ZNKR Iaido

Ken Morgan

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A video showing all 12 kata of seitei iaido. I think i may be the only one here who practices this....or am i wrong about that?

 
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pgsmith

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I thought you were another MJER junkie. Didn't know you still practiced seitei.
 

Sukerkin

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We don't do Seitei, I have to confess. My sensei thinks the idea was good at heart (i.e. to have a kata set that everybody knows, regardless of school) but that the subsequent brouhaha about whether it's 'real' Iai has poisoned the broth, so to speak.
 
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Ken Morgan

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I practice Seitei iai and MJER iai..and MSR jodo and Seitei Jodo, and Niten, and a handful of other things that have slipped my mind right now!!

Suk seitei is just another set of kata, youd recognise and be proficient at most of them anyway. The whole koryu vs. Seitei argument is crap, all of it brought about by those that dont do seitei. If you want to be part of the ZNKR, you do seitei, if you dont want to be in the ZNKR, you dont practice seitei.

What are your senseis argument against it?

Know what the big secret about sword schools is? Itsall.the..same!!!!
 

Sanke

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Know what the big secret about sword schools is? Itsall.the..same!!!!

I don't entirely agree with that, gotta say.
I do agree that they the same in the sense that they all use a shiny sharp thing to cut other, less shiny things, but it's the attitude and mindset that really separates them (leaving aside the issue of technical differences)

I certainly don't think seitei is a lesser sword art, by any means (I've dabbled in it from time to time), but it's attitude just doesn't gel with me.

I know others that it does work for, and I have a lot of respect for them. I wouldn't hesitate to say that they are far better swordsman than I am.

But for me, personally, I prefer more koryu-based sword arts, which tend to have more of a cut-first-ask-questions-never attitude (not to say all koryu are like that), whereas seitei seems to have more focus on deterring the attacker from drawing in the first place (though I'll defer to you on that one)
 

Chris Parker

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I practice Seitei iai and MJER iai……..and MSR jodo and Seitei Jodo, and Niten, and a handful of other things that have slipped my mind right now!!

Suk seitei is just another set of kata, you’d recognise and be proficient at most of them anyway. The whole koryu vs. Seitei argument is crap, all of it brought about by those that don’t do seitei. If you want to be part of the ZNKR, you do seitei, if you don’t want to be in the ZNKR, you don’t practice seitei.

What are your sensei’s argument against it?

Know what the big secret about sword schools is? It’s…all….the…..same!!!!

Ha, Ken, my friend, we've been here before.... and you know my take on this!

While you (and Langenschwert) look for the similarities in these differing approaches to the sword, I tend to look for the differences that separate them. To me, it's the differences and unique approaches that makes the different systems worth learning about and studying, if they were truly all the same, then why so many Ryu-ha? As a result, to me, there's no such thing as "just another set of kata", each set is an expression of a unique approach.

I'm not sure what Suke's Sensei's arguments against Seitei are, but for me, it's too homogenised, the essence of a unique philosophical and tactical approach is lost, there are too many compromises for that very reason, I'm not a hundred per cent fond of the wearing position for the sword, and (admittedly this is a little hard to phrase, but I'll try), I train in sword systems for a specific mindset and "feel", and Seitei, by being, as a Seitei instructor said to me, "Iai formed by a committee", it just doesn't quite have that for me. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing it done well, and can see huge numbers of benefits from the approach of absolute technical perfection, ensuring every action is completely deliberate and idealised, but it just ain't for me.

Oh, by the way, didn't you mean "SMR Jodo"?
 

Aiki Lee

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So after checking wikipedia, i gather that seitei iaido is like some kind of standardized iai style that teaches the mecahnics of techniques from other schools?

And Chris, what do u not like about the way the sword is worn? As inexperienced as I am with swords I don't see how it is different from any other Japanese sword system.
 

Sukerkin

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Thanks for bumping this thread up. I meant to answer Ken before and it slipped my mind in the lateness of the hour {plus I'm pretty unwell at the moment and the pain and antibiotics are knocking me for six when it comes to mental acuity :(} :eek:.

I have never asked Sensei directly why we don't learn Seitei but he has, over the years, made it clear that he considers that it is the role of someone teaching koryu to keep his students as close as he can to the 'heart' of the art {:chuckles: that wasn't meant to rhyme :D}.

So I would say that why he doesn't teach it, as Chris said above, is precisely because it is a deliberately compromised form of Iai. Doesn't mean that is is bad in-and-of itself of course and I can see that I shall learn it one day, assuming that it does not go the way of Esperanto :D.
 

Langenschwert

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I practice Seitei iai and MJER iai……..and MSR jodo and Seitei Jodo, and Niten, and a handful of other things that have slipped my mind right now!!

Slacker! :)

Nice vid... who was that?

It is all the same, and it's all different. :)

@ Chris:

I do look for similarities, but also for differences. Depending on the situation, either can be more interesting. When I was first exposed to Niten, I enjoyed how closely it dovetailed with Liechtenauer's art in general principle, even if the handwork is quite different. Reading Go Rin No Sho reminds me a lot of Dobringer (which is a must-read, along with George Silver). So to me that was fascinating.

But the differences are neat as well, for example Liechtenauer vs. Fiore. Fiore studied under German masters, but his style doesn't seem very "German", even if it contains a lot of the same things. It has a different "feel" to it, and that's also very interesting to me.

The whole Koryu vs. Seitei thing doesn't really bother me much. I like Kim's take on that, actually.

and Ken, if you're ever in Calgary, drop on by and add some German longsword to your list. :)

Best regards,

-Mark
 

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This is written with tongue-in-cheek as an outside observer - so please take no offense.

There is a competitive & loud Japanese sport called KENDO – which na簿ve round-eyes believe translate as “Way of the Sword” in English. The more precise translation of the kanji should be read as “sadists and masochists”.

Back during the 1960s many of the Japanese Kendo Senior Sensei, who were also accomplished “old school” Iaido master of various traditional styles wanted to introduce a curriculum of study that would represent the key elements of the fundamentals aspects of Iaido study – the draw from the scabbard, the finishing cut, blocking with the sword, thrusting with the sword, striking an opponent with the sword hilt, kneeling and standing posture techniques etc.

The first seven techniques were formally adopted in 1967 and are also commonly known ZNKR Seitei (as in fundamental) Kata. In 1980 the next three techniques were added and in 2000 came number eleven and twelve. These techniques were derived, with modifications, from older sword style techniques. So right off the bat – the old adage that “a camel is nothing but a horse designed by a committee” came out from the critics’ mouths.

So across various nation states of this world, often located within higher educational facilities Kendo followers (kendōka) diligently practice & train KENDO. IF and it is “AN IF” the Kendo club members train in Iaido as a bonus feature so be it.

But as already posted the Seitei forms were meant to be a beginner’s “universal language” to introduce Iaido basics and to be used as a judging (exam) methodology. Only after the student showed sufficient proficiency during exams would he/she be allowed to eat at the adult Iaido table and get introduced to whatever old school style the local Kendo club teacher studied (e.g., MJER, MSR, Mugai Ryu and so on). In reality often the local Kendo club students trained only briefly with the Seitei set and advanced their study no further. So many students believed – erroneously - it to be a style onto itself.

As Sukerkin correctly noted the acceptance of Seitei with Iaido traditionalists is complicated - or to be more blunt “estranged” - like being married to Charlie Sheen. There (shockingly) are often organizational politics involved too – I know – a totally unknown concept in the American or British Martial Arts world. One problem since the ‘60s - often traditional iai style groups will adopt Seitei as an adjunct study into their curriculum (reconciliation phase) until the next “estrangement” phase with the ZNKR happens. That is why there is a lot of 95% Seitei forms being practiced by “Heathens” out there.
 
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Sukerkin

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There needs to be a button for "Thanks for that informative and humorous post! :D.
 
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Ken Morgan

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is precisely because it is a deliberately compromised form of Iai.

Suk.....what does that mean? Because it is 43 years old? Because it takes kata from koryu and tweaks them? The effort, focus and intent i put into my MJER, SMR :))) Jodo and my Niten, is the same I bring to the table with my Seitei. So how is my iai compromised? In that regard my seitei jo should be compromised as well.

Chris why are their so many differnet schools? Because everyone who had the least bit of talent in the JSA opened a school so they could make money and earn a reputation. How many football, rugby, soccer, hockey and cricket players open up schools to train the next generation, plus make some coin? The instructors of old had to earn a living too.


When i go through MJER I change slightly, physically, not mentally, how I do my kata as i progress through from Omori to Oku iai. I change it again in Seitei. Same with seitei jo and koryu jo. There are only so many targets, and so many ways to swing a sword.

If I ever get my *** out to Calgary again, after teh hot springs in Baniff, I'll meet you for some WSA Langenschwert.
 

Sukerkin

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Suk.....what does that mean?

I think you took the word "compromised" in it's negative form, mate. I didn't mean it like that. I didn't mean 'compromised' as in 'broken' but 'compromised' as in 'amended to meld the multifarious views of the contributors'.
 

Chris Parker

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Ha, agreed! You're almost doing as much as me, there, Ken, better step it up!

Nice vid... who was that?

Again agreed.

It is all the same, and it's all different. :)

And once more, agreed. It just depends on how you're approaching it, really.

@ Chris:

I do look for similarities, but also for differences. Depending on the situation, either can be more interesting. When I was first exposed to Niten, I enjoyed how closely it dovetailed with Liechtenauer's art in general principle, even if the handwork is quite different. Reading Go Rin No Sho reminds me a lot of Dobringer (which is a must-read, along with George Silver). So to me that was fascinating.

But the differences are neat as well, for example Liechtenauer vs. Fiore. Fiore studied under German masters, but his style doesn't seem very "German", even if it contains a lot of the same things. It has a different "feel" to it, and that's also very interesting to me.

I completely agree that there are definite similarities, and a lot of cross-over, but to me, in order to be an actual practitioner of a system, rather than a generic swordsman, means getting into the details of the individual systems themselves. As a result, the differences are everything to me, as the similarities are pretty clear from the outset. That said, you have given me a couple more things to look for for my bookshelf...

The whole Koryu vs. Seitei thing doesn't really bother me much. I like Kim's take on that, actually.

Again, it's in the personal approach to it all, I feel.

and Ken, if you're ever in Calgary, drop on by and add some German longsword to your list. :)

Best regards,

-Mark

And now you're just trying to make the rest of us jealous.....

So after checking wikipedia, i gather that seitei iaido is like some kind of standardized iai style that teaches the mecahnics of techniques from other schools?

Ah, Wiki, such a great and troubled source... I'd say yes and no. Yes in that is is a standardised form of Iai (that's really what Seitei means, after all - 制定 "system fix (in place)", or, as a compound as it is found here, "established", or "formalised"), but no in that I wouldn't say that it teaches the mechanics from other schools (by throwing them all in together randomly), it more teaches basic sword handling by utilising expressions of kata from a range of schools. It's a subtle difference, but it's there and it's important none-the-less.

And Chris, what do u not like about the way the sword is worn? As inexperienced as I am with swords I don't see how it is different from any other Japanese sword system.

Actually, each different system has it's own preference for how the sword is worn, the type of furniture and fittings that are preferred, and so on, as well as having it's own sense of grip, angling, distancing, and so on. The position for the sword in Seitei Iai, as it was never designed for actual usage against an opponent, but instead more to give Kendoka a sense of handling a real sword, certain changes were made to things like the position it is worn. Essentially, the Seitei position has the tsuba a little further across the body, positioned basically in front of the hara. This allows the draw to be done with a smaller movement of the hips, as the sword is already moved around more in line, but it removes the position in your obi to place a short sword or knife (tanto). A number of older systems actually perform Iai with a secondary blade in the obi, in some cases utilising the shorter weapon during the kata. By repositioning the sword in such a way, it removes the use of the sword from a combative application in it's outset.

Suk.....what does that mean? Because it is 43 years old? Because it takes kata from koryu and tweaks them? The effort, focus and intent i put into my MJER, SMR :))) Jodo and my Niten, is the same I bring to the table with my Seitei. So how is my iai compromised? In that regard my seitei jo should be compromised as well.
Again, not wanting to necessarily speak for Sukerkin (get well, by the way), I don't think that is entirely what he was getting at (it's certainly not what I was getting at, at least!). The compromise is not in your performance or study of Iai, it is in the methods themselves. One example is the position in the obi that I mentioned earlier, there are others as well. The level of focus, intent, and effort you put into each and every area of your training and study are certainly not doubted, nor I believe compromised in the slightest, and I truly hope you didn't actually think that we believed so.

As I said, I believe that Seitei Iai has a huge number of benefits, and is incredibly rewarding when trained seriously, but it's things like the adaptations to homogenise the various sources, and make it accessible to the Kendoka that it was aimed at that compromise it. It is compromised because it is removed from (combatively) practical approaches in favour of developing specific skill sets for a particular group. And that removal from those practical approaches are what keeps me out of it, honestly (again, if you were to perform something like Katori Iai kata in a Seitei form you would be told that you'd missed the point entirely.... and, honestly, vice versa. They are completely different environments and reasons for existing).

Chris why are their so many differnet schools? Because everyone who had the least bit of talent in the JSA opened a school so they could make money and earn a reputation. How many football, rugby, soccer, hockey and cricket players open up schools to train the next generation, plus make some coin? The instructors of old had to earn a living too.

You know, while I'm positive that there were some schools that certainly came about in that manner, I don't think it was all of them... or even the majority. Frankly, I think it was very much the minority, and the more lacking schools at that. Systems like Katori attribute their longevity to exactly the opposite, for instance. Yagyu Shinkage Ryu is really just named Shinkage Ryu, and was not a new system founded by Yagyu Munetoshi, it was just Shinkage Ryu taught by the Yagyu family. Other systems would limit the number of people taught, or refuse to expand outside of traditional areas. And a large number of other arts would only be considered a "new" system a generation or two down the line, the "founder" would just be teaching what they knew, and later generations would classify it as such.

When i go through MJER I change slightly, physically, not mentally, how I do my kata as i progress through from Omori to Oku iai. I change it again in Seitei. Same with seitei jo and koryu jo. There are only so many targets, and so many ways to swing a sword.

Ah, I think this is getting to the crux of our difference of opinion here, and I'll address it a bit in the "Can you learn from a book?" thread as well...

I'd say that you absolutely should be changing mentally from one to the others. In fact, I'd say it's more important than changing physically, to be honest. And the reason does really come down to, as you say, there are only so many targets, and so many ways to swing a sword. And, due in part at least to that, the actual physical kata and techniques are what I consider to be the least important of learning these systems. They are essential, definitely, but realistically it's what they represent that's the important part.

At present I am studying two separate Kenjutsu traditions, a Koryu Iai system, and then there's the stuff I teach (which, dominantly, is another 6 or 7 systems [depending on how you count them....], two of which contain further sword methods and approaches, as well as a range of other weapons, and a very large unarmed curriculum), and further study at seminars of another Koryu form (mostly it's weaponry aspects... so far I've trained in it's Iai methods, and I'm about to train in it's staff methods in two days time), and about another 15+ systems that I have the technical curriculum for (a range of them being related to, or other branches of systems that I study or teach), and a further 3 or 4 modern systems that I've trained in, and yet another 2 Koryu systems that I've been lucky enough to visit training sessions of and speak with the instructor about afterwards. So there's a fair few physical methods that I've encountered or that I routinely engage in. And what I've found, at the end of all that, is that looking at these systems as collections of physical actions is to miss what they're actually giving you. The physical methods or approaches of any system are an entrance to the thought patterns and beliefs of that system. The thoughts and beliefs shape the techniques, which is why they are the way to get into it, but the physical methods are not the art. The thought process and belief model is.

In order to truly "do" an art, you need to be entering into the thought process and belief system of the art in question, and if that doesn't change from one art to the next, then I'd suggest that you're more going through the motions, rather than actually doing the art. As a result, the physical changes should be a natural extension of a change in mentality, but the mentality should absolutely change from one art to another.

If I ever get my *** out to Calgary again, after teh hot springs in Baniff, I'll meet you for some WSA Langenschwert.

And there's that jealousy again.....
 

Namii

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A video showing all 12 kata of seitei iaido. I think i may be the only one here who practices this....or am i wrong about that?
I do this , ever since I went to the seminar last month Ive been doing these along with my other stuff. I enjoy it as its still new to me.
 

Langenschwert

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If I ever get my *** out to Calgary again, after teh hot springs in Baniff, I'll meet you for some WSA Langenschwert.

You should probably do it the other way around. :)

Last night's training consisted of:
  • Warmup (stretching, jumping jacks, etc)
  • Longsword basics (guard transitions)
  • Longsword technique (1st and 2nd Windings from the bind)
  • Circuit training (5 stations: jab cross hook combo, cut kicks, front kicks, sword cutting, jumping jacks)
  • Ground fighting
  • Longsword sparring (and one guy with bowie knife and tomahawk... American Niten, if you will!)
And then we went for beers. :)

If you come for our monthly "condidtioning" class, be prepared for hell. Takes some of us nearly a week to recover.

Best regards,

-Mark
 
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