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pboylan
17th February 2014, 03:16
Is it really worth all the bother and expense to travel to Japan just for some training? A lot depends on who you are going to train with and who you will be spending time with. If you're just going to be part of the crowd on the mat somewhere, it might be worth it as a sightseeing exercise, but I doubt it has much value from a budo training point of view. On the other hand, if you make connections with great teachers, spend time with them and get to know them as people, it just might be worth it. My budo blog post this week is about why I do it.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-i-go-to-effort-to-go-to-japan.html

Carina Reinhardt
17th February 2014, 08:11
Thank you Peter for explaining what it means for you traveling to learn from you great teachers, yes I think it is worth the effort, the time and the money. But I think it is worth to travel to any place in the world where your teachers live, if you are lucky enough to find one or two like you are mentioning.

P Goldsbury
17th February 2014, 10:46
Is it really worth all the bother and expense to travel to Japan just for some training? A lot depends on who you are going to train with and who you will be spending time with. If you're just going to be part of the crowd on the mat somewhere, it might be worth it as a sightseeing exercise, but I doubt it has much value from a budo training point of view. On the other hand, if you make connections with great teachers, spend time with them and get to know them as people, it just might be worth it. My budo blog post this week is about why I do it.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-i-go-to-effort-to-go-to-japan.html

I see you have posted this in the Koryu forum, but I think the sentiments also apply to gendai arts. However, the connection between making the trip and a particular teacher can be more cloudy here.

Two friends of mine practice, respectively, Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu and Shinto Muso Ryu jodo. One lives in Europe and makes periodic visits. The other lives here and trains with a particular local teacher.

My own pattern was different. I had heard about the founder of aikido from a succession of teachers who had been taught by him (my own teachers in the UK and the US) and I decided to come here and train in the art at the source. However, I was deflected from this original plan by something that I had not really considered beforehand: I took a job at a university far from Tokyo and so was rarely able to train at the dojo where Morihei Ueshiba himself used to teach.

However, this enabled me to acquire first hand experience of aikido as it was taught by other students of Ueshiba, who are very obscure, who very rarely travel abroad, and who teach the art in a conservative way. Apart from 30 years continuous training in the art with one teacher, I learned much more of the cultural complexities involved in training here. I also learned much more about the life and times of Morihei Ueshiba, but from Japanese sources, where it is more possible to go behind the hagiography that is served up in the interests of harmony, aiki, whatever.

So the question for me is: Is it worth the effort to travel outside Japan to teach the art, when I have my own dojo here?

Best wishes,

PAG

Carina Reinhardt
18th February 2014, 08:29
Is it worth the effort to travel outside Japan to teach the art, when I have my own dojo here?

Best wishes,

PAG


Prof. Goldsbury there could be a lot of reasons to travel outside to teach the art, I think of two main reasons like gratefulness to your teachers and to spread what you learned from them.
In your case you sure like to teach, being a Professor in an University and I think it must be satisfying to see a student's progression in the University and the same feeling if you meet students in one Seminar and see them again some time later, how they are growing in the art and there is a chance that they would travel to your dojo to continue the learning, not only the techniques, but the history, your research, I read your interesting articles in Aikido Journal and I am sure that, like Peter Boylan mentioned " I’ll get at least a few evenings with my teachers to talk and absorb as much as I can", there is a lot that students could absorb from you.

P Goldsbury
18th February 2014, 11:17
Hello Carina,

I see that Mr Boylan has raised the same questions in the Gendai Budo forum. With respect to a koryu, I think the issues are very clear and if I were in Mr Boylan's position, practicing a koryu with outstanding teachers still training in Japan, I would certainly do the same thing. I also wonder how many of the teachers he is going to train under are actively traveling outside Japan.

With gendai arts, especially those like aikido that have deliberately been spread overseas, the issues are far less clear and there is some strength in the argument that the balance has shifted in the last two or three decades. I am very happy that I chanced upon a good teacher here.

Best wishes,

PAG

pboylan
18th February 2014, 14:40
Mr. Goldsworthy,

You have done a lovely job of turning my question on it's head. It is an issue I can envision having to deal with some time in the future.

You have, through your efforts to understand your art as deeply as possible, become one of those teachers that others will travel great distances to see. In some of these travels, I get the impression that the goal is rather like the Hindu concept of darshan, where there is benefit in just having seen something or someone.

I have to agree that the question of whether it is of value for you to travel great distances to teach many people in a crowded room without time to really work with anyone is a great question. I'd have to think long and hard about that.

P Goldsbury
18th February 2014, 23:17
Hello Mr Boylan,


In view of the subsequent discussion, I have moved this thread to Gendai Budo and then moved the thread you started here to the Koryu forum.

With koryu, I think your question is a no-brainer. There are very few koryu experts of high rank outside Japan under whose direction I would consider training.


Best wishes,

PAG

pboylan
19th February 2014, 09:40
Prof. Goldsbury,

Thank you for shifting things around. I agree that the question is a lot easier to answer for koryu arts than for gendai arts. Having said that, one of my original motivations for moving to Japan many years ago was a desire to study Judo here. I loved doing that, and still love to train in Judo in Japan when I can. Having said that, I will travel to Japan to train with the Judo teachers I have developed a close relationship with, but I don't think I would bother going to the expense of visiting just to train with a teacher I didn't know well.

As an aside, I am sitting in the Green Rich Hotel by Hiroshima Station as I type this. I had hoped to invite you to join me for a cup of coffee this evening, but I have to take care of automotive customers instead.

P Goldsbury
19th February 2014, 10:09
How long does your appointment last? When will you leave Hiroshima? Tomorrow? I am only a few minutes from Hiroshima Station?

PAG

pboylan
19th February 2014, 12:19
I'm finishing up now. My phone # is 1-734-552-6570

pboylan
19th February 2014, 12:27
Just finished. My cell number is 1-734-552-6570

P Goldsbury
19th February 2014, 15:33
Peter,

Just arrived home. Thanks for the excellent conversation. I hope it will be the first of many more.

Peter G.

PS. I can edit your two posts to remove the phone number if you wish.

pboylan
19th February 2014, 15:43
Peter,

Thank you for an evening of wonderful conversation. I too hope it will be only the first.

Please don't worry about removing the phone number. The link in my signature goes to Mugendo where it is on display for all to find.

Peter Boylan

DustyMars
19th February 2014, 17:02
Good luck finding a good dojo in Japan, they are around. I forgot all the Judo before and came back a better Judoka. But, that was more than a half century ago ("half century" sounds longer that it is). Old guy talk is funny, huh? Our karate sensei on Okinawa awarded me shodan before leaving, was told only two American types was been so honored before me, but little good that did after getting back to the States; didn’t find any karate to speak of until several years later. A little out of practice by then.

We visited a nearby dojo where our son practiced at and the “sensei” was totally out of his element. In other words, I walked out frustrated because I would not kick his ass off the tatami and tale over his class. Still observe protocol even tin 2002.

Then we went down town to the Kodokan where I visited with Moreta sensei at the library and museum. We knew each other some 40 years before and were happy to talk again. The Judo appeared pretty good there. Find a police dojo where they probably play good Martial Arts.

gendzwil
19th February 2014, 19:20
I've never been to Japan myself, but most of our top national team kendo players have spent time there and deemed it well worth it. One fellow trained at a prefectural police station where he initially was getting beaten about 90% of the time. He reduced that to around 60% over the course of a year and considered it a year well spent. For competition players we just do not have the depth or breadth of instructors, competitors and competitions to remotely compare to Japan.

Carina Reinhardt
19th February 2014, 19:41
Peter,

Just arrived home. Thanks for the excellent conversation. I hope it will be the first of many more.

Peter G.


Peter,

Thank you for an evening of wonderful conversation. I too hope it will be only the first.

Peter Boylan

That is very nice :) real Budo out of the dojo !

DustyMars
20th February 2014, 00:11
Yeah, the police there are serious about it. Some really nice people at any police dojo and lasting friendships develop. AT least in Judo to Kodokan is too uppity since I was there (50+ years ago). Did know some kendo people, they do many other MA as well. At times it is a miracle that one my age remembers it all! Now, what did I say? :)

Joseph Svinth
21st February 2014, 02:24
I'm guessing that the question needs to be answered case-by-case -- and that in many cases (and in almost all cases where the practitioner's skills lie in the middle of the Bell curve), overseas training is better classified as martial tourism than martial training.

gendzwil
21st February 2014, 15:15
I'm guessing that the question needs to be answered case-by-case -- and that in many cases (and in almost all cases where the practitioner's skills lie in the middle of the Bell curve), overseas training is better classified as martial tourism than martial training.
The guys I'm talking about are all elite (by non-Japanese standards) competitors. Quite frankly they wouldn't get the opportunity to train routinely with the top-level police class unless they had some connections. I know at Keishicho (and possibly other prefectures) they allow pretty much anyone to train as a tourist but there are several levels above that the average tourist doesn't have access to. If you want to train with the big boys you need a letter of introduction and better be able to keep up. It is not fun, or so I am told - I think I would puke up a lung at one of those practices.

Joseph Svinth
22nd February 2014, 02:01
Well, yes, it does depend on how good you are. But, assuming one is the usual recreational league player, I'm guessing that simply staying at home and training regularly with the guys you're talking about would up one's game noticeably.