Did Musashi ever practice Iaido?

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ThuNder_FoOt

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I was just wondering if anyone knows of Musashi practicing Iaido. I know that there is some confusion as to its origination. As far as I've read, Musashi's battles started with his sword drawn. Can anyone give any clarification on this?
 

Yari

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I think arnisador is correct that iaido came later.

But this is an assumption based on that iaido is a "do" - art, and these "started" when peace was forced onto Japan. And I beleive that Muashi started his "fighting" just before this.

It's been a lonnnnnng time since I read about this, so there's a big chance that I'm wrong here.

/Yari
 
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RyuShiKan

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Musashi studied sword (which includes sword drawing) when he was younger. I can't remember the name of the teacher but I do remember reading that he received some instruction at some early stage of his life.
 

Yari

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I think I remeber He talked / got guidance from Takuan the monk... The same monk that wrote the book "The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master"

By the way it's a really good book!


Wouldn't what Musashi praticed be called more iaijitsu than iaido?

/Yari
 
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RyuShiKan

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Originally posted by Yari
I think I remeber He talked / got guidance from Takuan the monk... The same monk that wrote the book "The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master"

By the way it's a really good book!


Wouldn't what Musashi praticed be called more iaijitsu than iaido?

/Yari

Takuan was a monk that didn't practice sword. I am trying to remember who his sword instructor was.......seems it was an uncle or something like that........but I am not sure.

Takuan's book was excellent wasn't it.........there is another good book by John Stevens called Three Zen masters...Ikkyu, Hakuin, Ryokan
 

Yari

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Originally posted by RyuShiKan


Takuan's book was excellent wasn't it.........there is another good book by John Stevens called Three Zen masters...Ikkyu, Hakuin, Ryokan

Yeps, after reading the book the title is even better...

The other book, never heard about it. If I find it, it'll go direct to my whish list. On the other hand I just might buy it!


/Yari
 

Yari

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There's this popular written book on Musashi, written by a famous Japanese writer. Most of the stories are fictionous but good reading. Musashi gets credit for a lot of things. He's nearly a god in the book.

I believe that it's in this book he meets Bokuden. But if he really did meet him, I'm not sure. I don't own the book, so I can't check.

The book also states that Musashi used Bokken (tre-sword) a lot, throwing the adversary off by meeting up with it in hand (also by meeting up 2 -5 hours later than ageed).


/Yari
 
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ZenYuchia

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I just finished reading Musashi by Yoshikawa presumably the book you are refering to, I don't recall Musashi ever being formaly trained. The book talks alot about how his unorthodox style threw his opponents off guard. I recall a passage in which Musashi reffers to the mountains and forests as his teacher. Also Musashi does use a crude bokken carved out of an oar to defeat Sasaki Kojiro at the climax of the novel. Obviously Yoshikawa's book is fiction but im sure it has some bearing on reality in regards to Musashi's lack of substantial formal training.

PS. In the novel a reference is made to Musashi's father (Munesai?) being quite handy with a Jitte (or is it jutte?).
 

Charles Mahan

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Originally posted by arnisador
I think arnisador is correct that iaido came later.

But this is an assumption based on that iaido is a "do" - art, and these "started" when peace was forced onto Japan. And I beleive that Muashi started his "fighting" just before this.

It's been a lonnnnnng time since I read about this, so there's a big chance that I'm wrong here.

Actually no. Most of the various branches of Iai trace their lineage back to Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu. Iai is more than 450 years old. It was founded well before the Pax Tokugawa began. Besides this long period of peace was not all that peaceful. The last wartime use of my style(MJER) that I know of was during the Clam Gate War, when Oe Masamichi curent soke did quite well with it, and the samurai of the Tosa area trained in and used our system as their primary sword style.

And actually the whole do vs. jutsu thing is a silly misperception. MJER Iaido as practiced by the Seitokai under the Ikeda soke the 22nd leader of the style, is refered to as IaiDO signs it's rank certificates with IaiHEIHO and meets the classic definition of IaiJUTSU as it is frequently described online.
 

Yari

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Originally posted by Charles Mahan


And actually the whole do vs. jutsu thing is a silly misperception. MJER Iaido as practiced by the Seitokai under the Ikeda soke the 22nd leader of the style, is refered to as IaiDO signs it's rank certificates with IaiHEIHO and meets the classic definition of IaiJUTSU as it is frequently described online.


Please explain again, I'd dont really understand this.

/Yari
 

Charles Mahan

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Which part would you like explained? The part about "Do Vs. Jutsu" or the part about MJER using Do and Heiho and meeting the usual interpretation of jutsu?
 

Charles Mahan

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The Do Vs. Jutsu arguement has been argued over and over again online. Boiled down there are two camps.

Those in support of drawing a distinction between Do and Jutsu arts
Mostly this camp believes that there are two groups of arts. The Do arts are focused on spiritual development and as such they allow their combat oriented techniques to slip. After all martial training to this group is secondary to the real goal of spiritual enlightenment. This camp also believes that the real fighting arts fall into the camp of Jutsu arts. The Jutsu arts are primarily focused on combat effective technique and to heck with spiritual enlightenment.

Those who disagree with drawing a distinction between DO and Jutsu arts
Mostly this camp believes that there is no distinction. This camp will frequently point out that the Japanese use the terms pretty much interchangably. They will also frequently point out that dojo's who use the "do" suffix instead of the "jutsu" suffix and train without combative intent and let their combat oriented techniques slip, are practicing incorrectly. It isn't "do" it's just bad.

I've tried to outline the arguements as unbiasdly as possible. I fall firmly into the camp that thinks the distinction is silly. Yes there is a character building element in Iai, but it's not all that different than any other element of life. It comes from students wanting to emulate sensei with good character, not from anything necessarily inherent in the techniques of the system.

Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu is a good example of why the whole do vs. jutsu arguement is hogwash. MJER has splintered a number of times this century and there are now several distinct branches. I belong to the Seitokai branch which is led by Ikeda-soke, who is the 22nd leader of the style. The Seitokai branch is by far the largest branch with a membership numbering in excess of 10,000. MJER meets the definition of a "jutsu" art as described by those who argue for a distinction between do and jutsu. We train with combative intent and combat effectiveness as the core principles that guide training. There is no extensive meditation or goofy pseudo eastern philosphy lecutres. We learn to kill people with 30" long razor blades, while avoiding a similar fate. So according to the supporters of a distinction we meet the jutsu definition. Yet MJER refers to itself as Iaido most of the time. The MJER Seitokai is a member of the Zen Nippoin IaiDO Renmei. To confuse the matters even more, if you read my rank certificate which was issued by the Seitokai and signed by Ikeda soke you will note the name of the style is MJER Iaiheiho(heiho roughly translates to military matters). So MJER Iaido meets the classic definition of Iaijutsu but signs it's rank certificates with Iaiheiho.


Perhaps this will better explain what I was trying to get at above.
 

kenmpoka

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Originally posted by Charles Mahan
The Do Vs. Jutsu arguement has been argued over and over again online. Boiled down there are two camps.

Those in support of drawing a distinction between Do and Jutsu arts
Mostly this camp believes that there are two groups of arts. The Do arts are focused on spiritual development and as such they allow their combat oriented techniques to slip. After all martial training to this group is secondary to the real goal of spiritual enlightenment. This camp also believes that the real fighting arts fall into the camp of Jutsu arts. The Jutsu arts are primarily focused on combat effective technique and to heck with spiritual enlightenment.

Those who disagree with drawing a distinction between DO and Jutsu arts
Mostly this camp believes that there is no distinction. This camp will frequently point out that the Japanese use the terms pretty much interchangably. They will also frequently point out that dojo's who use the "do" suffix instead of the "jutsu" suffix and train without combative intent and let their combat oriented techniques slip, are practicing incorrectly. It isn't "do" it's just bad.

I've tried to outline the arguements as unbiasdly as possible. I fall firmly into the camp that thinks the distinction is silly. Yes there is a character building element in Iai, but it's not all that different than any other element of life. It comes from students wanting to emulate sensei with good character, not from anything necessarily inherent in the techniques of the system.

Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu is a good example of why the whole do vs. jutsu arguement is hogwash. MJER has splintered a number of times this century and there are now several distinct branches. I belong to the Seitokai branch which is led by Ikeda-soke, who is the 22nd leader of the style. The Seitokai branch is by far the largest branch with a membership numbering in excess of 10,000. MJER meets the definition of a "jutsu" art as described by those who argue for a distinction between do and jutsu. We train with combative intent and combat effectiveness as the core principles that guide training. There is no extensive meditation or goofy pseudo eastern philosphy lecutres. We learn to kill people with 30" long razor blades, while avoiding a similar fate. So according to the supporters of a distinction we meet the jutsu definition. Yet MJER refers to itself as Iaido most of the time. The MJER Seitokai is a member of the Zen Nippoin IaiDO Renmei. To confuse the matters even more, if you read my rank certificate which was issued by the Seitokai and signed by Ikeda soke you will note the name of the style is MJER Iaiheiho(heiho roughly translates to military matters). So MJER Iaido meets the classic definition of Iaijutsu but signs it's rank certificates with Iaiheiho.


Perhaps this will better explain what I was trying to get at above.
Great post and I agree with your thoughts about the silly distinction. Though I study Shinkendo, our certificate is issued under Nippon Shinken-Jutsu. There is nothing Do-ish about some good schools of swordsmanship or Martial Arts.

:asian:
 

Yari

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Originally posted by Charles Mahan


Perhaps this will better explain what I was trying to get at above.


Thank You !

I understand better what your talking about.

Typically I've belonged to the 1 group you mentioned, but havn't been aware about the second group.

/Yari
 

Charles Mahan

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You're quite welcome. The arguement that if an art uses the "do" suffix then it is obviously not combat oriented, is a pet peave of mine. Sorry I pelted the board with it.
 

Matt Stone

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Since there is some question about Musashi even having had formal training, I find it difficult to believe that he studied "iaido" or necessarily "iaijutsu" as they are understood either in a gendai or koryu context...

Please enlighten me.

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 

Charles Mahan

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I believe RyuShiKan is the only person to have claimed that Musashi studied Iai in this thread so I'd guess you'd need to ask him to clairify.


Originally posted by RyuShiKan
Musashi studied sword (which includes sword drawing) when he was younger. I can't remember the name of the teacher but I do remember reading that he received some instruction at some early stage of his life.

He does seem to be making the faulty assumption that all sword styles practice cutting from the draw. That's actually pretty much what seperates Iai(insert favorite suffix here) from Ken(insert favorite suffix here). Most Ken systems assume the blade is already drawn before the confrontation begins. This of course is where the Iai guys take advantage of them ;)

I don't think you can argue that because Musashi was a swordsmen he must have studied Iai.
 

Vulcan

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I don't think you can argue that because Musashi was a swordsmen he must have studied Iai.


Musashi was anything but orthodox, so you are correct.


He fought with two swords when everyone was tought to wield their swords two-handed, with a bokken vs. steel, and sometimes no sword at all, catching his opponent's blade with his bare hands. He even fought a duel once with a log, knowing that it would upset his opponent even more and throw him off.


His point was always to win. He was not interested in form for the sake of form.
 

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