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  • Which hand to use?

    I notice that most every teaching or demo that I see uses the right hand as the primary. I however am left handed. Can anyone tell me if it's possible to use my left hand and also if it might create any apparent weaknesses in my form?

  • #2
    no, just do as a left handed will do. Might be tough for your sensei to show you, but you can certainly "mirror" technique.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by SaitoHajime
      I notice that most every teaching or demo that I see uses the right hand as the primary. I however am left handed. Can anyone tell me if it's possible to use my left hand and also if it might create any apparent weaknesses in my form?

      There is no left or right hand in kendo as such, the left hand is always at the butt of the shinai and the right hand at the tsuba. The left hand/arm is the one that actually does all the work the hand is there to stablise and guide (or at least thats how I was taught it) so being left handed should actually give you an advantage in the beginning stages.

      If in doubt always ask your sensei.

      Lisa

      Comment


      • #4
        about.. 20 yrs ago when i was teaching bagpipes to beginners.. one of the guy just could not get the concept of upper hand/bottom hand thing.. found out he was left handed. once we switched the hands ass backward, he was doing fine. maybe you should request your sensei what might be the proper way for lefty to do.

        you should see left handed pipers in parade.. they are really funny bunch..

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Atama
          There is no left or right hand in kendo as such, the left hand is always at the butt of the shinai and the right hand at the tsuba. The left hand/arm is the one that actually does all the work the hand is there to stablise and guide (or at least thats how I was taught it) so being left handed should actually give you an advantage in the beginning stages.

          If in doubt always ask your sensei.

          Lisa
          Thank you for the info. This leads to another train of thought. That being that one hand is for power and the other is for guidance. I've never been trained properly in kendo or any other such thing. However if it's a choice between using my dominant hand for power or guidance I think I would rather use it for precission guidance as good technique shouldn't require as much power. Any thoughts ?

          Comment


          • #6
            Since you will be holding the Shinai like a right handed person, eventually you will get used to it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi there!

              Ahhh... You are trying to teach yourself? My advice? Don't bother. Once you get into a dojo, you will be re-taught everything from scratch. Right now, you aren't even doing Kendo, if I may say. The only thing you are doing to yourself right now, is teaching yourself things that are bad habits and bad technique. This will make it harder for you actually, because in a dojo you will spend lots of time unlearning every single bad habit rather than learning it right the first time around for the first month or two. It is much more fun to learn everything right the first time around.

              As far as what you say about "good technique" you won't have any yet. You won't ever, until you make your way to a proper dojo.

              You must hold the shinai properly, with the right hand near the tsuba, left hand at the bottom of the tsuka(handle). There is no left handed way of holding the shinai. The left hand DOES have the power though. That is an advantage for a left handed person. There are no left handed swordsmen once a person begins a JSA. It really is not about which hand is dominant at all.

              So, you don't get any choice at all, which hand is the power behind the cut. I'm not trying to be impolite here... this is just how it is. The left hand IS the one with the power, the right hand guides. You won't really understand this until you have a sensei who can explain and show you. Your sensei, when you get into a dojo, will expect you to hold the shinai properly, with the RH on the top, LH at the bottom, and do proper cutting. You will get used to it, once you get proper instruction in a dojo. Honest. Oh, and there is much more to it than just holding a shinai and cutting. Trust me, you will be surprised at the little details there are in making a cut properly.

              That being said, there IS Kendo where you are.

              Here is the Houston dojo:

              Houston Budokan Inc.
              4230 Mangum
              Houston, TX
              M F 7pm-8:30pm Sa 3:30-5pm
              Contact: Darrel Craig (713)682-9014

              Be sure to call and ask if you can watch a practice first. This is standard etiquette. Please go check out this dojo. You will be happy you did.

              Hope this helps!

              Kaoru

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kaoru
                Hi there!

                Ahhh... You are trying to teach yourself? My advice? Don't bother. Once you get into a dojo, you will be re-taught everything from scratch. Right now, you aren't even doing Kendo, if I may say. The only thing you are doing to yourself right now, is teaching yourself things that are bad habits and bad technique. This will make it harder for you actually, because in a dojo you will spend lots of time unlearning every single bad habit rather than learning it right the first time around for the first month or two. It is much more fun to learn everything right the first time around.

                As far as what you say about "good technique" you won't have any yet. You won't ever, until you make your way to a proper dojo.

                You must hold the shinai properly, with the right hand near the tsuba, left hand at the bottom of the tsuka(handle). There is no left handed way of holding the shinai. The left hand DOES have the power though. That is an advantage for a left handed person. There are no left handed swordsmen once a person begins a JSA. It really is not about which hand is dominant at all.

                So, you don't get any choice at all, which hand is the power behind the cut. I'm not trying to be impolite here... this is just how it is. The left hand IS the one with the power, the right hand guides. You won't really understand this until you have a sensei who can explain and show you. Your sensei, when you get into a dojo, will expect you to hold the shinai properly, with the RH on the top, LH at the bottom, and do proper cutting. You will get used to it, once you get proper instruction in a dojo. Honest. Oh, and there is much more to it than just holding a shinai and cutting. Trust me, you will be surprised at the little details there are in making a cut properly.

                That being said, there IS Kendo where you are.

                Here is the Houston dojo:

                Houston Budokan Inc.
                4230 Mangum
                Houston, TX
                M F 7pm-8:30pm Sa 3:30-5pm
                Contact: Darrel Craig (713)682-9014

                Be sure to call and ask if you can watch a practice first. This is standard etiquette. Please go check out this dojo. You will be happy you did.

                Hope this helps!

                Kaoru
                Interesting

                First I'd like to say thanks for your information as it makes a lot of things clear. I was begining to think that I really didn't want to get into kendo but thought that maybe I was just exagerating over nothing. However your information supports my theory that kendo has a structure all it's own that I wouldn't exactly fit into. Then again I like the mentality of the samurai along with the technique. I should probably just learn sword arts and just practive with people who are open to different styles and techniques. I don't think I'd care too much for the structure you're describing that doesn't seem to allow for much improv. I like the thought of growing as a sword arts practitioner through seeing other styles and techniques. Kendo seems to be based on a specific style of attack/deffense ie only using right handed techniques. As in your statement I would also say that I'm not trying to be rude, just stating my view. Some things that you said however didn't make sense to me. Right or Left a hand and arm are the same, however right and left handed people are this way due to a possible dominance in their brain, also you've used that side for the whole of your life so I would figure that it would make an amount of difference in the power you could produce and how familiar you are with that side. Granted anyone can learn to use the other side possibly just as well but wouldn't it be easier to use the side you were used to ? What do you mean there is no left handed way of holding the shinai? Hands and arms are equal in fingers and ability to move so how could one not be able to just reverse one's use of them? There's more I'd like to say on the subject of teaching myself bad techniques as I don't think learning always starts at the teacher student level. I'm not saying I'm that person but I believe that it can be said historicly that some have started out learning from books and refining what they learned through teachings from others. On the other hand this still doesn't negate that what you are saying about kendo having a certain form. This is something I'll really have to speak to the guys at the dojo on. Though I know I don't see myself practicing in an art form that only goes one way, I mean if I do it the same way just like everyone else it really only means that one of us is just faster or has better execution, not that one of us came up with something that would make the other person have to grow to become better. On another note does anyone have a better suggestion for a sword-art that may better suit my wish to develop a technique in a way that is only limited by what I can come up with?

                Comment


                • #9
                  just read this

                  http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/sho...ight=left+hand
                  should give you some ideas or so.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Swissv2
                    just read this

                    http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/sho...ight=left+hand
                    should give you some ideas or so.
                    Well it's really more of the same. I could conform but where is the fun in that

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Part one (Had to split this up. The board told me to.)

                      Hi there,

                      First I'd like to say thanks for your information as it makes a lot of things clear.
                      You're welcome. I'm glad it helped some.

                      However your information supports my theory that kendo has a structure all it's own that I wouldn't exactly fit into. Then again I like the mentality of the samurai along with the technique. I should probably just learn sword arts and just practive with people who are open to different styles and techniques.
                      This will never work. No legitimate sensei is going to let you do what you want, unless you go to one of those McDojo karate schools that think they know swordarts, but really are dangerous with a sword.If you just want to goof off and mess around with a sword in a karate dojo where they will give you points for how high you can throw a sword and other crazy "creative" stunts, fine. But, that isn't what swordsmanship is about.

                      Yes, there are different styles and techniques in real Japanese sword arts OUTSIDE of and NOT including karate "JSA". BUT: ALL these traditional JSA have structure and a set way of doing things, and each style does NOT take from another Ryu(style) and learn it. That is not JSA. You will never get to practice with real practitioners and expect to get any good with this way of thinking.

                      I don't think I'd care too much for the structure you're describing that doesn't seem to allow for much improv. I like the thought of growing as a sword arts practitioner through seeing other styles and techniques.
                      Then you are not ready for studying a true Japanese sword art, which Kendo is. ALL the sword arts, Iaido and Kenjutsu included, have this set structure. Iaido and Kenjutsu are 400 year old arts. Kendo is some 150 years old. Yes, there is a set way of doing things, and a set way of doing techniques. You can't get away from it. You CAN'T improvise. It is not done. Ever. Unless you are a Karate Samurai wannabe. They don't have much of a clue, I am afraid. And you can't call what they do, JSA even.

                      This is why you need to get into a dojo. You don't understand yet, that you DO grow in a dojo wth structure. It takes almost a year to just be allowed to spar in Kendo. It is hard work. If you don't want the hard work, you are not ready. There is structure in ANY GOOD reputable JSA dojo.

                      And yes, all Kenshi are encouraged to visit other Kendo dojos once they get fairly decent technique going. No two sensei are alike, and all teach differently. It is the same stuff, but different, if you know what I mean. You don't understand, because you have never set foot in a dojo, and given a sensei half a chance to teach you anything for a long period of time.

                      Koryu dojos, those that teach Iaido and Kenjutsu I mean, do not spar, but do encourage dojo visiting I believe. Though, you do not go and learn bits here and there at different dojos of different Ryu. That is not learning JSA when you think you can do that. It takes years to even become halfway good in just one art. You can't just throw stuff together and claim you are learning JSA. You aren't and can't, and that is just the truth.

                      So, yes you DO grow with good structure. And, watching other arts just broadens your horizons. You grow best in a dojo with a properly qualified sensei, period. There is no other way.

                      Kendo seems to be based on a specific style of attack/deffense ie only using right handed techniques.
                      They are not right-handed techniques really. They are balanced by BOTH hands together.

                      Some things that you said however didn't make sense to me. Right or Left a hand and arm are the same, however right and left handed people are this way due to a possible dominance in their brain, also you've used that side for the whole of your life so I would figure that it would make an amount of difference in the power you could produce and how familiar you are with that side.
                      You ned to get away with this "I'm left handed" deal. I don't care if you are. I am left handed as well as right. I was born left handed. But, since I have a vision impairment, that kinda messed things up a little. I use both. I can't decide which is dominant half the time, and really, I don't feel sorry for you, no offense. I hold my shinai the way sensei said, and it worked just fine after practicing diligently. You either deal with it, or don't do JSA.

                      This will never make any sense to you until you get into a dojo to get a sensei to show you why.

                      Again, the POWER is in the LEFT HAND. The LH MUST be at the bottom of the shinai, and THIS is where you use that power. The RH is the GUIDE. It makes NO difference which hand is dominant. You just have to do the boring thing and actually *gasp* PRACTICE a lot in between classes. Several weeks of hundereds of slowly practiced suburi taught to you in a dojo will take care of this "problem."

                      I understand this doesn't make sense to you yet, but if you get yourself going and go to a dojo, I promise you, this WILL eventually make sense to you.

                      Granted anyone can learn to use the other side possibly just as well but wouldn't it be easier to use the side you were used to ?
                      No. It just doesn't work that way.

                      What do you mean there is no left handed way of holding the shinai? Hands and arms are equal in fingers and ability to move so how could one not be able to just reverse one's use of them?
                      I mean that there are no left-handed swordsmen ever. There never was. You draw with the right hand, and cut using both. You can't reverse anything. No offense, but you are really hung up on your left hand. This is really a simple matter of getting into a dojo and actually practicing hard to get used to it. You are playing mind games with yourself... and it is getting to you. Let it go, and just go to the dojo I gave you, and practice hard. All good things come in time, if you are willing to work hard at them.

                      There's more I'd like to say on the subject of teaching myself bad techniques as I don't think learning always starts at the teacher student level. I'm not saying I'm that person but I believe that it can be said historicly that some have started out learning from books and refining what they learned through teachings from others.
                      No, not historically. All swordsmen trained in a dojo with a sensei. You can gain a lot of knowledge yes, by reading a book, but you cannot LEARN techniques from a book. They are only two dimensional. And, back in the old days, they had no books for these arts, but scrolls, and only one teacher had the scrolls. The information was transmitted in the dojo, not through a scroll, but by actually teaching students in the dojo. The scroll was kept by the sensei only, and was not for the students. Books are just for use as an aid to proper instruction. Ask any of the prominant authors of those books. Without a sensei to guide you, you will always have bad habits and very wrong technique.

                      On the other hand this still doesn't negate that what you are saying about kendo having a certain form. This is something I'll really have to speak to the guys at the dojo on.
                      It is always a good idea to go to a sensei with questions. But, please remember to be respectful and listen to what the sensei has to say. He/she will have trained for many years and you have no training to speak of. Be sure to recognise their years of training under qualified teachers. The same goes for talking to the students in the dojo. They are senior to you. Really, it is a good thing to be curious and ask questions, so I encourage that.

                      On to part two please...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Part Two

                        Part two:

                        Though I know I don't see myself practicing in an art form that only goes one way, I mean if I do it the same way just like everyone else it really only means that one of us is just faster or has better execution, not that one of us came up with something that would make the other person have to grow to become better.
                        The reason you think this, is because you have never been taught. You don't understand anything yet. Doing a cut the way sensei tells you, and doing what everyone else does, has NOTHING to do with speed or execution. Becoming faster and having better execution comes of practicing hard every day in between practices at the dojo, what the sensei and sempai have told you what you need to work on or corrected, in the dojo each week.

                        There is so much you don't know about. It does not mean what you say at all. This is where you should not talk until you go train. Being untrained, you don't know what you are saying really. Though, you are trying, but you really can't know anything about the details and have deeper understanding until you train.

                        Practicing with your sensei or sempai(senior) will always make you grow as a student. You can't grow unless you practice hard, and listen to what the sensei tells you, and what your sempai tell you. If you can't deal with the structure and being corrected for bad technique in a class, and can't be bothered to care, then why bother wanting to train in a JSA? ALL real JSA will be hard work and have structure, and there is NO way around that.

                        The sensei learns from their students and the sempai learns from the kohai(junior) besides you learning from both, by the way. It is a never ending circle of learning. ALL grow because each works and practices together.

                        You will never grow if you are a "class" of one, trying to teach yourself. The only thing you will gain is a mess of bad techniques which won't even be considered tecniques by real JSA people. You will just have a million bad habits and no form or anything at all but a mess of "cuts" that aren't really cuts, and awful footwork, among other things. Do you really want that, and to trick yourself into believing this is true JSA? If you want to learn a legitimate art, you have to be willing to work hard to learn it, or don't do it at all.

                        You don't "come up with something" in the way of a technique to grow. Thart is not how it works. Nor, is it what JSA is.

                        Growing in Kendo means you not only grow in good technique and form by being corrected by sensei and sempai, you learn to grow as a person. Kendo teaches a person many things. One thing you will learn, is patience. Kendo, when you begin learning to cut properly, will teach you that right away, because if you just swing without thinking, it will just be a sloppy cut with no zanshin.(Another thing you will learn about in class.) There is a lot more... You can't learn any of this alone. You learn this from the others in the dojo. You will learn compassion, and kindness, too. When motodachi(The one in bogu(armor)you will strike as a beginner. You will not be in bogu then.) allows you to strike him/her in practice, he/she is giving you a gift, my sensei says. Motodachi is allowing you to learn a poper Men. Kote or Do cut, even if you happen to miss due to inexperience and hit them on the wrong area, which can hurt them. That's why it is a gift. The compassion is knowing you are striking them, and it might hurt, so you are thankful they let you hit them, and realise that they are being humble to allow it. You in turn, try not to hit so hard that you are clubbing them. Kendo is also about respect. When you bow after working with him/her, you are thanking them for letting you strike them and helping you to learn. You don't just hit them. They will instruct you and guide you. And, when they bow back, they are thanking you too, for trying your best. hehe, Our sensei told us all this at lunch one day, and some of this is my own idea of what he meant, after thinking about what he told us.

                        Now, for a sensei to grow, this is a higher level than what growing for a beginner or student is. One way a sensei grows is by teaching. He/she learns whst does and does not work, when teaching to get a point across. Teaching is NOT easy. Each student is different, and what will work for one, may not work for another. They still teach the same technique, but maybe present it more visually to one student by showing, and more verbally to another by telling. And even, by taking the student's arm and moving the arm into the correct position, is a way to teach. The sensei is also endlessly learning Kendo on a higher level as well, besides teaching by training in a dojo with sensei higher ranked than themselves when they can. I am sure one of the sensei on this board can explain what I am getting at MUCH better than I can. This is but a vain attempt to explain the other end of learning that happens on a higher level. I am still a beginner myself since October. All of us, whether sensei or student, are endlessly learning and growing because of each other.

                        So... You have MUCH to learn about what growing means. Heck, I AM in a dojo, and I STILL am growing and don't know all that much. I still have MUCH to learn, myself. Kendo will transfer to your personal life, too. The etiquette you will learn in a dojo is very important as well. You forgot about that, see? Etiquette helps you grow too. You will learn much about what it means to be polite. A simple bow speaks volumes depending on how you do it. This is just one thing out of many. JSA without the proper etiquette is not really JSA at all...

                        On another note does anyone have a better suggestion for a sword-art that may better suit my wish to develop a technique in a way that is only limited by what I can come up with?
                        No. You yourself cannot "develope" a technique. You LEARN technique from a sensei and sempai. If you don't want to work at it and actually learn, you may as well forget it. NO legitimate JSA, whether it be Kendo, Iaido or Kenjutsu, is without structure and set ways and proper etiquette.

                        Otherwise, you will forever be a samurai wannabe, for lack of a better word for it. I hope you will choose to do the hard work and get into a real dojo.
                        If not, then at least I can say I tried my best to explain what JSA really is.
                        Please have an open mind and read carefully what I said. Then, go visit the dojo I gave you, and the one Charles-san gave you in your other thread in the Iaido forum. You can't make a decision uinless you are suitably informed, and that means, having visited the dojos FIRST and chosen one to study at for a long period of time. I can guarantee you, that after at least two months. you will never want to go back to teaching yourself, because you will then realise why you can't. It is next to impossible to.

                        Well, I hope this sheds a bit more light on JSA and what it takes to study it, for you.

                        I apologise for the length of my posts everybody.

                        Kaoru

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Interesting read. I can only say that some people like being in the matrix and some people want to break away. To tell you the truth neither one is right, they both have reasons. I just want to use my left hand because no one is doing it. Not because I believe it gives me advantage or anything like that. If I'm going to commit my time, money and life to something then I'm going to do it because it's personal to me and I enjoy it. Call me crazy but I'm really just not into being a kendo drone. I don't knock what you are doing but I really can't see myself looking forward to engaging a room full of people who know the same things I do, where is the growth there. How do you grow in a place where everyone is not the same but uses the same techniques. I'd probably be beaten more by the boredom of it all then anything. Still I knew even before you posted that I wouldn't be able to join a kendo dojo. There's just no fun in it for me. Well there would be from the jump but I'd tire of knowing that no matter who I faced he wouldn't be able to try anything new on me because it wouldn't score the point and therefore was of no use to him. You should probably refrain from pointing out anyone elses martial art to be less then yours, that doesn't speak highly of you. I may not think kendo is for me but I will never say it's less then any other martial art if not an amazing one actually. It's just not for me.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kaoru
                            No. You yourself cannot "develope" a technique. You LEARN technique from a sensei and sempai.
                            There are a few things I'd like to pick out but this one just jumped out at me. I'm curious to know who the sensei learned thier technique from and who that person learned from? In other words unless the technique fairy jumped out and suddenly bopped someone on the head with it's magical sword, anyone can develop a technique which is then refined over the years. Sorry that's about the best way I could say that after listening to some of the things you are coming up with. It sort of seems like you have a somewhat elitest attitude when it comes to all things JSA vs JUSTABOUTANYOTHERTHINGINTHEWORLD. It's that closed minded "it's the way it's done" type attitude that has so many human beings on this earth acting like robots and listening to whatever fool comes up with the next big thing even though it really isn't that great but I guess when you are starving jack in the box must taste like steak. You sure seem to think that kendo and the dojo are just the way to go but have you ever even had a match with someone who fights with escrima sticks or sais or any other weapon? No I dont mean real weapons because each one of those has a practice weapon to be used. I don't want to fight the same way and the same people all the time. I want to opponents with methods I've never heard of or experienced and while some will say I practiced kendo today I want to say I used my shinai left handed style against my friend with his padded boken, which I actually did by the way. Now I may not have technique and yes I was using my left hand but it was fun and I got to know some of the problems of trying to fend off a boken not just another shinai which btw my friend also practices with. That's the kind of fun I enjoy. Even in unarmed combat it's soooo much fun for a kenpo guy to go spar with a tae kwon do guy. My cousin who does grapling loves to visit other types of dojo because that's how he grows as a fighter (well part of it at least). Once again and forever I'll say I'm not bashing you or your chosen art form as I would never want to bash any person or thier art. However I would never agree with anyone who boxes themselves into a belief that this or that is the only way because there is never just one way to do things and the sooner people see that the sooner we as a humans can all move that much farther.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              i think you watch too much of those samurai movies and samurai animes/cartoons. if you know how samurais trained, you should know that all of them weren't taught techniques for a long long.....very long time. they were taught how to control themselves and improve themselves through basics. and after they have been training for a long long.....very long time, their sensei teaches them techiniques. just stick to reality and you'll get better.

                              ~taganahan

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