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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar, 2015 10:19 am    Post subject: New Japanese armor video         Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=411niIV_ORk


hmmm, what do you all think about this video. Parts seem inaccurate to me, especially the nodachi part.

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Luke Adams




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar, 2015 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never heard of Natori-ryu before, and when I went to their website, I saw claims that "ninjutsu" was a part of their curriculum. I don't want to be quick to judge since I've just started training in koryu bujutsu, but I'd take their word as dubious at best.
"God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them."
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar, 2015 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed, I am very interested though, and I will be looking through the rest of their videos.

The arrow catching cording also sounded suspicious to me, but not impossible.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2015 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arrow catching isn't that hard to do. I've done it plenty of times - it's a good party trick. All you need is to stand far enough away and have good lighting so you can see it coming. It takes a while to work out a technique that works for you but afterwards it isn't much harder than catching a fast moving ball. Flaming arrowheads are actually easier to catch because they move a little slower and are easier to see.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2015 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Arrow catching isn't that hard to do. I've done it plenty of times - it's a good party trick. All you need is to stand far enough away and have good lighting so you can see it coming. It takes a while to work out a technique that works for you but afterwards it isn't much harder than catching a fast moving ball. Flaming arrowheads are actually easier to catch because they move a little slower and are easier to see.

.......And this relates to idea of armor being designed to be able to catch arrows how? That iswhat they were dicussing, the plausibility of arrow catching shoulder guards and helmets.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2015 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No idea. I just like to say that I can catch arrows. Happy Maybe if I wrap magical armour cording around my hand it will be even easier.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2015 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Uhh, subtitles maybe? Confused

Nope the subs are gibberish too.
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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2015 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
Arrow catching isn't that hard to do. I've done it plenty of times - it's a good party trick. All you need is to stand far enough away and have good lighting so you can see it coming. It takes a while to work out a technique that works for you but afterwards it isn't much harder than catching a fast moving ball. Flaming arrowheads are actually easier to catch because they move a little slower and are easier to see.

.......And this relates to idea of armor being designed to be able to catch arrows how? That iswhat they were dicussing, the plausibility of arrow catching shoulder guards and helmets.


well in a sense. Old style japanese pauldrones were essentially free hanging shields. And they would catch and deflect any arrows coming at you

and I dunno about catching qrrows but tossing and catching thrown javelins and spears and sanding them bqck at your opponent is something you can pick up very fast since theyre bigger and slower.
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Jussi Ekholm




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 2:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Helicopter blade"...

I personally would approach Natori-ryu videos with caution. For example the expert in this video is Mike Graham, who (as I seeked him out) has invented his own style Muso Shugyo Ryu. Judging from the information of his background on his website he has studied 5 legitimate sword arts and 4 that I see as questionable arts. Only teacher he lists is Masaaki Hatsumi, so it makes me wonder under whom he studied the 5 arts, teacher lineage is important thing in Japanese arts.

When talking purely about samurai armor, I would personally seek those that focus on the study of samurai armor. There are lots and lots of great books written about the subject. Of course veteran martial artists can usually tell a lot about the usage of swords and armor. There are lot more credible sources that I would look into if samurai armor interests you. Nihon no Katchu is a very good forum with lots of knowledgeable people: http://nihon-no-katchu.proboards.com/

That Hanwei Odachi they used in that video is most likely modelled after an Odachi by Tomomitsu. I am not sure of this but as Hanwei folks mention it being modelled after 14th century original and this is a very famous sword + the measurements of Hanwei piece are close enough (I own one).

The image is too big to link it seems, and I can't be bothered to play with resizing & uploading now. Those interested can see bit of details & pictures of Tomomitsu in this link.

http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/5782/cs0q.jpg

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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 3:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When comes to catching arrows, what I mean was having the arrows stick into the armor, since it is made out of steel with only some silk cording, I'm not sure if that is possible, and their stuff looks pretty dubious to me. I am interested in these kinds fo videos because I have been looking for some japanese harnischfechten, for lack of a better word, but have been unable to find it.
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J. Nicolaysen




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 6:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I could not watch the video since the sound echo was too irritating for me to sit through. It's probably better for me anyhow.

If you are looking for an idea of what actual techniques look like, you should probably stick to the demos that historic ryu give from time to time. There are a handful of ryu that still teach kata with armor. The demos are sometimes very interesting and sometimes fairly boring to an outsider. The purpose of the demo is really not to teach people what to do, let alone to entertain, but really to show people that this ryu is still going along and in the way it has been for a few hundred years.

Anyhow, Yagyu Shingan-ryu is one that has techniques in armor. Armor is sometimes spelled in English Katchu or Kacchu, so that may make a difference in your searching. Heiho means "strategy" or sometimes "technique". Sometimes anglicized as hyoho.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpKw9JkWTC8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19lJerM4bj4

http://www.koryu.com/guide/shingan.html

Another style is Shojitsu Kenri Kataichi-ryu. This video only shows solo techniques, but it is also interesting. You might find others.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd6C5RdUIhY
http://www.koryu.com/photos/shoji1.html

Other ryu may not do techniques in armor, but have retained techniques for fighting against or in armor. They just don't use the armor.

As far as catching arrows, it's called yadomejutsu (yadome is arrow). But it's my understanding these are more techniques for deflecting arrows and shuriken, whether or not with a sword. Some ryu teach their techniques, like Maniwa-nen ryu. Couldn't find a video of this right now.

Quote:
PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 4:56 am Post subject:
When comes to catching arrows, what I mean was having the arrows stick into the armor, since it is made out of steel with only some silk cording, I'm not sure if that is possible, and their stuff looks pretty dubious to me.
I don't quite understand. Are you saying you doubt that arrows stick in armor, or that you are dubious of the techniques in the video? Almost the entire history of Japanese armor was a fight against incoming arrows, this was the main thing they designed the armor to deflect. Yari and swords were secondary. Most people on the battlefield didn't have the large armor. If it's more knowledge about armor, Anthony Bryant's Osprey books were good, far better than Turnbull's, and his site http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/ has a lot about armor. I have a few more resources on armor if you like, but I don't know your specific question and I would rather not watch the video from the first link.

Last edited by J. Nicolaysen on Tue 17 Mar, 2015 6:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jussi Ekholm




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 6:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That above reply was faster than mine. Happy

You might want to Youtube, 日本古武道演武大会 that is Nihon Kobudo Enbu Taikai. You will find a wide variety old historical schools representing there.

Saburi-ryu sojutsu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8QwV55ziJs&list=PLjxt0lYCHsHZJ9SCP5mQ7-dG4-WvHRP93&index=14

Hema videos are very different to koryu videos. You won't find much of actual training of most koryu as it's not generally shown to outsiders. You'll probably find bunch of Bujinkan videos too, I'm not keen on Bujinkan, search online for discussions of it and decide by yourself. Happy

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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the sources.

My specific question was in regards to the video.

They said that, when an arrow storm comes, you should lower your head, so that the visor covers your eyes, and that many arrows, rather than bouncing off of the plates, will stick (i suppose between the lames or in the cordage). So that samurai would often look like a hedgehog. I was wondering if that was true, since I thought it odd. I'm not asking about a technique.

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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the video's guys. It seems like a lot of folks on the internet had an interest in Japanese armor/ninja's during their childhood, I suppose I kinda missed out on that so most of what I see is new to me.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
My specific question was in regards to the video.

They said that, when an arrow storm comes, you should lower your head, so that the visor covers your eyes, and that many arrows, rather than bouncing off of the plates, will stick (i suppose between the lames or in the cordage). So that samurai would often look like a hedgehog. I was wondering if that was true, since I thought it odd. I'm not asking about a technique.


The head should be lowered so that the arrows are deflected by the helmet brim. Arrows sticking into armour are a problem, not a benefit. The best armours help to deflect arrows, not catch them. Lamellar and mail are both very poor at deflecting arrows, so they have to be made heavier to compensate - the arrows stick in, but can't penetrate far enough to seriously injure the wearer. You'll find that a lot of Japanese archery texts focus on punching through armour so they recommend heavy bows and short ranges.

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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 8:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies everyone.

A few points:

While I like the videos, I am very unimpressed by them. The moves seem SUPER exaggerated, and the loser seems to be very complacent, even going along with some very large movements. Also, I have researched japanese armor, and I don't think that it is crap enough for an out of distance zornhau to break through it. Thus, all of these out of distance blows that the losers start with are annoying to watch.

Having said that, I did see some useful moves in the videos. Especially attacks to the obi, under the back of the helmet, armpits, etc. Also a lot more thrusts than one usually sees with unarmoured katana.

Quick question. In a few techniques I saw one person put the spine of the katana on their arm or elbow. Anyone know why?

Thanks.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2015 5:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
While I like the videos, I am very unimpressed by them. The moves seem SUPER exaggerated, and the loser seems to be very complacent, even going along with some very large movements. Also, I have researched japanese armor, and I don't think that it is crap enough for an out of distance zornhau to break through it. Thus, all of these out of distance blows that the losers start with are annoying to watch.


Well, you'd probably be similarly unimpressed if you look at most modern demonstrations of Harnischfechten/spada in arme/any other sort of HEMA armoured fighting. The fact is that it's very difficult to demonstrate armoured fighting techniques at any sort of "realistic" speed or intensity without badly injuring one of the participants since the techniques were designed to do just that, so we inevitably have to compromise by slowing down, exaggerating the movements, going off-target, or any combination thereof.


Quote:
Quick question. In a few techniques I saw one person put the spine of the katana on their arm or elbow. Anyone know why?


The soete techniques are the Japanese equivalent of half-swording. Unlike half-swording, the front arm/hand doesn't move along with the weapon, so it doesn't add power -- it only helps prop up and stabilise the sword for greater precision in thrusting or slicing. The gaps in Japanese armour were seldom as well-protected as in European armour anyway (for example, the Japanese usually had several layers of cloth in the armpit, but seldom added mail to that).

It's worth noting that, like half-swording, soete is also sometimes found in unarmoured fighting. I think Katori Shinto-ryu -- one of the oldest schools with a solid lineage going back to the 14th century -- has more soete techniques than most others, both in and out of armour. This might reflect their origins in an era when armour was still common (unlike the vast majority of koryu schools that grew under the relative peace of the Tokugawa era or even in the modern post-Meiji Restoration era) and there was more cross-fertilisation between armoured and unarmoured fighting techniques.
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2015 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It sounds like you didn't watch the above videos. Attacking out of distance isn't an exaggeration, it's pointless. Also, a sword cut to the helmet isn't an exaggeration, it;s pointless. If you saw a harnischfechten video (and yes, I have seen lots of them) in which one person tries to first zornhau the other's helmet, you already know something has gone horribly wrong.

I understand why you would put a hand on a spine, but in these videos they put it in the crook of their elbow.

I don't want to sound rude to anyone here, but everyone really should watch the videos I am talking about first, before replying to them. Between this and the first video I posted, it seems like I am getting an awful lot of off the cuff responses to these questions.

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Jussi Ekholm




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2015 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the reasons why they look super exaggerated is the venue and theme of the Nihon Kobudo Enbu Taikai. It's not a highly technical competition of whose martial art is the best... It's an open display of old traditional martial arts of Japan. It takes place in Nippon Budokan, It's quite big stage so it's understandable that they make the moves super exaggerated and slow that the people watching can see them. Here you can see a picture of the stage. If someone would make fancy very small moves at very rapid pace, the observers would be totally left out. Now you actually get a slight idea what is happening.



Also one difference between HEMA and Koryu is that Koryu styles have been continued through tradition. The reason there is still secrecy in techniques and publicly displaying them bases on history. You would not want your enemies to know how you fight. So up until 1800's and the end of Edo period the sword schools had to protect their teachings, it still continues to this day.

Lineage is important part of old Japanese traditions. Someone could do research on historical documents and make their own swordstyle based on them, however it will not be legitimate old school. There will be shortcomings and obstacles in recreating something by yourself vs. the full package being passed on through hundreds of years. No I'm not trying to belittle all the HEMA research and reviving that has been done in the recent years, totally opposite I highly applaud them. It's just than in Japan these lineages have survived through the years. Maybe Silver or Liechtenauer would point out some important details to current practicioners, likewise maybe Musashi or Yagyu Munetoshi would point out something to modern practicioners of their arts.

Just as a note, I am not practicioner of any sword art. All my efforts are going towards sword collecting, I do not have heart & desire needed for martial arts.

I have seen many amazing demonstrations of Katori Shinto Ryu at our sword meetings. When you'll get to chance to watch it from few meter distance and they go all out with wooden weapons it is very impressive. Yes I know they are doing kata for demonstration purposes but when done with that intensity it is highly impressive when seen up close.

Maybe similarily I could just watch Battle of the Nations and think you just bang your sword directly into opponents helmet as hard as you can, then tackle him down and base my understanding of European martial arts on that.

For the specific questions about those videos you should be asking them from practicioners of that specific art. Outsiders will most likely not be able to answer them to you. Some details can be explained to outsiders, some are kept within the school. I've asked few questions about the details I saw in Katori from the Finnish teacher, he told me few and said I'd have to join and train for the rest as they are only explained to the members of the school. I was satisfied with that answer.

Maybe this answered some of your questions, maybe it created some more questions? Unfortunately I can't explain better than that above as I'm not a martial artist.

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J. Nicolaysen




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2015 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Michael, Look I don't want you to be frustrated by another empty answer, but I do not think you and probably the vast majority of people untrained in traditional JSA have quite a good understanding of the videos I posted. I was a little hesitant to do so in the first place and sorry that I did not go into detail. I'm happy to talk as much as I can, but my knowledge base is limited by only four years of training in one particular art and school that we aren't even talking about. Nevertheless, I did go train in Japan for a time and was immersed in part of the culture and visited museums and studied the armor. I also visited two other schools to observe how they did things. My interest in these things is not out of some ninja-boy fandom as someone else above mentioned, although I suppose Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow were my favorite Joes about thirty years ago.

Anyhow, the purpose of these particular sets is not to seriously attack. The purpose is to display the entire kata. The attacker is generally the senior in the art and the junior is generally learning and/or displaying the particular technique. So in this instance, the exaggerated and open attacks do not matter and do not give a good idea of what the art can do. It is for the purpose of the junior to learn the fairly complicated response. I have no doubt that if the senior wanted to give a strong, effective attack, there would be something that very few could respond to very well. But that isn't the point here.

I agree with you that these attacks are useless as attacks. They are not intended to show maai (timing of attack and response to attacks) or closing distance or any of that. These videos are pure and simple to show a large organization of other schools that this particular school is still training kata after two, three, four hundred years, in the closest way to the earlier times that they can. If the practitioners show up in pink camouflage armor, they might get kicked out, I don't know. But what they do is show up, show some nice kata for everyone to see what their particular style is like, and then watch someone else. It's an exhibition, it is not a training or fight demonstration. It is almost a completely different rationale to displaying training than what you want to see I think.

To see that, I'm afraid you will have to go to Japan or find someone highly trained in this art outside of Japan and study the techniques yourself.

For me or anyone else to talk much about the specific techniques in these videos is almost futile if we aren't trained at the same level. When I began studying JSA, the educational model was through repetition with further knowledge and refinement along the way as a technique was gradually mastered. So a beginner in an art simply cannot tell much about a technique that someone with deeper knowledge can. That being said, of course we can question some things. But it is a different way of learning the art than what most westerners are used to. This in short is why I do not pay much attention to Natori Ryu and Shugo Ryu and so forth. They do not learn the same way as the more traditional people do. They do not go after the same goal as other groups. It just fits my interest more to be part of a living tradition with a community of people who throughout a hundred or more years did the best they could to pass it on. If someone else wants to go after a more modern approach, go ahead.

FWIW I have a completely different attitude towards other arts, HEMA, CMA, so forth, some of these I have trained in. But my love and interest in JSA and japanese armor and weapons is very traditional as that is what I learned.

Hope some of this is useful.
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