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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Professor Vaporis, while maybe not as famous as a Varley, Friday, Conlan or Farris, is a well-respected professor and historian who cites contemporary primary source diaries, journals and letters from various han to describe the daimyo processions of Tosa, Kaga and Sendai to name a few. Vaporis' research carries a lot of weight and is quite impressive when it comes to explaining the visual "showmanship" aspect of daimyo processions during journeys to and from Edo. There are also pictures of some of the picture scrolls he references in his book. I highly recommend this book to those who are interested in the impact of the policy of alternate attendance had on the lives of the samurai . The amount of detail that Vaporis put into this book is staggering.

Baian, seriously, no offense intended, but I am really skeptical about how a lot of this bujutsu stuff gets reinterpreted in the here and now by various "sensei" claiming to know the true martial ways of the samurai. This is part of the reason there is a schism of sorts between actual Japanese samurai history research and the "research" that is available on martial arts sites or the "history" that is published in martial arts books. Again, sorry-- but that's the way I and I'm sure some others feel.

Sure, there may have been certain "walks" that were taught in fencing schools, but I really don't think these walks were "normal" in everyday life and in all of my research, I've NEVER come across an eyewitness account of samurai walking in a weird fashion apart from those participating in daimyo processions while marching through a castle town or post station. And during the Tokugawa period, it's not like samurai had to fear getting attacked out of the clear blue sky when strolling around town by malcontent ronin or ninja. Real life wasn't quite like what we see in samurai movies or in television jidai geki shows. And please don't get lured in by what was written in that piece of offal, Hagakure, or in the Meiji-period fantasy piece by Nitobe called Bushidoabout a samurai must be prepared to die/fight at anytime. Sure, there are elements of truth in both of these works, but they are greatly exaggerated.

When Japan opened up to the West, many foreigners extensively documented what they saw and again, I've seen no references to strange walking styles. Also, when the first Tokugawa delegation visited the States, there was a huge fascination with the Japanese delegation and their virtual every move was documented in the press. I've read extensively about this first Japanese delegation's visit to the US, and there are no references to strange samurai walks.

If obscure walks that were taught in fencing academies during the Edo period are the en vogue thing right now, I guess that's just the way it is. Laughing
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Baian
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Baian, seriously, no offense intended, but I am really skeptical about how a lot of this bujutsu stuff gets reinterpreted in the here and now by various "sensei" claiming to know the true martial ways of the samurai. This is part of the reason there is a schism of sorts between actual Japanese samurai history research and the "research" that is available on martial arts sites or the "history" that is published in martial arts books. Again, sorry-- but that's the way I and I'm sure some others feel.


Totally fair. And I understand how it may seems impossible to people not practicing bujutsu. But that information is not something picked from some obscure book or teacher.
It comes directly from the densho of various (and well-known) ryu-ha. I guess that unless you really practice kenjutsu, that form doesn't make as much sense to you as it does to me.

Quote:
Sure, there may have been certain "walks" that were taught in fencing schools, but I really don't think these walks were "normal" in everyday life and in all of my research, I've NEVER come across an eyewitness account of samurai walking in a weird fashion apart from those participating in daimyo processions while marching through a castle town or post station.


Like I mentioned in previous posts, nanba aruki didn't have to be used in huge steps. Kono Yoshinori, the man shown in the video by the topic creator, is amplifying the movements to show the form.
So, like I stated before, the "everyday life" movement is quite smaller in proportion: Your arms do not move much and stays close to your hips. In appearance there is nothing weird-looking about it.
The western walk may seems proper for most of us, but try this if you can: wear a kimono, hakama, daisho, etc (the whole get-up). Walk western style, with arms balancing opposite ways of the legs and see for yourself. Your kimono will be opened rather quickly. Quite inconvenient.



Quote:
And during the Tokugawa period, it's not like samurai had to fear getting attacked out of the clear blue sky when strolling around town by malcontent ronin or ninja. Real life wasn't quite like what we see in samurai movies or in television jidai geki shows. And please don't get lured in by what was written in that piece of offal, Hagakure, or in the Meiji-period fantasy piece by Nitobe called Bushidoabout a samurai must be prepared to die/fight at anytime. Sure, there are elements of truth in both of these works, but they are greatly exaggerated.


As you probably know, during the Edo period (especially in the later part) the number of ryu-ha increased greatly, but the quality dropped (i.e. less school coming from older traditions originating from and proven on the battlefield).
Many pseudo-masters were out there trying to make a buck by fooling people (nothing changed, uh?). The elite class were few. By elite I mean those proven ryu-ha like Katori Shinto ryu and so on.
There were many McDojo and those dubious schools might not even have been taught the basics properly.And nanba aruki is basic.
In a way, I agree with you that not many people were walking in that manner. Only those taught properly.

When I say that you need to be ready at all time, I do not refer to something like the Hagakure.
What I mean is that when you practice bujutsu seriously, you always do it. You don't train from 9am to 12pm, and then go on for the rest of your day walking like an idiot as if you never trained in your life.
When you enter bujutsu in your life, you use it everywhere. You implement everything you learn in all daily movements, including walking.
It's not a question of being ready to die at anytime. You do it to improve yourself and go further in the art.
IF you are attacked, then you'll be ready and have a better chance of surviving than the other guy who couldn't walk properly.
Let's not forget that martial arts were created for one thing in mind: survival.



Quote:
When Japan opened up to the West, many foreigners extensively documented what they saw and again, I've seen no references to strange walking styles. Also, when the first Tokugawa delegation visited the States, there was a huge fascination with the Japanese delegation and their virtual every move was documented in the press. I've read extensively about this first Japanese delegation's visit to the US, and there are no references to strange samurai walks.


A small nanaba aruki, as I explained, looks pretty normal. Don't get stuck on the demonstration by Kono Yoshinori. Try to imagine something smaller in movement and less obvious.


Quote:
If obscure walks that were taught in fencing academies during the Edo period are the en vogue thing right now, I guess that's just the way it is. Laughing


Actually, nanba aruki is older than that. As far as you can date back weapon combat.

I'll stop here and leave it at that, or else I'll just be repeating myself. (like I'm not already... Smile )
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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Baian wrote:

There were many McDojo...

Oh, you just made my morning with that. I really cracked up. It was almost a Starbucks latte through the nose incident. Laughing

Thanks for the response. I understand where you are coming from on this now. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Baian wrote:

There were many McDojo...

Oh, you just made my morning with that. I really cracked up. It was almost a Starbucks latte through the nose incident. Laughing

Thanks for the response. I understand where you are coming from on this now. Very Happy


As long as it's not the straw through the nose, you should survive. Laughing
Glad I could could make you laugh.
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I have to disagree with you Baian. In our school we learn to start our draw with opposite leg and arm forward. This allows you to step forward or back or switch legs while drawing to make the draw happen without force and thus quicker and more smoothly. This would be aided by a walk where opposing leg and arm are forward at the same time. Thus my training would indicate to me that your style of draw would be slower and thus possibly a deadly mistake.

But perhaps it has much more to do with developing a style you can practice and get used to. And perhaps the best martial artists know how to use their bodies well from either position.

jieremi
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
jdmcowan wrote:
I have to disagree with you Baian. In our school we learn to start our draw with opposite leg and arm forward. This allows you to step forward or back or switch legs while drawing to make the draw happen without force and thus quicker and more smoothly. This would be aided by a walk where opposing leg and arm are forward at the same time. Thus my training would indicate to me that your style of draw would be slower and thus possibly a deadly mistake.

But perhaps it has much more to do with developing a style you can practice and get used to. And perhaps the best martial artists know how to use their bodies well from either position.

jieremi


May I ask which ryu-ha you are a part of and how long you have been practicing?
The question of the topic was about nanba aruki and why it existed. It's a classical way of drawing.

And honestly, I don't want to get into something like "my technique is better than yours and so on" on the internet. It's pointless if that's where you are going.

Edit:

After reading your post again...I thought you were referring to another type of iai I've seen before, but no. Your description seems weird to me.
If you could provide us with a video or even a photo of the said movement, it would great.
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