When Footwork in Sword Arts?

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by DruBokkens, Apr 8, 2017.

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  1. Hyoho

    Hyoho Brown Belt

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    All distance is dictated by ma-ai. The 'timing'-distance-interval it takes to initiate a waza. It has nothing little to do with how far away someone is. If you look at classical arts one of the main differences you will see is an exponent creating his own ma-ai to deal with anyone that enters inside it. Whereas you could perhaps describe more modern arts as two spotlights dancing around on a stage.

    The only relationship to the feet is what is described as a one step cutting distance. If someone encroaches inside your ma-ai they are technically 'dead'. You can again alter that ma ai for safety reasons but that is considered dishonest. You should "deal with it".

    The OPs original post mentions footwork in relation to swords. The subtle difference is that ma-ai is extended to the kensen of a weapon you wield as part of your body. That again depends on the length of that weapon.

    I prefer not to relate any of these arts to "modern times". A few weeks ago someone threw a grenade at my friends car (retired marine). Didn't go off so they drew silenced pistols and shot him. Riding in tandem shooters will do this for around 200USD.
     
  2. BrendanF

    BrendanF White Belt

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    This. I was first taught kamae, and the essential cutting actions of my school. Then kata was built on this foundation: "do xyz cut.. move here into abc kamae, now cut blah blah". Obviously 'footwork' was an intrinsic component of this. How that footwork was performed was almost immediately discussed - from both a physical perspective as well as a mental one - "make sure you're moving from xzy, with your weight abc, so you're constantly (mentally) able to blah".

    I hope that's a suitably incoherent reply.. sorry, it's saturday morning.
     
  3. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Well... I don't know if you're quite at the point of being dead yet... but you're certainly quite ailing...

    Look... we've gone through this before... I don't want to tell you not to listen to your instructor.... but it does behoove you to understand that his interpretation and take on martial arts, specifically Classical Japanese ones, doesn't match what is known and understood by, well.... all other practitioners of classical arts... myself, pgsmith, and Hyoho here to name a few. So relying on it isn't really going to be the best source of credible information for you...

    Speaking of, please listen to Hyoho here:

    Very much this.

    Ha, hi Brendan! Yeah, very suitably coherent... I'm looking forward to seeing you all in a month or so!
     
  4. BrendanF

    BrendanF White Belt

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    Hehe cool - I was half asleep and not sure if legible. Sounds good man, see you then!
     
  5. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Blue Belt

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    So, if I understand...by reading a website, and an article that do not jive with your understanding, you are right and he is wrong. On the other hand, someone with true curiosity would wonder why...why is it different? Why is my understanding correct and the other person's not correct? So, interesting...just because you have not been exposed to it does not mean it does not exist.

    As for footwork...how does one control ma-ai? Just out of curiosity?
     
  6. BrendanF

    BrendanF White Belt

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    Being open minded is to be applauded, but there comes a time when it's not a case of "that's just your take, and mine differs". One of the interesting things about Japanese martial arts is the balance between variety and heterogeneity, and consistency. Although there is typically no "one rule" regarding anything in JMA, there is definitely a running theme, and consistent principles - that's why folks who have trained in (typically different) JMA can find common ground.

    I had to go looking for the "difference" you refer to - having read the past threads, it is clear that you are unfortunately not training in a JMA, but are convinced that you are. I suspect nothing anyone will say can persuade you otherwise. Can you not see the irony in that position, given your statement above? Have you demonstrated "true curiosity", and examined why it is that every single person with any exposure to legitimate JMA reached the conclusion that what you have learned is not legit?

    Beyond the art itself from a technical standpoint - many of the things you have claimed have been historical, cultural or linguistic issues, which are easily examined. Many of the things you have claimed just don't make sense to someone with any understanding of the language or culture. If you take the time to study the language and culture you will realise that much of what you have been told is in fact bogus.

    In other words, there's a reason not a single person here with legit JMA experience agrees with your views.. and it ain't "just because they have not been exposed to it."
     
  7. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Blue Belt

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    Hmm...every single person holds a different view? How about those in Japan we are in contact with? I did not know you folks knew every single person involved in Classical Martial training. WOW!! I am impressed!!

    By the way, I have expressed legitimate curiosity, for over 25 years.

    When confronted with truth, purity, and logic, there are those who embrace it, and those who stick their head in the sand.

    The core issue is a lack of understanding of what true classical martial training is...
     
  8. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Everyone with legitimate exposure to Japanese classical arts, and history, yeah. Again, if you want, I am happy to point out just how far off base John Viol is in his publicised material... cause that's the thing. He's not expressing a different view, he's just bluntly wrong in what he says about a whole mess of things. And by following what he says, you're wrong as well. Bear in mind, that's "wrong" as in "factually incorrect"...

    Well, good for you. Have you also applied critical thinking?

    Ha! I love irony.... and they say Americans don't understand it....

    That is very true... of course, you might be aiming that barb in the wrong direction there....
     
  9. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Blue Belt

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    I am so glad you know everyone who has been exposed to classical martial training...that really does answer everything. I guess those who have trained for decades with us, those in Japan who oversee what we do, those who awarded the Licensure are among those you know who disagree with what we do. I guess Nakamura Sensei, Hoshina Sensei, etc...are either not classically trained (I know Nakamura Sensei is not), or they for some reason have and continue to support what we do but know we are wrong...hmm...
     
  10. BrendanF

    BrendanF White Belt

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    So I went and read the article Chris referred to.. wow.

    Have you been to Japan? Have you trained in your "sogobujutsu" there? If it is truly a "classical martial science" can you tell me where it is from? Which shrine and family patronised the school? When it was founded, by whom? Why it doesn't feature in the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten?

    Why is it that nothing about this "classical martial science" is consistent with other koryu bugei? As I mentioned above, while there are definite idiosyncrasies, there are absolutely consistent features of traditional JMA, which "sogobujutsu" just doesn't exhibit.

    Surely with your 25 years of curiosity you have noticed that? Can you explain any of these things?

    Have you spent any of those 25 years researching actual Japanese martial training? Do you agree that they all demonstrate some consistent characteristics?

    Can you actually describe any of the history of your school? Who taught your teacher's teacher? Who taught him/her? As I asked above, where it's from, which shrine, family, domain etc? Because.. every legitimate Japanese martial art I have encountered took great pride in these things. The only schools I have encountered with strange claims like those made in the article have been modern creations, invented in the west by someone with experience in modern budo.

    As I said, it is very clear nothing anyone will say can convince you of anything - I hope you enjoy your training, and wish you all the best with it.
     
  11. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Blue Belt

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    Although I have not been to Japan, my teacher has, and other seniors have. I know the names of my teacher's teachers, his seniors, as well as my seniors who have been training for decades. I also interact with seniors in Japan. I know what family "patronized" the school, etc...our heritage takes great pride in the content...our content and heritage are intertwined so there is no difference...

    But, we each will say what we say...and it is ok...train as you wish, and we will continue to perpetuate true classical methods and strategies...
     
  12. Hyoho

    Hyoho Brown Belt

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    I am based in Japan as resident. I have licences and do oversee a ryu. Nationality has nothing to do with it. We can all get good at something if we do it long enough. For the very same reason Japanese are good at sports and other things. I have good people in the West with excellent skills. You need to lose the nationality hangup. By the same token Japanese are not automatically good at things because "they are Japanese".
     
  13. Hyoho

    Hyoho Brown Belt

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    What a strange question. How about practice? Practicing with around 55 students every day of the week, morning, evening and all weekend might help.

    More to the point can you understand ma-ai with no weapon held between you? If you can do that you will be on the right track.
     
  14. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Blue Belt

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    i have no idea where your idea that I am talking about nationality and what nationality is better at something. With a leap like that, you can do a Nike commercial.
     
  15. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Blue Belt

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    I train daily...thank you.
     
  16. Hyoho

    Hyoho Brown Belt

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    Then why are you asking about ma-ai?
     
  17. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Blue Belt

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    Well...I wasn't asking about Ma ai...I am over the conversation. We can simply agree to disagree...you can go along with your assumptions about our training...and that is fine...better actually. I will continue along knowing what I know, and knowing what I know about your training.
     
  18. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Going to suggest Japanese might be a bit better at understanding Japanese culture though.
     
  19. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Okay, I'm going to start being a little blunt here... as Brendan said, there's little real hope that you'll actually take any of this on board, but you really should know where we're coming from....

    You've missed the point. The point wasn't about anyone in Japan, it was about the way that John Viol presents Japanese martial arts, particularly classical ones... as his representation of them is not historically, culturally, realistically, linguistically, or tactically correct (factually speaking). But there's something you should understand about the Japanese mentality... they don't tend to speak out if someone is doing something incorrect, except in their own teachings. A friend of mine teaches a modern created "Japanese traditional" art... created in the UK in the 60's.... which has a number of very inaccurate and incorrect aspects when compared with actual Japanese arts... he goes to Japan once a year, and trains with a number of very well known and respected teachers in a number of Japanese (and Okinawan) arts... and none of them would say anything against him, as he trains well when he is there. But taking that as acknowledgement that what he is doing is correct would be a mistake.

    In other words, it doesn't matter who "supports" John in his training when he visits Japan, if he's not actually teaching what they give him.

    You may need to clarify who you're talking about, though... there are quite a number of "Nakamura sensei" in Japan... it's not an overly uncommon surname...

    See, that's the thing... the simple fact that the ryu in question is not being named is a huge red flag... there are only a couple of ryu named on the website, two lines of Toyama Ryu, Yagyu Shingan Ryu (but no mention of which line, nor anything that seems to indicate any real licensing in it), and "Yagyu Ryu"... often used as a shortened version of either Yagyu Shingan (by the Araki-do group) or Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, but here seemingly used as a separate system. Now, within Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, it is used to sometimes refer to the non-Shinkage Ryu elements (Jubei no Jo, shuriken etc)... but, more tellingly, the term "Yagyu Ryu" is a commonly used term in fictional accounts... not an actual, genuine ryu-ha. Hmm....

    No, you won't. You think you are, but you are, very simply, not. Not if you're following the ideas of John Viol.

    You really don't know anything about Hyoho's training... but his resume is far easier to come across than John's... but, for the record, you are conversing with one of the most well credentialed non-Japanese Koryu practitioners and teachers around. He is Menkyo Kaiden in one Ryu, and is a lineage holder (head of the system) in another. His website (hyoho.com) is one of the most informative around, specifically for his ryu... and for many years, he was the voice for Westerners... and his pedigree is very well established. For example, here he is at an embu for Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu with the 11th Generation soke, Iwami Toshio (Hyoho comes out at the end...ps... have you figured out where his screen name comes from yet?):


    As for the case for training, taking the provided evidence of John Viol's website, articles, interviews, and so on, well... that's far less established, and certainly far less credible.

    Using the following pages (Seishinkan Original Site Start Page John Viol Dai Shihan Menkyokaiden John Viol Dai Shihan Menkyokaiden http://www.seishinkan.com/visuals/pdf/BattlegroundSogoArticle01.pdf and Anshinkan Dojo), there are huge numbers of issues, questions, and unusually vague statements and claims made... not least of all the following:
    - Sogobujutsu is presented as a specific martial art, with specific founders and a specific history. This is completely incorrect, as sogobujutsu is simply a categorisation of martial art, specifically Japanese, for systems that cover a wide array of skills. It's like talking about the founder of Kenjutsu... there were many, as many as there are systems that have that categorisation.
    - Mentions of the "Tsukikagemusha" of the "Yagyu-clan" working for the Shogun (as the "acknowledged founders of sogobujutsu")... I hardly know where to start with this... for one thing, there was no such thing as the "Tsukikagemusha"... they're fictional. Deal with it. Second, the Yagyu family became teachers to the Tokugawa shoguns, yeah... but teaching a non-sogobujutsu system (Shinkage Ryu)... and the implied timeline has the Yagyu family existing before the Yagyu family existed, creating a non-existent art, and working for a Shogun regime that wasn't going to be there for a few centuries at least... all with a very fantasy-based name of "Moon Shadow Warriors"... seriously? Dude... if you believe this, you're too far gone to listen to anything else... oh, and for the record, the only references to these Tsukikagemusha are all from John Viol himself... nowhere else. They simply didn't (don't) exist. It's fantasy.
    - The whole bizarre take on the menkyo ranking system, again littered with romanticised and incorrect understandings of history... it doesn't really have anything to do with the Dan-i ranking system, as claimed... and it's purpose and application is completely misrepresented.
    - The idea that "sogobujutsu, the Yagyu clan, the Tsukikagemusha (and so on) are very difficult to research in English... (or even for) native Japanese" is almost laughably bad in it's attempt to explain why this load of fantasy isn't supported by anything historical, or real. I mean... Japan was (and remains) one of the most beaurocratic societies around... writing down everything... so the idea that a major family, supported by the ruling families and dynasties, creating the primary forms of martial arts used by the serious warrior class... who again were the ruling classes... didn't have anything written down because "these are not for the masses" is just weak, false reasoning. All those aspects would have made these topics far, far easier to find information on, not harder...
    - The idea that John Viol is the "highest ranked classical weaponry instructor in North America" is again so easily disprovable that it's almost embarrassing the guys' still trying to pass off such a blatant falsehood. No, he's not. For one thing, there's no such thing... you don't get ranked as a "classical weaponry instructor", you get ranked in a particular system... and that rank is not equivalent to any ranking in any other system. For another, if we're going to be talking about Menkyo ranking, there were other instructors who got equivalent ranking in their systems well before John did... so his claim is just either delusional, or fraudulent.
    - All of the claims of his activities being covered in Japanese media have no back up at all. His claims of performing a ritual at the "Yagyu Clan grave" is also just bizarre...
    - The talk of being an uchi-deshi three times, then not talking about exactly what that was training in, or with who ("I trained primarily in sogobujutsu, with some of my teachers"... er... kay?) is highly suspicious. For one thing, the whole idea of uchi-deshi programs (live-in) are a highly modern concept, not traditional at all, and are based more in Western (English and French) military boarding schools... and are most frequently found in Aikido and occasionally karate schools... not classical systems at all.

    Look, I can go on, and on, and on here... but the simple fact is that nothing on his pages indicates much in the way of authentic training, and certainly don't indicate that, if some authentic training has been undertaken, it has been taken on board... instead, John Viol paints a picture of movie fantasy, preying on the lack of education in those who come to him. That worked okay in the 70's, and even the 80's, but even cursory research these days shows just how off all his ideas, and teachings are.

    At the end of the day, though, you are free to believe whatever you want... learn from John, believe what he tells you, think that everyone else is doing it wrong... but the simple fact remains that, as soon as you post anything that is incorrect (which, if you base in on what you learn from him, it will be), you will be corrected. It's not personal, but others don't have the necessary education to see just how misleading your information can be... so, as long as you're fine being told you're wrong all the time, go for it.

    Might I suggest you still haven't learnt who you're talking to?
     
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  20. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have this thing, because I get this a lot. When someone asks me "Do you know who I am?"

    I say "Are you one of the wiggles?"

    It just makes me laugh.

    But yeah I will pretty much sass anyone.
     

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