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  • #31
    Originally posted by Kent Enfield
    particularly coordination between the weapon and lower body.
    I actually agree with this - it's one of the biggest problems I see in medieval and renaissance WMA as well. That's not to say everyone has a problem with upper-lower body coordination, but an awful lot of people in WMA, myself included, do.
    I would not say it is a problem in post-renaissance swordsmanship though, because by and large 18th and 19thC fencing keeps one foot (the right foot) forward, so footwork is MUCH quicker and easier to learn.
    Generally speaking, in medieval longsword if you cut from the right you end with the right foot forward, if you cut from the left then you end with the left foot forward. When people get this right it looks and works great, when they get it wrong it looks a mess.
    But something I think that is important if you're taking a combative approach to martial arts, is that the most important thing is to win, even if you look messy . It just so happens that what looks most tidy and perfect normally wins.
    This is of course a divergent concept with kendo - at least that's the impression I have, as it's my understanding that in kendo points are awarded when the formula for a strike comes together in the judge's eyes, whereas we might be concentrating on simply incapacitating the other person before they do it to us (in theory). Therefore there is a theoretical difference between what we and kendoka are trying to achieve.
    I still think that playing by our rules we would generally do better and playing by kendo rules kendoka would generally do better (I and others in the group have had bouts with kendoka incidentally).

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    • #32
      is that video from a reputable European MA association? or is it the equivelant of us looking at "shinai clubs"?

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      • #33
        Well that's not kendo and that's not fencing that's just swordfighting or sword duel, if that wooden swords were real it would be Toledan style and very, very dangerous... Almost medieval (i used to practice that way with occidental swords or sabers)

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Twobitmage
          is that video from a reputable European MA association? or is it the equivelant of us looking at "shinai clubs"?
          Well, we are a reputable club, but what you have to bear in mind is that these videos are of informal bouts, not scoring points, not competition. We do not stage things or edit things to only present the best material in these videos. Regular classes concentrate on drills, not bouting/sparring. I have lectured and taught classes on Fiore dei Liberi here in the UK, in France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Poland, and later this year will be in Sweden. Next year I'll be teaching at an event in Texas amongst others.

          Here is an example video from an American group we are friendly with, who bout mostly with blunt steel weapons:
          http://www.ericwargo.com/sword/bouts/sbgvgo1_4_05.mov

          You can see lots more here:
          http://www.ericwargo.com/sword/bouts/

          The thing to remember is that you should not expect WMA bouts to look like kendo.. A karate practitioner would not expect mixed martial arts fights like UFC to look like karate .

          Regards,
          Matt

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Twobitmage
            is that video from a reputable European MA association? or is it the equivelant of us looking at "shinai clubs"?
            Hi there I'm the short fat guy loosing badly to Matt in the video. He always makes me look bad.

            I'm not sure what a shinai club is but the video was shot at the BHFS AGM in Brighton Last December. The BHFS is the main (and effectively only) umbrellar group in the UK. We are also members of HEMAC a pan-european organisation which Matt helped to start. Matt is regarded as one of the top three or four authorities in Fiore dei Liberi worldwide.

            He is also more than 10 years younger than me, taller, stronger, fitter & knows my every move because he taught them to me.

            So on the whole it's not a surprise he makes me look a lot worse than I do most of the time.

            If any of you guys are ever in London feel free to look us up & see for yourselves what we get up to.

            Cheers, Nigel, Schola Gladiatoria
            Last edited by Abomination; 21st April 2006, 08:11 AM.

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            • #36
              Many years ago I had the opportunuty to study judo with some really good people. The comment that one made was that I did judo like a jujitsuka. What he meant was that I would attempt a technique and if it did not work, would step out and try a different one. What he impressed upon me was that if my attack failed or was countered I needed to transition immediately, if not sooner, into another.
              In my early years of kendo I tried to follow that approach by hit, hit, hit, hit, hit until I scored or time ran out. Luckily I have had some patient teachers and over the years have come to where I will attack and maybe again and again but try to make it "beautiful" and not just slogging around with a club (and make no mistake about it, a shinai is a stick, not a sword).
              If you guys enjoy what you are doing, good for you. My only suggestion would be to work to make it "beautiful". I can't really explain it, Neil hit on it briefly, breaking the other guys defense is a big part of it. I see in your video stick attacking stick rather than target. I think because of the "protective" gear you are wearing that is wise because you would get hurt. However, it makes you tentative and, to me, it looks funny.
              Maybe you could get your hands on some period armour to use as a mold and make up some super lightweight carbon fiber replicas so you could add more realism to what you are doing.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Ignatz
                I see in your video stick attacking stick rather than target.
                Hmm, please have a look at more of the videos linked by ScholaDays and myself. Lots of deliberate hits there to just about any body part you can think of. Also, as I said before, please bear in mind that the first video linked is a litte 'knock-around' between doing other things. Not a show fight, not a competition.

                because of the "protective" gear you are wearing that is wise because you would get hurt.
                We wear padded gambesons most of the time, plus additional protection - see the other videos.

                However, it makes you tentative and, to me, it looks funny.
                Well, as I said previously, severed fingers can end a fight. That's a reality of swordsmanship. When I see a kendo bout where both people are repeatedly hitting each other, without fear of losing body parts such as fingers and hands, before one of these hits 'scores' that looks funny to me . I see the winner sporting severed members left, right and centre .
                I'm not criticising the kendo approach - it is a different approach. I'm simply trying to explain our (most WMA peoples') approach to you - it's not to my personal gain to do this, but as you're asking, I'm trying to answer . As I said, it's like a karate practitioner criticising MMA, Brazilian jujitsu, krav maga or sambo because it looks messy... I can assure you that the WMA approach does work against kendo, sport fencing and other martial arts approach, whether it looks messy to you or not. I have the trophies on my shelf to proove it . Just as a 'messy' MMA approach certainly works in UFC against karate or aikido.
                I really think that comparing WMA to kendo is like comparing apples and pears.

                Best regard,
                Matt

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                • #38
                  But ki ken tai itchi is more than a matter of striking from the right with the right foot forward. Its a timing issue: when should the front foot strike the ground compared to when the sword reaches its target? What about the rear foot? An example from the video that started this thread: the man on the right (the one not wearing the white chest piece) attempts a cut downward from his right shoulder, starting with the left foot forward and bringing the right up to the front during the strike. But at the moment his strike lands (or would have, if the opponent had not moved), his right foot is still behind him. Thus his body arrives well behind the cut. A similar thing happened when he attempted a one-handed thrust from a similar foot position. Then there are the examples like trying to cut to the right rear while moving forward to the left with shoulders pulling out of the cut.

                  I dont mean to pick on whoever is in the video, but in my experience with Japanese weapon arts, you drill until striking with ki ken tai itchi is as natural as breathing, no matter what form that ki ken tai itchi takes. In kendo, at least in my experience, until thats developed, theres no freeplay. Heck, its drilled in quite a bit before any sort of technique, other than basic cuts, is taught. Thats not an artifact of kendos rules of competition, which do foster quite a bit of combatively stupid behavior. Its an artifact of correct (efficient and effective) cutting technique. Yes, in kendo free practice all sorts of wacky things can happen. But technique generally doesnt fall apart. Degrade some, yeah, only a little bit. If basic technique is falling apart during sparring, Id suggest that its not time for sparring yet..

                  You said it yourself, It just so happens that what looks most tidy and perfect normally wins. Thats why we spend so much time on the stuff that makes us look tidy. Its not because of some aesthetic desire. Its because it works better. Get yourself some footage of pre-war kendo (like the Showa Tenran Shiai DVDs) or of some legitimate koryu kenjutsu. Even though the particulars of the movements are different, that same sharp coordination is there. Then the argument comes that those are kata, not actual fighting. Thats true, but I see the same quality of movement in skilled judoka or karateka when they are engaged in free practice or matches. And to avoid the fact that all my examples are Japanese in origin, I see the same quality of movement in boxers and wrestlers as well. Id wager its fundamental to any good martial art.

                  Im certainly not expecting anything thats not kendo to look like kendo, and I dont think anyone else is, either.

                  WMA suffers for having a broken lineage. The difference between the skilled and the novice isnt so much in what they do, but in how they do it. Those myriad of detail-oriented corrections that come from having living model as the pattern seem to be unavoidably absent in WMA. (Tell me if Im wrong.) The foot is a fraction of second early or late, the grip is too tight or loose, extend the tip a centimeter more in that guard, etc., those are what separate the good from the bad, because incorporating them makes the practitioner more effective, not because the practitioner needs to match an arbitrary pattern. As I like to say when instructing beginners, The right way is the right way for a reason, not to make it harder for you to learn.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    I said it before, If you enjoy this, keep doing it! I do kendo because it is a good physical and mental workout. When my kendo is "beautiful", when I can unbalance my opponent and make a perfect, unanswered strike, it makes me feel good. But when I hear someone say "I can assure you that the fill in the blank approach does work against fill in the blank and other martial arts approach, whether it looks messy to you or not. I have the trophies on my shelf to proove it" my eyes kind of roll back in my head as I wait for the next line about "effectiveness". I think that one of the reasons that I have done kendo for so long is because there is little if any chance of ever testing it's "effectiveness". It is a fun thing and an incredibly frustrating thing to do.
                    So again, as with anything, if you enjoy it, keep doing it. But when you start thinking and talking in terms of "real" perhaps you should consider therapy. It's a game and so is kendo and so are all the other "martial arts". It's like a jujitsu contest. The winner would be the guy that didn't show up and the second place would go to the guy who wasn't killed or turned into a quad. I think too that many of our kendo brothers and sisters get a bit starry eyed. I must admit that many years ago, when I first started kendo I too had that idea. Now I'm just looking for that "perfect wave" so to speak.

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                    • #40
                      "When I see a kendo bout where both people are repeatedly hitting each other, without fear of losing body parts such as fingers and hands, before one of these hits 'scores' that looks funny to me . I see the winner sporting severed members left, right and centre."

                      The striking without fear of losing body parts is an important aspect of kendo and probably all Japanese sword arts. Someone can correct me if I am wrong with the vocab, but I think the concepts are called sutemi. You commit 100% to your attack without fear for the consequences on yourself. Obviously you don't rush in when it is not smart to do so, but when you attack, you attack completely. A kendo proverb is to "throw your body away" (crappy sounding translation). Mi o suteru, I think. If you are worried about losing a finger here or there, then your technique will be crappy. Usually the people who successfully commit 100% without fear of losing fingers or getting hit back are the ones to get through an attack unscathed.

                      Of course like you said, often comparing martial arts is like apples to oranges, but I thought I would share these concepts with you. Do these ideas exist in your art?

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Matt Easton
                        When I see a kendo bout where both people are repeatedly hitting each other, without fear of losing body parts such as fingers and hands, before one of these hits 'scores' that looks funny to me .
                        There are several factors behind what you see. First is that kendo matches are not stopped unless there is a point or a penalty. In an FIE fencing match there is an exchange, lights go off, the president sorts out whether someone scored or not, and then they reset and try again. I saw a similar attitude in your video, where the players visibly reset after each exchange, whether anyone made anything of it or not. If you watch a kendo match from that perspective, just thinking that whenever there is action and then they seperate, from there it is a whole new mini-fight, then you will see the similarity.

                        Second, the rule is that the hit must be cleanly in, so if there is a simultaneous hit or if the opponents sword is on your body, you don't score. So to score you need to avoid losing those fingers as you point out.

                        Finally, there is the Japanese attitude, quite different from the western one, where the aim is not to survive, but to kill the opponent. Surviving is good, but the first goal is to kill the opponent. Therefore we teach a very aggressive, always forward, throw everything you've got into each attack style. It's a fundamental difference in perspective.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                          Finally, there is the Japanese attitude, quite different from the western one, where the aim is not to survive, but to kill the opponent. Surviving is good, but the first goal is to kill the opponent. Therefore we teach a very aggressive, always forward, throw everything you've got into each attack style. It's a fundamental difference in perspective.
                          Exactamundo............. That's what I have noticed in your video - even if it is just sparring - you guys focus more on not getting hit, than getting a nice cut in on your opponent. Sometimes it even seems as youre already retreating (sp) even before your cut connects. No offence but at moments it looks like your showing fear/insecurity towards your opponent, not following through your cuts.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Rurouni Kenshin
                            Exactamundo............. That's what I have noticed in your video - even if it is just sparring - you guys focus more on not getting hit, than getting a nice cut in on your opponent.
                            Exactamundo.............Yes, this is Rule Number One - don't get hit.

                            Rule Number Two is get a nice cut in on your opponent.

                            And unfortunately that means....
                            Originally posted by Rurouni Kenshin
                            Sometimes it even seems as youre already retreating (sp) even before your cut connects.
                            However, I'm about to refute this entirely in my next post....

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by nodachi
                              The striking without fear of losing body parts is an important aspect of kendo and probably all Japanese sword arts. Someone can correct me if I am wrong with the vocab, but I think the concepts are called sutemi. You commit 100% to your attack without fear for the consequences on yourself. Obviously you don't rush in when it is not smart to do so, but when you attack, you attack completely. A kendo proverb is to "throw your body away" (crappy sounding translation). Mi o suteru, I think. If you are worried about losing a finger here or there, then your technique will be crappy. Usually the people who successfully commit 100% without fear of losing fingers or getting hit back are the ones to get through an attack unscathed.
                              Yes, despite the fact that I am playing a rather defensive game and doing my best not to get hit, I have found myself experimenting with the above - simply commiting myself entirely to the attack and trusting that the repertoire itself as described by Fiore will prevent me from getting anything in return.

                              And you know what? I think you are quite right. If I commit myself entirely the covered line that Fiore instructs us to attack from behind often often allows me to get the hit on without a scratch.

                              (If I understand things correctly I think the German lot have a certain appreciation for this. However, Matt would know more about this than me.)

                              So, thanks for that post, as it does rather confirm something I've been musing about and attempting to get to work for myself.

                              This is what I rather like about our EuropeanMA efforts - yes, we find ourselves often reinventing the wheel. However, reinventing the wheel can be rather fun.
                              Originally posted by nodachi
                              Do these ideas exist in your art?
                              For me, it's a work in progress.
                              Last edited by ScholaDays; 21st April 2006, 05:55 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Ignatz
                                Many years ago I had the opportunuty to study judo with some really good people. The comment that one made was that I did judo like a jujitsuka. What he meant was that I would attempt a technique and if it did not work, would step out and try a different one. What he impressed upon me was that if my attack failed or was countered I needed to transition immediately, if not sooner, into another.
                                Oh, tell me about it.

                                I come from a Sport Fencing background, and as a result my earlier Longsword career saw me often concentrating quite heavily on the sword alone. Hence, when the distance closed I would often stop and reset myself - to be met by a fist in the face or to be wrapped up in some hideous grapple.

                                Thus, when the distance closes I've had to force myself to transition from sword to kicking to punching to grappling. Peeling my left hand off the weapon can indeed be a bit of a struggle.

                                However, as result I'm the fellow in the light brown gambeson who likes to punch folk in the head when they get too close.
                                Originally posted by Ignatz
                                My only suggestion would be to work to make it "beautiful".
                                Hmm, I see what you are sayingg, however I've got a more 'In truth, beauty' approach.

                                Once I get it right, it'll look beautiful all by itself.

                                Okay, okay, a bit poetic perhaps, but, well, lets see.
                                Originally posted by Ignatz
                                Maybe you could get your hands on some period armour to use as a mold and make up some super lightweight carbon fiber replicas so you could add more realism to what you are doing.
                                Ah, we've found that the more protection we wear the less 'realistic' our repertoire becomes. Reason being we lose all fear of the weapon and commit to risky repertoire. Hence our gambsons are just thick enough to avoid serious injury, but not so think that a hit doesn't hurt.

                                An extention of this is to spar (carefully) with (blunt) steel and less armour. Once one has that steel point in one's face the whole endevour does get rather cagey and far more defensive.

                                Is this more 'real'?

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