You will have to forgive me. There are a lot of kooks online and what you say flies in the face of conventional wisdom, so I'm gonna need more clairification.
As I see it the only styles that you have studied which have any bearing on this discussion are the Daito Ryu, Mugai Ryu, and Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. None of your hand to hand work really has any bearing on a koryu JSA discussion. I'm glad you've had such a full training career, but it simply isn't relevant to the topic at hand.
As to the training you have had in Sword Arts I'd like a few more specifics. Who did you train in with in Mugai Ryu, for how long, and what rank did you achieve, and out of curiosity why did you leave the Ryu-ha? Same questions for Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Daito Ryu. With who, for how long, what rank, and why leave?
I ask again, because I still have no feeling for your experience with real JSA. You mentioned having studied it, but I studied fencing too before coming to Iai. Does that make me qualified to comment on fencing? Not really. I only studied it for a couple of weeks at a university fencing club before deciding it wasn't for me.
I would advise anyone who reads this thread not to view any of us as "authorities" on these topics. I've trained with folks who would have a valid claim to authority, but they are very few and very far between. Only a handful of authorities are online, and none to my knowledge are on this forum. Mostly they chime in on rare occasions over at http://www.e-budo.com, http://www.swordforum.com,
or the iaido-l mailing list.
I will address a couple of your points below.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by whitedragon_48: 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.
This is certainly an nontraditional approach. It approaches things from a western point of view, rather than a Japanese point of view. Understanding why is not necessarily beneficial to training. Understanding why something is the way it is can sometimes trigger a little piece of your brain to say, "Ah! I understand I've got it now! Now what else can I work on." At that point you stop focusing on the point that before you asked the question, you not only couldn't understand but couldn't replicate either. Now you think you've got it you won't be working on it anymore and the end result is understanding at a, probably, superficial level but with no capability to perform to back it up. 99% of learning JSA is doing it. It isn't a cerebral activity as much as it is a physical activity. There are theories of movement to know and understand, but they aren't as important to know as it is important to be able to do them. Point is, Asking "why" doesn't make you a better student necessarily.
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'd say so. As I understand it they way they invert their grip is to stand up straight with the sword in the saya in their left side. Then they sit down in Seiza and place the sword on their right side edge out. Then they put both hands on their lap(for lack of a better explanation). I'll turn it over to Renfield Kuroda-sensei who is studying at the hombu dojo in Japan under the soke of Mugai Ryu. " Naganuma-sensei has the sword lying next to him in seiza. He slaps the saya off and then (here starts the video) grabs the unsheathed sword in a reverse grip and cuts gyaku-kesagiri. This is the "I'm drinking tea in polite company, with my sword unthreateningly on my right side, when I am suddenly attacked" move."
That quote was found in this thread http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=14717&highlight=Revers e+grip+video
I'm pretty certain, although I can't find the thread to reference, that I have heard Kuroda-sensei mention that that is the only waza they do which uses a reverse grip. So I have to wonder how much Mugai Ryu you have done if you did not know this. If you aren't familiar with this particular waza, don't feel to bad. Kuroda-sensei mentions in the same post that it is a considerably advanced waza.
[This message has been edited by Charles Mahan (edited 12-20-2004).]