Cutting

Discussion in 'Korean Swords and Sword Arts' started by MBuzzy, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    I'm curious how often other Gumdo or other sword school out there practice live cutting?

    How often and what do you practice? Bamboo? Straw? Paper? Fruit? Is this a primary part of your curriculum?
     
  2. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    We try to do live cutting at least once a month, though that varries depending upon how many cutting mats we have. We use the rolled tatami mats and occasionally bamboo.

    Daniel
     
  3. cdunn

    cdunn 2nd Black Belt

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    We usually cut once every couple of months - common targets are Playdoh balls, especially with kagum, paper, and bamboo. I can't remember cutting straw ever.

    Paper is good for seeing the straightness and 'cuttingness' of your cut, while the Playdoh is essentially fruit that you can reassemble and cut again.
     
  4. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    Do you cut fruit with Kagums or Saegums?
     
  5. cdunn

    cdunn 2nd Black Belt

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    We do the playdough with Kagums - Only one of us even has a Saegum. I imagine we would do the same with most fruit.

    Paper we do with both jingum and mokgum.
     
  6. Namii

    Namii Green Belt

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    I wish we did more of it. We do the papercutting with mokgum maybe once every two months. When we do the demos we cut mats. We have never done the fruit cutting.
     
  7. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Haven't done any cutting for a while and none of my students are ready for any serious cutting. Frankly, I question the value of it beyond just being cool in demonstrations. Kind of like cool breaking, it is visually impressive, and it does reveal the correctness of a cut. But beyond that, I don't see a lot of practical value.

    Now, I may be wrong on that, but that is my perspective at this point in time.

    Daniel
     
  8. terrylamar

    terrylamar Blue Belt

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    To my uneducated thinking, wouldn't this be the main reason for cutting?
     
  9. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    In 12 years I've done it twice.

    It's not that difficult, give me 20 minutes and I can teach a newbie how to do it.

    Scratches the blade and leave a huge mess in the dojo..... you end up picking up pieces of mats for days.....:)
     
  10. Namii

    Namii Green Belt

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    Yep.
    Since I've posted last in this topic, I got a chance to cut mats for the first time about a week or so ago. It showed all kinds of stuff I was doing both right and wrong. I learned ALOT about my technique after having that opportunity
     
  11. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    No. The main reason for cutting was so that a sword smith could test the blade.

    I can tell you if you are cutting correctly in about five minutes without the need for all of the accessories.

    Just as you can tell if your students punch or kick correctly without the need of boards. Students aren't even allowed to use anything but a mokdo (bokken) for long enough that if the correctness of one's cutting required the cutting of mats and bamboo, the student's development would be severely hampered.

    Daniel
     
  12. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    I would argue Daniel that you could do it after watching one or two swings of the sword. What 10 seconds?

    After you’ve trained for a while it is not that difficult to learn to recognise a good cut.

    Cutting a target is a good thing for all students to try at least once, because it helps provide that visual of what they are doing, it helps reinforce what they have been learning in class.

    Afterwards, go and buy a $15 machete, take it up to the cottage and find a young sapling about an inch in diameter, swing away with a big arc and you’ll go through it like a hot knife through butter. You don’t need a lot of training or some special battle ready blade that has been quenched in the fires of Mordor to be successful at it.
     
  13. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Accounting for formalities (bowing in, student being told what to do, etc.), five minutes tops.

    Just cuts, yes, about ten seconds.

    Daniel
     
  14. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Speaking from a Japanese perspective, this isn't strictly true. The reasons for cutting would range from simply testing the quality of the blade, in which case only highly skilled cutters were employed to do so, to ensure uniformity in the cuts, and actually test the blade itself. As time went on, it became more and more about cutting to test the skill level of the cutter, ensuring that the cut is clean, not scalloped, moves cleanly through the target, and so on.

    The main differences in the two reasons are that if it's done to test the blade, the variation is in the targets of the cuts (whereabouts on a body they would be performed, through the arms, torso, neck etc), and if done to test the swordsman, then the types of cuts would vary (angled down, horizontal, vertical, angled up, single hand), as well as the cutting targets changing (half mats, full mats, bamboo, unwrapped rolled mats, unsupported mats, multiple targets etc).
     
  15. terrylamar

    terrylamar Blue Belt

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    OK, but I would still argue that the sword user cannot see himself and necessarily tell if he is "cutting" properly. In other words, it would be immediate feedback for the user, when done properly, a confidence builder. Much like breaking boards is a confidence builder. Though, if your technique is not good, you will hurt your hand and/or the board will not break.
     
  16. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Not true. You'll have to trust me on that. :)

    Yes, it would be immediate feedback. Yes, it is a confidence builder. But unless students are handling sharps from white belt, it is really not useful as a teaching technique. So far as I have seen in sword arts, students practice with a mokgeom, possibly graduating to a kageom at some point well after green belt or equal rank. Usually, a student isn't handling a jingeom, until they are a yudanja, by which point any serious issues with the students cuts should long have been recognized and addressed.

    Daniel
     
  17. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    Anyone can learn to cut through a target in very little time at all, it is really unnecessary to put in serious sword training to be able to put a sharp sword through a couple of rolled up mats. Get your tip speed going quick enough on the sword and even a “poor” cut will cut through mats. Swords have always been a popular weapon because even untrained people using almost zero technique will kill people very well. Rwanda is a more recent example.
     
  18. cdunn

    cdunn 2nd Black Belt

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    Every stroke of the sword has its own feedback. Part of the training is learning to listen to it. Things change when you have an object in your hand.
     
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  19. Namii

    Namii Green Belt

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    Agree with you there. When I have it off angle just the slightest bit, the sound is different.
     
  20. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Indeed. There are many things that will give immediate feedback that do not require additional equipment (mats, stands, etc.). These things should be learned long before you are allowed to handle sharps.

    Daniel
     

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