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  • Naginata examination: a good question indeed!

    Following a debate on another medium, I'd like to submit to the board an interesting question (hh!):

    One of the Naginata course examination question this year at IBU was (roughly):

    "Why should one have between rear hand and ishizuki a distance equivalent the the length of one's forearm?"


    (In this case "to pick up chicks" doesn't do!)

  • #2
    I know that in jikishin we're supposed to do that in jodan in order to avoid getting our hands cut off.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hughes View Post
      Following a debate on another medium, I'd like to submit to the board an interesting question (hh!):

      One of the Naginata course examination question this year at IBU was (roughly):

      "Why should one have between rear hand and ishizuki a distance equivalent the the length of one's forearm?"


      (In this case "to pick up chicks" doesn't do!)
      Because Japanese women are mostly the same size?

      Comment


      • #4
        It naturally aligns a light weight weapon to the center.

        It is the same for kendo. The left hand (power hand for kendo) goes at the end of the shinai. To place the right hand properly, drop the end of the shinai into your right elbow and leaving the elbow bent 90, bring the hand up "like you are holding the torch on the Statue of Liberty".

        i.e. a forearms length ...

        Try it with a shinai (easier to throw and check the center).

        If the right hand is significantly lower than the forearm length, the tip will fall to the right. It the right hand is significantly higher, the body and the tip will twist to the left (if you maintain a kendo grip throughout the cut, i.e. do not let go of either hand).

        For an atarashii naginata, the rear hand is both the power and the pivot hand since we grip so lightly (compared to a kendo front hand grip) that our front hand moves along the length of the e-bu.

        The fact that atarashii naginata uses a light weight weapon is significant to this posture. With the e- (oak) much heavier than the ha- (bamboo), the center of rotation has moved to the back of the weapon.

        'Real' or koryu naginata have a center of rotation much! closer to the blade. Again, each style will have the hands positioned to take advantage of the natural pivot point for the heavier weapon of that style; meaning, the hands will move forward along the e- toward the ha - instead of backward.

        The really long weapons, the 12+ footers, I don't think were ever meant to be taken overhead. The person's body acted as a pivot point and the weapon was only swept horizontally. The further back, you were, the longer the sweep. I need to verify that, though.

        The fact that atarashii naginata is taught as a center line sport, same as kendo, also plays into this. (e.g. If I hold my weapon in such a way so that it always falls to the right (and you are directly in front of me), all I have to do is move into a position on my left to put you under the weapon. If I practice enough, and practice consistently with my grip that naturally brings the weapon to the right, I can ma-zumori same as anyone else ...)

        I hope this is helpful to you, but try it out by swinging a naginata at different pivot points while keeping all other aspects of our training the same. That should give you a better understanding that anything I can say.

        Comment


        • #5
          answer of a chilean newbie (thinking in something else that the aswers already posted): () it's a physics thing! try to do a men with the hands in different position or distance. weight and torque.

          Comment


          • #6
            For shinpan to judge engi kyougi
            :-)

            Comment


            • #7
              This is actually an interesting question. I'm unsure of the correct answer but can hazard a guess.

              Firstly, regarding using the back hand as the pivot point, I'd disagree with this. My reasoning for this is because often when making a strike in atarashii naginata you may move your back hand closer to, or right to, the end to give you extra length. Also, koryu styles are not all in the centre of the naginata, in fact I can think of tendo-ryu and katori shinto ryu being closer to the centre while jikishin kage-ryu and toda-ha buko-ryu are at or closer to the end, again to give more length as well as more weight when cutting.

              My guess is actually that you have to keep that length so that you don't accidentally stab yourself with the ishizuki (which is supposed to be a spike or even a small blade). All it would take is for your opponent to knock your blade aside when doing a soku-men in order for the ishizuki to be pressed into your body. The other reason I could guess is to allow you to use the end to block and cover your body (though you need to slide the ebu out further when blocking so I see this as a rather weak argument).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kjbartel View Post
                Firstly, regarding using the back hand as the pivot point, I'd disagree with this. My reasoning for this is because often when making a strike in atarashii naginata you may move your back hand closer to, or right to, the end to give you extra length. Also, koryu styles are not all in the centre of the naginata, in fact I can think of tendo-ryu and katori shinto ryu being closer to the centre while jikishin kage-ryu and toda-ha buko-ryu are at or closer to the end, again to give more length as well as more weight when cutting.
                I agree. I think it's more an issue of what the movements of the style require, in my meager experience, and absolutely not due to the weapon's center of balance. Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu deploys a lot of rapid alternations of strikes/blocks from isshizuki to blade, so they tend to hold in the middle. Toda-ha Buko-ryu is more on the endanywhere from the standard forearm spacing, to right on the isshizuki is what I've been told is okay (YMMV). Techniques in TBR tend to be heavier, even when done with a TSKSR naginata.

                -Beth

                Comment


                • #9
                  Toda-ha Buko-ryu is more on the end
                  Techniques in TBR tend to be heavier, even when done with a TSKSR naginata
                  ...may I enquire without going off at a tangent.. are the all wood naginata vastly different in these ryu ? and would that difference (in the wooden weapon, replicating a 'real' bladed weapon), influence the style, and where this naginata is 'held' - centre, end, one fore-arm length away from ishiizuki ?

                  I mean we're all familiar with the Zen Nihon wood one, and here in England, they seem to sell only the Katori S-R naginata... not being familiar or having seen yet - Toda-ha Budo-ryu or Jikishinkage ...do these ryu-ha have their own 'unique' wooden shape that perhaps influences balance, and attack/defence styles...cool:

                  (I mean we all know the modern shiai light oak/bamboo version allows us to do moves, that would no way work "in the [real] historic Japan" - what we have a modern, electrical tape held blade, easy-care, training weapon for 'full contact sport' Naginata, yes ?! this alone surely influences where it is held in the simple chudan kamae, ie. light, so you can be at the end - one fore-arm length - rather than nearer the blade, ie. than near the middle). I'm liking everyone elses answers

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Budo Angel View Post
                    ...may I enquire without going off at a tangent..
                    Without a tangent? If there was no tangent, it wouldn't be Kendo World!

                    are the all wood naginata vastly different in these ryu ?
                    I wouldn't say vastly, from what I've seen. It seems we have two broad categories in the solid weapons. TBR and KSR weapons are heavier, stouter weapons. A KSR naginata is stout enough for TBRa Tendo-ryu naginata is not. Ruggedness was the characteristic which was indicated as most important to me, and with that you get different balance. I don't think the balance is forcing the technique so much. I do think the practitioner's familiarity with the balance is important.

                    Of course, being koryu, this is only the answer that is most important to me at this time, and of course only part of the answer I'm sure.

                    I mean we're all familiar with the Zen Nihon wood one, and here in England, they seem to sell only the Katori S-R naginata... not being familiar or having seen yet - Toda-ha Budo-ryu or Jikishinkage ...do these ryu-ha have their own 'unique' wooden shape that perhaps influences balance, and attack/defence styles...cool:
                    I'm not familiar at all with ZN naginata, or Jikishinkage-ryu, and I'd like to hear about the suppliers in GBR who stock KSR naginata. The ones at Nine Circles are definitely neither KSR or TBR: http://www.ninecircles.co.uk/items.asp?CatID=17
                    They are too light. Both KSR and TBR naginata flare toward the blade, starting at about the tsuba area.

                    (I mean we all know the modern shiai light oak/bamboo version allows us to do moves, that would no way work "in the [real] historic Japan" - what we have a modern, electrical tape held blade, easy-care, training weapon for 'full contact sport' Naginata, yes ?! this alone surely influences where it is held in the simple chudan kamae, ie. light, so you can be at the end - one fore-arm length - rather than nearer the blade, ie. than near the middle).
                    The atarashii weapon does allow you to do some different things, but I submit the major difference is in the balance. But it's not the weapon necessarily dictating the grip. My chudan is the same no matter which weapon I'm using, and last training as I had an injury I used my shiai naginata instead of the heavier weapon. It was interesting, for various values of the term, but solid principles of movement are, I believe, universal.

                    -Beth

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'd like to hear about the suppliers in GBR who stock KSR naginata. The ones at Nine Circles are definitely neither KSR or TBR: http://www.ninecircles.co.uk/items.asp?CatID=17
                      They are too light. Both KSR and TBR naginata flare toward the blade, starting at about the tsuba area.
                      ...oh really ?! no sh1t... well these definately aren't Zen Nihon ones, (another thread) we bring those in from Tokyo as there's "no demand" to stock ZN ones... sure I was told, KSR practicioners in Britain (& lots of ninjitsu-ka it seems) are buying them... you have enlightened me

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hmmm... I think that the ninecircles one are ZNK nagainata, they just don't have the tsuba put on yet.

                        I disagree with the rear-hand to ishizuki length always being correct. For instance we have someone who is 6'5 (about 196 cm) tall practicing over here. If he uses the above "standard" then he would have either same or more space on the ishizuki side than the ha-bu side of the naginata from his body! This is because the size of the naginata is regulated and standardized, but the size of our bodies is not (although as I jokingly stated above, the average size of Japanese women is much more consistant than that of international students). The proper way to determine how to grip the naginata is to have the front hand at the proper balance point and then place the back hand in the proper position relative to the body. I have always been taught that the pivot point on the naginata is at the front hand, not the rear hand. For most people this will give them an ishizuki side length of about the length of the forearm.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bruce Mitchell View Post
                          I have always been taught that the pivot point on the naginata is at the front hand, not the rear hand. For most people this will give them an ishizuki side length of about the length of the forearm.
                          That seems to describe what I feel functionally. If I draw a parallel to swordwork as well, it is the front hand which is the pivot point for techniques which, for the most obvious example, transition from a block to a cut. It's the same mechanics, on a different scale, as funegaeshi.

                          I'll have to think about this (but not too much) when I next practice.

                          -Beth

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bruce Mitchell View Post
                            ...
                            I have always been taught that the pivot point on the naginata is at the front hand, not the rear hand. ...
                            No. The pivot point is the back hand.

                            Step I.
                            Assume chuudan - tracing a forearm length from the ishizuki.
                            Let go of the atarashii naginata with your front hand.
                            Do a one handed sho-men.

                            What moved the kissaki (or the whole ha- for that matter) from behind your head to in front of your head?

                            The tenouchi of your ishizuki hand when your hand/arm reached/just cleared the zenith of your arc.

                            That is your pivot.

                            Step II.
                            Assume chuudan - tracing a forearm length from the ishizuki.
                            Let go of the atarashii naginata with your back hand.
                            Do a one handed sho-men.

                            What moved the kissaki/ha- from behind your head to in front of your head?

                            The tenouchi of your kissaki hand when your hand/arm reached/just cleared the zenith of your arc.

                            That is your pivot.

                            Step III.
                            What is the difference?

                            When we do sho-men with both hands on the naginata, the ishizuki hand remains in place just as it does for a one (ishizuki) handed sho-men. The kissaki hand slides along the length of the e- which it CAN NOT do when we do a one (kissaki) handed sho-men.

                            If the atarashii naginata pivot hand was the front hand, we would hold it in place during a two handed sho-men (as we do during a one kissaki handed sho-men) and slide the ishizuki hand.

                            {Don't take my word for it. Try it. Death grip the kissaki hand and try sho-men. The ishizuki hand tucks in about 1-2 inches. And the e- pulls high, closer to the armpit rather than under the forearm -- so it will look more like Tendo-Ryu Naginata than to the result of a standard atarashii naginata sho-men.}

                            {{Actually, I might have a kinesthetic bias, from previous exposure to Tendo-Ryu Naginata. So Hughes, you started this mess. Get about 20 people who have never done naginata before. Line them up in chuudan with their back hand in various lengths from the ishizuki. Teach them basic sho-men and observe the results. Report back. I'm going to order some appetizers while we all wait, so bring some extra pesos ...}}
                            Last edited by kendophx; 23rd July 2009, 05:50 AM. Reason: spelling

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                            • #15
                              Tall people got no reason to ...

                              Originally posted by Bruce Mitchell View Post
                              ... For instance we have someone who is 6'5 (about 196 cm) tall practicing over here. ...
                              A tall person, or a short person with very long arms, will have a similar problem when doing kendo. The tsuka is not long enough to trace out their forearm. My sensei makes some adjustments to the grip on a (tall) person by (tall) person basis. I have no clue what he is looking at/for.

                              hmmmm. I had better ask him...

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