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  • Thoughts/ discussion on why many ryuha don`t include kotachi kata

    Last night I was drinking w/ my Jr Highs Kendo Sensei, which also happens to be one of my JTE teachers that I work with as well. Anyways I brought up the subject of why many of the Iaido koryu don`t include kotachi kata forms.
    My friends reasoning was this. That practicing well wearing both blades is a distraction in the spiritual/physical sense persay. You have two swords that you have to worry about. Where as just concentrating on the katana ie you have only one sword that you have to worry about. Thus your heart and mind, and blade are one instead of being distracted. I really thought that was an interesting point of view and argument that he took. Especially since he practices kendo and also sometimes is a nitou player as well. Anyways any one else that has a view please share. Eventually I will ask one of my senseis at dojo once training starts up again on his point of view.

  • #2
    To learn short as well as long sword is too much for beginners.... most people have enough on trying to get the longsword waza into a decent shape, let alone trying to do another set as well! MJER has short sword, but is only taught to senior students (godan+) Given the timing involved, it is easy to see why you wouldnt teach this to juniors.
    If anyone has a wakizashi, try doing a simple waza such as mae.... then tell me how many times you cocked it up! Do NOT analyze it before you start, just do the waza....then look at the errors you made and work out why it went wrong. Its quite interesting.

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    • #3
      In my group (Yagyu Shinkage Ryu in Philadelphia) initially we held off on letting people where a wakizashi until they'd gotten to a fair degree of competence with the katana that it wouldn't get in the way. However, somewhere along the line we abandoned that and my sensei started letting people where one as soon as they got one, which prompted me (I assistant instruct) to work with people on how to use it since I reasoned that if they're wearing one they might as well know how to use it. Alot of folks tend to have trouble learning how to work around the short sword, but I'm kinda glad that people learn their way around it early instead of getting good with a long sword, and then needing to relearn everything once they get the second sword in their obi. It took me a little while, but these days I'm so used to it that if I suit up and I don't have my short sword I feel really weird.
      Most other koryu I've encountered (Mugai Ryu, Niten Ichi Ryu, Katori Shinto Ryu, Tennen Rishin Ryu, etc) have sets of short sword techniques in their curriculums.

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      • #4
        I've only ever done iai once with a kodachi and I was really terrible (some people from KWF were there and will happily tell you!). I must have messed up noto three or four times. It was almost like handling a daito for the first time again. I know I'll probably get a chance to learn kodachi kata a decade or two down the road, but until then I'm happy just getting to grips with the long sword.

        I've seen MJER kata done by sensei wearing daisho, plus a number of iai kodachi waza demonstrated at taikai. It certainly doesn't seem to be very common when compared to katana technique but I don't think it's that rare either. I can certainly understand why it is only taught to senior students, though.

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        • #5
          Thanks everyone for posting. Yeah kotachi kata are hard to do and also noto lol. I learned 3 forms well I was stuying Toyama ryu, out of I think it was 5 or 6 forms that my sensei taught. However at this point I only remeber one very well since it is simlar to Muso Shinden Ryu Omori form. Thats interesting that possibly Mugai ryu has it added in their forms. I will have to ask my dojo about it. I can understand, for the beginner not teaching it, but I haven`t seen any records of it. I have English text for Muso Shinden Ryu and it doesn`t mention it. Plus you rarely see it preformed or at least at the Enbukai / Taikai /etc that I have been to. I`m glad that some members on here have also experienced kotachi kata.
          また、狼より/ Jeff

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ookami7 View Post
            Thanks everyone for posting. Yeah kotachi kata are hard to do and also noto lol. I learned 3 forms well I was stuying Toyama ryu, out of I think it was 5 or 6 forms that my sensei taught. However at this point I only remeber one very well since it is simlar to Muso Shinden Ryu Omori form. Thats interesting that possibly Mugai ryu has it added in their forms. I will have to ask my dojo about it. I can understand, for the beginner not teaching it, but I haven`t seen any records of it. I have English text for Muso Shinden Ryu and it doesn`t mention it. Plus you rarely see it preformed or at least at the Enbukai / Taikai /etc that I have been to. I`m glad that some members on here have also experienced kotachi kata.
            また、狼より/ Jeff
            If you're interested in learning short sword techniques, also have a look at at kendo kodachi no-kata, they are the last three of the ten kendo kata set. Youtube or similar will have a video of them.

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            • #7
              Does MSR have any kodachi kata? I wasn't under the impression that they did. If that's the case, why do you figure it was dropped from MSR (given that MSR was derrived from MJER, if I'm not mistaken).

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              • #8
                Smr

                Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo also has a fair splattering of kodachi kata: there are a few jo vs kodachi in the jo sections and one tachi vs nito in the odachi section of the Kasumi Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu as well as four kodachi vs odachi (actually one of them is also nito) in the kodachi section.

                Or are we talking solo iai only here? In which case you should pick up some Diane Skoss's very good books on Koryu Bujutsu to find which styles use kodachi.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kendoka View Post
                  If you're interested in learning short sword techniques, also have a look at at kendo kodachi no-kata, they are the last three of the ten kendo kata set. Youtube or similar will have a video of them.
                  Thanks Kendoka, Yup aware of the 3 kata for Kendo kata as well. Haven`t studied them yet. Although its good knowledge and adds to skills. The kendo kata is a bit diff. ie the intention is to teach basic mistakes and have the student understand ideally both sides, where as Iai kotachi kata is actually using it in a real setting persay. My personal skill is up to #7 or 8 ie the last one before you hit the kotachi kata.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Andy_Watson View Post
                    Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo also has a fair splattering of kodachi kata: there are a few jo vs kodachi in the jo sections and one tachi vs nito in the odachi section of the Kasumi Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu as well as four kodachi vs odachi (actually one of them is also nito) in the kodachi section.

                    Or are we talking solo iai only here? In which case you should pick up some Diane Skoss's very good books on Koryu Bujutsu to find which styles use kodachi.
                    Nope, Andy any form/ style is welcome in this discussion. I`m just trying to understand the reason why its been dropped from a lot of Iaido/ Batto jutsu ryuha. Since some still include the kata for how to be a second for Seppuku etc yet don`t include kotachi kata ( Muso Shinden Ryu) etc and my experience w/ Toyama Ryu, it seemed like it was just included by my Sensei where as other schools of Toyama ryu might not add/ teach Kotachi kata etc. Thanks for adding. Thats interesting that your school has it vrs nito ryu. I haven`t tried that, but I have done geidan kamae vrs my Kendo sensei here at my Jr High while he was doing nito ryu and that was interesting lol.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ookami7 View Post
                      Thanks Kendoka, Yup aware of the 3 kata for Kendo kata as well. Haven`t studied them yet. Although its good knowledge and adds to skills. The kendo kata is a bit diff. ie the intention is to teach basic mistakes and have the student understand ideally both sides, where as Iai kotachi kata is actually using it in a real setting persay. My personal skill is up to #7 or 8 ie the last one before you hit the kotachi kata.
                      What's unreal about the kendo kata kodachi forms, compared to the iai kodachi forms?.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Andy_Watson View Post
                        Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo also has a fair splattering of kodachi kata: there are a few jo vs kodachi in the jo sections and one tachi vs nito in the odachi section of the Kasumi Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu as well as four kodachi vs odachi (actually one of them is also nito) in the kodachi section.
                        Yeh!

                        Hissage in the Omote series uses a kodachi, though in Seitei Jodo a longsword is used.
                        In chudan there is a nito (two-sword) called kengome.
                        There is also a kodachi version of Ran ai.

                        After that there are a total of one (more) kodachi and four more nito kata in the Jodo tradition. You can see one of those nito from the okuden series here.

                        And of course the 4 kodachi and 1 nito kata found in Shinto-ryu Kenjutsu.
                        Quite alot of nito and kodachi for one system.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
                          What's unreal about the kendo kata kodachi forms, compared to the iai kodachi forms?.
                          What I mean by this is that, the Kendo kata forms are taught ideally to emphasis specific mistakes that are made. If you look at a lot them they are teaching you reasons for taking a specific kamae vrs another kamae, watching distance, etc. Where as Iaido kata follows specific patterns, that do not teach that, and also you are unseathing the blade where as in the Kendo kata it is presumed to be out already. There is nothing wrong with the Kendo kata forms. Just at least in my thinking it`s goal is different vrs Iaido kotachi waza. If that makes sense. Again this is just my opinion so take it for what its worth. Speaking of which I also did pick up a Japanese Kendo magazine today that has the 3 kendo kotachi kata in it.

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                          • #14
                            The kendo no kata has ryuha roots (I can't offhand recall which ones from where, etc).
                            While the pattern may be different, I can't see why the lessons & purpose should be.
                            You are taught distance, opportunity, timing & footwork, ie all the usual lessons.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
                              The kendo no kata has ryuha roots (I can't offhand recall which ones from where, etc).
                              One or more of the Itto-ryu schools. I think it was Hokushin Itto-ryu and/or/(maybe) Nakanishi-ha Itto-ryu.'

                              *edit*

                              Hm...maybe it was Mizoguchi Itto-ryu instead..Damn my swiss cheese memory!
                              Last edited by Fred27; 8th January 2008, 01:54 AM.

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