How easy is it to transition to real blades after gaining proficiency in kendo?

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by Bullsherdog, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Bullsherdog

    Bullsherdog White Belt

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    One of the criticisms towards kendo from the RBSD, modern military systems, HEMA, and many other martial artists who practise with real weapons (or at least realistic settings) such as Marc MacYoung is that kendo is "not real swordsmanship", that its pretty much woo wooo magical sports crap.

    One of the reasons I've been interested in Kendo when I was a teen was because of watching Samurai movies and anime/manga such as Rurouni Kenshin and being wowed by the swordsmanship. Since these films and anime show swordsmen practising with wooden swords before using real katanas or sparing with wooden swords if they already have mastery level. So I always wanted to become a master swordsman as a child and because wooden swords are frequently used as training tools, I thought kendo was required learning before Iaodo and other real blade systems.

    I would still practise Kendo and attempt to get a 3rd Dan just to overcome an unfinished goal, but I am curious how much does Kendo transition to real swords? Is it woo woo sports only stuff like Marc MacYoung and other weapons martial artists, rbsd instructors, military drill sergeants, and HEMA and criticizes it? Or does it teach real techniques like how Samurai Deeper Kyo and other movies, cartoons, and comics show?

    Or is it a first baby step before going into real kenjutsu?

    I still want to at least learn the fundamentals of Kenjutsu and other sword system and become a black belt but I intend to get 3rd Dan in Kendo first so I can get that over with. Since because of Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Champloo, etc I associated wooden swords with real ones as a child so even though I now understand the differences I feel I have to get black belt equivalency in both to get the past over with.

    Is the transition quicker? Or should I go ahead and learn real swordsmanship first to learn how to use a real blade assuming the arts are way too different?As I said I'll go into dojos for both but I chose kendo first so far because I still have the assumption wooden swords are the first step to learning how to use a blade.

    Can anyone help?
     
  2. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    What possible use is learning swordmanship?, Unless your up for bit part in game of thrones
     
  3. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    My thoughts reading that:
    1. You base too much of your views on Marc MacYoung and anime.
    2. Why would 3rd dan specifically be your goal?
    3. How do you know you will like it enough to stick with it either way?
    4. Both weapon systems that I've learned, and just about every system I know of, don't start off with 'real weapons'. I practice kali: we don't start off with real knives or machete, we use fake knives and sticks. I went to a couple HEMA classes, they used dulled weapons. When I practiced fencing, the weapons were dulled. RBSD stuff almost unanimously uses fake knives/clubs/guns. Why is kendo different?
    5. What is the dojo you're referring to that uses live blades? Especially at the beginning?
    6. Why does any of that matter? I doubt you'll be fighting with real swords anytime soon.
    EDIT: extra thought #7: If there is a difference, I would rather learn the one that teaches a wooden sword. I'm more likely to find a blunt weapon to use then a bladed sword, and I'm not planning to carry around a sword with me any time soon.
     
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  4. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    You are going to struggle to find anyone who has ever been in a sword fight. Let alone some sort of live blade expert.

    Which means nobody will really have a good answer for you.
     
  5. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    You should spend less time online more time training
     
  6. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    You do realize that all of those folks have no clue what kendo is or what it's for right? That's like asking your local drag racing fans what tires are best for serious off-roading.

    Samurai movies, films, and anime are entertainment, and have very little to do with actual Japanese sword arts.

    Nobody teaches "techniques" like movies, cartoons, and comics show.

    A sandan in kendo is not easily done, and I seriously doubt you could get there if you're just trying to "get that over with".

    First, you should educate yourself about what is actually involved in properly learning Japanese swordsmanship. There are a large number of sites available that delve into the subject. I suggest starting at koryu.com.

    Iaido (or battodo, battojutsu, iaijutsu, iai hyodo. It's Japanese, so there are many ways of saying the same thing) is what happens when the sword is in the sheath. Kenjutsu is what happens after you've drawn the sword. Most legitimate schools of Japanese swordsmanship teach both. Iaido is taught using solo forms and start with a wooden sword, then progress to a non-sharp training blade called iaito, before progressing to using a sharp sword. Kenjutsu is taught using two person forms and wooden training swords called bokken or bokuto.

    Kendo uses bamboo swords called shinai, not wooden swords. They do have two person drills using wooden swords, but that is just adjunct to the main root of kendo which is shinai competition. The goal of kendo, as it pertains to actual swordsmanship, is to train the swordsman how to recognize and exploit openings. It is very good at teaching that. Nakamura Taisaburo, a quite well known swordsman from modern times (look him up), said that kendo is one leg of a tripod for a well rounded swordsman. The other legs being iaido and tameshigiri.

    Doubt it. I think you're just going to have to do some actual research, rather than trolling youtube, and learn how to help yourself. :)
     
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  7. Kababayan

    Kababayan Green Belt

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    If you enjoy Kendo, train in it without worry of what others think.
     
  8. now disabled

    now disabled Master Black Belt

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    Firstly ...you seem to base everything of manga or the movies ...why is that?

    Kendo is a MA all contained within itself and it is not the baby step before anything and I would seriously suggest you don't say that in any Kendo dojo as ummm getting to Sandan may be the lest of your worries , more getting the dojo door handle out of apart of your anatomy might be of more concern.

    I am wondering if indeed you do know what both Kendo and Kenjutsu actually are ?
     
  9. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    Here is a pretty good breakdown
    What Is Kenjutsu and How Does It Differ From Kendo?


    Kendo is, or started out as at least, the 'sport' version of kenjutsu.

    However people use the same wooden practice swords when sparring in both disciplines.

    The main difference I can see is that Kenjutsu guys spar less and incorporate more practical sword stuff into their solo training..like concentrating on edge facing and alignment to a greater degree than a kendo man might.
     
  10. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    That's almost totally wrong ... nah, I'm just not gonna get into it ... :facepalm:
     
  11. now disabled

    now disabled Master Black Belt

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    The main difference is ....Jutsu and Do ....and that should say it all
     
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  12. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    :facepalm:
     
  13. Rat

    Rat Blue Belt

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    Edge alignment taught via cutting practice, i THINK most Kendo places teach you that after X rank or what have you. But thats how you train edge alignment which is key to using any sword if its not present in your teaching it wont be easy to transition to using a sword. (given its meant to be training for a sword and there are cutting competitions etc i dont see why they wont do it)

    thats my stake in it, dont know the details of Kendo and how most places teach it.



    (TL;DR for above if someone covered this, disregard if so as they might have worded it better)


    Edit: I believe you can draw a parallel with Fencing and HEMA for this. X amount of people do fencing to learn to actually fight with a sword, then come to the realization its highly sport based then go off to learn and try and reconstruct actual sword fighting.


    BKA | British Kendo Association Im aware its the British one, but some of the information should hold true across the board. (place to start at least)
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
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  14. now disabled

    now disabled Master Black Belt

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    Rat what you meaning by edge alignment?
     
  15. Rat

    Rat Blue Belt

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    Aligning the edge correctly so the blade isnt off centre and can cut well. Thats the key in good swordsmanship.

    Example, if you want to do a diagonal cut on a bottle, you need to have the edge stay on the line through the entire cut or else the blade wont cut well.





    Video for clarity of what i mean. (might not be the best but it is what it is)

    Edit: this is what i meant by it takes actual skill/training to use a sword in another thread. Its reliant on edge alignment to the target.
     
  16. now disabled

    now disabled Master Black Belt

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  17. Rat

    Rat Blue Belt

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    I did say i don't know the details in terms of Kendo. :p I can imagine some put a bigger emphasis on it than others given its sport nature now days.

    Edit: I do agree it SHOULD be a fundamental in sword fighting, because it is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  18. now disabled

    now disabled Master Black Belt

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    It is a fundamental ...
     
  19. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Or the details of fencing, or of HEMA...
     
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  20. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    I can't stand it! Tried to ignore it all but I just can't help myself ... Kendo has always had a sporting nature. It was developed specifically to allow practitioners of different sword arts to be able to fight each other without someone dying. They use swords made of split bamboo called shinai, and there are very specific rules regarding how a match is played. It was never intended to teach the actual use of the sword,

    No! This is an incorrect statement that, unfortunately, a great many backyard pop-bottle murderers firmly adhere to. Edge alignment (the Japanese term is hasuji) is vital to properly cutting a target. Edge alignment is not the most important requirement for actually using a sword in its intended manner. I've taught seminars where people who've never swung a sword could easily cut a target after a couple hours of instruction. Cutting things is pretty easy. Cutting things in the proper manner so that you do not expose yourself and are poised to launch the next attack is a much more difficult endeavor.
    Dude! Just because you know a few Japanese phrases does not mean you have a clue! The correct phrase is "ki ken tai ichi", and it means "the sword and the mind as one". It refers to recognizing an opening and moving properly to exploit that opening without the need to actively think about it. It has zero to do with proper edge alignment, which is something to which kendo only pays the slightest bit of attention.
     
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