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#155162 - 06/13/05 12:28 PM Cutting (Tameshigiri)
Warwolph Offline

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 160
Alot of Iaido styles consider cutting objects, or Tameshigiri, a bad thing to do for various (good) reasons... what are people here's ideas about this? should this REALLY be considered bad? On my side, I beleive it should be allowed- but only if you're using a modern sword, and only once you have attained a level where you are able to do this correctly. Cutting with an antique sword is like using an antique wardrobe- you use it too much, it will show wear and tear.

#155163 - 06/13/05 04:36 PM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: Warwolph]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Personally, what's the big deal long as know one gets hurt.
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

#155164 - 06/13/05 04:47 PM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: schanne]
glad2bhere Offline

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
In Kum-Bup cutting is an integral way of validating a technique and researching various aspects of swordwork which would be too risky to attempt even with a willing partner. The trick, as I see it, is to find material of sufficient amount and consistency to make regular cutting a true (standard) measure of ones' efforts. Currently the standard for the Asian sword arts seems to be pretty much straw bundles or (more modern) rolled matting of a predetermined thickness and density. Where I have a problem with people advocating cutting is the constant variance regarding materials. I see no purpose in simply cutting whatever is handy just to be able to say one could cut something with a sword. To me this is like taking a rifle out in the country and just shooting at whatever strikes your fancy. FWIW.

BTW: I have been giving serious consideration to making targets out of rolled-up newspapers using one of those rollers that was once used to make "fireplace logs". Has anyone ever tried using rolled-up newspapers as a cutting target?

Best Wishes,


Edited by glad2bhere (06/13/05 04:49 PM)

#155165 - 06/13/05 05:25 PM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: glad2bhere]
splice Offline

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 230
Loc: Ottawa, ON
Well, some people have used newspaper sheets

Not exactly what you intended, but there you go

#155166 - 06/13/05 06:03 PM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: schanne]
Warwolph Offline

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 160
I'm not going to go through reasons why it's bad, because someone's already done it for me The credentials of the guy on the link seem OK and what is said makes sense so give it a read if ur interested also note this probably doesn't only apply to Iaido but also other arts with Katanas or swords....

Info on tameshigiri

#155167 - 06/14/05 06:21 AM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: Warwolph]
Stony Offline

Registered: 05/21/05
Posts: 13
Well, I looked at the link provided and didn't see any real reference to the authors' credentials other than one had sensei after his name. I could write sensei after my name but it really wouldn't really mean much. And to be honest, both authors have very flawed logic.

The first author wrote "The act of using a sword to cut something is akin to someone using a Catholic cross to bash a tree." The author makes reference to the sword being considered the "soul" of a samurai. This is where I think he became confused. A catholic cross wasn't designed with an edge or to bash trees. A sword has an edge, designed to cut. Using a sword to cut is using something the way it was designed to be used. The author then points out that a swordmaker puts his soul into making a sword and "Therefore, using a sword to cut something is a most disrespectiful act towards the swordsmith and the sword..." Again, we have have the false idea that it's wrong to use something in the manner it was designed or made. He also makes reference to the fact the sword is one of the three imperial treasures. I guess he doesn't know the sword is called "Grass Cutter" because at one time the Emperor used the sword to cut down the high grass around him when enemies set the field he was in on fire. According to him, the Emperor disrespected the sword because he used it to save his life.

The second author dislikes using a sword to cut as well. I'm not going to quote him but if you read the article, he begins an illogical train of thought in how if someone would use tameshigiri to learn how to use a sword, it would lead to becoming a violent person. His logic could also lead one to believe that if you began to learn karate, that by breaking boards, you would have to progress to breaking peoples arms and legs as a practical means of learning karate. In the articles there are references that if since a sword will cut, if you have to prove you can cut, you really don't know how to cut, so you shouldn't cut. If I offend anyone, I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap.

The simple reason for tameshigiri today is that we don't use swords as folks once did. Tameshigiri doesn't test the sword to see if it cuts, it's a test to see if we can cut correctly. Are we learning how to use the sword correctly? Are we holding the sword right? Are we cutting or are we chopping? This is what and why one should do tameshigiri. Should one do it with a 400 year old national treasure? No. But there is no reason one shouldn't use a Paul Chen, Last Legend or a modern hand made sword today like a Clark L6 if they want. Ask a swordmaker or knifemaker if it would be disrespectiful to cut with their sword or knife. If they think it would be, then don't use their sword or knife.

If you don't want to cut with a sword, then don't. it's not a problem. But when you say I'm wrong because I don't respect the sword, or maker because I am testing myself, it becomes a problem. Speak for yourself, don't speak for me.

I'm sorry it went on so long. Please forgive me.

I've won, I've lost but I've never quit.

#155168 - 06/14/05 07:00 AM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: Stony]
Warwolph Offline

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 160
look at my original post for my point of view, the logic seems to be the same train of thought as you.. just not as powerfully expressed! but you have to look at different points of view before dismissing the ones you don't like..

#155169 - 06/14/05 07:04 AM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: Stony]
splice Offline

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 230
Loc: Ottawa, ON
Stony, you ought to at least do some research before putting your foot in your mouth. Esaka sensei is 10th dan hanshi, the official representative of the Zen Nihon Iaido Renmei, and a direct student of the 20th and 21st soke of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu (Seitokai). It's not some random nobody that wrote that. Andrej Diamanstein is 6th dan ZNIR, under Esaka sensei and one of his students, Philippe Sabatier. Do your qualifications even remotely match these?

Besides, both of these are writing from the perspective of MJER under the Seitokai line and in ZNIR. This is the official position of their organization. Their logic isn't flawed at all, you just don't agree with it. That's fine. You can argue all day, you're not going to change their opinion. A great many people and Ryu also feel free to do things their own way, without paying much attention to what other organizations say.

I wonder; how many traditional Japanese swordsmiths have you asked about the reason they still make nihonto? How many do you think would answer that they make nihonto for people to cut stuff up, not for the artistic aspects? You seem to have strong beliefs about the way swords should be considered, but are those beliefs shared by those who make the swords?

I might not agree with Esaka sensei's views, but I do respect them. If you doubt that you are cutting correctly, ask sensei to correct you. If you doubt your sensei's teachings, why are you learning from him? You can surely find a sensei that will allow you to validate your technique with tameshigiri. There's no need to write a long diatribe about why you don't agree with a 10th dan from Japan, student of the soke of the style, and about how they have "false ideas" and they are a "load of crap".

#155170 - 06/14/05 09:29 AM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: splice]
Warwolph Offline

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 160
Splice- nice words there... but I still think Tameshigiri should be allowed but not squandered...

#155171 - 06/14/05 09:49 AM Re: Cutting (Tameshigiri) [Re: Warwolph]
splice Offline

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 230
Loc: Ottawa, ON
Oh yes, I do agree that Tameshigiri can have a purpose. I do have a different opinion from Esaka sensei, and I have done some Tameshigiri in the past, under proper instruction.

Now, whether it should be allowed or not is totally up to the organization or ryu you belong to. You don't pick and choose which parts of the ryu you like and do some things differently, you follow the whole of the ryu. Since ryu and organizations on the whole have differing goals and differing ideals, it's obvious you'll get places that say it has no purpose, places that say it's an essential part of training, and places that say it's a good training tool but not the focus. You can pick any of these opinions and take offense at it, write a long text about how those people are wrong, but in the end, what have you accomplished? Nothing.

And then you go back to class and do what sensei tells you .

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