View Full Version : Sword and Gun: Common Principles

Brent Yamamoto
10-02-2018, 10:35 AM
I've had the opportunity to train with Isao Machii a couple times. He knows his stuff and I was extremely impressed with his ability. The man can cut and moves extremely well.

The principles he discusses in the video arenít rocket science, but there is depth applicable to any martial discipline. The concepts are high level, but it's clear to me how they apply to gunfighting. Please discuss if you find it interesting.

Besides teaching kenjutsu and iai, he is a sword dealer. He knows swords very well and people that know much more than I listen to him. I found one of his observations very interesting (not only from a technical, cutting aspect, but also based on his awareness of historic swords). He discussed the attention to detail on "edging" - the sharp edge must pass straight through the target, otherwise your cut will be poor and you'll likely damage the sword. He made the point that the samurai of old were very careful about edging because so many historic swords exist in undamaged condition.

Very interesting and again commonality with gunfighting. Know your equipment and have the skill to utilize it correctly.

I also appreciate his point about incorporating different skills. He states the swordsman must be familiar with karate-like striking and jujutsu/aikido skills.

Fast forward to the end if you want to skip the interview and just view his kata demonstration. Again, much commonality with gunfighting.

I am not a sword specialist, but sword practice is supplemental to the style of aikido I've learned. I found Machiiís style MUCH more aggressive, and actually found his methods much closer to the karate that I practice. Very much a feeling of forward presence, like a hawk waiting for the moment to strike the prey. This part I understood very well and can identify with. His actual cutting method is quite different from what I've learned and I have to admit I didn't get it. But I will.

Itís a generalization, but if I described the aikido-based sword style I learned, it might be ďReluctant, but willing.Ē Of course, the sword practice is meant to build skill in aikido more so than sword fighting, but the sword style itself is more defensive, more cautious.

I would describe Machiiís style as ďEager...and hungry.Ē Much closer to Eastwood than Ueshiba, which I can dig.



10-02-2018, 12:37 PM
Once more I find that I don't know what I don't know.

Mon-Iri describes well the challenge of a warrior's life.

Brent Yamamoto
10-02-2018, 12:57 PM

10-03-2018, 03:34 PM
Very interesting and insightful. Bears more research. Love steel!


10-03-2018, 10:22 PM
My first impression was that Iai seems a lot like a speed draw except in this context the sword is fully capable of both defending and attacking. Not something that the gun shares in this instance. Though to focus only on that would miss the bigger point. The concept of acting upon violence that is suddenly upon you has always been and always will be applicable. I see many parallels in the concepts and movements shown in the video with the direction SI has been taking things. Of course the exact movements won't transfer over as the weapons demand different body mechanics be used to employ them. However the idea of doing something to prevent or limit the violence that is focused at you is the heart of the matter. After that its creating the opportunity to bring whatever weapon is available into play and pressing the attack.

10-04-2018, 04:55 AM
Most impressive! Thank you for posting.
And those who have never handled a live blade (as opposed to an alloy practice blade) cannot appreciate the strength necessary to move the shinken as fast as you see in the video. The leverage and mechanics needed are awesome. Two of the most enjoyable years of my martial arts life were when I studied Shinkendo. If you ever get a chance, I strongly recommend it!!!

geezer john

10-04-2018, 07:53 AM
I noticed similarities in the way people would train with both weapons.

When conducting dry fire practice I would go through the whole routine of unloading the gun and placing all ammunition in a bag that is then placed out of reach. I check that the condition of the gun is safe and focus on that activity while I do it. Distractions are not allowed. I then mentally acknowledge the start of the dry fire session. After practice I take a moment to focus on the fact that the dry fire session is over. I set in my mind an awareness that the weapon is now being returned to a state of readiness for battle and can not be handled as it was during practice.

While reading about kenjutsu I discovered that practitioners who had advanced past the bokken would perform a brief ceremony honoring the sword. (Called Nuka-Zuki if I remember correctly). It was said that to honor the sword was to make it one with your mind. I believe that this means to be focused on the weapon, to respect the capabilities of the weapon, to assume responsibility for it during practice so as to avoid injuring yourself or others.

It may seem like mystic nonsense until you take a moment to think about what could happen if you were distracted while manipulating the sword. They part flesh so effortlessly.

I think that when they speak of honoring the sword they are saying that you should respect it by giving it your complete attention.

When I see a kenjutsu practitioner bowing to his sword after practice the phrase 'The dry fire session is now over." pops into my head.

10-04-2018, 09:59 PM
The European sword manuals, Tallhoffer, Wallenstien Codex, Del Fiore, Silver, are interesting.

In Quartada, stepping into another 1/4 of the circle while thrusting at your enemy. Alot like get off the X !