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Thread: Koryu Ken vs. Iaido

  1. #126
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    B5?
    hmmmm..........me thinks I luv thee.
    But Vorlon?
    Me?
    I'd consider that perhaps you were dealing with something more along the lines of a techno-mage; looks like magic and hard to figure out, confuses the average pedestrian........ But in the end it is all pragamatic and is in fact...pedestrian.

    This is of course to differentiate from other things that appear magical....... looks like smoke and mirrors but in the end is in fact just that; all smoke and mirors.

    Now, Charles this is a playful joke.......j-o-k-e.

    Cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 01-29-2004 at 08:15 AM.

  2. #127
    After reading all 6 pages of this thread in one sitting, my head hurts. I think a round of Mojitos all around is what's called for. Seriously though, it's great to be able to see things so thoroughly hashed out by folks with such strong opinions.

    Do vs. jutsu, anyone? (he says, as he ducks and runs out of the room)
    Regards,
    Doug

    "Take arrows in your forehead, but never in your back."
    - Samurai maxim

  3. #128
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    Do vs Jutsu indeed....(mumble I, while pulling the ankle high rope taut as Doug passes through the doorway)

    Regards (Chuckling and standing over your prone form)
    Scott Irey,
    Just another "few peanuts short of a snickers bar" MJER guy

  4. #129
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    After reading all 6 pages of this thread in one sitting, my head hurts. I think a round of Mojitos all around is what's called for. Seriously though, it's great to be able to see things so thoroughly hashed out by folks with such strong opinions.

    Do vs. jutsu, anyone? (he says, as he ducks and runs out of the room)

    *********************

    Actually I just reread the whole thing myself and I have seen little that was responsive. I have read four responses from those in Koryu "outside of Iai" who have stated:
    1. They see Iai as different.
    2. Each of those has stated that they have talked with others in Koryu who have the same view.
    3. One has stated that he has spoken with High ranking teachers in Koryu Iai itself who themselves have some strong opinions about Iai as practiced today.

    When questioned further we at least attempted to outline some of what we see as differences.


    I sat here and asked myself If I was a newbie and read this "Just what are they saying?"
    The question was "Is there a difference and what is it.
    There are numerous interviews of those in senior positions in Koryu who state quite clearly that there are differences as viewed. There are resource materials to be offered in books By Ellis and the Skosses who have written and included interviews of the "view" from those in Koryu outside of Iai.
    There is one _VERY_narrow list of people who can answer that.
    Truthfully they are the only opinions that can address it as they are the ones _in_ Koryu outside of Iai. who can discuss what they see.

    Other than to discount everything everyone else says -no one in Iai has offered anything in return.

    Funny, I had no opinions of these arts going in as I loved it all, searched for it, had my own experiences and when I asked and found such a strong consensus and agreement from every single Koryu person I talked with from the first one in 1989 to the current ones. I LISTENED! Why? They went before me. Most recently I commented to one person; a Menkyo in two Koryu, senior in several other arts, and ranked in Iai "You know that is a VERY unpopular opinion." I have just now reflected on his answer.

    "I won't talk on these boards or comment for this simple reason. I have spent half my life in Budo-in Japan. I have been in Budo with the teachers of their teachers longer then most of these people have been alive, I am not going to "debate" anything with them as they have little to say on the subject. I'll leave them to their own opinions for whatever they think their worth."

    Here, just presently that hit me. I looked inside and realized I have sat and talked with those who's opinions on this issue are the opinions that directly answer the question; "Is it seen as different, and is it different."


    Twenty years from now the personal choice of who you chose to listen to will bring you to a place.
    What you end up with sure as hell will be different depending on your source.
    I am asking none of you....not one..... to answer anything. We each had and chose our sources. I have answered it for myself.
    If their opinion doesn't matter, than who's does?

    The answer is deeper than what we will read here.
    See ya
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 01-30-2004 at 09:07 AM.

  5. #130

    Hi kids...

    I have this crazy idea that most arguments are actually based more on parties defining their terms differently than actually disagreeing about the topic at hand. In other words, if people would define their terms succinctly and then use them consistently, we would find that we are more often in agreement than not. I must confess to using more than a few "debate tricks" in my, er, conversations on the internet. These tricks typically consist of using consistant terminology and the rules of logic. Why? Because growing up the Jesuits who were attempting to edumacate me burned their rules of dialectic into my poor little brain. I too just read through this whole thing (except when my eyes glazed over breifly). I'll offer the disclaimer that I don't study any koryu and never have so everything I say can be easily dismissed as the musings of an outsider. (See how friendly I am, I even offer up the rebuttal to my own arguements before I present them!)

    So here are my (most likely unwanted at this point) observations.

    Dan, it's logically impossible to state "Iai is koryu" and then later "[koryu practitioners] see Iai as different." If Iai is koryu, then we can substitute it into the above sentence. Thus reading "Iai practitioners see Iai as different [implying from iai]." That statement makes no sense. Some terminology that was presented to you earlier in this thread was the distinction of Koryu Sogo Bugei vs. koryu Iai. From reading through your posts, this seems (again as a total outsider) to be what you are actually driving at. I don't think you would find anyone here who would disagree or take offence to this statement. Since you have chosen to continue using the term "koryu" by itself, this logically leaves us with very few options. Since you are literally contradicting yourself, we are forced to guess your true meaning. This guess can go two primary ways:

    1) Iai is not koryu, therefore it is distinct and can be discussed as a separate entity to legitimate koryu.
    or
    2) When Dan says koryu he means koryu sogo bugei, therefore it is logically different from koryu iai a specific subset, much like a school of koryu naginata or koryu jujutsu would be likewise distinct from koryu sogo bugei.

    So why do people keep arguing (or in this case, why do I care enough to post in a thread that's already 6 pages long)?

    If we assume 1) then it's pretty obvious why people would choose to take issue with that assertion. If we assume 2), then because you choose to use the term koryu when referring to koryu sogo bugei, to me it implies 1). The fact that when you think of koryu sogo bugei you type koryu (period) to me implies that you feel that less "complete" arts are not really koryu.

    I'm not trying to put words in your mouth here, but I am trying to state what I read as your argument in my own words. If I can't state your opinion in my own words in a way that you agree with, then I must not understand your opinion.

    All for now.
    Christian Moses
    Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
    Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club

  6. #131

    Re: Hi kids...

    Originally posted by christianmoses
    Dan, it's logically impossible to state "Iai is koryu" and then later "[koryu practitioners] see Iai as different." If Iai is koryu, then we can substitute it into the above sentence.
    Sorry, can't let that one go.

    All dogs are mammals.

    That does not mean all mammals are the same... (dogs, cats, humans, cows, ...).

    Logically your argument only works if you consider the statement "iai is koryu" as an strict equality. Which is clearly not what anyone is saying since there are obviously non-iai things that are koryu. Iai is properly (logically) considered a subset of koryu arts and I don't think anyone is arguing that since some styles have verifiable lineages to a time that makes them "koryu". However, I think the argument that side is making is that some koryu arts (a different subset since some seem to lump other non-iai koryu arts into the "doesn't feel like other koryu arts") have a broader focus. And that some koryu arts are more "true" in a sense to the training and "ideals" that were necessary back when these things were truly relevant in the sense of being necessary to stay alive as a bushi. At least that's my take on the argument. The point really is that koryu is a simple definition and being "koryu" doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as what was done 300 years ago even within styles that go back 300 years. Or that what they're doing wouldn't keep them alive in the "real" world of 300 years ago.

    Using the example of the art you study, its like saying "aikido is a gendai art" then saying it is that it therefore is not different from other gendai arts. Of course it is. There are many gendai arts that differ tremendously (BJJ, Judo, Kendo, etc.). It being "gendai" is almost a trivial issue. The "nature" of it *as* a gendai art is however a lot more complex...

    Essentially what it boils down to is different flavors *within* the designation. Sure, they're all koryu. But the argument isn't that they're not koryu, but really what some people think a more comprehensive koryu art *should* really be like because of it being koryu...
    Last edited by Keith Larman; 02-01-2004 at 08:42 PM.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  7. #132
    And by the way, I study and teach aikido myself. And I've heard people refer to Aikido as "martial arts light" a la bud light. And I find that funny because there is certainly that feeling in some styles, instructors, students, whatever. But like today, as I came home and popped on 2 ice packs and popped some celebrex, some of us take it quite seriously and push it pretty darned hard. So in that "way" of thinking about it, not all Aikido is the same. Some have very strong feelings about how Aikido *should* be done. And how it *should* be taught. On one level it *is* all the same, however. The techniques, ideals, etc. tend to be quite constant. That doesn't however mean that everyone or every style is equally effective. Nor that every style "priorizes" everything the same either. So it is a similar issue to what is going on here. I've gone to seminars and worked with people (some from within my style) that I sat back and though "wow, that's just plain silly." But that's my particular point of view on it and intelligent folk will differ on some of these issues.

    But its all Aikido, ya? How each person defines "good" aikido is another issue entirely... And some think its all crap. And others think its all great. And some fellas think they can shoot ki out their hind ends and levitate... It takes all kinds...
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  8. #133

    good point

    Keith excellent point. The nature of the terminology is maddening. Let's look at it this way.

    Statement 1) Iai is Koryu.
    Statement 2) Koryu practitioners view Iai as different from Koryu.

    So what is it? This is the gist of my earlier post. To use your examples:

    Dogs are mammals.
    Dogs are different from other mammals, but they ARE mammals. To say that they are different from mammals is an absurd statement. Their existence helps define what it is to be a mammal and vice verca.

    To use the Aikido analogy:
    Aikido is a gendai art.
    Aikido is different from gendai arts?
    No, it is a gendai art. It is different and distinct from OTHER gendai arts, but it is not different from the CONCEPT of gendai arts, as that it's existence helps to define what gendai arts CAN be.

    Let's use another example:
    Thongs are underwear. Thongs are different from boxers. Thongs are different from bras. Thongs are different from tidy-whities. Are thongs then different from underwear? No, they are underwear regardless of how distinct they are from other kinds of underwear. Now, just for fun, let's make the following word associations:

    Bras= iai
    Underwear=koryu
    Bras cannot be underwear and different from underwear at the same time.

    Let's make the following alternate word associations (this is what I was trying to get at with my earlier post)
    bras=iai
    underwear=koryu
    mens underwear=koryu sogo bugei
    While bras are underwear, they are not mens underwear.
    While Iai is koryu, it is not koryu sogo bugei.

    Finally, I'm not sure what the actual figures are, but it seems that more people study Koryu Iai than Koryu Sogo Bugei so which one is the odd-ball? Are we in fact defining our terms based upon personal preference rather than statistical weight? Just throwing that out.
    Christian Moses
    Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
    Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club

  9. #134
    Christian;

    Unfortunately your argument devolves into semantics. The bigger problem is that there isn't a word to describe the differences these guys are talking about. As one of my old logic profs used to say when I was in grad school, the lack of a label for a subclass does not preclude the existance of the class. It just makes it hard to talk about.

    Clearly Dan (and the others who were generally on his side of the argument) agreed to the notion that *strictly speaking* some style of iai are koryu. They are simply saying there are difference between *some* koryu arts. There is no logical inconsistency there at all. Just expansion of the discussion beyond the simple definitions. That there is no word commonly agreed upon (or understood) to properly label the differences, the discussion went far and wide trying to elucidate those differences to some extent.

    Labels (like statistical measures for that matter) are conveniences. They are simplifications to allow communication. But as simplifications the connection between the simple definition of the label and the complexity of the real world can be tenuous at best. Those are the topics that tend to generate the greatest amount of discussion and argument in part simply because it is so devilishly difficult to come to any sort common understanding of what it is we're talking about. And frankly if there were better terms for these differences that we could all understand relatively unambiguously, I doubt there'd be much discussion. But like most things, verbal (or written) communication is not perfect especially when you venture into the realm of perception and experience.

    It is absurd to say that dogs are different from mammals. But then why isn't it absurd to say that there are significant differences among mammals? Aren't mammals a single thing? Yup, the definition is fairly simple. Warm blooded creatures, etc. But if you try to go into more detail, the differences that go beyond that become more apparent.

    But you are right in that there are some logical problems there. But really they exist only if you hold to a singe, invariant definition of the term. In this case they are using the term koryu on different levels. The first is the definitional aspect of koryu. The second, and vastly more interesting one, is the "feel" of what some practitioners consider "real" koryu. And by that they seem to mean that set of factors which they believe are what makes being "koryu" a good thing. It is more than being old. It is also (apparently) being effective, broad, more encompassing, and without the dilution of historic changes that occured later in history.

    On one level they're all koryu. But on another, there are no doubt differences. Wether they *really* matter is unanswerable I think in any absolute sense. But it is *certainly* answerable to some on a subjective level. And that's what they're talking about.

    Or to put it another way... A steak at a chain cheapo restaurant is a steak. It may be a cheap cut, poorly cooked, tough as leather, and seasoned terribly. But a steak at a top notch restaurant, a good cut, well aged, properly cooked and seasoned... Now there's a steak.... The latter statement has a lot more to do with what one considers to be "proper" and "better" (whatever that means in this case). The prior is simply the "generic" definition.
    Last edited by Keith Larman; 02-01-2004 at 10:19 PM.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  10. #135
    Or to put it another way, some seem to feel that just because its old doesn't mean its *really* koryu, a slippery point of view at best of course, but they're appealing to more than the definition. Of course the lineage definition is what most use when saying something is koryu. But for some, the term koryu is a lot more "loaded" with latent meaning based on their experiences in certain arts. And when using the term that way, well, some iai practice wouldn't be up to snuff as they say...

    Regardless, none of this matters in the slightest to me really. I honestly could care less. I just rub steel on rocks and do what I find interesting...
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  11. #136
    Shurikenjutsu - the throwing of unbalanced metal spikes with poor aerodynamics at very short range

    Nagamakijutsu - the study of a weapon outmoded in Japan 100's of years before the term koryu was imagined, the majority of its practitioners poked full of holes by spearmen.

    Naginatajutsu - another study of a weapon outmoded in Japan 100's of years before the term koryu was imagined, the majority of its practitioners poked full of holes by spearmen. It is most significant, these days, due to the teeth gritted and chipped by non-Japanese practitioners after being informed for the 767th time in one week by different Japanese that "didn't you know that you are practicing with a woman's weapon?"

    Kyujutsu - a martial study often practiced in an extremely ritualized manner with a bow, relatively weak compared to those used thruout continental Asia, due to poor materials and a climate and fauna that wouldn't allow horn laminates. They no longer shoot dogs from horseback as a means of practice, thus thoroughly vitiating the virility of the art

    Kenjutsu - the study of a side arm by people who pretended to themselves that it was the main first line weapon of warfare. This claim seems to have started in the 1600's, as soon as people stopped fighting on battlefields.

    Sojutsu - the study of poking swordsmen from various angles

    Kusarigamajutsu - a retired warrior's hobby that looks really scary and hurts a lot, but was seldom, if ever, used in battle

    Ryofundojutsu - once claimed as a method for a warrior to defeat a swordfighter, using a length of chain and weights only about a foot and one-half long, one recent practitioner concedes that it's best purpose is probably whacking porcupines off the porch when they start gnawing the support beams for the salt

    Kodachijutsu - despite some claims to the contrary, size really does matter Kodachijutsu is the favorite art of those who have kodachi

    Hojojutsu (rope restraints) - as far as is known, probably practiced by more modern Japanese than any other koryu. The practitioners approach their arcane art with a passion singularly absent from most other koryu. Their dojos are found in most major cities, and like other martial arts, can be found by signs at the entrance proudly displaying the dojo names, like Annabelle Haadu Homban

    Jujutsu - my greatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreat grandfather could beat up your dad if he could only hitch a ride on the time machine to the next UFC

    Fukibarijutsu - the art of needle blowing. I tryth ith for a few monththsthsthsths, but musth confessth that I didn'th progessth thatth far

    Iaijutsu/do - the art which no one can comprehend -
    Whispers of autumn
    frost of forged steel, I gape,
    Plop - frog in a well

    Ellis Amdur

  12. #137
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    Ellis,

    that had me rolling on the floor mate. Thanks for brightening what has been a S*?@=y day.
    Regards,


    Steve Delaney.

  13. #138
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    Chris my logic was sound. I would never be dismissive to criticism-(unless you’re in public school and everyones equal and passes) it helps us grow-so I reviewed my statements. I see no trouble with the logic at all. Moreover, I still believe the answer to the question was how it is viewed by those in the Koryu community; different- or same? The "viewpoint" has nothing to do with whether or not anyone agrees. Asked- from juniors to seniors and you seem to hear a consensus.
    We are like everyone else.
    We asked
    We were given answers
    We studied
    We discovered answers for ourselves
    It appears we magically arrived at the same or similar answers. Hmm...how'd that happen? Of course I refer to those in Koryu "outside of Iai."
    To use an Iai conundrum, which I thoroughly disavow but am not above using to my benefit. " You aren't in a Koryu outside of Iai so you wouldn't understand."
    Seriously though Keith was right-thanks Keith- and no further amplification seems warranted.


    Ellis you continue to impress.

    In person you’re a bit of a light weight....perhaps you suffer from a Napoleonic view.......but your writing....ouch!!

    Kudos’ to the author of
    "Iai....the art that cannot be named or understood.”

    Seriously though, I just love the over-view you share. Perhaps it’s getting above or clear of the foliage.... I dunno . Anyway, don't know about the getting above, but I do seem to be on my way to being clear of the foliage, so I'll let you know -if and when I arrive-if I see anything similar.

    cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 02-02-2004 at 07:36 AM.

  14. #139

    last post, promise.

    Originally posted by Keith Larman
    Christian;

    Unfortunately your argument devolves into semantics. The bigger problem is that there isn't a word to describe the differences these guys are talking about. As one of my old logic profs used to say when I was in grad school, the lack of a label for a subclass does not preclude the existance of the class. It just makes it hard to talk about.

    [snip]

    It is absurd to say that dogs are different from mammals. But then why isn't it absurd to say that there are significant differences among mammals? Aren't mammals a single thing? Yup, the definition is fairly simple. Warm blooded creatures, etc. But if you try to go into more detail, the differences that go beyond that become more apparent.

    [snip]

    Or to put it another way... A steak at a chain cheapo restaurant is a steak. It may be a cheap cut, poorly cooked, tough as leather, and seasoned terribly. But a steak at a top notch restaurant, a good cut, well aged, properly cooked and seasoned... Now there's a steak.... The latter statement has a lot more to do with what one considers to be "proper" and "better" (whatever that means in this case). The prior is simply the "generic" definition.
    Last one and I'll let it drop. For honest and for reals.

    -Any verbal discussion must be based in semantics or it's not worth having. It's like a football game if each team was allowed to make up their own rules. It just won't work. That's why we have rules of logic and definitions to fall back on. If you can't put your argument into clear language and be consistent, you have no business making one. If you're simply being careful with your words out of some attempt not to offend anyone with what you really think, then you have no business being offended when your intent has been read through the fog.

    -Dogs can be different from other animals because the concept of mammal is a higher order abstraction than dog. Dogs can be distinct WITHIN mammals and different FROM OTHER mammals, but never different from mammals. As you pointed out earlier, it is not a one to one correlation because dogs are a subset of mammals. This should be obvious.

    -I think your steak analogy elucidates the real issue here. Of course they were both steaks, but one was a 'real' steak and the other one sucked. It isn't a question of what it was, but a judgement based on it's quality. Which is exactly how I read these posts.
    Christian Moses
    Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
    Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club

  15. #140
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    Ellis Amdur: making learning fun!
    Ben Bartlett

  16. #141
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    Chris
    I like your "for honest and for real"-but then you allude to others being coy or disengenous. I think we can all breath a sigh of relief that no one is doing that here.

    I found this troubling
    ****************************
    You wrote
    It isn't a question of what it was, but a judgement based on it's quality. Which is exactly how I read these posts.

    ******************
    You still seem think we are saying one is good and the other bad-contrary to what Ellis said and what I said about inane things and good things in A-L-L the arts and that this is not a discussion about effectiveness. Goodness me we went way far to try to make that point. We even used analogies to other arts to clarify that. Oh well.
    There is no couched or secret point and at this point it would appear that some are looking for it with a magnifying glass.
    Perhpas that is why all these analogies seem to be a waste of time and are not getting us any further to the point. Now we are not even debating an issue that was never debatable in the first place. Instead we are back arguing the presentaion of the logic of the argument itself and the sincerity of the peope offering opinion...chasing our own tales.
    As I said before there is a VERY small group of people who can answer the question. "Is it different?" "How is it different?"
    Ya heard from folks here who shared their view and also told you about their discussions with others -some of the most senior in Koryu outside of Iai.
    So, people shared their opinions from Koryu-Iai to Koryu-outside-of-Iai. If their opinions don't matter, just who the hell is left to ask? Our mothers?

    Is everyones opinion equal? I thought we were earnestly trying to figure out how it is viewed- not argue whether or not we agree with "the view."
    Your agreement or mine is not a parameter I am aware of.
    I say "asked and answered"
    Some not all _IN_ Iai agree with the answer.

    cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 02-02-2004 at 08:46 AM.

  17. #142
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    Exclamation Oh my! Just when we thought it was safe to get back in the water...

    Chris, Keith, Dan, Ellis--You have got my head stuffed with visions of dogs in underwear eating steak at fine restaurants, samurai spitting needles at one another...when they aren't alternately whacking porcupines off the beams and tossing back mogitos...

    And no, Scott, I have most certainly NOT been into the mescal beans...well, maybe a little one...

    All I can say, is, more power to ya--and I'd love to moderate an inperson meeting of the group (Read--Stand back and duck occasionally) Any chance of getting together in Seattle, say the weekend of March 20-21? (Pending Scott's approval, of course...)
    In Sangha,
    Diane Mirro
    SFI Moderator

    "In wildness is the preservation of the world."--Thoreau

  18. #143
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    Talking One from the cheap seats! ...

    Ellis,
    Thank you very much for the good laugh with those definitions! I will save them and periodically review them to help keep me sane!

    Chris,
    You wrote ...
    -Any verbal discussion must be based in semantics or it's not worth having. It's like a football game if each team was allowed to make up their own rules. It just won't work. That's why we have rules of logic and definitions to fall back on. If you can't put your argument into clear language and be consistent, you have no business making one.
    That's a wonderful sentiment if we were discussing football or cricket, or even rocket science. However, the discussion is the Japanese Sword Arts. These being anachronistic learning from the Japanese, whose context driven language can cause grown men to cry. This is a language which allows the use of various words to mean various things dependent upon how it's used, the mood of the user, the rank of the one to whom you are speaking, and the phase of the moon when you first had the idea.

    It is virtually impossible to have clear and inalienable definitions of anything Japanese. There will always be exceptions. Therefore there will always be discussions such as this one which, by the way, I have found both amusing and illuminating. Thanks very much to all of the participants for all opinions and views offered!

    Cheers,
    Paul Smith
    "Keep the sharp side and the
    pointy end between you and
    your opponent"

  19. #144
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    Originally posted by A. Bakken

    Mr Bakken

    Excellent commentary! heh heh

    The Gii'tar? Les Paul custom with eBony fingerboard

    Mine is the 1972 Les Paul "Fretless wonder" limited addition (only made for 6 months- never repeated) the initial production run offered was bought up by every whos who in the rock world
    I had mine customized even further in the Gibson Shop.


    The fellow playing?
    I watched him shave the body hair-head and all- off of his road manager on stage at Rensselaer Polytech in 1977 or was it 78? (results of a lost poker bet).


    Memories
    cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 02-05-2004 at 07:00 AM.

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