Register :: Log in :: Profile   


Tsuka length

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // Martial Arts
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
kendoka girl
Artisan
Artisan
Veteran Member



Joined: 26 Dec 2007
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:46 pm    Post subject: Tsuka length Reply with quote
I am reading a book about Eishin-Ryu Iaido by Nickaus Suino and he states that long tsuka lengths (longer than 10 or 11 inches) are good for proper cutting.

I've heard in other circles that tsuka lengths of over a foot are more historically accurate and allow more leverage in the cut.

I'm curious what anyone's thoughts on the matter are. I have a shinken and iaito with 11" tsuka, which seem to suit me fine.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JLBadgley
Tsushima no Kami
Tsushima no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei



Joined: 09 Apr 2007
Posts: 1617
Location: Washington, DC, USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It all depends.

Some schools (or just branches of schools--or even just teachers) like long handles. There is some thought that it gives you more acceleration and greater leverage.

However, if you are one of the Edo Yagyu Shinkage Ryu folks I've seen where they have their hands really close together, you aren't going to get any of the benefit of that long tsuka, really.

In addition, the longer the tsuka the more you have to worry about things like reaching around it to draw your wakizashi, maneuvering the sword one-handed (I've caught long tsuka in sleeves and other garments until I figured out how to move better), etc. Also, the farther your hands are apart, the more that will change your arms and stance.

So, it depends. Does that muddy the waters any?

-Josh

PS: There are some sites I've seen that claim the long tsuka is the end-all be-all because they have photographic proof of its use in the Bakumatsu period. That just tells me it was used--the fact that it was more an anomaly than the rule makes me think that it wasn't so highly prized by everyone.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
kendoka girl
Artisan
Artisan
Veteran Member



Joined: 26 Dec 2007
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks. Smile I think I've seen the photo you mentioned with the samurai posing with a weapon that had a very long tsuka.

I meant to say that Suino did not believe that long tsuka were effective.

Every so often I do get the tsuka stuck in my sleeve during chiburi although it's certainly a factor of my technique rather than tsuka length.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
shin no sen
Izumi no Kami
Izumi no Kami
Veteran Member
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 1056

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I might be missing something here, but the length of tsuka should not interfere with the sode of kimono. If using kendo-gi the sode is close to the arm and the tsuka should not hang up in it. When using kimono the tasuke have the sode well away from being a problem. Chiburi should be no problem if tasuke are used or your gi is fitted right. John
_________________
知恵は時間及びエネルギーである
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bushikan
Village Councilman
Village Councilman
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 Feb 2007
Posts: 63
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:23 pm    Post subject: just some input Reply with quote
As Mr. Badgley already said it depends on the ryu and the individual. Most surviving ryu today use a normal 11 inch (give or take) tsuka. The only styles I have seen contrary to this is the controversal (Yoshida ha)Yanagi Ryu Bujutsu, Hayashizaki Shin Muso Ryu, Hikida Shinkage Ryu, and Kage Ryu.

Schools often dictate a certain fitting or style of a sword or bokken for their members to train with, however historically people always had their own opinions and own hand me down swords given from generation to generation. So conversion is something that does not always happen. If you wish to see examples historically Takasugi Shinsaku who studdied Shindo Munen Ryu, used a normal SMRK bokken and same type of sword nessisary to properly preform the iai techniques in the curriculim. Takasugi however, when forming the Kihetai (the first peasant militia) was known for carrying around his rather longer sword over his sholder, that was noted for its rather long tsuka. His counter part Katsura Kagoro owned a sword which fit that of "normal" SMRK style sword.

In Kyushu (particularly Satsuma), swordsmen owned swords who's tsuka(s) were longer than the norm. Though again this is not a universal truth, members of Jigen Ryu Hyoho Kenjutsu use a normal sized sword (from what I have seen), with the tsuba tied down with a string so the could not draw it. This tradition is continued today by the current members of Jigen Ryu. I am unsure as to Yukamaru Jigen Ryu.

Suino's particular sect of MJER uses a "11" ichi tsuka, as do the majority of other sects of MJER and MSR. As I mentioned before however, the person ultametly decides on the lengh of their sword and tsuka. Sekiguchi Komei who is a soke of a sect of Yamauchi ha MJER uses a helicopter blade for a sword (its actually a battle field sword the name currently escapes me right now), and his students follow suit. Though his branch of Yamauchi ha is the only one to do this. Other sects of Yamauchi ha use a "normal" sized sword equiped with a "11" inchi tsuka (as Yamauchi himself did).

In MSR's case Danzaki Tomoaki at the time of writing Iaido: Sono Riai to Shinzui, used a longer sword with a longer tsuka. Also Nakayama Hakudo sensei in his last recorded iai demonstration can be seen using a sword with a longer tsuka. This might have been because of his advanced age (his arthritis was rather bad at that time) or a personal choice, but who knows for sure.

Another thing that one might argue is effectiveness, but one might say that effectivness lies in the ability of a swordsmen. It can be argued that a long tsuka can get in the way of a normal kimono, but it is also argued that in a ambush situation in a street alley, a sword might not be the ideal weapon. This fall under the "to each their own" saying.

Lastly while Chiburi is something used in almost every ryu involving iai (Sosuishi Ryu, and a few others are exempt of this) it is not something a swordsmen would have done (expecially O-chiburi). Chinugui (meaning: blood come off) the act of wiping the blade clean would have been the ideal way of cleaning the sword. There are only a few Ryu-ha which include chinugi in their kata. Though its ussually done (in some shape or form)after tamashigiri by practitioners regardless of Ryu-ha.

Anyway just a little input
_________________
Jeff Karinja
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JLBadgley
Tsushima no Kami
Tsushima no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei



Joined: 09 Apr 2007
Posts: 1617
Location: Washington, DC, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
I might be missing something here, but the length of tsuka should not interfere with the sode of kimono. If using kendo-gi the sode is close to the arm and the tsuka should not hang up in it. When using kimono the tasuke have the sode well away from being a problem. Chiburi should be no problem if tasuke are used or your gi is fitted right. John


Iaido-gi, not a kendo-gi. Length shouldn't have mattered too much, but there was one particular one-handed cut where the tsuka liked to find the sode-guchi (this did have a lot to do with what *I* was doing vice what I was supposed to be doing).

That said, on the issue of tasuke--the teachers I've worked with haven't necessarily been fond of their use. As they said, if you are out walking around, do you get your opponent to hold up a moment while you tie back your sleeves so that you can fight? Just a different philosophy.


-Josh
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
AJBryant
Shikken
Shikken
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 1782

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Josh -- I'd like your opinion on something.

This stems from a Japanese cooking site I once saw. They pointed out that hashi were originally X percent the length of a person's arm, and that today, even though the average Japanese is 6 to 10" taller than he was in the 15th century, we are *still* using the same sized hashi -- and that if we used hashi proportional to the old ones, it would almost be like the ones you cook with.

On that theory -- what about using swords today that are still the same size that they were 500 year ago vs. proportionally increasing their overall and tsuka lengths to modern body sizes?


Tony
_________________
http://www.sengokudaimyo.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JLBadgley
Tsushima no Kami
Tsushima no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei



Joined: 09 Apr 2007
Posts: 1617
Location: Washington, DC, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
'It depends'.

In the Muromachi and Azuchi-Momoyama periods you had some pretty hefty blades. The Edo period actually regulated the blades to be a specific size (well, they put bounds on it, anyways), so that most of the blades became a 'one size fits all' mentality.

That said, various works on the sword do tell you to measure the length based on your body length (I think Musashi had a famous quote about where the blade should fall). Some schools have the theory that you should use a blade that is as big as you can use. Some want you to have to perform saya-biki (I can 'cheat' most swords and never do saya-biki and still draw and cut--but that's because of my height, arm length, etc.), so getting a longer sword there is more for training.

A bigger, heavier sword will, imho, put up with more punishment and provide more mass behind the blade to get through hard targets or make up for poor technique. However, you don't need a monster for what most of us are doing, and even the thinner shin-shinto I've seen from the Bakumatsu period should work as well as one of the Muromachi monsters. It is more about the person using it than the sword itself.

-Josh
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
AJBryant
Shikken
Shikken
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 1782

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Gotcha. Thanks. Smile

Tony
_________________
http://www.sengokudaimyo.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // Martial Arts All times are GMT - 10 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Help the Samurai Archives




alexisRed v1.2 // Theme Created By: Andrew Charron // Samuraized By: Aaron Rister

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group