kendo as an approach to stick fighting

jarrod

Senior Master
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,172
Reaction score
96
Location
Denver
i've heard some sword practitioners criticize kendo for not using techniques & tactics that would be practical with a live blade. but how does it apply as a stickfighting art? have many kendoka trained or sparred with shinai against stickfighting arts, especially FMA?

sometimes when i see a solid men strike, i picture what it would have looked like with an oak staff instead of bamboo *shudder*

jf
 

seasoned

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
11,251
Reaction score
1,228
Location
Lives in Texas
i've heard some sword practitioners criticize kendo for not using techniques & tactics that would be practical with a live blade. but how does it apply as a stickfighting art? have many kendoka trained or sparred with shinai against stickfighting arts, especially FMA?

sometimes when i see a solid men strike, i picture what it would have looked like with an oak staff instead of bamboo *shudder*

jf
Cross training at it's finest.
icon12.gif
 

Blindside

Grandmaster
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Messages
5,175
Reaction score
849
Location
Kennewick, WA
The following quote is pulled from here:
http://www.usadojo.com/biographies/eric-knaus.htm

Fortunately, I found out that under my very nose at work was a guy, Rod Kuratomi, who was at that time the top weapons practitioner of his school in Japanese Karate as taught by Master Kubota (I don't think the spelling is right but he's the guy who for years advertised in Black Belt showing him hitting the back of his hand with a hammer and his shins with a bat for tempering purposes - now that's nuts!). Rod's specialties were the tonfas and the shinai and he turned out the be at a similar point in his training as I was with mine - he wanted to go forward but had no one to do it with. Now at the time, the party line within the FMA Community was that the Japanese styles were too stiff and lacked the flow that the more nimble FMA's were known for. I remember hearing from several of my constituents, PT'ers included, that the staff, bo stick or the samurai sword was "really easy to fight. Gee, all you have to do is X block and hit the hands." And in the case of the tonfas, all you had to do was keep them at long range and take pot shots, or so it was believed. Conversely, according to Rod, the Japanese regarded anything that was not Japanese as inferior and easy to defeat, plain and simple. But he, as I, could not find anyone within his own group who could say that they had actually sparred/fought against a "foreign" weapon outside of their tribe.



Well, we started rediscovering territory for both our groups with each evening of fights we had. We found that the tonfa's were limited in range but could easily knock the wind out of you or break a rib, jaw or anything it hit IF it could survive bridging the gap. He used a very heavy set of tonfas (later I found out that they were of his own design and not standard issue) and consequently I used a matching stick. For the most part, the stick held serve due to it's offensive fire power - although the reality is, you will get very few pot shots in - and some adroit footwork. As a result of fighting this weapon I REALLY began to appreciate the side stepping drills that Tuhon Leo and Tom had taught me. The shinai and short staff, however, were a different story. Let me tell you, forget X-blocking for anything other than a last ditch effort to give you just enough time to get your *** out of the way of the next furious swing. I found myself cursing everyone within PT, FMA, JKD - you name it - for their audacity to think they could espouse the virtues - and supremacy - of the stick versus all weapons without ever having done so themselves. It was a real eye opener, one I recommend for anyone who wants to know the truth about their stick and their grit.



The moral of that episode was to not take anyone else's word for it but your own. It was clear to me that NO ONE in the various MA circles I was in - P.T. included - had come much closer than lip service (with the exception of Tom) when it came to knowing how to really deal with this type of movement and force. I have fought several other weapons since but the truth is , a long, sharp, pointed weapon in the hands of someone with good formal training is tough to beat - especially when it's longer, sharper and more pointed than the one you're using - no matter what magical style you, your cohorts or instructor(s) may practice. Yes, the stick(s) can do well against something like a shinai or longer weapon, but what everyone was missing was that you had to go against it to understand what the drills and the manongs who HAVE worked against it are trying to tell you.

It sort of speaks for itself.
 
OP
jarrod

jarrod

Senior Master
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,172
Reaction score
96
Location
Denver
great article, thanks! unfortunately, i have no expertise in any weapon, so i'm forced to go off second-hand stories.

jf
 

Blindside

Grandmaster
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Messages
5,175
Reaction score
849
Location
Kennewick, WA
One of the Dog Brother's videos was titled "stick vs. other weapons" and they gave alot of respect to the power of a bokken in stick matches. I recall it showing Eric Knauss getting his ribs cracked by a thrust. But to balance that out on another vid had a bokken user having to bow out because his hand had suffered multiple hits and he couldn't hold the bokken with both hands. In both cases the stick users were using two weapons.
 

arnisador

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
44,573
Reaction score
456
Location
Terre Haute, IN
It's a committed strike. If it hits...it hurts. But someone more mobile may have an advantage in an armour-less scenario.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
271
Location
Olney, Maryland
i've heard some sword practitioners criticize kendo for not using techniques & tactics that would be practical with a live blade. but how does it apply as a stickfighting art? have many kendoka trained or sparred with shinai against stickfighting arts, especially FMA?

sometimes when i see a solid men strike, i picture what it would have looked like with an oak staff instead of bamboo *shudder*

jf
I have never worked with stick arts, but I do use a jo staff as a walking stick. It is waxwood and is the same length as my shinai. If you want to mug me while I'm carrying it, bring a gun.

We've done some informal work using the very short shinai (used in nito and about the same length as an escrima stick) versus the full length shinai, and unless the guy with the short stick was really good and the guy with the long shinai was merely average, the guy with the short stick spent most of his time defending and getting beat on. The only guy in the class who could make it an even up match was a guy who'd trained in escrima.

Regarding the impractical techniques with a live blade, it really depends on how you train.

In competition, small, snapping attacks are popular because they are quick and thus can be more challenging to defend against (though not always, and not if everyone is doing the same thing), but you would not realistically use such attacks with a live blade.

They would work with a live blade, to the extent that they'd do injury to an unarmored opponent if you connect, but even light armour, such as thick leather and padding would likely negate any cutting effect of such an attack.

Personally, I tend to be a bit more traditional and go for that one, perfect strike, using the quick snapping attacks as feints to set up an opponent.

From what I have seen, the Korean teams seem to favor the quick snapping attacks over the larger attacks. Not as traditional, and not as "practical", but Korea did win the last WKC.

I guess that it really depends on how you view kendo.

If you view it in the idiom of modern sport fencing, then scoring the point is more important than trying to treat the weapon as if it were a real sword.

If you view it as budo, then scoring points just for competitions' sake is not a consideration.

Daniel
 

Brian R. VanCise

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 9, 2004
Messages
27,758
Reaction score
1,520
Location
Las Vegas, Nevada
When sparring full contact with tools with a disparity of size I have always enjoyed being the one with the long tool. Ie: three foot stick versus 26", four foot stick versus two 26" sticks, Shinai versus two 26" or 28" sticks or six foot/five foot versus three, or two 26" sticks. When I have been on the shorter end so to speak I have always tried to close the gap at the right moment and then take advantage of the shorter length. I think in the end you need to experience it!
 

Latest Discussions

Top