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Thread: Shin Muso Hayashizaki Ryu

  1. #16
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    Default Positioning

    One other point regarding how the sword is carried is the historical context, AND how true the various ryu are to the historical period which they claim lineage. In other words, a ryu could be 600 years old in origin, but maintain reiho of a more recent period through which they passed.

    Sengoku uchigatana was a transition from tachi mounting (note the "handachi" - a tachi somewhat remounted and put in the sash in katana fashion.) In this transition period, logically, the sword would be placed in much the same manner (horizonal in plane, projecting straight backwards) as the tachi. (The kodachi or wakazashi would be "across the belly, with the tsuka near the center line). Most musha-e (warrior pictures) of the Sengoku period show warriors on the battlefield with the sword horizonal in the belt - as I have learned in the Araki Ryu, and as the truly scary looking man in the "grey" kimono does in James' set of pictures. Among the reasons for holding the sword in the sash this way were ease of access and use - a quicker draw, an easier use of the tsuka-gashira in offense at close range.

    As for the fear of saya-ate (clashing scabbards), I was informed that:
    - this was not the same concern on the battlefield as in the town. The main concern was access to the weapon.
    - Araki Ryu actually has several kata in which one sets up saya-ate ddeliberately as an excuse to cut the other, and in in "reverse", is prepared for this from another. Imagine some bushi as trying to get by in peace, and others striding belligerently down the street, swaggering confidence and defiance, quite willing to engage in a fight if an opportunity is offered.

    On the other hand, if one looks a pictures from the Edo period, and photos from Meiji (again, noting most of the pictures in James' set), one carried the sword vertically to fit safely through crowds and narrow roads in peacetime - where one could face severe legal sanctions for unauthorized fights. One must note that any ryu, no matter how old, might also have been influenced by the hundreds of years of Edo culture, and adopted a peacetime method of sword bearing.

    I have never seen a sword held in any historical pictorial representation in which it "projects" out sideways at an angle from the body, as one sees in some iaido schools. There are so many changes in iaido styles from technique to how the sword is held to etiquette to sitting - this is not a slight on iaido, anymore than noting that a zebra is different from a domestic horse is a slight on a horse. I've wondered, by the way, if seiza in iai, was originally an adaptation from iidori (on knees and balls of feet, a very common posture in grappling schools, both for that aspect of things and also for their iai.) I imagine that'
    a. That as the period no longer really thought of battlefield fighting - rolling on the ground, drawing one's sword while in a clinch, etc., - and found themselves indoors, and no longer remembering or even caring about the original meaning of the forms they practiced, they simply "drooped" from iidori to seiza, no longer realizing how different the embedded meaning of these two similar looking postures were. In the process, they may well have created some new gokui or explanations to explicate their altered forms.
    b. Iidori can hurt, particularly in winter, particularly if one's feet have a tendency to crack open at the bend of the toes (so does hanza, the posture called iaigoshi in Katori Shinto Ryu). Perhaps a few lead instructors of a few influential ryu, who other iaido schools modeled themselves shifted from iidori to seiza because they "wimped out" because of their hurt feet, and their students, unquestioning, imitated them.


    With respect

    Ellis Amdur

  2. #17
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    Ellis,

    Thanks for the post, that was very informative.

    James
    James Willliams
    Kaicho
    Nami ryu

  3. #18
    Ben Bartlett Guest

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    Ellis,
    For a discussion of the origin of the seiza waza (among other things) go to: http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/show...&threadid=9713 Long-sensei's post is particularly informative in terms of the history of MJER.

  4. #19
    Dan Harden Guest

    Default Re: Positioning

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Ellis Amdur
    [B]

    Snip
    if one looks a pictures from the Edo period, and photos from Meiji (again, noting most of the pictures in James' set), one carried the sword vertically to fit safely through crowds and narrow roads in peacetime - where one could face severe legal sanctions for unauthorized fights. One must note that any ryu, no matter how old, might also have been influenced by the hundreds of years of Edo culture, and adopted a peacetime method of sword bearing.
    snip
    I have never seen a sword held in any historical pictorial representation in which it "projects" out sideways at an angle from the body, as one sees in some iaido schools. There are so many changes in iaido styles from technique to how the sword is held to etiquette to sitting - this is not a slight on iaido, anymore than noting that a zebra is different from a domestic horse is a slight on a horse.
    I imagine that'
    a. That as the period no longer really thought of battlefield fighting - rolling on the ground, drawing one's sword while in a clinch, etc., - and found themselves indoors, and no longer remembering or even caring about the original meaning of the forms they practiced, they simply "drooped" from iidori to seiza, no longer realizing how different the embedded meaning of these two similar looking postures were. In the process, they may well have created some new gokui or explanations to explicate their altered forms.

    With respect

    Ellis Amdur

    ***********

    Thanks Ellis

    Outside of MJER and SMR I've never heard of anyone putting forth the theory or belief that people actually wore the swords that way as civilian wear in the real day-to-day world.We have the privilege of having preeminent historical researches and scholars here occasionally, as well as a plethora of Koryu exponents who seems to echo a voice in one accord. "They never wore them that way in real day to day life." Yet this belief remains. At some point in time it seems to require a sort of blind "belief" dudn't it?

    Your descriptions of the changing of the Kata and those who later became "teachers" copying these things and then attaching Bunkai to what was essentially never done anyway makes sense.
    Contrary to "beliefs" I'll go by the photos, writings, teaching, drawings, and experiences of those like yourself and many others here who have written much the same thing, and wieght them against what appears to be a singularly held belief from Iai groups- although some of them don't seem to buy it either.


    ****************************
    Ellis writes

    One other point regarding how the sword is carried is the historical context, AND how true the various ryu are to the historical period which they claim lineage. In other words, a ryu could be 600 years old in origin, but maintain reiho of a more recent period through which they passed.


    ****************************
    Although I could not state it so well It is how I see their view regarding this admittedly narrow topic. I write it off as modern stylistic influence on a Koryu.

    Thanks Again

    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 16th February 2002 at 02:39.

  5. #20
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Deleted (sorry)
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 16th February 2002 at 11:33.

  6. #21
    Ben Bartlett Guest

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    I just wanted to point out again the excerpt I pasted above which did seem to indicate that, at the very least, samurai within the MJER/MSR lineage did wear the daito at an angle (if other ryu say theirs were not worn at an angle, I believe them). Now, the angle indicated within this writing was a less pronounced one than we wear it at now (the tsuka-gashira was in front of the center of the body, not the tsuba), which makes sense, given the fact that the shoto was worn across the body, with its tsuba in front of the center (again according to this writing), but nonetheless, the writing indicates that the daito was worn at an angle. So yes, the angle has become more pronounced, but there was an angle there in the first place.

  7. #22
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Ben
    Just wanted to point out that
    1. yes we get that.
    2. No-thing historically (densho, pictures, photopgraphs) supports that EXCEPT for MJER.

    Everyone in the Koryu community who has posted, as well as several Historians don't believe that it was done as a day to day practice "oustide" the dojo.

    Looking through the Archives (as I have been asked to do) what don't you understand about Fridays, Bodifords, Skoss, Amdurs, Lowry,Murimoto,Long,Threadgill,Williams, Hartman, Harden, Hyataku, Dunham, Beird's posts on the topic?

    Seems we will never agree-so why bother dicussing it anymore?

    Peace
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 18th February 2002 at 04:33.

  8. #23
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    I have a hard time believing that ALL ryu followed ONE way of doing anything. I do believe, from my own research, that wearing the sword angled slightly inward is an important part of the Hayashizaki/Eishin Iai, perhaps all the way back to it's origins. I understand that most ryu (outside of schools of the Hayashizaki lineages) do NOT teach this. I used to think that this was a modern adaptation of my own school. However, I began to look for reasons that either A: it should be done this way, and B: it should be changed to this way. I found, over the years, plenty of A and none of B. What would be the motivation for making it as a modern adaptation? I am not asking this question to be sarcastic, I would be very interested in hearing any objective comments. I also looked for evidence that this was much older than Nakayama Hakudo and Masamichi Oe. I found plenty. I understand that it is not "normal" compared to most koryu, but every ryu has it's own peculiarities.

    Dan,
    Regarding the densho you keep mentioning, specifically which densho have you examined that state specifically how the swords were worn by every individual of the bushi class? Have you ever seen densho from
    MJER,MSR, Muraku ryu, Tamiya ryu, Hoki ryu, Shin Muso Hayashizaki ryu,or Hayashizaki Muso ryu?
    You are probably right, we will never agree. However, I am always trying to look at things like this objectively. I will be the first to tell you that, as Ellis said, there have been many changes to MJER/MSR (this is probably true, to an extent, of all koryu). I believe, however, that this is not one of them.

    RE:pictures on James' site, please not that only 4 of the 12 pictures show the katana worn in the obi (#3,5,6,12)(the remainder show the sheathed katana being carried hor held in one hand or propped on the floor). Of these, one is completely across the belly(#5), one is worn very vertically (#6)but the person is seated in a western style chair, so it is difficult to tell how it would look were he standing,and all but one (#3) appear to be angled at least slightly inward.

  9. #24
    Ben Bartlett Guest

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    A few things:
    1. Why would a sensei back in 1936 be making it up?
    2. I actually found that quote on Hyakutake Colin's web page (always a great resource).
    3. As I said before, I'm not a historical expert, I'm just pointing out that there is writing which suggests that at least some people did wear it at an angle.
    4. As for pictures, etc., for the sake of argument, let's assume that only people in the Hayashizaki line wore the sword that way... how many pictures would there be? Unlike today, when MJER/MSR has become very popular, back then you're talking about one school among many. Again, I'm not an expert, just pointing out that the simple lack of a photograph doesn't necessarily make it untrue (it just doesn't make it necessarily true, either).

    At any rate, I'm not trying to prove that the daito was worn at a slight angle by members of the ryu (again, not the extreme angle you see today), because I don't have the expertise to do this. I don't even really have an opinion on the subject (I noticed my last post makes it look like I do, sorry about that, it was late ). I just wanted to point out that there seems to be at least some evidence that this might have been the case. But you are right, there's not really a point in discussing it. It's not like I have a photograph I can post to prove it or anything. And if it wasn't worn that way, then well, shoot. It darn well should have been, because some of the MJER techniques work better with it worn at a slight angle.

    :burnup:
    Last edited by Ben Bartlett; 18th February 2002 at 13:21.

  10. #25
    Dan Harden Guest

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    It is such a small point that it is becoming embarassing to keep talking about it. We are to small in numbers to keep talking about something long after everyne has posted their own views (which is all many have)and reading the information offered from PHD's in historical research.
    Brian
    Your densho, his densho, their densho, doesn't matter. It isn't about what a school did or taught. I offered it with the expamples of input that other proponents keep using here. At any rate it isn't about your school or anyone elses The draw is not the discussion either. It would appear, as many have offered, of those arts with Iai, they have draws from lowered Tsuka as well and some from higher .
    >>>>> It's about day to day wear.<<<<<
    It isn't about lowering the tsuka to draw-
    it's about getting through the crowd without being a Moe , Larry, Curly turning with a plank sticking out. In short it has nothing to do with your school-at all.
    It appears that the only reason it keeps coming up is that your school is the only one who keeps insisting that
    >>>>They were worn that way "outside" day to day.<<<<

    In that, you appear to stand alone-but then again as I continually have pointed out and Ellis agreed, you would have too. You would be whacking everyone in the crowd and pretty much couldn't go anywhere without causing or getting into- trouble.

    off topic
    I wonder if some people(present company excluded) have Samurai illusions-think about what a pain in the butt it would be to wear a brace of swords all day long. No wonder they got smaller and thinner and the tuska got shorter. Who was it that said what a curse it would be to be reborn Samurai.

    Dan

  11. #26
    Ben Bartlett Guest

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    I'm sorry Dan, I really shouldn't keep this discussion going, but I just can't help myself.

    Absolutely none of what I am about to say proves that it was worn that way outside, but I'm going to mention all of it anyway:

    1. While it is true wearing it the way I described earlier does cause it to stick out a bit, the difference (on me at least) is about 3 inches. Frankly I don't think it's enough to make me any more likely to bang into people.

    2. If you wore a sword all the time, you'd get used to where it was, and learn to move accordingly. That goes for either way of wearing it. Frankly, if you don't want to bang into other people, the best way to wear it would be nearly straight up and down.

    3. The Hayashizaki-ryu was, for most of its existence, centered in Tosa. Considering its location, I don't think we're talking bustling center of commerce, here. They may not have had to adapt the way they wear the sword the same way someone in, say, Edo would have had to.

    Anyway, none of that proves a damn thing, just some stuff to think about.

    As for the off-topic, yeah, it would be a pain in the butt to wear a brace of swords all day long. I'm just picturing riding the subway wearing daisho. The poor people sitting down would probably keep getting whacked in the head.

  12. #27
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    Dan,
    Please forgive me. I was totally ignorant of all the PHDs that had offered thier views here on this topic. I was also unaware of all the MJER/MSR people that keep insisting that this was done this way (we say that our tradition teaches this, but I hadn't seen anyone insist that this was done by all samurai).I am aware, though, of many koryu that do Iai wearing their swords horizontally(TSKSR,Onoha Itto Ryu,Shinto Munen Ryu,MJER/MSR, Tamiya Ryu, Mugai Ryu,Kashima Shinto Ryu,bla bla bla) So, all koryu that wear thier swords horizontally for Iai, just do it in the dojo? It would seem to be a Waste to have 2 different ways of wearing the sword. Wouldn't it make more sense to just train the way you would wear them outside the dojo, or am I being silly? I'm sorry for not seeing all the posts by the PHDs that show that you are right. Maybe my computer filters them out.
    BTW, I understand that it would be a lot less clumsy to wear them 'your' way, but maybe there were other considerations that dictated priorities(saya out of the way,or quick access to your weapon). I believe Ellis did make the distinction between what was important in sengoku era and what late Edo/Meiji photos appearred to show.
    Again, please forgive my ignorance.

  13. #28
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    Ben,
    You make a good point about the rural nature of Tosa. Also, 'nearly straight up and down' is what Dan is advocating. Maybe some people did it this way, who knows?
    As for the trouble of wearing a pair of swords all day long, this isn't much different than a LEO wearing a heavy duty belt(probably much heavier than 2 swords)all day, every day, or a Soldier or Marine that has to wear web gear or LBV, flak vest , rifle, and kevlar all day long. I've been there, I'd rather have to wear the swords.

  14. #29
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Once again you have to go to the bad place eh Brian.

    There is a distinction. It has been discussed at length. It's there to read. Iai in the dojo as opposed to oustide has been discussed. READ! And It doesn't matter if you agree. Just make your point.
    The only one who seems to get his panties in a bunch over it here is you.
    Just like your comment to Mark F. "You can't comment on my art till you've practiced it for twenty years.".......please

    I won't reduce myself to the level of your last response.
    You need to lighten up.

    Dan

  15. #30
    Ben Bartlett Guest

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    Also, 'nearly straight up and down' is what Dan is advocating.
    Oh, well, in that case, he is right that it would make it easier to walk around in a crowd. In continuing with the Tosa theory, though, I was reading over some histories, and they all seem to agree that once the Hayashizaki-ryu went into Tosa, it didn't come back out again until the 20th century. So we're talking about a small group of people (relatively speaking), out in farm country, on an island. If a few dozen people in Nebraska walked around with their belts on backwards, would anyone notice? This seems to be a similar situation. Again, this doesn't mean that it happened, but it does seem possible.
    Last edited by Ben Bartlett; 18th February 2002 at 15:50.

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