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#425634 - 03/03/10 12:31 PM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
If you are into sword play for fun and exercise, find a buddy who does not mind taking an occasional whack, find two bokken, two hockey helmets and two pairs of hockey gloves. Enjoy.

Please do not freak out the neighbors.

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#425665 - 03/04/10 01:43 PM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: iaibear]
Kathryn Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Washington, DC
I wouldn't look down too much on "just sword drawing", as drawing and resheathing can result in serious injury when utilizing live steel. Also, the speed and accuracy of your draw can determine the speed and accuracy of your sword cut, which can in turn determine whether you figuratively live or die.

However, Japanese sword fighting involves three skill sets, and in modern times those have separated into in three different arts -- (1) iaido or battodo for the drawing, resheathing and basic kata, (2) tashimigiri for the cutting techniques, (3) kendo for the sparring. With the caveat that kendo has really spawned its own set of techniques for defeating an opponent that could not be carried out with a real katana.



Edited by Kathryn (03/04/10 01:53 PM)
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#425682 - 03/05/10 09:07 AM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: Kathryn]
iaibear Offline
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Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
FWIW I agree

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#425761 - 03/09/10 02:22 PM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: iaibear]
pgsmith Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Texas
Quote:
I was just watching a YouTube video of an Iaido kata, and, if I may respectfully say so, it was pretty boring.

That is very true. Watching kata IS very boring, as it was never intended as a spectator sport. smile

I am going to try and do my best to dispel several myths that seem to be floating around here. First, kata are not meant to be either entertaining, or actual combative movements. Kata are a training methodology, designed to incorporate particular movements into your subconscious so that the body will move in a particular manner without conscious thought. The Japanese sword arts have been taught using this methodology since their inception quite a few centuries ago, so I am not going to argue about whether it works or not. smile

Kendo was developed to allow swordsmen from different schools to fight without killing or seriously maiming each other. It is firmly rooted in the Japanese sword arts. The shinai that they use is a split bamboo sword, and you cannot simply "hit" the other guy and score a point. The judges are watching to see if your cut was actually capable of cutting, with the proper motion, speed, and control that this entails. I have practiced with long-time kendoka in the past, and it is actually a pretty short jump from a shinai to a sword.

Koryu kenjutsu is kata. There will generally be more two person kata than solo kata, but it is still all kata. That's the way it always has been, and that's the way it will continue to be. If you do not want to do kata, you do not want to do Japanese sword arts.

Despite what the Toyama ryu crowd advocates, tameshigiri (test cutting) is not really necessary to make a good swordsman. I personally think that tameshigiri is a valuable part of training, but I know a number of people that are excellent swordsmen that have never actually cut anything. I have also practiced with several people that had never done tameshigiri before, but that had no trouble with it at all when they tried it. It is simply another tool in the tool box.

I agree with iaibear in that it sounds like you aren't interested in actually learning a Japanese sword art. It takes decades of hard effort to really begin to understand what you're doing. I advise against bokken though as they are quite dangerous when swung correctly, and can easily result in death even with padding. I would advise you to get weapons made specifically for playing such as RSW molded foam swords. These look and weigh much like real swords, but are padded to prevent serious injury as long as you wear some safety gear.

Good luck, don't die.
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#425762 - 03/09/10 03:25 PM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: pgsmith]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< Kendo was developed to allow swordsmen from different schools to fight without killing or seriously maiming each other. It is firmly rooted in the Japanese sword arts. The shinai that they use is a split bamboo sword, and you cannot simply "hit" the other guy and score a point. The judges are watching to see if your cut was actually capable of cutting, with the proper motion, speed, and control that this entails. I have practiced with long-time kendoka in the past, and it is actually a pretty short jump from a shinai to a sword. >>

There is a world of discussion in that paragraph. Most of it I would not touch with a shinai.

It is nice to hear that judges are now actually watching to see if the cut would have been capable of cutting. It has not always been that way. Kendo masters finally realized that their students were merely hitting upon one another with no actual cutting in the move. I have been told that is why the Seitei Iai kata were invented and why the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido was instituted, so that Kendoka could learn to cut properly.

One question I would like to ask: what are the targets in Kendo? I have heard they are the Men (head), Do (body front) and Kote (wrists), all well armored. Sounds sort of limited, to me.


Edited by iaibear (03/09/10 03:28 PM)

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#425767 - 03/10/10 11:31 AM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: iaibear]
pgsmith Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: iaibear
I have been told that is why the Seitei Iai kata were invented and why the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido was instituted, so that Kendoka could learn to cut properly.

Actually, they were created to introduce kendoka to iai. Because kendo is all done with the sword already drawn, the kendo governing body decided that kendoka needed iai to be more well-rounded swordsmen. Therefore, the seiteigata were created and introduced at the first kendo world championships.

Quote:
One question I would like to ask: what are the targets in Kendo? I have heard they are the Men (head), Do (body front) and Kote (wrists), all well armored. Sounds sort of limited, to me.

There is also tsuki to the throat. Yes, it is sort of limited. However, if you've ever been whacked with a shinai, you know that you definitely don't want to be hit anywhere that is not well armored! smile

Every sword training methodology has pluses and minuses. Solo kata do not teach distance and timing well. Paired kata do not teach recognition of openings well. Kendo limits your responses and target recognition. Itto ryu, which is the koryu from which kendo started, believed that it took all three methods to make a proper swordsman. Other schools thought differently, and practiced accordingly.
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#425769 - 03/10/10 01:32 PM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: pgsmith]
Kathryn Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: pgsmith
That is very true. Watching kata IS very boring, as it was never intended as a spectator sport. smile.


I"ll agree that kata is not entertainment, per se, but I would have to ask why watching someone do kata is boring. Historically swordsmen in Japan (or for that matter throughout Europe) made it very much their business to carefully watch the technique of their fellow swordsmen. It was considered a vital part of becoming a technical expert. In modern times we don't have that element of uncertainty and danger involved, not knowing who you might have to face in the future. And so we watch others do kata instead.

Originally Posted By: pgsmith
I have practiced with long-time kendoka in the past, and it is actually a pretty short jump from a shinai to a sword.


Wow. It's a shorter jump from a bokken to a shinken than it is from a shinai to a shinken. I don't practice with a shinai for that very reason.


Originally Posted By: pgsmith
Despite what the Toyama ryu crowd advocates, tameshigiri (test cutting) is not really necessary to make a good swordsman. .


Wow, again. If you were a feudal lord, would you seriously want to hire a samurai who had never actually cut anything? Or, if you were a Japanese field officer, would you want to go to battle with Toyama academy trained personnel who had never cut anything? Don't forget, the Toyama techniques were actually used in China and Manchuria, and the world wars, and many of the modern kata are the result of research on the experiences of those battles.
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#425772 - 03/10/10 04:50 PM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: Kathryn]
pgsmith Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Texas
Quote:
I don't practice with a shinai for that very reason.

Really? I would think that you didn't practice with a shinai because your sensei said "don't practice with a shinai!" smile
Quote:
Wow, again. If you were a feudal lord, would you seriously want to hire a samurai who had never actually cut anything?

If I was a feudal lord, I wouldn't be typing on the computer! smile
Seriously though, tameshigiri as we know it today is a modern phenomenon. In most of the koryu, actually cutting things was generally reserved for the enemy, not inanimate objects. The cutting that was developed for the Toyama Academy was done as a result of the large number of swords that needed repair because their wielders had no real sword training. It was meant to be a quick and dirty method to teach officers how to actually cut someone down while leaving their sword in a useable state. I have taught Zen Nihon Battodo Renmei cutting patterns to swordsmen that have practiced for quite a number of years without ever actually cutting anything. None of them had any problems actually cutting tatami.
_________________________
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#425777 - 03/11/10 10:01 AM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: Kathryn]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Originally Posted By: Kathryn

Wow. It's a shorter jump from a bokken to a shinken than it is from a shinai to a shinken. I don't practice with a shinai for that very reason.


For what it's worth, I am with you, Kathryn.

Several years ago I was at an Iaido seminar with a Muso Jikiden guest sensei. He was drilling us on the third Seitei Iai kata Uke Nagashi. He was having us use a shinai, a device shorter and less balanced than a bokken, and without a spine other than a string to do the blocks.

Although it was incredibly rude of me, I refused to touch the bleeping thing. I was at an Iaido seminar, after all, not Kendo.

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#425815 - 03/12/10 01:40 PM Re: Is Iaido just sword drawing? [Re: iaibear]
pgsmith Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Texas
Quote:
Although it was incredibly rude of me, I refused to touch the bleeping thing. I was at an Iaido seminar, after all, not Kendo.

Gotta agree with you, that was really rude. smile Shinai are simply another tool. There are quite a number of different tools all aiming to make decent swordsmen. The "bokken" that the Jigen ryu uses bear a much closer resemblance to an old tree branch than to a sword. However, the Jigen ryu has produced feared and effective swordsmen for centuries. The Yagyu Shinkage ryu use fukuro shinai, which is a bamboo shinai in a leather bag. Just because one tool may be different than what you are used to using, it doesn't make it unuseable. Each tool has advantages in some area, or it wouldn't have been used as a training tool to begin with.
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Paul

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