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Thread: Takano/Nakayama's thoughts on Tameshigiri. (kenshi247.net)

  1. #1

    Takano/Nakayama's thoughts on Tameshigiri. (kenshi247.net)

    Here's something that forumites may be interested in:

    http://kenshi247.net/blog/2011/01/28...ous-swordsmen/

    Enjoy!
    George. Osaka, Japan.
    kenshi247.net | kendo-book.com | eikenkai.net
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  2. #2
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    thank you for posting this. I train in Nakamura Ryu, and the view from our style shows heavy influence of Nakayama Hakudo.

    VR,
    Dave
    Dave Drawdy
    "the artist formerly known as Sergeant Major"

  3. #3

    Shizan

    Thank you for posting this translation.
    Nakayama Sensei's view runs deep in many of us that practice and teach Toyama Ryu in the states and Japan.

    Much appreciated...
    BIG TONY
    Senpokan Dojo

  4. #4
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    Thoughts ...

    Sumemasen,

    I do not post very often on this or other Forums as my opinion often runs counter to many in the JSA. Additionally, it seems that those who have spent many years training (35 for me to date) tend to be put to task by relatively new students who feel the right to question anyone on the internet. However, when someone as revered as Nakayama Hakudo Sensei reveals his inner thoughts about anything related to the JSA all should pay close attention to what is written. I know, however, that a number of people will simply ignore him or change what is written to what they desire because it might run counter to their present reality. Yet, we are all practicing a Japanese art and should listen very closely to what one of the true modern masters of iai has said.

    To quote Nakayama Hakudo:

    "Tameshigiri is something that should be done after many long years of iai training, once one has reached a certain level of licensed proficiency (允許 - traditionally, this is the level of license typically required for a student to open their own dojo.)"

    At many events I watch many, many practitioners who have been training for not so many years focus their efforts on the results of their cutting rather than on iai. For that matter it some times seems that from my perspective (judging some of these events) that the need to cut tameshirgiri at a a 45-degree angle (which by the way is NOT kesagiri) has overwhelmed their iai. As a result the goza mat has become the essence of their iai.

    Cutting is not iai. Iai is the thrust and the cut and not being thrust into or cut. Cutting is the outward manifestation of one's iai, not the other way around. I feel that a large number of iaidoka and their instructors are focused on the wrong thing. For example, at the last tournament at which I judged one of the individuals who participated came to me and asked my opinion about his performance. I told him that I could see that he was not fighting anyone but was focused "on the mat." I suggested he see his opponent next time rather than dance. In the next round the quality of his iai, even though he lost the round, was substantially better because I could see that he was actually fighting someone. Another person approached me and I gave him somewhat the same answer with the same result.

    I strongly suggest that instructors reread what was written by Nakayama Hakudo Sensei at least a dozen times, particularly about focusing on technique and skill rather than angle and power. The latter comes from the former whereas no skill derives from the latter. If you decided to pay attention to Nakayama Hakudo Sensei then only those whom could open a dojo should practice tameshigiri. If you decide to pay attention to what was written then only those whom are of sufficient rank to open a dojo should practice cutting.

    At that same tournament I stopped all of the participants after the awards were given in one event and told them that they all needed to rethink what they were doing. When watching from the judging table I could see competitors thinking about their next kata rather than being focused on their enemy. There was a great deal of kiai (some believe the louder the better) and whistling cuts, yet there was little demonstration of an understanding of where they actually were which in my mind is in battle. I could have been at a dance competition. I told them that they needed to realize that they were entering a duel and should show the greatest respect to each other prior to entering their "field of battle" and upon leaving it. (The fact that I had to speak to higher ranking individuals about etiquette which should be a common occurrence for a match was most disturbing. It made me wonder about their instructors.) I further suggested that during their "performance" they should not do kata but see an opponent and defeat them. That is what they are supposedly doing, even if, as in iaido, the opponent is themselves.

    Again, all should read each word written in the article that is linked to this topic and take it to heart IF you want to truly understand iai. If you goal is to swing a blade and cut targets that don't cut back and are not moving please feel free to continue what you are doing. Just be aware of the fact that you are NOT practicing the iai of the samurai or anything close to it.

    Speaking only for myself and NOT for my tradition,

    Brian Stokes

  5. #5
    Brian,

    Thanks for your great post! Unfortunately the person who did this translation for the site (as well as other iai-orientated posts) came under personal criticism from iaido people outside of Japan for doing work like this (i.e. some people see it as rocking the boat or something) and he is therefore highly reticent to contribute anything of this nature again. The people that have criticised have failed to notice that this is not his own words, but Hakudo's.... so what they are actually complaining about is Hakudo's opinions. I think that when iaido people chose to disregard or ignore Hakudo then we have to consider deeply if the art has been transmitted properly or not.

    Typing this on an ipad in an airport so i will leave it there. Thanks for your comment!
    George. Osaka, Japan.
    kenshi247.net | kendo-book.com | eikenkai.net
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  6. #6
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    "Tameshigiri" and backyard cutting seem to be a popular sport these days. Even by people that ignore the basic safety procedures...

    Thanks for the great article!

    "I have heard of some people who cannot perform these kinds of tricks, cannot do tameshigiri as part of kata, and cannot even perform iai correctly, but act as though they are masters with forty or fifty years of hard training under their belts, and filled with pride, perform public exhibitions of so-called tameshigiri. What truly pathetic people, as ignorant as frogs in a well"
    Daring beyond power, risking against prudent advice and optimists in danger...
    Thucydides

  7. #7
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    Mr. Stokes,

    Thank you very much for your post.

    -Beth

    Beth's Buki
    Walk softly and carry a big stick.

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    Tameshigiri

    Wow!!!!!!Great Article....Thx for posting it!!!!!!!!Been a while since i ve been around and it seems there is always more to learn.....I completly enjoyed it!!Btw the video clip was also a sight to see!!!!Thanks Again..

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by George M. View Post
    Unfortunately the person who did this translation for the site (as well as other iai-orientated posts) came under personal criticism from iaido people outside of Japan for doing work like this (i.e. some people see it as rocking the boat or something) and he is therefore highly reticent to contribute anything of this nature again.
    George,
    It saddens me to hear this comment. I truly love reading the works of Kenshi on his site, and consider it a very valuable resource concerning this history, culture, and traditions of iaido and kendo.

    The people outside of Japan have very little access to some of the documentation and even people to interview that Kenshi has, and at least for myself, I welcome as much information as I can find about this art and the great people who founded and carry those traditions on.

    I really hope that public comment doesn't change anything about the content and quality of his site and the works that he translates and presents to us. I'm a regular subscriber, and can't express how valuable these writings are.

    The complainers may be the loudest, but also I think are the minority when it comes to this kind of thing. There are far more people who truly appreciate the work he does and the time he puts into his writing.

    Keep it up!!

    Bradley

  10. #10
    Bradley (et al) - thanks for the nice comments

    The contributor who I was talking about was just showing me a manual of collected iai densho/information last night (Eishin-ryu stuff I believe). There is only a single copy in all the libraries in the country it is that rare. I mentioned to him about translating it but he basically dismissed the idea as doing so would cause people to reasess some of their assumptions about iai and he would probably find himself under attack again.

    I myself have been criticised (again, from outside of Japan) for translating pieces on old kendo waza and for allowing Takano Sasaburo's waza descriptions to be posted on kenshi247.net. Go figure.

    Such is the state of things!!!!
    George. Osaka, Japan.
    kenshi247.net | kendo-book.com | eikenkai.net
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by George M. View Post
    Such is the state of things!!!!
    Indeed. The last serious piece I bothered writing ended up with a group of people online claiming that my piece was politically motivated and a hatchet job to try and make another art look bad and implied that I probably haven't trained in Japan much (if at all) and I don't have the qualifications to make the claims I was making. After that I pretty much couldn't be bothered to write anything else serious for "public consumption" anymore. Anything I feel needs sharing can be shared directly with the people who need to know.

    Rennis Buchner

  12. #12
    I believe that - once you get over the disbelievers - there is a sea of people waiting to learn and study more about their arts. When I was criticised for publishing Takano Sasaburo stuff, I laughed out loud!! I'm not stopping anytime soon.
    George. Osaka, Japan.
    kenshi247.net | kendo-book.com | eikenkai.net
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    Quote Originally Posted by George M. View Post
    I believe that - once you get over the disbelievers - there is a sea of people waiting to learn and study more about their arts. When I was criticised for publishing Takano Sasaburo stuff, I laughed out loud!! I'm not stopping anytime soon.
    thank you
    "Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio."
    Elbert Hubbard

    Nakamura Ryu Batto Do, Order of Seven Hearts

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    Quote Originally Posted by George M. View Post
    I myself have been criticised (again, from outside of Japan) for translating pieces on old kendo waza and for allowing Takano Sasaburo's waza descriptions to be posted on kenshi247.net. Go figure.
    This boggles my mind. It also reminds me that I need to stop being lazy and finish translating the section on kata.

  15. #15
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    My mind is boggled, as well. Why on earth did they criticize you?

  16. #16
    To Brian Stokes,

    "Tameshigiri is something that should be done after many long years of iai training, once one has reached a certain level of licensed proficiency (允許 - traditionally, this is the level of license typically required for a student to open their own dojo.)"

    To play the devil's advocate, what are you doing at the judging panel of a tameshigiri tournement if you are convinced of that quote from Nakayama Hakudo?

  17. #17
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    I judged iai, not tameshigiri. What is the purpose of your question?
    Dojocho
    Suio Ryu of Iai Kenpo(tm).
    www.suioryusandiego.org

    Schola San Marco(tm)
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    Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
    Swinging swords since 1972

  18. #18
    Seen and heard too many preachers who don't live their preachings. But, obviously, I was wrong.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Reyer View Post
    My mind is boggled, as well. Why on earth did they criticize you?
    Sorry for the late reply.

    Basically the person in question said that he did not want beginners trying to attempt the waza mentioned. I personally doubt that was the issue, rather it was because his students asked him about things that he did not know about and could not answer... and that dented his pride.

    The person in question is Japanese... born, raised, and trained. He also has a (kendo) grade that would be seen as instructor level abroad, but would still very much be mid-level here.
    George. Osaka, Japan.
    kenshi247.net | kendo-book.com | eikenkai.net
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  20. #20
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    Iwata sensei once told me that Yamamoto Takuji sensei would do four cuts, each gradually getting more shallow, along a tatami mat. he would then go back up the mat cutting to the same depth in the exact same places. Try it, its....interesting....

    I find it appalling that someone would have a rant at anyone who translated articles for the general iaido community. My advice to the author is to hell with them and keep up the good work. I have several books I would love to have translated, especially one by Mori Shigeki sensei, and until p.c.'s get clever enough to give me a good translation, I appreciate the efforts these people put in for us. keep up the good work!
    Chidokan

  21. #21
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    Thank you for some excellent reading material.
    I believe our study of iai and other arts include going in depth and think about what we do and why we do it.
    Media like these help to let us understand things but we shouldn't critise each other but help.
    I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu
    Literally: A frog in a well does not know the great sea
    Meaning: People are satisfied to judge things by their own narrow experience, never knowing of the wide world outside
    http://www.shinbukan.be

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