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John Lindsey
31st July 2000, 03:46
The following is part of the Tengu Geijutsu Ron written by Chozan Shissai (first printed in 1729). Though the author was trained in kenjutsu, his comments apply to martial arts in general.

One can observe that ordinary people often walk as they do
because they have shifted their center of gravity upwards,
and because they maintain their balance with their heads or
rub their limbs against one another. A person who walks
correctly has no movement above the hips. Because he walks
with his legs, his body is quiet, his inner organs do not rub
against one another, and his body does not tire. This can be
observed in the walk of a sedan-chair bearer. If the Life Force
of a person who approaches bearing a sword or a spear is clouded
and unbalanced, he will not succeed in walking with his legs.

If a person, following the movements of his head, rubs his
limbs against one another, he will damage his body. The Life
Force is aroused, and the Heart is not tranquil. When grasping a
sword, the right hand is forward, when grasping a spear, then
it is the left. While standing a person keeps ready the foot with
which he will take his first step. One must constantly discipline
oneself in all things. Whether a person is walking along a road,
sitting, sleeping or talking with somebody, he must be attentive
to this.
In observing the foot movements of the sarugaku dancers,
one notices that they keep all of their toes bent, thereby keeping
ready the foot with which they will take their next step, and they
walk by leading with the heel. This is more than a peculiarity
of style particular to their class. By keeping ready the foot
with which they will take their next step, they are free in the
use of their feet. Thus, the Life Force of the dancer flows back
into his self and is not diverted by his partner. It is exactly the
same with the foot and body movements of a ball player. When
a good sarugaku dancer enters the stage from the rear, he does
not trip and fall. That is because his Life Force is vibrant and
fills his entire body, he is collected and heavy low in his body and
light above, and his movement is balanced; his voice resounds
because he breathes from below the navel upwards. W hen a
poor dancer enters the stage, he trips and falls even over the
smallest obstacle. That is because he - not being heavy or
anchored below, having an unbalanced and sluggish Life
Force - breathes from the upper part of the chest, his center
of gravity is high and below is nothing. Whenever a good singer
drops his voice to the tone ryo, his stomach below his navel
swells powerfully with air.

Through constant self-examination, all of these things can
be recognized. Thus, he who is light below and moves his center
of gravity upwards, will tire quickly when he walks. That is
true not only for the examples presented here. If a person
concentrates upon every perception of the eyes and the ears and
examines each one, then he will understand that he must be
concerned with all things between heaven and earth. No one
can ever say that the world has nothing more to teach him.
For there is always something that is superior to him and he
strives towards that. Man will never reach the realm where
there exists nothing superior towards which lie could strive. It
says in a work about strategy "If you accompany your master
on a march, you should contemplate the abundance of blessings
which the earth offers all around you in the mountains and
rivers". A famous army commander of ancient times observed
the work of the farmers and provincials and devoted his heart to
it, and there are many people who have attained absolute
perfection in this as in other arts. Do not limit yourself to
strategy! If a person continually directs his Heart towards all
things of this world, he will share generously in its abundance.
But the person who is foolish and empty is as good as dead.
Things offer themselves to him, but he does not reach out to them.

Yamantaka
31st July 2000, 08:24
[QUOTE]Originally posted by John Lindsey
[B]The following is part of the Tengu Geijutsu Ron written by Chozan Shissai (first printed in 1729). Though the author was trained in kenjutsu, his comments apply to martial arts in general.

Hello, Mr. Lindsey,

a few days ago, a woman in the Ninjutsu forum has asked about that book. I told her that I had a translation and that I had a doubt :
Is this book real (from Chozan) or is it an invented version by a modern student (I say that because in the end the student almost says he "invented" the book.)
Do you have further information about this book?
Best regards
Yamantaka

JosephBlow
1st August 2000, 06:27
My version of the text was originally translated to German by a man named Reinhard Kammer (sp?). Commentary was attached and the book became entitled "Zen and Confucius in the Art of Swordsmanship." I believe it's out of print, but it is one of my favorites.

I'd never questioned its authenticity -- I'd be shocked something this scholarly was a sham. Where did you get that news? Until your post, I hadn't heard anything about the text being suspect, though I didn't know anything about Kammer as an academic. Does anyone have Chozan's text in a book or translation different from mine?

The way I see it, the two most popular old texts are clearly Gorin no Sho (book of five rings) and Bubishi (a karate book of highly inflated importance, IMO). What other old texts do people like? Any ISBNs or online reviews?

Rich B

Ulf Lehmann
1st August 2000, 15:43
Hi,
I have a german translation of the Tengu geijutsu ron, named "Kunst der Bergdaemonen" (art of the mountain-goblins).
But I cant found a part in this book whos "the student almost says he "invented" the book." I dont know the english version of this book, maybe there are some problems of the translation? What do you think...

The only he wrote was: "Indess fuerchte ich, durch viele Worte die Schmaehungen der Fachleute hervorzurufen. Ohne ganz aufzugeben, habe ich es den Tengu in den Mund gelegt..."
It says: Im affraid the trouble of the real masters, if I use so many words about this art in my book. So I let the Tengu express my minds..."

I mean, he want to apologized to the other better swordsman of his lifetime for his book. Maybe the author was only a modest and clever man. Many people dont tolerate to much academical things in the sword-arts (by a student). "Dont speak about it - train!"
BTW, to "learn" from the Tengu is a very old japanese tradition - from Yoshitsune to Ueshiba. Its a legitimation to transfer your military know-how to your students.

regards,

Ulf Lehmann

Yamantaka
1st August 2000, 17:21
[QUOTE]Originally posted by JosephBlow
[B]
"My version of the text was originally translated to German by a man named Reinhard Kammer (sp?). Commentary was attached and the book became entitled "Zen and Confucius in the Art of Swordsmanship." I believe it's out of print, but it is one of my favorites.

I'd never questioned its authenticity -- I'd be shocked something this scholarly was a sham. Where did you get that news? Until your post, I hadn't heard anything about the text being suspect, though I didn't know anything about Kammer as an academic. Does anyone have Chozan's text in a book or translation different from mine?"

Hello!

I didn't say the text is "suspect". I said that I had doubts if the book was really writen by Chozan or if it was written by Kammer. In the last chapter, it seemed to me that Kammer was speaking and saying that he invented the story in order that people might read it. For all we know, Chozan was a sword expert and in the last chapter the author seemed to say that he wasn't very good. But I may be mistaken...
Anyway, does anyone knows if the book was really written by Chozan or anything else about it?
Yamantaka

JosephBlow
1st August 2000, 18:33
Hi Yamatanka, thanks for your note. Maybe the question we should be asking is, does anyone have a copy of the Japanese text?

If there is one, then that confirms Kammer translated (though I guess without reading the Japanese we won't know how many liberties he took).

Rich B

Rennis
2nd August 2000, 06:32
I have a copy of this in a book of various budo related texts in Japanese. I seem to recall a friend having it in another Japanese book as well. Unfortunately mine is in a box on the other side of the country right now so I won't be able to comment on it right now. I recall from Krammer's translation that when he translated it, he had to work from a copy in German as he was unable to find a Japanese copy and couldn't speak Japanaese in the first place. I recall that very specifically, I also vaguely recall something in the text itself about the Japanse author making the conversations between Tengu up in order to serve as a vehicle for the points he wanted to make. I don't have a copy of Krammer's on hand either so I can't double check, but I'm pretty sure that it was the "conversation between Tengu" part that was made up that was made up by the original author, not that Krammer made the book up himself.
Rennis Buchner

pboylan
2nd August 2000, 17:35
Hi Rennis,

Have you made it down to Kyoto yet?

I too have a copy of the Tengu No Gijutsu Ron (I think that's the Japanese title). The book is authentic, and while the Kammer version in English suffers from being 2 translations removed from the original, it's not as bad as it could be.

Peter Boylan

Yamantaka
2nd August 2000, 21:21
Originally posted by pboylan
Hi Rennis,

Have you made it down to Kyoto yet?

I too have a copy of the Tengu No Gijutsu Ron (I think that's the Japanese title). The book is authentic, and while the Kammer version in English suffers from being 2 translations removed from the original, it's not as bad as it could be.

Peter Boylan

THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A BUDO BUM IN E-BUDO!
Thanks, Peter!
Yamantaka

W.Bodiford
4th August 2000, 04:34
Issai Chozan (real name: Tanba Juro Saemon Tadaaki, 1659--1741) was not so much a martial artist as he was a scholar of Chinese Thought. He did write two works on martial art theory, though: (1) *Tengu geijutsuron* (Performance Theory of Mountain Demons) and (2) *Neko no myojutsu* (Marvelous Skill of Cats). Both works appeared in print in 1741 as part of Issai Chozan's compendium, *Inaka Soji* (Countrified Zhuangzi). They have been enormously popular in Japan and have been reprinted many times. They can be found in many compilations of martial art texts.

Reinhard Kammer's translation, published in English as *Zen and Confucius in the Art of Swordsmanship: The Tengu-geijutsu-ron of Chozan Shissai*, is terrible. It is difficult to find even a single line that is free of errors. I doubt if the errors originated in the process of translating Kammer's German translation into English. There are simply too many mistakes. Kammer does not even provide correct information about the author.

pboylan
5th August 2000, 22:21
Dr. Bodiford,

I stand corrected by you. It's been years since I even looked at it, and my Japanese has improved quite a bit since then. I'll have to find some time to read the Japanese version one of these days(after I get all the other reading that needs to be done out of the way :-(

Popie,

The reason that very few of these texts have been translated is that first, they are of interest to only a very small group of people, and translating them is an incredible amount of work.

Peter Boylan

Joseph Svinth
6th August 2000, 02:19
And in support of what Mr. Boylan says, even a mediocre translation is preferable to no translation at all. Gotta start somewhere, after all...

Walker
7th August 2000, 18:07
That may be so Joe, but why do we need multiple translations of Sun Tsu and Musashi (and only the Five Rings BTW) and nothing else. Academics as herd animals, quick buck, lowest possible denominator, laziness.....? I find it hard to believe that there is nothing else worthy of translation.
And another thing (deranged gasp for air) it also seems that there should be more input from martial artists in these translations. Lets say Im an academic and I have translated a text from the Japanese, wouldnt it be interesting to get some input from a few practitioners to see if Im on the right track? Its not so hard to find them these days and if you cant find a legitimate practitioner or dont know the difference then do you have any business translating a text of this nature?????

Joseph Svinth
7th August 2000, 21:14
The reason you see so many publsihed translations of the same translation is that the previous one sold well. The Samuel Griffith translation of Sun Tzu, for example, was and is adequate for any reasonable purposes. However, because it still sells well after 40 years, publishers want their own "improved" version. Thus you have sequels rather than groundbreaking work.

Conversely, a new translation is a risk. After all, who knows if it will sell? And knowing if it will sell is important because in general a commercial publisher won't take a book unless he expects it to sell tens of thousands of copies.

Now, if you're a translator, there is nothing saying that you can't self-publish. However, that means that you have to come up with the five grand for publishing and then to do all the marketing yourself. Can you sell a thousand copies of your book? If so, go for it. But if you guess wrong, well, we know what all your friends will be getting for Christmas.

Also keep in mind that translating is hard work fraught with potential for error, and that in general people line up to abuse you for even the tiniest errors. Thus there is no real incentive for people to post personal translations to the Internet. I mean, you worked hard, got paid nothing, and as a reward get called an idiot? Please.

Anyway, that's why we keep seeing new translations of the same old texts rather than new translations of previously untranslated texts.

Regarding the academic translators, well, yes, there is some truth to all the low-life charges you levy. But in their defense, if you check university libraries, often you will find dissertations containing translated excerpts of these documents. Therefore the academic response is likely along the lines of: "A fair translation is available by visiting some college in London or Boston or wherever, and has been for 15 years. Now, if some muscle-head is too lazy to order it through interlibrary loan or too stupid to read it, that isn't my problem."

***

To change the subject slightly, also note that there is a changing demographic in the MA community. For example, during the 1960s and 1970s, the average MA practitioner was teenaged. Today, however, there are many who are in their 40s or 50s. Obviously, the reading interests of teenagers and grandparents are different. So, with the ageing of the population, I would expect to start seeing more books aimed toward adult readers. The publishing industry is of course enormously conservative and so slow to react to this changing demographic, but it is nonetheless a fact of life.

And one final thought -- if anyone has made a translation of any useful *non-copyrighted* MA text that he or she would like to see in print, let me know as I'll be quite happy to consider the material for posting at EJMAS.