A Strange Question

jks9199

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Chris,
That was the most acceptable I could find the quick search I did. I didn't post it up as good (the "sword" seemed rather perfunctorily done, with little understanding, among other things), but just as a quick example of an art including it. Thanks for finding better examples.
 

kegage

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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.


Chris- Any combat in the SCA is going to appear to only have superficial similarities to what has come to be recognized as good or proper weapon methods, no matter how classically trained outside the SCA a person is. The reason is that when you are doing SCA combat you have to continually perceive, adapt, and adjust to the movement, timing, and attacks of your opponent, which are unknown until the opponent makes them so. There are very few restrictions on attacks that can be used, or the target areas that can be struck. The few restrictions that exist are for safety purposes only.
As to defeating the armor, the SCA standard is not the armor being worn, but is an organizational standard of chainmaile over a leather hauberk with the helmet being an open faced basinet. A blow is called as good if the force of the blow received meets that standard of force.

@ 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.

I am not exactly sure which armpit shot you are referring to, but if it is the last one in the video, maybe I can help with a little action analysis. As the fighter in the black armor (black) separated from the last encounter it appeared he hoped to catch the knight in the red armor (red) unawares and off guard, by initiating an immediate aggressive attack. The first mistake black made was that he began his attack, and indicated what form the attack (somen) would be too early. Black is a good four steps away when he does this. Red appears to be off guard, but in actuality is not. While black is still three steps away red very briefly adopts chudan no kami until he determines the attack would indeed be somen. At that point red moves forward and intercepts the somen attack just after it has been initiated, instead of waiting to receive the full attack. At the same time red, has disrupted blacks timing, and put him slightly off balance. Red continues to move forward and at the same time pushes blacks weapon and hands up higher creating an opening in the torso area. Then red starts to step forward and laterally to the left and initiates a combination cut to the right side of blacks kabuto and immediately follows with a dogiri to the left side of the do, and takes a step back as he completes the cut. Black attempts another somen, just as he is hit in the do, but red is no longer there.

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

This is exactly what I am planning on doing in cut and thrust. More and more people in the SCA, who do Japanese, are starting to get into this.

Kevin
 

Chris Parker

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Chris,
That was the most acceptable I could find the quick search I did. I didn't post it up as good (the "sword" seemed rather perfunctorily done, with little understanding, among other things), but just as a quick example of an art including it. Thanks for finding better examples.

Ha, yeah I know. I do get a little, uh, protective of certain things, though, and Katori Shinto Ryu is one of them, so if a less than ideal version is put forth, I'm going to take the excuse to put up a better one... and that gave me the excuse to find more clips as well! No offence was taken at all.

Chris- Any combat in the SCA is going to appear to only have superficial similarities to what has come to be recognized as “good” or “proper” weapon methods, no matter how classically trained outside the SCA a person is. The reason is that when you are doing SCA combat you have to continually perceive, adapt, and adjust to the movement, timing, and attacks of your opponent, which are unknown until the opponent makes them so. There are very few restrictions on attacks that can be used, or the target areas that can be struck. The few restrictions that exist are for safety purposes only.
As to defeating the armor, the SCA standard is not the armor being worn, but is an organizational standard of chainmaile over a leather hauberk with the helmet being an open faced basinet. A blow is called as good if the force of the blow received meets that standard of force.

Hi Kevin,

While I get what you mean, perhaps what I mean isn't clear. The weapons, the balance, the grips, the cutting methods, the very use of their weapons, and so forth, bore no real relation to anything like the use of Japanese swords or other weapons. This makes the usage there, if actual Japanese weapons were used, they would be rather ineffectual, at best.

When it comes to the armour, the targeting was off, the power generation would have done nothing other than cause bruises, and more. Basically, they're hitting each other, there is no cutting or actual use of Japanese swordsmanship at all, and if that is what Dancingalone is after, this is not a way to get to it.
 

Chris Parker

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Damn, missed out on editing by two minutes....

(In reference to JKS's comment that the sword was the lacking in the clip he linked....)

Actually, the swordsmanship side is the better of the two. It's cleaner, the cuts have purpose, the kamae are hit pretty well... there's a few actions that aren't what I've seen as a expression before, and I'm not sure of how well they've been instructed in the Kuzushi of both the Bo and the Tachi there, but of the two, the Bo was bad, the Tachi was decent.
 

jks9199

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I'll have to watch again. I wasn't wowed by the sword.

Sent from my Ally using Tapatalk
 

Chris Parker

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Ha, I didn't say it was that impressive, just that it was far better than the Bojutsu being demonstrated. That said, I'd expect that, as Shinto Ryu teaches sword primarily, and these guys seem to be following the convention of having the senior student in the role of the person who dies at the end (it's kinda hard to say "attacker", as the Bo does the attacking, and the swordsman here is referred to as the "defender" in things like Deity and the Sword, but that can give the wrong image as well... oh, these things do get complicated!). As a result, I'd say the young girl with the Bo is quite a lot junior to the swordsman, probably by a number of years (say, two or three), so saying that the swordsman is better isn't much of a statement.
 

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Just so you understand they are treating the bokken as a bokken not as a blade, the venue really doesn't allow for that.
The venue certainly could allow for that. It is allowed for when doing matches with knife-simulators.

I've seen people treat knife/sword-simulators as if they were sticks. This makes pretty good stick practice but royally sucks for blade practice. Blades and sticks aren't the same thing and if a training partner doesn't understand the difference between a knife-simulator and a stick then he needs to be educated.

Not ranting at you, just the problem in general.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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Chris- Any combat in the SCA is going to appear to only have superficial similarities to what has come to be recognized as good or proper weapon methods, no matter how classically trained outside the SCA a person is. The reason is that when you are doing SCA combat you have to continually perceive, adapt, and adjust to the movement, timing, and attacks of your opponent, which are unknown until the opponent makes them so. There are very few restrictions on attacks that can be used, or the target areas that can be struck. The few restrictions that exist are for safety purposes only.
No offense intended, but I have to take exception to this.

First, SCA Heavy Combat is combat only as far as that is the name reserved for it. There are numerous rules, reasonably intended for safe participation, which divorce the activity from an actual fight with sharps. Much of the techniques used are quite naturally adapted to enhance success under the specific rules and restrictions of the competition. "Good" and "proper" technique will always look good and proper. What is good and proper in SCA Heavy Combat is good and proper because it works within that context. When SCA HC technique does not match Classical Fencing/HEMA technique it is not because HC is a chaotic situation with a resisting opponent who won't "let" you do picture-perfect techniques, it is because HC isn't a historically accurate fight. For instance, by way of example, I frequently see little intentionality for edge-orientation or cutting. Then, there is the oft-cited lack of grappling despite its obvious high importance in period fighting, the elimination of the shield edge as a weapon, and the prohibition of trapping/capturing the opponent's weapons despite ample evidence of historic authenticity. Yes, I know that different Kingdoms often have different spins on the generic rules and sometimes you can find partners who want more historically accurate training (in fact, there is a growing trend). Don't misunderstand, I'm not downing HC and I certainly don't want to travel the well trod path of "is HC a martial art or a stick game." I'm saying that HC is what it is and let's not try to make it more than that.

Second, you seem to imply that "classically trained" people don't spar. I rather doubt you'd intended that meta-message. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that, well, they do spar. Different organizations have different rules, intended for safety of the participants, training appropriate to the weapon and the specific type of fighting intended (Military Broadsword is different from Dueling Sabre), and as appropriate to their skill levels.

My point is that if you don't see passata sotto, inquartata, mandriti or other "classically trained techniques" in SCA Heavy Combat, it's not because HC is 'chaotic and all real 'n stuff' it's because those "classically trained techniques" aren't appropriate in the context of HC. I assure you, they are entirely appropriate in the intended context.

Again, I intend no offense.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

kegage

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Hi Kevin,

While I get what you mean, perhaps what I mean isn't clear. The weapons, the balance, the grips, the cutting methods, the very use of their weapons, and so forth, bore no real relation to anything like the use of Japanese swords or other weapons. This makes the usage there, if actual Japanese weapons were used, they would be rather ineffectual, at best.

When it comes to the armour, the targeting was off, the power generation would have done nothing other than cause bruises, and more. Basically, they're hitting each other, there is no cutting or actual use of Japanese swordsmanship at all, and if that is what Dancingalone is after, this is not a way to get to it.

Hi Chris

Very true, no argument from me. If you remember, back in December of last year we were having a conversation with the subject line "Full contact" sparring with rigid weapons. In regards to videos of me doing drills and/or sparring I posted: I am hesitant to post a video of others engaging in the style of sparring I do, because, well frankly, I cant find any out there that have a modicum of decent form and technique. I am sure they would be even more painful for you to watch than it is for me simply because I am used to seeing it. The first video is one of those videos. Now you know why I didnt post it then. I dont know what kind of proper training, if any, either one of the fighters in the video has had, but I agree, it doesnt seem very evident to me either

Kevin
 

kegage

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No offense intended, but I have to take exception to this.

First, SCA Heavy Combat is combat only as far as that is the name reserved for it. There are numerous rules, reasonably intended for safe participation, which divorce the activity from an actual fight with sharps. Much of the techniques used are quite naturally adapted to enhance success under the specific rules and restrictions of the competition. "Good" and "proper" technique will always look good and proper. What is good and proper in SCA Heavy Combat is good and proper because it works within that context. When SCA HC technique does not match Classical Fencing/HEMA technique it is not because HC is a chaotic situation with a resisting opponent who won't "let" you do picture-perfect techniques, it is because HC isn't a historically accurate fight. For instance, by way of example, I frequently see little intentionality for edge-orientation or cutting. Then, there is the oft-cited lack of grappling despite its obvious high importance in period fighting, the elimination of the shield edge as a weapon, and the prohibition of trapping/capturing the opponent's weapons despite ample evidence of historic authenticity. Yes, I know that different Kingdoms often have different spins on the generic rules and sometimes you can find partners who want more historically accurate training (in fact, there is a growing trend). Don't misunderstand, I'm not downing HC and I certainly don't want to travel the well trod path of "is HC a martial art or a stick game." I'm saying that HC is what it is and let's not try to make it more than that.

Kirk- No offense taken

I have never, and will never claim, that SCA heavy weapons combat is historically accurate. I will claim, as you mentioned, that there are those that, within the safety rules, are trying to do things in a more accurate manner, especially in regards to single combat. In most of what you say you are somewhat correct. However, there are certain forms of trapping weapons and grappling that is allowed. Also, there are a limited number of ways a shield can be used offensively. As to edge of the blade orientation, unfortunately most swords are still round. Not that it means anything here, but the blades of the weapons have to be marked with a contrasting color so the blade is identifiable. If it is realized, that a blow was struck flat by either combatant, or the observing marshal, the blow is not counted. More and more the trend of heavy combatants is to define the blade in the shape of the weapon. I can only use myself as an example, but all of my weapons, within the rules, are shaped to emulate the weapons they are designed after. Some consider it, as they say, medieval sport fighting. However most of those I know think of it as a martial art, and train with absolute dedication to improve their skills.
As historical aside, during the late middle ages, due to the number of injuries and deaths that were occurring in tournaments, it was decreed that they would use weapons made of wood or whalebone instead of steel, and developed a point system for determining victory. I even saw an article; though I havent been able to find it again, that in some tournaments they would cover the blades in thin leather or parchment colored silver to simulate a real sword (medieval duct tape?).


Second, you seem to imply that "classically trained" people don't spar. I rather doubt you'd intended that meta-message. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that, well, they do spar. Different organizations have different rules, intended for safety of the participants, training appropriate to the weapon and the specific type of fighting intended (Military Broadsword is different from Dueling Sabre), and as appropriate to their skill levels.

Not at all. Just look at youtube, there more and more videos of different dojos doing sparring activities with everything from chanbara weapons and RSW, shinai and bokken, to rebated metal katanas.
Let me see if I can explain my point a little better. Whenever people spar, while they are sparring, form and technique suffers, simply because they are in an imperfect situation. While no sparring is going to be the same as combat, the closer in intensity to a truer combat scenario you get the more difficult it is to maintain form, and the harder and longer the sparring, the harder it is to maintain good form. The whole purpose of sparring is to develop the abilities necessary to utilize the lessons learned outside of sparring in the exact situation those lessons were designed to help a student prepare for. The more a student spars the more they learn how to apply those lessons, and, slowly, the better, and longer they will be able to maintain form while sparring.
We all agree that SCA combat is not real in the sense that people get seriously injured and die. What it does have is, literally, the physicality and hard hitting intensity that most of the other sparring methods do not have. That has a higher detrimental effect on form than a lesser intense form of sparring.

My point is that if you don't see passata sotto, inquartata, mandriti or other "classically trained techniques" in SCA Heavy Combat, it's not because HC is 'chaotic and all real 'n stuff' it's because those "classically trained techniques" aren't appropriate in the context of HC. I assure you, they are entirely appropriate in the intended context.

No debate. I would love for the SCA to find a way to do all of the things I hear people both inside and outside the SCA complain about. Slowly, but surely, the SCA is finding ways to accomplish things some people thought they would never see. My primary examples du jour is jousting and Cut & Thrust. Maybe one day

Kevin
 

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I'm leaving the rest be because either my disagreements with individual points are so minor as to not be worth arguing, or because (more often) I agree with what you said.

We all agree that SCA combat is not “real” in the sense that people get seriously injured and die.
This seems like a good place to return to the the point of why the training and venue exists. If the point of the sparring is "safe, fun, martially themed competition" then the competition will evolve in one direction. If the point of sparring is to "simulate and train for combat with the weapons being simulated" then the competition will evolve a different direction. I see these competing goals illustrated all the time. I've seen it in FMA comps, various WMA comps, heck, I can even look back historically and see the results in Singlestick and 3-weapon Fencing. Ideally the two goals would be mutually met and would complement each other - that's the goal we strive for in my club. However, it's far too easy for the two to diverge and grow in incompatible directions.

Of course, this is confused by the fact that many people, particularly my RBSD friends, deny or prefer to ignore: Many times, particularly historically speaking, "real" fights HAD RULES! Many "real fights" had/have rules, often 'unwritten' and enforced only by social convention, but often also by mutual understanding of the participants. Not every fight was historically, or even is today, an all out "death to the loser, winner gets to live" deathmatch.

But, I think I should let that one go too as it is a subject I can both wax poetic and yet drone on endlessly.

What it does have is, literally, the physicality and hard hitting intensity that most of the other sparring methods do not have.
Could you please elucidate? What do you mean by "physicality and hard hitting intensity" in this context as a way of differentiating how HC is superior to other sparring?

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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The venue certainly could allow for that. It is allowed for when doing matches with knife-simulators.

I've seen people treat knife/sword-simulators as if they were sticks. This makes pretty good stick practice but royally sucks for blade practice. Blades and sticks aren't the same thing and if a training partner doesn't understand the difference between a knife-simulator and a stick then he needs to be educated.

Not ranting at you, just the problem in general.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

One of my friends who fought at the last Gathering talked about how the (few) guys who fought with aluminum training swords treated them differently than a rattan stick, the magnitude of the weapon forced them to honor the weapon, making the fight more of a bladed weapon fight. Whether that was because of the approach of those individuals or simply the appropriate respect for the hit an aluminum sword can deliver, I don't know. Several of the last highlight films have included what looks like aluminum or steel training sword fights so it may be going that direction already.
 

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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.
As has probably already been mentioned, most ryu of kenjutsu do not, to my knowledge, engage in free sparring like you see in kendo or karate. I'm sure that a skilled bojutsu practitioner and a skilled kenjutsu practitioner could get together and come up with some fantastic kata, but it would not be the same as sparring. I am also sure that the same individuals could probably put together a mock fight or a lengthy kata that might look like sparring, but still would not be the same as sparring.

With protective gear and a very light weight, flexy bo staff, sparring between a kendoka and a bo wielding opponent would be possible. There are videos of kendoka vs. naginata, where the kendoka wears shin pads.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--AwpKMGnbo

Not the same as classical kenjutsu vs. classical bojutsu, but probably as close as you'll find without people goofing off in the backyard.

If you want sparring, kendo is more likely than kenjutsu. But one of the problems that I have with the many "kendo vs. _____" videos is that generally, the quality of the kendo is relatively low, the quality of the "_______" is relatively low, or the quality of both are relatively low.

That isn't surprising, as quality practitioners are generally busy persuing their art rather than participating in versus matches with people of other arts.

While I don't think that the question is strange, it is one that likely not many people are asking. Also, from an historical perspective, the guys with swords were generally officers and the foot soldiers, armed with spears and such were fighting the foot soldiers and peasants armed with staves and sticks. Also, the katana, so far as I know, was not the samurai's primary weapon on the battlefield; they had spears and polearms too. The swords were used in closer combat fighting or in duels against other swordsmen.

While I'm sure that the staff versus sword scenario did happen, it was likely the exception rather than the rule. In such a fight, against a skilled bojutsu practitioner, a katana would be at a disadvantage in parrying full force blows, so timing and avoidance would likely be the primary tactics to be used. It certainly would not look like the Darth Maul and Quigon Jin fight.
 
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Chris Parker

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Hey, Daniel, good to see you again!

As has probably already been mentioned, most ryu of kenjutsu do not, to my knowledge, engage in free sparring like you see in kendo or karate. I'm sure that a skilled bojutsu practitioner and a skilled kenjutsu practitioner could get together and come up with some fantastic kata, but it would not be the same as sparring. I am also sure that the same individuals could probably put together a mock fight or a lengthy kata that might look like sparring, but still would not be the same as sparring.

Just as a clarification, some Ryu-ha do have forms of free-form training, ranging from set attacks and free responce to closer to Kendo-style actions, at differing levels depending on the system, but the core training device remains paired kata for the majority.

With protective gear and a very light weight, flexy bo staff, sparring between a kendoka and a bo wielding opponent would be possible. There are videos of kendoka vs. naginata, where the kendoka wears shin pads.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--AwpKMGnbo

Not the same as classical kenjutsu vs. classical bojutsu, but probably as close as you'll find without people goofing off in the backyard.

Yeah, the form of naginata there is Atarashii Naginata-do (essentially "new naginata do"), and is a modern form of competitive training, basically the same ideas as Kendo (Atarashii Naginata is to Koryu Naginata what Kendo is to Koryu Kenjutsu, for want of a better simile). Typically most practitioners of Atarashii Naginata are women, as Naginata in this form is taught to girls in a number of High Schools in Japan. The competitions between Kendo and Naginata rarely go the Kendoka's way...

If you want sparring, kendo is more likely than kenjutsu. But one of the problems that I have with the many "kendo vs. _____" videos is that generally, the quality of the kendo is relatively low, the quality of the "_______" is relatively low, or the quality of both are relatively low.

That isn't surprising, as quality practitioners are generally busy persuing their art rather than participating in versus matches with people of other arts.

Yep, agreed.

While I don't think that the question is strange, it is one that likely not many people are asking. Also, from an historical perspective, the guys with swords were generally officers and the foot soldiers, armed with spears and such were fighting the foot soldiers and peasants armed with staves and sticks. Also, the katana, so far as I know, was not the samurai's primary weapon on the battlefield; they had spears and polearms too. The swords were used in closer combat fighting or in duels against other swordsmen.

Actually, most would carry a sword (or short bladed weapon of some description, such as kodachi, uchigatana, yoroidoushi, or tachi itself), su yari (straight spears) were the most common weapon on the battlefield, regardless of rank, from the Sengoku Jidai onwards. Before that, naginata and yumi (bow) were more popular, with a very few preferring weapons such as nagamaki, kude, odachi, and a few others. In terms of sticks and staves, again that was more about circumstance than rank, with some systems having them for when a pole-arm may get broken, others for methods of combat to avoid bloodshed, and so on. In one case it was simply a preference of an individual for staff weapons that lead to an entire new system with a new weapon (Muso Gonnosuke and his development of the Jo, and Shinto Muso Ryu). As far as swords not being a primary weapon on a battlefield, yep. It'd be like a pistol being the main gun for a modern soldier, rather than a rifle.

While I'm sure that the staff versus sword scenario did happen, it was likely the exception rather than the rule. In such a fight, against a skilled bojutsu practitioner, a katana would be at a disadvantage in parrying full force blows, so timing and avoidance would likely be the primary tactics to be used. It certainly would not look like the Darth Maul and Quigon Jin fight.

A number of Ryu have ways of treating the wood for their staffs to make them hard enough to reputedly break an opponents sword. When it comes to techniques and strategies against staff, it was more to do with managing distance....

As an example, here is a clip of Tatsumi Ryu Heiho, a Sogo Bujutsu (composite system with a wide range of weapons and methods) which centres around it's swordsmanship (referred to overall as Tojutsu in this Ryu). As the sword is the primary weapon of this Ryu, it teaches methods and kata that have the sword "winning" against the other weaponry. The bojutsu awase (techniques against Bo) are found at 0:38-1:35

 
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