Requesting a martial art to compliment Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by Vyktal, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. Vyktal

    Vyktal White Belt

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    Hi there, I'm a first time poster who has recently embarked on the journey to find my martial art and would really appreciate some advice.

    I'm lucky to have an accredited dojo nearby which teaches HNIR kenjutsu. I've been trying many different katana-based martial arts recently and am happy to say my first session of HNIR has really clicked and I'm keen to make it my primary martial art. So far I have tried out some HEMA classes (this led me to decide on the katana being the weapon I wanted to learn properly), Iaido (Muso Shinden Ryu) and a few classes of Katori Shinto Ryu (not an officially accredited group, I found out recently).

    Unfortunately, due to family and work constraints, I'm not going to be able to regularly attend HNIR classes for a few months, and I only have time for one class per week. In the meantime, I was wondering if people who are familiar with HNIR could recommend any system which compliments HNIR techniques and sword work?

    My impression is that HNIR footwork starts somewhat similar to Iaido, but then quickly changes to almost karate-like stances when attacking. The sword-handling feels similar to Iaido, except of course for more emphasis on 1-handed attacks which don't really feature otherwise. I thoroughly enjoyed Katori Shinto Ryu, however everything is completely different between KSR and HNIR so they cannot be learned together without confusing muscle memory.

    I'd appreciate advice from anyone with experience in HNIR. Would it be handy for me to do Iaido? Or perhaps leave out any other katana-arts until I can do HNIR and try an empty-handed art like jiujitsu on the side?

    Thanks
     
  2. KangTsai

    KangTsai 2nd Black Belt

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    I say empty-handed techniques to compliment the sword user.
     
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  3. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    You should not try and learn two different sword arts at the same time, unless one of them is kendo. It is too easy to mix the movements that need to stay separate. There are a number of empty hand arts that would compliment a Japanese sword art such as HNIR, but that is really something that you should discuss with your instructor. He would likely know what is available in your area, and could recommend a complimentary art, as well as advising you on what arts or schools to avoid.
     
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  4. Vyktal

    Vyktal White Belt

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    Thanks for the advice!
     
  5. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    I am curious where the katori Shinto Ryu group was from. As there is quite a few groups of katori Shinto out there that do not have official ties to hombu or the mainline anymore or their teacher is not in good grace, it does become more political then anything. In my opinion some of these groups are the closest one can get to katori Shinto Ryu unless going to Otake sensei, yet others are through Suginos line or Sugawara line has controversial as it may be.
    The answer to your question about training another art, as pgsmith said training two sword arts will get confusing. I guess the closest thing would be Daito Ryu aikijujutsu because it is based on sword movement mostly or a classical jujutsu school. If none are around you then aikido or maybe one of the xkans. If not a Japanese art I would say Kali escrima.
     
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  6. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    Disagree, practice in anything and everything you can find. Different schools of iai, jo, or kendo. Yes some school use different footwork, and it may be confusing, but so what? Everything is practice.
     
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  7. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    I fee that is a good outlook for someone that has been practicing as long as you have Ken. For someone that has just begun to learn a Japanese sword art, I feel it is a recipe for disaster. I wouldn't want to waste my time trying to teach someone that consistently did things differently than how our school requires because they are confusing two different sword arts, which is exactly what happens at the beginner level (been there).
    Budo tourism is certainly viable once a solid grounding in an art is learned. However, without that knowledge you'll end up learning not much of anything, and wasting a lot of an instructor's time not learning it. :)
     
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  8. Vyktal

    Vyktal White Belt

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    Thanks all for the replies. Really appreciate getting feedback from people with any experience in koryu really.

    Yeah it's a frustrating situation for me. HNIR really clicks in terms of what I was looking for in a martial art, but the classes are very infrequent (usually once every other week, sometimes longer during holiday seasons like Nov-Dec). Plus I'm so busy with family and life that it's tough keeping free the single only dates when classes are held. This is why I was wondering if I could do something on the side, but my sensei himself also recommended not getting involved in other katana schools without a firm grounding in one first, though he has given some reassurance that he may hold more classes from next year.

    In the meantime I think I'll just stick to practising what I have learned of HNIR in my own time and read 'The Book of Five Rings'.

    I attended classes given by a sensei who is a member of a group which I believe is now based in Sweden - "Koryu Budo Seifukai". Headed by Sensei Luigi Carniel, teaches a lot of different budo. The KSR they teach is from the Sugino branch, Luigi learned directly under Sugino. However this group is no longer associated with the original Sugino branch for reasons I wasn't told.

    I agree that the politics of what is "genuine" and what is not in KSR is basically irrelevant. I'm sure the elitists would say you can't learn "true" KSR from truly accredited teachers unless you're in Japan learning it from the main school, but many of the "non-accredited" sources (i.e. Sugino branch schools) actually are perfectly genuine in experience and teachings. You just need to clarify where their teaching came from and make sure you are happy with what you're being taught and what your teachers qualifications are.

    I've simply found I enjoyed HNIR more than KSR which is why I decided to switch. I would do KSR on the side if it complemented my HNIR, but apparently it won't.
     
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  9. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    It depends on what your goal is. Nearly anything can be a "good" compliment to HNIR depending on what you want. If you want to expand into unarmed, then there are any number of good arts to study. Other good options would be armed arts that include radori/sparring. HEMA and Kendo are probably your best bets, but both have their issues with regards to being completely complimentary with HNIR. A shinai is too light to behave like a real sword, and using some Niten in Kendo will cause injuries. Kendo will teach you range and timing, but won't help your Niten technique much. HEMA has realistically weighted weapons which are used in sparring, but they are typically longer than the weapons used in Niten if you're looking at a club that does longsword.

    The main thing is to keep everything separate. I'm still working on that. :)
     
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  10. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    It is only irrelevant for those that do not wish to actually join the ryu. It is absolutely possible to learn basic KSR sword techniques from someone that has studied it such as your case. However, it is impossible to expand your understanding to encompass the nuances and underlying principles behind the art without actually being a part of the ryu. Those things are reserved for those that are likely to pass on the ryu once they get high enough in the organization, and aren't taught to outsiders.

    So, it is only irrelevant if you are seeking the basics of the art, and becomes very relevant if you wish to learn the inner teachings. All of the koryu operate this way.
     
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  11. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    The politics concerning Katori Shinto Ryu deal with a lot of who has the right to teach it and what is from the official mainline or from (Otake and lizasa) or splinter groups.
    Some focus just on the sword others focus on more than that.

    The art in any form is very rare to find so just be happy to train in it.
     
  12. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    All of the arts you mention are individual and take many years of practice and for some of us life lifetime to reach a good level and understanding. When you reach a high level the main problem is trying to keep them separate in order to excel more. Find what you want to do and get stuck in. Don't waste the teachers time. I dont think HNIR is the thing for you. You mess around too much.;)
     
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