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  • guide for new female iaidoka

    Hi all,
    I was wondering if you could possibly add some useful tips and stuff in here for new ladies to iaido...

    I know I like my students to have lighter iaito anyway, and obviously try and get my juniors to buy such. In addition rottunpunk has already mentioned she likes thin obi and wears her hakama in a certain way in order to allow the saya to sit better. So... I thought this thread would not only help you pass the time over the Xmas break but may be useful to beginners if you can gather up the 'things you need to know' in one thread... (it will also save me having to try and remember stuff every time I get a new batch of female students at uni...)

    p.s. if anyone comes up with a 'super kneepads' idea please pass it on....

  • #2
    Re the lighter iaito thing, we've had a fair number of the girls pick up injuries from having plenty of "spirit" and a light iaito.

    Anyone else seen this?

    Comment


    • #3
      How the heck do you pick up injuries in iaido? (Aside from cutting/stabbing yourself).

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Maro View Post
        Re the lighter iaito thing, we've had a fair number of the girls pick up injuries from having plenty of "spirit" and a light iaito.

        Anyone else seen this?
        Really? Baffling. I've had times when my elbow was a bit sore during chiburi -- but only if there's an existing injury from kendo. How light of an iaito are these gals using? Like under 800 grams?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
          How the heck do you pick up injuries in iaido? (Aside from cutting/stabbing yourself).
          The opponent is as fierce as you can imagine! ^_-

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
            How the heck do you pick up injuries in iaido? (Aside from cutting/stabbing yourself).
            I've cut my fingers, stabbed my forearm twice, pulled my left calf, and strained my forearm and my right shoulder at various times. The cuts and stabs were from mistakes; the others were from not having warmed up enough.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by futabachan View Post
              I've cut my fingers, stabbed my forearm twice, pulled my left calf, and strained my forearm and my right shoulder at various times. The cuts and stabs were from mistakes; the others were from not having warmed up enough.
              Ok, so I can imagine RSI induced injuries, but a pulled calf?. That's like getting injured getting out of bed.
              Last edited by JSchmidt; 4th January 2012, 10:02 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
                That's like getting injured getting out of bed.
                Hehehe. It's been known to happen.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It was when I was a non-kyu beginner, and had also started kendo right around that time. I was spending a lot of time suddenly with my left heel off the ground, and my body wasn't used to it. Later, I started wearing an achilles protector, and to stretch both calves before practice; I haven't had much trouble since.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by chidokan View Post
                    In addition rottunpunk has already mentioned she likes thin obi and wears her hakama in a certain way in order to allow the saya to sit better.
                    So how does she wear her hakama differently.
                    Originally posted by chidokan View Post
                    p.s. if anyone comes up with a 'super kneepads' idea please pass it on....
                    'Super' in what way? I wear two pairs: a pair of thinner, firm volleyball knee pads and a pair of regular Iaido foam pads and that does the trick!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OK, got a bit of time so thought to make a serious answer to this post:
                      1) hard to define exactly how the hakama is worn differently, as I've never had a guy's hips. I think the main difference is that because of the shape of the hips, the obi tends to slip up, whereas it wouldn't on a guy (I think the thinner obi may help with this, although I just use a standard kaku obi). Also can result in the saya digging into the hip bone if not tied in the right place. Compared to how I tie my kendo hakama, which is around a few cm below the top of my hip bones, I tie my iaido one a little bit higher, kind of at the hip bone. This allows me to tie it tight enough to stay on, whilst keeping the freedom of movement for the saya. Basically my advice is just tell people to keep trying and then eventually one day they realise the hakama has been on the right way for a while training. I think its magic. It also can be noted that due to the shorter torso and higher position to wear the hakama I generally order a slightly longer hakama than guys my height.

                      2) Don't worry about a swoosh - for whatever reason I had trouble making a consistent swoosh when I started, compared to the boys. And then I would try to make it, and use more strength or speed but it didn't work, and could potentially cause a strain. I guess it is nice to emphasize that that will come with time and correct technique (although I'm sure this is not really woman-specific)

                      3) I think sometimes body shape can cause things to be done slightly differently - I'm struggling to think of a good example now, but there has been things where a book says your hand should be at hip level, but because of the different position of hakama/arm vs torso lengths etc, then this ay not always be exactly right - so it is okay to have a little flexibility on this- to begin with I was really trying to get everything exactly as it is described - then when I discussed it with my instructor, we realised that it should be slightly different. Also for example seitei number four, someone with a larger chest might need to be aware that this move will be not exactly the same as a guy.

                      4) I think girls have to pay a little more attention to not wiggling the hips when walking

                      Run out of ideas, but maybe that gives something to think about?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Maro View Post
                        Re the lighter iaito thing, we've had a fair number of the girls pick up injuries from having plenty of "spirit" and a light iaito.

                        Anyone else seen this?
                        Yes. You get a strong woman and a very light iaito, and she can overpower it and whip it with nukitsuke and ochiburi, putting too much stress on her elbow and wrist. The iaito should have enough weight that it has a say in how it travels.

                        Other tips from me would be pay attention to the size of the tsuba, as small hands need a small tsuba. Also, a solid tsuba as opposed to an openwork tsuba will adjust the total weight of the iaito back toward the hands. For wooden weapons, downsized tsuka can make all the difference (I've made 5/6ths size bokuto for small women, and slender tsuka ones for regular sized women).

                        For obi, the standard kaku obi might be too wide for many women -- there's not enough room between the hip and the bottom of the ribcage. Rottunpunk and I had an epic thread or two back in the day, all about how to tie the obi and hakama so they stay lower on the hips, more like the guys, and don't ride up and cramp the sword-handling.

                        -Beth
                        Last edited by babayaga; 12th January 2012, 11:45 AM. Reason: Added info

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by babayaga View Post
                          Yes. You get a strong woman and a very light iaito, and she can overpower it and whip it with nukitsuke and ochiburi, putting too much stress on her elbow and wrist. The iaito should have enough weight that it has a say in how it travels.

                          -Beth
                          Thanks Beth - we'd kind of figured it out but my two ladies are of the Strong/Assertive persuasion!

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                          • #14
                            If this thread is about 'new' iaidoka, then perhaps bokuto should be discussed.

                            Personally, now that plastic saya are commonly used, i prefer to use the nine circle junior bokken
                            http://www.ninecircles.co.uk/Wooden_...to_-_92cm.aspx

                            it is shorter than the average which makes drawing and noto easier
                            cut the end of the saya off to the first nodule after the koiguchi and they fit well. It also puts the kurigata in the right place-ish

                            There are drawbacks though;
                            For a start the tsuka is normal thickness. A bit illogical seeing as 'junior's' have smaller hands
                            Secondly, if doing kumitachi against a longer bokken it becomes interesting for both sides.

                            I would suggest thinning of the tsuka in most cases as it would fit the hands better and encourage good tenouchi

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hello! I wanted to say hi! I've been training in iaido since last October. I got my iaito for christmas and am going for my first grading in August, so I'm really pretty new. I'm pleased to have found this site because I'm the only girl in my dojo with about 20 guys. (There is one other but she comes very, very rarely). They seem a bit baffled about giving me advice, but tend to say that, in terms of hakama and obi, it should eventually just 'feel' right. I think, on the whole, I am okay at putting my kit on though I struggle with the knot at the back of the hakama (over my bum!!) because it will not stay on but always rides up to the small of my back. Any advice on this?

                              I'm v slight build, but don't have problems with swoosh (tachikaze?), so I don't reckon that has much to do with strength, as I'm not convinced my 'strength' comes up to even half of that of the guys in my class. I'm also lucky, because, unlike most girls, I totally lack boobs (how often can I say that's lucky? But it's just one less thing to cut off..... well, two less things) and I have a long body so lots of room between hips and ribcage, plus very wide hips, which means the sword sits rather nicely. One guy said he was jealous of my hips for that. So we women do have some advantages.

                              I'm sure I will come back to this thread. I'm just pleased to know I'm not the only girl.

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