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Iaido as a performance?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by chidokan View Post
    Perhaps think of a 'presentation' rather than a 'performance'..... you are there to show how it is done in a manner the audience can follow. The top guys have the ability to do this without 'faking' timing etc, and show what they are thinking as they go through the waza. Even though they are doing something you are familiar with, you KNOW they could not be prevented from completing that technique even if you tried.....
    Kind of like illustrating a point when you are teaching?

    I like the idea. I guess I just have a deep seated fear that I'll end of "habitually" illustrating kind of like how some karateka habitually pull their punches for point sparring.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Kim Taylor View Post
      It is death, figuratively, perhaps literally and meditatively to think about adapting your performance to the audience. Your performance should always be of the highest calibre you can manage each and every time. That goes for outside the kata and outside the dojo, your learning and your teaching never stop no matter where you are or what you are doing.

      This is the purpose of budo is it not?

      One can play with rules and mantra (repeating sounds or phrases to oneself as one bows) or many other things but they all seek one thing, to keep your mind on what you're doing, to concentrate, to pay attention. It's this attention that contains the lessons, not the outward shape and form of the practice.

      Difference between church and worship, style and fashion, technique and art.

      Sure, you may perform in "teaching mode" for students and "flash mode" when requested for someone filming a movie but those are not your iai. Someone who knows nothing of iaido will see if they have the eyes to see, and students who have studied for 30 years will be blind if they don't know how to look.

      There is never a question between a 50 year old nanadan and an 80 year old hanshi, at a certain point in your life you may figure you want to watch the nanadan but there will never be a point in your career when you should not be watching the hanshi. Not the least reason that you may not get to watch him again.

      Kim.
      I agree with all of this, except, I would venture to go a step further in the first paragraph; I would say "It is death to consider your audience when performing iaido."
      Teaching is perhaps different, depending on the level you are teaching to, but outside of that, when you do iaido, do your iaido, not what you think the audience wants to see.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Peter West View Post
        ... when you do iaido, do your iaido, not what you think the audience wants to see.
        so true and so hard to achieve. As you often say: Don't think too much just do it!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Peter West View Post
          I agree with all of this, except, I would venture to go a step further in the first paragraph; I would say "It is death to consider your audience when performing iaido."
          Teaching is perhaps different, depending on the level you are teaching to, but outside of that, when you do iaido, do your iaido, not what you think the audience wants to see.
          I've heard an anecdote about Haruna Sensei's attitude towards Taikai. The kata he chooses and nuances that are focused are changed based on the judges. [edit: embu taikai for kata choice] Size of cuts, timing, and small adjustments can be done. Perhaps that is why he won so much?

          Another example. I was recently told to change how I emphasize a turn by focusing on a distinct ankle twist. I do it a different way, and my Sensei says both are fine. This person is on the judging panel for gradings and claims it is a failing point.

          Should I not consider my audience in this case?
          Last edited by kaneboSALA; 3rd May 2012, 11:31 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Peter West View Post
            I agree with all of this, except, I would venture to go a step further in the first paragraph; I would say "It is death to consider your audience when performing iaido."
            Teaching is perhaps different, depending on the level you are teaching to, but outside of that, when you do iaido, do your iaido, not what you think the audience wants to see.
            Very well said Peter, this in fact was the thrust of my recommendation to one of my students a few hours ago who will be attempting sandan in two months. He was asking what do I need to do to make the difference between nidan and sandan. It was great that I read this last post of yours prior to tonights training as this concept was particularly pertinent and assisted me in giving advice that was relevant to this particular student and others who listened in. Essentially follow the teachings but make the Iaido "your own"

            Thank you



            Jason

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            • #36
              Originally posted by kaneboSALA View Post
              I've heard an anecdote about Haruna Sensei's attitude towards Taikai. The kata he chooses and nuances that are focused are changed based on the judges. [edit: embu taikai for kata choice] Size of cuts, timing, and small adjustments can be done. Perhaps that is why he won so much?

              Another example. I was recently told to change how I emphasize a turn by focusing on a distinct ankle twist. I do it a different way, and my Sensei says both are fine. This person is on the judging panel for gradings and claims it is a failing point.

              Should I not consider my audience in this case?
              The choice of kata, the use of variations, something like shifting forward in MJER Mae if your opponent is MSR, these are part of a competition, part of the artform. You should not do any less during your practice or during a grading. There's an interview with Haruna sensei in Kim's Big Book of Iaido number something or other where he states quite clearly that he did not consider that there was a tournament iai, or a grading iai or a practice iai, he said it was all the same. I suggested he meant that one should act in a grading or a tournament the same as if you're just in class and he got a bit sharp and said that gradings and tournaments and everything else WERE training. It was ALL training and there was no choosing this or that, doing this or that depending on the audience or whatever. You practice iai no matter what situation you're in with your skirt and sword in hand.

              As for being told about fail points by grading panellists, you'll have to do a poll of the named judges to determine what the numbers are that favour this or that movement in order to sculpt your iaido so as to pass.

              Or you could just do your iaido as you understand it and assume it's the panel's problem whether or not to pass you.

              You're at a level where we expect to start seeing "your iaido" so you may be getting more and more "either way is fine" comments which can mean "figure it out yourself" or "which do you think is better" or even "I don't care, stop bothering me with questions you should have asked three years ago".

              This stuff gets less defined as you go along, not more so. What I tell my folks is to watch and listen to the hanshi and do it that way. The further down the chain you get the further away from the guys who own the art. There aren't many hanshi around so things are simpler up there in the clouds, only 20 or 30 ways to do it rather than thousands.

              Kim.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Kim Taylor View Post
                The choice of kata, the use of variations, something like shifting forward in MJER Mae if your opponent is MSR, these are part of a competition, part of the artform. You should not do any less during your practice or during a grading. There's an interview with Haruna sensei in Kim's Big Book of Iaido number something or other where he states quite clearly that he did not consider that there was a tournament iai, or a grading iai or a practice iai, he said it was all the same. I suggested he meant that one should act in a grading or a tournament the same as if you're just in class and he got a bit sharp and said that gradings and tournaments and everything else WERE training. It was ALL training and there was no choosing this or that, doing this or that depending on the audience or whatever. You practice iai no matter what situation you're in with your skirt and sword in hand.
                I've read that interview, and could not agree more. In terms of the physical aspects of Iaido. Seitei is Iai, MJER is Iai, MSR is Iai. The scenarios and focus may change, but we are always training to be able to act, react, and represent each scenario as authentically as possible. We are also training our bodies to move in the most efficient way. So each nuance, variation, or scenario is simply a way for us to understand how our body could and should move.

                As for being told about fail points by grading panellists, you'll have to do a poll of the named judges to determine what the numbers are that favour this or that movement in order to sculpt your iaido so as to pass.

                Or you could just do your iaido as you understand it and assume it's the panel's problem whether or not to pass you.
                I think I understand that your point is mainly not to be so focused on the panel that you change your performance in a way that is not you, rather than being completely oblivious of their requirements and leanings. I would still claim that the relationship between observer and performer is not unlike that of performer and kasso teki.

                You're at a level where we expect to start seeing "your iaido" so you may be getting more and more "either way is fine" comments which can mean "figure it out yourself" or "which do you think is better" or even "I don't care, stop bothering me with questions you should have asked three years ago".
                I love those comments. Especially when a direction is included. I get tired of the comments that are justified by "because that's what this Sensei said", or "because you'll fail otherwise".

                This stuff gets less defined as you go along, not more so. What I tell my folks is to watch and listen to the hanshi and do it that way. The further down the chain you get the further away from the guys who own the art. There aren't many hanshi around so things are simpler up there in the clouds, only 20 or 30 ways to do it rather than thousands.

                Kim.
                True. At least we have a new 8th Dan coming to Canada this year =D

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                • #38
                  I wonder if the 'foot ion the wrong place' is a hint that you should look at your hips, but he can't be bothered to go into the explanation... done it too often perhaps?

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by chidokan View Post
                    I wonder if the 'foot ion the wrong place' is a hint that you should look at your hips, but he can't be bothered to go into the explanation... done it too often perhaps?
                    I would not dare ask for clarifications on personal instruction on an Internet forum where people can imagine a plethora of assumptions. Majority of which have no context.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by chidokan View Post
                      I wonder if the 'foot ion the wrong place' is a hint that you should look at your hips, but he can't be bothered to go into the explanation... done it too often perhaps?
                      I would not dare ask for clarifications on personal instruction on an Internet forum where people can imagine a plethora of assumptions. Majority of which have no context.

                      Comment

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