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too much reliance on bohi

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  • too much reliance on bohi

    the discussion in the "iaido-katana" thread got me thinking -- how much do people rely on the "whoosh" sound produced by the bohi to guide their swings?

    i bring this up because i've seen some iaidoka with pretty bad swing forms who appear to have picked up some bad habits by relying on that whoosh sound. what seems to be happening is that they are trying to produce the largest sound they can by swinging very fast, but with an arc that is much too small.

    appears to be a tough habit to break when it's ingrained.

  • #2
    geekspeak: Amplitude (loudness) vs. frequency (pitch)

    Originally posted by Halcyon
    the discussion in the "iaido-katana" thread got me thinking -- how much do people rely on the "whoosh" sound produced by the bohi to guide their swings?

    i bring this up because i've seen some iaidoka with pretty bad swing forms who appear to have picked up some bad habits by relying on that whoosh sound. what seems to be happening is that they are trying to produce the largest sound they can by swinging very fast, but with an arc that is much too small.

    appears to be a tough habit to break when it's ingrained.
    Now the secret is out.

    It's not the loudness of the sound - it's the pitch. Your are not aiming for just any sound; you are aiming for the "right sound."

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    • #3
      But isn't the pitch also in part determined by the speed of the swing?

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      • #4
        Proper relaxation,johakyu, tenouchi and intent make proper pitch.

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        • #5
          I know its hard to explain a sound over the internet, but what should it sound like?

          Do you mean a small *fwip* type sound as oppose to a big *whoosh*?

          I was told also that the sound should be in front of you, and not over your head, as that was all wasted power because you have not met the target yet.

          Is the sound an indication of good edge alignment?

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          • #6
            Sounds.

            Originally posted by ZealUK
            I know its hard to explain a sound over the internet, but what should it sound like?

            Do you mean a small *fwip* type sound as oppose to a big *whoosh*?
            This cannot be described in words. It needs a videoclip with sound at least.


            I was told also that the sound should be in front of you, and not over your head, as that was all wasted power because you have not met the target yet.
            True.


            Is the sound an indication of good edge alignment?
            Yes.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by R A Sosnowski
              Now the secret is out.

              It's not the loudness of the sound - it's the pitch. Your are not aiming for just any sound; you are aiming for the "right sound."
              is that true.........damn I never knew!

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              • #8
                for the sake of creating a nice big arc during kirioroshi, i personally try to get a longer *whoosh* sound as opposed to a shorter (though perhaps louder/higher pitched) *fwip*.

                however, my sensei has warned us not to rely too much on the sound created by the hi because he says students sometimes overlook the fundamentals of the swing while fixating on creating a big sound.

                to paraphrase what he said, if the swing is correct, the sound will naturally be correct, but a big sound does not mean the swing is correct.

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                • #9
                  Try breaking the 'swing' into two parts, a gentle relaxed section that stops at the top of the head, and the second part where you apply hara and tenouchi, that relaxes off towards the end of the cut. Observe the sound change....
                  I find it useful for beginners to understand this, but senior students do not need bohi, they should be able to cut properly and not need the 'comfort factor' of hearing the noise.
                  With proper supervision it takes an average beginner about an hour of one on one teaching to get at least one cut correct...

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                  • #10
                    I find it very frustrating at my current level (beginner) to get a consistent sound when cutting. Sometimes theres a big whoosh, and I think I'm putting too much of my shoulders into the cut, as its above my head, and sometimes I feel I have good reach and a better cut, but there's no sound.

                    I also tend to get a wobble sometimes, which is hugely annoying.

                    Would it be advisable for me to practice the shape of the cut with no power at home so my muscle memory remembers the shape as oppose to trying to get a consistent sound from the cut?

                    We did practice cutting with Iaito one handed on the right then left today in training, which was agony I was used to a lightweight bokken...anyway I'll be aching tomorrow.

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                    • #11
                      Varying practice

                      Originally posted by ZealUK
                      I find it very frustrating at my current level (beginner) to get a consistent sound when cutting. Sometimes theres a big whoosh, and I think I'm putting too much of my shoulders into the cut, as its above my head, and sometimes I feel I have good reach and a better cut, but there's no sound.

                      I also tend to get a wobble sometimes, which is hugely annoying.

                      Would it be advisable for me to practice the shape of the cut with no power at home so my muscle memory remembers the shape as oppose to trying to get a consistent sound from the cut?
                      Yes. The sound is, after all, just an indication, and not the goal. When it becomes the goal, you're in big trouble [that's how this tread got started].

                      We did practice cutting with Iaito one handed on the right then left today in training, which was agony I was used to a lightweight bokken...anyway I'll be aching tomorrow.
                      A wonderful exercise, ..., provided your grip is approximately right. It is much more interesting with an Iaito, Katana or Shinken.

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                      • #12
                        If you are training with my mate Mark Sykes, I will ask him to increase the one handed practise so you get used to it. He will be happy to oblige. Isn't that nice of us to help you like that!

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                        • #13
                          It is indeed Mark Sykes sensei. Thanks for the kind offer

                          The problem is when more people turn up to the class we end up doing more cuts as we count along the line!

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