Permission – Nov 29, 2013, Kim Taylor, CI Sei Do Kai Guelph, Nanadan

A comment on the iaido-L email list (yes those things still exist) made reference to a video of one of the old sets of partner practice for my iaido school. I would like to see that video, not because I think I’ll see something new, but because it would give me permission to teach whatever I see there.

With 30 years in and 5 or 6 sword schools under my belt (along with all that stored up beer) there isn’t much I haven’t seen or can’t do, so learning a new waza isn’t all that likely. My problem these days is to keep from mixing things up. I try not to use an example from Niten Ichiryu to explain concepts in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu unless both schools have the same technique.

So the more material I see from either school, the more permission I have to teach what I know. Makes it easier to keep the instruction clean… although those students who stick with me for a decade end up with the same overall knowledge that I’ve got, presumably worrying them about cross-talk as much as it worries me.

The other thing that concerns me is that the deeper I get into any school, the more sources I watch or read, the wider the school becomes. I suspect that eventually I can just throw it all into the mixer without going “outside the box” of any particular school. The fundamentals are the same, the techniques (waza) are similar, it’s the frilly bits (etiquette) and the sequencing of the waza that change from school to school.

Of course all I’m saying here is that you can learn the same lessons in any school, and for those who don’t spend 30 years banging away at it, the similarities or differences of the schools don’t really matter.

I’m teaching sword to the aikido class and am at the point of “hold it this way and swing it in this shape” so at the end of the class I figure I’ve failed as an instructor (no fancy concepts passed along) but the students are all enthusiastic so I suppose my worries about contamination of one school’s waza by another are rather angels on pinhead.

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