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#414165 - 01/10/09 08:28 PM Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo...
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hey just made this video with my friends, what do you think???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKfZ-_do_uY

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#414166 - 01/11/09 04:41 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Looks like some folks with no connection to genuine sword arts whacking each other with sticks. Am I wrong?
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#414167 - 01/11/09 05:03 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Charles Mahan]
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
You're partially wrong:

'Grasshopper' is an occidental fencer.

'Japase Kendoka' is what his name says.

'Germinator' has no connection, but fighting him is tricky because he acts like a crazy barbarian.

'Foil Fencer'... is a fencer.

The only ones that are completely off (but are still fun to see) are 'Judoka Scorpion' and 'Itie'.

This is real fighting, not choreographies.

Would you rather see a "Swords Fight!" titled video with two guys with doing some fancy movements and trying to make it look like it's real?

The good thing about the video is that IT'S REAL...

Would you say "Sword Art" is only about katas and theory about what a real fight would be? I strongy disagree. In order to be a sword master you must fight, not only practice what you would do in a fight.

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#414168 - 01/11/09 05:30 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Firstly, I respect your guys cahona's for going at it full contact with just head gear. However, I do have a couple of points to raise:

Quote:

The good thing about the video is that IT'S REAL...





No offense, but no it is not real. It might be an approximation, but it surely isn't real. Even it being an approximation of 'reality' would neccitate the combatants having some knowledge of the actual capacity of a sword to inflict damage. This can really only be had through drilling of techniques which come down to us from those who actually engaged with live weapons.


Quote:

Would you say "Sword Art" is only about katas and theory about what a real fight would be? I strongy disagree. In order to be a sword master you must fight, not only practice what you would do in a fight.




Many 'kata based' koryu sword arts, do at some point have randori.

Also, I'd like to point out that by your own logic, it would be impossible for any one to reach 'master' status with a sword, as it is fairly impossible to engage in live dueling (which is what a 'real' sword fight is) in this day and age.

--Chris


Edited by Ames (01/11/09 05:33 PM)
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414169 - 01/11/09 06:02 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hi Chris, thanks for your post.

Of course, in my opinion randori is absolutely necessary! But it should be done with protection, reducing the fear of hurting your opponent and therefore fighting with all you've got.

I accept it's not real, but only under certain circumstances. For example, the flying-hits 'Grasshopper' deliver would be kind of silly against an oponent with strong head and face protection, because the blow would not be strong enough. But against an unarmoured opponent it would be trouble. As you have stated: it's an approach. I find very interesting what you have said about studying real sword damage. Do you have any videos or documents or something I could see that reflects that experience? Thanks!

Master status, for me, apart from knowing the technique, is being able to fight being completely relaxed and nevertheless winning easily against almost any opponent, except other masters, of course. I guess you could be a master in non-lethal sword fighting, but as you said, you wouldn't be a live-dueling master.

Again thanks for your answer!


Edited by Egoras (01/11/09 06:03 PM)

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#414170 - 01/11/09 06:17 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I tend to agree that at some point randori is necessary. But I also think, as this applies to someone studying a non-sport sword art, that randori done to early can, and usually is, detrimental to development.

Quote:

I find very interesting what you have said about studying real sword damage. Do you have any videos or documents or something I could see that reflects that experience? Thanks!




Finding this kind of documentation would be difficult. If I was so inclined, I would begin by looking into case studies involving deaths by machette or knives. Although not exactly like the damage one would sustain from a sword, it might provided a good start.

But what I was referring to was that through the study of a tradional sword art, such as kenjutsu, one is made aware of the types of strikes, the specific angles of attack and the vulnerable areas of the body to target, as well as how to open them up for attack. The other issue would be proper depth, which can be taught through test cutting. Again, I feel that in order to learn these things, you need to study in an art that has had this information passed down from the years people actually fought with live blades.

The danger with just practicing randori with a shinai is that, although sometimes a hit may sting, it might be to a less vulnerable area; meanwhile a person may thrust, you may not feel it as much, yet if that area was hit in a real exchange, you would die.

The other general comment I would make is that I didn't see any attempt at moving past the arc of the blade and clinching and throwing your opponent...something else that can be seen in many kata, as well as Western manuals.

My two cents.

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

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#414171 - 01/11/09 06:47 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
I totally agree with you, is necessary to learn the different types of strikes. I respect very much Kendo regarding landing only deadly and proper executed blows. Fencing on the other hand can be much more subtle, because dueling was subtle. You would only require first blood to win.

The general comment: do you mean like applying some judo to your opponent? It would really be interesting to try to do something like that, I promise that if I see the chance I will try to do so . Thing is in fencing we always have in mind to "keep the distance", so I'm not used to being very close to the oponent, as for example some kendokas are.

Thanks for your answer, really nice talking to you.

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#414172 - 01/12/09 05:50 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
pgsmith Offline
Member

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

Hey just made this video with my friends, what do you think??



I gotta agree with Charles. Looks like y'all had lots of fun, but it really has nothing to do with actual sword arts. You say that some of the people in that video actually practice fencing and kendo? If so, they are very much beginners.

Have fun, stay safe!
_________________________
Paul

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#414173 - 01/13/09 07:20 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: pgsmith]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
It's kinda like evaluating a video of a paintball team. The paintballers could be good. They can have a lot of fun and be completely killer at paintball. They could even be a championship team, but what they do does not necessarily bear much resemblance to what a special forces unit is capable of. The weapons are different. The protection is different. The psychology of the people involved is different. The consequences of success and failure are radically different. While some similarities are inevitable, at a fundamental level there are differences.

If you had fun and nobody got hurt, well that's a good thing.
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#414174 - 01/13/09 07:41 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
JMWcorwin Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/13/07
Posts: 731
Loc: SoCal, USA
Quote:

I respect very much Kendo regarding landing only deadly and proper executed blows.




Well, even Kendo can sometimes put a damper on reality of proper cutting. Not all, but many Kendo schools today practice Kendo something along the lines of Olympic Style TKD or Judo. The techniques are tailored for making a point with a shinai, not killing with a live blade. Usually they have rules against striking the legs or back, which are both incredibly viable targets for a live blade. If I can get past you and cut throuh your leg on the way past or a nice slice to the spine,,, no more fight. But, mainly, I thing the point that some of the other posters are making is that the dynamics of a stick and the kind of injury it can cause are quite different from the dynamics of a properly swung blade.

Just my 2Ę

However, I have done this very thing and just gone for it with the gear for fun & exercise. Very fun, especially if you make strikes to anywhere legal and allow for hand to hand if you get close enough. We even used to do 4 or 5 on 4 or 5 in mock battle scenarios and even used variations of 1 or 2 blades (long or short) and naginata or spear(flex foam of course. Fun stuff.
_________________________
There are no PERFECT techniques, only perfect execution for the situation at hand. ~Corwin

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#414175 - 01/13/09 10:24 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: JMWcorwin]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< Well, even Kendo can sometimes put a damper on reality of proper cutting. >>

Thank you. I was feeling a little lonely.

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#414176 - 01/13/09 11:39 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: iaibear]
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
I guess that what sword fighting sports do is narrow down the possibilities, to have some degree of control. The thing is, I guess, in a real battle... control is difficult. You could easily get hurt with a mediocre swing, for example. Luck plays an important part.

Regarding the paintball comparison... do katanas really differ that much from a shinai? I have a WW II katana at home, when we do Swords Day II I'll compare the shinai's balance and weight with it. The one thing I noticed about the shinai (apart from not being curve, of course) is that is a tad longer. I asked my kendoka friend why and he said there was a reason but couldn't remember it...

Duel sabers are just a little bit heavier, but that's it. Of course the handling has evolved to modern fencing, but the basis comes from dueling fencing.


Edited by Egoras (01/13/09 11:43 PM)

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#414177 - 01/14/09 09:00 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Yes. Shinai vary greatly from katana. They are a LOT lighter weight. They flex in ways that the real thing don't. They are more or less round, don'thave an edge, have a different shaped handle, have no saya, are balanced differently, have longer handles...etc etc etc. They aren't the same at all. What they are is a safer alternative when used with the other safety gear they are designed to work with.

What's more, the comparison had less to do with the difference between paintball guns and real firearms, but rather had more to do with the skills, goals, and training of the people engaged in the two different activities.
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#414178 - 01/14/09 05:36 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
Richard_Norris Offline
Member

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

...in my opinion randori is absolutely necessary...




There's no shortage of opinions, no question about that. You can train for sparring and sport fighting, but I don't see much that demonstrates that doing so will prepare you for the setting wherein someone pulls out a knife to stab you in the kidney. I could be wrong; I don't know. It may very well be fun, of course, so that can't be bad. Doesn't make any sense to sell it as more than it is though, since we'd need to have folks dueling with swords to test the premise, and that ain't happening.

RN 'there's always visiting Sudan, of course'

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#414179 - 01/14/09 11:09 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Richard_Norris]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117

Quote:

You can train for sparring and sport fighting, but I don't see much that demonstrates that doing so will prepare you for the setting wherein someone pulls out a knife to stab you in the kidney.




Sorry, but you've lost me here. How would kenjutsu prepare you for someone pulling a knife to stab you? That is, unless you walk around with a sword...


Quote:

Doesn't make any sense to sell it as more than it is though, since we'd need to have folks dueling with swords to test the premise, and that ain't happening.




Egoras' videos aside, I'd like to point out that many koryu Kenjutsu styles, such as Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Ono Ha Itto Ryu, styles which are far from 'sport', do in fact contain randori.

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

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#414180 - 01/15/09 09:37 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Charles Mahan]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Quote:

Shinai vary greatly from katana. They are a LOT lighter weight. They flex in ways that the real thing don't. They are more or less round, don'thave an edge, have a different shaped handle, have no saya, are balanced differently, have longer handles...etc etc etc. They aren't the same at all. What they are is a safer alternative when used with the other safety gear they are designed to work with.




Also the delivery of a strike differs. A shinai strike is a hit, a katana strike is a slice.

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#414181 - 01/15/09 11:25 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: iaibear]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
iaibear: I'm not sure if your talking about the actual physical difference between a katana and a shinai, being that one is capable of slicing and the other hits; or if you are talking about the difference in intent behind each weapons use. If it is the latter, then something to keep in mind is that, although often in modern kendo the kendoka's intent is to 'hit' rather than cut, that shinai can, and is, used by some koryu practioners for a kind of randori which carries over the body skills learned from the kata and puts them into 'real time'.

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

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#414182 - 01/15/09 02:27 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Guys: please take a close look at the video. The kendoka and I, 'Grasshopper' ALWAYS (or at least try to) strike with the front of the shinai, where a katana would be sharp. Even in fencing my master insists in striking with the sharp section of the blade (which is in fact not good for the sport, because striking in this manner the blade blends less.

I accept that a katana is not entirely like a shinai, but there is adaptation. In fact, that day was my first day handling a shinai. I come from sabre fencing. A shinai differs far more from a fencing sabre than a shinai from a katana. And I quickly felt confortable... I have no doubt that if I have to use a real katana, I would also easily feel at home. Everything contributes to general sword fighting awareness and sword handling.

Ames: I still believe that any martial art, any fighting art as this forum is called, prepares you against any combat situation. Anyone that goes from one fighting discipline to another one would say that the previous one has helped him, although sometimes common habits of the previous one could be bad habits of the new one. For example, we had one Kung-Fu practicioner thas was used to moving back and forth while fighting. In fencing, if you move back, you loose your priority. So it was a bad habit. But sport rule aside, moving back and forth, testing your oponent, would be a valid combat technique.

Bye! Nice talking to you, see ya'all.

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#414183 - 01/15/09 07:00 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Ames]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Quote:


Sorry, but you've lost me here. How would kenjutsu prepare you for someone pulling a knife to stab you? That is, unless you walk around with a sword...





You'd be suprised.

Quote:


Egoras' videos aside, I'd like to point out that many koryu Kenjutsu styles, such as Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Ono Ha Itto Ryu, styles which are far from 'sport', do in fact contain randori.





This has come up over and over again on various forums for years. A wide variety of practitioners from a variety of styles will back me up when I say the following: Randori style practice is very much the exception and not the rule with koryu kenjutsu/iaijutsu styles.
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#414184 - 01/15/09 10:29 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Charles Mahan]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Charles, I would be suprised. I have studied Koryu kenjutsu (though not beyond a very basic level), and though I have found it helped my empty hand skills quite a bit, I wouldn't go so far as to say that kenjutsu alone is enough to teach someone how not to get shanked in the kidneys. Does it build attributes that have cross over into empty hand skill? Absolutely, and without a doubt. But so does kendo.



Quote:

This has come up over and over again on various forums for years. A wide variety of practitioners from a variety of styles will back me up when I say the following: Randori style practice is very much the exception and not the rule with koryu kenjutsu/iaijutsu styles.




In all honesty, I can't speak for every koryu sword art out there. But the fact does remain that several major styles DO practice randori. Are we talking majority here? I haven't seen a survey on this, so I don't know for sure. But my point is that obviously some Ryu's do feel that randori is beneficial to the learning of the sword, and that randori does not automatically equate to a 'sport mindset', in which those principles of the style learned through kata suddenly become remote.

--Chris


Edited by Ames (01/15/09 10:31 PM)
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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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.
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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.
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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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#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
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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
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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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#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
_________________________
do not try to spork the post, for that is impossible, only realize there is no post to spork

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#414215 - 03/23/09 02:00 PM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Changed SD 1 original location,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDzwsTZz4Tk

added some SD 2 videos... will add more shortly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R3hAqZhyhs

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#414216 - 04/01/09 09:05 AM Re: Shinai free fighting, fencing, kendo... [Re: Egoras]
Egoras Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 11
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
there are many videos at www.youtube.com/swordsday

hope you like them

any insight?

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