Weapon Subsitution?

sabre, sword, spear, etc

Weapon Subsitution?

Postby Necromander » Sat Mar 16, 2002 2:48 am

A friend of mine was cleaning out his room for his brother's girlfriend's kids to move in and my friend's brother said that I could take what was left. I came across a Katana Sword with no handle, so I took it home and wrapped duct tape around the handle and then started practicing some moves with the sword and ended up with some cuts and bruises, and (thank god the sword was practice type, but the tip was kind of sharp) then I started to do the Tai Chi Moves from what I can remember, and it was difficult to hold the sword when i did the single whip movement. It was an interesting experience and it was fun too but none of them are the actual saber movements. I think the Katana helps you strengthen your arms since it has more weight than the Tai Chi Saber....Is this a good Subsitute or not, What do y'all think?

Necromander
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Postby Michael Coulon » Sat Mar 16, 2002 11:59 pm

Necromander,

I do not think that it is wise to use that or any katana as a substitute when practicing the sabre or sword forms for several reasons. First, from what you wrote it seems that this katana its in disrepair and thus is already a danger to you and others. Never use a sword, weapon, or any training equipment that is not in good condition. Broken equipment should either be fixed properly to its original state or discarded. Secondly, while the blade of the katana and the sabre may look similar, they are in fact different sword designs especially pertaining to the guard, handle, and pommel areas. Because of these design differences the balance and the 'feel'(handling) of these types of swords will be different. How you weild/use a sabre is not the exact same way you weild/use a katana. Lastly, practicing the form with the proper and intended weapon/sword will give you better results. The sabre has scarves tied to the pommel ring which will aid you in discovering if you are utilizing proper technique and energy; the katana does not have these scarves and thus gives you no such feedback.

As far as the weight training idea goes with using the katana, it will only lead to injury. You can develope problems with your shoulder and arm if using the katana improperly. It all comes down to training safely. Please put the katana away and get a proper sabre. You will feel better and learn more with one. You can purchase one at a Center (I believe you are close to Horacio's) or you can order one through the web site store. I hope that this has been helpful, and have fun and be safe with the sabre form.

Michael.
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Postby Audi » Sun Mar 17, 2002 3:00 pm

Hi Necromander,

From your description, it seemed like you were using the katana in the context of the bare-hand form. If so, I am curious as to whether this was just a lark to explore general Taiji principles or an approach specifically taught to you.

One of my Taiji teachers constantly stressed the relationship between use of weapons and barehand techniques. This was a central aspect of his teaching, but one which I had difficulty relating to.

He had us practice the same forms barehandedly, with broad swords, straight swords, and fans and with only minimal adjustment for the differences in the weapons. I never asked him, but I believe the impetus for this came from his training in Aikido, which I understand to derive quite closely from sword techniques.

I always had great difficulty in internalizing this teacher's instructions. I find the foundation of barehand and various weapons practices to be the same, but the specifics to be very different, perhaps because of my internal quirks or limited understanding. At the same time, I have found it very useful in working with friends to point out how what looks like a minor structural error in a barehand posture becomes dramatically obvious if one puts a three-foot edged weapon in one's hand in the same posture.

The long and the short of this is that although I can see relationships between barehanded practice and the various weapons, I understand and enjoy practicing them in specialized forms, rather than in a generalized form.

If I am not off on a complete tangent, can you share what your experience has been?

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Necromander » Mon Mar 18, 2002 3:00 am

well I know that the katana is not used in the tai chi forms, but i was just expermenting with the idea. The results were not good because of the slight hand injury so i stopped with this idea. I am going to try to do all of the movements so I can gain access to the Saber form when my Instructor is satisfied with my movements. I am currently at #38 on this list at http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/info/forms3.htm I will try to reach that level :-D
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Postby Jacqueline Crow » Mon Mar 18, 2002 7:55 am

Hi everyone. This is my first post. I am an eight year student of the traditional yang family system. I am also necromander's instructor.

Hi necromander!

I am happy to see that you have been receiving good advice from some folks on this list. I am also VERY happy to see that you have ended your play with this Japanese sword*$#@(^.

I believe that you were in class the day I read from the book "Tai Chi Touchstones, Yang Family Secret Transmissions". (hmmm?)

In it Yang Chengfu states:

"In coming years there will be no limit to the number of sincere and dedicated students. Although there is no shortage of students the majority fall into one of two erroneous paths. The first group are highly gifted, robust, quick witted and exceptionally penetrating, but unfortunately they are satisfied with small successes. Rapidly mastering the superficial, they abandon their studies and cannot learn a great deal.

The SECOND group consists of those who are eager for immediate results and careless of detail...." (ahem)

You are a good student with a great desire and enthusiasm to learn....HOWEVER, it appears that I have to help you slow your 'matrix speed' down a bit more, eh? (smile)

I hope you had a good spring break. I will see you in class Monday AND I want to see those cuts!

jacqi crow
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Postby Necromander » Mon Mar 18, 2002 9:13 pm

The Cuts are all healed up, the bruise on my left leg still remains. *grins* I am still playing with the Katana and learning my lessons to make the katana a part of me :-D

About time you come to these boards too :-D It's gonna be VERY interesting to read what's in your mind :-D SEE YOU IN CLASS!!!
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Postby Audi » Sun Mar 24, 2002 8:30 pm

Hi Jacqui and Necromander,

Jacqui, thanks for the quote, which is a very good reminder. I find one of the most difficult aspects of practice is balancing fidelity to what I think I am being taught with fidelity to what I think I know. Slavish adherence to either seems ultimately disastrous. On balance, however, the latter seems a more serious problem in societies that exhalt "individual expression" over "rote" learning.

Undue satisfaction with small success leaves one ill-disposed to hang in there when the going gets tough. Focus on immediate results makes unattainable those achievements that require sustained effort or attention to detail.

Necromander, I think your enthusasm and interest will greatly assist your practice. Your willingness to push the edges and question your practice is also very important, in my opinion. However, you may get greater returns by postponing your experimentation.

If someone is still working through the barehand form, I think he or she would best be served by putting off weapons work. If one is still working on how to express power in the wrists and fingers, it will be quite difficult to express it properly through the point or edge of a weapon, since these are all additive skills.

In my opinion, mastery of the form takes place on many levels that usually reveal themselves only with good instruction, good practice, determination, and time. Adding complications like weapons or greater speed too early can short-circuit this process.

I like analogies with language learning. One can have quite extensive knowledge of a language's pronunciation and grammar, while being unable to carry on a simple conversation, let alone attempt jokes, debates, or poetry. Also, though knowledge of other languages is usually helpful, it can also be a great hindrance if one cannot leave behind sure knowledge of the known to seek uncertain knowledge of the unknown.

Happy and fruitful practice,
Audi
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Postby Necromander » Tue Mar 26, 2002 5:06 am

Hey Audi,

I agree with ya about the postponement, I preferr to practice the barehand form, and starting the saber form is like a reward to me, sort of like a medal for advancement to the next area of Tai Chi. I want to be able to defeat my instructor in a Tai Chi tournament *grins* (ssshhhh don't tell my Instructor I said this, ha ha)

THE STUDENT HAS BECOME THE TEACHER!!!
*karate yells*

Necromander
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