Kenjutsu techniques

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by ant888, Jun 15, 2016.

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  1. ant888

    ant888 White Belt

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    Sorry for the late reply, I had no internet.

    I live in NJ, and my instructor's school, has no website.
    But, I do know, the sign at his school, says; TKD, Hapkido, JiuJitsu, and "both Kenjutsu, and Haidong Gumdo".
    I can give you a copy of the flyer, which lists all this information.

    Sorry again for late response.
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Okay, now we have something to look at… thanks for that!

    Firstly, I'm going to bring back something I said earlier, as this might be potentially what we're talking about…

    To give an idea of what I was talking about, here is a clip of "Hapkido sword"…


    Honestly, I'm at a loss where to start with this… nothing there is even close to proper usage of the weapon, the cutting mechanics are ludicrous, the postures are cramped and awkward, and there is no grasp of how a sword operates at all… by contrasting this with the clips I posted on the first page, the difference should be more than apparent…

    So, if this is anything like what you learn as "kenjutsu", simply be aware that it really isn't. At all.

    But now to the fun stuff.

    If you're genuinely after kenjutsu, bear in mind that, as Hyoho said, that term pretty much only refers to the old-school methods, what are known as Koryu (literally "old flow", or old styles). These arts are very difficult to find (for example, to gain instruction in one of my chosen ryu-ha, I travel 2700 km to the other side of the country a few times a year), in cases your only option is a lot of travel, or possibly to move… even to a different country. But you're in a bit of luck.

    One of the most famous classical Kenjutsu systems, the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, was associated with the Tokugawa Shoguns, being instructors to the Shogun (Supreme Military Ruler of Japan) and his family. This is a very elegant, technical, precise school of swordsmanship (a reflection of Yagyu Munenori's personality, as much as anything else), with a fantastic reputation. It is currently taught in a couple of lines, most dominantly the Yagyukai (Edo line), and the Owari line.

    One of the most well known, and highly respected senior members of the Koryu community is Meik Skoss. Mr Skoss spent a number of years in Japan, studying a number of classical systems along with his now wife, Dianne, and they have since been instrumental in making Koryu far more accessible in the West than ever before, running www.koryu.com, and publishing a small number of books. They teach at the Shutokukan Dojo in East Hanover, New Jersey, teaching Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, as well as two other Koryu systems (it's not advised to study more than one at a time, though… at least, until there is some base understanding).

    Now, I'm going to be very clear here… typically, by providing you with their details, it would be seen that I am vouching for you. I am not doing that. I am simply providing you with the information for you to provide yourself an incredible opportunity that many (including myself) would be highly envious of. So I am not speaking for you, or for the Skoss', but I will provide you the (public) information for their dojo, as well as some sage advice should you wish to pursue this line.

    First off, they can be contacted through their website (Classical Japanese martial arts at the Shutokukan Dojo), which includes an application form for their school. But, before you do that, I advise you to read the following article a few times… it was written by Dave Lowry, a colleague of the Skoss', who provides quite an insightful glimpse into what would be expected. Try not to be overwhelmed or put off by it… but do take it's message to heart. The article is named "So You Want To Join The Ryu", and has become almost the standard boilerplate for people looking to study these arts: So you want to join the ryu by Dave Lowry

    Finally, I'm going to give you another clip to watch… covering some aspects of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu Hyoho.



    If you have any further questions regarding this Ryu, bearing in mind that I have no first-hand experience with Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, but a relative amount of etic understanding, I (and others) can attempt to answer them. Other than that, I wish you well, especially if you choose to go to the Shutokukan… which would be incredibly recommended!
     
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  3. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    I think the OP has also posted a similar inquiry on eBudo on the sword section where I moderate. I suggested he read Gorin no Sho but he is looking for some kind of pictorial info.
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    He'd be better served by finding a dojo and training… of course, that's directed at him, rather than yourself, Watkins-sensei!
     
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  5. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    That's what I told him, Fifty Nine years ago I took out my first Karate book from the library. I remember things in it like how to harden your fists on a makiwara and buckets of sand and pebbles. I guess that was the start of all for me. But those days are long gone and I soon realized it was a one on one situation that teaches you. The book only confirms what you are taught. You dont even have to go Japan to learn any more and can still reach a good level.
     
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  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    To the OP: you are being given some excellent advice, and pointed in the direction of a rare opportunity right in your back yard. If you really want to learn this kind of thing, that is where you need to go.

    Do it.
     
  7. ant888

    ant888 White Belt

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    What do you mean "in your own backyard"? I might try finding a dojo,since there is one in nearby Bergen County.
     
  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Right there in NJ, probably very close to you, easily accessible.
     
  9. ant888

    ant888 White Belt

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    Oh, okay. I didn't understand before. ;)
     
  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Do it. Do it. Do it...
     
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  11. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Dang, I wish I knew about that place back when I lived in NJ
     
  12. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    What dojo are you looking at in Bergen County?
     
  13. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Actually, before encouraging ant888 to investigate training with the Skosses, I would ask why he is interested in sword training and what he would like to get out of it.

    If he wants to learn traditional methods of training with the Japanese sword, along with various aspects of traditional Japanese culture as passed down from people who actually used the sword in combat and he is willing to devote considerable time and effort into the process and abide by certain cultural traditions that are probably foreign to him, then the Shutokukan would be an excellent choice.

    If he wants a type of sword training which allows for sportive competition and still has some link to actual Japanese swordsmanship, then I would recommend a good Kendo school. There are some significant differences in methodology and mindset between competition with a bamboo shinai and combat with a live blade, but there is also some overlap and some historical connection. Since ant888 will very probably never be in a real sword fight, Kendo might serve his purposes just as well.

    If he wants to learn some (reasonably) authentic methods of using the sword, but he doesn't care about it being the Japanese sword and he doesn't want to make a commitment to a ryu or abide by ancient cultural traditions, then he might look into HEMA. There look to be some groups in the area.

    If he wants some training with melee weapons which may have some more obvious modern practicality, he might want to check out any local FMA schools. Not all FMA schools offer sword training, but in many FMA traditions the stick techniques are intended as a stand-in for sword or machete. In many cases, there may be fewer generations between a modern FMA instructor and someone who has actually sword combat experience than you would find in most Japanese arts.

    If he wants fun sportive competition with a sword and doesn't care about Japanese culture or historical accuracy of technique, he could join the SCA.

    If he just wants to have fun waving around a training sword for exercise or show and doesn't care about actual effective usage (since he won't ever be in a real sword fight), then he's probably fine right where he is with his TKD instructor.
     
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  14. ant888

    ant888 White Belt

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    I just like to do it for exercise, but would like it to be somewhat accurate. (I'm not really trying to compete against people).

    Sent from my SM-T710 using Tapatalk
     
  15. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    I get that swords are fun, no getting around that. If you're just doing it for exercise, then it doesn't matter much what you're doing. If you want accuracy, then it's unlikely you're going to get something "somewhat" accurate. It's either legit or it isn't. Not a lot of grey area there.

    The pursuit of the Japanese sword is well worth it, and like anything worth doing, it's worth doing well. Don't screw around with this stuff. Koryu is something special.
     
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  16. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Langenshwert is probably more qualified than most to comment as he does HEMA, Kenjutsu and Batto Jutsu and.... Judo. The point is he does not mix them when he does HNIR or Kageryu. Ones uses the waza/fundamentals from that particular art.

    I teach FMA instructors Kenjutsu as well. Plenty where I am. They dont mix it either.

    ant888 Kenjutsu is competition in a way because if you dont move out of the way you end up in hospital. If a teacher did not really try to cut you there would be no point in trying to defend yourself.
     
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