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  1. hl1978 is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2006 12:22pm


     Style: Aunkai

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by rokutanda
    Yes - that short clip was the only drill we ever did in class, so it must suck.

    I would actually recommend other kendo schools to people who want to learn that style in NYC, as it's not Rico's strength, but I still believe his iaido is strong. I think that actually checking out a school's classes or demos in person is a better way to judge the quality of instruction than googling info and gossip online.

    Not sure what kind of association Mr. Guy has with James Benson, but I don't think that would have any influence on his own teaching methods.

    I'm not trying to defend everything Mr. Guy does (I left his school years ago), but I don't think one should so easily pass judgement never having seen one of his classes. You seem to indicate that shinkendo is a more reputable style,
    but I personally went to check out a class to see if it was something I'd want
    to take up.

    Here are my observations:

    In Mr. Guy's iaido class, the bokken is treated as a live blade - when it is "sheathed" in the hakama/belt, your thumb is always kept on the tsuka as
    with a shinken, in order to prevent the sword from falling out of the scabbard.

    When you draw the bokken, as with a real sword you twist your left hand,
    push the tsuka to release the blade, pull back your left hand and draw.

    When holding the sword in the standard two hand grip (I'm don't
    remember all the Japanese terminology), you leave at least one finger's
    space between the right hand (top) thumb and the tsuka and both wrists
    are turned slightly in in order to protect them from exposure to an opponent's
    sword.

    We were taught to parry the opponents blade with the flat of the sword,
    not the edge/blade, at an angle.

    When "sheathing" the bokken, perform the same motions as you would when
    putting back a shinken.

    I saw NONE of this at the shinkendo school. Students (green belts, even)
    just treating the bokken like, well, a wooden toy. If they were given a live
    blade right then and there, I could picture many fingers on the floor. Parrying was done with whatever surface happened to be there meeting the opponent's sword at the time, most oftenly the edge itself, and right thumbs were all right up rubbing against the tsuka.

    Grant you, I have not seen the shinkendo students handling live blades and do
    not know if they're taught the details only once they do, but to me it makes
    more sense to prevent bad habits (even when doing partnered bokken drills which might not be performed with shinken) from the start. Even after learning the "proper" way with bokken, I still managed to cut myself every once in a while after I moved on to a live blade.

    I never advanced past a beginner's stage in iaido, so I'm not qualified to adequately judge a school, but I think that details such as the ones I mentioned must count toward something in rating quality of instruction.

    With regards to your comments regarding Bokken use, that is pretty much the same way of doing things as when I used a bokken, the only difference being we never put the bokken in ones hakama/obi. However, I have seen people use bokken with saya.

    Did you use a live blade (shinken) or an iaito (unsharpened metal sword)? You can still cut yourself with the point of an iaito, but the rest of the blade is no sharper than a butter knife. Usually, you don't touch a live blade for a long time in iaido (fairly high up in the dan rankings), simply because it is easy to hurt yourself while doing noto (sheathing).

    Anyways if anyone is looking for documented Iaido in NYC, Hooper Sensei, who is rokudan in muso jikiden eishin ryu teaches at ken zen, and Kato Sensei, nanadan in muso shinden ryu teaches at shidogakuin. I have trained with both and they are excellent teachers. Both are highly ranked kendoka as well.

    It doesnt matter too much which iaido style you choose between MJER and MSR as testing is conducted by a panel of judges coming from both backgrounds. There are stylistic differences, but everyone learns the ZNKR seitei katas first anyways.
  2. rokutanda is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2006 12:31pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Having further thought about iaido and Shinkendo, I would even be bold enough to state that Shinkendoka could also learn from iaido: for example if Shinkendo kata were practiced with iaito rather than with rounded bokuto, the chiburi and noto portions of the kata would be more clearly understood by Shinkendoka. In other words, there is fertile ground for open-minded students of both disciplines to learn from each other.
    Maybe this paragraph from Deborah's report might explain a bit of my misgivings about shinkendo.

    I've met Deborah and Phil a few times before, attended a naginata seminar with them years back. They're great folk and very educated about iaido and the sword arts, and I would tend to hold in high regard their professional opinion about something like this. The Modern Samurai school is supposedly an Obata-endorsed academy, although he does not teach there himself except maybe for an occasional seminar.
  3. rokutanda is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2006 1:07pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by hl1978
    Did you use a live blade (shinken) or an iaito (unsharpened metal sword)? You can still cut yourself with the point of an iaito, but the rest of the blade is no sharper than a butter knife. Usually, you don't touch a live blade for a long time in iaido (fairly high up in the dan rankings), simply because it is easy to hurt yourself while doing noto (sheathing).
    We used bokken until yellow belt (1 year), then moved on to live blade if the instructor though we were ready - I couldn't afford a shinken, so I purchased a steel iaiyo from Nosyuiaido - it was a sharpened steel blade. I had originally purchased an iaito, but sensei wanted us to go straight to the real thing. It's my understanding that iaito are a relatively new phenomenon, but sensei taught a bit more old school.
  4. NeilG is online now
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    Posted On:
    7/07/2006 1:30pm


     Style: Kendo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Iaito are a post-ww2 thing. The smiths after ww2 were restricted to making only 2 shinken per month, so for the growing iaido community shinken rapidly got expensive and hard to find. Iaito are a cheaper, safer alternative. Also the lighter weight reduces repetitive strain injury.

    Affordable quality sharp swords like your Steel Iaito are an even more modern phenomenon than iaito. They have really only been available in the last few years, less than a decade.
  5. rokutanda is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2006 1:38pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by NeilG
    Iaito are a post-ww2 thing. The smiths after ww2 were restricted to making only 2 shinken per month, so for the growing iaido community shinken rapidly got expensive and hard to find. Iaito are a cheaper, safer alternative. Also the lighter weight reduces repetitive strain injury.

    Affordable quality sharp swords like your Steel Iaito are an even more modern phenomenon than iaito. They have really only been available in the last few years, less than a decade.
    Yes - steel iaiyo (don't know if that's the correct spelling - I'm just using what was on Nosyuiaido's site) are a new thing. What I meant really was that we moved straight to a sharp steel blade as opposed to dull iaito. To my understanding, shinken are "real" swords forged by a certified Japanese blacksmith, and can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

    The students in my class used less expensive swords from Nosyuiado or Bugei, which weren't technically "shinken" but are still made for cutting and iaido practice.
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