Please help me understand

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by Joe1957, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    That's the key there. I've been training German longsword for 6 years now. I've been doing kenjutsu for two years (so I'm still a baby). The other day I decided to take another look at the manuscript called I.33. It's a sword and buckler manual from about 1290, written in Latin and German. It's among the most sophisticated swordsmanship systems ever developed by anyone, anywhere at any time, period. I have an English translation I probably haven't looked at it in a couple of years. The first time I read it I couldn't grok it at all. An interested observer could have perceived the question mark hovering over my head as I puzzled over it. :) However this time I looked at it and it makes a hell of a lot more sense. I could probably start a reasonable (but by no means adequate) interpretation of the techniques now. But I couldn't have done that a couple of years ago. Probably not even last year. I simply hadn't seen or done enough.

    For fun, here is a clip of I.33 interpretations in action:



    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
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  2. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    For fun, here is a clip of I.33 interpretations in action:



    [/quote]

    Nice link.

    You know the more I practice, the more i see, the more it is all the same. Centre line, thrust with the pointy end and get them before they get you. I've never seen that style before, but as i was watching I felt a half dozen connections going off in my head on similar things I have seen in the JSA.

    It's all the same.
     
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  3. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Indeed. I.33 is quite cryptic. A transcription and translation may be found here: http://freywild.ch/i33/i33en.html#wie They have thumbnails of the images as well. Is shows the difficulty of interpreting text into action, especially one that vague. To make a go of this, one needs a fair amount of experience. Dealing with a source that cryptic requires a solid foundation in swordsmanship. I usually deal with much more detailed sources (Ringeck, VonDanzig, etc) which are really quite clear most of the time.

    Interestingly enough, had enough JSA practicioners and other MAists jumped on the HEMA bandwagon earlier, more of the reconstructions would likely be complete by now. What is needed is a solid foundation and an open mind. Better if both are found in the same person, though a collaboration of the above is good too. I could not have gotten what is in the video from the written source a couple of years ago no matter how hard I tried. Now, I might have a shot at it. Or not, I haven't tried yet.

    It just goes to show the difficulties in self-teaching. If your foundation is solid, then you can add things from written or video sources. I have been able to read a technique in a manual and pull it off in sparring with no practicing. I think I managed that once after 5 years of training. But I already had internalized the footwork, striking mechanics and tactical mindset of Liechtenauer's longsword system (or rather my interpretation of it), so it was no big deal. I can watch a video of people doing Leckuchner's messer and pick it up, since it was an adaptation of Liechtenauer's longsword for a single-handed weapon. I know most of the techniques already. That's something doable.

    However, you can't get Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu from reading Go Rin No Sho. No way in hell could anyone do that. You can get a lot of tactical information from the book, but it's not a sword manual in the way Ringeck or Meyer are. You could practice what's in that book all day for 30 years and it will never look like HNIR. However, two people could study Meyer's 1560 manual and it will come out more or less the same.

    The foundation is everything. With a good one, you can accomplish a lot.

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
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  4. Joe1957

    Joe1957 Yellow Belt

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    Well, the Giants are ahead at the half so I'll take a min. here to update.

    Took advice.

    I have emailed a couple dojo's and hoping it will work out. One I have my eye on is in Cambridge (Boston) and looks like exactly what I am looking for. I hope to hear and maybe start a once/twice a month program. Joe
     
  5. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Cool! What do they teach? I'm assuming Iai in some form?
     
  6. Joe1957

    Joe1957 Yellow Belt

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    http://www.bostoniaido.com/

    Maybe you guys could check it out and tell me what you think. This is the one in Boston. Have Family out there so, well in NYC too but, Cambridge is an easy travel.
     
  7. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Looks good! MJER Iaido is Sukerkins system, so he'll be the guy to check with, but it looks like quite a good school. I'm kinda jealous now....
     
  8. Joe1957

    Joe1957 Yellow Belt

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    Thanks Chris, only emailed them yesterday but, give them a day or so and will contact again. Joe
     
  9. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    My koryu is MJER as well.

    Looks good to me, a bit more expensive then I would like, but beggars can’t be choosy. Looks like good iai at a good club.

    Iaido association….I’ll let that one go…… no Kendo Federation around?????

    Talk to them, watch a practice or two. They suggest different types of iaito’s to buy, avoid buying anything your first few months if you can. Iai has a huge drop out rate, use a bokken for a while before dropping a few hundred on something that you many not use in a few weeks.

    Good luck, let us know how it all goes.
     
  10. Joe1957

    Joe1957 Yellow Belt

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    Oh no, won't drop 600 bucks on anything ahead of time.. Will keep you posted.
     
  11. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Martial Arts in general and swordsmanship in particular have high drop out rates. Part of the reason is that many people have a romanticized notion of swordsmanship and its historical practicioners from movies or fiction or whatever. There's nothing wrong with that, since it exposes people to the Art and makes them think "I'd like to do that!" However, swordsmanship is often drudgery. It takes about 10,000 cuts to learn how to do cut properly. Certainly doable within a year, but that's a lot of cuts! Multiply that by the 8 basic lines of attack (depending on system) and you've got a lot of work just learning your basic cuts. That's not even counting actual techniques done in context!

    So you can see that many people get frustrated by the effort required off the get go to be able to use the weapon at all. And for Iai, you've got seiza and tate hiza which are rather uncomfortable to say the least, especially for modern, "soft" people. But you get used to it.

    So my advice is to Embrace the Suck. Revel in the suckitude. This hurts and I love it. This is tedious but I love it. I don't want to train but I'm gonna do it anyway. Eyes on the prize.

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
  12. Joe1957

    Joe1957 Yellow Belt

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    All right, Now I'm a happy camper.......Letter I received back from the Boston dojo....

    "Hi Joe,
    For iaido you are not starting late at all. It will take you more than 3 hours one way to come for a class - I had couple students from Connecticut and they lasted for about a year. I think Saturday class would be better for you. Class on Saturday is consider as extra practice so not many student come unless the dan test is nearby. If you really want to do this then I will work with you. Let me know which Saturday you want to start and don't worry about the class fee until you think it would work for you. If after the trial class you still think you want to do this then I will arrange to work with you 3 hours on Saturday and I rather you pay for per class instead of monthly because I know it is tough to find time to travel that far for a class. I will make sure to update you on the seminar that we conduct once a year in Boston (Aug/Sep), and there are seminars in San Francisco (Aug), Texas (Nov), Vancouver Canada (Jun), and Germany/Belgium (Nov), and of course classes in Tokyo, Japan whenever you would like to visit our head sensei there.

    Regards,
    Boston Iaido"
     
  13. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    I had a quick look through their website, Joe, and didn't see anything that set alarm bells ringing.

    The iaito recommendations are good quality, which is a good sign and the kata sets are complete with no 'inventions'.

    My only quibble, as Ken noted above, is that it is a bit expensive (to give you a comparison, I pay £4 a week). But I can't really address pricing in America as dojo there seem very often to be run as businesses (rather than as schools to pass on the traditions to another generation) - I'm not being judgemental there, it's a different country with a different ethos.

    In the end, when becoming a student of the sword, you often must accept what is at hand and it would appear that you are in luck :D.
     
  14. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Space to train can be expensive. The fees there don't seem out of line from what I've seen for rental space in my city. I wouldn't bat an eye at it anyway.

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
  15. BujinBos

    BujinBos Yellow Belt

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    I live in the suburbs of Boston and work in Cambridge. Being an architect as well, I realize the cost of space here in this city. Even if you are renting space, or especially if you are renting space for only a few hours a week, it can be quite costly. I had looked into renting some space for myself a few years back, yikes!! Their pricing looks normal for our area though. The website is quite nice, IMHO. It looks like this will be a good fit for you based on what you have posted here; granted I do not have experience in iaido such as this school to draw a real comparison.

    Good luck and keep us informed.
     
  16. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Thank you very much for the additional 'local knowledge' information on pricing levels, gentlemen.
     
  17. Joe1957

    Joe1957 Yellow Belt

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    Well made my arrangements, unfortunately, Jan 22nd will be my intro. Looking so forward to it, Thanks for all the advice. Joe
     
  18. kegage

    kegage Green Belt

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    Hey ya'll,
    Sorry about that. Had to go away for a little while to handle some serious family medical stuff, but I am back now. I haven't really had a chance to read and digest the most recent posts. I will be doing that in the next couple of days, and I will probably have some responses. Of course.

    Kevin123
     

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