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#414205 - 02/03/09 02:45 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
gtanaka Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Argentina
Quote:

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. (...) 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.




Thanks for the info, i'll look into them whenever i can.
I've read the book of the five rings but don't remember much (I didn't pay much attention to any training part if it had any at the time; most I remember is the part that gives "tips" to the swordsman to win the fights)
I don't know if there are good kenjutsu schools in my country (argentina) but i'll see if I can find any Ono-Ha Itto Ryu (since you say they do sparrying and kata) dojo.

Quote:

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.



I've looked into "aiki" and yes, I think what i'm talking about is a valid equivalent. I've never heard that term before, most things I've read/heard/watched about kendo only spoke of seme and "state of mind".

Quote:

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.



interesting. shouldn't an aikido practitioner have a better understanding of it since their entire effort is focused in it? (not saying that a person skilled with a sword doesn't have it)

Quote:

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. (...) 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.



As i've said before, i've never said (or that's what i think) that kendo would teach yo how to duel with a live blade. I said that through kendo you can obtain beneficial skills for swordsman, one of them being the aiki i've now learned. Obviously kendo alone wouldn't do any good. But i've also said that i don't discard the importance of kata.
I'm discussing the potential benefits from kendo practice and at what point do kata give those benefits.

Quote:

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



I've omitted this topic before in this reply so I could put every thing together now and hopefully make it less confusing. Firstly, yes, they lack textual evidence, but i've already stated that i've been expressing my thoughts based on my experiences only. Secondly, yes, maybe i haven't expressed much my experiences, so I'll try to put them into words as good as I can.
Throughout my kendo practices i've noticed that recently i've been able to react better to weakneses in my opponents (moments of loose of focus, physical suki, and other) and to their attacks more efficiently (doing kaeshi waza or nuki waza) without being consciously waiting for their waza.
In the video with my friends I particularly like the kote I did to my friend (last minute or so). Although not perfect, I think I correctly noticed a loose of focus in him that, having some kind of advantage due to his bad kamae, allowed me to deliver the kote almost without him being able to react.
I think that all the kendo kata never teach to read the weaknesses in the opponent to successfully end the confrontation. What they do teach, in my opinion, is to correctly read the opponent in his intent and flow of attack. For example, in the 1st kata, uchidachi attacks supposed to be with the intent to kill, but shidachi is supposed to react to this attack and instead kill uchidachi. If uchidachi were to attack in the exact moment shidachi is not fully prepared, mentally or physicaly (finding the weakness), he would definitively negate the rest of the kata. So I think that all kata are based on the assumption that you should always be able to react to the opponent attacks (which is not bad and definitively not useless) but not try to teach WHEN is the best moment to attack. In kendo, you learn, through practice or by being told, that doing debana waza, kaeshi waza or the like are definetively not the only ways to defeat your opponent. Instead, you are stimulated pursue the abilty to fully overwhelm your opponent through superior seme and an imperturbable mind (maybe aiki can be applied instead), which is what high ranking kendoka do. The national geographic documentary about the 8dan test is a proof of that.
The jodan no kamae strictly demands the ability to find a weakness without physically engaging your opponent (search Chiba jodan in youtube for some examples). I think that this, combined with the knowledge of the handling of the sword, would certainly be effective in a real fight.
Another point that I want to discuss is that in the bottom of my consciousness I cannot remove my belief that kata cannot truly give a situation in that the opponent attack is done 100% with the intention to hit (mostly by the facts stated before) and that the one receiving has a real 100% situation in which to react to since he knows what his opponent will do (even if he tries to erase this thought). In a sparring you cannot know what your opponent will do. obviously the only limitation is that it is not 100% real since they both know they are protected and their lives are not at stake, but I what i've been trying to say is that this is to me more real that a prefabricated set of movements.
Reflecting on this, I would conclude that kata IS certainly a way to teach the way of the sword, because it teaches technique, reaction, feeling of the opponent, determination, and surely many things more, in hope that the skills be "recorded" in the person through the continuous repetition. But I do think that sparring is a better way to acquire certain things stated above that maybe kata hopes to teach.
I'm not denying the effectiveness of the teachings though kata, because, as you have said, the greatest masters and teachers of the Japanese sword who ever lived did teach through that method (and also, as I think you have been trying to point out, that some taught with sparring also).


Quote:

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?



I think that the "to feel" concept is somewhat answered above. In a less abstract way, I think that it should be the fact that subconsciously the body moves accordingly to the opponent (aiki?). Trying to give a factual explanation would be that certain movements the opponent makes (very subtle ones)are processed in the brain and responded without going to the more conscious thought process (ability that is gained through constant repetition of the experiences, maybe something like conditioned reflexes).
I don't know if physically comes separate from before taking place, because maybe an unconscious reaction to a physical stimulus is what allows to react before it happens but at the same time this is what allows to make the suitable physical response to the suki. If so,their limits are quite blured.

Quote:

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



That's too bad. I would have really liked to see one.

sorry for the delay.
_________________________
www.renseikan.com.ar - Kendo Dojo in Argentina

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#414206 - 02/03/09 05:23 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: gtanaka]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

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

... think that all the kendo kata never teach to read the weaknesses in the opponent to successfully end the confrontation ... if uchidachi were to attack in the exact moment shidachi is not fully prepared...




I picked this one out, but I have to repeat my earlier suggestion that you appear to use an inaccurate definition of katachi pedagogy. In your example, shidachi would get threatened or thwacked, depending on his instructor. It'd be a lesson right there, in kata, about zanshin. Once that lesson is learned, move on to other lessons within the kata.

You've remarked (I paraphrase) that kata is about building body memory through repetition (it is not) and that is about running through preset forms (it is not). Kata is a dynamic tool for uchidachi to teach a student various principles. A student that unwisely assumes that they 'know the form' is likely in for surprises (and thus, lessons).

For the sake of discussion, I'd ask if two people at similar levels doing say, kendo no kata #1, are they 'doing kata'?

Richard "No."

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#414207 - 02/04/09 11:11 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
WeaTeahShi Offline
Stranger

Registered: 01/29/09
Posts: 3
Iv created a sword dance called Swift wind it mixes the five element sword skills wood, fire, earth, metal, water an sword skill flower wish Is 7 blocks 7 slashes very circular wish is the base formation for sword dance wish is circular skills to the right,square and left

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#414208 - 02/05/09 12:28 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: WeaTeahShi]
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
o'rly?

the five element sword skills??!? sword skill 'flower wish'??!??!

anyway, i've been reading with interest, nice that sensei tanaka came over as well

i don't want to create a separate thread: anyone knows of any GOOD japanese history book of martial arts or so? "samurai and ninjas", you know what i'm asking for...

thanks

pd. swords day ii coming next month i hope that the ones that still think that we are children with bamboo sticks are convinced we're not..

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#414209 - 02/05/09 02:17 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
gtanaka Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Argentina
hey egoras,
please don't say "sensei", because in martial arts contexts is not an appropiate term for me (Since I am not nearly a sensei). Although I know you called me that for other reasons we know, other people don't so it's really out of context XP.
_________________________
www.renseikan.com.ar - Kendo Dojo in Argentina

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#414210 - 02/05/09 03:20 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
gtanaka Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Argentina
Sorry, what do you mean by katachi pedagogy? Is it form pedagogy? (literal translation)

Quote:

In your example, shidachi would get threatened or thwacked, depending on his instructor. It'd be a lesson right there, in kata, about zanshin.



Forgive my clumsiness, but I didn't understand what you were trying to say. Did you mean that using my example, it would be a correct form to teach zanshin?.

Quote:

You've remarked (I paraphrase) that kata is about building body memory through repetition (it is not) and that is about running through preset forms (it is not). Kata is a dynamic tool for uchidachi to teach a student various principles. A student that unwisely assumes that they 'know the form' is likely in for surprises (and thus, lessons).



I must agree and disagree with you. Certainly, I do think that learning kata with an experienced uchidachi is meant to teach principles (all of them I do not know, but I guess aside from technique are zanshin, seme, maai and, aiki in a way). But I think that this teachings are meant to make the practitioner achieve a perfect form and mentality so that after he continuously repeats the kata he can integrate those things in his body and not only his mind.

I don't know if i've been told, i've read or only are my conclusions, but i'm quite certain that the meaning of the continuous repetitions of exercises in all martial arts are to that end. I think that looking at kendo or other any other like judo can prove me right. If only teaching were done so to understand the meanings you wouldn't have to do millions of suburi or practice ashisabaki or in judo's case, practice falls and waza practically all the time.
Aside, sorry again, but I don't know how much do you mean by kata not being running through preset forms. I mean, you can't say it's absolutely not, because it is. if not we should see different tecniques performed. I guess you are trying to emphasize the fact that kata is not only reproducing movements, but also applying things as zanshin, seme, aiki, etc.
Could you elaborate a little more, as to what do you understand as kata, what are the benefits from them and, if possible, any experience and own thoughts about it?
By the way, has your kenjutsu experience given you advantages in your kendo training? In my case, I haven't really been able to reproduce the things done in kendo kata, maybe a nuki do but it was over thought so I don't count it as valid. I credit more my physical improvements in seme, aiki and zanshin more to keiko than kata- Kata has helped me, i think, to understand things better and thus try to improve my performance. I mean that I notice kata's benefits in the intelectual part but not so much in the physical part. Still, the only person with plenty of experience I practice with is my sensei (most of the others have my level or less, and others don't take kata so seriously), and I don't get to do that so often as the other trainings.

Quote:

For the sake of discussion, I'd ask if two people at similar levels doing say, kendo no kata #1, are they 'doing kata'?



Of course I agree with you that 2 people of the same level doing kata are not "doing kata", since the real point of uchidachi is meaningless (unless of course both persons are masters or high ranking kendoka in this case). But I guess they wouldn't be doing the same kata to me than to you because we both have different insights (I think that you do have more bases to support your posture, but that's why I'm glad to discuss it with you).
_________________________
www.renseikan.com.ar - Kendo Dojo in Argentina

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#414211 - 02/05/09 01:26 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: gtanaka]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

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

Sorry, what do you mean by katachi pedagogy? Is it form pedagogy? (literal translation)




Sorry; instruction provided through kata.

Quote:

Forgive my clumsiness, but I didn't understand what you were trying to say. Did you mean that using my example, it would be a correct form to teach zanshin?.




Sorry again. I meant to convey that during instruction via kata, uchidachi will likely observe shidachi to have lapses in zanshin, as you mentioned, or other suki - of course shidachi is learning, and not perhaps so advanced. These suki are a bad thing, naturally, but uchidachi necessarily doesn't just go on with the kata. Instead, uchidachi may simply strike in a manner that illustrates the suki. For example, say I have poor posture and my hand or face is too far forward - my teacher might forgo the intended practice and stick bokuto into my face, or thwack my wrist. Whether this is simply threatening, with the weapon coming close, or actually making contact, might depend on the teacher's mood (student has done this ten times in a row, or is senior enough to not be making such remedial error).

Quote:

Could you elaborate a little more, as to what do you understand as kata, what are the benefits from them and, if possible, any experience and own thoughts about it?




You are right that repetition is an element to any training. Aside from my example above, I might also cite the example of uchidachi deciding that instead of continuing with a specific kata, perhaps he will switch midway to something from another kata. Shidachi must be aware, and see that matters have shifted, and recognize that there are indeed elements in his 'toolbox' to respond. Of course it is best if this happens before shidachi gets there with the strike.

That's what I mean that kata are dynamic. Uchidachi decides what shidachi will be working on that day, and proceeds appropriately. Shidachi doesn't know what the lesson is, and must be aware and able to see it. Ideally, again, before the blow arrives. Uchidachi -teaches- in this manner - not how to do the kata "x", but rather the principles key to swordsmanship. Different koryu have different sets of kata, and yet teach an overall set of principles, not if "a" then "b".

Quote:

By the way, has your kenjutsu experience given you advantages in your kendo training?


Hmm. Maybe. The targets are different, of course, as most koryu wouldn't strike at armoured targets. Still, there's an understanding of suki and creating suki, zanshin, and so forth. I'm not sure so much that "aiki"/energy blending is so easily discussed, but I'm sure otherwise there's been some benefit. I also know I am told that I often strike too lightly in kendo, which I can blame on something, perhaps.

Not so much help.

R

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#414212 - 02/06/09 01:46 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
gtanaka

I don't know that I would use the term "perfect form".......most of the koryu sword kata I have worked with have been less about and TAUGHT less about "perfect form" than being able to grasp and apply the principles in each.

Sure people use the WORDS "perfect form" but the INTENT.....in my limited experience was more "effective and practical application"......it often reads to me liek the LITTERAL translation and the INTENT are some-what different things with people focusing a bit too much on the "litteral" part.

Clearly can't speak for everyone and only in limited capacity personally........but IMO there seems to be a "dis-connect" if you will between how terms are used....and intended to be recieved.

Its like some saying "your sword MUST be a 45 degree angle"........sometimes people look on that as someone demanding "perfect form" contrast that with:

"Your sword must be at a 45 degree angle...because in that postion that angle and oblique strike from the left will allow your oppontents sword to slip off your blade....force it into over-extension....and leave your opponent wide open on their left side."

But you gotta get the angle right.

See what I mean?



Edited by cxt (02/06/09 01:51 PM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#414213 - 02/11/09 09:47 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
gtanaka Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Argentina
Quote:

(...) These suki are a bad thing, naturally, but uchidachi necessarily doesn't just go on with the kata. Instead, uchidachi may simply strike in a manner that illustrates the suki. For example, say I have poor posture and my hand or face is too far forward - my teacher might forgo the intended practice and stick bokuto into my face, or thwack my wrist. (...)



Interesting, I've never seen or heard about kata taught that way. In a way I think I can see now how certain things I thought couldn't be taught that easier, like, reaction to different scenarios in a posible confrontation, CAN be taught with kata only.


Quote:

(...)Aside from my example above, I might also cite the example of uchidachi deciding that instead of continuing with a specific kata, perhaps he will switch midway to something from another kata. Shidachi must be aware, and see that matters have shifted, and recognize that there are indeed elements in his 'toolbox' to respond. (...)



Again, that's another thing I've never seen or heard before.
Then I guess there is where I can see mayor differences between kenjutsu and modern kendo kata. I mean I think it's not imposible to have the teacher pausing to explain something but the thing I've never seen is the part that it's done simultaneously to the kata. That way it sure is dynamic as you say.

Quote:

I'm not sure so much that "aiki"/energy blending is so easily discussed, but I'm sure otherwise there's been some benefit.



Well I think so too but, If I don't mention it It there would be something most important missing from the things say kendo is useful for training.
In a practical kendo scenario, what I mean by aiki, is when, for example, you are able to land a men almost without the opponent's opposition, meaning you caught him/she completely by surprise being him/she in a serious practice. In a point I think that it blends with seme, because doing seme efectively means that in some point you are understanding your opponent, but there are particular cases in which reading the opponent is the decisive factor.

Quote:

I also know I am told that I often strike too lightly in kendo, which I can blame on something, perhaps.



that used to happen to me too (it still does, but less). Surprisingly, I think that's one thing kata made me improve in a way. By reflecting on the precise and definitive cuts done in kata I forced myself to try to strike with a decisive blow (BAM! or like my sensei says, not like a club, but like a sword meaning to cut). Not with excessive strength, of course (that's the main reason I used to hit lightly, because I didn't want to rely on strength to hit)
At the same time, I think my kendo practice has allowed me to do kata with moves as the ones I do in keiko (decisive strikes while trying to do kikentai no ichii).


Sorry for the very late reply. Got a lot of stuff to do (still have but i'm taking some time to write, as it takes me quite some time to write seriously and in english)



cxt,
mhhh, I think I got what you tried to say, as I got a little confused in the middle.
What Norris has been saying to me concurs with what you are telling me about understanding kata rather than reproducing kata. I agree that "perfect form" could not be the better words to use, but I do think that It should be, and surely is, a perfect objective to look up to, since it would continuously push you to improving your technique, mind, body and any other things that can come to mind.

Changing the subject a little,

Quote:

Clearly can't speak for everyone and only in limited capacity personally........but IMO there seems to be a "dis-connect" if you will between how terms are used....and intended to be recieved.



Well, that's the problem with words, right?. They can have various meanings and so can be interpreted in different ways. It sure gives many headaches to people, hahaha.
I think I do understand what you mean. It happens a lot with kendo training: in kata for example "you have to hit your opponent with the intent to kill" but you obviously shouldn't even hit him/she; in keiko "you don't' have to think"; surely we hear "aim to do a perfect form" ; and many others are good examples.

sorry for the late reply to you too!.
_________________________
www.renseikan.com.ar - Kendo Dojo in Argentina

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#414214 - 02/25/09 02:41 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: JMWcorwin]
karl314285 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 326
Loc: The Matrix, Serif is Teacher
**Fencing-light blade, sharp and thin, wrist and elbow control, lunge thrust to finish opponent, old dueling days saw the invention of nose and ear prosthesis, eye-patch common.

**Katana-Heavy, sharp and hard to break, whole body needed for control, can thrust well but practice of tamashigiri emphasizes dismemberment and the kindness of beheading.

***cool to play round, but apples and oranges, give the fencers thin weapons and those who lean to katana use older version of shinai (hardwood split in 4, wrapped in leather), cut their little sword to bits, or find out fencing foil or saber is fast, then die the Samurai way, someone kills you kill them right back as you die.
***seriously tho that old shinai, danger will robinson danger
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