Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tachi Uchi Awesomeness!

In last night's practice, we spent the entire time on the standing Musoshindenryu kata, Tachi-Uchi no Kurai. We managed to "see" and get the basic movements for the first three in the set. They include De-ai, Keikomi, and Ukenagashi. Thanks to an introduction  I received from Kim Taylor at the Thunder Bay seminar last fall, his detailed instruction video, and some reading materials, we were able to piece together these kata in a somewhat coherent manner.

Simply Awesome! 

It was difficult to get some of the movements and timing down, but awesome nonetheless.

Kelly, Joey, and I each took turns in both the Uchidachi and Shidachi roles, two together, one modelling. It worked well, because we got a chance to practice the timing, seme, and maii with the teki across from us, and then we could also work on the technique and specifics as we modeled on the side.

We discovered how just small details like the position of a foot when performing some of the grappling and controlling movements in Keikomi were enough to make the action work or not. It's in the details!

We also had a pretty good introduction to Ukenagashi. Wow. That's a hard kata to perform with the timing, distancing, and still trying to maintain seme with the teki. 

Oh, and not getting whacked by the Uchidachi is a challenge too.

We found that if performed improperly, it's quite easy to get inadvertently whacked or speared by the Uchidachi's bokuto. Again, the details makes it work or not. I think we could spend months on just that kata to get it somewhat correct!

I thoroughly enjoyed this new aspect to our koryu training, and can't wait to work on it again.

Now, I have to get back to making my notes on these kata. There's so much to remember! (That's a pretty obvious hint Kelly and Joey - TAKE NOTES!)

Kim Taylor's video may be ordered here: http://sdksupplies.com/cat_video.htm The one I'm referring to is: VIDBBI-14 Tachi Uchi no Kurai 2010

Have a good week.
Brad

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rank Testing & Class

Testing

We recently held our winter round of testing for -kyu ranks, and I'm happy to say that everyone who tested, passed!

Congratulations goes to the following:
2-kyu: Joey Heck, Erik Ness
3-kyu: Tyler Wilson, Gary Haynie, Sarah Vigstol

So, in our dojo now, we have 1- 1kyu, 3- 2kyu, 3- 3kyu, and two unranked members. We can test up to 2kyu in our dojo, and after that members have to attend an AUSKF or regional KF sponsored event in order to test. Our dojo generally offers testing in June and Dec/January in order to keep in line with the AUSKF Iaido summer camp.

Judging panels generally consist of 5 upper dan ranked members, and to pass, a majority of the judges need to give a passing mark. Participants need to perform opening reiho, 5 kata of the judges' choice, & closing reiho all within a 6 minute window. Over time equals disqualification. Performing the reiho incorrectly even though the kata may be fine equals disqualification. Everything has to be performed according to "the book" relative to the student's rank they are attempting.

Again congratulations!

Koryu Unleashed!

Since we have finished our rank testing, we are now going to take a few months to introduce and practice our koryu, Musoshindenryu. Some members have had exposure to some of the various Shoden teachings, and we'll continue with that to see how far we can get in three months. I'd love for everyone to have at least tried or worked on all of the shoden kata. They include:

Shoden

The word "Shoden" can be translated as the "entry-transmission", and was derived from the Omori-ryu Iaido. Omori-ryu was said to have been created by Hayashi Rokudayu Morimasa, the ninth headmaster of the Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu, who lived from 1661 until 1732. It has been included in the Muso Shinden Ryu at the entry level, and contains the following techniques:
  1. Shohatto (初発刀) 
  2. Sato (左刀) 
  3. Uto (右刀) 
  4. Atarito (当刀) 
  5. Inyoshintai (陰陽進退) 
  6. Ryuto (流刀) 
  7. Junto (順刀) 
  8. Gyakuto (逆刀) 
  9. Seichuto (勢中刀) 
  10. Koranto (虎乱刀) 
  11. Inyoshintai kaewaza (陰陽進退替技) 
  12. Nukiuchi (抜打) 
All of the shoden set start from seiza-bu except for the standing kata #10, Koranto. So, we'll start back on our knees again!

In addition to these kata, we'll also be introducing the Tachi-uchi no kurai kata or paired standing kata. It's going to be a lot of fun!

I've already had one comment from Kelly following Wednesday's practice, "Man, Koryu is awesome!"

I couldn't agree more.

Stay warm.
Brad

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Huge List of Iaido Links!

Over the years I've come up with quite a list of favorite martial arts related sites to visit and articles to read.
Here are a few of the places I regularly wander into:

Kendo World forum - a lively forum of serious kendo and iaido practitioners where people of any level can ask questions and discuss the Japanese Sword Arts. http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/

Sword Forum International - another active forum where sword lovers and martial artists can discuss related topics. Open for European as well as Asian swords and arts. Lots of good things here, and often a crossover from the KW forum as well. http://www.swordforum.com

Kenshi247.net - An excellent and well written blog by a kendo and iaido practitioner that often discusses the history and traditions of JSA. Lots of translations of Japanese texts and articles by famous kenshi. Very excellent reading! http://kenshi247.net

Some of my favorite readings from this blog are:
http://kenshi247.net/blog/2011/03/25/i-am-a-deshi/
http://kenshi247.net/blog/2009/01/12/the-student-teacher-relationship-seitei-and-traditional-iai/
Excellent article on tameshigiri: http://kenshi247.net/blog/2011/01/28/thoughts-on-tameshigiri-from-famous-swordsmen/

Peter West's Iaido Blog - http://web.me.com/p.west/Peter_wests_Iaido_pages/Blog/Blog.html

Kim Taylor's iaido listserv and articles - http://ejmas.com/ Be sure to check some of the links on his page, his Unka blog and others listed there are excellent as well.

Koryu website - lots of books and other related articles - http://koryu.com/

YouTube links

Dragon Twister http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhrAB8WMsx0

Kendo Kata http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Fx5Ts9i-MM

Jodo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biSJdRuR6i0&feature=related

Aggasiz Dojo - Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/MusoshindenryuDojo
This includes our Standing and Sitting Reiho videos with instructions.

June 2011 Rank Test videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_eCb_Ox6r0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ-H-YsJ8_w

Kelly's CSI Samurai spoof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJNy5m0UOe0

Cuts of the Sugarplum Fairy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cXhzN_IuIo

Nakayama Hakudo video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4ImhjM8l9g

Kuroda Sensei doing an iaido demo - Very fast nukitsuke!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t93ThAl7M00

Japanese swordsmanship, Iaido. This is interesting - the Japanese sensei there is the head of the ZNKR and was at Summer Camp and Guelph several times.
part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8f-CHGlTao
part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dshbBFBwky4
part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8JPtimtXLk
part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ajS4pjWEuo
part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEdV0tA8Aa0

This set is Japanese archery, Kyudo.
part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLFVF...2B8683&index=0
part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEP1r...2B8683&index=1
part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9Vcw...2B8683&index=2
part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-wKS...2B8683&index=3
part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sert...2B8683&index=4

And these are the sport swordsmanship style (kendo) that I studied first while I was in Japan. I stopped this after I moved to Shizuoka because I had a hernia in my back.
part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho4T-_8Vlg0
part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej_i-0Agcls
part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhT0q0T51Bo
part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4XImqkORhU
part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCPOTUkLtiE

Bokuto kihon waza http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVzHMNJ6NKg

Very interesting videos for kumitachi Musoshindenryu. Well worth a look!
http://www.jikidenshinkai.de/chuden_kata/kumitachi.html

This is just the first batch. I'll be adding to this as I find things or other people recommend sites to me. Please let me know of any missing or broken links.

Thanks!

Brad

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Akemashite Omedetto Gozaimasu!

Well Happy New Year!

In Review

Looking back to 2011, our dojo and members grew and accomlished a lot!

We added two more members to our group, Carl and Kyle. This brings us up to 9 members on paper.

We mentored a dojo in Illinois with 9+ members.

Two of us attended the USKF Iaido Summer camp for the first time. Myself and Kelly.

We hosted our first annual Moorhead/Aggasiz Dojo and MWKF Iaido seminar in Moorhead MN with a whopping 28 attendees from Canada and the US. It was a great success and positive comments all around.

Several dojo members helped present demonstrations at Fargo-Moorhead's own CoreCon, the Red River Valley Fair, and the Fargo All Martial Arts Seminar.

Two of us (Sarah and myself) attended the RaiUnKai annual iaido seminar in Thunder Bay, Ontario with Ohmi and Taylor sensei presenting and hosted by Eric Tribe sensei. Another great seminar from our neighbors to the North.

We moved not once, but twice to two new dojo locations. We're now practicing just across the river in Fargo, ND in the dojo we share with the Hidden Teachings karate group. We're the furthest Eastern part of the warehouse looking building at around 506 Oak Street N. Access is from the alley.

The dojo is a bit longer and narrower than our other location, but Kyoshi Cline has done a very nice job of fixing the place up and making it a true Dojo.

Looking Forward

As we look into 2012, I anticipate we will continue with much the same as we did last year.

We'll perform demos at the CoreCon in April. Maybe the RRV fair, and maybe at the Pangea culture festival in November.

We'll probably gain a new member or two.

Several members will attend the 2012 AUSKF Iaido Summer Camp in Tacoma, Washington in June.

We'll host our second annual Iaido seminar here in Fargo-Moorhead. Hopefully with eqal or better attendance.

We'll delve more into the paired waza of the kendo kata as well as the Musoshindenryu Tachi Uchi no Kurai sets.

With a higher level of overall experience in the dojo members, we'll spend more concentrated time on the koryu kata.

We'll perform tameshigiri hopefully at least a couple of times.

We'll start preparing for the 2013 bid for the AUSKF Iaido summer camp to be held in Fargo-Moorhead.

We'll (hopefully) have more member input and content on our Dojo's blog.

I'll head to Illinois to do a meet and greet with the group there and do some intensive training.

We'll train, train, TRAIN!

That's a lot to look forward to this year.

Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

Bradley