Zier Don J. - Japanese sword drawing

Author : Zier Don J.
Title : Japanese sword drawing A source book for Iaido students
Year : 2001

Link download : Zier_Don_J_-_Japanese_sword_drawing.zip

This book presents many technical details of Muso Shlnden Ryu Iaido, making this a use-ful guide for sword drawing teachers and students. One aspect of instruction that is not covered, however, is how the art is taught. As long-time students of the author (that's us in the pictures), we wanted to comment on the instruction we received, thus shedding some light on that aspect of the art. in addition to being a sort of tribute to Don, for whom we both have great affection, we believe that much of the value we continue to derive from iaido comes as much from the way he taught as from what he taught. From our first class, it was apparent that Don was technically proficient in iaido. He was teaching something that he knew how to do, and do well. As he had completed his formal instruction in iaido some years before we began studying with him, his skill was obvious and gave us something to aspire to. It was not just the flash of a blade that inspired us. He made us wait until we held black belts in another martial art before agreeing to teach us (so he wouldn't have to start completely from scratch)—and by then we knew the difference between flash and substance. Don also has a thorough understanding of the art. He knows the difference between the correct movements and similar-bul-incoriect ones and is able to demon-strate these differences. Unlike traditional instruction, which is largely based on imita-tion, our instruction was based on analysis, explanation, and illustration. Rather than trying to duplicate an entire form, we spent considerable time practicing individual movements within a specific form. For example, we learned that a single, gross move-ment, such as the overhead cut (shomen uchi), can be produced in several ways— some strong and others not. By breaking each form into its component movements, Don built the form from the "inside out." Thus, when the component movements were mastered, the rest was easy. This process was the esscnce of our instruction. As you might imagine, we spent most or our time learning and refining basic movements. We practiced with wooden swords (bokert) for three years before drawing with bladed ones. We spent ten years on the twelve Omori Ryu forms and learned the remaining forms in about two years. That wc did not get bored in these years is a trib-ute to the detail and interest with which we were Instructed. (Although Don probably felt safer when we trained with boken, live blades require the use of a scabbard, which adds yet one more thing to move at the right time, in the right direction, and at the right speed. He was simply waiting until we were ready for "advanced'' techniques. Or maybe we were just slow learners.) The result of our instruction is that we are different because of it. We move and think differently than when we began; we are not just the same people who now also do iaido. Don would be the first to say that his approach to teaching iaido is not traditional. But he has never claimed any legitimacy on the grounds of tradition, only on performance. His instruction has been among the more gratifying experiences we have had, and we are pleased that he has finally finished this book so that others might appreciate it as well. Tom Lang & Rich Radcliffc. ...

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