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  • iaido accidents ?

    ive heard of someone slashing their thumb open while taking the sword out...hrmm..im thinking of iaido in the near future..can anyone pls tell em how dangerous it is ? thanks !

  • #2
    I cut my own head off once .....never again!

    Seriously, it is quite safe, as in the beginning you use a practice blade called an Iaito which is blunt. However, as with anything common sense prevails, besides your instructor should put you on the right track to safe practice. Under the IKF (ZNKR) iaido you are not expected to use a Shinken (a live blade) until Godan (5th Dan) which mean you would have at least 9 years of practice ...... although you can use one before this.

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    • #3
      One of the junior students in my Araki ryu dojo was doing several iai kata last year with his shinken and in one of the kata that involved a body displacement and a nukiuchi type draw, he almost took his thumb off at the knuckle and kept on doing kata, unaware that he was spraying the dojo floor with blood.

      The head sensei and I had to rush him to a nearby hospital in Yokohama and clean his blade before the blood stained the blade.

      He completely forgot about safety parameters when it came to handling a shinken and left his thumb out when doing quite a fast nukiuchi. It was very lucky that he didn't completely amputate his left thumb.

      It is very dangerous if you don't practice the basics slowly and make sure your hand positions are correct. Just remain aware of where your thumb & fingers are when drawing and remember what the weapon can do to you if you misuse it.

      If you know the safety parameters and drill them often in practice (i.e. making sure that your thumb & fingers are on the saya and away from the cutting edge), then there should be no forseeable trouble.

      Last edited by Saitama Steve; 8th July 2003, 10:09 AM.

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      • #4
        Its a good thing to nick yourself once. Teaches you some respect for what you have in your hands.

        Someone I know who faints at the sight of blood jabbed himself while making a stabbing movement. Bleeding profusely he tried to leave the dojo. But in winter his glass paneled door stuck. Kicking the door he cut his foot badly. Fighting off passing out he got to a hospital. Quite a surprise for hospital staff when a bleeding man wearing Japanese clothing staggered into casualty.

        I dont follow the idea of "Not being expected to use a Shinken" I would have thought everybody would "Want to" rather than pussy about with a copy.

        Admittedly there is a safety factor when they are very useful. Also the price! But I would have termed it as more of a want than a requirement. We are doing budo and not table tennis and I would have though that the injury risk factor was far lower than some extreme sports. If you manage to buy a Shinken you will have to start all over again anyway.

        Hyaku

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        • #5
          Heh heh, I remember escorting the junior to the dojo kitchen to wash the wound and he started to go pale and he then decided to faint dead away muttering gibberish. We had to lie him down and elevate his arm and until one of the Dojo seniors could get our sensei's car out to the front of the dojo.

          I agree with you Hyaku, getting nicked with a shinken in practice does teach you to respect the weapon and be wary of it. 5 years ago, I filleted my left index finger with a shinken and I haven't made a mistake in drawing the blade since. I still have the scar to remind be of how deep the cutting edge bit in, so I won't be forgetting in a hurry.

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          • #6
            thanks guys...makes me want to...really get my kendo right first before i start handling real swords...resting the tip of the shinai on my feet like a cane won't help won't it ? im only kidding..never do that...but yes..might have to practise more moving about with a bamboo sword *phew*

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            • #7
              You dont have to do kendo to prepare for iaido.
              There are accidents in kendo as well, if there is an activivity that is totally without any danger or risk involved, it would be very boring. The most dangerous martial art i have been into, was Judo. Several icebags were used every practise, and people were carried out on stretchers a couple of times each semester. Several people got serious injuries that forced them to quit practising. I injured my left shoulder on bad ukemi, and have struggled with cronical pain since. 13 years of iai and kendo has given me some joint flexibilty back, and the pain has reduced a bit.
              I dont let car accidents stop me from driving either, they just remind me to be more careful, and dont overestimate my skills. The same applies to iai. Dont let a few splatter-stories postpone the start of your iai-career.

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              • #8
                You don't have to do Kendo before starting training in iai. If you feel unsafe, even using an iaito, which has a rebated cutting edge, go through the motions with a bokuto first and just keep drilling until the motions are burned into your brain.

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                • #9
                  Some years ago, I read about a koryu where the basic idea of the sword-part of the curriculum was to injure just the opponents hands, so he could no longer use the sword. just small and fast techniques, and no huge man-cleaving kirioroshi.
                  Anyone heard of this obscure school? I dont remember the name of the school, or the source. As usual.

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                  • #10
                    Dont know about the hands but we have a lot of cuts made under the wrists.

                    Hyaku

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                    • #11
                      Roar: There are quite a few sword schools that go for that type of cut. From what I have seen of the different Itto ryu and Yagyu Shinkage Ryu employ these types of cuts for the hands and arms in their kata, it might be fair to say that in fact most of the Kenjutsu ryu have this tactic.

                      BTW Pokie I am sorry if you've been scared off doing Iaido by the stories here. But, please bear in mind that you will be using an Iaito at first and you would probably have years of practice behind you with a 'relatively safe' practice blade before you even touch a 'sharp blade'. The chances of injuring yourself is very very slight.
                      Iaito are cheap (and safe) in comparison to Shinken which means if you decide you don't actually like Iaido after a few months you have only wasted only few hundred dollars (if you bought a new one) rather than maybe a few thousand!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hyaku
                        Someone I know who faints at the sight of blood jabbed himself while making a stabbing movement. Bleeding profusely he tried to leave the dojo. But in winter his glass paneled door stuck. Kicking the door he cut his foot badly. Fighting off passing out he got to a hospital. Quite a surprise for hospital staff when a bleeding man wearing Japanese clothing staggered into casualty.
                        good job he gave it up and took up line dancing instead really!

                        Iaito are sharp as well... I cut my hand badly when bumped during noto. I teach beginners by going through bokken first, then iaito, later on move to shinken when they feel confident. Using shinken stops 'carelessness' in the technique as there is always the thought at the back of your mind that the sword is sharp and WILL cut you if you make a mistake...

                        Tim Hamilton

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                        • #13
                          As most of the guys here have said, you probably won't be using a livebladed sword until you've had an awful lot of experience - at least not regularly. Doing yourself serious damage with an iaito is fairly difficult since the cutting edge is completely blunt. There is some degree of danger, though, but it's fairly slight. I've stabbed my left hand a few times during careless noto, but I would hardly even consider it an injury - a bandaid is just about all it takes and you can usually get right back in to practice.

                          I suppose if you were to fall with your full weight onto the tip of an iaito you could make quite a mess of yourself, although I've never heard of this happening. It would probably be an awfully tricky thing to do.

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                          • #14
                            Most of the time the thumb-slicing is because of the position on the tsuba. Don't have it on centre, that's for sure - but you probably worked that out (either that or you've now got 6 digits on your left hand which could be useful!)

                            Ly

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                            • #15
                              In our dojo, newcomers start out with bokuto, but that's mainly because our sensei doesn't have enough blades to issue out to each beginner student. (He also takes into consideration that alot of people who just walk in and try iaido with us, or even kendo for that matter, get turned off to the art as most of the early weeks are spent in seiza.)

                              However, when you're familiarized with the dojo and the art, we are recommended to use shinken as soon as possible. Apparently, Kotaka Sadao, the current head of our federation, feels that iaito can promote sloppiness, but he does not prohibit the use of them.

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