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dan_norris
4th October 2002, 08:35
Gassho

In Shorinjikempo we vow not to use our skills for our reputation or profit. To what extent does that apply? In a previous thread about Shorinjikempo movies, I began to wonder if it was because of this vow that there aren't so many S.K. kenshi in movies. Does that have anything to do with it? If I was in a tournament besides the taikai, would it be wrong to use the Shorinjikempo techniques that I've been taught even if I thought that they may bring me victory?

Kimpatsu
7th October 2002, 03:00
What would you be doing in a freestyle tournament anyway, Dan?

Manuel
7th October 2002, 10:50
Well now, Iím afraid that again we are going to come here across the problem of the different versions of the Kyoten. I would like to remind to you that besides the several existing English versions, and the original Japanese one (which I suppose will be a unique version), the Kyoten is recited in many other languages worldwide. To the problem of that a translation, no matter how well done it is, transmits faithfully the spirit of the original Japanese letter (traduttore tradittore), Iím going to add another one, and itís that next Iím going to translate to English the part of the Spanish translation of Seigan that interests now to us. Therefore this translation necessarily is going to be still less faithful to the original spirit of the Japanese letter, even although I was a good translator (which itís clear Iím very far from being :(), but I need to try it if itís that I am going to share with the members of this forum my doubts whith regard to what Dan raised.

In Spain weíd say: "We do not practice only in our own interest, but also to look for the harmony with the whole creation and to serve the people".

Then, my doubt is in that "not only... but also". This seems to mean that a solidary practice, cooperative and with spirit of service, does not exclude the use of Shorinji Kempo for the practitonerís own interest and benefit, although it is interpreted that this must be a secondary aim of the practice, and not the main one, which is the collaboration to build a better world. If this interpretation is correct, the doubts Dan raise would be resolute easily under certain conditions (participation in tournaments out of Shorinji Kempo would be another question).

How must be interpreted the original letter of Seigan? Can somebody that has received a specific formation on this matter (for instance the fellows that had the chance to look deeply in the Busen into these Howa aspects) to throw some light on it?

Greetings.

tony leith
7th October 2002, 14:55
Interesting stuff about the subtle modulations of different translations of the Dokun. I can't profess to have made a very deep study of these matters, but one of the things that appealed to me about Kempo philosophy is that it doesn't require that its adherents be saints (just as well). To me, it's about (sometimes very) imperfect human being striving to be better.

The relevance of this to the matter under discussion is that in these terms total self abnegation in the interests of the art is neither necessary nor even necessarily desireable. Our (UK) version of the Dokun has us 'pledging never to perform our art for selfish reasons, but for the benefit of all mankind'. I hope this doesn't seem like high school sophistry, but I think it's crucial that all mankind is understood as including yourself. If you don't have a concept of yourself as a uniquely valuable individual, you're not likely to see other people in that light either. The point of Kongo Zen for me (and this is speaking personally) is not to abolish the self or the ego, but to develop a balanced sense of self and self worth in community with others. Philosophies which stress the greater good to the complete detriment of the individual in my view have been the cause of some of the most appalling events in human history. The people that advertise themselves as evil can do damage on a limited scale - it's the servants of higher causes that get tens of millions killed.

However, none of this should be taken as condoning a mass exodus from Honbu to Hollywoood, or mass entry into freestyle fighting tourmaments. I would have thought that common sense apart from anything else would have prevented the latter- it's horses for courses, and Kempo is NOT a ring fighting system...

Tony Leith

Kimpatsu
7th October 2002, 15:06
Tony, the actual Japanese for "we pledge never to perform our art for selfish reasons, but for the benefit of all mankind" ("...jiko no meiri nasu koto nashi") implies doing something to win the adulation of the crowds for the sake of basking in their adulation alone. I think, however, that it needs to be seen in the historical context in which Kaiso wrote the line; back then, there were many people who would perform martial feats in the marketplace, and then pass the hat around to get money. Others would challenge allcomers to winner-takes-all knockdown fighting. This degredation of budo to bugei impressed Kaiso enough that he wrote about it at length in "Shorinji Kempo no Ogi" ("The Secrets of Shorinji Kempo"), so what he witnessed, and perceived as misuse or waste of talents, certainly had an impact on him. That being said, you're quite right that people need a sense of self-worth before they can set about helping others (although Jeremy Bentham might well disagree with you! ;) ) It would certainly be interesting to compare versions from all the 28 countries were Shorinji Kempo is practiced; who wants to supply the English translation of the Japanese version?

tony leith
7th October 2002, 15:41
Interesting on historical context of Seigan. That is kind of the sense I took from the English version anyway; that it would be illegitimate to use SK technique for purposes which were purely to your own benefit e.g. beating up somebody who was looking for a fight simply because you could. Salutary to be reminded that Kempo philosophy tends to function on a pretty pragmatic level as well as on the plane of abstraction.
I remember Mizuno Sensei once cutting short our increasingly convoluted attempts to define the meaning of budo during a howa discussion by basically saying that the strong picking on the weak was not budo (illustrating this by pointing at a female kenshi and saying that if he was to beat her up, that wouldn't be budo, but by implication if she was to do the same to him, it would...)


Tony Leith

dan_norris
7th October 2002, 20:17
Very interesting comments about the loss of accuracy during translation from Japanese to English. I got my copy of the fukudoku hon from my teacher in Osaka while I was studying there. I wasen't aware of all the differnt versions of the Enlish translation that were out there. I must have been lucky to get the American version instead of another copy since nobody spoke English at the dojo where I trained. I have not read the book "Shorinji Kempo no Ogi". The name sounds really intriguing. I thought that "Ogi" meant final technique when refering to Japanese martial arts. Is this book available to buy and where can you get a copy of it?I try to live by the principals of Shorinji Kempo in practice and in daily life (sounds like out of the book :) ). So I don't see myself using what I learned from Shorinji Kempo to fight in a competition. If a student was to fight in a tournament using his skills, what would the consecences be?

Kimpatsu
7th October 2002, 22:39
Dan, I'm not sure if the Shorinji Kempo no Ogi is out of print. Even so, it's only available in Japanese. It was out of print for a long time, then reissued in 1997 in time for the world taikai. I could ask Hombu if you're interested in acquiring a copy.
Kesshu.

dan_norris
8th October 2002, 20:12
Thanks Tony. That is a very kind offer. I'd definatly want to purchase that book in the near future. When the time comes, would it be okay to e-mail you about it?

Kimpatsu
9th October 2002, 00:33
Gassho.
Dan-san, I've actually gone one better: I've been pestering my branch master to obtain permission from Hombu for me to translate the book. At the moment, since it's only available in Japanese, there's a wide potential audience cut off from it. I'll keep everyone appraised of how it goes.
Kesshu.

dan_norris
9th October 2002, 21:44
I think that is a great idea. It would really help out kenshi like me who speak Japanese but have a hard time reading all the kanji. I'm sure that all English speaking kenshi would appreciate it too. Books about Shorinjikempo have lots of hard kanji and contain lots of difficult subjects. You've got my support. Ganbatte kudasai!:)

Eastwood
9th October 2002, 21:49
Glad to meet you all. I've enjoyed your postings here (and in other threads), and I hope mine are valuable to you as well. Okay, here's my two cents -

The English translation of the Fukudoku-Hon supports the sort of interpretation Manuel offers:

"Then, my doubt is in that "not only... but also". This seems to mean that a solidary practice, cooperative and with spirit of service, does not exclude the use of Shorinji Kempo for the practitonerís own interest and benefit, although it is interpreted that this must be a secondary aim of the practice, and not the main one, which is the collaboration to build a better world."

When the English says "We pledge to use this art only to help people, never for our reputation or profit." the term "for" could just as well read "for the purpose." This is the same thought as expressed in Manuel's (Spain's?) "not only... but also." If the PRIMARY PURPOSE is to help people, then OTHER EFFECTS such as improved reputation and wealth are not a problem, even if those other effects were also aimed for. Look at how branches are operated: teachers are paid and honored by their students, and we all accept this - because the first purpose of good teachers is to create a better world in their neighborhood.

Admittedly, you could read "only to help people" to mean that 100% of the results must be "help." But, such a reading of the words would mean that we should only act after exhaustive analysis. Such a reading leads us into absurdity. No action produces "only" help. Rather, the English makes sense when "only" is understood to stand together with "to," as in "only to," as in "only with the purpose in mind of (helping people)."

Or, consider Kaiso's own actions. The Kyohan records a number of TV programs, articles, and events in which Kaiso appeared, all of which no doubt increased his fame. Yet these actions would not have contradicted "never for our reputation or profit" because the first purpose of those actions was - in my best guess - to spread the Kongo Zen movement. Or in the words of Seigan, "to use this art only to help people."

I get it that the "only" can be confusing, but I think the confusion fades when we check these words against the actions of Kaiso and the actions of the teachers we have met and admired.

So the question might be, does visibly participating as a Shorinji Kempo kenshi in a free-style tournament qualify as a good way to try to help people?... My first response would be that the teachings already respond to this by telling us to set ourselves up, not so that we always win, but so that we don't lose. Since free-style tournaments have no "didn't lose" outcome, but only "win" or "loss," then they do not provide us a vocabulary that will communicate our message.

m.virmasalo
10th October 2002, 07:47
Gassho

I'm relatively new member of this forum and this is the first time I post here. I have been practicing Shorinji Kempo now for 12 years and my current rank is nidan.

Ok, here is my donation to this thread...

Eastwood, you wrote: "Look at how branches are operated: teachers are paid and honored by their students, and we all accept this - because the first purpose of good teachers is to create a better world in their neighborhood."

In Finland, where I practice, senseis don't get paid for their work within Shorinji Kempo but for example board of executives can decide that Branchmasters or some senseis don't have to pay their practicing fee. Or if we have training seminar their travelling costs will be paid. So senseis or other teachers don't gain any profit other than mental one for the good work that they do from year to year. In this context we do this not for the profit but just for the cause.

"we pledge never to perform our art for selfish reasons, but for the benefit of all mankind" ("...jiko no meiri nasu koto nashi")

In finnish translation of Seigan (I don't know from which english version it was translated and my translation is just mine..) it says "We should never practice for our own selfish reasons but with love and benevolence towards all mankind" ("Meidšn ei koskaan tulisi harjoitella omien, itsekkšiden tarkoitusperien vuoksi..."). I think that every time we translate something it loses part of its origin and that could easily be used as argument about meaning of something that for example Kaiso said. These translations can be compared to technical teachings i.e. who ever teaches puts his/hers own influences in teachings no matter how hard they try to be loyal to the original one.

Ok, I don't know if any of this made any sense and forgive me my spelling mistakes... :)

Best wishes

-mikko virmasalo

dan_norris
10th October 2002, 08:28
Gassho

Hi Micheal-san and Mikko-san,

Its always a pleasure to hear from other kenshi. Its expecially nice to be able to have this kind of easy communication with people training Shorinjikempo around the world. Thanks for your advice and informative threads. :)

Kesshu

Kimpatsu
10th October 2002, 08:36
As far as I'm aware, there are no full-time Shorinji Kempo instructors, as even those who devote themselves full-time to propagation are not paid for their instruction, but for the clerical duties they perform. Some branch masters may receive a small honorarium (pocket money) for their efforts, but Shorinji Kempo is not in the habit of making Kenshi into small businessmen. Mizuno Sensei once described a "karate-ya" (lit., a "karate shop") of the variety where you pay $10 to learn a punch, and another $10 to learn a block to the punch, and so on. Therefore, when Eastwood (Clint? ;) ) writes of teachers being "paid and honoured", I think he means more in line with our monthly payments of branch fees, which go partly to Hombu, partly to our national federations, and partly for the upkeep of the dojo. If I'm wrong, and am misinterpreting what Eastwood meant, perhaps he'll be kind enough to let us know?
Kesshu.

Indar
10th October 2002, 09:34
Hi Tony,

I'd just like to clarify your last post:
Within the British Federation, monthly training fees are paid to the branch master. None of this money goes to the national federation, or to Hombu.
The British Federation receives an annual subscription from each member. WSKO receives a payment for each new member that joins, and for gradings.

Indar Picton-Howell

m.virmasalo
10th October 2002, 10:29
I think because Shorinji Kempo is based on voluntarism that keeps off those who seek pure profit. What comes to seeking of reputation is entirely different thing. I can say that when I started training SK one of my goals was to get some reputation among my friends and others. Now I don't think like that anymore but still, that was one of my motives. If one chooses to fight in ring using SK techniques to win then I'd say that it's wrong way to use SK. Shorinji Kempo is not way to win others it's way to win yourself and make one a better person who can help others.

tony leith
10th October 2002, 14:44
While personally I like that I am not paid for instructing in SK - it means there is a signficant part of my life removed from what Marx called the 'brutal reduction of the cash nexus'i.e I'm doing it just because it is worthwhile in and of itself - I wouldn't have a problem with instructors being compensated for their expenses or even their time. Whilst I am not privy to such esoterica as the actual destination of things like the branch master's fee, I could see that students might actually value instruction less if they're getting it for free. There is also the problem that if we don't make provison for that, it might inhibit the spread of SK by deterring people from opening new branches...

I remember Aosaka Sensei saying in a howa talk that he basically earned his living from Kempo, that this might be construed as breaking the rules, and that he didn't care(!) Again it seems fair enough to me that exceptional individuals who keep Kempo alive by replenishing the store of knowledge for the rest of us should do this, as the level of commitment required probably isn't very compatible with any other career.

Regarding the whole question of doing kempo for the sake of your reputation, again i don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. Human morality and ethics don't exist in a vacuum - we are ethical precisely because we live in the context of relationships with other people. I think what IS required of kenshi at all times is enlightened self interest, not necessarily true altruism (altruism seems to me to have inherent tendencies towards totalitarianism, but that - mercifully - is another story..) Half for yourself...

Tony Leith

Kimpatsu
10th October 2002, 14:56
Originally posted by Indar
I'd just like to clarify your last post:
Within the British Federation, monthly training fees are paid to the branch master. None of this money goes to the national federation, or to Hombu.
The British Federation receives an annual subscription from each member. WSKO receives a payment for each new member that joins, and for gradings.
OK, I mis-stated. The point I was trying to make is that no sensei makes enough money to live purely by teaching Shorinji Kempo.
BTW, Captain, I'Ve suddenly got to go to America tomorrow (found out today). Can you wait till next weekend for your gizmo? It means an extra week's delay, though.
Kesshu.