A Strange Question

dancingalone

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Is there any avenue where people studying the sword will spar with bokken with others studying the bo? With safety and mutual respect as paramount concerns of course...

Just an idle itch of mine. I have been studying the bo for years now and have practiced various bo vs. bo forms, but I think it would be fun to spar live against a classically trained kenjutsu practitioner.
 
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dancingalone

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Yah, I know. I was thinking of something like the gatherings the Dog Brothers put together where people spar with heavily padded sticks wearing lots of personal protection gear.

<shrugs> I've been practicing kobudo a long time... I would be willing to take the physical risk under certain conditions.
 

Chris Parker

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Padded sticks and protective gear? Yeah, it's called Kendo. Not bokken, though. It's scary enough going through scripted kata practice, forgetting to move at the right time results in rather a "splitting headache", if you catch my drift...
 
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dancingalone

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Well, that's the thing, I don't think a shinai from kendo would match up with a hardwood bo, padded up or not. It wouldn't be a fair contest - it seems the shinai would break.

I understand your perspective on the safety aspect. Regardless, that's really not my question as an experienced martial artist.

I am wondering if there is a venue where kenjutsu people will spar with bojutsu people, in a 'safe' fashion with both sides clearly understanding the risks involved and seeking to minimize them while still trying to keep the exercise an interesting, pertinent one. Apparently not?
 

Chris Parker

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Ah, in that case, check out Chanbara groups. In Japan it's essentially a game for kids, but for some reason outside of Japan there's a decent adult participation level. It's essentially a free-form sparring contest with foam covered weapons, no real martial arts aspect in a lot of cases, just people who like whacking into each other, but you can find the equipment at a number of martial art stores, and get someone trained in Kenjutsu/Kendo, or similar to have a go with you. In terms of venues, again, look into Chanbara in your area, but bear in mind that you may not find anything around you.

Bear in mind when searching that the term is taken from Japanese "sword fighting/samurai" films, like the Wests "Westerns", I'd do a search for "chanbara equipment" first.

Some Chanbara clips:

"Spear vs Spear, Sword vs Two Sword, Sword vs Sword" It's not uncommon to have unmatched weapons in this form, by the way.

There's what looks like Bo vs Bo in here... as well as Sword vs Sword, and Short Sword vs Short Sword.
 
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Carol

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Well, that's the thing, I don't think a shinai from kendo would match up with a hardwood bo, padded up or not. It wouldn't be a fair contest - it seems the shinai would break.

I understand your perspective on the safety aspect. Regardless, that's really not my question as an experienced martial artist.

I am wondering if there is a venue where kenjutsu people will spar with bojutsu people, in a 'safe' fashion with both sides clearly understanding the risks involved and seeking to minimize them while still trying to keep the exercise an interesting, pertinent one. Apparently not?

I wouldn't rule the Dog Brothers out. They do exactly what you are looking to do, and their gatherings are not restricted to FMA practitioners. To clarify tho...the Dog Brothers don't use any padded weapons, they use rattan sticks and minimalist protection (face and hands). Since rattan is a vine, it frays instead of splintering or shattering. It still hurts and causes nasty bruises.

Something I'll just throw out there, while the Dog Brothers core training is FMA based, their gatherings are open to all. You could fight with a bo, a shock knife, or several other weapons. May need a rattan bo intead of hardwood, I'm not sure.
 
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dancingalone

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Thank you, Carol. I may look into that. I was more interested in working with someone trained in one of the Japanese sword styles though.
 

pgsmith

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I was more interested in working with someone trained in one of the Japanese sword styles though.
I would suggest that you discover if there are any koryu sword groups in your area, and contact their instructor. If you discuss just what it is that you hope to accomplish as well as your level of training, then a way of training may be able to be worked out between you. I've learned to never say never where the koryu are concerned, and there are other possibilities besides going at each other in a potentially lethal fashion. :)
 

Langenschwert

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Dog Brothers are a good bet.

Also, contact a local HEMA school and see if they have any takers. The parallels between Japanese and European sword arts are enough that you'll get a good idea of what's involved in that pairing of weapons. They're usually pretty sparring-heavy, so as long as you're not a thug looking to beat people up (and can convince them of such) they might allow you to spar, or give your contact info to members who are interested in that kind of crosstraining outside of class time. As a HEMA instructor myself, I would be a little leery of such a proposition... I never know what kind of whack-job I might run into. But it never hurts to ask.

Best regards,

-Mark
 
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dancingalone

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They're usually pretty sparring-heavy, so as long as you're not a thug looking to beat people up (and can convince them of such) they might allow you to spar, or give your contact info to members who are interested in that kind of crosstraining outside of class time. As a HEMA instructor myself, I would be a little leery of such a proposition... I never know what kind of whack-job I might run into. But it never hurts to ask.


Thank you for the response.

I am not a whack-job. At least not yet. :)

Over the years, it has occurred to me that some of the movements found in the weapons kata I practice might be useful when engaged with an sword wielder. It is a desire of mine to test some of those thoughts,not necessarily on a 'ha-ha' I can kick your butt level, but more for myself to understand the potential efficacy of what I study and teach. As a fellow practitioner of an archaic weapon art, I'm sure you might understand the desire.
 

jks9199

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I believe that there are kata in some of the systems that are sword vs bo or hanbo. You might find them of interest; they might even show you the ideas you're thinking about.

Example:
 
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Langenschwert

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As a fellow practitioner of an archaic weapon art, I'm sure you might understand the desire.

Oh absolutely.

I test it on a regular basis. Sometimes I spar with nylon wasters, sometimes with blunt steel. I've even done very slow controlled paired drills with sharp swords under strict supervision. That was an eye-opener.

I will fence just about anyone provided I know they're not thugs or imbeciles. The issue is control. When I went to WMAW, there were some lovely fighters with excellent control, but there were some who I thought would not be safe to bout against... they were far to green to control their shots. When you're sparring with these kinds of tools, it can be very dangerous regardless of the phyisical protection you're wearing, and someone going ape-feces can do a lot of damage. So beware that some of the people you fence might not have the requisite control for it to be a safe experiment.

Best regards,

-Mark
 

Blindside

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I wouldn't rule the Dog Brothers out. They do exactly what you are looking to do, and their gatherings are not restricted to FMA practitioners. To clarify tho...the Dog Brothers don't use any padded weapons, they use rattan sticks and minimalist protection (face and hands). Since rattan is a vine, it frays instead of splintering or shattering. It still hurts and causes nasty bruises.

Something I'll just throw out there, while the Dog Brothers core training is FMA based, their gatherings are open to all. You could fight with a bo, a shock knife, or several other weapons. May need a rattan bo intead of hardwood, I'm not sure.

On two of the Dog Brothers vids they show video of dual stick matches against bokken, if I recall correctly the first match (Real Contact Stick Fighting 6) the bokken user fractures the stick wielders ribs with a thrust. On the second one (I think it was called "Gathering of the Pack"), the bokken user's hands get popped multiple times to the point where one hand was useless and he gives up. Just so you understand they are treating the bokken as a bokken not as a blade, the venue really doesn't allow for that. That said they still consider it a high magnitude weapon that you should not take likely. The DBers do staff work as well so if you were interested I am sure you could find an opponent.
 

stickarts

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I haven't done full fledged sparring, however, i have worked the weapons against each other safely!
 

MA-Caver

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First off I don't see how it was a "strange question" as I'm sure there are many others who study with weapons that would like to match up with a different type.
To say that one weapon outmatches or is not equal to another of a different type is a misnomer IMO. Every weapon is only as good as the person wielding it. Even if it's a knife at a gun-fight. If the gun person is a lousy shot... they're going to get cut/stabbed/sliced & diced.
 

Chris Parker

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I believe that there are kata in some of the systems that are sword vs bo or hanbo. You might find them of interest; they might even show you the ideas you're thinking about.

Example:

Oh, Jim, you just do this to test me, don't you?

This looks to be some of Sugawara's Katori Shinto Ryu students, there are huge flaws throughout the entire thing (the basic way that the Bo is used in Shinto Ryu simply isn't present here, to begin with...), so let's look for a few more for Dancingalone, shall we?

Takenouchi Ryu Bukijutsu

Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu - follow the links on you-tube, pretty much all of the Shoden Gata are there

Shinto Muso Ryu Jo - a slightly shorter, and thinner (therefore faster) staff weapon, but always great to see

Ah, the great Don Draeger showing how SMR is done...

Toda Ryu Bojutsu

And, of course, let's look at Katori Shinto Ryu the way it's meant to be.... the Bojutsu is from 9:29 onwards.
 
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kegage

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Then there is always this option:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKtJegpjVwI&feature=related

and


Yes, it is the SCA (Society of creative Anachronism). This is an example of heavy combat. Requires armor, and the weapons are made of rattan, but groups usually have loaner armor and weapons for new fighters. Since this is combat, don&#8217;t count on much pure form. In the first video they are using nodatchis, or odatchis if you prefer.
The closest we come to bo are pole arms, naginatas, and the European equivalent, glaves. In the second video most of the weapons being used are nagihatas or glaves. A lot of bo techniques translate well to naginata, but there are no strikes with the opposite end of the weapon. However, you can thrust with the opposite end. This is because all weapons are supposed to be weapons that would incapacitate, or kill through armor.


But there is also a combat form called Cut & Thrust, which is similar to what HEMA and other WMA organizations do. The armor requirements are less although it may not appear so in the video. This style assumes the combatants are unarmored and in regular clothes. At this time pole or staff weapons are not allowed, however there limited experiments occurring, and they will probably be allowed in the future. I plan to start doing this with a katana in the near future. Langenschwert, I believe you will find the bout at 5:30 most interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ptFOhhhQgg&feature=related


Kevin
 
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Chris Parker

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It may come down to what Dancingalone is wanting to do, if it's just to go up against people with different weapons, sure. But if the actual aim is to go against a specific type of trained person (as indicated here), then perhaps not. There wasn't really anything other than superficial similarities that I saw to Japanese weapon methods, the bulk of it was actually rather ineffective against armour considering the weapons used.
 

Langenschwert

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It may come down to what Dancingalone is wanting to do, if it's just to go up against people with different weapons, sure. But if the actual aim is to go against a specific type of trained person (as indicated here), then perhaps not. There wasn't really anything other than superficial similarities that I saw to Japanese weapon methods, the bulk of it was actually rather ineffective against armour considering the weapons used.

Indeed. However, SCA might be the only thing in his area that even comes close. At least he can have a jolly good bash, and see what it's like to have someone go pell-mell at you with a rattan waster. That alone may be worth the experience. One thing I'll say, those boys know how to hit and hit hard. Not a bad skill to have.

Cut and Thrust SCA is harder to find, but certainly worth doing.

@ Kegage, the guy in red certainly has some training. His half-swording was quite nice. Better than mine, at any rate. I like how he got that Dringen into the armpit. Nicely done. :)

Like any other group, skill levels in SCA can vary wildly and there are different "cultures". Some kingdoms are notorious for "Rhinoing" which is not admitting a good hit. I've known people who had to knock their opponent out in SCA combat to prove their point. Sent the guy flying. Wish I could have seen it. But I'm not SCA and can't speak about them with any authority. Interestingly enough, one of our chapters has some of SCA members who want to improve their fencing for that venue, and are so far pleased with the results. Kinda neat.

Now, if any of those JSA guys who spar with steel are in your area, you're good to go:


I would love to fence those guys. They're apparently very hard to hit.

Best regards,

-Mark
 
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