Kendo, kenjutsu and HEMA

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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby The Salmon Lord » 12 Apr 2012 13:18

admin wrote:I don't think it would lead to an argument. Most people these days accept that the real reason is cowardice.

"most people" :?:
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Cutlery Penguin » 12 Apr 2012 13:24

I have competed in over three dozen martial arts tournaments, in the past seventeen years not one of them has been able to contain me.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby bigdummy » 12 Apr 2012 18:35

I think the stress is complex, and comes from many sources. It's different from normal bar brawl type stress, but it is somewhat similar to the feeling during grammar school that you are going to have to fight the class bully at the end of the day (because, in my case, you had mouthed off probably). Something about knowing the fight is coming for a long time. In a sudden bar fight or street encounter you just have to be more willing to accept the situation than the other guy, which I am familiar with. The long build up is more stressful.

I've been in 5 tournaments and I've thought about how they effected me differently.

I noticed the following things to worry about:

1) Fear of immediate physical injury from the weapons, which can be real as was pointed out already.
2) Fear of doing really badly ... if you can't even get out of your pool, are you any good at this thing you've been doing for 5, 10 or 15 years? This is enhanced if you are ... ahem... an asshole online sometimes.
3) Fear of the capricious random factor (will you be in the first pool, with 4 badasses, or will you be in a late pool with 4 newbies?)
4) Fear of bad judging
5) Fear of your group or your students doing poorly
6) Fear of long term injury such as your knees or feet in my case, which could make you fight worse, and could make you have to quit fighting as has happened to some people we all know, and could even make you have to say, walk on a cane for a long time.
7) Fear of hurting someone else
8 ) Fear of not having the right gear. That was always a big one for me!
9) Fear of doing poorly if you did badly the year before or some other time in the past.
10) Fear of being shown up by a rival
11) Fear of the exhaustion and physical strain of fighting
12) Fear of the physical pain of being hit

You can substitute the word fear for 'stress', 'concern' 'worry', 'anxiety' or even 'annoyance', but I think when you add them up, they can amount to a fairly heavy distraction.


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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby admin » 12 Apr 2012 21:03

I think we all agree that there are many types of stress and that combat/fight stress can take a myriad of different forms, even varying depending on what day of the week it is, or on whether you are hungry or need a smoke.

Can we try and keep this on dealing with competition stress though please?
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby bigdummy » 12 Apr 2012 21:29

The above were all the different forms of competition stress I could identify that I have felt at various times before or during HEMA tournaments.

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Kendo and HEMA

Postby NeilG » 13 Apr 2012 01:06

One more fear - that of being judged for your failure. Your friends, your instructors are all watching. I don't mind losing so long as I play well.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Gordon L » 13 Apr 2012 02:35

I'm yet to read this thread in full, but an observation I perhaps already made in the parent thread:

Kenjutsu is probably more interesting than kendo for HEMA training. (Kenjutsu are the traditional sword forms that the modern sport of kendo draws on. Most kenjutsu ryu teach other weapons as well, such as staff, staff vs. sword, knife, short staff, seizures and disarms, etc).

Kendo (as now is) only dates back to 1955, and has been (and is) artificially restricted to linear technique. It also uses a weapon lighter than a current Olympic-rules sabre.

I've been doing bits and bobs of kenjutsu off and on since the mid-80s, but my first session of kendo was enough for me.

That said, a lot of the warm-ups, stretching toning, strength training and conditioning that the kendoka use is the same as that the kenjutsoka use, and is directly transferrable to users of any 2H weapon. And a lot of it, unsurprisingly, is very similar to western fencing's s&c work for single-handed weapons.

(Which reminds me : I need to get on and finally organise the kenjutsu / chinese sword / historical fencing / modern fencing cross-fertilisation workshop that I've been threatening to hold for the past year or so).
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby scholadays » 13 Apr 2012 08:32

NeilG wrote:One more fear - that of being judged for your failure. Your friends, your instructors are all watching. I don't mind losing so long as I play well.

Yeah, this pretty much sums up why I never got particularly stressed or worried in competition.

I'd always, most times fanatically, regardless of how informal the bout may be, to the point of idiocy, fight as hard and bastardy as possible. So, if I lost, we can probably disregard bad luck and simply say the oppostion were the better swordsman on the day. Perhaps, therefore, the outcome of the bout was pretty much already decided before I picked up the weapon - so why worry?

So, perhaps we can boil many people's stress about competing simply into worries about Looking Like A Bit Of A Dick. But this is only really a concern if Other People's Opinions Matter.

Neither of which has ever been a particular afflication of mine.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby scholadays » 13 Apr 2012 08:35

NeilG wrote: I don't mind losing so long as I play well.


Actually, I think I could go further than simply Not Minding. I think I can fairly safely say that I never ever learned anything new by winning.*

It was always those bouts where I was completely and absolutely bloody mullered where I walked away having won anything particularly valuable.





*Except, perhaps, how awesome I am.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 13 Apr 2012 09:06

Gordon L wrote:It also uses a weapon lighter than a current Olympic-rules sabre.

Sorry to say, but it isn't completely right.

Minimal weight of a shinai is 510g, average is somewhere around 530-540g. I just have checked my shinai, without plastic tsuba & rubber ring is 515g. A Ukrainian, cheap dry sabre from PBT is 364g, and the maximum weight of an Olympic sabre shouldn't be more than 500g.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby admin » 13 Apr 2012 11:51

Purely as a piece of trivia I find it very interesting that these two very separate sports have ended up with a safe sparring tool that weighs in at 500g-ish.

For the most part HEMA seems to be gravitating towards sparring tools that weight about 1000g (eg. 900g sabre, 1100g longsword feder). This is why we need much better gloves :).

I also stand by my original assertion that simply doubling the weight of the sparring impliment changes a lot about the way you use it.
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Kendo and HEMA

Postby NeilG » 13 Apr 2012 14:42

Gordon L wrote:Kendo (as now is) only dates back to 1955, and has been (and is) artificially restricted to linear technique.

I'm uncertain as to what you mean by linear. Care to expand?
I've been doing bits and bobs of kenjutsu off and on since the mid-80s, but my first session of kendo was enough for me.
You actually trained some ryuha, or you just worked waza people showed you or what? Trying to get some idea of where you are coming from.
That said, a lot of the warm-ups, stretching toning, strength training and conditioning that the kendoka use is the same as that the kenjutsoka use,
We don't do strength training traditionally, although many modern players add it on the side. "Toning" is a word that makes lifters teeth ache - meaningless.
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Kendo and HEMA

Postby NeilG » 13 Apr 2012 14:43

Stupid tapatalk double post
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 13 Apr 2012 16:58

One big problem with kenjutsu - at least as taught in Hungary at Jikishin Kage-ryu schools (http://www.jikishinkageryu.eu) - that they use only a limited amount of free sparring, even that without protecting equipment. Funnily enough this kenjutsu school invented the Japanese version of protective equipment (1) - almost a hundred years before La Boëssière's headgear (1750) - and now current practitioners of that art don't use it. Strange.

(1)
The History of Bogu
By Nakamura Tamio
Translated by Alex Bennett
Original article in Kendo World Issue 1.1, 2001
http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/conten ... ogu/view/1

"...Kenjutsu Bōgu
With regards to the types of protective armour used in kenjutsu, Shimokawa states in Kendō no Hattatsu that “in the Jikishinkage-ryū, Yamada Heizaemon Mitsunori (1639-1716) lamented the lack of spirit in many practitioners who concentrated only on kata training. He then started to devise a system of training that would allow practitioners to strike with full force without any danger of suffering or causing injury. His third son, Naganuma Shirozaemon Kunisato (1688-1767), completed the task between 1711-1716." I will use Shimokawa’s theory as a base as I outline the evolution of kenjutsu bōgu.

According to the Heihō Denki Chūkai, a Jikishinkage-ryū manuscript, Yamada Heizaemon suffered a serious injury at the tender age of eighteen in a match conducted with bokutō. He stopped practising kenjutsu until the age of thirty-two, when he was exposed to the teachings of Takahashi Danjozaemon’s school where “a face mask and protective gauntlets were donned, thus enabling one to engage in combat training without the risk of injury.” He wasted no time in becoming a student of this school, and it is recorded that by the time he was forty-six, he was awarded a license to teach (menkyo).

This was 1684, but it is obvious that Takahashi Danjozaemon’s school had been using bōgu for a number of years already. Nevertheless, the armour in question only consisted of a facemask and gauntlets, with nothing resembling a dō. The Sagawa Shinkage-ryū, an associated school in the far north, used facemasks and gauntlets in their training, indicating that many of the Shinkage-ryū stream schools were making use of fukuro-shinai (prototype of modern shinai) as well as men and kote."
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Max C. » 13 Apr 2012 19:27

Actually you have to understand that in Japan most people doing kenjutsu will already have had a pretty good experience of sparring through kendo (or as much as the school clubs can offer). Not so much in the western world where people doing both arts are pretty rare (busy schedule and all). But a lot of kenjutsu schools are beginning to realize that kendo may have been a bit too far off relatively to what they do, and are beginning to set up or reestablish sparring on their own, like actually Jikishinkage Ryu is doing (keep in mind that this school is split in many branches and what might be true for one is not necessarily for the other).

That said I would tell anyone interested in kenjutsu that they should read Musui's story, an autobiography of an early 19th century samurai and lowly criminal who spent most of his time fighting. It really sets up a different image of what martial arts were in the Edo period, Musui being very critical of those who don't spar.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Lyceum » 13 Apr 2012 20:06

That's interesting to know, one of the reasons I really disliked the JMA was the lack of live sparring, suffice to say they didn't keep me for long.

I'm not going to wholly recap my experiences against them yet again, other than briefly saying that I found somethings good and some things bad, overall I was actually more impressed with some of the Kendoka I've sparred with. In particularly I loved how they were fine with full on exchanges, no timidity there. I was also quite impressed with the way they delivered the strikes, they're able to generate a lot of force in a small area. It was amazing and really made my realise how much I need to work on my Gi.Stretto skillset. I dare say Kendo does have a lot of really neat stuff to teach.

But yes, I found Kendo's overall footwork a bit staid and the lack of variety in guards inhibitive but, again, sheer generation of force not to mention manipulation of distance and timing were very good. Plus the ability to deal with disengages....its a sweet art. Like anything though its a question of finding a good school putting out athletes and not playing day care to anime nerds.


EDIT: re my first comment I feel I ought to point out some qualifiers. I mean JMA which don't spare, I'm well aware of how awesome Judo and Kyokushin are. I firmly put Kendo in the category of "good" due to its sparring. I'm not aware of any other exceptions right now, ah well.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Gordon L » 15 Apr 2012 01:34

Ulrich von L...n wrote:
Gordon L wrote:It also uses a weapon lighter than a current Olympic-rules sabre.

Sorry to say, but it isn't completely right.

Minimal weight of a shinai is 510g, average is somewhere around 530-540g. I just have checked my shinai, without plastic tsuba & rubber ring is 515g. A Ukrainian, cheap dry sabre from PBT is 364g, and the maximum weight of an Olympic sabre shouldn't be more than 500g.


I ended up weighing all the components of my steam sabres a wee while ago, and they ranged from ~330g to ~420g.

The last time i was playing with shinai, all the shinai I used were lighter than the sabre I was using. I don't have any shinai to hand to weigh just now, but the shinai instructors were surprised to discover the sabre was heavier than their shinai. We tend to get the shinai out once a year or so - I'll take some scales next time, check the variance.

Minimum shinai weight is considerably lower than 510g - that's minimum weight for an adult male's 2H competition 2H shinai. Adult male competition shinai go down to 440g. Adult competition shinai go down to 400g. Competition shinai go down to 260g.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Gordon L » 15 Apr 2012 02:23

I also recommend a read of a Brintish Kendo Association set of articles on tactics in Kendo, and the differing ways they're viewd by Japanese practitioners and Brits.

http://kendo.org.uk/articles/tactics-in-kendo/.

At least, I found it interesting. :-)

It begins by discussing how the overwhelming connotation of 'tactics' to Japanese Kendo teachers is that they are thought about only by people who are only interested in winning bouts.
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Kendo and HEMA

Postby NeilG » 15 Apr 2012 02:59

Gordon you are just flat wrong about shinai weight. It is 510 g for adult males period. The other weights are for women or kids.

ETA there are also rules for nito shinai (2 sword style) so that may be causing confusion. But for one sword it must be at least 510 g and no longer than 120 cm. Women same max length but at least 440 g.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 15 Apr 2012 07:12

Gordon L wrote:I also recommend a read of a Brintish Kendo Association set of articles on tactics in Kendo, and the differing ways they're viewd by Japanese practitioners and Brits.
At least, I found it interesting.

Me too. Thanks for the link.
Even after a preliminary browsing of the articles (+ on kendo injuries, seme, tame etc.) it is easier to understand a very long learning curve of kendo, mentioned by Mark Shaw.

It seems that you indeed compared some nito shinais with your steam sabres. I haven't got a chance to handle those shorter and lighter - based on your measurements - shinais.
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