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#116087 - 04/11/05 07:54 PM Need some things cleared up, please
Anonymous
Unregistered


hey all, I was hoping someone could enlighten me on a few things about Iaido [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] I am posting this after long google seaches and seaches on this site, but still a bit fuzzy.

I've been looking into doing a sword style for the past few weeks, learning the history of a few unarmed and weapon styles, and I'm particularly interested in Iaido because of the ideas of dicipline and spirituality that are fused into use of a blade (well tradionally).

However, since I've spent some time reading up on it, I've come across some terms that have me scratching my head, such as kenjutsu. I am I safe to assume that kenjutsu and iaijutsu are incorporated into Iaido in a more broad term, or am I confused with seperate tecniques?

And since I've begun to look for proper schools and dojos in the Chicagoland area, I came across this warning when evaluating schools:

"If you have your heart set on kenjutsu or iaijutsu you are probably out of luck. Instructors are few and far between. If you find a school, be cautious - there are frauds about. Be especially wary if a lot of money is being charged. Kendo and iaido instructors are always volunteer and most legitimate kenjutsu instructors work the same way. Another warning sign is if the kenjutsu classes are offered as one of many styles taught by the same school - "we teach karate, jujutsu, tai chi and kenjutsu at Bubba's Black Belts". Similar to unaffiliated iaido dojos, find out what the ryu is, what the instructor's qualifications are and who his teacher is. If you get unsatisfactory answers or the questions are being dodged, don't join.

The only (legitimate) ryu that usually calls itself iaijutsu that the author knows of is the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu. Katori Shinto Ryu is a bujutsu ryu, meaning many types of armed and unarmed combat are taught. Most other so-called iaijutsu schools are run by charlatans."


How true is that quote on being cautious?

also, what unarmed style style would be most useful if learned in conjunction with a sword style? I've read that Aikido or Juijutsu would work well, but my father and uncle have progressed a ways into Shotokan, and curious on what others here think about that particular style learned with Iaido.

Believe me, I don't want to jump into this kind of thing head first or with a half-assed approach, which is why I'm learning as much as possible before committing to a particular style, and any light shed would be VERY appreciated, thanks [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

[This message has been edited by Nurb (edited 04-11-2005).]

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#116088 - 04/11/05 09:28 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
First some terminology:

Kenjutsu - This is a very general term which essentially translates to "Sword Methods". Technically it is a fairly broad term which more or less encompasses all forms of Japanese swordsmanship. Commonly it is used to specifically refer to those sword arts which are deemed Koryu arts excepting those more commonly referred to as Iai/batto arts. It is very difficult to generalize about arts that fall into this category. Typically students in these arts spend far more time with wooden weapons and paired exercises than students in Iai/batto arts.

Koryu - "Old Stream" - A label applied to a sword art, or really any art form, which predates the Meji Restoration. This is the point at which the open wearing of swords was prohibitted and the Samurai class was abolished. Arts that came before this period are called Koryu arts.

Iaido - The technical translation on this is a bit tricky so I'll skip it. Iaido is essentially a subdivision of kenjutsu. Iaido specializes in dominating the first few moments of combat before swords are even drawn. The primary method for this is known as nukitsuke. Nukitsuke is a method of drawing the sword where the last few seconds of the draw are turned into a cut. You don't have to draw the sword and then attack, you merely draw/attack. This gives the iai man an edge in suprise attacks and ambushes over someone who does not specializes in these kinds of attacks. In practice, Iaido students work with real swords rather than wooden swords or the bamboo swords the kendo guys use. At first the iaido student will use an unsharpened sword, but will eventually move on to the real thing. Working on nukitsuke kinda demands a real sword to get very far into the training. As a result, most work is solo as two man training is rather dangerous with real swords sharp or otherwise. There are usually paired forms in iaido ryuha, though they are done with wooden weapons and deemphasized.

Battodo - Technically this term is interchangable with Iaido. Practically speaking, some ryuha choose to use battodo instead of iaido. It helps to distinguish between different styles.

Iaijutsu - Like Battodo there is little real difference between this term and Iaido, but again some ryuha choose to use this term instead of iaido. It is also sometimes choosen by a different branch of the same ryuha. The Jikishinkai branch of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu for instances uses Iaijutsu where the Seitokai branch uses Iaido.

Battojutsu - Again a similar situation as between Iaido and Iaijutsu.

Kendo - Theoretically Kendo and Kenjutsu should be interchangeable. Practically speaking they are not. Kendo has come to be VERY closely associated with the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei. This is the organization which does a sword art which some refer to as the Japanese fencing. Students wear armor and and use bamboo swords often competing in shiai, a form of competitive sparring. This is a fairly modern form of Japanese swordsmanship although it is founded on classical techniques.

While there are certainly no small number of charlatans out to make a quick buck, the idea that TSKSR is the only real iaijutsu ryu is simply not true. BTW the only TSKSR which dojo in North America which is not a McDojo is the one in Seattle. Anyone else teaching TSKSR is not affiliated with the actual organization in Japan. That much is widely accepted fact. If I'm not mistaken most of the time TSKSR is referred to as Kenjutsu rather than Iaijutsu. TSKSR does have iai principles in the curriculum but it is a curriculum that includes many more things than just iai and it does not specialize to the degree that some of the other Iai related arts do.

Probably the most widespread Iaido koryu in the US is Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido, but there are others. There's a Hoki Ryu dojo in Indiana, and a great number of Muso Shinden Ryu dojos all over the US.

I know of two arts in the Chicago area although I do not have contact information for either of them. There is a Jikishinkai affiliated dojo of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu in Chicago, and a Mugai Ryu dojo. Both are apparently quite legitimate, although the Mugai Ryu dojo is not affiliated with the branch of Mugai Ryu headed by Nina-gosoke. I believe it is affiliated with the Nippon Iaido Renmei.

Try searching the forums at http://www.martialtalk.com Pretty sure that's where I read about both schools.

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#116089 - 04/11/05 11:50 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Anonymous
Unregistered


ahhh, thank you! everything I read finally clicked. No wonder I was confused, I thought Iaido was the broad term for swordsmanship when its Kenjutsu, which is what I was interested in learning then.

Whats strange though is that Iaido is offered as a class along with Kendo at some dojos when I was looking for listings in the Midwest Kendo Federation, which is what threw me. In fact, I've seen Iaido mentioned as seperate from Kenjutsu on the site I was reading about evaluating schools HERE, where it mentioned that Iaido would be easier to find instructors for than Kenjutsu.

the dojo I think you're talking about, The Japanese Martial Arts Society in Chicago that offers, by quoting the class listed on their site, "IAIDO - MUGAIRYU IAIHYODO". Is it offering the Iaido you mentioned? this is what confused me to begin with [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

[This message has been edited by Nurb (edited 04-12-2005).]

[This message has been edited by Nurb (edited 04-12-2005).]

[This message has been edited by Nurb (edited 04-12-2005).]

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#116090 - 04/12/05 01:10 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
I think that's the dojo. Hard to tell since your links don't work. I have spoken with the sensei over the phone. He's a neat guy. Trained in Japan for quite awhile apparently.

The Kendo federation added iaido to their curriculum quite awhile ago. They have a list of 12 kata that were reformulated from several different koryu iai curriculums. This set is called Seitei and is meant to introduce kendo students to koryu swordsmanship. Eventually Kendo students are expected to move beyond the Seitei kata to work on a koryu art. Usually, but not always, Muso Shinden Ryu or Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. The MJER is usually of a seperate branch from the Jikishinkai and Seitokai stuff mentioned above. MJER has splintered into several branches over the last century, the largest of which in Japan is the Seitokai, although the Jikishinkai has more American members than the Seitokai has if I'm not mistaken.

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#116091 - 04/12/05 02:38 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Charles Mahan:
I think that's the dojo. Hard to tell since your links don't work. I have spoken with the sensei over the phone. He's a neat guy. Trained in Japan for quite awhile apparently.

The Kendo federation added iaido to their curriculum quite awhile ago. They have a list of 12 kata that were reformulated from several different koryu iai curriculums. This set is called Seitei and is meant to introduce kendo students to koryu swordsmanship. Eventually Kendo students are expected to move beyond the Seitei kata to work on a koryu art. Usually, but not always, Muso Shinden Ryu or Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. The MJER is usually of a seperate branch from the Jikishinkai and Seitokai stuff mentioned above. MJER has splintered into several branches over the last century, the largest of which in Japan is the Seitokai, although the Jikishinkai has more American members than the Seitokai has if I'm not mistaken.
[/QUOTE]

Fixed the links, I guess each board differs in code a bit [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

Ok, I'm beginning to understand a bit more now, that Iaido is being taught seperate from techniques when the sword is already drawn, when in the past, both were part of the same cirriculum [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] From what you've told me, I read a bit more and am able to figure things out a little easier without the meaning of the words switched in my head.

I called the dojo about a meeting with the sensi, having to be personally accepted by him before taking the classes, but my problem is getting to downtown 3 times a week when I'm in a suburb, so I may have to keep looking.

What if I decided to take an unarmed style as a foundation to begin with as mentioned in my original post? I'm interested to know if I sohuld go with more traditional aikido or juijutsu, or if Shotokan would be compatable as well. I've been exposed to it most of my life with my uncle and father, only recently got the determination to take it up.

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#116092 - 04/12/05 06:10 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Well now that I was able to view the site, the advice is generally ok, although I doubt you'll ever find a site that has a link to a ZNIR webpage. To my knowledge there is no ZNIR webpage.

There are many other dojos that offer koryu martial arts that aren't members of the ZNIR or the IKF. But dojos associated with those two branches might be easier to find. On second thought, I only know of about 11 or 12 ZNIR affiliated dojos in the US. That's not all that many really.

I didn't see the quote about TSKSR on that site.

The dojo you linked to is not the one I was thinking of. That dojo is one associated with a different organization. The one I was referring to was http://www.japaneseculturecenter.com/iaido/

Here is the relevant information regarding Pitchford-sensei's training history from the website:
[QUOTE]In 1982 Pitchford Sensei met Dr. Gordon Warner and started practicing Mugai Ryu Iaihyodo (Iaido). In 1984 he achieved shodan. Since then, Pitchford Sensei received Taikai Sho while a Godan for excellence in Iaido. Pitchford Sensei received his Rokudan in 1995 from the Nippon Iaido Federation. While still a Godan he was awarded two scrolls (something usually only given after one achieves Rokudan) from the soke (headmaster) of Mugai Ryu. These scrolls are a traditional license and a scroll of strategy awarded when a certain level of skill is achieved. This license is from the style, in this case Mugai Ryu, and independent of any rank award from the federation. The next level of scroll is known as Menkyo Kaiden and is the scroll of full transmission of the style.[/QUOTE]

As for unarmed martial arts, I'm not really the best person to ask. I doubt any unarmed art will do very much to prepare you for sword training. Unarmed martial arts play by an entirely different set of physical rules due to the differences inherent in punching, kicking, and grappling compared with deflecting and initiating cuts. Distances are different. Stances are different. Generation of power is different.

[This message has been edited by Charles Mahan (edited 04-12-2005).]

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#116093 - 04/13/05 02:47 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Anonymous
Unregistered


well thanks for the help, I really appreciate you explaining a few things for me [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] at least I know what to look for now for the most part, though I'll probably post any schools I find on here to double check with others

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#116094 - 04/13/05 09:29 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
You would do better taking the post to http://www.swordforum.com There is a much larger JSA community there which will be able to provide far more valuable input than you will get here.

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#116095 - 04/14/05 10:41 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Bump.

Don't feed the trolls. What a pathetic life these guys lead.

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#116096 - 04/14/05 10:52 PM Re: Need some things cleared up, please
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Bump.

Don't feed the trolls. What a pathetic life these guys lead.

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