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#414185 - 01/16/09 02:57 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/06
Posts: 43
The point I was making wasn't really in regard to a particular type of attack, but rather a type of engagement: those where one's opponent intends to see you dead with a lethal weapon. Sparring/boffering/sport fighting all have the same thing in common - the weapons are "safed" in some manner or other, and you don't get killed. There is a unavoidable difference in mindset when you <know> that being struck by your opponent's weapon won't lead to injury or death.

The point of kata-based pedagogy may be that it's an effective way to teach folks in a progressive manner, while maintaining the objective of teaching lethal skills. Whether or not new approaches achieve this goal is difficult to determine, as the only way to validate them is for exponents to be tested in lethal duels, which is obviously impossible today. We <know> that kata pedagogy was used successfully in the past, however.

Charles already said it, so I'll quote: "Randori style practice is very much the exception and not the rule with koryu ... styles." It's a good case of the example that proves the rule - I can only think of a couple ryuha, it's a minor and late component of the curricula, and the oku is transmitted in kata. Further, koryu 'ranodri' isn't generally some rock-em-sock-em deal, but rather a method to practice specific waza.

There's nothing wrong with this sort of activity; heck, I like kendo. I'm sure the boffering toys are heaps of fun, and I'm hardly one to criticize folks for odd hobbies.

Still, one can hardly expect to see folks claiming mastery of swordsmanship in contemporary styles without asking "so how do you know?".

RN

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#414186 - 01/16/09 07:44 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Quote:

The point I was making wasn't really in regard to a particular type of attack, but rather a type of engagement: those where one's opponent intends to see you dead with a lethal weapon.




Okay, I can go with that. You are talking about intent then. I would like to just say that Kendo does have the kata, and they are meant to teach this mindset as well. As a matter of fact, when the various headmasters of Ryu's got together to form Kendo, this was one of the objectives: to pass on this mindset.

Quote:

. Sparring/boffering/sport fighting all have the same thing in common - the weapons are "safed" in some manner or other, and you don't get killed. There is a unavoidable difference in mindset when you <know> that being struck by your opponent's weapon won't lead to injury or death.




The majority of training time in Kenjutsu is done with a bokken, not a live blade (though the amount varies). So, if what you are saying is true, then most schools are not doing an adequate job of passing down the right mindset (something which I don't feel is accurate).

Yes, a shinai does less damage than a bokken, like a bokken does less damage than a live blade...but, to me, that is beside the point. The development of the mindset is not completely predicated on whether one constantly trains with a live weapon or not, because to say that is to disregard the vast majority of Kenjutsu out there.

Quote:

The point of kata-based pedagogy may be that it's an effective way to teach folks in a progressive manner, while maintaining the objective of teaching lethal skills. Whether or not new approaches achieve this goal is difficult to determine, as the only way to validate them is for exponents to be tested in lethal duels, which is obviously impossible today. We <know> that kata pedagogy was used successfully in the past, however.




Yes, I agree with that. All I'm saying is that we also know that a method which included randori was used successfully in the past, of this there is absolutely no doubt. All I'm saying is it isn't so black and white.


Quote:

Charles already said it, so I'll quote: "Randori style practice is very much the exception and not the rule with koryu ... styles." It's a good case of the example that proves the rule - I can only think of a couple ryuha, it's a minor and late component of the curricula, and the oku is transmitted in kata.




Sorry, but I beg to differ. Even if it is the case that the majority of schools did not practice randori, look at two that did: Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Ono Ha Itto Ryu. These styles are by no means minor styles. Both schools have randori. They were the 'official' styles of the Tokugawa. That's pretty big thumbs up, in my eyes. That of all the schools, the two with randori were chosen.

And, yes, perhaps many styles do not currently have randori, but from what I have read on the subject, many did, for a time, practice it--largely due to the influence of the schools mentioned above, and seeing the shinai as a valuable training tool.

So I personally find it odd to dismiss the fact that randori was a proven method of developing fine swordsmen, when that is so obviously not the case. It doesn't matter about what the 'majority' did or did not do, because all I am saying is that randori does not have to automatically equal 'sport', nor does the practice of randori necessarily take away from ones lethality. In saying this, I am not dimissing kata as another viable training option for learning the sword. Again, I'm just stating that I don't think it is such a black and white issue.

Quote:

Further, koryu 'ranodri' isn't generally some rock-em-sock-em deal, but rather a method to practice specific waza.




Again, I wouldn't know, as I have not been involved in any sword style for long enough to practice randori, so I can't say for a fact how it works or doesn't. But from what I understand it is, in certain schools, a method of learning to apply the principles gained through kata study in a freestyle environment.

Quote:

here's nothing wrong with this sort of activity; heck, I like kendo. I'm sure the boffering toys are heaps of fun, and I'm hardly one to criticize folks for odd hobbies.





This is what I find off-putting, but perhaps I'm reading it wrong, so feel free to correct me. But you seem to be saying that randori=sport, when nothing could be further from the truth. Just because your style does not use randori, I see no need to dismiss other styles that have and do use this method. Styles that have proven to be very successful as far as 'real sword fighting' is concerned.

On the other hand, if you are speaking the o.p. video, and not randori as a whole, then I tend to agree with your statement.

--Chris


Edited by Ames (01/16/09 07:53 PM)
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414187 - 01/19/09 03:41 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
pgsmith Offline
Member

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

Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Ono Ha Itto Ryu. These styles are by no means minor styles. Both schools have randori.



I have to disagree here. Although I am not a practitioner of Yagyu Shinkage ryu, I know people that are, and have seen quite a bit of it. Free style randori is NOT a regular part of their curriculum. They do practice quite a number of kata with fukuro shinai, but they are still kata with predetermined movements. Itto ryu is the only school that I am aware of that practiced free style randori as a regular part of their curriculum (which eventually led to today's kendo). All of the other koryu schools depended only upon kata to transmit their teachings.

That seems to be pretty black and white to me as to which was the preferred method back when swords were actually in use.
_________________________
Paul

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#414188 - 01/19/09 04:01 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/06
Posts: 43
A couple of thoughts I have Ö

I hesitate to use kendo and the kendo no kata as examples; kendo isnít koryu per most folksí definitions. The kendo no kata, while useful in reminding kendo students that the sword has an edge and providing a sampler of koryu kata, does not exist as a system Ė that is, the group of kata donít illustrate the teaching principles of a school. Theyíre a selection from many schools.

I didnít intend to convey that the use of live weapons was the central issue in kata-based pedagogy. Rather, it is the use of kata, in which one certainly can get hurt, though thatís not directly the point Ė itís just a teaching tool.

My use of Ďminorí in the context of koryu pedagogy didnít refer to the schools, but rather to the place of sparring in the overall curriculum. It was also, to my knowledge, added to pre-existing curricula during the Edo/Tokugawa period, when of course there were not battlefield engagements and the focus turned to dueling, at the most. Iím avoiding the use of the word randori, since I think it is mostly a modern usage.

Quote:

So I personally find it odd to dismiss the fact that randori was a proven method of developing fine swordsmen Ö this is what I find off-putting, but perhaps I'm reading it wrong, so feel free to correct me. But you seem to be saying that randori=sport, when nothing could be further from the truth.




My remarks are indeed largely motivated by the contents of the video and its ilk; Iíve of course got no issues with folks enjoying it as a pastime. Itís only the suggestion that such an approach builds <actual> swordsmen that seems, to me, baseless and untestable.

I donít myself feel that there is evidence that sparring was a meaningful component of koryu curricula Ė and of course the stuff in the video isnít anything like the jigeiko seen in koryu arts. Iím really not making any Ďsportí based argument. Anyway, all my opinion, of course Ö

Richard

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#414189 - 01/20/09 12:26 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
gtanaka Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Argentina
Hi to all, I'm the "japanese kendoka" in egoras's video.
After reading all the comments i think that there has been a slight misunderstanding. My friend and I where obviously playing and not training. Although some of us were more serious than others, we were never seriously trying to do methodical or conclusive analysis on our fights, though we appreciate any comment on our performance.
When egoras said that our fights were "real" i think he didn't mean that we were simulating an actual duel or fight with real swords but fighting with real spirit and with more caution than usual due to the relatively light protection, because hey, we would fight but wouldn't like to get hit! So I think that that's what he meant with "real"
I do find interesting all the comments though.

I think that randori is a most useful tool to form a swordsman. For example, in the book "Kendo: elements, rules, and philosophy" by Jinichi Tokeshi he writes about Chiba Shuusaku, founder of the Hokushin Ittou ryu.He says that Chiba widely used bogu (armor) and shinai for practice, mostly with uchikomi geiko (striking practice) and obtained outstanding results because his students would learn as much as twice as fast as the students of others school practicing only kata.
I think that by practicing sparring helps to train the mind, spirit and body to a more closer approach to a real combat situation because it's actually more real than a kata. I must say that I'm not discrediting kata because I also think that kata are needed to practice correct form.

changing the topic a little, modern Kendo is not in any way meant to train the practitioner to be able to use the sword to successfully kill an oponent. That's what kenjutsu does.
Modern kendo is the way to train the mind and the body to become a better person through the practice of the sword.And I think that's why it can allow to limit the valid strike zones and points (obviously safety and practical reasons determine most of the cases).
Nevertheless, through my own experience, I can say that by doing keiko (practice) with bogu It really trains a key element that I'm sure that it's impossible to obtain as easily through practice of kata: the experience of a live situation, the ability to react to the tension of the fight. I think that in a real fight, the fighting experience is more valuable than technique.
In kendo, if you want to practice a fight closest to reality you have to do a "shinken shoubu" (can be interpreted as a fight with absolute seriousness, as if it was a real duel)

Going back to the first posts, pgs smith said:
Quote:

"You say that some of the people in that video actually practice fencing and kendo? If so, they are very much beginners."



I don't want to sound bad but, please could you at least give some reasons to the statement? Because if you only denigrate us without reasons it could be taken as an insult.
I understand you practice kenjutsu, but I belive kenjutsu and kendo are very different, as I said when I explained as best as i could what I think kendo is, so If you don't have real experience practicing kendo, I don't think that you can be so sure as to how much experience we have (as egoras say before I'm the only one who practices kendo, so obviously one of the 2 fighting "kendo" is not realy doing kendo because he doesn't really practice). But if you would like to comment to help me improve my kendo I would gladly consider your words.
Also, the same applies to my fencing friends.

We are beginners if you compare us to all the practitioners in the world, but I think that saying we are very much beginners without reasons is not a useful argument.


Edited by gtanaka (01/20/09 12:31 PM)
_________________________
www.renseikan.com.ar - Kendo Dojo in Argentina

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#414190 - 01/20/09 05:16 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: gtanaka]
pgsmith Offline
Member

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

We are beginners if you compare us to all the practitioners in the world, but I think that saying we are very much beginners without reasons is not a useful argument.



I'm sorry, but I didn't intend any of my comments to be particularly useful. If you wish to have your technique criticized, you should ask your sensei to look at the video and tell you what he thinks you're doing.

All I did was to watch a part of the video (didn't feel any desire to watch the entire thing) and came to the conclusion that none of you had much training. I just went back and watched a little more (again, no desire to watch the whole thing). If you are the one wearing men and kote, then the reason that I thought you very much a beginner is that you are terribly off balance in your movements, and your strikes are done using your arms almost exclusively. An experienced kendoka would do neither of these things, so I concluded that if you actually practice kendo, you are below shodan in rank making you very much a beginner.

Am I wrong?

Quote:

I don't want to sound bad but, please could you at least give some reasons to the statement? Because if you only denigrate us without reasons it could be taken as an insult.



Take it however you wish to take it. I have to tell you though, if you go posting yourself playing around for all the world to see, don't be at all surprised when other people laugh at you.
_________________________
Paul

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#414191 - 01/20/09 05:40 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: gtanaka]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/06
Posts: 43
Quote:


I think that randori is a most useful tool to form a swordsman. For example, in the book "Kendo: elements, rules, and philosophy" by Jinichi Tokeshi he writes about Chiba Shuusaku, founder of the Hokushin Ittou ryu.He says that Chiba widely used bogu (armor) and shinai for practice, mostly with uchikomi geiko (striking practice) and obtained outstanding results because his students would learn as much as twice as fast as the students of others school practicing only kata.
I think that by practicing sparring helps to train the mind, spirit and body to a more closer approach to a real combat situation because it's actually more real than a kata. I must say that I'm not discrediting kata because I also think that kata are needed to practice correct form.





Your comment about uchikomi geiko just proves the point: it's not sparring (again, randori isn't really the right word here). Naturally, the book is about kendo, and the HIR remarks are, well, a little biased, perhaps.

Judging from the video, I'm hard pressed to believe you when you say it's "a more closer approach to a real combat situation because it's actually more real than a kata". Either you haven't experienced kata under a qualified instructor (I'm not referring to kendo no kata, either) or you're a bit hopeful about how 'real' your sparring is.

Richard 'but, of course, to each their own'

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#414192 - 01/21/09 12:56 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
gtanaka Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Argentina
Mr smith,
Quote:

I'm sorry, but I didn't intend any of my comments to be particularly useful. If you wish to have your technique criticized, you should ask your sensei to look at the video and tell you what he thinks you're doing.




Well, I understand your posture now, and I also think that your point is good, but the purpose of uploading the video was to see what other people thought about it.


Quote:

All I did was to watch a part of the video (didn't feel any desire to watch the entire thing) and came to the conclusion that none of you had much training. I just went back and watched a little more (again, no desire to watch the whole thing). If you are the one wearing men and kote, then the reason that I thought you very much a beginner is that you are terribly off balance in your movements, and your strikes are done using your arms almost exclusively. An experienced kendoka would do neither of these things, so I concluded that if you actually practice kendo, you are below shodan in rank making you very much a beginner.




Since you didn't specify about which part of the video you watched, I don't really know if you watched the fencers part (I know now at least you watched the kendo part) so I can debate about your opinions. (fencing and kendo are the last minutes of the video)
Going to kendo again, I'm actually the guy with the fencing mask and gloves, the person with the kendo equipment is the person who doesn't practice (so I can make kendo strikes on him).

Quote:

Take it however you wish to take it. I have to tell you though, if you go posting yourself playing around for all the world to see, don't be at all surprised when other people laugh at you.




Even if you meant to insult or not I personally think that to use internet forums to just insult other people is not meaningful at all. Also, I don't think it's necessary to write things in impolite ways. I mean, you can always laugh at something in ways that are not mean(if you really mean to). But still, I don't mind if you laugh at us playing because it's what we are doing, but what I did mind was, as I said before, the statement about our experience level (because it implies you have more knowledge of the thing in question and saying so without reason is meaningless). Thank you for your time,


Mr norris,
Quote:

Judging from the video, I'm hard pressed to believe you when you say it's "a more closer approach to a real combat situation because it's actually more real than a kata". Either you haven't experienced kata under a qualified instructor (I'm not referring to kendo no kata, either) or you're a bit hopeful about how 'real' your sparring is.




I think I expressed myself wrong. I didn't intend to mean that our video reflected an equivalent of randori and training to improve our swordsmanship. When I talked about randori and sparring (the part that you have quoted)I was talking about modern kendo, not the video.
On the other hand, I have no knowledge of kenjutsu kata, but I do try to practice kendo kata simulating a state of mind as real as possible, but I must say I still think that a kendo shiai is much more real than the kata, because as much as you want with kata, It's always a predetermined movement. I think that the concepts of "real" and "state of mind" are not accurate enough to express what i'm tring to say but i hope that you can understand, if not, I'll continue trying (never give up, never surrender!, hhahah).
I think this video is useful to show what I mean with the usefulness of randori/sparring/keiko:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XHSZ-sLG3I
the guy in black is a 10th dan in kendo. I believe that without the practice of "real combat" (keiko and shiai, not with real swords), you can't possibly make what this sensei is doing (parrying at least 90% of the attacks and successfully retaliate). This video shows that he is superior to his opponent as he is totally aware of his future moves, therefore, in a real fight, i think that this would prove vital in the outcome.


Quote:

Your comment about uchikomi geiko just proves the point: it's not sparring (again, randori isn't really the right word here). Naturally, the book is about kendo, and the HIR remarks are, well, a little biased, perhaps.



I don't understand what do you mean with "naturally, the book is about kendo". well, I don't really know about HIR, I was just telling you what the book said. but uchikomi geiko is not the only thing done in bogu. I think if they used bogu they would also do normal keiko and shiai with it.
_________________________
www.renseikan.com.ar - Kendo Dojo in Argentina

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#414193 - 01/23/09 03:00 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: gtanaka]
pgsmith Offline
Member

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

But still, I don't mind if you laugh at us playing because it's what we are doing, but what I did mind was, as I said before, the statement about our experience level (because it implies you have more knowledge of the thing in question and saying so without reason is meaningless).



OK, since you seem to be quite easily offended, I went back and took a closer look. I'm glad you guys are having fun, but I solidly stand by my earlier statement that none of you has much, if any, experience in the sword arts. Although you acted very offended about my assessment, I notice that you did not refute it. So, were you offended that I could easily tell your lack of experience, or were you offended that I openly spoke of it?
Quote:

Thank you for your time



No thanks are necessary.
_________________________
Paul

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#414194 - 01/23/09 03:53 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: gtanaka]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Quote:

I believe that without the practice of "real combat" (keiko and shiai, not with real swords), you can't possibly make what this sensei is doing (parrying at least 90% of the attacks and successfully retaliate). This video shows that he is superior to his opponent as he is totally aware of his future moves, therefore, in a real fight, i think that this would prove vital in the outcome.






I've seen that attribute built through kata based Kenjutsu ('seeing future movements') as well.

And I don't think Kendo shiai is enough preparation for a 'real' dual. That doesn't mean it doesn't have it's benefits, many headmasters of Koryu styles have also trained Kendo, or do so concurrent to their Koryu art. But in order to understand the theory of actual sword use, you need to step away from the modern sport, imo.

It doesn't have to be a black and white things folks.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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