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#113564 - 12/15/04 03:54 PM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5830
Loc: USA

You guys using one shinai or two?

Reason I ask is if he commits to the block as you describe above--then when he moves his "blade" to stab you then he is no longer in postion/conatct with your own shinai.

As described it should end in a "tie" pretty much each time.

(a "tie" often mean you both die)

Or am I misunderstanding??

[This message has been edited by cxt (edited 12-15-2004).]

[This message has been edited by cxt (edited 12-15-2004).]

#113565 - 12/15/04 08:54 PM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
The primary problem with this reversed grip is that it drastically reduces your effective range when compared to a proper grip. You simply cannot reach the fullest extension possible with the blade reversed.

Another significant problem is a marked decrease in flexibility with your ability to use your wrist to manipulate the position of the blade.

I have no doubt that your friend often uses the grip and he gets you as often as he says. No doubt at all. But then what expertise do either of you have in the use of swords?

#113566 - 12/16/04 12:37 AM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana

I agree with Mr. Mahan. But I must add that the reversed grip techniques made a great addition to ones arsennal. They may lack reach and power but in the end, a cut is a cut no matter how you do it.

C. Roman

#113567 - 12/16/04 05:17 AM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
No it's a lousy addition to your arsenal, because the other guy is gonna cut you down long before you get in range to use it.

That's something the self taught folks rarely understand completely. If you don't pull it off, YOU DIE! There are no second chances, no glancing blows, if he makes contact with you in anyway you are a dead man. Aside from very specific scenarios like the one described above from Mugai Ryu, it's hard to see where this grip can be justified.

[This message has been edited by Charles Mahan (edited 12-16-2004).]

#113568 - 12/16/04 11:30 PM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana

I respectfully disagree. This is a subject that has to be analized practically. I've practiced many scenarios where this type of grip has been used. It is hard to explain but easy to show. It is the mentality of many Iai Ryus to think on ending the confrontation on just one blow maybe two. That many times was not the case. One could be cut and still live, but of course, you do not want to be cut anyway. The reverse grip can be utilized on certain techniques that can be used on close quarters or to change the angle of attack. Against a skilled oponent one must be aware of this type of grip's short commings along with its benefits. Mr. Mahan, I take you are very set on your traditional ways. I am not. The Ryu's have lost overtime (400 yrs) many techniques and sub-specializations. In my 23 yrs of training I have put to the test many theories, traditional and not so traditional to see what might have worked on the battlefield and what didn't. Most of my work involved sparring with partners ranging from novice to experts. As any other battle one must take into consideration the skill level (if known) of his adversary. One must adapt, to do so, a broad range of techniques to choose from is an indispensable tool. This inverted grip techniques are valuable and useful on some instances. I do not favor its use exclusively but, they do come in handy in some situations. Let us not be blinded by tradition. Experiment, try for yourself and see what works for you, but do not dissmiss something as useless just because it does not work for you. "When ones binded by tradition, knowledged is limited; when tradition is binded, knowledge is endless." Japanese saying.

C. Roman

#113569 - 12/17/04 06:31 AM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana

There are a few koryu bujutsu ryuha that have at least one or two kenjutsu techniques, sakate (reverse hand) style in their syllabi. It really depends on the situation.

Some ryuha do a reverse draw to stab to the rear. Some do it to parry an enemy's attack as an "Oh S@&t!!" technique.

It really depends on the ryuha and the situation portrayed in the kata.


[This message has been edited by Gunyo Kogusoku (edited 12-17-2004).]

#113570 - 12/17/04 08:19 AM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Mr. Roman. Since you have chosen to appeal to your 23 years of training to backup your claims, could you please detail that training so that I will know exactly where you are coming from?

That said, let's assume you have your sword out with a proper grip. Your opponent closes the distance to what you would deem to be "tight quarters". The time it takes you to reverse your grip is all it takes for you to die. Look as I mentioned before, there are examples of very specific circumstances where various koryu proscribe a reverse grip. They are very few and far between.

Oh and your assertion that the ryu-ha have lost many techniques over the course of the last 400 odd years, you aren't entirely wrong. But you're ignoring the fact that they gained many techniques as well. The arts are, or perhaps an arguement could be made that they were until the beginning of the Meiji Restoration, alive. They evolved continously over the centuries to adapt to new fighting conditions. They did not wane continously for hundres of years.

Unlike yourself however, the innovators who kept the arts current did so in a climate where their lives depended on what they learned and taught. You don't have that enviornment and so no matter how much you rationalize or study the techniques, you nor I will ever be able to make a strong arguement against what our predecessors taught and handed down the line. For the simple reason, that our lives will never depend on the techniques. Theirs did. Between you're opinions and their battle tested ideas, I'll take theirs any day.

#113571 - 12/17/04 10:07 AM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5830
Loc: USA

"I have put to the test many theories, traditional and non traditional to see what might have worked on the battlefield and what didn't."


-Did you do it in period armor? because they wore armor on the "battlefield"

-Did you test your ideas vs different weapons--yari, naganata, ono, etc--beacuse they used a wide range of weapons on the battlefield.

-What "theories" worked and what did not?

-Can you be more specific here about what "worked" and what does not?

-Did you "spar" with bokken?

-How many folks were hurt? And how bad--free sparring with bokken is a very dangerous thing--and if your "really" going hard it can often get you hurt.

(one reason that the ryu used kata--crippling your students is a bad thing)

"Most of my work involved sparring with partners ranging from novice to expert."

-"Novice" means what exactly?

-"Expert" means what exactly?

-Were they all from the same ryu?

-What ryu were they from?

-What ryu do you study?

-How many years have you studied you kenjutsu ryu?

I ask because period guys would have had to face attack from folks trained in many different schools--so unless you have trained vs guys from many diffent schools---well then you have only (and in limited fashion) the "theories" of a single school.

[This message has been edited by cxt (edited 12-17-2004).]

#113572 - 12/17/04 10:52 PM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana

I will try to address all your questions to the best of my ability. The reason I brought up my years of training was to point out that I am not a self-taught beginner. So we pretty much see eye to eye. Even though I respect tradition (it is a beautifull thing), I approach the Budo in a more scientific way. I started in Puerto Rico back in 1981 with Ninjutsu, that was my 1st time holding a blade. I practiced it for about ten years. I then decided to study many other Japanese and Okinawan arts ranging from Aikido, Judo, Jujutsu, Daito Ryu, Mugai Ryu, Yagyu Shinkage and others. Also I am currently a Head Intructor of American Kenpo, an art that takes the blades very seriously. I did not seriously take to the sword arts until 12 years ago when I really got into it. In recent years, I decided to turn my attention to Nito Ryu's techniques (too bad no Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu available *sigh*). Given my background in Kenpo (a style that aproaches the Budo scientifically) I decided to apply the same principles to my sword studies. That means I started to ask "WHY" a lot to my instructors.

Mr. Mahan, if memory serves me right from the Mugai Ryu, I might be wrong, but the way the Ryu inverts the grip takes a LOOONG time. If that is true, then you are 100% right. I mask the inversion WITHIN the action,i.e., while moving to evade, parrying, blocking, right after cutting, etc. If holding the Tsuka with 2 hands it only takes a fraction of a second. This changes the movents available from x or y position the blade may be (keep in mind continous motion)for a follow up. It can also be done at a distance but it can be seen thus announcing your intentions.

I give you that Mr. Mahan, Sir. Yes the Ryu-ha has adapted with time within the last 400 years. For example the decline of wearing armor changed the blades along with the techniques. Yes, techniques have been lost and changed and even yes, some where added. It is true that after the Meiji restoration the arts "barely" survived, specially after WW2. The arts where slowly declining way before the Meiji. Given that there where no major conflicts after the Tokugawa.

I agree with you again, Mr, Mahan. Whe can only hipothesize about how it was done. Even with all the medical expertise available, we can only draw conjectures. I too would take their battle tested opinion any day over my conclusions, experience is the best teacher right?

CXT, to recreate any period armor is a rather ambitious experiment. But it has been done I'm sure. Not by me, though. Like I said, I can only draw conjectures based on the Ryu-ha and examining the blades from those periods. Some are better suited to pierce armor than others. After the decline in armor wearing, we can see subtles changes to the Katna, they became sharper, to cut flesh more efectively.

Yes we did test many techniques against all sorts of weapons common after the Tokugawa. Of course, taking all the precautions to "keep it safe". Unfortunately, this also hinders the realism, but, what can you do?

What worked and what did not worked is too long of a subject to discuss here. That is another of those things better shown that written about. But I am open to further discussion.

Yes, we did spar with bokkens and we all got hurt at some point; it comes with the territory. But we also practiced for a long time before making contact, so we have a lot of control. None of us where exacly "beginers". But no amount of training can save you from the ocasional black and blue. But, since we where all black belts, we are used to it. I did not use my students for that (it is very bad for bussiness). Anyway, I am very selective when it comes to teaching given that not too many people take it seriously.

We tested katas as well. This is another subject to be shown.

We did used partners (the sword community in the island is not too big) from different styles in the Koryu. All ranging from Novices to Experts. All of them Instructors on other japanese disciplines, no white belts. The reason for this was to examine the technique application from them. Different levels of expertise fight and think totally different. It was interesting.

CXT, your last 3 questions I have already answered.

CXT, you are very right, diversity in training is indispensable. After all "a good warrior must know of all arts." Musashi.

I thank you Mr. Mahan and CXT, my formal salutations to you both. I look forward to talking to you again.

On a lighter note, I have been in FL for only 2 yrs and I am looking around for Koryu dojo in the area. I still want to learn more from other styles to further what little knowledge I have. I do not consider myself anywhere near an expert, I am just a student of the arts, thats all I'll ever be.

Yours in the Spirit of the Warrior-Scholar,

C. Roman

[This message has been edited by whitedragon_48 (edited 12-18-2004).]

#113573 - 12/18/04 04:19 AM Re: Usage of inverted grip on a Katana

If you're not an expert, I'm going to die a novice.

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