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November 25, 2011 at 5:48 am #140702JmCruzanParticipant
For this week, i’ve been focusing more on my meditations and sword techniques. With my meditations, I focus almost completely on my breathing, which seems to clear my mind of all other things. I count the seconds as they go and found that as the body slows down, when it starts to relax in its meditative state, the heart rate slows, the body requires less oxygen to function and your breathing slows considerably. I start with 4 second inhales, 6 second exhales, which is pretty much my standard when having to do combat breathing excercises mid fight etc. to prevent hyperventiliation when im in a fight, high risk scenario, bomb work, shooting, etc. It doesnt require much in the way of oxygen deprivation during high activity function and requires little concentration. But as I allow my body to relax further, when at home in a peaceful environment, I can let myself get down to 10-12 second inhales, and up to 12-14 second exhales. This is roughly 2 breaths and some change a minute. I still havnt had the chance to see if I can go further to a full 2 breaths a minute but i’ll be trying soon enough. Next, with sword techniques, I was showing my girlfriend basic techniques of kendo this week. Working on her stance, proper sword grip, blade position, movements, etc. Recently, I had been working on the two sword techniques that Musashi had explained in his “Book of Five Rings” and my girlfriend inquired if I could use it yet. So I showed her what I had come up with so far. Now, for those that dont know, I have quite a background in both hand to hand and sword fighting. I started with Rapier and longsword stage combat arts (quite fun for sparring and impressing a crowd) and then moved on to Korean Kendo during my last year in the army. With two blades, and I’m using a standard bokken and a wakizashi bokken (short sword/long sword combination), there is only certain number of ways to swing both blades offensively and defensively at the same time without hitting the blades together. One blade parries/blocks while the other slashes/stabs. With rotating momentum from fighting multiple opponents from all sides, this provides a nearly 180 degree arc of defense.November 25, 2011 at 6:01 am #162880JmCruzanParticipant
This is what I mean: You are surrounded on four sides, front, rear and side to side. Lets say the opponent to your front attacks with an overhead slash to your head. You might use a high block with your longsword (for me, since im left handed, my left blade), then deliver and abdominal slash with your short sword, disembowling your opponent, as he cannot block with his sword, which is being parried by your own. You then rotate your left sword from a high block, let the blade tip down so that the point is now aimed at the ground, the entire length of the sword now providing a barrier as you spin on the balls of your feet to face the oppenent behind you. This also guards against and strikes coming from the side you are rotating toward. You can then follow through with your right blade, swinging toward the opponent on your side. If he’s there to hit, you killed two birds with one stone. If not, he was smart enough to get his distance and you can put your full force into your rear opponent. From there, you can either reverse direction, and pick off the by passed enemy if he’s still there, or go for the unaddressed opponent to the side. Now, this is all theoretical and assuming all of your opponents are wielding one blade, have no guns or projectiles and are unfamiliar with two sword fighting. The reason Musashi was so successful, was because during his time in feudal japan, his method of combat had never been seen and was considered extremely unorthadox. So, keep in mind. When training for confrontations, think outside the box. What will your opponent not expect? You can find out, that using a technique that is completely unexpected can finish a fight before it even starts or sometimes, if shock and awe has been established, your opponent may even give up.November 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm #162889Kol DrakeModerator
Was that not his ‘style’ — The Way of the Unexpected?
His father trained him in the traditional style as a youth. He later saw that the traditional style was easily death in real combat. He developed his two sword ‘unorthodox’ method as a way to overcome the set traditions. Even later, he stopped ever using swords and bested his opponents with a boat oar.
Knowing his opponents styles and being able to come up with workable solutions was as much his ‘style’ as his signature two sword technique.
Yes, the Book of Five Rings does have a section of using both swords at once against several opponents however, I got more of impression from his words that he thought it wisest to be able to use either sword in either hand as the need arose. This would make more sense if, due to injury, one would be unable to use the ‘dominant’ hand/arm.November 29, 2011 at 8:11 am #162992JmCruzanParticipant
indeed it was. He even made mention to never spend your entire time learning just one weapon. I think musashi was about flexibility, being able to read your enemy and adapt to defeat him. For his time, this was a new concept. He even defeated a master of the kusari-gama by thinking “outside the box”.November 29, 2011 at 3:53 pm #163002YoshioModerator
Hmm, sorry for slightly disagree. Miyamoto Musashi was for sure a great man and one with a free and open mind and he is one of those characters I really do admire for what they have reached in their life’s. But I don’t think that he was the only one whom was doing it that way. He maybe was just the one who got most famous for it as he have had to make money out of it for his life.
If You have read through my journal here, You might have read that I’m a kind of Ninja or better said that I’m training in their arts. This said, out of my training and my interest for Japan and the Samurai, I would say that other warriors as well knew about the concept of “breaking” the rules and use this disorientation it causes at their opponents for their own benefit.
As Musashi had done it, the best someone could achieve is, to keep having an open mind and being flexible and able to adopt to new situations.November 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm #163072JmCruzanParticipant
It’s extremely plausible that other samurai were using the technique at the time, although, I dont know of any that were as successful as Musashi. In his first two formal duels, he killed two masters, brothers if i remember right, who had their own sword school and everything. I think running away from home at 13, spending four years as a hermit, his abusive childhood, all those things may have given him a different mindset than what most samurai would have had for that time. A good example of the “product of ones environment” saying. This is all speculation of course. I’ll never really know what Musashi was thinking or why he truely was so good because I cant be there to ask him lol.
You studying Bujinkan Ninjutsu or another system?November 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm #163073JmCruzanParticipant
PTSD and dealing with battlefield trauma…….a tough topic, one that i’ve been dealing with personally since 2003, when I came home from the invasion of Iraq. Im proud of what i did. I helped liberate a country from a mass murdering dictator, I helped provide aid to the injured and saw the tears of joy in peoples eyes as we drove through Baghdad. Dont ask me about the WMD thing……I never saw any, my unit never found any, but we werent tasked to look for them, either. Anyway, for those that dont know, I was an infantryman in the US army for 4 1/2 years. I was trained in a mechanized unit (I.E. the bradley infantry fighting vehicle). I did a year as a driver for one of those big beautiful beasts of destruction, myself and my crew were top gun in the brigade (best bradley crew). I was then placed in a dismounted infantry squad in C Company, 2nd platoon, 1/30th infantry battallion, 3rd Division. I went to airborne school, got my parachutists wings, did advanced combatives, urban warfare training, Combat lifesaver certification, a cake peace keeping tour in Kosovo (camp Montieth, for those that know of it. Its no longer there ) and then shipped off to kuwait in january of 2003, just in time for my birthday…….#2 overseas lol. While there, we did even more advanced training. Live fire trench clearing, advanced urban warfare (MOUT) with former special forces, contractors, etc. Then the war kicked off in march. We left at around 10pm that night and started our first engagement of tal-il airfield at 4am. Then we had al-samwah, then some bridge we had to guard where we took sniper fire all night long until the first sergeant took a platoon of tanks in the next morning and levelled the buildings they were shooting at us from. Then Karbala, which we held on our own for a week and then….baghdad. Now up until baghdad, I had been fine with the exception of a minor eye infection from sand which kept my left eye under some gaus for a week. I had seen the occassional body up until this point, but it was no big deal until bagdhad. Going in, we started taking enemy mortar fire. Luckily, bradleys come fairly well armored. Then republican guard started shooting at us. You could hear the bullets pinging off the vehicle. We dismounted, did our thing and started clearing buildings, house to house, a very slow and tiring process. In the process, my team killed a civilian going for a door to a house we hadnt cleared. 15 rounds, head to toe. I got to pull guard duty on the poor guy till he bled to death 45 minutes later. As we continued moving in, the body count got bigger and bigger. There was a brief reprive at an industrial complex where i got to blow the roof off of a building with my grenade launcher. Whether anyone was inside, Ill never know. Then we hit the 3rd Medina republican guard headquarters. I had never seen so many bodies in my life and i hope i never will again. As far as you could see, men kids, women, all dead. Some in pieces, some remained in death poses, looking at their watch from a burned out bus, some had facial expressions of pain, ones brain was no longer in his head as he lay face down on searing pavement. Oh yeah, i forgot to mention the smell. In 120 degree heat, on pavement with hundreds of dead, the smell nearly made me vomit. We remained there for hours, clearing buildings, etc. Smoking cigarettes was the only way to get the smell away for a few minutes, so since we were out, and hadnt goten any mail in weeks, I took a pack off the dead brainless colonel. And yeah, i smoked em. Damn good cigarettes too…..gold filters i remember. REAL gold filters….The offical war was over days later and aside from hunting weapons caches, high valu targets and sabotauging enemy artillary and doing snatch and grab night patrols i didnt really have too many other bad experiences.November 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm #163074JmCruzanParticipant
After several weeks a year of constant intoxication, excommunicating the girlfriend for weeks at a time, hitting her in my sleep (fortunately, the stories are more comical than serious), etc, i started therapy at the VA, after 8 years of living the above. Its been going alright so far. and I say alright because of mixed results. the success rate has been about 50/50 but its better than it was before. My meditations have been helping a lot and since restarting my physical fitness regime after a broken knee (earned in an on the job fight with a drunk fat lady), Ive found that working out helps quite a bit as well. Especially for self esteem. After a workout, and i know it sounds vain as hell, but i like to look at myself in the mirror and be happy at what i see. Still working on the six pack (my love of the occassional beer hinders this most) but aside from that, everything else has come back together the way it was pre-injury……sans the missing PCL in my left knee lol.November 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm #163078JaxKeymaster
This may sound weird, but my wife still has ptsd symptoms from her past life where she was a highly skilled Marine sniper in either vietnam or korea (we aren’t allowed to know which for sure). She has nightmares where she’s literally in the jungle, and in this world she’s crawling around the house. One time she saw the shape of a thin wall in the house and interpreted it as a person and suck up behind the ‘person’ and punched them repeatedly, microfracturing her hand. She’s ‘hunted’ the cats, scaring the crap out of them as she pretended to shoot them. I’ve had to talk her down when she was in that space and holding a knife. Damn freakin scary for me. Thankfully I was in the military this time around and could talk to her like I was in her platoon and get her woke up. Her memories are as real as if it was this lifetime. Thankfully she communicates with her guides who help her understand and work through the issues. Some of the worst were when she had to kill a kid who was sniping people. Being in firefights. Shooting her commanding officer from a distance because he was so incompetent he was getting a lot of people killed. She/he shot him in the leg, avoiding all major areas. just enough to send him home and save a lot of lives. It brings up a lot of ethical discussions which she had to process this time around.
It’s taken years but her dreams have finally changed. She still has military dreams but now they’re of the ‘good’ times. Shooting competitions, shit talking, I’m sure you know what I mean about the down time where you’re just hanging out and training or whatever.
Keep up the meditation. Keep working on the therapy. Have you journaled to sort out what you feel about those times? My wife basically got her therapy between me and her guides, including one of whom served with her as a sniper at that time so he could help her understand what she couldn’t remember. And her current guide has access to all that information as well and was in the Marine Corps this time around. There’s a really strong military presence in our house. I’ve never personally experienced PTSD, but I’ve seen her go through it. Hang in there, it will get better. It may take a few more years, but you’ll get there.December 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm #163120JmCruzanParticipant
yeah as part of the therapy, I have to hand write kind of a log of what happened with emotional input to decribe what i felt. She said about anything can be a trigger for the symptoms. Certain smells, objects that remind me of the war, certain foods, pretty much anything that I could have associated with it. Just a mater of figuring out what they are. My symptoms are fairly typical and not severe like many others i know who just flat shut down. Im luckily still able to function at work without being effected, with the exception of the anxiety, which i have pills for now lol.
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