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#215039 - 12/16/05 01:54 AM Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad
MugiaMike Offline

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Louisville, KY U.S.
I am of the school of thought that you learn with the ken you would use in combat. You learn how not to cut yourself by cutting yourself. You also develope a relationship with the sword and are not afraide of it. Iaitos are weak and can bend or break causing injury, without truely teaching the sword.

I look at it like learning to shoot a gun with blanks. It simply is not the same, when you fire live rounds you do not truely know what to expect, the gun behaves differantly and your initial fear returns.

I want to know you oppinions on this, I just nicked my arm on "Suka ah Te",and now know what not to do. I learned this lesson very quickly. How do you train?


#215040 - 12/16/05 08:36 AM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: MugiaMike]
Amos Smith Offline

Registered: 12/19/00
Posts: 134
Loc: Wisconsin
Live blades are very, very, good to learn with. If you don't want to get cut...go slow as you learn.

Toy swords = toy swordsmen.

Amos Smith
Kodama Dojo
Madison, WI

#215041 - 12/16/05 08:44 AM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: MugiaMike]
Zeal Offline

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 56
You make a comparison between live a sword and firearms which is simply irrelevant. You say you cut yourself doing 'tsuka ate'. How many times do you think people shoot themselves when practicing with firearms?

Also good iaito won't bend or break easily. I know people who used the same iaito for 10 years.

From my own limited experience, learning to use a sword relies entirely upon kihon. You can happlily practice kihon with a bokuto, iaito or shinken.

My personal opinion (not that its worth much) is that starting with a bokuto, progressing to iaito and finally shinken allows you to develop your kihon by forcing you to look at your technique at each stage.

Whats the rush?

#215042 - 12/16/05 12:18 PM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: Zeal]
pgsmith Offline

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Texas

Toy swords = toy swordsmen.

Interesting outlook.
I personally know many very experienced (and very good!) swordsmen that regularly use iaito. I usually use iaito in the dojo, and insist that the lower level students do also. I can go back and forth between an iaito and a shinken without any change in how I do things.

Learning the sword arts is not generally done as some sort of macho "I'm bad" testosterone gig. I've sat around and compared scars with others over beer, but it is to laugh about being stupid enough to get a scar, not over machismo for having one.

I am aware of several schools that insist on graduating from bokken straight to shinken. Nothing wrong with that as long as the school is specifically geared toward doing it in a safe manner. Goofing up with a shinken is not just an "oops" moment, it can easily be a race to the emergency room and pray you're in time.

Calling the many highly experienced swordsmen that have been practicing since before you were born "toy swordsmen" because they don't use shinken exclusively is both rude and short sighted. I somehow don't think your sensei would approve.


I look at it like learning to shoot a gun with blanks.

If you ever join the military, that is exactly what you will do. You learn most of your maneuvering and how to fight as a unit using blanks. They aren't stupid enough to give people that don't know what they are doing live rounds. Once you've figured things out, then they move you up to using live ammo.

Edited by pgsmith (12/16/05 12:22 PM)

#215043 - 12/16/05 05:57 PM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: pgsmith]
Subedei Offline

Registered: 12/23/04
Posts: 479
Most sword instructors I've seen use a dull sword in the classroom. No matter how careful you are, accidents are going to happen. The less you bring out the real sword the less likely a serious injury will occur. This goes for students as well, obviously.

That's not to say you should be afraid of a live blade, just don't do anything uneccessary and realize that sooner or later you will cut yourself.

#215044 - 12/16/05 07:50 PM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: Subedei]
MugiaMike Offline

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Louisville, KY U.S.
I my school we are not alowed to use anything but tomagarshi cutting quality shirken, right from the begining. Our sensie insists that this was the way it was done in anchent times and refuses to change things at all. However safty is a huge concern to him and "YAMI" will be call emphetically if he notices the slightest mistake in hand posision, posture, saya angle, or anything else. Only one of our students (incidently a Shodokan sensie with his own dojo) has been seriously injured, on tsuka ate of course when he thrusted his kin through his bicept.

Maybe my anaolgy to shooting blanks was slightly off but Millitary aside the point was there.

You are right if you use a shirken you will eventually get bit, focus and proper training determine how bad the cut is likely to be. I barely drew blood on my most recent incident. My sensies blame it on my Last Legand and its deep 1.8 inch sori, I will have to work around this.

Drawing bokkens is pointless in my mind, there re no real simularieties ( excuse my spelling) to a shirken or even an iaito. We did this at one school I trained at untill I finally refused and brought my iaito.

Learn through cuts, if you are careful and don't try to go too fast too quickly your lesons will be minor but memeroable.

#215045 - 12/16/05 08:00 PM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: MugiaMike]
Subedei Offline

Registered: 12/23/04
Posts: 479
Ahh, but they did use wooden/blunted swords in ancient Japan and in fact, just about anywhere swords were used, safe practice swords were also used.

#215046 - 12/16/05 08:49 PM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: MugiaMike]
Halley Offline

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 126

You are right{:} if you use a {shinken} you will eventually get bit[.] [F]ocus and proper training determine how bad the cut is likely to be. I barely drew blood on my most recent incident. My {sensei} blame it on my {Last Legend} and its deep 1.8 inch sori{;} I will have to work around this.

Reading through the brambles of your poor spelling and grammar is more painful than any sword-inflicted wound. I chose the least damaged paragraph to quote. You list Kentucky as your location, but I must conclude that you are instead a newcomer to the English language.

It is not the depth of the sori which made for your mistake: it is your human fallibility. Every human will make mistakes. It is not the depth of the sori which makes your sword dangerous, it is the edge. Every sharp sword is dangerous: that is the intention behind its design.

Train for the circus trapeze with a safety net installed by your trainer. Train for the army with blank ammo provided by your sergeant. Train for your driver's license with a parent limiting your speed. Train in the sword arts with bare arms, or shinai, or bokken, or unsharp iaito under the watchful instruction of your sensei. There is no "aside from," you need to train in dangerous activities using progressive risk-management and directed by a mindful teacher.

Perhaps common sense is as hard to find as your native language, and that this advice will just be ignored or worse.

#215047 - 12/16/05 09:35 PM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: MugiaMike]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Shinken are utterly essential to learning the finer points of Iai. Blunt weapons, albeit not necessarily ones made of an aluminum alloy, are utterly essential for students to retain fingers long enough to get to a stage in their training where the finger points are an issue.

It's pretty much that simple.

The idea that new students can learn iai while going so slow as to be certain of preventing nasty maiming injuries to their left hand in particular is folly. If you go that slow, you won't learn anything. At some point you need to be able to put the pieces together, and new students will have no small amount of difficulty with that.

Perhaps it is different for folks who use swords that are short enough that saya-biki is not a problem. It has certainly not been my experience.

Back to that first point though. Iai with a shinken is utterly essential one day. If that day does not come for 5 years, who cares. That is a miniscule portion of your overall training career. Grow some patience. If you don't have patience enough to train with the weapons that are traditionally used, ie blunts, then you don't have the patience to stick it out over the long term anyway and are wasting your instructors valuable time.

Remember, your only attached to your fingers once.

Edited by Charles Mahan (12/16/05 09:36 PM)
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

#215048 - 12/16/05 10:18 PM Re: Live Ken For Iai Traing Good or Bad [Re: Charles Mahan]
MugiaMike Offline

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Louisville, KY U.S.
First let me apologize for my poor grammar and spelling in my last post. I raised this question because I felt it would be a good topic of conversation. I am sorry that I sometimes get rushed and my writing suffers. I did not think it warranted such an in-depth personal attack especially on me as a practitioner of iai.

I admit that the first time I came to class and had my iaito, then was promptly to go get my shirken, I was taken aback. My sensei told me to never bring anything to class except my shirken was also hard to swallow. After listening to his ideal logy on iaijutsu I began to understand his method. You seem to think that I was the one who wanted to rush into training with a shirken. This was not the case I was instructed to only use my shirken, no two ways about it. I follow what my sensei instructs me to do in his dojo. I was in no rush to grab the sharpest thing I could find and start training with it.

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