Discussion in 'Koryu Bujutsu' started by Christianson, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Don't assume that every kata or waza you see is intended as having a direct application in combat.

    That might be the case in some ryu-ha but equally so it may not be the case in others.

    Kata are multifaceted and some will stress some areas more than others, you need to view the school as a whole and understand the approach to training that it takes, the views held within the ryu-ha and the intent behind the teachings.
  2. r2-

    r2- New Member

    There are actually two different, though closely related ryu being discussed in this thread. The first vid is Yakumaru (or Nodachi) Jigen-ryu (自顕流), second vid is Jigen-ryu (示現流) heiho, former being an offshoot of the latter.

    My understanding is that Yakumaru Jigen-ryu was, as has been discussed, training for the lower ranks of bushi and as such is very simple compared to other ryu, with few kata for a nodachi against nodachi or spear and lots of yokogi-uchi (striking horizontal branches).

    Jigen-ryu heiho was for higher ranked Satsuma bushi (there might have been yet another local ryu for the top guys, can't remember) and is a lot more sophisticated, though still clearly build around the same philosophy. As can be seen in the enbu vid, it has more, and more complicated, kata (including a version of the Shinkage-ryu kata Enpi, inherited through Taisha-ryu), more weapons and they do tategi-uchi (striking a standing log, which is toootally different from yokogi ;)).

    Besides the Shinkage-connection, both ryu are also related to Katori Shinto-ryu. It's pretty interesting to see how ryugi adapt to changing locations and needs.

    If you feel the need to consider the efficacy of the ryu in producing swordsmen, it's good to remember the notoriety of Satsuma bushi during Bakumatsu. Those were Jigen-ryu guys.

    And yeah, what you see is not what you get when it comes to kata. I have absolutely no idea what the point of the famous "angry granny" technique is, but I trust it serves its purpose in practice.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  3. Josh Reyer

    Josh Reyer New Member

    There's a lot to like. Very nice control, excellent use of maai, full of spirit.

    In any ryuha you're going to see some stylization in the kata, and I think that's especially true in a ryuha like Jigen-ryu where the kata act as a cap on the training. As I understand it, the first six months in the ryu all you do is practice their hasso stance. Then you spend another six months practicing the gyaku-hasso stance. Then you finally get to hit the tategi -- on one side. When you get decent at that, then you get to hit the other side. And only after you get decent at that do you start doing the kata.

    By the way, they don't do sundome on those hits, at least not in embu.

    Much respect for Jigen-ryu.
  4. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    They don't do sundome period from what I've seen. :p
  5. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    You've misjudged it...;)

    You forgot one important thing: fanaticism!

    Satsuma was isolated and traditionally militarily and economically strong, trading with China and trying to control Okinawa as well. The people and especially warriors from Satsuma were considered a bit differently(interesting too that present-day Chiba, an area on the far Eastern edge of Kanto, also created strong warrior culture), and were never taken mildly.

    The people who train in one of the branches of this art even wipe out their footprints in the sand so that nobody can learn their footwork. These schools produced a lot of bloodthirsty warriors who weren't afraid to fight and even assassinate others during the upheaval around the fall of the Shogunate. If you have fearless warriors who can do one or two things really good and aren't afraid to use it, you have a very good tool.

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cfbjb_2VKs4"]薬丸自顕æµå‰£è¡“ ã€è²´é‡æ˜*åƒã€‘ Yakumaru Jigen-ryu Kenjutsu - YouTube[/ame]
    pre-War footage, a bit more interesting.

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFs4MANOvPo"]薬丸自顕æµå‰£è¡“ 抜ã Yakumaru Jigen-ryu Kenjutsu Drawing the Sword - YouTube[/ame]
    Talks about the greater range of drawing upwards, how the leader of Shinsengumi was very cautious of Satsuma bushi, and how there were probably many people were killed with this first blow without realizing the danger they were in.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  6. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    A very interesting discussion. I stand by my disagreement about technique so some of us may have to agree to disagree on that. It's still interesting to learn more about the history of a particular style of sword work in any case so thanks for the interesting info.

    It still wouldn't be high on my list of arts to train in but whatever floats your boat.
  7. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

    May I ask your experience in Japanese Sword Arts (JSA)?
  8. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Do you guys fight in yee gee kim yeung ma?
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  9. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Actually I think it would be more relevant to ask my experience outside of JSA as I'm having issues seeing commonalities between much of the technique here and the very present commonalities in other similar sword arts.

    Of the weapons closest to the katana I've been through some sabre fencing (sport and non-sport) and long sword from cross training with some HEMA people; I've learned jian and dao through training with my CMA brothers in hung gar and chen taijiquan; I've learned the baat jaam do through my years in wing chun; and I've also cross trained with some Katori Shinto guys.

    All of those shared significant commonalities.

    Yes actually. All the footwork in wing chun is a variation of YGKYM. I get what you mean but we don't drill people to strike on the body using the baat jaam do with hunched posture and tiny taps.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  10. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

    Thanks for the reply. I don't really have anything to add as it would devolve into a pointless debate.
  11. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Fair enough. As I said I'm perfectly willing to accept that some of this stuff isn't demo friendly and I may not be seeing the whole picture here. Still it stimulates some interesting discussion which is really what I'm here for :D
  12. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    You get where I'm coming from yeah?

    It wouldn't surprise you if someone were to be critical of YGKYM when they see it in something like Siu Nim Tao. The same with chi sau, it's a means to an end.

    Koryu training can be in a similar vein in that the training takes a layered approach, without having a basic understanding of the guts of a ryu-ha it can be difficult to make an accurate assessment.

    I did actually write something longer but the damn post vanished.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  13. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Sometimes shorter and simpler is better. Like Jigen I suppose :p
  14. pgsmith

    pgsmith Valued dismemberer

    You are going to run into quite a few problems trying to discuss the koryu from an outsider's perspective. This is due to the nature of the koryu arts. Since we're discussing Jigen ryu, let's use them for an example. The school was officially formed in the late 1500's, when the country had been in a constant warring state for close to 100 years. That has a major influence on what they do. You also have to consider just what the koryu are ... they weren't a classical equivalent of Bob's corner karate dojo. For the most part, they were political entities with varying amounts of influence, and a strict hierarchy that they adhered to. Demonstrations were common, but were often deliberately misleading so as to not give away anything to the opposition. The sword arts were not taught to peasants back then, as they were considered non-combatants. At that time, war was waged by the samurai class.

    Finally, you have to consider the koryu in the modern age. You say that the Jigen ryu is not something that you'd be interested in training in. That's reasonable, as everyone has their own preferences. However, it isn't something that would ever come up really, as the Jigen ryu tends to be fairly insular. This is a very interesting bit written by Dave Lowry for the Skoss's dojo that expresses the attitude of most (not all) koryu schools ... So you want to join the ryu?

    Just my thoughts on it.

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  15. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I'm discussing the sword work more than the history surrounding it and as I said before there are commonalities to swordwork through similar swords. Though I do agree placing an art in its context is important, from the context I've gathered here it seems it is now simply an excuse for poor swordsmanship when they clearly have the time to improve beyond what it seems Jigen teaches.

    It's just unfathomable to me that someone would go "I want to learn how to use a sword but I don't want to be as good as those other guys." And it seems that is what Jigen is doing. Maybe I'm wrong.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  16. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

    Who are those other guys that are 'better' than Jigen-ryu?
  17. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Based on what I've seen I would say practically every art which I've seen or trained uses the same or similar blade with certain exceptions.
  18. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

    Feel free to provide a YouTube link to other arts and explain where Jigen is going wrong by comparison.
  19. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Ability is rarely about having a larger technical base, its more often about covering the essentials well and developing good habits.

    Those ' tiny multiple taps' look like there designed to promote action over inaction when scared, high level training design right there!
  20. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I think we've gone over my not liking it enough. Plus that's a very negative line of inquiry for an in depth discussion. I'd be much more interested in discussing what you who seem to have more in depth JSA training understand as the training methodology and where you would see positive parallels with other arts. That to me is much more positive, productive and worthy of investment in discussion. For example focusing in on what Fusen said below for example.

    That I can understand. Like teaching aggression over technique in a self defense course instead of having them freeze up. I'm still not sure that level of commitment to a cut would be sufficient to cause damage depending on the level of covering worn. Although if you have limited drilling time, under adrenaline and with the general gross motor reliance of untrained individuals under pressure those may become more committed strikes.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015

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