Cutting a baseball in-flight

Todd

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This is the same guy at an embu taikai in Tokyo.

[yt]8KpQQo_6Wnw[/yt]

His baseball cutting was done on a Japanese TV show called "Best House 123" on the Fuji Television network. He'd done several other shows with them, but Fuji TV, like most Japanese networks, scours YouTube and demands their videos be taken down.

The baseball cutting one is currently still up.

[yt]9mJBUc74cBo[/yt]
 

Todd

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I found some of his Best House 123 stuff still up. Watch it while you can...

Cutting a tatami roll 8 times before it falls
[yt]fs9BRZHa7Ns[/yt]

Cuts a bb shot at him, various veggie slice & dice
[yt]yb9baMr9H5c[/yt]

This YouTube channel has some more stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/user/subeaki
 

Decker

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Whoa. Great respect for his skill.

I wonder, of all the factors that got him there, how much was hard work, how much was talent, and how much was luck, in finding the right instructor and so on.
 

pgsmith

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Yep, this guy has surfaced before. He's a big draw for the Japanese TV shows. He has good hasuji, but the things he does are basically parlor tricks specifically for entertainment and wow factor. Looks pretty cool, but too many people go "what wonderful sword skills he has" when his actual sword skills (the ones I've seen) are mediocre at best. There is a LOT more to the Japanese sword arts than simply cutting stuff, and total focus on a single point, as he displays, is considered a bad thing.

Entertaining, like watching Highlander or Last Samurai, but not really relevant to actual Japanese sword arts.
 

Tames D

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Yep, this guy has surfaced before. He's a big draw for the Japanese TV shows. He has good hasuji, but the things he does are basically parlor tricks specifically for entertainment and wow factor. Looks pretty cool, but too many people go "what wonderful sword skills he has" when his actual sword skills (the ones I've seen) are mediocre at best. There is a LOT more to the Japanese sword arts than simply cutting stuff, and total focus on a single point, as he displays, is considered a bad thing.

Entertaining, like watching Highlander or Last Samurai, but not really relevant to actual Japanese sword arts.

That's alright. I still enjoyed it.
 

Ken Morgan

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Yep, this guy has surfaced before. He's a big draw for the Japanese TV shows. He has good hasuji, but the things he does are basically parlor tricks specifically for entertainment and wow factor. Looks pretty cool, but too many people go "what wonderful sword skills he has" when his actual sword skills (the ones I've seen) are mediocre at best. There is a LOT more to the Japanese sword arts than simply cutting stuff, and total focus on a single point, as he displays, is considered a bad thing.

Entertaining, like watching Highlander or Last Samurai, but not really relevant to actual Japanese sword arts.

Hey Paul,
I'm being lazy, but what school does he practice? Video's?
I'm sure if I did a video like that with my sword I'd never make my next grading.
It's funny you see crap like taht all the time, but I guess the punters love it.
 
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Bruno@MT

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I am in no position to make judgements on his skill, but he does seem to know how to cut. The clean hit on the baseball looked good.

Although I have to admit that I have seen smoother and faster cutting on youtube. But again, I don't know enough to judge it.
 

Wey

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I am in no position to make judgements on his skill, but he does seem to know how to cut. The clean hit on the baseball looked good.

Although I have to admit that I have seen smoother and faster cutting on youtube. But again, I don't know enough to judge it.

I'm with Bruno. Theres no doubt that he has skill, you can't take that away from him. It was without a doubt intriguing to watch.
 

Sukerkin

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Like Mr. Smith noted, it's a parlour trick. I'd ask viewers not to confuse 'flash' with actual skill in Japanese swordsmanship.

I have no desire to 'diss' the man and am not seeking to do so but I do have a desire for people to not be mistaken about what it is they are seeing.

It's a cool vid regardless.
 

jks9199

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Like Mr. Smith noted, it's a parlour trick. I'd ask viewers not to confuse 'flash' with actual skill in Japanese swordsmanship.

I have no desire to 'diss' the man and am not seeking to do so but I do have a desire for people to not be mistaken about what it is they are seeing.

It's a cool vid regardless.
Perhaps you and some of the other JSA practitioners could educate us...

What should we be looking for if we're seeing a demonstration or performance of a Japanese sword art?
 

lklawson

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Like Mr. Smith noted, it's a parlour trick. I'd ask viewers not to confuse 'flash' with actual skill in Japanese swordsmanship.
There are 3 or 5 major reasons why a person test cuts. "Entertainment" is one of them. "Demonstrating Personal Skill to Spectators" is another. Though the two are closely related and often the same, they are not by definition always the same. Entertainment depends on what the Spectator finds entertaining.

This is where a lot of people get tripped up on martial arts in general, not just test cutting. Look at the rise of the XMA. Chrome plated, toothpick weight Bo staffs and areal backflips are sure entertaining to watch, but does it equate to real "fight'n chops" skill with a Bo or is it, instead, martial themed gymnastics? And are "traditional" Bo kata, with a "proper size" Bo more entertaining to people who are (for whatever reason) bugged by "martial themed gymnastics?"

Same thing goes for test cutting. The spectator should pause to ask himself, "exactly what skill is being demonstrated?" and then appreciate that demonstration in its proper context.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Ken Morgan

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It seems everyone who has taken six months of karate, and buys a sword at the local mall, has watched the seven samurai is suddenly a JSA expert.

You tube is full of these guys. They cut cucumbers off of people with iaitos just because it looks cool. They can do as they wish, whatever, but please do not call what you do JSA, because it is not.

The guy in the video, certainly has some talent, but honestly, hes playing baseball with a sword, the momentum of the ball, hitting the sword will always cut it in half. It demonstrates more of a baseball skill then JSA skill IMHO.

The video TODD posted with the same guy at an embu taikai is somewhat better. He is doing some kata I do not recognize, and some from MJER that I do. He is confusing speed with skill. There are so many concepts he is missing in his kata, speed is practiced in very few kata, none of the ones he demonstrated should have any speed in them. I have my grading this Saturday, if I do my koryu kata as this man did? Sensei would walk up to me in the middle of the grading and crack me in the head for being so stupid.

Speed is not synonymous with skill.
 

Sukerkin

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Perhaps you and some of the other JSA practitioners could educate us...

What should we be looking for if we're seeing a demonstration or performance of a Japanese sword art?


That's an impossible 'ask' in a text based forum, jks, even for a singular circumstance like tameshagiri. I could describe things until the cows came home and it wouldn't really help.

You want strong cuts with no backswing, crisp tenouchi and blade arc; good control of cutting depth and width with level shoulders, correctly angled hips, upright posture and proper focus. Cuts should not come in angled by swinging out to the side but by twisting the tsuka with the right hand - the left hand should travel straight up-and-down, it is the curve of the blade that gives you an angled cut. Likewise, the hips/shoulders should not 'lean' into the cut; the power comes from correct execution leading to high 'tip-speed' in the blade (more like a whip than an axe).

I could post up a load of videos as exemplars of good or bad technique (I'd be hard pressed to find any showing good technique, however) but that would be largely style specific and I'm not sure how helpful it would be.

Swordsmanship is a complex art and an awful lot of what is going on is hidden from the eye, just as in any martial art. You have to be trained to at least some extent to understand what it is you are looking for, let alone actually see it.

I know that sounds awfully elitest and not all that helpful ... it is, there's no getting around it.
 
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Bruno@MT

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Like Mr. Smith noted, it's a parlour trick. I'd ask viewers not to confuse 'flash' with actual skill in Japanese swordsmanship.
.

I know it's a parlour trick. But contrary to many of the XMA guys and other youtube celebs, this guy has the skill and the coordination to draw his sword in a short time, following the right arc to intersect with the ball, and without overcompensating with his body. So at least it's a parlour trick done right.

It's like the sharpness trick with a razor that is so sharp that if you hold it edge up and let a hair fall on it, the hair will split. This is usually a sign of a very sharp edge, but if you know what you are doing you can achieve the same result with something that is horribly dull.

Of course, that doesn't make it any less awesome to watch, even though those in the know understand that it doesn't mean anything. :)
 

jks9199

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That's an impossible 'ask' in a text based forum, jks, even for a singular circumstance like tameshagiri. I could describe things until the cows came home and it wouldn't really help.
...
I know that sounds awfully elitest and not all that helpful ... it is, there's no getting around it.
You actually posted quite a lot there, that makes sense... If you can define one word for me! What is "tenouchi"?

A lot of the points make sense to anyone with some martial arts or sword background. The sword arts I'm personally familiar with aren't as technical as most of the Japanese arts, so some of the principles don't transfer... but a lot are similar, if achieved in a different way.
 

Sukerkin

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"Tenouchi" is essentially how and when pressure and grip is applied to the tsuka duing a cut. It's one of the fundamentals underpinning much of swordwork.
 
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