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Thread: Yoseikan Budo question

  1. #1
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    Default Yoseikan Budo question

    This question is for any senior Yoseikan Budo practitioners. I apologise if this question is out-of-place in the Aikido section.

    Generally how did Yoseikan Budo students react when Hiroo Mochizuki decided to shelve the coloured belts in favour of the current blue and white block belts?

    I'm not sure when he moved away from "white gi and coloured belt" to the current navy blue kimono and white pants (which I think look really smart by the way) - but I should imagine many seniors were loath to take off their black belts in favour of the blue and white. Is this true?

    I'm not particularly concerned with the Yoseikan syllabus in asking this question, more out of interest to how Budoka react when their VISIBLE grades are taken away from them.

    Do any Yoseikan instructors find the lack of coloured belts a help or a hindrance? When teaching large groups does it make it more tricky to determine the experience level of students at a glance? Or is it beneficial because there's less one-up-manship among students?

    I'd appeciate any thoughts on the issue.

    Kindly
    Simon
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default Intentional Change

    Shihan Mochizuki switched to the blue and white uniforms and blue and white belts many years ago. In general, there was no significant reaction from his direct students. Shihan made that change because he "started over again" himself in how he looked at martial arts and what has become Yoseikan Budo.

    Instructed by his father in the 50's to look for the principle or principles that would connect all of the martial arts together, Shihan spent many years looking for that connection. What he found is the "wave" movement, but that is a limited translation, it is not a wave like an ocean wave, but like a radial wave or sound wave or force wave and that is the origin of the blue and white belt, it looks like a radial wave and there is a bit of an optical illusion that makes one color appear longer than the other but they are exactly the same. All wear the same belt because Shihan (as do most experienced martial arts instructors) that we all learn from each other.

    Now, for other groups that have come to Yoseikan Budo after being direct students of Minoru Mochizuki, there have been issues with the uniforms and with the belts, or should I say lack of rank belts. The uniforms, for some, was enough to stop them from continuing with Shihan, in spite of the fact that his father wore a blue and white uniform and formally asked all of his students to please follow Hiroo Sensei. For others, used to a colored belt system, it was the issue of "well, if we are doing a clinic, how do I know what level that uke is?" and the "uke might get hurt".

    Shihan's answer to this is, you should be able to judge your uke's skills by how they move and work on the mat and if that is not enough, you should be smart enough to ask your partner, "have you ever taken this fall before or have you ever done this technique before or even how long have you been doing Yoseikan?"

    Our U.S. Technical Director takes it one step further by teaching us that the sign of a true master of Yoseikan skills is the one who can throw a brand new student with our most complex throw and the new student is uninjured. That is technical mastery of technique.... so for us, U.S. Yoseikan that had its origin directly with O Sensei Minoru, there is no issue over rank belts. Yes, some instructors from several countries dislike not having that black belt around their waist but the truth is, if you are a Dan rank in Yoseikan, you know what you are capable of, so what difference does it make?

    A final note, we have many Yoseikan students in Africa and most cannot afford a uniform of any kind, but when Shihan goes to teach there, they show up by the hundreds. Is that significant? Well, gee, at last years world cup in Belgium, one of the world champions was a new comer from Algieria. He had a uniform for the world cup, but he sure learned his skills without a fancy gi. And that blue and white gi? Well, Shihan chose that dark and light combination to represent yin/yang.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Phil Farmer
    President U.S.Y.B.A.
    Board member Yoseikan World Federation
    docphil

  3. #3
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    Default

    Hello Farmer sensei, how are you? Long time not having more Yoseikan discussions in this forum. You must have been busy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Farmer View Post
    Shihan Mochizuki switched to the blue and white uniforms and blue and white belts many years ago. In general, there was no significant reaction from his direct students. Shihan made that change because he "started over again" himself in how he looked at martial arts and what has become Yoseikan Budo.
    That is a noble intention I think. If it's up to me, everybody in training should wear similar uniform. This way, we leave our egos at our houses and start training as beginners again. After all, we all receive Menkyo from our teacher, but the Menkyo is to be put in the wall of our house, not to be brought into training.

    Instructed by his father in the 50's to look for the principle or principles that would connect all of the martial arts together, Shihan spent many years looking for that connection. What he found is the "wave" movement, but that is a limited translation, it is not a wave like an ocean wave, but like a radial wave or sound wave or force wave and that is the origin of the blue and white belt, it looks like a radial wave and there is a bit of an optical illusion that makes one color appear longer than the other but they are exactly the same. All wear the same belt because Shihan (as do most experienced martial arts instructors) that we all learn from each other.
    learn from each other, yes indeed! I am sure this open-minded attitude is what makes Mochizuki senseis (senior and junior) well-rounded martial artists. I know that the senior Mochizuki sensei were direct students of Kano, Uyeshiba, Funakoshi, Hisataka et cetera and received ranks from them, while the junior Mochizuki sensei is a Wado-ryu Yudansha and have learned boxing/kick boxing (maybe French savate?) in addition to the jujutsu he learned from his father. All those were what my teacher told me, he knew the junior Mochizuki sensei, whom he always referred to as "the Wado black belt who lives in Paris, whose father is a Jujutsu grand master".

    Learning from each other is especially fruitful if many people on the training group has different backgrounds. Here in my Dojo I have two Kung-Fu experts and two Silat masters, who train with me in Aiki Jujutsu and Karate, and they teach me various Kung-Fu and Silat in return. All for the sake of friendship, respect and broadening our knowledge.

    Now, for other groups that have come to Yoseikan Budo after being direct students of Minoru Mochizuki, there have been issues with the uniforms and with the belts, or should I say lack of rank belts.
    I can imagine that, because, for better of worse, the Mudansha-Yudansha system has become well-entrenched both in Japan and in the West, so I am very sure not all of Mochizuki sensei's students agrees with the change. Besides, we have to take into account that the perception of the general martial arts public, which perceive the black belt as a symbol of achievement of skill acquired during training.

    The uniforms, for some, was enough to stop them from continuing with Shihan, in spite of the fact that his father wore a blue and white uniform and formally asked all of his students to please follow Hiroo Sensei.
    I cannot comment on this because that would be internal matters within the Yoseikan.

    For others, used to a colored belt system, it was the issue of "well, if we are doing a clinic, how do I know what level that uke is?" and the "uke might get hurt".
    that is a valid question!

    Shihan's answer to this is, you should be able to judge your uke's skills by how they move and work on the mat and if that is not enough, you should be smart enough to ask your partner, "have you ever taken this fall before or have you ever done this technique before or even how long have you been doing Yoseikan?"
    and that is a logical answer!

    Our U.S. Technical Director takes it one step further by teaching us that the sign of a true master of Yoseikan skills is the one who can throw a brand new student with our most complex throw and the new student is uninjured. That is technical mastery of technique....
    Oh, that is so true, and not just for Yoseikan but should be valid for all Jujutsu systems.

    Thank you for the information, Farmer sensei.
    Ben Haryo (This guy has low IQ and uses a dialect which vaguely resembles Bad English).

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    Default Thanks

    Thank you both for the reply.

    I think regardless of style it's interesting that a master took the decision to dispence with visible (coloured belt) grades and there seems to have been no negative effect. I like that there's a symbolic significance (ie the wave) to the blue and white block belt but I'm more interested by the idea of not having visible grades.

    It may be the way forward...
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Keegan View Post
    Thank you both for the reply.

    I think regardless of style it's interesting that a master took the decision to dispence with visible (coloured belt) grades and there seems to have been no negative effect. I like that there's a symbolic significance (ie the wave) to the blue and white block belt but I'm more interested by the idea of not having visible grades.

    It may be the way forward...
    In many traditional Silat and Kuntao forms there are no visible grades at all, it is the techniques that is graded (easy, medium, hard or beginner, intermediate, advance), not the students.

    I heard there are Japanese Koryu systems that is the same as above.
    Ben Haryo (This guy has low IQ and uses a dialect which vaguely resembles Bad English).

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