Sipalki Jumeog Bi Kwan: Weapon's Exhibition

Chris Parker

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Hmm… as you've put this in the "General Weapons Discussion" forum, as opposed the Weapons Videos one, was there something you wished to discuss about it? I have a number of things I could say, but I'll hold off until I hear what your intentions are...
 

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I want to hear what do you think about it

Okay… I just want to reiterate that you requested my opinion… and that it is just that, my opinion.

We've covered before that this group is presenting something that doesn't match what is commonly known/referred to as "Sibpalki/sipalki/sib palgi" etc in any way, shape, or form… and appears to be something invented by a Korean ex-patriate to South America with little to no basis whatsoever… particularly in regard to the arts it claims to be representative of, or that it took the name of.

With regard to the video, sad to say, I have little positive to say other than they seem to be enjoying themselves, and have a good degree of fitness and co-ordination… but, to me, martial arts training, particularly weaponry training, has very different criteria when it comes to whether something is "good" or not… and this is not. I'm going to skip over the unarmed portion at the beginning (which you may be grateful for…), and go to the weapons usage, as that's the point of this forum.

The weaponry starts at about 1:20 with some staff work… largely, it's some slightly odd take on Ryukyu kihon work, with the guy on the left being a bit closer to actual usage, and the guy on the right doing god-knows-what, over-extending, losing control of the weapon (by holding it at the end, and weakly "thrusting" [well, prodding, more to the point] at some imagined opponent), with little combative basis, power, focus, or structure. Not good.

I know I said I wasn't going to look to the unarmed too much, but the next section shows a potential reason for the issues seen… it's pretty obvious that the performers are made up of different levels of experience, with much of them appearing very new… which could explain some of the other problems. Of course, the methods are rather odd as well… kicking with absolutely no guard at all, for example… but we'll leave that for now. Back to the weaponry…

2:31 takes us to some knife work… with noticeably different mechanics to the rest of the system shown… and suffering badly from what someone I know describes as the "whippersnapper of death!"… multiple, low-effect strikes applied to an opponent who basically just stands there. Ineffective, unrealistic, and rather pointless, frankly.

2:59 and we get a look at some nunchaku methods (in a supposed Korean system?). The first two demonstrators are showing some basic swinging methods (not particularly well), with little connection between the body and weapon… but that could, as mentioned, simply be due to being fairly new to the system itself. 3:17 shows someone with a fair bit more confidence with the weapons, swinging two around at the same time… look, he's certainly worked on his skills… but it's a lot of flash with little to recommend it. It's honestly just a step or two below the XMA demonstrations… little combative value found… but hey, it looked fun.

This is followed by some "sparring" between two nunchaku practitioners… which belies the lack of understanding of the weapon. Nunchaku vs nunchaku is really only found in things like chanbara-sports… no combative value at all. Nunchaku are designed to nullify other weapons, not to go against each other… as is seen in the example, with neither competitor having much tactical grasp beyond "swing it and hope it hits something!". There's no defensive understanding, and the usage is completely ineffective.

3:55. Sword. Right… They should put the damn things away before they hurt themselves, or someone else. Thankfully, they looked to be using iaito (blunted metal blades made of zinc and aluminium, which would bend if they hit something with force), but the movie-style actions, poor mechanics, lack of cutting ability, postural concerns, dangerous noto, and bad drawing means that, well, it's pretty obvious that whoever taught them never learnt how to use a sword themselves. The paired work is just as bad, honestly.

5:14… bullwhips? Hmm… okay… again, this is meant to be a Korean art? Look, again, it looks fancy… but the credibility and usability is highly questionable. And the two whip sparring? What the hell? As far as the nunchaku vs whip (if that's what it is… a bit hard to be sure)… when I said nunchaku are meant to be used against other weapons, that's not what I meant… additionally, the lack of awareness of the environment (watch the students ducking for cover when it's back to two whips) is frankly deplorable.

Honestly, if I was present at this demonstration, I would have walked away… and would never recommend having anything to do with them. It's obvious to me that the system is made up of invented fantasy, with no legitimate basis for pretty much anything throughout the entire art. I do note, though, that the you-tube clip is not a public one… there's a note which says "This video is unlisted. Please be considerate and think twice before sharing". Did you have permission to open this school up to such critique? Especially as the entire clip tells me they don't have any idea what they're doing…
 
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Aurinegro04

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Thanks for your opinion.
Since you show great knowledge about the use of weapons, could you show videos where we can appreciate the correct use of them?
 

Chris Parker

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It's not quite that simple… as the person who introduced me to one of my systems said, there's no single "right" way, but there sure are plenty of "wrong" ways!

What I'm saying is that, as you gain experience, ideally you begin to be able to sort out the difference between "good" and "well, that would get you killed" by being more aware of the combative realities and essential, incontrovertible truths of armed (and unarmed) combative methods.

That said, perhaps I can provide some examples of some systems that can be used as a comparative study. The forum only allows 5 embedded videos per post, so this'll be over a couple, if that's alright.

We'll start with Bo.

A good example of Ryukyu Bojutsu (Okinawan Staff work) You may note that Ryukyu Bo, as with much of Ryukyu work, the forms (kata) are typically done solo… and that the Okinawan form of Bo tends to hold the staff in the centre third, shortening the range, but allowing quick switching between using both ends of the weapon.

A little more unusual, this is a series of kumi-bo paired application forms for bo. Again, note the usage of the staff in Okinawan forms.

Moving onto the Japanese forms, this is the Edo line of Yagyu Shingan Ryu. Note that in Japanese arts, kata are typically performed with two partners, one "attacking", one "defending". Note also that Nippon (Japanese) Bojutsu tends more towards using the length of the weapon, and often featuring a fair amount of sliding of the hands, or sliding the staff between them.

Chikubujima Ryu. Japanese Bo is often done against sword, or can be done against another bo (as in the Yagyu Shingan Ryu clip above), or any of a number of other weapons (Naginata in Toda-ha Buko Ryu, for example), depending on the context of the ryu itself.

Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu. Shinto Ryu's approach to Bo is a bit different than many other Japanese systems (the Chikubujima Ryu clip above would be about as "typical" as can be expected), in that, rather than sliding the staff during the strikes, Shinto Ryu employs a grip on the last third of the weapon, swinging the other end for maximum power. Honestly, though, this is just indulgent of me… a clip of Draeger Sensei as Uchikomi for Omote no Bo? Awesome!

We'll keep going in a bit… when I get back home later tonight.
 

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(Before I start with the next one, a small correction… Draeger Sensei is taking the role of Ukedachi, not Uchikomi… fingers not typing the right letters… damn)

The next weapon on the clip is knife… which suffers, as I said, from what is sometimes called "the whippersnipper (or weed-whacker) of death", due to the large amount of movement around a stationary target. The best systems to look to here are the FMA ones, and my personal go-to guy is Michael Janich, who has a very down-to-earth approach to the weapon, and combat in general.

Showing Janich's emphasis on biometric cutting.

His approach to reverse-grip knife combat.

But, of course, knife combative methods are highly culturally dependent… and, while Filipino methods have been highly influenced by the prevalence of knives and other bladed weapons used there, other cultures also have knife work… which can be similar, or quite different. For example, South Africa has developed a number of methods, similar in many ways to the FMA approaches, while classical Japanese systems take a very different course of action.

Among the Japanese methods, probably the most associated with knife usage is Takenouchi Ryu, a system based around kogusoku, or "small arms", referring to the short sword/large knife used in their combative methods (this gets into their origin stories and more, but isn't that important right now).

Takenouchi Ryu Kogusoku, as well as a number of their other weaponry and unarmed methods. The kogusoku begins at just after the 3 minute mark.

Okay, the next selection will look at nunchaku. This weapon is pretty much exclusively found in Ryukyu Kobudo systems legitimately, and movies and fake systems less legitimately… we'll focus on the kobudo forms.

As you can see, in actual usage of nunchaku, the flashy swinging around your body is pretty much non-existent… and the majority of usage is with both ends held.
 

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From there, we get to the sword methods… and, again, there are many, many approaches this can take. I'm going to focus on Japanese sword here, for two main reasons… one, it's what I'm most familiar with, and two, it's what the clip in the OP is aping. Of course, even limiting myself that far doesn't make it any easier to demonstrate "good"… after all, we then still have Iai methods, Batto methods, Kenjutsu methods, Kendo methods, and more… some systems focused on armoured combat, some unarmoured, some have both in different parts of their syllabus… most commonly, it's sword against sword, but some systems feature sword against other weapons as well… and so on.

However, as I said, there are many "right" ways to do things, and some definite "wrong" ways… so I'm going to try to demonstrate both the range of methods, as well as highlight the incontrovertible realities that are required. We'll start with Iai (sword drawing), as that's how the clip above starts as well.

A decent look at the Seitei Iaido (ZNKR) forms, the "modern", formalised Iaido set. A bit faster than usual, if anything, but not too bad. You will notice that actual usage of the sword is a fair bit more restrained and refined than that shown in your clip in the OP.

This is an interesting clip, as it shows a number of senior practitioners of Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido, all performing the same kata (Ryuto - "flowing sword")… and, while they are all doing the same kata, you can see differences in each practitioners performance (in timing, angling, and more).

Shinmuso Hayashizaki Ryu. Both an unusual and highly important system when it comes to Iai, the name "Hayashizaki" refers to the claimed originator of Iai, Hayashizaki Shigenobu Jinsuke. It is this form that gave rise to Muso Shinden Ryu, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu (Eishin is an alternate pronunciation of Hidenobu, the 7th headmaster of Hayashizaki's system). This approach to Iai is unusual in that the kata are performed paired, with mismatching weapons, rather than the far more common solo practice.

Sekiguchi Ryu, a system who focus on very close-quarters drawing methods.

Suio Ryu are also very interesting in the structure of their Iai syllabus… in that each kata is done solo, but also acts as a "call and response" to another, allowing them to be trained and performed as two sides of an encounter.
 

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Then, to take a look at kenjutsu (methods with the sword drawn), again, there are many approaches. I'm going to show a couple of the most well known here, which will also include the usage of other weapons at times.

Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu again, showing their Iai methods, Kenjutsu (Tachijutsu) methods, Kodachi, Ryoto (two swords), Bojutsu, and Naginata. In all areas, the opposing weapon is a sword (although not in all areas of the ryu itself…). As you can see, the kata of this ryu are significantly longer and more involved than most.

Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, the system of Musashi Miyamoto, possibly Japan's most famous swordsman. Much more typical, the kata tend towards short, powerful responses. This ryu is particularly famous for its two sword methods (Nito Seiho), but it's actually made up of larger sections of single sword (Itto/Tachi Seiho) and short sword (Kodachi Seiho), as well as sections on Bo, Jutte, and Jujutsu (Yawara).

Yagyu Shinkage Ryu is a very famous system in Japan, being one of two official systems of the Tokugawa Shoguns, the other being Ono-ha Itto Ryu. Yagyu Shinkage Ryu is a school centred on finesse, and tactical understanding over power and speed.

Kashima Shinryu is, like Katori Shinto Ryu, a sogo bujutsu… meaning it applies the usage of a number of weapons and combative methodologies, rather than being dominantly focused on one only. Also, like Katori Shinto Ryu, it is centred (politically, and geographically) on one of the two most important Shinto Shrines, well springs of Japanese martial arts… in this case, the Kashima Jingu (with Katori Shinto Ryu being centred at Katori Jingu). Kashima Shinryu's approach to sword couples the idea with their jujutsu methodology, ending in what is sometimes referred to as a Kumitachi Kenden approach (close quarters grappling with swords).

Also centred on the Kashima Jingu, Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage Ryu focuses on some rather unusual methods, specifically their short sword work and footwork. They also have a high emphasis on conditioning, as seen in the tanrenbo methods at the beginning of this clip.

This is, realistically, a very limited look at swordsmanship… but you can see some universal "truths" to the usage of this weapon. Swordsmanship is all about refinement… doing no more than is necessary to strike your opponent without giving away an opportunity to be struck yourself. Contrast this with the clip in the OP, where the swords are swung around, over cutting, overly muscled, with posture that leaves the practitioner overbalanced and open to counter cuts, and more, all shows the issues within the clip itself, and the training practices there.

I'm not putting anything up about combative bullwhip, because, well… huh? I know one guy who does use a bullwhip a fair bit (he's a Takeuchi Ryu practitioner, for the record), but for him, that's more about being a fan of Indiana Jones than anything else… but that does highlight one of the biggest issues here… this group seems to want to fill in everything they can, and reaches to try to take from any area, regardless of whether or not it fits with the existing system, and regardless of whether or not the people putting it together have any actual basis, education, or understanding whatsoever.
 
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