Ninjutsu Books

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Razor, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Indagator

    Indagator Blue Belt

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    I dunno. We do a lot of kenjutsu in my dojo - which is good because I am very, very drawn to kenjutsu and my only other option to augment my training would be to travel nearly 300km one way trip to train in Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu (I noticed some people break the words up differently, but this was how the instructor wrote it) which although I'd like to do is not currently an option.
    We do sword vs sword stuff (with bokken mostly although on occasion I have had to face down shinken in very slow controlled kata in order to help remove the mental blocks which would pop up under the circumstances) as well as solo kata.
    I can't comment on comparisons to other ryuha as I have not had enough experience in anything else however I can say that what we are taught seems to hold water with things I hear - even things such as cutting relying on "tip speed" and havin clean cuts with tameshigiri, rather than fishtails from bearing down with the forearm or trying to put "power" into cuts.
    I also noticed a few things some other stuff I have seen doesn't appear to have (although I view only as an outsider with the other things bear in mind) such as the left pinky finger positioning and a phenomena I could only really describe as "flow" moving through evasion through cut through defense through whatever it needs to be.

    I'd hazard that most other systems would have these things, mind, although from where I've been I've either not seen them, or not known enough about how they do it to have noticed!

    So another long winded space cadet post from Indagator... my .02 summed up though, no harm in augmenting with other sword systems if it's available however there is a lot more to the Bujinkan and to Soke than what is shown publicly on the internet!

    My dojo has nothing publicly available aside from a minor website listing info you could get anywhere on the web. That being said, we do have our resources!
     
  2. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    What about the togakure ryu's useage of the sword as presented by hatsumi? Do you feel that the way it is presented is better than the other sword work done in the x-kans? What would you recomend a to a person studying in the bujinkan who also wanted to learn proper sword work?
     
  3. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Ha, my friend, that's far from long-winded... trust me on that.

    From your basic description there, it strikes me that you're training either in something sourced from outside the Bujinkan itself, or something that your instructor is making up themselves. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I create drills myself fairly regularly. I will say that the idea of facing a Shinken is not something I'd be suggesting. I've used an Iaito with my guys, that's a close enough image to get the adrenaline going, a Shinken is something only the most experienced even consider going up against. It's just too dangerous.

    In terms of there being more to the Bujinkan (and to Soke) than what is shown publicly, look, to be honest, that's a unique claim to the Bujinkan itself. I'm going to try to couch this as gently as I can, but, frankly Hatsumi himself is the cause of that idea. Without getting into the reasons for it, Hatsumi tends to imply a lot that there are things untaught (from the material itself), which has a number of members of the Bujinkan making claims like "well, I haven't been told there isn't any crochet patterns in Gikan Ryu, so maybe there are some! Only Hatsumi can tell you, you know..." The next part on from that is members saying that they don't know what is, or is not in any of the Ryu. That is unusual to the point of being bizarre, so you know. Every other Ryu out there, the information of what is included in the syllabus is very easy to find out, even what is contained in the "secret" sections. To take Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu as an example (both forms of separation are fine, the Sugino line, and older mainline publications use the one you gave, the one I use is more common with the Otake dojo/mainline today. In kanji it's simply 天真正伝香取神道流), the secret sections are some Kenjutsu, as well as aspects of ninjutsu, castle fortification, battlefield tactics, and things like Kuji, although only the Kenjutsu is considered "secret teachings". The rest are higher level forms and teachings of other sections (Gogyo no Tachi, Gokui no Iai, Gogyo no Bo, Gogyo no Naginata etc). The only art where you can even ask the practitioners if something is in one of the Ryu and they'll say "I don't know, I haven't been told if there is or not yet" is the Bujinkan.

    Where the claim has some validity is that the art that's really taught in the Bujinkan isn't any of the Ryu, it's Budo Taijutsu. And Budo Taijutsu is, in a very real way, whatever Hatsumi says it is at that point in time. And, with his preference for never repeating a technique (another sign that he's not teaching the Ryu, by the way), instead preferring spontaneous exploration of ideas and concepts, so long as he stays creative, then there's no limit to what he can present, and trying to capture it all is only ever going to be a futile gesture at best. He does use this a fair bit by constantly saying things like "I haven't shown this (version of this kata) before", or "if you're not here now, you're not going to understand (whatever, say, Tachi)". The downside is that most of what he's showing is completely untested, to be frank. After all, how can it be tested if he's creating it in the moment? The principles can be solid, but the explorations are sometimes less-than-ideal.

    In terms of the details you're referring to (the pinky finger etc), I'd need to see what you're talking about to see where it may have come from. And when you start bringing in other sword systems to augment the Bujinkan ones, that can be a little dangerous and counter-productive as well, honestly. I'm currently allowing some of my seniors to specialize in a Ryu and a weapon of their choice, and two of my guys have been told they are not allowed to pick sword. The reason is that they are already training in a Koryu sword system with me outside of the Ninjutsu material, and the differences between the two approaches to sword are gigantic. Kamae, movement, footwork, grip, cutting, tactics, philosophy, structure, weaponry, everything is completely different. And by having two rather contradictory approaches to the same weapon leads to, at best, taking much longer to get anywhere. So I'm not letting them train sword in my regular classes. As a result, if you're going to bring in something from outside, it would need to be compatible with the rest of what is taught. But, honestly, although the Kukishinden Ryu sword syllabus is relatively small (9 kata, with variations on each, along with 3 kodachi kata with 2 or 3 variations on each, and 5 jutte kata), it's actually more than enough to have a complete focus on sword. What you're missing, though, is any Iai. So if you want that, you'd need to look outside the Bujinkan material (there are some concepts within Shinden Fudo Ryu, and some Batto methods in Togakure, but no real Iai kata).

    Ah, Togakure Ryu... it's an interesting approach to sword, really. It relies, in a number of kata, on a specialist sword, taking advantage of the particular dimensions for effective use. The basic idea is one of "shielding", with frequent use of "beat" attacks and deflections. While slightly larger than the Kukishinden material, as a sword syllabus, the Kukishinden Ryu one is the better sword system. Hatsumi Sensei's Togakure Ryu Ninja Biken DVD is also fairly good, as it shows the basic form for a range of the kata (or, at least, versions of them, there are other versions that are also taught), but it's incomplete. Honestly, if you're wanting to get good at sword in the Bujinkan, I'd look to the Kukishinden Ryu Happo Biken Kenpo kata, and look to the strategies taught there. The big catch is finding someone who can teach it to you properly, without going off into personal interpretation that may or may not be viable, or safe to actually use.

    Now, that's more of a long-winded post!
     
  4. Indagator

    Indagator Blue Belt

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    Long winded, perhaps, but hardly a moment of futile wind!

    Just to clarify, what I referred to about more than what is publicly available refers more to personal experience (in regards to Bujinkan training itself) and first-person stories from shidoshi I have trained with and respect, in regards to Soke.
    Basically what I meant was that I hear (and see) a lot about BBT being ineffective and sloppily trained (and all the rest, you've seen/heard it too no doubt!) but IRL in the dojo I see something completely different. That being said, there is no publically available resource for what happens in our dojo - only privately shared stuff.
    Our shidoshi has comprised certain kata for ascertaining the kihon and basic principle concepts of particular aspects of the art - even a kusarifundo kata, and in fact our Syllabus requires one to compose their own kata at a certain point before shodan (although the primary use of this is for the shidoshi to observe and witness whether one has "understood" the principles or not, and is able to apply them under reactionary circumstances) so it is quite possible the kenjutsu kata (paired and solo) have been comprised by our shidoshi, although if such is the case their principles would remain true to the art in this circumstance - I will try to remember to make a point of asking about that.
    The pinky sits just under the kashira btw, whilst the next three fingers up grip around the lower part of the tsuka. It adds a dynamic proportion which we utilise in movement, does that clear that up? I'm terrible at describing things via words alone sorry!
    As for the shinken aspect it is relatively rare, and is not done without mutual consent - in fact I have been the only person in recent years who has been okay about it. That being said, everything is done extremely carefully and the primary purpose is simply to remove any mental blocks should somebody ever (let's hope not!) actually have to deal with somebody wielding a live blade...
    There was a student in years gone by who did not wait to be advised by his shidoshi whether he was ready to purchase a live blade sword or not. He turned up at the dojo, and the shidoshi (to make a certain point) looked over his weapon, told him it was nice and pretty much said "Well, let's train with it..." from there he made a cut at the student, who rolled out of harms way. Now there are things around this which have not been said, that pertain to the safety within the particular circumstance and also shidoshi's belief that this would teach a lesson without harm (as well as his commitment to not harm his student!) so bear in mind there was far more to this than my story tells and it was done in a manner that no real harm was ever actually present - however the person in question was presented with the solemn belief that they would be in harms way, and thus moved!
    This student learned a valuable lesson about shinken, which has been begun to be passed on to me.
    In regards to augmental training, what would you opinion be about TSKSR, out of interest? Although we are in different orgs I ask de to your knowledge of koryu systems, and your knowledge of ninjutsu.

    Thanks.
     
  5. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Ha, I try!

    Oh, I have no doubt that Hatsumi Sensei has some information and other things that aren't publicly known or shown, but not to the degree of completely hidden entire sections of Ryu as some claim. And even when there are high level, secret kata of a ryu, it's typically known, or easily discovered, what they are (in terms of jujutsu, kenjutsu, bojutsu etc). That's more what I was getting at.

    Ha, yeah, I've seen a lot of less-than-ideal representations of the Bujinkan out there.... then again I've seen some very serious, skilled practitioners. I'm personally of the belief that the material that makes up the Bujinkan group of martial arts are very good, solid, serious arts. The issue, of course, is that it needs to trained just as solidly and seriously, and that, unfortunately, is left completely up to the individual instructors, with little reward for doing things well, and no consequences for doing it lazy.... in fact, sometimes it seems quite the opposite!

    Ah, kata creation.... I'll be honest and say that I don't think it ever really works from a student level. Yeah, you can assess a students understanding by having them do that, but the nuances of what makes a kata a kata isn't really that well understood, let alone trying to create a new kata of an existing Ryu-ha without being at a mastery (Menkyo Kaiden) level. If it's not meant to be a "Ryu-ha specific" kata, and more a "Budo Taijutsu" kata, that's less of an issue. One thing we used to do was to have seniors create variations (in the form of formal henka) of Ryu-ha kata, to ensure that the principles and strategies of the Ryu were kept.

    In terms of your Shidoshi creating kenjutsu kata, if they were created as Budo Taijutsu kata, following those principles, it's all fine. Creating new kata trying to follow the principles of Kukishinden Ryu Kenpo, or Togakure Ryu Biken, on the other hand, and I'd be wanting to see what he'd come up with, because that really isn't an easy thing to do. Of course, that all then brings up back to the idea of what Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu's approach to Kenjutsu is, whether it's actually Kenjutsu or if it's Taijutsu employing a sword (yeah, I know it sounds like semantics, but it's really quite a huge difference).

    Yeah, that makes perfect sense. The only Ryu-ha that has a grip with the last one or two fingers below the kashira is Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu, but I've seen it taught for Kukishinden Ryu as well (it's not quite correct, but the spacing is more like Kukishinden Ryu's, as they tend to use a slightly longer tsuka than other systems, but not quite as long as, say, Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin Ryu... for the record, TSKSR prefer a shorter tsuka, so to get a gap between the hands, the lower one is slightly below the kashira, although there are other reasons for that as well).

    Yeah, I'd still be far less eager to bring a live blade into any paired training.... many Iai schools won't let you use one until you're at least 3rd Dan. But, if he feels he's being safe enough, okay. I've just heard too many stories about injuries that occurred at times and in ways no-one would ever expect, such as people walking backwards into a blade lowered for inspection after test-cutting, to even consider it.

    Ah, that requires a PM... one is on your way.
     
  6. Indagator

    Indagator Blue Belt

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    Thanks for the info, much appreciated.

    Yes the kata creation is more of an assessment as to whether a student has internalised the principles of BBT and is able to apply them in dynamic situations. I know of one student who designed a kata around use of a .303 (unloaded of course!) which was quite cool, although another thing entirely in certain ways!

    The roots of the ones we have as aids to learn the basic principles from (alongside the kihon happo and sanshin no kata of course) are firmly planted in BBT, yes. Our shidoshi has studied several of the ryu in depth but still teaches the art as it is presented by Soke.

    We do also learn the kata of the art as they are (supposed) to be, but our dojo encourages henka primarily in the sense that if one makes a mistake in training we don't stop and start over again, but carry on and deal with the new situation.
     
  7. gregtca

    gregtca Yellow Belt

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    Slightly off line , but has anyone read any off Donn F Draeger books , re the Bujutsu & Budo one's & ninjutsu book ? If so what are your impressions ? also i will in a day or so quote from Master Otake from an article along time ago , about his thoughts on "Modern systems , iai etc that was in australiasian martial arts magazine , back in the 80's , if anyone is interested ,

    regards
    Greg
     
  8. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    My pleasure.

    Based around BBT, cool. It'd be interesting to see what criteria are used for such assessment.

    It's personal expression and choice, really. You have some that say that if you can't use a particular technique against any type of attack, then you need to train it more, and others who want to focus just on henka to be able to incorporate any situation and free adaptation from the get-go. Honestly, I'm kinda in between. I believe in learning it properly first, and only moving into henka after that has been achieved. I tend to come down on my guys if they're going into variations because they can't do what's presented (haven't put in the effort to try, rather than a lack of skill), but if they can do it properly, and their partner does something different, their ability to flow with it can be very important, for safety as well as practicality in applying the skills. I like the idea of the phrase associated with Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu's reiho in that regard, really.

    The idea of learning the kata properly is good, but it could be interesting to examine exactly what is meant by "kata" from the Ryu, as, again, I have yet to see any Bujinkan school or class actually teach the kata properly. This is really just my thinking out loud, of course, and is by no means an attack or accusation to your dojo (I just read it back and saw it could be taken that way), so I'll see if I can clarify. What I see taught is the "middle" of the kata, the attack and defense part of it. The actual kata, done properly, are a lot more than that... but really, that's my Koryu side rearing up it's head.

    Donn Draeger, along with Hunter B. Armstrong, is considered one of the "fathers" of Hoplology (the study of fighting methods throught history and across cultures, taking it's name from the ancient Greek Hoplos combative groups). He was one of the first to popularise the ideas of Koryu and traditional martial arts at a time when all that was really known was Judo and Karate (in terms of Japanese arts). Draeger Sensei showed that there really were ancient methods still in existance. He was a highly ranked student of Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu and Shinto Muso Ryu, and as such, his position within the Koryu community is highly respected. However... that doesn't mean he is universally agreed with.

    Draeger Sensei is probably the most responsible for things like the idea of a distinction between "jutsu" arts and "do" arts, by simplifying the terminology in order to have the different words usage make sense to a Western audience, despite there really not being a true distinction at all. Additionally, due to his particular Ryu-ha, there were some rather sweeping, and not entirely accurate portrayals of a number of details of sytems (such as the idea that all Koryu/classical systems were based on intervention of deities, or spiritual beings). With regard to his Ninjutsu book, there were a range of sources for the information contained, including the teachings of Katori Shinto Ryu itself, and is interesting, but not hugely detailed compared with other books out there today.

    In short, the influence and effect of these books, far reaching and instrumental in the promotion of true classical Japanese martial traditions cannot be underestimated... but that doesn't mean everything is to be taken as "true and unquestioned".
     
  9. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Personally there are some very fine exponents of the sword within the Bujinkan. In my opinion the ones that are the best have also augmented their training with an iaido system. However this is just my opinion. Chris is right in that Hatsumi Sensei has fantastic movement with the bo and hanbo. It is some thing simply to watch. His kenjutsu movement in many ways is also revolutionary as it pertains to the system of Budo Taijutsu. It is however unique and or different than other Japanese systems. There are things that I like and of course things that I dislike. (if I liked everything then there would be some thing wrong :) ) I for one can appreciate that!
     
  10. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Again, being as diplomatic as I can be, when it comes to sword, being "revolutionary" isn't something I would consider a positive. Mainly because, in order to be different (revolutionary), untested ideas are put forth as true, impractical is put forth as effective, and unrealistic is put forth as correct. It gets further compounded when Hatsumi himself starts talking about "this is the way the Tachi was used....", seemingly citing actual historical usage. The problem, of course, is that there are extant systems that do teach use of tachi, and it's nothing like what Hatsumi presents, as well as the small detail that he can either be revolutionary (teaching a new approach and usage) or he can deal with the historical usage, but the two cancel each other out, so both isn't possible.

    Let's look at some examples of the way sword is taught in the Bujinkan:










    To be frank, none of the above shows good understanding of sword... including Hatsumi.
     
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  11. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Some times one has to hate the internet when you are typing out a long post and then the connection is lost and you lose the post. :(


    Chris,

    You and I probably see most things very similarly. However the freedom of movement within Budo Taijutsu sword work is some thing that I can appreciate even though I have studied another Japanese sword system. I have also had the opportunity to have been in the same room on multiple occasions when Hatsumi Sensei has taught Ken and it was crisp, clean and what you would expect from a Japanese Sensei. I was fortunate to have another Shihan there to point out what I was missing. (lol) I Have based this opinion off training in another system and working with several other Japanese Sensei. There are several things within the type of sword work within the Bujinkan that I do not like. Most of that stems around people teaching with very little in understanding of the movement. There are fine exponents in the Bujinkan with the sword they are generally people who have lived in Japan and are closer to the source and also have in my opinion broadened out and practiced in a system of iaido, etc. To many people expect some thing to be everything and that is in the end impossible. Every system will have it's strong suits and areas where it may not be as strong. That does not mean that you cannot find some thing important or exceptional within it's weaker areas and likewise things that you may not like as well. It is very unlike you to bag on a system particularly a system that your system is derived from. However, It is your opinion and I respect you for giving it. : )
     
  12. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hey Brian,

    Yeah, we'd probably agree on a lot of aspects, really. And, to clarify, I'm not saying that the "freedom" of Budo Taijutsu is a bad thing in the slightest (it has the potential to be both great and terrible, depending on who is approaching it, I've found), the issue is more that what is taught isn't really swordsmanship, it's Budo Taijutsu incorporating a sword. And, looked at in that light, it's fine.

    My biggest issue is when Hatsumi starts trying to make it be everything, which he seems to do with the entire system. It is traditional, with archaic weaponry, designed for real modern combat, including using handguns and more. He has a personal usage of a sword based, not in swordsmanship, but as an extension of his Taijutsu (as most of his weaponry use is), and talks about it being the way tachi were used on the battlefield. It's either one or the other, a modern interpretation, or a traditional, historically based approach. It can't be both.

    When it comes to the issues I see in the Bujinkan approach to sword, it really should be taken in that light. I'm looking at it in terms of actual swordsmanship. That's not what the Bujinkan presents, and if you're happy with the Bujinkan approach to the weapon, fantastic. But if you want to actually learn the weapon, the Bujinkan is not a good place to do so. And, honestly, it's not due to not understanding the movement, as the movement that should be seen in all aspects of the Bujinkan is Budo Taijutsu, whether armed or not. It's due to not understanding the weapon, it's properties, it's strategies, and it's tactics.

    To take the clips I posted last time in order, the first one (Luis Acosta) shows very poor mechanics, bad distancing, but most importantly, a lack in understanding of the usage and tactics of a sword, moving to weak positions, not recognizing what the initial cut to the wrist would do, and using ineffective actions after that. The second (Moshe Kastiel) shows no cutting at all, instead basically just swinging the sword or bokken, and a plethora of non-sword tactics. Essentially, it's a combination of Hanbo (with a sword) and things that he thinks sword actually is. The third (Jeff Prather) is a badly done cut, cramped and cutting with a poorly chosen part of the blade, overly muscled, and over-swung. It was done to be impressive, however the sword cuts an object so easily that there's little skill needed or shown to do such an action.

    The fourth clip... Kacem. Ah, Kacem. Firstly, his linguistic argument is rather flawed, which seems to be more to try to give some credence to his Gyokko Ryu Tojutsu teachings. But more to the point, although Kacem is far more clean and precise than many others, there are still huge issues. His use of the sword is still Budo Taijutsu, not Kenjutsu. His blocking actions (seen at 0:24, 0:27 etc) are bad to the point of ineffectual against a full cut, his tactics are not congruent with Kenjutsu, his cutting is cramped, his Iai is full of ineffectual actions, his distancing is too close, and more. As you may tell, I'm not a fan of his.

    The last clip is Hatsumi Sensei himself, and is a series of short shots from a Tai Kai in 2004. Note the shots of Takamatsu Sensei teaching in the beginning... deliberate cuts, proper kamae, everything at proper distance (using the mono uchi to cut with, not hitting with whatever part you happen to). Then, when we get the clips of Hatsumi Sensei moving, he is using some rather ill-advised actions (the cross-step and single hand/reverse hand thrust, for instance), hitting rather than cutting, a lack of consistency of blade placement... and then there's the thing where he's holding the shoto and daito at the same time, and tries something that would have the shoto knocked straight out of his hands, weaken his grip on the daito to the point of being unusable, and being immediately killed. This is far from the only case, during another DKMS (I think it was the 2006 one) he's holding two katana by gripping both tsuka together, and the blades both pointing forward, with a small gap between them, using this to trap an incoming sword. I'm sorry, no. Not a chance. Creative, sure. Swordsmanship, nope. His constant justification of it being "you need to be able to do these things in a real fight" are rather sad, really, as it shows a lack of understanding in that instance as well.

    As far as being surprised that I'd be "bagging on a system my system is derived from", that's not really the case either. We never did the Budo Taijutsu thing, really, with our training being based in the methods of the Ryu and exploration of those. And the sword methods that exist in the Ryu of the Bujinkan I feel are fantastic, particularly Kukishinden Ryu. It is a very solid sword system, devoid of anything flashy, direct and to the point, with a particular strategy and series of tactics congruently displayed throughout the kata of the Ryu. And if they are being properly, truthfully taught, that's great. But I see no evidence of it, as it would pervade the other usage of sword throughout the system. The Bujinkan itself, and Budo Taijutsu, I am also not "bagging", all I am really doing is offering the observation that sword really isn't present in terms of actual swordsmanship. This is from training in, researching, and studying swordsmanship, far from just Iai. That's why I can say that Hatsumi's take on things such as tachi usage, the Niten Ichi Ryu, Musashi, and other areas are, frankly, wrong. It isn't to take away from what he's incredibly talented at, exceedingly knowledgable about, or anything else. It's just an accurate observation of somethings where he isn't completely correct. As you said, too many people expect something (or someone) to be everything, and that's impossible.
     
  13. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Quick question... I was once told that in Japanese swordsmanship, there are no blocks. Note that this is not saying no defensive actions, but that all defensive actions are cuts directed at the arms. Any truth, or maybe just a miscommunication?
     
  14. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Kinda a miscommunication, I'd say. The dominant tactic of Japanese swordsmanship is evasive cutting, so blocks of various types are obviously minimised, as they risk damage to the sword (both to the cutting edge, and the risk of it being broken in half, if the wrong angle is used), as well as simply taking longer. That said, there are a range of "blocking" actions, ranging from deflective actions to jamming ones. Within Kukishinden Ryu, there is one jamming action, and one deflective action... the rest is all evasive cutting.

    With what you were told, it sounds like a misinterpretation of Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu. They have a range of their actual techniques "hidden" within their kata, with the blocking actions seen there most often representing cuts to various parts of the body, or something else entirely. A good demonstration is found in these clips:


    Go to just after 6 minutes for the Omote no Tachi


    Showing the application of the Omote no Tachi. You can see where the "blocking" actions come in, and how the application works.

    Some other systems do something similar, but not to the same degree. In many systems, when you see blade on blade contact, that's the way it's supposed to be.

    Katori Shinto Ryu are, of course, rather unique in their kata. More commonly they are shorter, more direct. The following are Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, and again, the primary tactic is evasive cutting, although a range of jamming and deflecting (blocking) actions are found.



    So I'd say that the person who told you there were no blocking actions was misinterpreting what they had heard or read as it pertains to Katori Shinto Ryu methods, and applied that to all Kenjutsu, which you just can't do.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  15. Sanke

    Sanke Green Belt

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    It depends on the system you're talking about. I've seen systems where that is absolutely true, but I've also seen many where there actions that are definitively blocks. Ideally every action should be leading towards cutting down your opponent, but blocking comes into that in many ryu-ha.

    EDIT: Whoops, looks like I'm late to the party again. I'll defer to Chris on this :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  16. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Beat ya.....
     
  17. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Chris,

    Like I said before you and I would agree on most points. What I disagree with is broad based comments that are incorrect. You see I and others have been in the room when kata for Kukishinden ryu were covered. So if we can agree that there is good sword work within that ryu then we can agree that people within the Bujinkan can have sword skill sets that are fine. What the Bujinkan can lack quite often is people teaching to quickly with little to no understanding of what they are doing. This is and always has been the organizations main issue. An organization that grew unproportionately like no other system in the world. (headed under one man and not a government) The Bujinkan did this and it is still an issue of immense proportion. Hand in hand would go the way ranks are handed out and you get many, many people completely inept as teachers. However, with this great growth you also have exponents who traveled or lived in Japan and while attending Hatsumi Sensei classes they also attended and received primary instruction with one or several of the Japanese Shihan. Many of these people have received the proper training and in turn passed it down to their students. The Bujinkan I would say has as many people of quality (actually more in my opinion) than in the Genbukan or Jinenkan or any off shoot. What they unfortunately also have is many, many more who are very, very bad. Still in the end I am happy to have been and be a part of this because you actually do have the opportunity to be closer to the person who is the source for all of the Takamatsuden arts. What is important though and I mentioned it earlier in my previous post is that it is very, very hard to expect any system to have all the answers. That is some thing that people in any system need to understand. Older instructors from back in the day did a lot of cross training and that is some thing that should continue today!
     
  18. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I quite often think people get confused when watching Hatsumi Sensei. This includes very experienced martial practitioners as well as people that study within his system. I have often believed that Hatsumi works in the world of possibilities and the what could happen. This has been proven out in that at this stage if you want a good basis in the system then you need to study with his origional students. (ie. the Japanese Shihan) Because he works in the realm of possibilities of what could happen he takes the basic fundamentals from the ryu-ha comprising Budo Taijutsu and applies them in a variety of different ways. He applies his skill sets without worrying about being perfect as in actual combat or any violent situation perfect simply will not happen. He shows this and is not worried about it. Not worried about criticism, not worried about anyones opinion. He teaches within the possibilities of what could happen and some times that is not perfect and yet in other times he shows perfection. (or as close to it is possible) When you look at iaido instructors and most Japanese systems there is a striving for constant perfection and rarely will you see an instructor show anything that is not very, very close to a very, very tight performance. This is a difference in approach of teaching. Having experienced both I can appreciate both. I think when learning a system one should work very, very hard towards perfection. However, later on in ones training one needs to place yourself in positions where the perfect cut, technique, etc. is impossible. Whether through technique training, sparring, etc. When rolling with my students I have to constantly take a technique and slightly change it to the moment in conjunction to where the other practitioners body is. Is the technique perfect? No it would not be textbook per se but it incorporates all the fundamentals and has been maneuvered to get the desired result. To many people simply do not understand this in Hatsumi Sensei's approach!
     
  19. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Jks9199,

    Chris gives a very good description regarding blocking in the Japanese sword systems. Spot on in that regard!
     
  20. Indagator

    Indagator Blue Belt

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    Out of interest, does anybody know of pubilcally available clips showing good examples of Kukishinden ryu kenjutsu?123
     

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