sword arts

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blackdeath

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what kind of sword arts are there. i would like to use a sword but i want to get into one i like so tring to do an overall survay of what i can do and will fit me.

thx to everyone who tells me somthing
 

Eldritch Knight

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That's difficult to determine without knowing what you're looking for. Eastern or Western sword art? How much time/effort/money would you be willing to put into it? Most importantly, what's available where you live?
 

Captain Harlock

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There are thousands of different swords, from many cultures. Which calls to you?

There is fencing using foil and rapier.
There is kendo using the bamboo shinai
There is kenjutsu and battojutsu, both combat arts with Iaido, the meditative brother.
There is English long sword, long and short, sword and shield, and many other european styles.
There are many family styles within the Japanese and Chinese sword arts as well.
Arabia has a unique style, hard to find real instruction in it outside that nation.
You can also examine Taiji sword, though you may find it easier if one has a solid Taiji background.

One warning. Do not attempt cutting with a budget sword. Most if not all the swords one finds under $200 are not made to survive contact, and will break. This can result in injury. As a friend of mine once said "Bud-K is not selling anything but wall hangers to decorate with. Combat blades are harder to come by."

Good luck.
 

Ralutin

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blackdeath said:
what kind of sword arts are there. i would like to use a sword but i want to get into one i like so tring to do an overall survay of what i can do and will fit me.

thx to everyone who tells me somthing

Hi,

If your profile is correct in stating that you're from Downey, California, there's a kendo and iaido dojo in nearby Norwalk:

Norwalk Kendo Dojo: http://www.eanet.com/sckf/dojo/norwalk.htm
Norwalk SCIA/SCKF Iaido Group: http://www.eanet.com/sckf/dojo/norwalki.htm

Click the links in my signature field below for more information on kendo and iaido within the SCKF, SCIA and AUSKF.

For a few other Japanese sword styles/schools in Southern California, you may visit this page: http://groups.msn.com/SCIA/otherswordschools.msnw

If you plan to visit any of these dojo mentioned above, please be sure to contact them first to confirm their practice schedules as classes tend to be cancelled during the holiday season.

I hope this helps.
 

Charles Mahan

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Captain Harlock said:
There is kenjutsu and battojutsu, both combat arts with Iaido, the meditative brother.

For some reason this myth lives on despite my best efforts. Iaido is not the "meditative brother" of Kenjutsu and Battojutsu. It is equivalent with Battojutsu. The two words mean the same thing. They are used interchangably in Japan. It is no less combative in nature than the other two. If your looking for a meditative art with no combat aspect, try kenbu (sword dancing). Sometimes Iai is performed in a kenbu manner, that is to say without combative intent, but that is not inherent within Iaido. It's just poor execution of waza.
 

Captain Harlock

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My limited exposure to Iaido was such that it seemed more focused on perfecting the draw, than actual combat applications. Given that my exposure has been in the US, I do accept that I may not have seen it correctly, and do appreciate the correction.

Thank you.
 

Charles Mahan

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Just out of curiosity, what did you think that draw was for? Perhaps to whip out your sword in a hurry for letter opening?
 

Bob Hubbard

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Well, Charles, up until the invention of firearms, the sword was the best way to open the male.

:rofl:

seriously, out of curiosity, I did a quick looksi at a few Iaido sites.
This is what I found (top couple hits)

What is Iaido?
Iaido is one of the Japanese traditional Budo concerned with drawing the blade and cutting in the same motion. (Budo means martial arts or military arts in Japan). A typical form consists of the draw and cut, a finishing cut, cleaning the blade and returning it to the scabbard, all without looking away from the imaginary opponent.

Most practice is solo, eventually with shin-ken (a real blade). In contrast with Kendo, Iaido is performed without protective coverings of any kind. Students must strive to achieve power, precision and perfection in their form. Along the way they learn balance, grace, and control both of the body and the mind.

Iaido dealt more with everyday situation rather than those on the battlefield. The term "Iai" is taken from the Japanese phrase: "Tsune ni ite, kyu ni awasu". The meaning of this is, whatever we may be doing or wherever we may be, we must always be prepared from any eventually.

The techniques themselves dealt with many situations such as a sudden attack by several opponents, a surprise attack while bowing to someone, an enemy lying in wait behind a sliding door or an attack in a darkened room. The permutations (suppositions) were countless.
http://www.kusastro.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~baba/iaido/

Iaido is the traditional Japanese martial art of drawing and cutting with the samurai sword. The purpose of Iaido is to develop awareness, centeredness, sincerity, a calm mind, and mental and physical harmony through the practice of traditional sword techniques. It is the Japanese martial art that is most closely associated with the samurai class and Japanese nobility. It is not considered a sport, but rather a unique and ancient traditional art for the development of mind, body, and spirit.
http://www.iaido.ca/

What is Iaido?

Iaido, in a nutshell, is the art of drawing and cutting in one movement with the Japanese sword, in reponse to an attack, then cleaning the blade and sheathing it. It is about winning from the sheathed sword, and is one of Japan's oldest koryu (old style) martial arts, with many different ryu (styles) surviving to this day. The lineage of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu goes back approximately 450 years to the founder Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu. Today as then the emphasis is on control and precision of the sword, but the goal is the control and precision of the mind of the practitioner, not the death of another. Practitioners spend years whittling away unnecessary motions to achieve direct and highly efficient action. Practice developes the practitioner physicaly and mentally by developing physical strength, especially in the legs and hips, as well as enhancing awareness, posture, poise, focus, calmness, and centeredness. The forms are deceptively easy looking,-- much of this art is subtle or "hidden". To the casual observer the kata seem simple and unadorned, and in general the more skillful the exponent the more boring it seems.
http://clear-lake-iaido.com/about-iaido.html

To me, these say 'draw, remove opponent, clean, sheath'. They don't say "duel" or "combat". In fact, these seem to indicate the 'perfection' and 'medatative' part more than the 'sword fighting' part. Considering my own interest in Japanese swordsmanship, clarification would be most appreciated.

:asian:
 

Charles Mahan

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As an instructor once told me at a seminar. Only the first cut is iai. All the subsequent cuts are kenjutsu. Iai at it's essence is the total domination of the first moment of combat. That doesn't mean there isn't any training for what happens after that first moment.

It is true that you would not wade onto the battlefield intending to wait in seiza for the first opponent you can draw and attack. It is however entirely true that you would wade, or more likely ride, into combat with your sword sheathed as the primary battlefield weapon of the samurai were bow and spear. The aspect that makes Iai different from non Iai version of kenjutsu is that we train with an emphasis on nukitsuke. That gives us an edge in smaller scale conflicts. Ie getting jumped by bandits on a city street. Being ambushed by a rival daimyo's minions. Getting the jump on a rival daimyo's minions. Etc. Small scale street to street kinda stuff. That's not to say that what we learn could not and was not used on a battlefield. It's just that the sword would not be your weapon of first resort on a battlefield. It's a sidearm not a battle rifle.

As for your quotes, I can't speak to the first one to much. I don't know the author of that. What that quote speaks to seems consistent with my understanding of Iai however. I suspect the part you think supports your arguement is this one: "Students must strive to achieve power, precision and perfection in their form. Along the way they learn balance, grace, and control both of the body and the mind." All those things are true, and utterly critical in a fight between two people with 30 inch razor blades. You absolutely need power, precision, balance, control of body and mind, and yes perfection of form. These are the things which combined with a little luck will get you out of a fight alive and hopefully without being crippled. Grace is another way of referring to what I would refer to as efficient movement. Very efficient movement appears graceful.

I have trained under Ted Davis-sensei, leader of the Canadian Iaido Association. I have also trained with a couple other instructors in the CIA. I can tell you that to a man on the mat, each of them emphasize the combat elements of Iai. That's the essence of Iai after all. The benefits listed in the quote from the CIA website are indeed benefits of Iai. They would be the benefits that most modern practitioners would be interested in and as such they are the ones listed on the site as part of a general "why train" kinda quote.

The quote from Clear Lake Iaido supports my position quite well actually. It should considering I am one of Egan-sensei's sempai. We both train under John Ray-sensei. Look at exactly what she is saying here:

"Practitioners spend years whittling away unnecessary motions to achieve direct and highly efficient action."

Well duh. Direct and highly efficient action is pretty essential when the other guy is trying to kill you and is pretty darn efficient himself.

"Today as then the emphasis is on control and precision of the sword, but the goal is the control and precision of the mind of the practitioner, not the death of another."

There is a core idea in Iai that more or less asserts that the best way to survive a sword fight is not to get into one in the first place. There are various ways to go about this, the Iai way involves developing a physical presence that makes it clear to those around you that you are prepared to do violence at a moments notice, but are wise enough to avoid it whenever possible. Self control is a big part of that. Know when to walk away, and know when turning to walk away will lead to you being attacked from behind If the Iaidoka determines that there is no way to avoid the fight through intimidation or any other means, he will strike first.

"Practice developes the practitioner physicaly and mentally by developing physical strength, especially in the legs and hips, as well as enhancing awareness, posture, poise, focus, calmness, and centeredness."

All of these are critical skills in a fight.

I think the last bit of the quote from Egan-sensei above is important to keep in mind when attempting to evaluate Iai.

"The forms are deceptively easy looking,-- much of this art is subtle or "hidden". To the casual observer the kata seem simple and unadorned, and in general the more skillful the exponent the more boring it seems. "

We are intentionally subtle. We don't want to telegraph anything to our opponents. It is also true that in general subtle is efficient and efficiency leads to flexibility and speed in combat. As a result, Iai is frequently simple looking and boring to watch. That doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on. In fact, it's a lot harder to look boring than you might think. We work very hard at it.
 

Saitama Steve

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Kendo

Kendo is a modern form of budo that has been made a sport. It involves a lot of suburi with repititions going into several hundred a lesson, keiko shiai and also kata geiko.

Keiko shiai is basically free practice against three designated targets; Men (head), Do (torso) and Kote (wrists). For shiai, practicioners wear hakama and uwagi and during shiai, wear practice armour, made out of bamboo and cotton with a straight practice sword made out of four strips of bamboo called a shinai.

For kata geiko, practicioners train in the ten standard kata from the Nippon Kendo renmei which are techniques taken from several different classical kenjutsu ryuha.


Iai

Iai is a form of kenjutsu that involves drawing the sword out of it's sheath and cutting in one motion. The basics in iai regardless of ryuha, are koiguchi kiri (releasing the weapon from the scabbard mouth), nukitsuke (drawing the blade out of the scabbard and cutting), kiritsuke (applying a finishing cut after the initial attack of the draw), chiburi or Chinugui (flicking or wiping blood off of the blade) and noto (resheathing the blade). Depending on the ryuha, iai can be done in tandoku (solo) or sotai (paired) style.

Regardless of ryuha, will have you practicing the basics as much as possible. Most iai styles start their students off with a bokuto or cheap iaito. When you become more skilled and experienced, you can then learn kumitachi (paired sword forms) using bokuto and maybe later on, a rebated steel sword.

Some styles of iai and battojutsu also do tameshigiri (test cutting) with live blades and permit junior students to cut, but only under STRICT supervision. After a few years and if your teacher believes you are ready, you then may be permitted to use a shinken in solo training.

Kenjutsu

Kenjutsu are all classical styles. Each ryuha is individual in mindset, execution of technique and in combative principle. Some ryuha even have different moral attitudes when confronting enemies this also applies to iai ryuha.

Most kenjutsu conduct training with bokuto where kamae, kiriwaza (cutting techniques) and basic paired exercises are taught first, followed by basic kata (omote kata). After a few years of training and practice, the more advanced forms are taught. Some kenjutsu ryuha also have iai and other disciplines such as naginata, yari, bo or even taijutsu in their syllabus.
 

Bob Hubbard

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Thank you Charles and Steve for the excellent posts :) Very much appreciated
 
OP
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Logan

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i need help, i'm an advancing shinai sparrer, and i'm pretty good, but this one guy can always beat me, i've had some tough battles against him and there is another guy, but we almost always end up in a draw, so i don't mind that, but his one guy is so fast and aggressive, it makes it tough to strike, he's very advanced compared to me but i can still fight him, but i want to win. he was a very sneaky attack which i've found a counter to, but he always manages to surprise me with a new twist to it, he's a very good fighter and a friend, but i really want to beat him. any advice?
 

kroh

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Has the originator (blackdeath) of this post had any luck finding anything about sword instruction in his/her area? And there is still the question of what area that is?


Just wondering?
Walt
 

Charles Mahan

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Logan said:
i need help, i'm an advancing shinai sparrer, and i'm pretty good, but this one guy can always beat me, i've had some tough battles against him and there is another guy, but we almost always end up in a draw, so i don't mind that, but his one guy is so fast and aggressive, it makes it tough to strike, he's very advanced compared to me but i can still fight him, but i want to win. he was a very sneaky attack which i've found a counter to, but he always manages to surprise me with a new twist to it, he's a very good fighter and a friend, but i really want to beat him. any advice?


There are some folks that I know of that have been training with Shinai for a couple hundred years or so in one form or another. I'm sure they might have some ideas that could help. Try looking up the British Kendo Association on google. They can probably point you towards Kendo oppurtunities in your area.
 

glad2bhere

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Dear "Black":

You haven't given us much to work with. How about a little help?

Is the focus of the swordwork you are interested more sport or art?

Do you need an art that will blend with the training you do now or can it be completely different?

Do you want a more modern take on sword, or are you interested in a more traditional approach to learning and technique?

Is this just a passing interest (maybe you saw a film or TV show and thought it would be neat to know) or are you looking for a long term committment (measured in years not months)?

We can talk about finding a class at the local YMCA, or locating a traditional school, but I think we need some direction from you about what you are looking for, yes?

Best Wishes,

Bruce
 

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