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  • Traditionnal School

    in this book : Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions
    by Ellis Amdur. The author seems to say, as far as I understand well, that Atarashii Naginata is more a sport than a martial art. This way of practising Naginata with bogu is quite poor compare to the diversity of movement of the old school. He even says it's a shame that hits need 3 shimpan to be judge, because the fighters receive so many hits that are not valid, that in a real fight he would have been dead for a long time.

    Don't you think that fight would be more interesting if fighters had to defend all the hits?

  • #2
    One problem is that the shiai-naginata is so light that it is too easy to hit with it. The shinpan have to decide whether a hit a valid naginata technique or just a touch with a stick. A heavier naginata would solve that problem somewhat but also make the sport more dangerous especially if the whole body would be a datotsu. I think it is possible to make some changes in the rules, such as changing to a heavier naginata and allowing more datotsu, to make naginata more "realistic" and interesting.

    Comment


    • #3
      Good Points

      Very good points, David and Jakob.


      Originally posted by Nagi David
      in this book : Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions by Ellis Amdur. The author seems to say, as far as I understand well, that Atarashii Naginata is more a sport than a martial art. This way of practising Naginata with bogu is quite poor compare to the diversity of movement of the old school. He even says it's a shame that hits need 3 shimpan to be judge, because the fighters receive so many hits that are not valid, that in a real fight he would have been dead for a long time.

      Don't you think that fight would be more interesting if fighters had to defend all the hits?
      At least Naginata Jigeiko has some defense; Kendo Jigeiko seems to have almost none. However, Naginata follows Kendo - it is "fencing" and not "dueling." I do agree with David - I would like to see a better balance between the offensive and defensive techniques.


      Originally posted by Jakob Ryngen
      One problem is that the shiai-naginata is so light that it is too easy to hit with it. The shinpan have to decide whether a hit a valid naginata technique or just a touch with a stick. A heavier naginata would solve that problem somewhat but also make the sport more dangerous especially if the whole body would be a datotsu. I think it is possible to make some changes in the rules, such as changing to a heavier naginata and allowing more datotsu, to make naginata more "realistic" and interesting.
      As Jakob and I both know (both of us being rather large specimens of humanity ), Shiai-naginata are pitifully light compared to a real Naginata (analogous to a Shinai compared to a Katana/Shinken). Lightness is part of safety, and yet this same lightness allows for unrealistic techniques in order to score "legal points" that could not be done with live or replica wooden weapons.

      With Naginata embedded in the Phys. Ed. curricula of Japanese schools, I don't think we'll see the introductions of more realistic weight weapons in the future.

      However, I think that both Kendo and Naginata can take a lesson from Western Fencing. The first step in Fencing in foil. It is unrealistic, given its rules of give and take, but it allows one to practice the basics in a controlled setting using a lighter-than-normal weapon. As I see it, Jigeiko/Shiai in both Naginata and Kendo, as they are currently practiced, are analogous to Foil Fencing. What we need is the development of analogues of Saber and Epee fencing - there are more targets available, weapons are a more realistic size & weight, and defence is as important as, if not more important than, offense.

      One place to look is the pre-WWII practices; I know Kendo was more realistic and I suspect that Naginata was too.

      FWIW.

      Comment


      • #4
        Another question to ask is the "fun factor"
        Kendo and Naginata are both fun ( I never tried Naginata but I guess its fun).
        Would the realism of new heavier weapons and new point areas make it more or less fun ?

        With heavier weapons and new point areas , there would be a need for more and maybe better pads and protection , a whole new bogu with more parts .With more bogu , you would be less flexible , taking away some of the douling feeling ( if u ask me ) .

        But more strike areas would be in a way more like in the old days , faster matches with less of crashing together stuff ( kendo) . It would make the shiais "cleaner" , but the new bogu would sett it back one step because of its clumsieness

        if this makes any sense at all , plz send 1$ to Happy dude ( simpson joke)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by R A Sosnowski
          One place to look is the pre-WWII practices; I know Kendo was more realistic and I suspect that Naginata was too.

          FWIW.
          I often wonder what pre-war naginata was like. For some reason I always had this image of it always being koryu style. If sensei has some time tomorrow night I will inquire.
          As far as fun factor goes, I enjoy just how it is. However I like what Mr. Sosnowski had to say about giving it more of epee/ sabre feel. I think I would enjoy that.

          Comment


          • #6
            2 Old Books

            Originally posted by xvikingx
            I often wonder what pre-war naginata was like. For some reason I always had this image of it always being koryu style. If sensei has some time tomorrow night I will inquire.
            As far as fun factor goes, I enjoy just how it is. However I like what Mr. Sosnowski had to say about giving it more of epee/ sabre feel. I think I would enjoy that.
            I have two old books (pre-WWII) on Naginata, one on Tendo Ryu and the other on Jiki-shinkage Ryu. From the pictures in both, is is evident that Isshu Jiai was a common practice. It is unclear if there was also Naginata vs. Naginata (I need a good translator for the text).

            There is a Datotsu diagram in the latter book; in addition to the strikes we are familiar with, this one also includes the front and center of the Do (presumably as Tsuki), and either side of the neck on the Men flaps.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would definately like to see matches in which heavier wooden weapons were used. I have actually known guys who practice kendo using shinai without the bogu. They just agree to not strike at the head of collar. I have also been hit by shinai unarmored before and the experience was really not all that bad - though admittedly the person doing the striking was not kendoka.

              I think the added danger of using wooden weapons such as bokken and wooden naginata instead of lighter bamboo weapons could be offset by improving the materials that the bogu is constructed from. I have been wanting to see bogu made using very light but highly durable and protective plastics for a quite some time now.

              I think that by making weapons out of wood and other such materials and that by making bogu out of -lighter- but more durable and protective materials the pracitce of the sport would be greatly improved and more striking points could be used and even more technique brought in. I would certainly enjoy it even more then.

              I think that bogu designed in the fashion of ashigaru armor would be much more efficient at protecting the body in such a match than the bogu design that is currently in use today. There is just a greater range of movement in ashigaru style armor.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by R A Sosnowski
                ... It is unclear if there was also Naginata vs. Naginata ...
                I do not believe that Naginata on Naginata was that common.

                Naginata was mainly a stationary defense, i.e. line up around the castle and defend the gates. The attackers would come in three waves. First wave; soften everybody up with archery. Second wave; cavalry charge meaning maybe some naginata on horseback vs. naginata on the ground (but usually yari and tachi were the weapons of choice on horseback.). Third wave; hack your way in, using mostly swords, and thereafter the battle plan degenerates into fire and chaos.

                Remember also, many castles included twisting entries/paths that would make actually carrying in a naginata offensively very difficult. You would have to pull the ebu vertical just to turn a corner.

                In Tokogawa era, most fighting was street brawling between 2 swordsmen. The police had witch collars that are fairly long. But think about Japanese cities. They have very narrow streets, not much room for two naginata-no-hito to line up and go at it.

                By the time of the Meiji era, Japanese were experimenting with things like western education (including PE). Atarashii naginata is more closely related to the development of universal education than it is to the continuation of a koryu. Consider the lack of coeducation in Meiji era. Most of the teachers of upper class girls, conducted in a single sex educational environment, were themselves daughters of samurai families who had learned koryu styles of naginata. All the students in those single sex settings were learning naginata, with the teachers taking on the role of bushi swordsman, for the koryu techniques. Naginata vs. naginata gave the girls an enjoyable way to actually practice their techniques in a competitive setting, just as in Europe women vs. women competitive sports were seen as a healthier alternative to a corseted and sedentary lifestyle previously prescribed for upper class women.

                Comment


                • #9
                  An aside.

                  Originally posted by IsahoNaginata
                  I would definately like to see matches in which heavier wooden weapons were used. I have actually known guys who practice kendo using shinai without the bogu. They just agree to not strike at the head of collar. I have also been hit by shinai unarmored before and the experience was really not all that bad - though admittedly the person doing the striking was not kendoka.
                  ...
                  Just as an aside, there is a group of folks out there who do not practice Kendo, but use Shinai as a fencing weapon without Bogu. Check out shinai.org or Rossmoor Shinai. Reading the "Rules" is both interesting and enlightening.

                  I wonder if there are groups out there doing the same thing with Shiai-naginata.

                  Originally posted by IsahoNaginata
                  I think the added danger of using wooden weapons such as bokken and wooden naginata instead of lighter bamboo weapons could be offset by improving the materials that the bogu is constructed from. I have been wanting to see bogu made using very light but highly durable and protective plastics for a quite some time now.
                  ...
                  I kind of get the same effect doing the Kata of Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo. We do the Kata with intent. There were at least two threads in the Jodo section on e-Budo.com about Jodo and armored practice:

                  Enjoy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That is not the question.

                    Originally posted by kendophx
                    I do not believe that Naginata on Naginata was that common.

                    [SNIP HISTORY lesson ]
                    Sorry. That is not the question I was asking. Let's look at the quote again.

                    Originally posted by R A Sosnowski
                    I have two old books (pre-WWII) on Naginata, one on Tendo Ryu and the other on Jiki-shinkage Ryu. From the pictures in both, is is evident that Isshu Jiai was a common practice. It is unclear if there was also Naginata vs. Naginata (I need a good translator for the text).
                    In the context of pre-WWII Koryu Naginata practice, I wonder if there was any Naginata v. Naginata in Jigeiko using Bogu.

                    There were a few Naginata v. Naginata Kata in at least one of the Koryu (Toda-ha Buko-ryu).

                    Consider that if I have a bunch of people in Bogu with either Shinai or Shiai-naginata, and they pair off there are three possibilities:
                    • Shinai vs. Shiai-naginata (Isshu Jiai)
                    • Shinai vs. Shinai (Kendo)
                    • Shiai-naginata vs. Shiai-naginata

                    I wonder if this last possibility occured in pre-WWII Koryu practice in styles with and without Naginata vs. Naginata Kata.

                    HTH.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by R A Sosnowski
                      I have two old books (pre-WWII) on Naginata, one on Tendo Ryu and the other on Jiki-shinkage Ryu. From the pictures in both, is is evident that Isshu Jiai was a common practice. It is unclear if there was also Naginata vs. Naginata (I need a good translator for the text).
                      So they did have a shiai style keiko in addition to the koryuu kata practice? About the book; if you are able to fax or email me a portion of the book(s) I could give it a whirl. I translated a chunk of the handbook, Mrs. Hashimoto acceptance speech, and Mr. Kondo's speech at the 2003 WNC. It would be good practice and a good read.

                      Originally posted by R A Sosnowski
                      There is a Datotsu diagram in the latter book; in addition to the strikes we are familiar with, this one also includes the front and center of the Do (presumably as Tsuki), and either side of the neck on the Men flaps.
                      Sounds like fun. I imagine the neck shots would not feel too good though.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Let's change gears.

                        Originally posted by xvikingx
                        So they did have a shiai style keiko in addition to the koryuu kata practice? About the book; if you are able to fax or email me a portion of the book(s) I could give it a whirl. I translated a chunk of the handbook, Mrs. Hashimoto acceptance speech, and Mr. Kondo's speech at the 2003 WNC. It would be good practice and a good read.
                        Please send me your e-dress in a PM and we can continue this off-forum.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nagi David
                          ... that Atarashii Naginata is more a sport than a martial art. ...
                          I have read several of Mr. Ellis' books. He has nothing kind to say about modern kendoo either. I enjoy his books for the depth of experience they contain, but filter out what I perceive as sneering.

                          The argument of koryu vs. atarashii is a religious one and has no single answer that will satisfy everyone. For me it is kendoo, for you it may be chadoo. I promise not to attack your teahouse with my sword, if you promise not to throw hot tea in my dojo.

                          As to how to keep kendoo true to its origins of demonstrating skill with a sword, my suggestion was to have every shinsa candidate perform tameshigiri. It is very difficult to treat kendoo as playing tag with sticks when you have to place equal importance on the practice of actually cutting something.

                          {And yes, the folks at the grocery store always wonder why I buy my pumpkins after Halloween!}

                          I believe that every kendoist has something to learn from the koryu. But remember, the people who invented kendoo, as a way of demonstrating their skill against swordsmen from other schools, were the people who actually depended on the koryu for their livelihood. Why would a modern bugeisha know better than they do?

                          I also know that if kendoo returned to it pre-war form involving legs sweeps, body throws, et cetera, I would have to give it up. As a 53 female, I do not stand a chance against such full body contact why Id probably want to use a longer weapon than a 3.8 shinai to keep those rather large specimens of humanity away from me in competition . Hmmm. Where might I find a longer, bladed weapon? Hmmmm.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Will do...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by R A Sosnowski
                              Sorry. That is not the question I was asking. ...
                              I'm sorry I misunderstood your question. I hope you get some answers from the translation of your material.

                              Comment

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