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  • #31
    I agree with Charlie. I don't really see much of a difference (which is why I was quote-marking all the words like 'sneaky' in my previous post). The only reasons that I can think of for people coming up with this distinction are either shinpan giving points for invalid waza, in which case you can't blame people for modifying their kendo to suit the playing field, or otherwise people with their own notions of what kendo should be and what it should be ok to do. For my reference as to what's ok, I use the best competitors judged by the best sensei, which is invariably shown at competitions like all-japan or police competitions. I mean, if 8th dan sensei say it's a point (and therefore 'good' kendo) then who am I to argue?

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Kingofmyrrh
      I agree with Charlie. I don't really see much of a difference (which is why I was quote-marking all the words like 'sneaky' in my previous post). The only reasons that I can think of for people coming up with this distinction are either shinpan giving points for invalid waza, in which case you can't blame people for modifying their kendo to suit the playing field, or otherwise people with their own notions of what kendo should be and what it should be ok to do. For my reference as to what's ok, I use the best competitors judged by the best sensei, which is invariably shown at competitions like all-japan or police competitions. I mean, if 8th dan sensei say it's a point (and therefore 'good' kendo) then who am I to argue?
      I do not beleive there is sneaky kendo either. There is kendo where a bad point went in becase of bad form which is sometimes associated with sneaky kendo. ie. a men that barely cuts the opponent and is somewhat sideways and hits the side of the men. Many people call that sneaky. It is not sneaky, it is just as visible as a nicer men, just poorly executed. Any good referee can make the distinction. However, we are not always graced with excellent referees.

      2. those that complain of sneaky kendo only do so because they fall for it. Fact of the matter is a correctly executed waza is a correctly executed waza and that is not sneaky. However, those compaliners do not fall for those waza, they fall for the opponent that is constantly feinting his shinai or making bizarre body movements. A good kendoka will not be affected by the sneaky kendo. Granted you cannot parry everything 100% of the time or occasionally fall for a "sneaky" move, but it more rare than common. Thus sneaky kendo will not show itself within a higher rankes person. But one must be able to make the distinction of a good waza vs sneaky kendo.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Charlie
        I have to ask, though, why this keeps coming up? Why do people keep insisting there's that big a difference between pure kendo and competition kendo?
        Because there is a big difference. The misconception, in my opinion, is that it has something to do with form. To me, form is just an outward expression of the difference in mindset, and it is the mindset which is the important thing. But the difference in form is, ultimately, trivial.

        As I've said in the past, after someone wins a competition, they go to the dojo the next day and still get their arses kicked by their sensei.
        Indeed. So the question is: why do people care about how they place in competition? Why do they even care about going to competition?

        So we on the sidelines may think a point is not deserved: two out of three judges did. Are you sure it wasn't worthy?
        For myself, if I have an opinion on a point, it is not because of "straightness" vs "trickiness."

        Let me look at it another way. Okay, you decide you want to be better at shiai. How do you do this? Do you look for tricks, ask someone to teach you tricks, practice tricks?
        It is difficult to differentiate "trick" from "waza." After all, any repeatable sequence of movements is a technique, hence, waza. And, the first time you encounter a legitimate waza, one is likely to be taken by surprise, hence, "tricked." Especially for something like katsugi-waza.

        I, for one, see people asking for techniques all the time in order to again advantage. Is that asking for "tricks" or "waza"? I am not sure from the way you phrased your point.

        Is this semantic confusion the reason you see shiai and "straight" kendo as being more similar than different? Again, in my view, the difference in form is merely superficial.

        Don't forget, nothing about our training is superfluous or unnecessary. It's all beneficial.

        Last point: competition in perspective. Taikai is only a fraction of shiai. An important fraction, to be sure, but only a fraction.
        These two points rely on the teachings we get from "straight" kendo. Kickboxers, fencers, javellin throwers, etc do not seem to worry much about the parts of shiai which are not taikai in their own worlds. Even the distinction we have between jigeiko and shiai does not really exist for most fighting sports. Bouting for boxers, fencers, etc, is the same as competition except for some informality. This is unlike kendo, where sensei routinely admonish people that keiko is not shiai.

        I think it is difficult to see the difference because Americans, in particular, are raised in a culture where virtually everything is competitive. We are apt to measure one's success at anything through competition or advancement. This is something that can be overcome, but my point is that it is easy to think of keiko as being something that is done only to prepare for tournaments and tests, and, if you look at it that way, of course there is not that much difference between "straight kendo" and "tournament kendo" or "test kendo." You cannot prepare for something by practicing for it in the wrong way. But, that is not the only way to look at it.

        To me, the question is very simple: what is your goal?

        Some people practice in order to beat other people. They go to keiko to do better in shiai. If they aren't in shiai, they feel successful when they score more points in keiko (even though keiko is not about points). That, to me, is "competition kendo." It has nothing to do with how "straight" or "twisty" the form is. It is often the case that people who are trying very hard to win will be more "twisty" as they push the envelope trying to score, but the difference in form is not really the point. The point is that the measure of success for "competition kendo" is winning. I know many people like this.

        To me, "pure kendo" is about practicing kendo for kendo's sake. Keiko is not for shiai, not for shinsa, not for recreation, not for "self-improvement," etc, etc, but just for kendo. That does not mean shiai, shinsa, recreation, self-improvement, etc have no meaning, it just means that the goal of practice is none of those things, per se. The improvement of any of those is a side effect and incidental, not a goal. I think of "pure kendo" as being selfless.

        These are very different perspectives that have only an incidental relationship with "straight" vs "tricky."

        Obviously things are not black/white -- people are not 100% one way or 100% the other way. But I do think that most people have a disposition that leans them one way or another, and I do think people can (and will) change over time.

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        • #34
          Arthur, truth is, there is semantic confusion: I'm never sure what people mean by "tricks." As you said, they are most likely waza. That's why I put it the way I did: "Whaddaya gonna do, ask someone to teach you some 'tricks?'"

          I would argue, too, that other combative sports can have a jigeiko feeling during their free practice, like kendo. Sometimes boxers work on specific techniques during sparring, for example, and in judo, if all you tried to do in your randori was fight like you were fighting in shiai, you would be admonished for not trying to develop your waza. Dunno about fencing.

          Regardless, I see what you're saying. On competition, I feel it has a valuable place in the kendoist's life. I think I already elaborated on that.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Charlie
            Arthur, truth is, there is semantic confusion: I'm never sure what people mean by "tricks." As you said, they are most likely waza. That's why I put it the way I did: "Whaddaya gonna do, ask someone to teach you some 'tricks?'"
            I'm not sure about the others but when I hear about tricks I think of head-bobbing or twisting your body sideways and hitting kote at an angle for example. Tacking on "zanshin" could also be considered tricks by me.

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            • #36
              I noticed someone at practice the other night bobbing and weaving around but sempai never said anything or did'nt see it. is that allowed ? and also is the opposite side of the doh permitable to hit or is that bad ?

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              • #37
                Yes, you can hit it, usually going backwards.

                The bobbing and weaving is discouraged, but if someone wants to try it, you can let them find their own way. Thing is, how can you strike if your bobbing and weaving? Or, if you were bobbing and weaving, you must have stopped it long enough to strike?

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                • #38
                  I agree that a "jigeiko feeling" can be brought into any kind of practice. I was making a rather sweeping generality that is that most activities do not view practice as having a different functional aesthetic than actual competition. "Martial arts" are different in that way.

                  I also absolutely agree with you that competition is valuable.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Charlie
                    Yes, you can hit it, usually going backwards.

                    The bobbing and weaving is discouraged, but if someone wants to try it, you can let them find their own way. Thing is, how can you strike if your bobbing and weaving? Or, if you were bobbing and weaving, you must have stopped it long enough to strike?
                    yeah I don't think you would be able to have nice clean men cut if your bobbing to the right and left like a mad man, so the other side of the doh is ok, when can I use it ?

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                    • #40
                      My guess is it would be once you have been taught the technique by your sensei and you have a clear shot at it... there has been a discussion on this before...
                      I have never been really taught the technique by anyone, even though I have seen people do it before because they felt like it and I avoid trying it.
                      Plus I imagine it would have to be a near-perfect, powerful cut to go all the way through the imaginary saya and wakizashi...
                      See here http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2486

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                      • #41
                        hmmmmmm....good point

                        Originally posted by steliosk
                        My guess is it would be once you have been taught the technique by your sensei and you have a clear shot at it... there has been a discussion on this before...
                        I have never been really taught the technique by anyone, even though I have seen people do it before because they felt like it and I avoid trying it.
                        Plus I imagine it would have to be a near-perfect, powerful cut to go all the way through the imaginary saya and wakizashi...
                        See here http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2486
                        The only time I have a problem with that is when doing keiko I get confused and go the other way,it does'nt help that I'm left handed, it feels kinda natural but I don't want to get into bad habits.

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                        • #42
                          Disclaimer: I am FAR too inexperienced in kendo to give concrete advice on these things, my sempai at the dojo as well as the forum are much better qualified than myself to answer these questions. I would not want to let anyone think that I am an "expert" or something of the sort...

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                          • #43
                            Tora, you mean you cut doh on the opponent's left, but going forward? AFAIK, that's unorthodox but allowed. You may wish to start a separate thread to get more feedback.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Nishi
                              ...Im hitting a moral fork in my training where im looking at the paths people can take in kendo...
                              A moral fork? What does your sensei think? He's the one who is teaching you.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Charlie
                                Tora, you mean you cut doh on the opponent's left, but going forward? AFAIK, that's unorthodox but allowed. You may wish to start a separate thread to get more feedback.
                                Why is it unorthodox to cut it going forward but not unorthodox when you cut it going backwards? We're taught both.

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