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Thread: Self Training, a public service announcement

  1. #26
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    Last one ...

    After five days in the hospital ...not a happy guy sittin there ...*
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    Laughter is the lubricant of love ...*

  2. #27
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    Originally posted by Jeff Ellis
    Even a video or DVD can not teach you about the arts. The instructor can not see you, they can not tell you you are moving wrong. I had a sensei that was learning from video, and had a technique wrong for a year before he was corrected by his sensei, who made and sent the videos to him.
    Not a bad idea, but you dont get the proper instruction from this method, so its not practical. Not to be done unless you have seen the techniques done, been taught them, and had them explained to you. The videos are best as reinforcements, not learning/teaching tools.
    I'm glad those of us in the Western Martial Arts don't follow this philosophy, or else it would be lost forever.
    "O thou most magnanimous Hero! Brave and unutterably Bold Don Quixote de la Mancha! What Language shall I employ to convince Posterity of the Truth of this thy more than human Enterprize! What Praises can be coined, and Elogies invented, that will not be outvied by thy superior Merit, though Hyperbolies were piled on Hyperbolies!"
    -Miguel de Cervantes

  3. #28
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    Last edited by Jeff Ellis; 06-29-2005 at 02:53 PM.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
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    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  4. #29
    I've posed the same question/statement before, but I feel it should be stated again here.

    I have inquired about taking classes or getting instructions at several local dojos and have gotten the same response: We don't offer sword training to people without martial arts (usually black belt) experience. At my age and mindset, I do not wish to put in the time required to reach that level. I don't want to fight, and do not wish to explore the "eastern philosophies," nor do I want to be an SCA type "man in tights."

    What choice do I have but to become "self taught?" I try to be safe, use bokkens to practice with, and have used machetes for over 25 years, so I know something about edged weapons. When newbies ask about books or tapes, all they hear is "get a proper instructor!" From my experience, this is tantamount to saying, "fuggeddaboudit!"

    Any advice here?
    Joe M. Walker

  5. #30
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    My 1/2 a cents worth ...

    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    I've posed the same question/statement before, but I feel it should be stated again here.

    I have inquired about taking classes or getting instructions at several local dojos and have gotten the same response: We don't offer sword training to people without martial arts (usually black belt) experience. At my age and mindset, I do not wish to put in the time required to reach that level. I don't want to fight, and do not wish to explore the "eastern philosophies," nor do I want to be an SCA type "man in tights."

    What choice do I have but to become "self taught?" I try to be safe, use bokkens to practice with, and have used machetes for over 25 years, so I know something about edged weapons. When newbies ask about books or tapes, all they hear is "get a proper instructor!" From my experience, this is tantamount to saying, "fuggeddaboudit!"

    Any advice here?
    I know I’m the poster boy for not self teaching ....

    but , the way I figure it , all sword styles had to start somewhere , I mean who was the guy who came up with the first sword style , and how did the other ones start ..??? My guess is , someone had to just start doing stuff and by trial and error come up with something worth passing on ...!?

    Ok sure this way of learning is extremely dangerous, but in my opinion if you are old enough and wise enough to make your own life choices, and you accept that ya might end up in the hospital at some point , than if that's what you truly want to do than what the hell ...we all gotta die sometime ..!!

    Who knows you may come up with a brand new move that no one has seen before , one that is super effective or somethin . We seem to have a somewhat limited idea of the many variations of the styles back then , each person probably had a slight variation on the styles of the times no doubt , and there were lots of folks back then using swords ...so you have a pretty good chance of finding at least one of those guys styles ....of course there‘s no way of authenticating your style, but if it makes you feel good when ya practice it ...then what the heck ...enjoy... and keep a good first aid kit near by ... *S*

    I think no matter what you do , ultimately you are gonna be the one facing any consequences ....this forum and the knowledgeable folks here can tell ya how to not make the mistakes of the past ....but if you wish to make em yourself than as they say ...“Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other"

    As a last note I think I should clarify ...I’ve been one of those “fools” most of my life ...*S*

    Don bo
    Last edited by Donald Rice; 06-29-2005 at 06:13 PM.
    Laughter is the lubricant of love ...*

  6. >What choice do I have but to become "self taught?">

    If you're the "Ruler of Maine" does that mean you're in Maine? Because I teach historical fencing with the Highland broadsword in Portland. We're not an SCA group, and you don't have to know any empty-hand art first.
    PM me if you're interested,
    Chris Thompson
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  7. #32
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    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    At my age and mindset, I do not wish to put in the time required to reach that level. ..

    Any advice here?
    I'm going to fight the urge to say "fuggedaboutit!" I'm 48, and I began training in WMA three or four years ago.

    Perhaps I am unusual at my age to have an open mind and patience.

    But then I've got deep scars on my legs from youthful misadventures to remind me.
    <><><> <><><> <><><>
    Do what thy manhood bids thee do,
    from none but self expect applause;
    He noblest lives and noblest dies
    who makes and keeps his self-made laws.

    -Sir Richard Francis Burton

  8. #33
    This is a wonderful experience. I now know why some people refer to many forum members as "elitists." I could add a few other descriptions, but in keeping with what I thought was the spirit of the forum, I'll refrain.

    So far, in answer to what I felt was a legitimate question, I have been called a "fool," and it has been alluded to that I don't have an open mind or patience, simply because I had been unable to locate someone who was willing to give sword instruction to someone who had no previous formal martial arts training. Maybe I misunderstood the replies. Maybe there are a lot of elitists on this forum.

    I did receive a PM offering training that I may or may not follow up on.

    I apologize for asking the question, and will refrain from intruding into threads that I am not welcome in because of my "newbie" status.
    Joe M. Walker

  9. #34
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    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    This is a wonderful experience. I now know why some people refer to many forum members as "elitists." I could add a few other descriptions, but in keeping with what I thought was the spirit of the forum, I'll refrain.

    So far, in answer to what I felt was a legitimate question, I have been called a "fool," and it has been alluded to that I don't have an open mind or patience, simply because I had been unable to locate someone who was willing to give sword instruction to someone who had no previous formal martial arts training. Maybe I misunderstood the replies. Maybe there are a lot of elitists on this forum.

    I did receive a PM offering training that I may or may not follow up on.

    I apologize for asking the question, and will refrain from intruding into threads that I am not welcome in because of my "newbie" status.
    you are no fool, nor are you a newbie. i find it quite silly that some schools require you to have a shodan ranking elsewhere. then again, its a way of showing them you won't go in, take a few classes, and leave.

    don't get down on yourself, it was a valid question.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  10. #35
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    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    This is a wonderful experience. I now know why some people refer to many forum members as "elitists." I could add a few other descriptions, but in keeping with what I thought was the spirit of the forum, I'll refrain.

    So far, in answer to what I felt was a legitimate question, I have been called a "fool," and it has been alluded to that I don't have an open mind or patience, simply because I had been unable to locate someone who was willing to give sword instruction to someone who had no previous formal martial arts training. Maybe I misunderstood the replies. Maybe there are a lot of elitists on this forum.

    I did receive a PM offering training that I may or may not follow up on.

    I apologize for asking the question, and will refrain from intruding into threads that I am not welcome in because of my "newbie" status.
    Chill my friend - please.

    While some posters may have been, perhaps, a bit less tactful than they should be I haven't read anything that would imply that you are foolish or too "green".

    The real issues here are twofold.

    First, you just can't progress well or easily by self training even with the best learning technology (videos) and the best intentions. If you MUST self train because you really can't find any instruction then be prepared for a much longer and more difficult path than you would have with a teacher. Good luck and best wishes.

    Second, you have seen what can happen when a sword accident occurs. Even though the Don Rice pictures are horrifying, I have seen much worse. If you want the details PM me. The bottom line here is you MUST play safe. Please do not self train with a sword that is remotely capable of inflicting injury. I am not being an elitist - I am just showing sincere concern for the health and safety of my fellow man.

  11. #36
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    I apologize ..!!!??

    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    This is a wonderful experience. I now know why some people refer to many forum members as "elitists." I could add a few other descriptions, but in keeping with what I thought was the spirit of the forum, I'll refrain.

    So far, in answer to what I felt was a legitimate question, I have been called a "fool," and it has been alluded to that I don't have an open mind or patience, simply because I had been unable to locate someone who was willing to give sword instruction to someone who had no previous formal martial arts training. Maybe I misunderstood the replies. Maybe there are a lot of elitists on this forum.

    I did receive a PM offering training that I may or may not follow up on.

    I apologize for asking the question, and will refrain from intruding into threads that I am not welcome in because of my "newbie" status.

    I am sincerely sorry if I offended ...that was not my intent at all ...heck I was tryin to say that’s the only way I learn myself ...sure it's tough way to learn but if it‘s all ya got, than some learning is better than none at all...if understanding is your goal .
    Laughter is the lubricant of love ...*

  12. #37
    Hi Don,

    No problem here. I'm just gettin' old & cranky I guess. Must be the heat or sumpin' huh?

    Once again, best of luck on your recovery.
    Joe M. Walker

  13. #38
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    Wink

    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    I've posed the same question/statement before, but I feel it should be stated again here.

    I have inquired about taking classes or getting instructions at several local dojos and have gotten the same response: We don't offer sword training to people without martial arts (usually black belt) experience. At my age and mindset, I do not wish to put in the time required to reach that level. I don't want to fight, and do not wish to explore the "eastern philosophies," nor do I want to be an SCA type "man in tights."

    What choice do I have but to become "self taught?" I try to be safe, use bokkens to practice with, and have used machetes for over 25 years, so I know something about edged weapons. When newbies ask about books or tapes, all they hear is "get a proper instructor!" From my experience, this is tantamount to saying, "fuggeddaboudit!"

    Any advice here?
    Joe, please relax. My experience is exclusively in WMA and the funny thing is, quite some medieval masters (like Fiori) start teaching unarmed combat (usually wrestling), before taking up any weapon. However, most WMA groups I know will teach swordfighting without one going through all the unarmed fighting first; however, sooner or later (probably sooner) a student will understand he won't rise above basic level without some experience in wrestling. Also, people not paying enough attention to their footwork will experience the same.

    In defense of the 'instructor', from my own experience, it really helps when somebody is watching the 'newbies'. 'Bad habits' are easily aquired, but difficult to get rid of. Apart from that, there are umpty things one should think of, before taking up a sword. If I'd received $ 10,- each time I had to tell a rooky to wear his padded gloves and/or wristguard, there'd be several more swords in my collection.
    You mentioned the bokken, I witnessed a weird incident last year (fortunately members from another training group). Two guys were sparring with bokken and all of a sudden one of them needed medical treatment; there was a huge splinter in his arm. Upon examination, the specific bokken should have been discarded before the fight, it was worn way too far. Here the (young) fighters simply forgot the (IMO mandatory) weapons check.
    Joe, you mentioned 'age'; well, I'm 49 (doing this hobby for some 12 years now) and yes, I know the importance of safety (as will you). But let's face it, the majority of the newbies are youngsters, some even kids! To avoid accidents, they need (our) proper guidance.

    Regards, Roel
    Ships will sink, cattle die, but the names of the great warriors shall live forever.

  14. #39
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    Having been one of those who inquired about self teaching, not too long ago, I wish to comment, in a few short observations.

    1) Swords are deadly weapons, by design. They can easily be as deadly to the user as to the target.

    2) An intelligent and motivated person can learn a great deal about anything, including sword use, by reading, experimenting, practicing, and innovating.

    3) It's not what you know, it's what you don't know (or forget to observe) that will usually kill you. If I know the circuit is energized, I use a whole lot more care and different techniques than if I assume it's dead...

    4) As in blacksmithing, no amount of reading and practicing will advance your technique as fast as observing an experienced smith, or even better, having an experienced smith watching and correcting you.

    So, as has been mentioned in various ways by others, you *can* learn useful sword skills by yourself. It *is* more likely that you will learn bad or dangerous habits by yourself. It *is* a certainty that you will learn faster, better, and safer with a teacher.

    Like all of life, learning swordcraft is a balancing act. Handling deadly weapons is automatically risky. Is the risk worth the benefit? Each individual must decide for him/herself.

  15. #40
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    Being one of the "fools" who has no choice but to train solo in WMA, I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed by both sides.....I understand my Friend, Joe Walkers frustration at what he sees as snobbish behaviour, I also understand and agree with Roel and others opinion that one should at some point seek qualified instruction. I'll be the first to admit my training...such as it is...Consists solely of imitating what I see in manuals, working over the plays in my mind, and slowly attempting to recreate them in real time. In essence I'm only learning a series of "katas" as it were. In my own weak defense I do dedicate an hour a day usually late at night to the sword. My advice to anyone serious about their training is to (IF POSSIBLE) seek a good instructor....If this is not possible due to distance or hectic work hours, then invest in a quality waster, study your chosen manuals and reading material carefully and be willing to patiently devote yourself to slowly work through the plays. Have the discipline to correct yourself and start over, remembering to pay attention to your footwork and above all not trying to move to fast. Also important: suffer yourself to have no illusions, the folks that can train against actual people will be your superiors.....thats just how it is
    ~Asatru is not what we believe...its what we are~

  16. #41
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    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    This is a wonderful experience. I now know why some people refer to many forum members as "elitists." I could add a few other descriptions, but in keeping with what I thought was the spirit of the forum, I'll refrain.

    So far, in answer to what I felt was a legitimate question, I have been called a "fool," and it has been alluded to that I don't have an open mind or patience, simply because I had been unable to locate someone who was willing to give sword instruction to someone who had no previous formal martial arts training. Maybe I misunderstood the replies. Maybe there are a lot of elitists on this forum.

    I did receive a PM offering training that I may or may not follow up on.

    I apologize for asking the question, and will refrain from intruding into threads that I am not welcome in because of my "newbie" status.
    joe, quick question: when you inquired about training, was it by email, phone, or in person?

    the only reason i ask, is because now that i've thought about it, they cant tell your age thru email and phone. i am sure that if you explained the circumstances, age, and whatever else, they might be able to accomodate you.

    i suppose i won't have your problem, as i've already acquired a shodan ranking in an art.. only left due to personal issues that have since been dealt with, and want to get involved again, but in a sword art.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  17. #42
    Originally posted by Jeff Ellis
    joe, quick question: when you inquired about training, was it by email, phone, or in person?

    the only reason i ask, is because now that i've thought about it, they cant tell your age thru email and phone. i am sure that if you explained the circumstances, age, and whatever else, they might be able to accomodate you.

    i suppose i won't have your problem, as i've already acquired a shodan ranking in an art.. only left due to personal issues that have since been dealt with, and want to get involved again, but in a sword art.
    All three. The one local guy actually trained a friend's son, and I mentioned the name as an introduction. I'm 52, big, ugly, and am not a stranger to weapons and tools, edged or otherwise. The email inquiries I've made have just flat out said "no formal martial arts training, preferably a black belt, no sword training." I've seen the same sentiment in a few books I've read.

    I'm not complaining here, just relating my limited experiences and observations. One of those observations is that a few of the replies have taken on that "elite, superior, or condescending tone" that seems to be pervasive in the JSA community. Perhaps I haven't met the right people.

    I have received one offer to train in WMA that I am considering. My first choice would be katana. I like the sword, and I really don't have any desire to fight, I just want to (trying to follow my own instincts and the advice of most forumites) learn to do it properly.

    Thanks for your interest and input Jeff.
    Joe M. Walker

  18. #43
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    Wink It takes three!!

    OK, trying to respect everyone's point of view, even when you're on your own ('cause for some reason there isn't an instructor available), try to find two more enthousiasts. Sounds weird, since it takes two to duel, but the third, observing and criticising the other two will be the greatest help to maintain safety and improve fighting skills.
    This is exactly the way the more experienced fighters in our group (we call them 'free scholars') train the medieval masters.

    Regards, Roel
    Ships will sink, cattle die, but the names of the great warriors shall live forever.

  19. #44
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    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    All three. The one local guy actually trained a friend's son, and I mentioned the name as an introduction. I'm 52, big, ugly, and am not a stranger to weapons and tools, edged or otherwise. The email inquiries I've made have just flat out said "no formal martial arts training, preferably a black belt, no sword training." I've seen the same sentiment in a few books I've read.

    I'm not complaining here, just relating my limited experiences and observations. One of those observations is that a few of the replies have taken on that "elite, superior, or condescending tone" that seems to be pervasive in the JSA community. Perhaps I haven't met the right people.

    I have received one offer to train in WMA that I am considering. My first choice would be katana. I like the sword, and I really don't have any desire to fight, I just want to (trying to follow my own instincts and the advice of most forumites) learn to do it properly.

    Thanks for your interest and input Jeff.
    i'll send you one of my black belts and you can show them, tell them it was ages ago and you have long forgotten everything and you studied kempo.

    tho i'd want the belt back..
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  20. #45
    Originally posted by Jeff Ellis
    i'll send you one of my black belts and you can show them, tell them it was ages ago and you have long forgotten everything and you studied kempo.

    tho i'd want the belt back..
    Is that all it takes? Hell I've got a black belt! It's even got lots of shiny silver doo-dads on it! I'll bet they'd be real impressed, eh?

    Thanks for the tip!
    Joe M. Walker

  21. #46
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    Originally posted by Joe M. Walker
    Is that all it takes? Hell I've got a black belt! It's even got lots of shiny silver doo-dads on it! I'll bet they'd be real impressed, eh?

    Thanks for the tip!


    we were pretty sure a few of the dojo's in my area were started by guys that bought a black gi and obi, put a few red stripes on the obi, and opened a dojo.

    anyway, i think it's silly they have a restriction.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  22. #47
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    Or you could just buy a black belt for 5 bucks over some web site...As far as self training I would have to go against it, but for someone who has no other choices (can't afford to go to a dojo or other wise) then a starting book/video might not be to bad so long as they do it in a safe manner. Swords are fun, to swing them is fun, and the training should be fun as well...
    ?

  23. #48
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    Wink nutty 'sworsmen'

    Well people, experienced this today (sunday 10). Enjoying a nice 'Roman-and-native' weekend overhere, at one time the 'Foederatii' (Roman allies, even below the rank of 'auxilliary') were ordered to patrol the area and seek 'rebellious Celtic subjects'. The usual fun with kids, who had brought their plastic or wooden swords.
    Things went quite weird, when some Gothic 'wanabee Celts', carrying bokken, entered the parc. Still playing the game, we told them to hand over their weapons. Guess what, they decided to draw them, only to find out, that real trained fighters (carrying re-enactment steel blunts) are no match to them! Actually, I was proud of 'my boys', who restricted themselves to defense, leaving me the 'kills' with the spear. Know what, after training people for several years, I felt p*ssed, encountering these 'nuts'!

    OTOH, the battle was GREAT! Of course, all fighters know eachother, but it is always good to meet friends, who have trained to fight 'shield first'.
    Sorry, can't train that from a book, as I've said before, it takes three to train.

    Regars, Roel
    Ships will sink, cattle die, but the names of the great warriors shall live forever.

  24. #49
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    Alright, I figure I'll post my story...

    I've been practicing some swordsmanship for a few years now. Unfortunately where I live, there's no WMA schools or the like, just a couple of like-minded historical enthusiasts.
    I study the manuals and treatises, and learn what I can, when I can. I then practice these techniques to see how they work. Sometimes I'll spar with people, to find out what works, and what doesn't, and over the years, I've come to notice that I'm pretty competant with a sword (we use wasters. I havn't been able to afford a good high end weapon as of yet)

    My friends and I have been involved in the SCA, although it is silly really, and their method of fighting can hardly be considered swordsmanship, so we attempt to learn the real methods. Studying, practicing, tweaking etc...
    Occasionally we even hold tourneys or 'wars' where a bunch of us get together and all fight at once, so we can learn some, although small scale, battlefield tactics, like forming shield walls, or hedges of polearms, and the techniques needed to overcome such obstacles.

    I've visited AEMMA in Toronto, and can see from their free play and excersizes, that we're not far off. Eventually I'd like to get an aluminum blunt, and then work up to a live blade. So far I've managed not to hit myself with a waster, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. (Don't want to end up like Poor Don here, ow!)

    So I have a mixed training. I know basically how to weild a sword, I know what works, and what doesn't. What's pure Hollywood crap, and what's functional. I know some in-fighting/grappling etc...
    I'm semi self taught, and I've also learned from people who know what they're doing. So yeah...In the long run, I'm pretty sure I could hold my own against some practitioners of WMA, but I'm sure I'd have my ass handed to me by David Cvet or the like

    Ah well, more practice!
    I put the sexy in Dyslexia.

  25. #50
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    I'm 49 and recently bitten by the Japanese sword bug. I can't find anyone here in SW Oklahoma to learn from so I'm stuck with teaching myself. I've been working with a red oak bokken, a PC Zatoichi (I do wish I had have started with a PPK) and yesterday my Furuyama Kurobara katana I purchased was delivered. I won't be attempting to cut anything with the Kurobara as it's too fine of sword for me to take a chance on screwing up. If anyone knows of an instructor near Altus, Oklahoma PM me. I would love to get some instruction.

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