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iaido and karate

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  • iaido and karate

    Hi all,i am new to this forum.

    ive have been traing in karate for 3 years and i am going to drop down to my local iaido dojo to train.
    I just have a couple a questions that i would like to here some experienced perspective on,if u would be as kind.
    im hearing talk on other forums of traditional japanese arts not harmonizing well with karate,since karate was developed in okinawan and is absent in principles inheritinely japanese.
    since my experience is only in shotokan karate(originally okinawan)my perspective is limited and now some what conflicted.
    i hear talk like a jujutsu would compilment sword arts more since they work on similar ideas, or that wado ryu is a more suited system of karate to study along side the sword since it is based on a japanese koryu philosiphy etc etc

    so now as it stands im just a little perplexed with this issue.
    since i study shotokan and enjoy it immensely,surely studying iaido or kendo as well isnt going to be problematic,in terms of confusing or clashing principles?
    im not t blend them but simply train them seperatly and take all the knowelge they have to offer.
    does anyone here train kendo/iaido and also karate?
    and if so how do they find this cross training?

    thanks all


  • #2
    I have students who practice Karate. It's not so much the principles that are a problem, but learning new ways of moving and standing. Habits from existing training naturally carry across and have to be corrected. Corrected that is in the new art, it doesn't mean changing what you do in your old art. It is about learning more, not replacing old learning with new.


    • #3
      I don't cross train karate, but I do practise BJJ, which is about as different a style as you can get, both in terms of technique and philosophy. The only issue I have is with japanese sword arts is the formalism, which is a personal hangup of mine, rather than anything brought from another dojo.

      Practice whatever arts you want, you're going to have the same issues no matter what arts you do, so you might as well enjoy them as much as you can


      • #4

        It can take many years to get your karate out of your iaido. As Peter says, its about moving and standing. Youll understand once you start practicing.


        • #5
          As a fellow karateka (Goju ryu) and beginier into Iaido, I can say without any doubt whatsoever that the principles and philosophies, are inherintley complimentary. Courtesy, respect, self control and discipline, which should be part of any traditional karatedo instruction as much as punches and kicks translate well to the sword. I could launch into a long discourse on Okinawan vs Japanese principles, but it can be pointed out a lot simpler that a great deal of Okinawan ideas and thoughts at the time of karate's formal development into the styles we know and recognize today came from Japan. Personally, I think that anyone who says the mental aspects are anything but complimentary would run the gamut from mistaken to willfully ignorant.

          Now, getting the physical to work together is a different matter. As I learned in my Iaido class today, if your postures is comfortable and familiar, you're probably doing it wrong.


          • #6
            I do practice Shotokan karate (since 1981), Iaido and Kendo at this moment.

            From the philosophical perspective there is no any essential difference. Shotokan karate, may has its origin in Okinawa, however in order to be accepted in Japan was influenced by Japanese budo. Funakoshi Gichin, the father of Shotokan, in late 20s was teaching, for some years in the Yushinkan dojo, of Nakayama Hakudo sensei, so there is a certain influence from the sword arts in Shotokan.

            From the technical point of view, you are going to face some difficulties, which can be certainly managed. Firstly, about power application -you would probably apply much more power in your cuts than required-. Second is the kagi ashi -turn of the back foot outwards, instead of keeping it parallel to the front-. This is done because low Shotokan stances do not allow feet to remain parallel as required in ZNKR iaido and kendo (although some koryu iaido schools do not require these parallel feet). Third and may be more difficult to overcome is that Iaido and Kendo require back heel off the floor while every karate style asks for the heel to be firm on the floor.
            To keep the list short, many smaller things will depend on which line of Shotokan karate you are following

            Now Shotokan Karate practice will help your Iaido because it has given you the feeling of tanden and moving with the tanden, plus it strengthens the body while Iaido practice will remove unnecessary tension from the (upper) body in your karate practice and help you to develop a more agile movement.

            Certainly there is no contradiction in practicing them together and there will be benefit in the long run.


            • #7
              I too did Shotokan and didn't find a conflict with Iai; the karate kept my posture good and let me move well-centered. Now, if you did ballet for years and then tried Iai, well good luck except you'd keep your back straight! Learn as you go; and you'll see what parts of the Karate can help your Iaido. At the least (unless you've already done some knee damage - my final Shotokan study was on concrete so....), you may find the leg and knee-area muscles developed via Shotokan will help in Iai.


              • #8
                Thanks so much everybody your views have been helpful


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mezusmo View Post
                  im hearing talk on other forums of traditional japanese arts not harmonizing well with karate,since karate was developed in okinawan and is absent in principles inheritinely japanese.
                  There is a great fascination with making what we do different from what the guys down the street are doing, but if such things are truly so incompatible we would not be able to understand the folks next door.

                  Humans are quite capable of doing more than one thing, of learning two skills, one of which was learned first and doesn't support the movements of the other. Skiing and tennis for instance.

                  The problem comes not from dissimilarity but from similarity, when two arts are very close to each other. In this case the natural inclination is to take a shortcut and simply plug in what we already do. A splay-footed stance from yoshinkan aikido when doing ZNKR iaido for instance.

                  This simply requires a bit of attention to correct. No big deal.

                  Now, why in the world should it be a good thing for karate to harmonize with iaido? If you are practicing two martial arts that are harmonious you are simply wasting what little time you have for practice on too many kata. The best way to practice is to go deep rather than to go wide, learn three kata very deeply rather than take pride in knowing 25 kata shallowly.

                  But learning two skills that are widely different is another matter, it provides cross-training which helps avoid RSI and it also provides two views of the same subject (fighting) which can help us obtain a deeper understanding.

                  Way too much belief that there is a "mixed martial art" to be had. That one can combine aikido, judo, karate, kendo and boxing to come up with a "new and improved" way to beat someone else in a fight. There is only hit him first or bend his arm better, there isn't a secret combination that does this, so don't worry about harmonization between arts, just practice what seems to be helping you along to a deeper understanding of why you are practicing in the first place.



                  • #10
                    I trained in wado ryu for about 8 years before I started Iaido last year. It does give you bad habits that you'll need to iron out of your Iaido but there's no reason not to train in both.

                    As other have said problems with stance and movement are common. One of the first things I needed to fix was my stance on Iaido, years of karate had me with the hips angled. While correct for karate in order to add additional range and power to an attack in Iaido you need to keep square on. Any bad habits like that that it does affect can be corrected and overall I consider my previous training to have had a positive influence, posture improved and general knowledge of the way the body moves and can be controlled, also the combative experiences from partnered work and sparring in karate has given me more confidence when doing paired with with the tachiuchi sets.


                    • #11
                      From someone who trained many many years in WTF Tae Kwon Do the transition to doing the things that are done in Iaido was extremely easy. Now TKD to Kendo ... that is something that is hard. In fact, there seems to be as much difference between TKD/Karate and Iaido as there is between Kendo and Iaido (I'm sure someone will disagree, though).

                      There shouldn't be any/much difference between Kendo and Iaido but there does seem to be some bad habits (sport techniques) that have crept in. After doing Kendo for a couple years before starting Iaido it is hard to change those habits - BUT - I believe it is making my Kendo better. I've noticed my posture better when I am doing kote and do on short(er) people (I used to lean in but now I'm much more comfortable with cutting lower. I struggle with the tip of the sword going back too far on the cuts, etc.

                      Anyway, I think you have nothing to worry about. Iaido will help your posture and the ettiquette should be quite similar. You shouldn't be turning your hip when you stand in a front stance/forward stance, anyway. Iaido will help you with your stepping (some karate schools sweep their feet in as they step instead of stepping straight ahead).

                      Anyway, I think you'll really enjoy Iaido - keep us posted on what you think!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Wesley Myers View Post
                        From someone who trained many many years in WTF Tae Kwon Do

                        I'm sorry, my poor English Sense of Humour is tickled by that abbreviation