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Who is the best swordman in the Shinsengumi?
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Who is the best swordman in the Shinsengumi?
Kondo Isami
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Hijikata Toshizo
8%
 8%  [ 1 ]
Okita Soji
66%
 66%  [ 8 ]
Nagakura Shinpachi
8%
 8%  [ 1 ]
Saito Hajime
8%
 8%  [ 1 ]
Hattori Takeo
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Other
8%
 8%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 12

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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:18 pm    Post subject: Who is the best swordman in the Shinsengumi? Reply with quote
Who is the best swordman in the Shinsengumi?
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rikoseishin
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I said Saitou, but I am sure you know I am a bit biased Cool
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Dennis
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
How could you tell? I voted for Okita Soji based on his credentials. But I am swayed by training and study. I see that Hattori Takeo has the popular reputation, but, again, how can you really tell..?? It's not like we have any film of this stuff.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dennis wrote:
How could you tell? I voted for Okita Soji based on his credentials. But I am swayed by training and study. I see that Hattori Takeo has the popular reputation, but, again, how can you really tell..?? It's not like we have any film of this stuff.


What I've read always has described Okita as a "genius" with the sword, and always noted as being better than Kondo and Hijikata.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
shikisoku,

I picked Okita just because of his affliction with tuberculosis. Anyone who can continue to fight, and survive, while still having such a disease has to be very skilled.


平和,

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I voted "other" because I really have no idea. What does anyone mean by "best swordsman"? Is this the best man in kenjutsu techniques? Is this the man who killed the most people? Is this the best man who personified the ideals of "bushido" (whatever that is. Confused Confused ) In many ways, this seems like a meaningless discussion, unless we can define what is meant by "best" swordsman.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed,

I would take it to mean best actual sword fighter. In a time such as that where good swordwork = staying alive I would say that the best swordsman would be the one who managed to survive the worst situations through use of his weapons.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:18 am    Post subject: SWordsman Reply with quote
I Voted for Soji ,i heard even people like Yamaoka Tesshu were full of admiration for him ,also best swordsman these were life and death struggles i dont think bushido even comes into it. It was kill or be killed nothing more.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
msr.iaidoka wrote:
Wave Tossed,

I would take it to mean best actual sword fighter. In a time such as that where good swordwork = staying alive I would say that the best swordsman would be the one who managed to survive the worst situations through use of his weapons.


平和,

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The problem is how does one judge a swordsman's techniques, while using his weapons? Also, what if a swordsman voluntarily gave up his life, died for his principles or cause? Is it really a matter of staying alive? Does staying alive mean that he's the "best"?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed,

How about this:
Which swordsman proved himself the most combatively effective?


平和,

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
The problem is how does one judge a swordsman's techniques, while using his weapons? Also, what if a swordsman voluntarily gave up his life, died for his principles or cause? Is it really a matter of staying alive? Does staying alive mean that he's the "best"?


It isn't a problem when in a society that revolves around carrying a sword. You're gonna know who the experts are. After a while you just learn how to tell. Anyone who has been in the martial arts for more than 3-4 years will be able to watch someone doing a kata and could tell immediately how skilled they are.

Granted *we* won't know who the best is, it's subjective unless we go by historical sources that basically tell us who was. But contemporaries in the culture would know.

And, for example, if various shinsengumi members called Okita a "genius" with the sword, I think you can take that as a fact.
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
I voted "other" because I really have no idea. What does anyone mean by "best swordsman"? Is this the best man in kenjutsu techniques? Is this the man who killed the most people? Is this the best man who personified the ideals of "bushido" (whatever that is. Confused Confused ) In many ways, this seems like a meaningless discussion, unless we can define what is meant by "best" swordsman.



Of course there is no answer for this question.
This is popular theme when the fans discuss about the Shinsengumi.
Let's enjoy.
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rikoseishin
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
It isn't a problem when in a society that revolves around carrying a sword. You're gonna know who the experts are. After a while you just learn how to tell. Anyone who has been in the martial arts for more than 3-4 years will be able to watch someone doing a kata and could tell immediately how skilled they are.

Granted *we* won't know who the best is, it's subjective unless we go by historical sources that basically tell us who was. But contemporaries in the culture would know.

And, for example, if various shinsengumi members called Okita a "genius" with the sword, I think you can take that as a fact.


Agreed. When one basis their life on their martial abilities, you develop a way tojudge your opponets, whether they be obvious or not. And I am sure that men of the times saw Okita as "a genious" with a sword.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
msr.iaidoka wrote:
Wave Tossed,

How about this:
Which swordsman proved himself the most combatively effective?


平和,

マット
And how is this judged? Number of kills? Style points? What constitutes "combative effectiveness?" And who is the judge of all of the attributes that proport to define "combat effectiveness"?

Can you see the complexity and difficulty that perhaps resides in the question, "who is the best swordsman?"
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
Wave Tossed wrote:
The problem is how does one judge a swordsman's techniques, while using his weapons? Also, what if a swordsman voluntarily gave up his life, died for his principles or cause? Is it really a matter of staying alive? Does staying alive mean that he's the "best"?


It isn't a problem when in a society that revolves around carrying a sword. You're gonna know who the experts are. After a while you just learn how to tell. Anyone who has been in the martial arts for more than 3-4 years will be able to watch someone doing a kata and could tell immediately how skilled they are.
Not always. A person can perform a kata beautifully. But their actual skill in battle cannot be judged purely from watching a kata.

Ahhh.... we could get into a long, prolonged discussion on the merits of "bujutsu" as opposed to "budo." Martial artists have been tangling with this for decades. They certainly tangled with this back when I was studying kendo. It's a conundruum. Is the purpose of a martial art to just kill people or is it to improve one's character -- or is it both?
Quote:
Granted *we* won't know who the best is, it's subjective unless we go by historical sources that basically tell us who was. But contemporaries in the culture would know.

And, for example, if various shinsengumi members called Okita a "genius" with the sword, I think you can take that as a fact.
I'm sure that we can trust that contemporaries of Okita who witness his prowess would be able to judge him as at least competent with a sword. But when it comes to "genius", then we get into questions: what really does constitute "genius"?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shikisoku wrote:
Wave Tossed wrote:
I voted "other" because I really have no idea. What does anyone mean by "best swordsman"? Is this the best man in kenjutsu techniques? Is this the man who killed the most people? Is this the best man who personified the ideals of "bushido" (whatever that is. Confused Confused ) In many ways, this seems like a meaningless discussion, unless we can define what is meant by "best" swordsman.



Of course there is no answer for this question.
This is popular theme when the fans discuss about the Shinsengumi.
Let's enjoy.
Even though I'm not a Shinsengumi fan, I am truly enjoying this discussion. Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
But when it comes to "genius", then we get into questions: what really does constitute "genius"?


Probably natural ability that was then built on, like Musashi - an average joe who spends his entire life studying and fighting with a sword will be skilled, but someone with inborn natural talent who does the same would be a genius. I could have been painting since I was a kid, and probably be very good, but no matter how long and hard I try for however many years, I'd still never produce a "last supper" or a Botticelli angel. Same with a violin, I could have been playing since I was 3, and still never make a violin come alive like the true geniuses. I'd even throw in Chess - Chess masters are born, not made (and this has been proven scientifically with brain scans of chess masters, they use a different part of thier brain, and in fact you can scan a kid to know if he'd be a "chess master" before he even plays his/her first game).

We don't walk around with swords anymore, so I think the concept of a genius with the sword is lost, like true great painters might be, so for us, it is sort of abstract, but to contemporaries, "genius" would be something that could be seen. I can't think of the word I'm looking for that describes "genius" in art, but if I remember, I'll edit it in here Just Kidding Whatever it is, it's the word they use for masters of the violin.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Kit,

I think you are thinking of a child prodigy. And yes some one who is a said "genious" with a sword would be a prodigy. Someone who is inately gifted to that certain skill.

Wave,

No offense, but I think you are over thinking a very simple thing. I understand that you are wanting to have a decent logical or rational description of what consitutes such a prowess. But I am afraid that one can not truely answer this in words. I do not mean to conjure some zen mystique. However, unless you have the oppurtunity to meet a true master, lets say with sword to stay on track, then until that time you will never truely know what gifted is. Although there are some great kenjutsuka and the like today, many would not constitute such a thing as combative effectiveness, let alone genious. So to answer your question the best way I can, he was deemed so by those who fought beside him and witnessed his skill, and that is the best source we have, so that is how he is and will be viewed.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Kit,

I think you are thinking of a child prodigy. And yes some one who is a said "genious" with a sword would be a prodigy. Someone who is inately gifted to that certain skill.

Wave,

No offense, but I think you are over thinking a very simple thing. I understand that you are wanting to have a decent logical or rational description of what consitutes such a prowess. But I am afraid that one can not truely answer this in words. I do not mean to conjure some zen mystique. However, unless you have the oppurtunity to meet a true kensei, lets say with sword to stay on track, then until that time you will never truely know what gifted is. Although there are some great kenjutsuka and the like today, many would not constitute such a thing as combative effectiveness, let alone genious. So to answer your question the best way I can, he was deemed so by those who fought beside him and witnessed his skill, and that is the best source we have, so that is how is is and will be viewed.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
rikoseishin wrote:
Kit,

I think you are thinking of a child prodigy. And yes some one who is a said "genious" with a sword would be a prodigy. Someone who is inately gifted to that certain skill.


No and yes. There is a word for someone who is brilliant with the violin, and it's on the tip of my tongue: Just Kidding (can you read it for me?) I'll grab an online thesaurus and see what I can find.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Virtuoso!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Abe Juro's testimony,
"Okita Soji was the best pupil of Kondo, he was pretty good (at kenjutsu).
Next was Saito Hajime.
And there was Nagakura Shinpachi, he exceeded than Okita."

Original text
Quote:
沖田総司是がマア勇の一弟子で、なかなか能く仕いました。
其次ぎは斎藤一と申します。
それから是は派が違いまするけれども、永倉新八という者が居りました。
此者は沖田よりはチト稽古が進んで居ました。
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed,

Alright, let me see if I can boil this down even more.
Combat effectiveness is a matter of who can do the most with the least effort. If your goal as a fighter is to incapacitate your opponent then if you can achieve a one punch knockout then you are more effective than one who needs two strikes to make it happen. Style points be damned.
If you have a propensity to kill then your ability to kill quickly makes you more effective than one who needs more time and effort to accomplish the same goal.
When it comes down to things like this where the people in question are, without a doubt, killers then there is no "betterment of self." Swords, like all weapons, exist for the purpose of killing.
Does that help?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Speed, control, and efficiency, I'd say.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
ok, obviously the only to settle this is with a sword fight. Would you prefer a general melee or individual matches?
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