?
    As the written method is a dangerous tool, I hope you do not consider me arrogant or that I am censuring you. That is not my intention.
    I'm only requesting you to reconsider your decision and stay here to help us, whenever possible. We'll be most grateful.
    Best regards

  4. #49
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    Gentlemen,

    While I have nothing substantial to contribute, I think I can provide a reference for one of the points that were raised. I've been looking in more detail on the history of MJER and MSR in order to (primarily) compile more information for the Russian readers than is currently available in Russian, that's how I came across it.

    Originally posted by Earl Hartman
    I don't have my books in front of me, but I was under the impression that Oe S. originally refused to teach Nakayama S. because he was an outsider (not from Tosa), and that Nakayama S. learned, and then inherited, the Shimomura-ha from someone else (the name escapes me at the moment), which he eventually popularized as the Muso Shinden Ryu. However, your post indicates that Oe. S and Nakayama S. cooperated on arranging the original techniques into what we now know as MJER and that Nakayama S. was Oe S's. student.
    In fact, one of the books I checked for the lineage charts, namely, Mitani and Mitani-senseitachi's "Shokai Iai: Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu" does show Nakayama-sensei as a student of Oe-sensei, although I've found no details on their relation.

    Wow, this discussion is stimulating! I was going to post a related question, but decided to check what has been said before on e-budo instead. Guess what I found? Not exactly the answer, but, most likely, all that I could have gotten as answers

    Best regards,
    Andrei.
    Andrei Arefiev

    -Moscow Eishinkai Dojo-
    www.eishinkai.ru

  5. #50
    Ben Bartlett Guest

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    Mr. Scott,
    I'm sorry, what I meant was, that's all I can really say about the subject. I am definitely not an expert in the history of MJER. In fact, I should probably be more careful about what I post; I want to clear up some misconceptions about the history of MJER, but of course I then get parts of the history wrong as well, which doesn't help anything. For instance, when I first posted on this thread, I was unaware that the Omori Ryu waza were in fact created by modifying Eishin Ryu waza. I do wish to clear up false beliefs such as Oe Masamichi being responsible for the creation of the seiza waza in MJER, but I don't want to accidently create new false beliefs while I am at it. I am going to try to be more careful about what I post and how I present that information. All I had originally meant to point out was that many iai practitioners do in fact know that traditionally one would not have been wearing a katana while sitting in seiza, but the thread got rather interesting, and I can definitely err towards overzealousness at times. I actually wrote the latest post on the Omori Ryu waza to correct some mistakes I made earlier on in this thread, but Long-sensei's post does a much better job of doing that. At any rate, I apologize if my last post came off as unnecessarily harsh; I was in a rush, and was trying to reply quickly, and so it was not as well-thought out a reply as it might have been.

  6. #51
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    Mr. Long,

    I'm glad to find that I had misinterpreted your post.

    As you mentioned, communicating effectively in the written word is an art in itself, and sometimes leads to misunderstandings. Hopefully such discussions are more beneficial than not!
    I understand you had an interesting meeting with my teacher last weekend regarding your possible participation in the AAU Iaido program. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to meet in the future.
    Yes, Erik Tracy set up a meeting with Shimabukuro sensei, Tony Alvarez and myself last Saturday. It was my first time meeting Shimabukuro s., and the first time Erik and I have exchanged more than a couple of words in passing (other than the internet).

    It was nice to finally meet with everyone, since we all live in the same basic area. Shimabukuro s. expressed his admirable vision of spreading JSA to a larger audience, and expanding friendships between the various arts.

    I suspect such a vision is embraced by many in JSA, and I 've been putting allot of thought into whether or not I am best suited to except a position on the board of directors. I don't normally participate in competitions, and don't really hold seminars for those that are not my students (outside of perhaps in aikido).

    But the idea is good, and I'm sure will be fruitfull in any event. I'd like to come back to SD sometime to view one of Shimabukuro sensei's classes and see what ya'll do.

    I'd be happy to meet up with yourself and the other Jikishinkai instructors should the opportunity arrise!

    Regards,

    PS. As far as the Oe/Omori confusion, it would seem that I mixed up "Masamitsu" with "Masamichi". I should have double checked that, but thanks for the correction.
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 29th January 2002 at 22:55.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  7. #52
    Yamantaka Guest

    Smile Re: REQUEST FOR AUTHORIZATION

    Dear Long Sensei,

    I would like to have your authorization to translate and place in my web page, AIKIDO IN PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE (http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/aik...gua_portuguesa)
    your article about SHIN MUSO HAYASHIZAKI RYU.
    Respectfully
    Ubaldo Alcantara

    Originally posted by Carl Long
    Gentlemen,

    Perhaps this will help to clear any of the confusion regarding Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu and the Omori Ryu. There is much information available to those who wish do do a little research rather than speculate and provide false or misleading information. False information leads to misunderstanding and false confidence in those who profess to be experts in their fields of study.
    SHIN MUSO HAYASHIZAKI RYU

    Carl Long
    Jikishin-Kai Intl.

  8. #53
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    Hello to you all,

    Paul Steadman came up with a question on seiza-waza in (koryu) jujutsu which relates, I think, to the solo forms in iai.
    I think it's Kondo Sensei who states in one of his books that one of the points of training in seiza or suwari-waza is that you can't lower your point of gravity, under that of your opponent and so you have to make more subtle movements with your upper-body.
    This sounds to me a good reason to practise those techniques.
    Also, solo forms in iai, couldn't it be a replacement for actual training just to keep in shape?
    Long time ago I used to hunt, when hunting season was closed we used to should clay-pigeons on the track, not exactly the same but it kept up your reflexes.
    For what it's worth.

    Best regards,

    Johan Smits

  9. #54
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    Mr. Smits,

    I think it's Kondo Sensei who states in one of his books that one of the points of training in seiza or suwari-waza is that you can't lower your point of gravity, under that of your opponent and so you have to make more subtle movements with your upper-body.
    This sounds to me a good reason to practise those techniques.
    I don't remember reading this, but in Daito ryu I believe he would be referring to using a lower center to out leverage the opponent. This is a good point, but of course not the reason suwariwaza was created in Daito ryu.

    I don't think the issue of leveraging applies to iaido, though as others have stated, there are apparently benefits to the practice.

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  10. #55
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    Mr. Scott,

    I don't have the book here but it's in the only English book (as far as I am aware) on Daito ryu by Kondo Sensei.
    In an evironment where people would sit in seiza techniques in idori or suwari waza probably were created with a practical purpose. It would be interesting to know how much weight was given to training kata in seiza compared to training in tachi ai.
    Some years ago Kim Taylor wrote a great article on Omori ryu waza, when I remember correctly the general idea was that Omori ryu waza were meant for training, not for fighting.
    I think this could be the case for techniques in seiza within jujutsu schools (in general not especially Daito ryu).
    There's an article by Yutaka Amatsu Sensei, Memories of Hisa san,
    in which he tells Hisa Sensei told him taninzudori (techniques against several attackers) are not high level techniques, something Yutaka Amatsu Sensei thought, but were for performances, a form of propaganda.
    I quess, in this world, nothing is what it seems to be.

    Best,

    Johan Smits

  11. #56
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    Hello,

    I believe your referring to the "Hiden Mokuroku - Ikkajo" book.

    It would be interesting to know how much weight was given to training [jujutsu] kata in seiza compared to training in tachi ai.
    For most jujutsu ryu-ha, probably not much.

    I think this could be the case for techniques in seiza within jujutsu schools (in general not especially Daito ryu).
    I suspect that many jujutsu ryu-ha have techniques from seiza and other postures. Some I know of have offensive techniques against someone in seiza, while some have purely defensive responses.

    For example, Shibukawa ryu has defensive techniques from a variety of resting/greeting positions; ai-seiza, sitting up against a wall, and from a sleeping position (face up). But, they do appear to be a small part of the over all curriculum.

    As you can imagine, there were specific situations such as these that a bushi would need to have logical defenses against (or offenses for).

    Arts like Daito ryu include a larger percentage of idori techniques because of the position their exponents historically would have been in (for at least the idori/oshikiuchi section of Daito ryu).

    Mr. Taylor's evaluation of Omori ryu sounds like what we've been saying here. I'll have to see if I still have that article somewhere.

    As far as taninzudori, with all due respect to Amatsu sensei, I would hold off on any firm conclusions about this until this statement can be confirmed by other senior instructors. Perhaps this would be a good question for Kondo sensei at the Aiki Expo?

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  12. #57
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    Waza from seiza is 'combat effective'. I think the problem is that you are not thinking through the techniques properly. Consider this, if someone in armour is attacking you, lifts his sword up to cut you, where would you draw to? Surely you would not try and cut the armour, but go for the unprotected armpit etc.. Do not be so rigid in following the waza, i.e. cut to the eyes for mae.. Look at it this way, your opponent is moving, you are moving and you need to cut him before he cuts you! So what if you hit him an inch too high or low? Is he going to ask you to stop because you werent quite right and try again? :-) So long as the technique works whats the problem!
    Regarding tachi uchi no kurai sets for MJER. I think we in the west dont practise them because a lot of us havent seen them and not many people know them. I will be training in May with a couple of people in Japan and will be doing all three sets. I practise them regularly here in England but I would say no-one is capable of teaching them here to a competent standard as yet... (give us a few years at it first!) Its a bit like when we all started to learn our art, you think you know whats going on and then someone comes along and throws a real spanner in the works!

    Tim Hamilton
    Tim Hamilton

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

  13. #58
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    Talking

    Mr. Hamilton,
    If you would please, could you tell us exactly where in all of Japanese history there could have possibly been a situation wherein someone would be sitting in seiza while wearing their daito and getting attacked by an armoured opponent? Please don't make 'combat effectiveness' such an important issue.

    Thanks!
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

  14. #59
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    Hello Mr. Hamilton,

    Waza from seiza is 'combat effective'. I think the problem is that you are not thinking through the techniques properly.
    You might be surprised.

    Consider this, if someone in armour is attacking you, lifts his sword up to cut you, where would you draw to?
    You wouldn't Mr. Hamilton, you would be dead.

    This is a perfect example of why I object to attaching "bunkai" to seiza no bu techniques that, as I think we all agree now, were created as instructional tools and not as practical simulations.

    Surely you would not try and cut the armour, but go for the unprotected armpit etc..
    Under different circustances, should I have the opening and self control to strike such areas, I would try. However, if you fail to successfully cut these relatively small points, and/or they do not stop your opponent, then you stand a good chance of being cut down (as usual, assuming that we are talking of an opponent of comparable experience and skill).

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  15. #60
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Mr. Hamilton

    I think you should be a litle more self effacing in regards to discussing the "combative" effectiveness of Iai. Many people have problems with it in that regard- both in its "set ups" as you have most recently described and in the many modern exponents who most of us have not only seen but have crossed Bokuto with. Further, you are discussing it here with some people who have many years of training in arts with a more practical combative application to weapons. Add to that the extensive test cutting that many here have done. No one that I know of or have read over the years with that type of experience and who have matched bokuto With Iaidoka has offered much of anything positive to the "combative" attributes of Iai-not the art in general, which I think can be beautiful-just the combatives.
    Please be a little more honest with yourself in how you train week to week- in comparison to what others may have been doing for decades.

    Iai as a concept is a civilian use or art. Creating imaginary scenarios does everyone a disservice. Theory is just that. Testing yourself and what you have learned with unwilling opponents may change your mind and give you a more balanced perspective. We are not trying to be dismissive-its just that many of us have tried the things Iaidoka talk about-and the combative abilities of the waza tend to fall apart rather easily.
    Whether you wish to postulate on a historical level or on a modern practical playing field, comparing the theories and skill you will have attained after twenty years of Iai-with someone who has twenty years of hard contact, and or full speed tactical Kata and freestyle with Sword, Naginata, Kodachi, and Knife, as well as test cutting-may be rather disapointing for you-if your ideas are of "combat effectiveness."

    Just train
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 11th February 2002 at 03:18.

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