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Thread: Should Shorinjikempo (and Budo in general) be advertised as (women's) self-defense?

  1. #1
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    Default Should Shorinjikempo (and Budo in general) be advertised as (women's) self-defense?

    Gassho!

    I have dealt with this question for a number of years now, and recently stumbled upon this article.
    While the author's unfortunately anonymous and the article's somewhat repetitive, it's main point is hard to ignore and eminently pertinent to what we do. Therefore I would like for as many people as possible to read it in its entirety and get a discussion starting, before I post an abstract or my own views, onegaishimasu!

    Kesshu,
    ______ Jan.
    Jan Lipsius
    少林寺拳法
    Shorinjikempo
    Humboldt University Berlin Branch

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

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    Thanks Jan. I read the article. It pretty much sums up my views on the matter. I know enough now, to know that I know very little about defending myself... but even less about what women should do to defend themselves. I agree that the positives of learning a martial art have remarkably little to do with the initial interest or the expected outcomes of taking up an art.
    David Noble
    Shorinji Kempo (1983 - 1988)
    I'll think of a proper sig when I get a minute...

    For now, I'm just waiting for the smack of the Bo against a hard wooden floor....

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    Gassho,

    Hi, Jan and David!

    I've also read the article. I agree with some the author's ideas, but disagree with others, specifically when applied to Shorinji Kempo.

    I agree with:


    • Women and men face very different levels of risk. The major risk for women in our society is related with sexual agressions, and the "technical" martial skills can't help too much when the agression is not only physical, but -as in most of the cases- includes other factors of emotional or social kind.
    • Delusion can increase the effect of such an agresion on a woman. So, giving false expectatives on self protection capabilities should be prevented.
    • Sadly, it is very easy to find martial art instructors who pretend to sell a kind of security they cannot give to an student.


    But:


    • The article talks about delusion. I don't think Shorinji Kempo sells any kind of false-security. Is true that self-defence is one of its declared goals but, as far as I know, it does not announce miracle-protection or encourage female kenshi to think they are safe because they practice.
    • In fact, without publicizing it, Shorinji Kempo -as a gyo- tries to develop strong personalities (jiko kakuritsu). This kind of work contributes to protect a woman from the kind of abuses described on the article (emotional manipulation, undermining confidence and so on)


    Anyway:


    • I think the risk factors described in the article are sadly true and should be specifically addressed (be it in the context of a dojo, school, home or wherever)
    • The author directs the critics towards commercial martial arts teachers and irreal marketing. He explicitly excludes an example of kyudo sensei. Although Shorinji Kempo does work self-defense, I think we generally fall in this category of honest budo which doesn't sell false expectations.
    • People (except when deceived) are also responsible for their expectations. Although my car has airbag and I fasten the seat-belt, I shouldn't think I won't get harmed in case of accident. Neither should I think martial arts can keep me safe in life. Rather, one of the reasons for practicing should be the conscience of vulnerability.



    That's my two-cents.

    Glad to read you both

    Kesshu
    Fernando Fernández de Bobadilla
    WSKO Almería Branch - SPAIN

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    Hi all,

    I had also read this article before Jan posted it (it turned up in my FB feed somehow). It makes some very good points, I think, about the practical use of martial arts in terms of self-defence.

    There is a difference between self-defence courses and martial arts, and this difference needs to be made clear. Self-defence courses (and other arts more focused on just self-defence, such as Krav Maga) focus quite a lot on situational avoidance, the psychology of physical conflict etc. and the physical techniques to help you escape/subdue your assailant can be quite a small part of such a course (Krav Maga less so). This is not something taught routinely in martial arts classes, unless the instructor has a particular interest in it.

    Martial arts (and SK in particular) has a different focus: developing the whole person physically, mentally as well as... self-defensically (shut up). Self-defense may be one of the goals, it can't be the main goal because 2-3 years of training is barely enough to give you the same amount of self-defense capability as someone with no training and a knife/gun/taser etc. If someone really just wants to learn how to defend themselves they'd expend much less effort by buying a weapon, or attending a self-defense class and learning about combat psychology/situational avoidance.

    I think when instructing you just have to be upfront about your art not being 100% of what you need in self-defense: to that end, Fernando makes I think a great point:
    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post
    People (except when deceived) are also responsible for their expectations. Although my car has airbag and I fasten the seat-belt, I shouldn't think I won't get harmed in case of accident. Neither should I think martial arts can keep me safe in life.
    This is how I think we should think about this article: yes, it makes good points, but SK shouldn't advertise it as a holistic self-defence course: we don't include lessons on the psychology of combat, de-escalation, situational avoidance or anything like that (and Happu Moku doesn't count). We are a Budo, with lots of other aspects to it, and our goal is to develop you as a person in the Zen Buddhist tradition.

    Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Self-defense.
    Arigato Gozaimashita
    -Jame McCrae.

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    So, should the Art adapt to include "better" self-defence advice? Should instructors be willing to warn participants of the shortcomings and address what is meant by "self-defence" within the context of Shorinji Kempo? Or should Kaiso's lectures be translated and taken apart to find something relevant that somehow allows the modern instructor to address the concerns raised in the article and yet still keep faithful to the Art that he created?

    Fortunately, I don't have to decide what is important or do anything about it, so I'm really just here to keep the discourse flowing. Hopefully Jan's topic has raised some questions for people to consider, whether they choose to post here or not.

    Keeping an Art relevant and alive, after the Founder has passed, is a tricky process that many Arts have discovered. Professor Goldsbury, of the Aikikai and this forum, has mentioned that he is interested to see how the path of the Shorinji Kempo organisation has faced similar challenges to that of Aikido. I imagine the points raised in the article would also have some relevance for students and instructors of Aikido. Perhaps Jan would prefer the thread to stay specific to Shorinji Kempo so that we're all on the same page, but there's a lot of universal relevance and a conversation in a desert can be rather dull. Perhaps a separate thread on the general forum to elicit thoughts from other Arts?
    David Noble
    Shorinji Kempo (1983 - 1988)
    I'll think of a proper sig when I get a minute...

    For now, I'm just waiting for the smack of the Bo against a hard wooden floor....

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    Gassho!

    Thanks for the answers so far!
    I'll hold of just a tad longer with my own views and post this rebuttal instead – again without saying what I think of it myself. Nothing like a little cliffhanger, after all. ;-)

    Kesshu,
    ______ Jan.
    Jan Lipsius
    少林寺拳法
    Shorinjikempo
    Humboldt University Berlin Branch

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

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