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blankslate
1/08/2004 6:47am,
http://www.indystar.com/articles/7/108746-9447-047.html

'Last Samurai'? Don't bet on it


Barnby Kirshner, a first-degree black belt, practices his samurai martial-arts maneuvers. -- Sherri Barber / Gannett News Service


By Kelli Lackett
The (Fort Collins) Coloradoan
January 6, 2004


Step into the Akumu-ryu Bujutsu Remmei training center, or "dojo," and you get the sense that you are stepping back in history.

The students, dressed in black, fight each other with weapons that range from the somewhat outdated (knives) to the downright archaic (bamboo swords). Students generally use the bamboo swords to safely practice swordsmanship. But just ask the advanced students, and they'll show you their exquisite live-blade swords.

If there is something anachronistic about this place in Fort Collins, Colo., it is by design. The dojo, with a name that translates as "Nightmare Art Warrior Tradition," is a training center for samurai warrior arts. Samurais were a warrior class in power in Japan from approximately 1185 to 1868.

Samurais were trained in anywhere from 18 to 34 disciplines including "kenjutsu" (swordsmanship) "jujutsu" (grappling with a minimum use of weapons), "ninjutsu" (camouflage and deception), "tantojutsu" (knife-fighting), "wajutsu" (the art of harmony) and "bojutsu" (staff art). Collectively these warrior arts are known as "bujutsu."

The disciplines rely on similar principles, says Randall Brown, "soke" or headmaster of the center, which is recognized by masters in Japan and Okinawa.

"Empty-handed techniques are basically the same as those with weapons," Brown, 48, says. "In the bujutsu system, you learn a whole system of body movement and body knowledge."

"Pure physical fighting has not changed much over the years," adds John Hertlein, 39, who is second in the hierarchy succession to Brown and does much of the teaching of lower-level students. "The artistic expression has changed. (The arts) all have the same roots, just different flowers. You have to understand the roots, and that's what we do here."

The integrated nature of bujutsu is a selling point for many of the students at Akumu-kai, the short name for the dojo.

Brown, who had participated in a number of martial arts over the years -- including tae kwon do, kenpo, and hwa rang do -- began samurai training when he traveled to Japan to study ninjutsu, the study of camouflage and deception.

"That tied me into the samurai arts. I realized they were 10 times the warriors that the ninja was. Ninjutsu was just a small part of what they do," Brown says. "I wanted a system I knew would work. . . . People lived and died creating this system."

One key difference between bujutsu and more modern martial arts is that students of bujutsu generally do not compete.

"It's a combination of traditional and practical warrior arts as opposed to sport. Instead of being about winning, it's about surviving," says Robin Scoville, 35, a second-degree black belt at the dojo. "They've passed down the art of survival. It wouldn't be here if they didn't survive."

When he started training 28 years ago, Brown felt as if modern martial arts had softened through the emphasis on sporting.

"They've lost the point of why people train," Brown says. "The black belt has lost its meaning."

Bujutsu can be scary, Brown says, because it is a martial-arts system Westerners are not used to seeing.

But the skills are taught slowly in a systematic manner, he says.

Bujutsu and the samurai code of honor are featured in the film "The Last Samurai," starring Tom Cruise.

Ronin
1/08/2004 8:37am,
[

The students, dressed in black, fight each other with weapons that range from the somewhat outdated (knives) to the downright archaic (bamboo swords). Students generally use the bamboo swords to safely practice swordsmanship. But just ask the advanced students, and they'll show you their exquisite live-blade swords.

Bujutsu and the samurai code of honor are featured in the film "The Last Samurai," starring Tom Cruise. [/B][/QUOTE]

Bamboo swords ( shinai) are NOT archaic !!!!!

I will say this, after training with Bokuto ( bokken if you prefer), the hardwood swords that are SUPPOSE to be used in kenjutsu training, when I spar with someone who is "unarmed"... well lets just say that I am less concerned when I spar.

blankslate
1/08/2004 10:00am,
These guys sound serious. I am very interested.

Ronin
1/08/2004 10:07am,
Traditional bujutsu training is a serious thing and when you get to the point of handling a "live Blade", that is where the fun begins.

Justme
1/08/2004 11:23am,
Ronin... not flaming or being silly, but have you ever come close to cutting yourself or actually got cut training with a live blade?

DANINJA
1/08/2004 11:32am,
there is an old quote for knife fighting:


"When two men fight with knives prepare two graves but if there is a winner you may find him in hospital"

Ronin
1/08/2004 11:34am,
Originally posted by Justme
Ronin... not flaming or being silly, but have you ever come close to cutting yourself or actually got cut training with a live blade?

I sliced my finger one time return the sword to its scabbard because I was distracted.
I was cut a few times in "live blade" knife training.
I was nicked in the military once, because some dick wanted to make a stupid point about knife fighting.

blankslate
1/09/2004 11:55am,
I guess these guys are a menace when armed....how would they do unarmed against a typical streetfighter? Is that a trick question?

How is the knife "somewhat outdated" by the way?

PizDoff
1/09/2004 2:03pm,
Because Helio invented chi blasts.

blankslate
1/09/2004 2:06pm,
BUDO BLAST!!! whew...excuse me.

katana
1/20/2004 3:08pm,
Originally posted by blankslate
One key difference between bujutsu and more modern martial arts is that students of bujutsu generally do not compete.

[/B]

This is not true at all. Duels in fuedal Japan were common among practitioners. Perhaps not the competition they are thinking about, but competition none-the-less. If you don't compete you aren't training well enough. I'd like to see these people use their sword skills against a good kendo practitioner or fencing artist who spars hard with Shinai, foils, pads, and in competition. They'd get their rear ends handed to them.


Originally posted by blankslate

"It's a combination of traditional and practical warrior arts as opposed to sport. Instead of being about winning, it's about surviving," says Robin Scoville, 35, a second-degree black belt at the dojo. "They've passed down the art of survival. It wouldn't be here if they didn't survive."

[/B]

Another common misconception from people who practice traditional systems but don't spar with them at full speed. They ridicule "sport" systems as inferior when in fact sport practitioners develop the attributes of good fighters in a much more realistic way.



Originally posted by blankslate

When he started training 28 years ago, Brown felt as if modern martial arts had softened through the emphasis on sporting.

[/B]

Go to a Judo, Boxing, Muay Thai or BJJ school and see how soft they are.


Originally posted by blankslate

"They've lost the point of why people train," Brown says. "The black belt has lost its meaning."

[/B]

No. They regained it once again from people who ruined the techniques by not using them at full speed. These people are the ones who allowed potentially effective systems to whither and become weak.


Originally posted by blankslate

Bujutsu can be scary, Brown says, because it is a martial-arts system Westerners are not used to seeing.

But the skills are taught slowly in a systematic manner, he says.

Bujutsu and the samurai code of honor are featured in the film "The Last Samurai," starring Tom Cruise. [/B]

There are real people doing weapons training that do it for sport reasons and do it realistically. Check out the Dog Brothers, Kendo schools, or any system that uses full-speed fast sparring with real hits. That is how you learn to use weapons. It's not doing kata in the air all day that does it.

Ronin
1/20/2004 3:11pm,
I would not include Kendo.
The shinai is NOT that dangerous.

katana
1/20/2004 3:16pm,
Originally posted by ronin69
I would not include Kendo.
The shinai is NOT that dangerous.

I'd agree. I've been hit many times with one and they hurt like hell but probably wouldn't kill you. However I think a Kendo person who is handed a bokken or real sword would destroy a person who doesn't spar at all with them in full-speed competition (like this article alludes to). It's the judo principle of practice hard with non-maiming techniques so when you need to use them you can go all out and know they work.

That's why I think a Kendo person is a much better sword fighter than people who play with swords all day but don't actually hit people with them.

Ronin
1/20/2004 3:31pm,
well...
I don't know about that, the shinai is NOT a sword, not even close and I am not sure how much kendo translates to kenjutsu, very little in my opinion.
Test cutting is more important than most people realise.
I would give the edge to a kenjutsu practitioner who tests cuts.

katana
1/20/2004 3:48pm,
Originally posted by ronin69

well...
I don't know about that, the shinai is NOT a sword, not even close and I am not sure how much kendo translates to kenjutsu, very little in my opinion.
Test cutting is more important than most people realise.
I would give the edge to a kenjutsu practitioner who tests cuts.

Fair enough. The shinai is much lighter than a bokken and (especially) a real sword. I still think the live full speed practice would allow them to adapt quickly. I worked out with someone who studied Kendo and their swordplay and tactics were excellent. Much better than I've seen with other people who don't practice hitting people. I'd like to find a group that did sparring with bokken. I think that would be a good compromise versus using a real sword. :)

Ronin
1/20/2004 3:52pm,
Sparring with a bokken ( bokuto) is pretty dangerous in terms of "free sparring" so it is mostly done as pre-arranged sparring.