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Autrelle Holland

Autrelle Holland: #275 of 5077
3 Reviews
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1 Question
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Size
Open Thumb Loop Combat Gloves



How do I know what size to get?  
6/3/2011 6:35:49 PM
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This is the best jo for the money

Jo Staff



Traditional schools of Jodo have a fixed measure for their jo. If that is what you are expecting, you are not going to want this jo. Some Aikido schools also call for a fixed measure of jo also. If you use a jo at all, and have the liberty to use any jo you pick, get this jo.

I have been training in Aikido since 1993, and jo has always been heavily integrated into our practice. I have bought and used cheaper jo and more expensive jo. This jo is more than worth the money. Anyone that bemoans that it is too big or heavy, to them I would say: It's martial arts. If you like a lighter jo, get this jo and consider it your "hard" training then.

I tend to lean toward Musashi's way of thinking when it comes to weapons. I don't necessarily prefer one weapon or the other, longer or shorter, etc. It's good to train with all sorts and shapes of weapons. Besides, the stick is supposed to represent a flexible system of combat based on what happens to be handy. Concerning the size of the jo, I actually prefer the heft of it. It tends to "keep you in line" from the start, the same way a suburito does. I have had absolutely no issues using this for solo and partner practice, and my students really love this thing. It feels like a WEAPON. When you pick this thing up, you feel like it's time to do some martial arts. I posted a video review along with some details of jo practice here on my site: http://www.toraha.com/news/2011/5/11/aiki-budo-tora-ha-aiki-jo-video-part-two.html This jo is great. I can't say enough good things about it. It's so far my favorite product from Karate Depot.

  
5/11/2011 8:27:50 AM
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Go ahead and buy at least 4-10

Foam Escrima



At our dojo we do a lot of weapons. The decision to include the use of foam safety sticks was not an easy one. I did not want to create an atmosphere where people just "played around" or "sparred" instead of remembering how dangerous weapons training really is. I have to say that I am glad that I made this decision. These foam training aids are great for beginners who are still learning control and finesse. You can read an article and watch a demo video of the product at the link at the end. The first day that I used them in class, they worked so well that they literally paid for themselves. The value they give to the training they are used for far excedes the $6 price tag. This is a great deal for these tools.

http://www.toraha.com/articles/2011/3/22/product-review-karate-depot-foam-batons.html
  
4/15/2011 7:36:23 AM
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The use of bokken

Bokken



Matthew from Karate Depot was generous enough to send me a set of red oak and white oak bokken to do a compare and contrast between the two. That has been a topic of discussion amongst bokken users for probably forever. Typically what you see are red oak “economy” models, with the white oak models ranging from anywhere as low as $40 dollars and as much as $300, depending on who is selling it to you and how it is made. In the past, I considered red oak models as “beaters” to thrash until they shatter, and an inexpensive option for beginning students to use until they decided to pull the trigger and go white oak.

I'm not going to go into the history and construction of bokken. I will however, detail my own use of the bokken, and the role that I think red oak and white oak models come into play. Later, I will detail my user review of the products I received from Karate Depot. At my dojo, we use the bokken to practice Aiki Ken, the kenjutsu art and primary expression of Aiki Budo, or Aikido. Aiki Ken works on several attributes: distance, angle and position, timing, extension, focus, and striking to vital areas. In even the most rigorous partner practice, there is very little contact with the bokken. This is because Aiki Ken expresses the taijutsu, or empty hand art of Aikido. In Aikido, we cannot clash directly with the power of an opponent. We have to move in a manner that either blends with the attack, redirects it, or forestalls the attack from the beginning. We don't block an attack, whether it be from a weapon or empty hand strike. So, we don't move directly against the opponent's sword. This is both ineffective and unrealistic. It is not effective since a real attack with a weapon is very fast, and you do not know how your enemy will attack you. If you wait and try to block, you will simply be a tempo behind in the encounter. Your opponent will already control the encounter. It is not realistic because in an actual encounter, you should not be blocking anything, but cutting an opponent. O'Sensei said “Seeing me before him, the enemy attacks, but by that time I am already standing safely behind him.” This means that you have already moved and cut him down from a safe position without blocking the strike.

This leads to me to concern about such comments as “...after a few sparring sessions, the bokken cracked.” I feel this sort of practice, banging bokken against bokken, can only be viewed as dubious play of young children, and not the serious sword practice of any classical Bujutsu or Budo. In one account, the famous Miyamoto Musashi defeated Muso Gonnosuke with a slender branch. The quality of body movement should be practiced to not be struck by a weapon or fist, not standing in one place and clashing against the force of another. Any tool, improperly used, will break. The shinken, or live blade, was never used in this manner. Parries were always deflecting and glancing motions. Really, this movements were attempts to cut at an enemy's vital points, and they appear to be parries due to variances in the timing of the enemy's response. No effort should be made in blocking any attack. Cutting the enemy down strongly is the what the sword is for. The Art of War states that shields are for enduring a hard time; weapons are for attaining victory. Musashi expounds on this when he says that anytime that you touch an opponent, it should be to kill them. He said that defensive moves like blocking are like putting swords in the ground around you to make a fence, and then standing behind them, believing yourself to be fortified. He says that the real essence of combat should be that were you standing near a wooden fence, you should pull a fence post from the ground and kill the enemy with it. So nowhere in these ideas does the idea of blocking an attack occur. With this in mind, red oak or white oak is not the issue, where as training to be able to cut down an enemy at will is the true concern.

I am going to give the bokken a full workout this week and tell you all about it. So far I am very happy with the product.  
3/20/2011 1:11:06 PM
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