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#414195 - 01/23/09 04:40 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/06
Posts: 43
Indeed. That last video shows some fine, way beyond my ability, kendo. The very senior kendo folks have an amazing skill set with what they do, particularly seeing and (more importantly) making openings. While kendo doesn't directly teach swordsmanship (think about the first six seconds of the video and imagine they are holding three foot razor blades for an example), there's no doubt these guys would pick up the relevant details under koryu instruction in no time. As somebody just said, lots of senior exponents in kendo have some koryu on the side, particularly since nanadan and beyond it is practically required (sort of, I know).

Richard

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#414196 - 01/24/09 03:08 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
gtanaka Offline
Newbie

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

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?




I think that I have made clear that the reason I was "offended" (I was more bothered I think), was that you didn't state your reasons as to why we where beginners (not the fact that if we were or were not) . But, because of the obvious tone of depreciation in the original statement, I made my point about the "insult" part (which was only a remark in my first reply).
Since your original statement is still missing "backup data", I can't really refute a conclusion that lacks premises to support it, without falling into an illogical discussion (is like fighting about someone thinking that apples don't fall due to gravity only because he or she says so).

Therefore, my point is that I only wanted to know the reasons to your statement (you gave me one once, but I said it was not me), which you still have not given me. You only repeated your opinions, even this last time, backing up your conclusions only over watching it again and having concluded so. Simultaneously, I wrote about what I thought about those types of comments, but this is, in fact, a totaly different topic to discuss.

Although you say I don't need to thank you for reading my comment, I will do so again for watching over the video to see things more thoroughly, so thanks again.

Mr Ames,
Quote:

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



Really? Well, I didn't know that. It makes sense though, because kata, being the means to learn with the body through repetition, will somehow transmit that knowledge to the person. But, I still think that only through kata that "ability" is much more harder to obtain.
Have you done kendo before? - so I know if I can explain my thoughts through my experience
I think i've never said that modern kendo alone is a way to prepare an ancient swordsman (I said what modern kendo is for before). Because if it were so, kenjutsu schools would be meaningless, which they obvioulsy arenīt (as you say, the theory about actual sword use is taught by them or the like).
What i'm trying to do with my comments is to prove my point on the usefulness of the likes of keiko (which is completely separate from the video), although I think most of you have seen most of my point already. just wrapping things up.

mr norris,
Quote:

Indeed. That last video shows some fine, way beyond my ability, kendo.



Well, certainly mine too, but that's what I aim for. I assume that you practice kendo then? But haven't you experienced some of that things too? When you do debana waza or even kaeshi waza you are anticipating or reacting properly to your opponent. This is the kind of thing that I say are more difficult to obtain only through the use of kata.
_________________________
www.renseikan.com.ar - Kendo Dojo in Argentina

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#414197 - 01/26/09 01:20 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: gtanaka]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

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

This is the kind of thing that I say are more difficult to obtain only through the use of kata.




Says who? How do you know? I disagree - what you (and others) suggest doesn't seems to be any sort of meaningful support for the notion that sparring is a better pedagogy than kata for swordsmanship. I've only five years of kendo, much more limited than my exposure to koryu. I wholeheartedly agree that keiko is a good way to improve in -kendo-, but that's not swordsmanship. Recall my remark about the first four to six seconds of the (excellent) kendo video - give them real swords and they're both bleeding to death at seven seconds.

Maybe it's helpful to elaborate on what I mean by kata - I don't mean two kendo newbies working through the third kendo no kata until they think they get it; I mean a student going through kata with an instructor, learning everything that shidachi learns. Kata teach principles, not specifics, including things you attributed to kendo keiko. The two newbies aren't doing kata, they're dancing.

There's a nice koryu video link over at sword forum, see <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq5CHnm98hM>.

Richard

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#414198 - 01/26/09 02:32 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
Ames Offline
Veteran

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

I disagree - what you (and others) suggest doesn't seems to be any sort of meaningful support for the notion that sparring is a better pedagogy than kata for swordsmanship.




Well, I think you might be referring to me there, not sure though.

Just to clarify, I'm not putting the value judgment of 'better' to anything. All I'm suggesting is that sparring DOES have a role in some koryu. Whether the majority of not, I fine it strange that you would simply dismiss it as ANOTHER viable route (in conjunction with kata) to learning sword skills. If these posters are overly biased towards kendo (and I think they are), I also think that you appear to be biased towards you own art. That isn't really a bad thing, unless you assert that your art is the only true path. The fact is that other koryu do have sparring, and they seem to do just fine.

Here is a passage from Ellis Amdur's article 'Hiding in the Shadows of the Warrior' (full text available here: http://www.koryu.com/library/eamdur2.html). This pretty much sums up what I've been trying to get across: that sparring is not necessarily going to lead to a lack of reality in training. Here is that quote:

Quote:

One day my instructor came in with shinai (bamboo sword) and kendo masks and gloves. No chest protectors. He said that as long as we clung to form practice as our mainstay and in freestyle practice had to pull our blows, we would never know if our techniques had any integrity at all. He conceded that we ran the risk, using "safety" equipment, of covering ground already walked over by modern martial sports like kendo, but he felt we could counter this with two things: maintaining our kata training and freestyle work with wooden weapons, and making the whole body a target. In addition, by minimizing our protection, with no body or leg armor, we would not lose our flinch reactions, because bamboo weapons promised pain if not minor injury. This would keep us honest, as unlike martial sports, there would be no designated target areas for strikes. Just as in a fight to the death, the whole body was a target.




This is not to say that you shouldn't follow the pedagogy laid down by your art, only that there are different perspectives that are worth noting.

--Chris


Edited by Ames (01/26/09 02:34 PM)
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414199 - 01/27/09 01:34 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

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

Well, I think you might be referring to me there, not sure though. -- Chris




Chris -

Heavens, no. I only refer to the originally posted video and its ilk. You are right that the use of the word "better" was not the best choice; I'll blame it on haste, if I may.

Broadly, I agree that at least some koryu have some version of 'sparring'. I'd argue that it's always a minor component to the minority of schools that have it, but there's presumably always some lads, a la Ellis' story, who'll have a go (and just lacked youtube at the time ) in a less formal setting. I do think that there aren't/haven't been any 'sparring'-only curriculum extant at the time of actual battlefield engagements or even limited personal dueling, so it's hard to assert such an approach has value (beyond opinion, that is). I'd agree that it may very be a nice addition to kata based systems, but I don't know that we 'know' that to be the case. I don't know, myself, of course, so I certainly shouldn't sound absolute about any of this ...

Richard

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#414200 - 01/28/09 10:39 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
May I add, FWIW, that koryu sparring, done with shinai or bokken has a good chance of simulating stick fighting. Those folks who try it with a bladed weapon (saber, katana or iaito) could experience an expensive lesson. Accidents do happen.

I attended a "Highlander" Gathering in Denver a few years ago. On display was the actual blade "our hero" used in shooting the show. You never saw such a chewed up hunk of metal this side of a junk yard.. Blocks and parries spell disaster for a blade of any value. After a while that piece of metal starts to resemble and act like a saw blade. They are not toys.

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#414201 - 01/28/09 12:27 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: iaibear]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Yes, for sure any sparring should naturally be with the shinai. Even the bokken used by someone who knows what they are doing can be deadly or lead to a lifelong injury.

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

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#414202 - 01/28/09 08:27 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
Ames Offline
Veteran

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

I'd argue that it's always a minor component to the minority of schools that have it, but there's presumably always some lads, a la Ellis' story, who'll have a go (and just lacked youtube at the time ) in a less formal setting.




Well, as I've said, I agree that the schools with sparring are in the minority. However, I'm unsure as to how much sparring is involved in those schools which do have it. My understanding is that the Ono-Ha Itto Ryu does regular sparring. Also, something to keep in mind, is that pre-Kendo, more schools did have sparring, even if it wasn't original at the time of the schools founding. A ryu that comes to mind that is like this is the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, which, I understand did at one time practice some kind of randori (though they no longer do so).

Quote:

I do think that there aren't/haven't been any 'sparring'-only curriculum extant at the time of actual battlefield engagements or even limited personal dueling, so it's hard to assert such an approach has value (beyond opinion, that is). I'd agree that it may very be a nice addition to kata based systems, but I don't know that we 'know' that to be the case.




I agree that it is hard to suggest that a 'sparring only' approach is of equal or better value than a system that involves kata.

However, I think it is clear that some schools certainly see/saw benefit in the addition of sparring. Again, keep in mind that all of the Tokugawa were trained in Ono Ha, a style which contains sparring. So there must have been some perceived value there. I would argue that because this was the last real period in Japan when the sword was trained for real world use (pre-sword ban), that the lack of sparring with a shinai in other schools might be more to do with the historical context in which the school came into being, rather than the value of sparring. In other words, sparring isn't seen in many of these schools namely because there was no adequate technology to safely perform it.

I'm going to research this more when I have time. It would be interesting to know what schools took on sparring relatively late in their history, but before the Meiji sword hunt.

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

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#414203 - 01/29/09 03:58 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
gtanaka Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Argentina
most interesting video. I've never seen those kata before.

Quote:

Says who? How do you know? I disagree - what you (and others) suggest doesn't seems to be any sort of meaningful support for the notion that sparring is a better pedagogy than kata for swordsmanship



I'm only speaking through my own experience (an it certainly is less than yours) and thoughts about it, but since I haven't ever practiced kenjutsu I can't say I won't change my mind. But I must say I'm not pointing out that keiko is a better way to form a swordsman than kata, In fact I've never denied the importance of kata. I'm just saying that, in my opinion, keiko is very useful not only for kendo but for swordsmanship (obviously I don't mean that keiko makes you a swordsman but that keiko is an excellent addition to the usual methods). Also, please remember that I said that my opinions about this topic are UNRELATED to the video!!


Quote:

Recall my remark about the first four to six seconds of the (excellent) kendo video - give them real swords and they're both bleeding to death at seven seconds.



well, but they were doing normal keiko or maybe even an kakari geiko. here is a shinken shoubu shiai with the sensei in black from before (mochida):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkWzmiYhpfI&feature=related
you will notice the less striking each other does. Mochida almost only strike when he scores a point (I think that he only tries a tsuki before), I think that's awesome. But it's not like he was super fast or did flashy moves, he just kept attacking his opponent through seme and when he found a suki he stroke. I don't really think that kata can teach how to "feel" a suki. Maybe a little but not as completely as keiko and shiai does. Then again, I've never practiced kenjutsu so I can't really say. I mean, I think I get your point about understanding the kata in meaning and not only in movements, but do you think that a complete understanding of kata can teach you to "read" your opponent? I don't say It doesn't, just want to know your opinion, because I'm just not convinced.


I find Ames's quoted article most interesting also (the full article is very interesting too). Although I think that the kind of training mentioned differs a little from what I think the mayor use of keiko is (it does have points in common, but not all). Then again, this training is more "battle" oriented than "kendo keiko", so I don't think that we can compare both of them as if they were the same thing. Ames wasn't tryin to prove my point with it either, so it's not like we are talking the same thing.




Anyone has any video of a koryu "sparring" or randori?
_________________________
www.renseikan.com.ar - Kendo Dojo in Argentina

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#414204 - 01/29/09 12:57 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: gtanaka]
Ames Offline
Veteran

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

but do you think that a complete understanding of kata can teach you to "read" your opponent? I don't say It doesn't, just want to know your opinion, because I'm just not convinced.




Without a doubt in my mind, I would say yes. Give the books written by Japanese masters of the sword a read. Masters like Musashi, certainly gained this ability and thought that the best way to pass it down to students was through kata. If the greatest masters and teachers of the Japanese sword who ever lived can't convince you, I don't think we have much hope. The best you can do is read those works (such as The Book of Five Rings, The Life Giving Sword) to see evidence that this opinion is standard. Better yet would be to go out and find a genuine Koryu sword art and try the method for awhile and see for yourself.

I would be tempted to say that 'reading your opponent', which I think is one of the major aspects of what some call 'Aiki', can be most easily learned through paired sword work. Certainly those who I have seen who are good with classical sword arts seem to have this skill better than those who are not skilled with the sword.

Quote:

Then again, this training is more "battle" oriented than "kendo keiko", so I don't think that we can compare both of them as if they were the same thing.




Well, I think you have answered your own suggestion here that Kendo can provide all the relevant skills for a real dual. There are key aspects missing, even from a 'sparring only' perspective. That doesn't mean that Kendo isn't a good art. But I don't think any of those high ranks that you posted video of would consider it an art meant for teaching how to dual with a live blade, at least that has been my experience talking to high ranked kendo practitioner's.


Quote:

But it's not like he was super fast or did flashy moves, he just kept attacking his opponent through seme and when he found a suki he stroke. I don't really think that kata can teach how to "feel" a suki. Maybe a little but not as completely as keiko and shiai does.




To be frank your posts are full of many assumptions which don't appear to be backed up by either experiential or textual evidence.

Next, I'm not sure what you mean by 'feel a suki'? I would like an elaboration before speaking to that, if you would. Do you mean feel it physically, or 'feel' it before it takes place?

Quote:

Anyone has any video of a koryu "sparring" or randori?




It is highly unlikely that you will find such a video of Koryu sparring, or any video beyond what the ryu decides to show.

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

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