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  • #16
    I saw the episode and was disappointed. I'm not usually one to veraciously complain about that show but there were so many things wrong...

    If I were to try to explain the "myth" they were testing to someone who saw the episode but had no experience with Kendo, its that what seems obvious at first ("the one who moves first will win") is true at the beginning level (say, 3 hours of training) but isn't true once you spend a lifetime studying kendo. Although Adam Savage even said that the whole point of testing the "myth" wasn't about "who was more skilled at Kendo" but the simplified mechanics of two people ham-fistedly swinging a shinai, the concept being tested is precisely that, at higher, more skilled levels of Kendo, what is obvious is no longer entirely true.

    I mean, just watch two hacidans fighting and its very clear.

    I guess we should go over to their viewer forums and write a very long and detailed critique of the test, and hope for a retest....I'm not holding my breath though

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    • #17
      I don't really see all the hub bub. IF the myth is only about reaction time, they could have done the old hand slapping game kids play. This appeared to be a variant on that. If you bring in waza, experience, seme, weight, length, or any load of other factors, then of course it changes the testing environment.

      The fact that they used shinai and bogu rather than slapping hands is just window dressing for what the myth itself is.

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      • #18
        C'mon guys. It's Mythbusters. Enjoy it.

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        • #19
          I have a tip for you guys, a lot of the myths busted are under inappropriate or inaccurate circumstances. The show is about entertainment and not really very factual in terms of the assumptions they make for a lot, if not most, of the myth busting done.

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          • #20
            Yea yea, its "TV science" as Grant Imahara says. I'm normally a defender of the show for its ability to teach science unexpectedly, and I try not to be all retentive about things I don't necessarily agree with, but yea, I'm very passionate about Kendo.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by enkorat View Post
              I guess we should go over to their viewer forums and write a very long and detailed critique of the test, and hope for a retest....I'm not holding my breath though
              There are already several threads where people essentially agree (with varying levels of cluelessness) with what we've written here. Here's one.

              Thinking about it some more, the essential mistake they made was taking the elements of skill and technique out of the "myth". I'd be curious to know what percentage of tournament points are scored using debana-waza - I am guessing very high.

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              • #22
                The "test" seems like bunk to me, for reasons already stated (although they say "this isn't about skill in Kendo"). But it was fun seeing the show and I love high speed cameras. Aside from Guy Fieri, I think these guys have the coolest job in the world. Thanks for posting this.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by rfoxmich View Post
                  First I don't know of such a statement in kendo. If I manage to feel or induce a sufficient imbalance in my opponent (one potential result of seme) I'm going to attack first and win. On the other hand if I can force my aite to initiate an action at the time of my choosing (a different result of seme) they're going to attack first and lose.
                  This.

                  In Shinkage-ryu, we'd put it this way. You can't have katsuninken (moving according to the enemy's action and winning) without sen-sen-no-sen, which in YSR context doesn't mean a pre-emptive strike, but an overwhelming control of the combat interaction.

                  Often you'll hear the terms "kiraseru" or "utaseru". One way of interpreting these terms is "let cut" and "let strike", but they also mean "make cut" and "make strike". I project onto the opponent the threat that I will strike first (what you folks call seme), inducing him to strike. Because I have induced him to strike, I respond to his attack, not react. Reflex action is not acceptable in Shinkage-ryu -- it's not controlled, it's not with the full body, it can be tricked with feints, it creates that oxymoronic state of being full of openings. So, yeah, they kinda kicked this one. Not to mention they could have just looked at the problem by recreating this experiment

                  On the other hand, this.

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                  • #24
                    I would have been satisfied with a big boom somewhere. I was impressed with the Chinese two stage dragon rocket, truth be told....

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                    • #25
                      The fellow who shows up to "train" the Mythbusters guys is a friend of mine from the San Fran dojo! Funny.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by rfoxmich View Post
                        What does 'work' mean?
                        I'm not even sure what my colleague meant by that either. They're coming from a non-martial arts background, so pretty much they just watched the video and said it just doesn't work. Because it was directed to me, I interpreted it as practicing Kendo is pointless. Because even if you practice, the person who strikes first will win (from the video). Especially in my surroundings, they think it's just self defence with a sword. (Always get the question, so if you get into a fight, what are you going to do when you don't have your sword with you?)

                        So it frustrates me when people who have no understanding about Kendo make these kind of statements. When I posted the video up to show the kendo community, It also upsets me that they are trying to use science to prove a theory.

                        It kind of makes me feel like they are saying, I practiced all these years in kendo is pointless if you don't get the first strike. So why don't we now start practice blocking? I would think the video would be more legit if they put in disclaimers at the beginning to say what it is not considered as what most people on the forum are saying that they're missing from the video (seme, parrys, counter attacks etc). They should have used western fencing instead so not to frustrate fellow kendoists .

                        I'm also concerned about newbies who are in their beginning stages of Kendo who watch this. They might start believing if they don't get the first cut, then they should react to it by blocking.

                        Anyway, have to get over it now. I'm going to go meditate and clear it out of my mind. Shouldn't get held up on bad publicity on people who don't know what Kendo is about.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by KendoPadawan View Post
                          I'm not even sure what my colleague meant by that either. They're coming from a non-martial arts background, so pretty much they just watched the video and said it just doesn't work. Because it was directed to me, I interpreted it as practicing Kendo is pointless. Because even if you practice, the person who strikes first will win (from the video). Especially in my surroundings, they think it's just self defence with a sword. (Always get the question, so if you get into a fight, what are you going to do when you don't have your sword with you?)

                          So it frustrates me when people who have no understanding about Kendo make these kind of statements. When I posted the video up to show the kendo community, It also upsets me that they are trying to use science to prove a theory.

                          It kind of makes me feel like they are saying, I practiced all these years in kendo is pointless if you don't get the first strike. So why don't we now start practice blocking? I would think the video would be more legit if they put in disclaimers at the beginning to say what it is not considered as what most people on the forum are saying that they're missing from the video (seme, parrys, counter attacks etc). They should have used western fencing instead so not to frustrate fellow kendoists .

                          I'm also concerned about newbies who are in their beginning stages of Kendo who watch this. They might start believing if they don't get the first cut, then they should react to it by blocking.

                          Anyway, have to get over it now. I'm going to go meditate and clear it out of my mind. Shouldn't get held up on bad publicity on people who don't know what Kendo is about.
                          I was feeling the same way. I felt that the piece misrepresented the point of the saying, the point of doing kendo, the practice of kendo itself, the appropriate use of the equipment, what constitutes an appropriate ippon, the level of pain experienced during a normal practice, and the length of time required to achieve any sort of understanding of the saying in the first place.

                          Yes its just a television show and yes Mythbusters doesn't get it "right" most of the time but consider this. There isn't much publicity of Kendo anyway, and my dojo gets quite a few teenagers and beginners with only cursory understanding of kendo who come in with only interest. Its our job to convey what Kendo is, I think we as a dojo do a pretty decent job of conveying what Kendo really is, as long as they walk through that door. its a terrible disservice if people with an initial interest decide kendo isn't for them based on what they saw on television.

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                          • #28
                            "That's entertainment!!!" 'nuff said.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Curtis View Post
                              "That's entertainment!!!" 'nuff said.
                              No, entertaining would have been to have Mr. Nakanishi be on one side.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                                No, entertaining would have been to have Mr. Nakanishi be on one side.
                                Yes indeed, David would have debunked the science straight away.

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