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Miyake
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 6:51 am    Post subject: A Question about Iaido Reply with quote
I have always been a fan of Iaido, although I was never fortunate enough to find a good school. I am learning a style of Chinese Swordsmanship resembling Iaido called 'Quickdraw' and 'the Continuing and Returning sword' I find it works well enough for me, but it brought a question to my mind.

In this style of Quickdraw, we use a one-handed sword, and the scabbard is used as a fighting stick. In Iaido, I believe the scabbard is almost always left at the Swordsman's side. (almost always)

Doesn't this render the style nearly impossible to use without proper uniform?

*I am not claiming any superiority on behalf of either style, I am just curious to hear any input by trained practitioners.
Thank you
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
If by "proper uniform" you mean "the clothes that people at the time wore every day", then you are partially correct.

To ask it another way: Isn't any sword art limited by the fact that you have to have a sword to do it "properly"? Could you do the quick draw with a broom handle?

That said, the techniques after removing the sword from the saya (scabbard) require no particular uniform. Also, the actual requirements for the uniform are a good belt; good obi and hakama help, though. I don't see this as any more of a limitation than the requirement to have the sword.

BTW, there are specific techniques where the scabbard is held in the hand, and many kenjutsu kata don't even bother with the saya because, well, it is assumed you drew your sword already. There are also some schools that teach techniques with the saya, but since you wanted to have too hands free most of the time, the saya was usually secured in the obi enough that it might not easily come free. There are exceptions to every rule.
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Miyake
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Awesome! thank you!

and yes, by 'proper uniform' I meant the clothes that were worn everyday at the time where this style was developed.

So if you have your sword, but no belt to hold your scabbard... what would you do with it after your draw? This is a problem for which I couldn't get an answer up to now, and I tried as much as I could, but as I mentioned earlier, there is no teacher of this style in my area, so I ask purely by curiosity.
I mean absolutely no disrespect to the art in any way.
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Okay... so your question relies on me holding onto the sword and walking around town like that? Then I would probably toss the saya away or use it as a parry device.

But why did I go out and about without a belt if I'm taking my sword? (Heck, why am I out and about with a sword?)

Your questions are drawing up scenarios that just seem strange to me. Like "what if you have a holster for your gun, but no belt to put it on? What do you do when you draw your gun?"

Does that make sense?
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
Like "what if you have a holster for your gun, but no belt to put it on? What do you do when you draw your gun?"


You attach it to the front of your body armor--makes it easier to draw it when you're in a vehicle anyways. Wink

And frees up your hands for your M4. Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
Like "what if you have a holster for your gun, but no belt to put it on?


Or in my branch, shoulder holster.
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Miyake
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I was just talking about the theory, not writing up any scenarios of any sort.
The question was based on the fact that you can't put both hands on your sword while holding on to the scabbard, and you have answered it.
I thank you.
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Miyake wrote:
The question was based on the fact that you can't put both hands on your sword while holding on to the scabbard


But your question is predicated on not wearing a "belt". Unless you're talking about someone today walking around without a belt but carrying swords, it doesn't make sense--ALL Japanese clothing had a "belt", as that's how the clothing fastened.

So there's 2 problems to your question:

1. All Japanese who would have carried swords in their daily life (ie, prior to 1870's) would have belts.

2. Anyone who wouldn't be wearing a belt would be wearing "modern" clothing, and why would anyone today be walking around with a sword?

So in other words, anyone who would be using a sword would have a belt, and anyone who didn't have a belt wouldn't have a sword. So what's the point of the question?
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Miyake
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I am referring to the practice of the art, I did not mention walking around with a sword...

Let me rephrase the question:
Is it possible to PRACTICE Iaido in casual western clothing, not wearing a belt?

or even simply,

Is the Obi a necessity while training?

I do apologize if I offended anyone
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Miyake wrote:
Is the Obi a necessity while training?


Not being an Iaidoka, I can't authoritatively answer, but simple physics seems to say yes.
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
If you are practicing *iaido* then yes, a belt of some sort is necessary for most techniques (I can think of some that wouldn't require it, but not many).

If you are practicing *kenjutsu* then no, it isn't.

That said, I've done the following:

- Practiced with bokuto and no belt (you put your hand in the same position as the saya-guchi; this isn't great practice because your hand can move, so you can develop bad habits).

- Practiced with a tachi (the tachi doesn't require a belt because it hangs from your waist--of course, you could count the waist cord as a belt, up to you).

- Practiced with a modern belt (not as good as a traditional one, but it works).

- Practiced the draw and cut, and then put the saya down or resheathed for a second time.

However, the further you change it the more you have to ask "is this still iaido (or battodo, or ...)"?

Note: This is all to practice iaido, not necessarily Japanese swordsmanship. Japanese swordsmanship rarely cares about what happens to the saya as long as it isn't getting in your way.


-Josh
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Miyake
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
If you are practicing *iaido* then yes, a belt of some sort is necessary for most techniques (I can think of some that wouldn't require it, but not many).


Thanks a million, friend!

Your insight helped me a lot, and you've answered a question I've asked myself for quite a long time.
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