Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Kendo and Koryu

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Kendo and Koryu

    I've recently begun studying iaido, and I have yet to get to the koryu kata yet, but the thought occurred to me the other day:

    How is it that iaido retained an independent set of koryu kata alongside seitei, but most kendo dojos don't do a separate set of koryu kata? After all, didn't the first kendo senseis have a direct koryu background and all that jazz? It just feels weird to have a koryu set for solo kata, but not paired.

  • #2
    Where did the ZNKR kendo kata come from?

    Comment


    • #3
      This topic is one of my pet questions as well.

      Some kendojo do practice koryu alongside standard kendo. In some cases it's because the dojo originally taught that tradition and subsequently embraced kendo (Tobukan in Mito for Hokushin Itto-ryu and Shuseikan in Shinjuku for Kurama-ryu are cases in point). In other cases the dojo shihan learned a koryu tradition in addition to kendo and teaches the koryu as additional material in a principally kendojo.

      However these cases are extremely rare (BTW, they aren't just in Japan). In my opinion here are some possible explanation as to why koryu was discarded from kendo:

      - Kendo became standardized under government efforts. One of the goals is to make it teachable to large numbers (koryu tends to be a bit more geared towards teaching a few). Also in the context of the time the various ryu-ha were quite sectarian and didn't reveal techniques lightly. Kendo was therefore meant to discard koryu from the outset.

      - Iaido was incorporated into ZNKR much much later and not under government efforts. The current generation of senior sensei started to learn iaido prior to the establishment of seitei.

      - Many of the first generation of kendo teachers also taught koryu alongside standard kendo (Nakayama Hakudo and Takano Sasaburo famously) but this gradually faded away

      - Who knows? Perhaps the iaido-bu may eventually take koryu out of the iaido curriculum? This is (if I am not mistaken) the case already with jodo within ZNKR (an even more recent addition).

      - Kendo, the way we practice it is shinai focused. In fact finding people enthusiastic about Nihon Kendo-no Kata is often disappointingly low. As such there's not much of a "market" for studying koryu within kendo.

      - Nihon Kendo-no Kata was built from the ground up as having the "best" elements in common to all the koryu invited to devise it (and it wasn't the first attempt). Given how kendo has a "less is more" attitude it's little surprise that the prevailing view is that it is enough to chew on for everyone. In fact, some might argue that even Kendo-no Kata is a bit flowery and not to the point (hence we get bokuto kihon keiko-ho)

      - Many koryu traditions are not solely kenjutsu. Even with the kenjutsu curriculum there are often several dozen kata. Some of these blend into jujutsu. It is therefore difficult to dissect from this a set of additional kata preserved for "the way of the sword."

      Sometimes I meet senior kendo sensei who know a lot more about koryu than they let on. They don't make a lot noise about it because they do not officially belong to these traditions or if they do they are not authorized to teach that tradition. Also, I get the feeling that in their view the end point of koryu and kendo is the same. In fact one of my sensei out of the blue showed me some Itto-ryu techniques (don't know which flavor but probably common to all of them) one morning to illustrate points in kendo. When I mentioned "koryu" he said it's the same as kendo. Of course, he doesn't mean that they are the same in catalog of techniques but in other aspects like timing, seme, things I have yet to grasp, etc. Today this sensei demonstrated how timing is important for some oji-waza that comes from koryu that could be adapted to kendo. He took it as far as to show how to go from wakigamae against hasso into take-down of the hasso wielding aite (involves getting underneath and behind the right side of the aite during furikaburi, sticking the elbow in the aite's face while trapping the arms up and pushing the aite backwards). That kind of timing, control and mentally setting up the aite does get developed in kendo despite the techniques themselves not being imparted (though definitely helps if you do another martial art with a wider variety of movements).

      Still, I do wish kendo in general had explicitly retained koryu within its curriculum or have it more widely distributed even if it is not officially supported.
      Last edited by dillon; 10th April 2012, 08:58 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by nederlander View Post
        I've recently begun studying iaido, and I have yet to get to the koryu kata yet, but the thought occurred to me the other day:
        Looking at your username and completely ignoring your country flag this might be something (iaido related) for you.
        It's a koryu seminar in Holland/The Netherlands held by Kendo Kai Den Haag and two of their sensei

        Comment


        • #5
          Edit window timed out.

          BTW some Muso Shinden Ryu lines do teach paired kata (tachi-uchi-kurai). This is somewhat rare though.

          Also koryu jodo has a set of Shinto-ryu kenjutsu kata. But again it seems that koryu jodo has been taken out of the ZNKR jodo curriculum (though still widely practiced in IKF jodo practices both within and outside of Japan).

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not a koryu guy, but I thought itto-ryu did paired kata. Also TSKSR, going off the Donn Draeger videos. (Been watching Mad Men again, and I originally typed in "Don Draper" lol)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by b8amack View Post
              I'm not a koryu guy, but I thought itto-ryu did paired kata. Also TSKSR, going off the Donn Draeger videos. (Been watching Mad Men again, and I originally typed in "Don Draper" lol)
              Yes, there are several (that I have seen) paired kata/kumitachi within Itto Ryu. Ono-ha Itto Ryu uses these large onigote during paired training so that the uchidachi can receive strikes to the kote from a bokuto. It is very interesting to watch, there are several videos on youtube including this one uploaded from (Kendo World).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dillon View Post

                BTW some Muso Shinden Ryu lines do teach paired kata (tachi-uchi-kurai).
                I was under the impression that tachi uchi no kurai was Jikiden. Shinden practice that too? We are learning that once a month at Ken Zen, and I just bought Kim Taylor sensei's DVD for my own reference.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sirius1906 View Post
                  I was under the impression that tachi uchi no kurai was Jikiden. Shinden practice that too? We are learning that once a month at Ken Zen, and I just bought Kim Taylor sensei's DVD for my own reference.
                  Yes, that's my understanding. Not surprising considering they're from the same root. I don't know what the differences are as practiced between the two traditions.

                  My understanding of the OP's question is not why there isn't paired koryu kenjutsu kata at all (I can't think of a koryu kenjutsu tradition that isn't based primarily on paired kata) but rather why they are not in the kendo curriculum while koryu is within the iaido syllabus. So my answer was my conjecture as to why there isn't a direct retention within kendo while it can be found (maybe sometimes) in the other two arts that the ZNKR promote.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As I understand it, the answer lies in the practice itself. The seitei kata were developed as an introduction to iaido. To gain an in-depth understanding, you were expected to move on and train in a koryu iaido art. It can (and has) been debated that the seitei have developed into their own art and no longer need further koryu training, but that's a whole different subject. There is no need to learn a koryu of any kind to gain a deeper understanding of kendo. In fact, learning a koryu kenjutsu, depending upon which one you're studying, can actually hurt your kendo if you do not keep them separated internally.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sirius1906 View Post
                      I was under the impression that tachi uchi no kurai was Jikiden. Shinden practice that too? We are learning that once a month at Ken Zen, and I just bought Kim Taylor sensei's DVD for my own reference.
                      Both Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu and Muso Shinden-ryu practice tachiuchi no kurai. There is also tsumeai no kurai, daishozume daikendori, daisho tachizume and a few others in both ryuha, but finding a dojo that does more than the first two sets is pretty rare.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In fact finding people enthusiastic about Nihon Kendo-no Kata is often disappointingly low.
                        I've wondered about this before: I've been told that many dojo in the Netherlands don't practice kata at all, except in the weeks leading up to shinsa. Supposedly the dojo I train at is unique insofar that we practice kata every single week, before warming up and moving on to kihon/waza/geiko and such.

                        I find it odd that there's seemingly so little interest in kata, as I often read articles decrying the importance of kata.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          as I often read articles decrying the importance of kata.
                          Sorry, "declare", not "decry". My bad.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Is possible that in the following video we have a koryu kendo application?
                            I am referring to the "strange" tsuki attempted by Kondo sensei..
                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hiq8C...layer_embedded

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hard to see from behind but it looks similar to the thrust from ZNKR seitei iaido soetetsuki. The right hand keeps hold of the tsuka while the left hand steadies the blade with the mune gripped between the thumb and forefinger. I've seen a video of YSKR iai where this type of thrust is also used (my understanding being that the blade enters under the rib cage and proceeds up to the heart).

                              So is 8-dan the grade when people get to try all the stuff they were told is no-no in kendo when they were ikkyu?

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X