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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/21/2002 9:55:50 PM EST
Japanese Martial Arts as a whole fall into three general categories: Classical Bujutsu Classical Budo Modern Budo/Bujutsu They encompass all of the Samurai arts of war; fencing, archery, grappling and occassionly shooting firearms. All are similar but with different emphassis. Generally Bujutsu is the pure study of combat methods. Bu meaning "martial" and Jutsu meaning "technique or method." Budo is the war arts combined with a higher aspect of development such as Zen. Bu still meaning "martial" and Do meaning "way or path." Classical referes to all arts practiced in their pre Meiji (pre 1867) form when they were still practiced as a means of combat in wartime. Modern refers to the martial arts as they were reformed for personal use following the Meiji Restoration and the end of the almost continuous civil wars fought for the last 900 years. It was during the restoration and new periods of peace that most martial methods "bujutsu" were modified to martial ways "budo." In times of peace warlike training was unecessary and so martial arts were reformed into a means of personal development and self defense. It was during this time that the Samurai class was also disbanded. But with martial traditons so much a part of Japanese character they could never be completely abandoned. As a result they were changed from methods for armies to methods for individuals and later to sport forms. The most popular were the sword arts synomomous with the Samurai. Known classically as Ken Jutsu they evolved into Ken Do and later into Sport Kendo. Just as Ju Jutsu evolved into Judo and later Sport judo.
Link Posted: 7/21/2002 9:56:45 PM EST
Culturally anyone can understand why the Japanese practice these arts for reasons of heritage and tradition. But of what value are they to Westerners? Especially given that the likelyhood of being armed with a sword when needed is extremely remote. First, the sword as well as all weapon arts completment the unarmed martial artists. They more effectively impart sometimes vague concepts such as "maai" (combative distancing) and "kime" (focus) much more effectively than unarmed martial arts ever could. Second, when training with any implement the body is conditioned by it. By making the weapon part of the body, the body advances itself to compensate for the weapon. Learning how to extend your energy through an innanimate object raises your capacity to deliver empty handed strikes. Third, unlike any unarmed arts, weapons arts especially the sword develop aggressiveness. And not in the negative conotation. In Kendo you constantly seek to kill your opponent. Immediate action combined with actual closing and hard contact with the opponent trains the mind and body for combat much more effectively than tthe tag and dodge of unarmed sparring. The actual styles (Ryu) and schools (Ryu Ha) are much less important thatn the way they are practiced. Today, especially in the west, sword arts are practiced in two forms, traditional and sport kendo. Sport Kendo is fine for an aerobic workout but offers little more than that. It is unrealistic in the way it is practiced. It would be like using football as a means of defense, it can be done but better ways exist.
Link Posted: 7/21/2002 9:58:19 PM EST
In traditional Kenjutsu/Kendo matches are impossibly brief and the first point wins as all scores are considered lethal. This is why Sport Kendo has 3-5 point matches to keep them interesting. But realistically one good hit from a sword and you are dead. In fact you only have a 1-3 chance of survival. In combat either, you will kill your opponent, he will kill you or you will both die. In traditonal Kendo they usually train in rotations. You score a kill and a fresh opponent immediately takes his place. you keep fighting successive opponents until you are finally scored on. Kinda king of the hill with swords. In more advanced training a martial artist will engage multiple opponents at the same time. To prevent death and injury practioneers train with a variety of implements. The most common are the Katana, Bokken, Subirito and Shinai. Traditional schools will use all of them whereas Sport Kendo will only use the Shinai (mock bamboo sword). When training with opponents in actual engagements only the Shinai is used. Use of anything else could easily result in death. In ancient Japan the Bokken (developed before the shinai) claimed the lives of several men in both practice training and combat. Also heavy clothing and armor is worn to protect the practioners.
Link Posted: 7/21/2002 9:59:15 PM EST
Collectively the armor is referred to as Dogu and it includes: Men (Helmet) Do (Chest Plate) Tare (Thigh Protector) Kote (Gloves) Keiko Gi (Quilted Jacket) Hakama (Pleated Trousers) [img]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0LQAAAJsORT3JR0Ze!4VsRV6dHPCtyDW258C!ThB7zPql­uLhYrEM0MNI3DKAT!NxBsTCY!gI2C5I/ken09.JPG[/img] In practice fighting the opponents attempt to strike specific "protected areas" for scoring hits. Strikes to the Men, Do, Kote or Tare are all considered kills. Aggressive practice requires a good deal of conditioning as the shinai seems to strike right through many "padded" targets. Unlike most unarmed "sparring", Kenjutsu matches are usually full speed, full power and full impact. This type of rapid and fierce engagement force the mind to function at a more effective and combative level. The ability to adapt and improvise is critical. [img]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0LgCnDMgOSUZWFeHOQhvUWGdVj7G2KkuUfOA6hVX7pnes­ulcXAZBzMYFN8cGAViUWZD5w56CNGO4/ken150.JPG[/img] In addition to training with bamboowords and armor it is critical that a practioneer learn and develop technique in drills and single practice. For learning and cultivating technique a wooden sword (Bokken) is used. For conditioning a heavy wooden sword (Suburi To) is used. And finally to perfect the technique live steel blades (Katana) are used. [img]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0LQAAAJsORj1IgcbM4BKpby*c2oJqPt8wRG2DdfEHLnv!­LasT0sRQaCP9R71hTSHfK9bWvlJqYjs/ken18.JPG[/img] In solitary training a Bokken or Katana should always be used. Shinai should ONLY be used for engagements with opponents. Bokken are generally used to practice techniques with a partner. Extreme control must be used as a bokken hit can be fatal. Experts occassionaly practice with partners with live Katanas but it is obviously exceptionally dangerous. Minor strikes can have disaterous consequences.
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