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  • iai styles and the ZNKR

    I have a question about iai styles and the ZNKR.

    I read that the All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR) Iaido forms (Seitei Gata Iai)

    Is based off Muso Shinden-ryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu (but mostly off mjer)
    After further reading it seems that other styles also belong to the All Japan Kendo Federation too.
    That there are no dojo ranking, you have to go before a ZNKR pannel to test. (which seems to be regardless of ryu style.)
    But if ZNKR is the standard used for majority of the different ryu testing;
    I am wondering how is the learning process done for the all the various styles?

    EVERYONE says that there are small differences between the diff. Ryu.
    Does testing work something like this? === ZNKR judge panel has a very lose standard, (but still hard enough to look for certain details: if your standing straight, are your movements fluid, etc.)
    that the judges know you do MSR or MJER or ETC. so when you test if your sort of close to the kata & have strong pose. The judges say, ok it looks like he knows his ryu styles kata well?
    So he passes the ZNKR rank test.

    That may not be exactly how it goes but I mean is that close to what happens?

    If so, then what do they do for the more advanced levels? Like Chuden & Okuden.
    Because I understand the ZNKR (Seitei Gata Iai) to just be 10 kata.
    Are there other ZNKR kata for the cover higher levels or does it end with just the one. If so, just for my general info., what ware they called?

    If it is not this way then how are the diff ryu styles handled at the ZNKR level?

    Do you just have to know both; how ZNKR does it and also how your ryu, does the equivalent of it? or to they do the znkr as a seperate set?

  • #2
    Originally posted by sparkythex
    I have a question about iai styles and the ZNKR.

    I read that the All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR) Iaido forms (Seitei Gata Iai)Is based off Muso Shinden-ryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu (but mostly off mjer)After further reading it seems that other styles also belong to the All Japan Kendo Federation too.
    [/COLOR]
    Writing with a bit of experience in this I can tell you other styles/ryu are not members of ZNKR. People that do other ryu are individual members of ZNKR. The ZNKR grading system is not too well liked by the Ryu community within it. For example someone who has been practicing for years (during and since the war) is not too happy at being told he has to do seitei on a grading when his own system has its own fundamentals.

    If you practice a particular ryu there is no guarantee that there will be someone on the panel that is from your style. When I took Sandan ZNKR Nomasa Sensei Hachidan (now deceased) was the judge. He was MSR. I was doing MJER.

    Some of our most senior teacher's sensei were instrumental in the forming of seitei (fundamentals). They were asked by ZNKR to invent it.
    Nowadays the senior feeling is that the ryu and seitei have become so intermixed, they need to be clearly separated.

    When the speech was given by the ZNKR on introducing seitei it was clearly stated that anyone wishing to delve deep into iai should go find a ryu. Wether or not you can find that person that can "clearly" define the differences could prove difficult. But as the years go on there are some very well practiced experienced gentlemen out there that can do this.

    Not wishing to open a can of worms on this. I started out in seitei too and am forever grateful for the good foundation that took me further.

    Comment


    • #3
      Being only a junior in Iai I can't speak with authority but there are actually 12 ZNKR Iai Kata now - following a second round of additions - originally 7, then 10 now 12. They are based on kata from a range of koryu, not just MSR/MJER (never having done either I am probably predjudiced) and are modified from those origins anyway - and each year the interpretations being taught seem to change.

      I think the soke of Tamiya Ryu is the last surviving member of the panel that added 8/9/10.

      WRT Chuden, Okuden etc ZNKR Iai grades are seperate from ryu certification - I have a shodan grade in ZNKR Iai but nothing in my koryu, so am only allowed to practice kata 1-5 of omote in that ryu, and it will take me several years at my current lack of progress to get past that - by which time I will have probably graded (or attempted to grade) a couple more times in ZNKR Iai.

      Aden

      Comment


      • #4
        There are no universal rule on which kata you should learn when, depending on the instructors level and preferences, the emphasis on koryu versus seite, varies from club to club. Koryu -practise unfortunately comes in in the background in many cases, people are chewing their jaws off on seitei to survive gradings and to do well in taikai. After a year of seitei with some koryu-kara randomly thrown in, my beginners follows the regular practise of koryu.
        Its a dilemma, because you want to learn the students as much as possible, and at the same time make sure that their progression in seitei follows the intervals set by znkr.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by sparkythex
          If so, then what do they do for the more advanced levels? Like Chuden & Okuden.
          Because I understand the ZNKR (Seitei Gata Iai) to just be 10 kata.
          Are there other ZNKR kata for the cover higher levels or does it end with just the one. If so, just for my general info., what ware they called?

          If it is not this way then how are the diff ryu styles handled at the ZNKR level?
          The more advanced level is a matter of skill within the practicioner, its not marked by the kata. A beginner can be taught Chuden and Okuden, and he will do the kata.

          But his skill and performance will not be the same as a 5th dan, for example. In that line of thought, the 5th dan can easily show his ability by doing any kata.

          The examiners are more knowledgeable than the examinee, and are able to judge him/her and perceive the details that are required for the level.

          You can put a 5th kyu aspirant next to a 5th dan aspirant to do the same kata, and they will do "the same thing". But the examiners will be looking for different things in each one of them

          Theres why seitei doesnt need Chuden or Okuden. Also, for 5th dan in particular, you have to do one koryu kata as well (my sensei has just returned from Tokyo with his godan )
          Last edited by Julian D; 19th October 2005, 11:47 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Aden
            WRT Chuden, Okuden etc ZNKR Iai grades are seperate from ryu certification - I have a shodan grade in ZNKR Iai but nothing in my koryu, so am only allowed to practice kata 1-5 of omote in that ryu, and it will take me several years at my current lack of progress to get past that - by which time I will have probably graded (or attempted to grade) a couple more times in ZNKR Iai.

            Aden
            may be i am reading this wrong but
            for the znkr is it divided into sections to get a rank?
            example:
            so the Seitei is not that you have to do all 12 at 1 time?
            Shoden (you do like 1-5)
            Chuden (you do like 1-4)
            Okuden (you do like 1-3)
            or what ever they call the rank (i know someone posted ZNKR doesn't use the name Chuden & Okuden) or is it just the 1 level?

            OR do you do all 12 & then they rank you base on overall performance?
            Years later you go again, to see if you got better at the 12? for a higher rank later?


            Now I have a new question about ZNKR & RYU RANKING...
            you have to know both the ZNKR kata to rank for All Kendo Fed. & then also the kata for your ryu, that seems sort of lame.

            is it possible for someone to only rank in there ryu; if they don't care about znkr rank?
            i could care less about rank i just want to do iai & enjoy it!
            i don't even care about rank in the ryu as long as they show me all the kata. (and actually teach me how to do it correctly)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by sparkythex
              may be i am reading this wrong but
              for the znkr is it divided into sections to get a rank?
              example:
              so the Seitei is not that you have to do all 12 at 1 time?
              Shoden (you do like 1-5)
              Chuden (you do like 1-4)
              Okuden (you do like 1-3)
              or what ever they call the rank (i know someone posted ZNKR doesn't use the name Chuden & Okuden) or is it just the 1 level?

              It's only one level. You can practise whichever of the 12 kata you like. You don't even have to learn them in order (you must, however, perform them in order on gradings and shiai).

              OR do you do all 12 & then they rank you base on overall performance?
              Years later you go again, to see if you got better at the 12? for a higher rank later?

              Gradings look different for different levels. For 4 kyu in Sweden you should do reiho and 3 kata of your own choice. For shodan, I think it is 5 kata that the examinators choose. And yes, the examinators look at your iai and see if it is "ready" for the level you are trying for.


              Now I have a new question about ZNKR & RYU RANKING...
              you have to know both the ZNKR kata to rank for All Kendo Fed. & then also the kata for your ryu, that seems sort of lame.

              Why? If you want a ZNKR grade, then of course you must know the ZNKR kata. And if you want to practise koryu then you learn the kata for your koryu, what is the problem?

              is it possible for someone to only rank in there ryu; if they don't care about znkr rank?
              i could care less about rank i just want to do iai & enjoy it!
              i don't even care about rank in the ryu as long as they show me all the kata. (and actually teach me how to do it correctly)
              Don't know. I will have enough to do with seitei for the next couple of years before I have to start considering doing koryu.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by sparkythex
                is it possible for someone to only rank in there ryu; if they don't care about znkr rank?
                IMHO it is possible to grade in you own Ryu. I have been graded a certain Dan grade and have NO grades or any experience in ZNKR iaido.
                So, my grade is a Ryu grade and it is regonised by thwe foundation i am a member from. I doubt whether ZNKR will recognise it since it is a very non-orthodox (does this expression work in English - I mean not-tradiotional) way of practise. But maybe they do, I have no idea. Problem is that my sensei still holds everything in a dark cloud of mist and wants us to just practise. He turned into a good friend of mine and I am also married to his daughter and know he is starting to answer some of my questions. Problem with his answers are that one answer rises another twenty questions (see my signature).
                Damn, last week I got dan graded to a certain style and I don't even know what I'am doing...
                I hope, someday, I'll find out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sparkythex
                  so the Seitei is not that you have to do all 12 at 1 time?
                  Shoden (you do like 1-5)
                  Chuden (you do like 1-4)
                  Okuden (you do like 1-3)
                  or what ever they call the rank (i know someone posted ZNKR doesn't use the name Chuden & Okuden) or is it just the 1 level?

                  Now I have a new question about ZNKR & RYU RANKING...
                  you have to know both the ZNKR kata to rank for All Kendo Fed. & then also the kata for your ryu, that seems sort of lame.

                  Yadda yadda...
                  Well first of all, correct terminology:-
                  ZNKR grades:
                  Shodan, nidan, sandan, yondan....
                  which is the same as kendo, where "shodan" means 1st Dan (black belt, whatever), and "ni, san, yon" being the numbers

                  For most koryu:
                  Shoden > Chuden > Okuden > ... Menkyo Kaiden etc.
                  where "den" means transmission. Shoden contains a set of certain # of kata, then Chuden to another set of higher level, etc.

                  So it's not really a rank for koryu - more like a term for beginners, advanced and the like.

                  Of course there are koryu that only does that and no ZNKR kata, which *may* have their own ways of grading. But my limited experience (about 1 year) in Muso Shinden Ryu + ZNKR gave me the opportunity to learn the 12 ZNKR kata and was briefly taught MSR Shoden and Chuden. This varies from dojo to dojo, and depending on your personal progress.

                  Lastly, I guess you should just go to a dojo and attend classes there. Start worrying about ranks and such when you had enough training in it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sparkythex
                    Now I have a new question about ZNKR & RYU RANKING...

                    you have to know both the ZNKR kata to rank for All Kendo Fed. & then also the kata for your ryu, that seems sort of lame.

                    is it possible for someone to only rank in there ryu; if they don't care about znkr rank?
                    Sure. Then again it depends under what authority you practice.

                    In England we have two main governing bodies: The British Kendo Association and the Eikoku Roshukai.

                    The BKA practices under the the rules of the ZNKR and gradings up to sandan are done seitei iai only (reiho, 3 or 5 kata, reiho). After sandan there is a requirement for koryu kata to be performed in addition to the seitei iai (reiho, 1 or 2 koryu iai followed by 3/4 seitei iai, reiho).

                    The ER does not practice seitei iai - only MJER koryu iai. Their grading system requires you to perform shoden, chuden or okuden (or a mix, depending upon the level of the person grading). To date, they also follow the dan-i system.

                    To be honest, your questions are redundant until you find a dojo to tie yourself into. Then, whether you do seitei iai or not will be decided for you. I have heard detractors moan about seitei iai from both BKA and ER, but it has its place in sword arts and - most importantly IMHO - it is a great foundation to koryu iai.

                    Go practice. It's all good...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      it is more important to train hard and be proficient than have a grade....if you cant back up the grade it is not worth the paper it is written on. As for seitei, I went back and 'had a go' for the first time in about 12 years. I usually do koryu all the time, so was surprised it all came back quite quickly and I also found it really simple to do the last two for the first time. This may be down to either experience or just that seitei is easy in comparison to koryu... I would like an opinion from someone who only does seitei and has just tried koryu after the same time in practise as me so my opinion on this is not based however.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Slightly OT:

                        Originally posted by ScottUK
                        To be honest, your questions are redundant until you find a dojo to tie yourself into. Then, whether you do seitei iai or not will be decided for you. I have heard detractors moan about seitei iai from both BKA and ER, but it has its place in sword arts and - most importantly IMHO - it is a great foundation to koryu iai.

                        Go practice. It's all good...
                        Seitei iaido is indeed a great foundation... for *most* koryu. 90% of the time however, when iai people talk about koryu they mean MSR or MJER (or occasionally Tamiya).

                        However there are some (many?) koryu where you would first have to unlearn your seitei habits in order to progress. And you certainly couldn't practice both concurrently. One I know of for sure is Tatsumi Ryu. You would have to spend months unlearning seitei-style sayabiki in order to do even the basic level of Tatsumi. And that's quite apart from the difference in "flavour": the way the whole ryu moves and does things.

                        So there's no way that having ZNKR grades would mean much towards earning mokuroku in Tatsumi Ryu iai.

                        b

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ben
                          However there are some (many?) koryu where you would first have to unlearn your seitei habits in order to progress.
                          Probably all of them.

                          When I practice MJER, I have a different head on to my seitei head, as do I when I practice kenjutsu. Seitei iai has helped me pick up MJER faster than someone with no iai experience, as certain principles are the same, but the way the techniques are done is massively different.

                          It's not so much unlearning, but restarting with a new attitude and/or mindset. Then changing back to seitei the next day ad infinitum...!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I do not find seite and koryu(msr) contradictive, some things are more pronounced, other more subtle. The contradiction must be that there are lots of stuff in koryu that will get little or no attention. There is not enough time,

                            I understand that even in Japan, the emphasis in dojos that are znkr affiliated, are mainly on the solo-kata of znkr and the chosen koryu, and that the paired kata in mjer/msr are becoming more and more an obscurity. Am I wrong?

                            Koryu isnt one thing though, the difference between some koryu are perhaps bigger than between seite and the most known koryu, like msr and mjer. Seite is after all a product of mainly these koryu.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No, not contradictive, just a different perspective on keiko.

                              My MJER mindset is different to my seitei iai mindset. When I am taking part in shiai or shinza and seitei iai is the order of the day, technique and precision is at the forefront of my mind, with kihaku secondary. When it is MJER practice, my iai is SIGNIFICANTLY more combative with technical points coming second.

                              If you practice koryu iai with a seitei mindset, you may as well not bother IMHO. If you practice seitei iai with a koryu mindset, it's never gonna be seitei iai. Maybe this returns to the do/jutsu argument. Seitei iai should be practiced with a lean towards 'do' and koryu iai should lean towards 'jutsu'.

                              Neither should be 100% 'do' or 'jutsu' - imagine someone practicing iai 100% 'do'. It would be perfect but empty. Now imagine someone practicing iai 100% 'jutsu'. It would be extremely dominating and powerful but with little grace or style.

                              I try to practice seitei iai and koryu iai seperately. I don't really want to fall foul of mixing seitei mae with omori-ryu mae. It's easily done.

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