Iaido

Spinedoc

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Hi all,

In addition to the Aikikai Aikido I have been studying, I am starting the practice of Muso Shinden Ryu/Setei Iaido tomorrow (dojo teaches both). What should I expect? Is there anything I should ask or watch for?

Respectfully,

Mike
 

Ken Morgan

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Thank God, someone else practicing iai and Seitei too!!

1. Bring knee pads.
2, Everything you've seen in the movies about the Japanese Sword Arts, forget it all.
3. Listen to your Sensei.
4. Practice, practice, practice.
5. Listen to the Senior students.
6. It will take years/decades to get reasonably good at iai. I've been at it close to 16 years and i'm still a beginner.
7. It can be incredibly boring to watch, be prepared.
8. Everyone progresses at their own speed.
9. Practice, practice, practice.
 

pgsmith

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Hey Mike,
Welcome to the demented world of the Japanese sword arts!
Your experience in aikido will serve you well in iaido, in that the details are very important to doing things correctly. In many martial arts, technique depends on what feels more comfortable. However, both aikido and the Japanese sword arts do things aren't inherently natural, and so they don't feel comfortable in the beginning. There's a lot of overlap in movement between them also, in my experience.

Biggest word of advice is to go slowly. Too many people try to rush through the kata rather than going slowly enough to think of all the details. As I was told repeatedly ... "slow is smooth, and smooth is fast!" :)

And what Ken said! We were posting at the same time!
 

Chris Parker

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Hi all,

In addition to the Aikikai Aikido I have been studying, I am starting the practice of Muso Shinden Ryu/Setei Iaido tomorrow (dojo teaches both). What should I expect? Is there anything I should ask or watch for?

Respectfully,

Mike

Er, Seitei? Okay if you must hmph (that's just for Ken, you understand ha!)

First things first as Ken said KNEE PADS!!! This cannot be emphasised enough KNEE PADS!!! If you don't have any, get some KNEE PADS!!!

Okay, now that's out of the way, really, the most important thing is to simply pay attention to what you're told same as any new system being entered into. Be aware that there are differences to what you "know" sword to be right now that's fine even going from one sword system to another there are differences between what's "correct" and not

But really, Ken and Paul have covered it pretty well so, to end, just one more thing

KNEE PADS!!!!
 
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Spinedoc

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Wow. Had my first Iaido class and I am sore in areas I didn't know that I had.

Learned a lot, and can't wait for the next one.

I tend towards being stiff guy, and Aikido has dramatically increased my flexibility, except, in my achilles. Gonna have to really stretch them out. Also, I tend to lean forward a little, which has improved with Aikido, but still noticeable, and the Iaido Sensei was definitely commenting on my need to stretch out, and better posture.

Looks like some yoga in addition印OL
 

Ken Morgan

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Let me guess....
Your forearms hurt, your quads, your middle back, maybe your calves and perhaps your *** and shoulders?
That about right?
After a few years, the only things to hurt after a practice will be your middle back, your feet and your ego.
 
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Spinedoc

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Yes. It looks deceptively easy watching people do it, but it is much harder physically than it appears. LOL.
 

Ken Morgan

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Yes. It looks deceptively easy watching people do it, but it is much harder physically than it appears. LOL.

Watch an 80 year old 8th dan go onto the floor. Off the floor they move slowly, joints hurting, maybe shake a little, but put them on a wooden floor with a sword? It's like taking 50 years off these guys, they can still do amazing things.
 
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Spinedoc

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My achilles are killing me today, my back, my forearms, and my shoulders would still hurt, but my girlfriend spent 45 minutes rubbing them out last night. I think I like this art. LOL.
 

Ken Morgan

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When your middle back is the only thing that hurts the next day, you're doing it correctly.
I'm not there yet....
 

Shai Hulud

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I had a friend back home whose family migrated in from Japan. Her older sister did Iaido, and while it was interesting from a cultural and aesthetic POV, it was also terrifically boring watching her cycle through the same form over and over again sometimes for half an hour or more.
 

Ken Morgan

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30 minutes? You should try working on the same kata for 2 hours, and then repeat the next practice.
It's a journey that never ends.
 

pgsmith

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I had a friend back home whose family migrated in from Japan. Her older sister did Iaido, and while it was interesting from a cultural and aesthetic POV, it was also terrifically boring watching her cycle through the same form over and over again sometimes for half an hour or more.
As a senior iaido practitioner once told me ... "Watching someone else doing iaido is not quite like watching paint dry, it's more like watching dry paint!"

A lot more interesting if you're the one doing it though.
Ken Morgan said:
When your middle back is the only thing that hurts the next day, you're doing it correctly.
Knees! My knees ache terribly afterwards. However, I'm hoping to fix that with new ones this year!
 

Ken Morgan

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Touch wood, I've never had knee issues.
If I haven't practiced in a while, my back and forearms hurt. Once I've been training only my back hurts the next day.
Get that swing back, sink into the cuts, breath, and it all comes back!
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I like Ken have been blessed with never having knee issues. No knee pads needed for me.

In your practice Spinedoc pay attention to the "little" details as it will make all the difference in the world.
 

pgsmith

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I like Ken have been blessed with never having knee issues. No knee pads needed for me.

In your practice Spinedoc pay attention to the "little" details as it will make all the difference in the world.
The knee problems are due to too many years of volleyball, basketball, and racquetball. There's a reason that white guys can't jump, and there's a price to pay if you work too hard to get around that fact! :)

It's all about the "little" details. Whenever I think about that, it makes me remember watching Shimabukuro sensei warming up before an MJER seminar he was going to teach a number of years back. He was doing the first MJER kata "Mae" repeatedly. After about 15 minutes, he smiled at me and said that after several decades worth of practice, he was very close to getting that one right!
 

Ken Morgan

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The knee problems are due to too many years of volleyball, basketball, and racquetball. There's a reason that white guys can't jump, and there's a price to pay if you work too hard to get around that fact! :)

It's all about the "little" details. Whenever I think about that, it makes me remember watching Shimabukuro sensei warming up before an MJER seminar he was going to teach a number of years back. He was doing the first MJER kata "Mae" repeatedly. After about 15 minutes, he smiled at me and said that after several decades worth of practice, he was very close to getting that one right!

I've heard that one before about other senior sensei. They practice Mae for hours.
My sensei, and I agree with him, has always said, that everything you need in iaido can be found in Mae. During a grading, if you get Mae correct, they'll tend to look at others as they assume you have a clue.
 

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