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Ed_morris
13th November 2006, 21:59
using the strictest guidlines for the validity of sources, what is there available to research?

* physical artifacts: archeological digs, surveys and independant study. actual weapons, evidence of battle, or training equipment, to name a few.

* 1st hand writings w/independant non-vested interest translation. works written by the MAist his/her self.

* 2nd hand accounts/observations (ship logs and travel journals of visitors for instance).

* Historical context...does all the supporting evidence coincide with prior historical findings for that time period and place?

* verbal history: useful to find out about their and previous generation but unreliable beyond that since a person can only recall with certainty what they personally witnessed.

* Folklore: Handed-down stories can tell us a great deal about the society who creating them. Folklore is usually at least partially based on fact, it's often a place to start when nothing else presents itself.


so, when authors present 'theories' ...or as people call them: "theoroids" :rolleyes: You should look for solid and traceable sources.
Old tactics that seem to be making a come back even stronger recently is in citing sources with intent to deceive. Often we read a cited fact, and since it was cited, we don't question it...especially if it comes from a rare collection.

ways of source misuse:

1. Referencing a ficticious/non-existant source.
2. Falsifying the source's conclusion or taking out of context it's reference.
3. Translation coercion. (translating in a way that better suits your own conclusions).

with those three tricks, anyone could 'prove' their own theoroids for whatever gain.

sources are everything when someone presents a theory. anyone else know of tricks of the 'research' trade to sell books and material?

I mean, the research is only as good as it's sources, translation credability and intellectual connections to make a larger picture theory. take away any one of those plugs, and you end up with a burning case of theoroids.

glad2bhere
4th December 2006, 13:42
In the KMA, the on-going struggle is one of perpetually working to make a place for documented sources in a world dominated by folklore and oral traditions.

Confucian and Neo-Confucian culture esteems age and position out of all proportion to reason. Sociologically a case can be made for this and within the context of the typical community perhaps its not a bad thing. However, where research and objective analysis are concerned, such reverence for age and position are too often used as a shield against delving too deeply into a subject. Belief-based conclusions built on absolute faith in the utterances of one's teacher or seniors are often taken and upheld over documented fact in the name of "respect". It would be nice to hear how others frame the use of "oral traditions" within the context of their research. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
5th December 2006, 03:24
For rigor, the non-academic hobbyist community is absolutely brutal. Online writing can be really rough in this regard.

For lack of rigor, the dissertation community huffs and puffs, but my experience suggests that the profs tend to be pretty lazy about checking sources. Where they get you in trouble is that sometimes they HAVE read that obscure citation, and reach back on the shelf to look it up -- or, worse, they pay for the software that checks your stuff for plagiarism. After that review, however, hardly anyone will ever look at a dissertation again.

Political, business, and religious writing tends to pick and choose their citations carefully. The tendency is to glorify the patron (hagiography) or an attempt to convince by omission. The writers are not telling lies per se; it's just that they fail to mention certain things that might lead one to alternative conclusions. Much of the martial art history approved by the national federations falls into this category.

In theory, historical and anthropological writings recognize and correct for these tendencies. History tends to rely largely on written sources, whereas anthropology gives more weight to things that are personally witnessed or heard by the observer.

Sources themselves are generally divided into archival, primary, secondary, and tertiary works. Archival sources are things like photos or graves. For example, a photo of Tokugoro Ito appears in the Seattle papers in 1909. The photographer was Rogers. We do not know that the photo was taken in 1909, but we can be quite confident that this photo was making the rounds in 1909. Primary sources are written by someone who was there. Problems here are that people tend to be boastful or apologists. Secondary sources are things written by people who were not there, but who conducted interviews, reviewed primary sources, and read other secondary sources. Many newspaper accounts and academic tomes fall into this category. And tertiary works are the stuff one finds when people didn't do much research. Student papers (and much martial art history) fall into this category.

Many, perhaps most, writings actually represent some combination of these three categories. For example, Winston Churchill's books about WWII are a combination of primary and secondary research. Churchill was active in politics at the time, was privy to many decisions affecting the outcome of the war, and doubtless read lots of reports and talked to lots of people. But he also had political axes to grind, state secrets to keep, and of course was never physically present at places like Tobruk or Singapore in 1941.

The question of what to believe then falls to the critical judgment of the reader. Even the most careful reading of the available information can lead to conclusions that are superseded by later documentation, and even the biggest yahoo can occasionally be right. So, in this regard, the reader is a jury of one.

In other words, after reviewing the available evidence, please state, on a more probable than not basis, which story is correct?

Toward convincing the jury (assuming that the jury's mind is not already made up!), then having sources that you can externally verify is very important. Thus, whenever possible, I try to find sources that one can find online. This doesn't mean that's where *I* first found it, but that way, you're more likely to be able to read what I read, and decide for yourself. Even then, your mileage may vary. After all, you have read different things than me, or may not trust pre-WWII Japanese American community newspapers as far as I do.

But, as a rule, if you're interested in documented history, insist on sources -- and then follow them! Meanwhile, if you're interested in the folklore, bring a tape-recorder, because then you can document changes in the story over time.

For further reading on this, I recommend Tom Green's essay "Sense in Nonsense," in "Martial Arts in the Modern World," in Green and Svinth, eds., (2003). Tom's a professor of folklore studies at Texas A&M and a member of E-budo, and most of the essay can be read online at Amazon.com.

glad2bhere
5th December 2006, 15:29
For rigor, the non-academic hobbyist community is absolutely brutal. Online writing can be really rough in this regard.

For lack of rigor, the dissertation community huffs and puffs, but my experience suggests that the profs tend to be pretty lazy about checking sources. Where they get you in trouble is that sometimes they HAVE read that obscure citation, and reach back on the shelf to look it up -- or, worse, they pay for the software that checks your stuff for plagiarism. After that review, however, hardly anyone will ever look at a dissertation again.



Well done, Joe. And now you have brought us to the pretty pass in which most contributors to many such forums find themselves-- that of presenting documented fact in the face of the desire of the population to keep things based in belief. I note your use of both religion and politics as examples of selective choice of citations and resources. I would certainly as MA to this as you seem to have added them in your post.

I mention this because I would add the three most common "weapons" I have found used against the inclusion of sound research in the MA community.

a.) The single most common opposition comes in the form of accusations that the individual is not of sufficient age, experience, knowledge and standing to speak to the subject under examination. In a community which has raised "arbitrary" to an artform, there is, of course, no way to satisfy such an indictment but it does have the effect of cooling discussions and dissuading investigation.

b.) The second most common tactic seems to be the use of ( or lack of) personal testament. Probably the most common example of this is that only a Japanese can truely understand Japanese traditions, only a veteran can truely appreciate battlefield experiences and only an alcoholic can truely communicate with another alcoholic concerning Recovery.

c.) The third most common objection is that intellectual examination of a predominantly kinesthetic experience is at best "mental masturbation" and, at worst, an affront to lineage, teacher, art, culture and so forth.

Please note that all of these objections share two attributes. One is that they are all emotional responses to an otherwise intellectual process. The other is that, in no way, can an individual ever hope to satisfy these objections. And while the rarified atmosphere of learned publications may appreciate a well-supported contribution, majority of forums I have been exposed to not only resist, but open fear, this sort of practice. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
6th December 2006, 02:35
Bruce --

There are several problems with forums. One is size. Do you read posts that are thousands of words long? I don't, so I'm guessing that you don't, either. Online articles, sure; they can be books for all I care. But, when I go to an online book or e-journal, I expect to be there a long time. I'm not just sneaking in for a quick look-see.

Another is the drivel factor. A very good post can be surrounded by drivel. Thus, you may not see it, because the stuff before caused you to believe that the entire thread was drivel. Thread drift is related.

A third is that everyone with a keyboard starts out equal. This offends lots of Famous Folks, most of whom expect everyone to treat them like their sycophantic students do. This can be a bit rough on the ol' ego, especially at first.

A fourth is that people forget that online communication is not really supposed to be a Rorschach blot, in which you reveal your innermost thoughts to the world, or shock-jock journalism, in which you reveal all your prejudices and bigotries to the world. Keep those to yourself. Online, don't say anything you'd hate to read years later on a Google cache...

But, to your issue -- how to present documented fact? One of the ideas behind the establishment of EJMAS was simply to provide a place where articles could be printed in their entirety. One isn't forced to read the article, or to agree with it, but it was (and is) really nice to provide a URL for bulletin board postings. If you want to know about the topic, here is a lengthy discussion, with citations and notes, and if you don't, well, don't go there.

And, sometimes, you just gotta start the ball rolling. Write for the drawer, and you can feel smug and superior, but when you die, the kids will put it in the dumpster. Put it out there, and the reviewers will be savage, but you've hopefully moved the barrier up a notch for the next guy. Put another way, if one sees farther than others, it is because he stood on the shoulders of giants.

glad2bhere
6th December 2006, 15:33
Dear Joe:

I agree completely with your sentiments. I would also add that not a few members of the MA community are of a mind that MA is simply not a field that lends itself to competent research. As I write this I am thinking of comments I recently read in the book by Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Gou book on Chinese MA manuals. Arguably the work itself was not a little self-serving, but it was of some service, I feel, that they were able to single out a few people who have begun to "raise the bar" in this field including Stanley Hennings and Tang Hao. These folks, however are notable in their small number and I wonder if this is a matter of limited career opportunities in such a specialized field, or if the demand for such scholarship does not provide sufficient incentive. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
7th December 2006, 03:12
Bruce --

It's isn't that the field doesn't lend itself to competent research. Instead, it's a matter of following the money. Career opportunities in martial art research are very limited. As far as I know, John Corcoran, Stan Pranin, and Mike DeMarcos make their living from MA, but without knowing anybody's finances but my own, I'd be willing to wager that a lot of folks here earn more money every year, at their day jobs, than any two of them combined. Of the people you mentioned, Brian Kennedy is an attorney, and his wife is a translator. Stan Henning is a retired Army officer who now works for the government. Tom Green, Will Bodiford, Kim Taylor, and Karl Friday work for universities. Robert W. Smith used to work for Other Government Agencies. And so on.

So, if you have a day job and want to write, you need a day job that doesn't burn you out, that gives you lots of free time, and that pays enough that you can afford old books and trips to the library. In my experience, this is not easy to arrange. When I have the time, I don't have the money, and vice-versa, and psychic energy does run out from time to time.

glad2bhere
9th December 2006, 01:29
Bruce --

It's isn't that the field doesn't lend itself to competent research. Instead, it's a matter of following the money. Career opportunities in martial art research are very limited. As far as I know, John Corcoran, Stan Pranin, and Mike DeMarcos make their living from MA, but without knowing anybody's finances but my own, I'd be willing to wager that a lot of folks here earn more money every year, at their day jobs, than any two of them combined. Of the people you mentioned, Brian Kennedy is an attorney, and his wife is a translator. Stan Henning is a retired Army officer who now works for the government. Tom Green, Will Bodiford, Kim Taylor, and Karl Friday work for universities. Robert W. Smith used to work for Other Government Agencies. And so on.

So, if you have a day job and want to write, you need a day job that doesn't burn you out, that gives you lots of free time, and that pays enough that you can afford old books and trips to the library. In my experience, this is not easy to arrange. When I have the time, I don't have the money, and vice-versa, and psychic energy does run out from time to time.

I can appreciate that the field of Martial Arts is not exactly what anyone would call "lucrative". Historically, even the better teachers taught out of their houses, taught MA as secondary to some other line of work or simply taught to keep their "hand in" with the MA community of their choice. I see writing as very much the same thing. Its a "labor of love" pure and simple.

My sense is that the MA community does not make much room for folks who want to deal in facts, though. So much of the MA is based on constructed histories, misrepresented bonafides, contrived material and questionable standings that its no wonder that a person can go mad just trying to sort it out. But my point spoke to the fact that not many people show much inclination towards WANTING things sorted out and made clear. There is very much a need to keep the Oriental "inscrutable". As I write this I am thinking of Henning's comments on the source of Shaolin mythology having its base in 18th Century Chinese opera rather than historical fact. All the same, it is all too common to see people continuing to perpetuate the myth of Chinese Boxing beginning with Bodhidarma. Too often I am left to consider that "against stupidity even the gods labor in vain", yes?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
9th December 2006, 05:41
To quote Tom Green (at length!):

QUOTE:

To reiterate, the literal, documented, and historiographical accuracy of martial histories is not an issue in the present analysis. Neither is accuracy an issue to students of the martial systems in which these stories circulate, in part because questioning too rigorously can (and often does) lead to expulsion or resignation from the system. At the same time, however, these stories serve quantifiable functions for group members. These functions range from encouraging a sense of group pride to demonstrating the proper procedures for doing something as straightforward as asking to get a drink of water.

Comparing folk histories to invented traditions (here defined as “instant formulations of new traditions”) is instructive. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (1983) contend that invented traditions serve the respective functions of establishing social cohesion, legitimizing institutions or “relations of authority,” and socialization. Although the historical narratives of the martial arts should be viewed as consciously organized and utilized rather than invented, they serve the same ends as invented traditions. For instance, martial art narratives provide a common ground for instructors and students. In addition, they perpetuate the manners and habits of foreign cultures. Finally, they improve group solidarity.

At the same time, the stories and personal narratives suggest attitudes and strategies for dealing with persecution or violence (these are among the lessons of Shaolin resistance to foreign rule) and encourage a particular mindset. This unitary worldview is conducive to extraordinary bonding, and is one reason that the Marine Corps began stressing “Warrior Values.”

Finally, the stories seek to minimize the stresses resulting from the physical and psychological demands of a rigorous curriculum. Virtually all systems develop narratives claiming a previously closed nature for their arts. In the “bad old days,” training was far harder than it is today, or it was available only to a particular ethnic group, banned by authorities, or otherwise limited in circulation. The rhetoric of such narratives suggests that modern students should be grateful for any access at all: No price is too great to pay.

Because these constructed histories draw on traditional models found in both folklore and comic books (see Lewis, 1987), we give blatant charlatans too much credit when we accuse them of creating a martial art myth out of whole cloth. Returning to the observations of El-Shamy, we note a set of central motifs

* Childhood difficulties

* Early weakness being offset by emergence of mentor or guardian figure demonstration of superhuman strength and ability

* Rapid rise to prominence

* Struggles against representatives of evil

* Proneness to pride or other personality defects

Consequently, biographies of the Founder often include the following features

* Claims of mixed ethnic ancestry, typically resulting in the Founder being bullied as a child

* The Founder being taught an ancient, covert art by a family member in order to overcome illness, persecution, or personality defect (especially temper), or by a family friend in order to repay a debt to the Founder’s parent

* The Founder’s exceptional devotion to training leading to rapid advancement (typically a master’s rank at a young age)

* A final lesson in humility from a mentor figure

* Finally, superhuman exploits against forces of evil

Thus, these accounts present us with a series of contradictions. While martial art practitioners continually modify their stories in response to contemporary events, their folk biographies remain remarkably consistent in their plots and presentation. While martial art stories seek to reassure the listener that the art he is learning has not changed in decades, the stories themselves are in a constant process of revision, reformulation, and mutation. Finally, although most recent history can be documented using newspaper articles, promotion certificates, photographs, and interviews, it remains almost impossible to set down a history of a martial art that both practitioners and non-practitioners will accept.

On the other hand, we can attend to the relationships between martial folk histories and the group contexts in which they exist. Barring outright commercial exploitation, these histories are for the most part, to quote Nagamine (2000: 116), “positive and serve to teach important lessons.”

END QUOTE

glad2bhere
9th December 2006, 13:50
"......
Comparing folk histories to invented traditions (here defined as “instant formulations of new traditions”) is instructive. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (1983) contend that invented traditions serve the respective functions of establishing social cohesion, legitimizing institutions or “relations of authority,” and socialization. Although the historical narratives of the martial arts should be viewed as consciously organized and utilized rather than invented, they serve the same ends as invented traditions. For instance, martial art narratives provide a common ground for instructors and students. In addition, they perpetuate the manners and habits of foreign cultures. Finally, they improve group solidarity.

At the same time, the stories and personal narratives suggest attitudes and strategies for dealing with persecution or violence (these are among the lessons of Shaolin resistance to foreign rule) and encourage a particular mindset. This unitary worldview is conducive to extraordinary bonding, and is one reason that the Marine Corps began stressing “Warrior Values.”

Finally, the stories seek to minimize the stresses resulting from the physical and psychological demands of a rigorous curriculum. Virtually all systems develop narratives claiming a previously closed nature for their arts. In the “bad old days,” training was far harder than it is today, or it was available only to a particular ethnic group, banned by authorities, or otherwise limited in circulation. The rhetoric of such narratives suggests that modern students should be grateful for any access at all: No price is too great to pay.
...................................."

All good and true enough. I wonder, however, if you just made exactly my point?

Given all of the "services" that such traditions provide, would it not follow that an academic approach to the MA might be seen to undercut these same traditions and the services they provide to the arts? For instance, if contrived traditions or constructed histories are seen to aid in group cohesion, would it not follow that less romantic or "convenient" views might be seen as a threat to that cohesion? In like manner, if a particular oral tradition supports the authority of a hierachy, might not an intelligent examination into and report on that hierarchy be viewed as a threat to authority?

To my own questions I want to answer "yes" but I also hold out hope that there might be some reconciliation between what I see as two very disparate approaches. I wonder if there are examples where such detente' has been accomplished? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
9th December 2006, 20:37
Bruce --

Judo and boxing generally respect both the traditions and the documentation.

At the other extreme, professional wrestling has two camps, those who like the documentation (small) and those who like the camp (large). Because the money is almost entirely with the camp (known today by the euphemism, "sports entertainment"), that is where most McDojo operators ultimately head.

In my opinion, understanding the professional wrestling model is very, very important for understanding the marketing of commercial martial arts.

Ed_morris
11th December 2006, 20:54
interesting thoughts so far.

Bruce, agendas and investure probably run as rampant (percentage-wise) in MAists publishing books as there are MAists on forums. There's going to be spin wherever we go and wherever we read.

I'd imagine whats even harder to decipher are the special interests of past authors who are now long dead.


BTW,
if you haven't already, have a look at "Marrow of a Nation" (by 'Andrew Morris' - author is no relation to me).
http://www.amazon.com/Marrow-Nation-History-Physical-Republican/dp/0520240847/sr=1-1/qid=1165868327/ref=sr_1_1/002-0834070-6268042?ie=UTF8&s=books

when you superimpose that book's info (particularly the CMA section), with the training manual compilation by Kennedy you mention...it gives an interesting composite.


thats all anyone can really do...make composites by overlaying mutually exclusive sources. the most popular/reasonable author views bubble to the top and become quotables on forums and references in subsequent publications. then the reference perpetuates for better or worse without anyone ever looking up the source of the original reference to it.

one lesson learned should be from the Gichen Funakoshi / Iha Fuyu translation of the supposed Shuri 'weapons ban' proclamation document. That translation in the early 30's was central to 'legitimizing' Karate....it remained mis-translated for 50 years until in the late 80's, Prof. Mitsugu Sakihara of the University of Hawaii demonstrated it was a stockpiling of weapons...not a ban.

The probable motivation by Iha and Funakoshi for mistranslating was evident...they needed a historical reason how Karate developed while downplaying it's Chinese roots. What better way for a weaponless art to develop than among the Okinawan people during a weapons ban!

sad part is...people still buy books where this mistranslation is propegated.

really have to be careful what we read....

glad2bhere
11th December 2006, 21:12
Dear Ed:

Thanks for the resource. Its always great to get productive titles. Joe (Svinth) has done me much good service with any number of titles he has run across.

BTW:

Is the "ban" you are speaking of the much-touted proscription against weapons following the Japanese (Satsuma) incursion in 1607? The reason I ask is that I was of an understanding that a personage no less than Napoleon Bonaparte once alluded to an Asian nation where all weapons were banned and I had taken that as a kind of affirmation that such a ban was historically accurate. Comments? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
12th December 2006, 03:16
Ed --

Stan Henning turned me on to Morris's book. See Stan's essay in "Martial Arts in the Modern World." You're right; it's good stuff. (Though about as popular as garlic in a vampire convention.)

See also http://seinenkai.com/articles/henning/index.html , where you'll find links to some articles, and citations for more.

Bruce --

KRONOS, 1509:

A monument is built at Shuri, Okinawa, to honor the accomplishments of the Ryukyuan King Sho Shin. In 1926, the Okinawan scholar Iha Fuyu interprets that part of the monument reading "Swords and bows and arrows exclusively are accumulated as weapons in the protection of the country" to mean that the king had ordered the collection of all the iron weapons in the country. In 1987, Professor Mitsugu Sakihara of the University of Hawaii showed that this was a misinterpretation of the text, and that King Sho Shin was actually stockpiling arms rather than suppressing them.

Sources: Monument and correct translation: Sakihara, 1987, 164-166, also 199, fn. 76; Prohibition myth: Funakoshi, 1981, 30-31; Kerr, 1958, 105-107; Footnote: Okinawan swordsmen at Malaka: Kerr, 1958, 127; Strauss, et al, 1991, 684-699; Absence of resistance: Bishop, 1989, 139-140; Funakoshi, 1981, 12-13; Haines, 1968, 79.

See also 1609:

Samurai belonging to the Satsuma clan of Kagoshima, Japan, raid the Ryukyus. Although Japanese historians rarely admit this, the Satsuma brought with them 700 muskets and 30,000 bullets. The chief exception is Hokama Tetsuhiro, who wrote in 1984 that the Okinawans believed that the firearms were some kind of magic stick. He added that the Japanese lost 7 musketeers, 6 archers, and 44 pikemen during a forty-day campaign that caused the death of over 500 Okinawans. While this raid was of little importance in 1609, during the mid-seventeenth century the Satsuma began using it as justification for organizing "tribute" expeditions that were little more than government-sponsored smuggling operations. (Barred from trading directly with China or the West except through heavily watched Nagasaki, the Satsuma were of course free to do any trade they liked in their Okinawan "protectorate.") The Satsuma raid became historiograpically important following the Meiji Restoration of 1868, as it gave the Japanese the excuse they needed to occupy Okinawa in 1879.

Sources: Bottomley and Hopson, 1993, 128-137, 149, 151; Kerr, 1958, 158-165; Personal communication with Graham Noble dated 6/96; Perrin, 1979, fn., 27-28; Sakamaki, 1963, 89-92; Turnbull, 1991, caption, plate 10

***

Doesn't mean I'm right, of course, but that's my take on the sources.

glad2bhere
12th December 2006, 13:17
".......Samurai belonging to the Satsuma clan of Kagoshima, Japan, raid the Ryukyus. Although Japanese historians rarely admit this, the Satsuma brought with them 700 muskets and 30,000 bullets. The chief exception is Hokama Tetsuhiro, who wrote in 1984 that the Okinawans believed that the firearms were some kind of magic stick. He added that the Japanese lost 7 musketeers, 6 archers, and 44 pikemen during a forty-day campaign that caused the death of over 500 Okinawans. While this raid was of little importance in 1609, during the mid-seventeenth century the Satsuma began using it as justification for organizing "tribute" expeditions that were little more than government-sponsored smuggling operations. (Barred from trading directly with China or the West except through heavily watched Nagasaki, the Satsuma were of course free to do any trade they liked in their Okinawan "protectorate.") The Satsuma raid became historiograpically important following the Meiji Restoration of 1868, as it gave the Japanese the excuse they needed to occupy Okinawa in 1879.

Sources: Bottomley and Hopson, 1993, 128-137, 149, 151; Kerr, 1958, 158-165; Personal communication with Graham Noble dated 6/96; Perrin, 1979, fn., 27-28; Sakamaki, 1963, 89-92; Turnbull, 1991, caption, plate 10
.........................."

Thanks, Joe:

That puts quite a different spin on things for me. For quite a while now I had been working to reconcile the activities of the 'WA-KO" (See: SO Kwan-wai) with the autonomous nature of pre-1609 Okinawa with Ming China. (See: Kerr). The conclusion I was moving towards was the idea that the Japanese may have grown tired of relating to the Okinawans as peers so as to use the islands as a base of operations for their expansion south. The missing pieces were the roles of the Portugese, Spanish and Dutch all of whom have been mentioned in the "WA-KO" materials I have found. As much as I would like to agree with your thoughts about the Satsuma working to get out from under the administrative thumb in Japan, I took the view that they also may have feared encroachment into their "sphere of influence" by Western elements moving up from the Phillipines and Indonesia. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
13th December 2006, 05:58
Bruce --

During the 18th century, the Satsuma smuggled more goods through Ryukyus than they paid in taxes to Tokugawa. See Donald Keene, "The Japanese Discovery of Europe, 1720-1830" (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, revised edition, 1969).

Some folks in Northern Japan apparently smuggled nearly as much; their trading partners included the Cossacks and Russians.

In Korea, big smuggling ports included Pusan. Products included ginseng. Taipei was important, too.

Try Googling < smuggling Tokugawa Russia> , < smuggling Satsuma Japan > , and so on.

I haven't read them, but articles that turn up include the following:

The Satsuma-Ryukyu Trade and the Tokugawa Seclusion Policy
Robert K. Sakai
Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 23, No. 3 (May, 1964), pp. 391-403
doi:10.2307/2050758

Some Aspects of Japan Sea Shipping and Trade in the Tokugawa Period, 1603-1867
Robert G. Flershem
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 110, No. 3 (Jun. 27, 1966), pp. 182-226

and

http://www.aasianst.org/absts/2004abst/Japan/sessions.htm

QUOTE

Where Were the Pirates? The Significance of Satsuma’s Commercial Networks in Nineteenth-Century Japanese Foreign Relations

Robert Hellyer, Allegheny College

Nineteenth-century Japan is usually portrayed as plagued by poor coastal defenses and widespread political and social unrest, factors that contributed to the profound political change of the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Yet while Japan was certainly weak and disunited, it was remarkably free of piracy, a scourge that afflicted the Chinese coastline in the same period. Why was this case?

Historians normally explore such defensive and foreign policy questions by examining the actions of the central authority, the Tokugawa shogunate. This paper challenges this focus on central agency and instead suggests that the Satsuma domain played a crucial foreign relations role, as illustrated by its commercial networks that prevented the rise of coastal piracy.

In the early nineteenth century, Satsuma developed a broad commercial network by first placing coastal smuggling with Chinese merchant vessels under its direct control, thereby providing smugglers a "legitimate" outlet that mitigated their transformation into pirates. In subsequent decades, Satsuma further expanded this network by forming new domestic connections and by exploring commercial ties with Asian and Western states. All told, Satsuma’s commercial activities demonstrate that the domain often exercised more control over foreign trade and coastal defense than the shogunate. In a broader sense, Satsuma’s key role in foreign relations also suggests new ways to explore the power relationships between domains and the shogunate that helped define the wider political culture of nineteenth-century Japan.

END QUOTE

Hellyer's dissertation is "A Tale of Two Domains: Satsuma, Tsushima and Foreign Relations in Late Edo Period Japan" (Stanford, 2001). You can usually buy recent dissertations in PDF format through University Microforms.

Ed_morris
14th December 2006, 16:48
also a resource to check out:
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_japanese_studies/toc/jjs32.2.html

article: "Japan in the Life of Early Ryukyu" by Nelson, Thomas

Abstract:
The sources detailing the history of Ryukyu between 1372 and 1609 pay great attention to links with China. Ties to Japan, by contrast, have either gone unrecorded or else the documents describing them have been lost. The aim of this essay is to redress the balance by drawing on scattered Korean and Japanese records to demonstrate that Japan both exerted an important cultural and economic influence on Ryukyu and dominated the northward leg of Ryukyu's foreign trade.

Joseph Svinth
15th December 2006, 02:16
I think that what we're all saying here is that to get answers to some of those historical questions, one needs to ignore the martial art section of the library and/or bookstore, and head over to the much more boring dissertations and academic journals. Probably the professors won't mention martial arts, but sometimes you get lucky (as in the case of Andrew Morris's book), and even passing references may provide "Aha!" moments.

glad2bhere
15th December 2006, 03:43
I pretty much gave up on the standard bookstores and certainly on the MA section quite some time ago. Most of my digging starts in bibliographies.

BTW:

I had to really smile to myself, after your one post, Joe. I remember how Watanabe's book on the WA-KO was derided as a "propaganda piece" from the WW II era. In it he characterized the Japanese as proto-entrepeneurs.
Now I read from your citations that he might have been closer to the mark than he was given credit for, yes?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Ed_morris
16th December 2006, 13:07
I think that what we're all saying here is that to get answers to some of those historical questions, one needs to ignore the martial art section of the library and/or bookstore, and head over to the much more boring dissertations and academic journals. Probably the professors won't mention martial arts, but sometimes you get lucky (as in the case of Andrew Morris's book), and even passing references may provide "Aha!" moments.

It's out of that semi-disappointed realization that I initiated this thread. I wouldn't want to name sources as examples, but time and time again I'd read someones take on history (who also happen to be promoting the style that they do, often within the same book) -drawing conclusions based on carefully selected info, while ommiting or neglecting the conflicting sources.

I think because of often selfish motivations of MA authors (eg promoting/legitimizing their style), we get a warped view. It would be more helpful if there wasn't such a disconnect between acedemics and MA researchers. The disconnect I'm talking about can be illustrated with the whole bodiharma myth - it's been long common debunked material in the acedemic world...but yet it still persisted in MA literature and is finally just now starting to be 'downplayed' ....too good of a story is hard to let go, I suppose.

Taking the opposite view of specifically looking for things to debunk is also a detriment in a honest search for as close to the truth as possible. that motivation smacks of just as much hidden agenda as trying to legitimize things. BUT, the interesting thing sometimes is when the two are superimposed...it can give a hint as to where motivations are coming from - making it possible to sift out the most probable and credible references.

Every once in a great while, there are 2 or more disimilar but overlapping views that give a really interesting composite.
have a look at this...it's worth the read and is complementary to Andrew Morris' chapter:
http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-ADM/holcom.htm

even more interesting than the article itself, are it's collection of cited sources...a goldmine for further reading.

Bruce, in particular, notice the reference here:

18 Ch'i Chi-kuang, extracted in Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'eng, 800 vols.
(n.p., 1934), chuan 810, 487:62a. See also Giles, Adversaria Sinica, 137.
For the inadequacy of boxing against the Japanese pirates, see Huang, 1587,
A Year of No Significance, 165.

reading up on things that may or may not 'bum us out' as martial artists can't be the criteria for accepting or disregarding sources. reading that weaponless H2H combat was perpetuated by thugs, gangs, illiterates, cults, bandits and mystics is not an attractive idea that would sell to the nobel/good-naturing/qwai chain cane MA world very well. but such information and historical reference doesn't soil my corn flakes, - doesn't affect what I physically practice one way or the other...so it's more interesting to try and find as close to the truth of where this stuff came from as possible instead of simply regurgitating acceptable and marketable mythology.

Joseph Svinth
17th December 2006, 19:32
Ed --

Something you might want to look into is the influence of Islamic thought on Chinese, North Indian, Indonesian, and Filipino martial arts. For example, think about the whole idea of warrior monks. Does that concept immediately bring to mind traditional Confucian culture, or instead medieval/early modern Islam and Christianity? For me, it's the latter. Add in Ottoman Turkish whirling dervishes and the 18th/19th century discussions of the inner and outer jihad (e.g., whether 'tis nobler to quell inner or outer demons), and the "hmm" meter starts ticking.

Trying to understand the astrology and alchemy is hard work, too, especially when learning from books rather than a teacher...

Joseph Svinth
17th December 2006, 19:49
Bruce --

On the entrepreneurs, remember that the samurai class had already been overrun by the merchants by the time the accounts we read were written.

A thought. Today, it's common to for non-Japanese to view the Tokugawa era as medieval and/or feudal. However, would it not be more accurate to view Edo Japan as early modern rather than feudal? In other words, should we not compare Tokugawa to Cromwell rather than to Edward Longshanks? If so, then in both Edo Japan and Puritan England, the commercial might of The City eventually overcame the power of the landed classes.

Todd Lambert
18th December 2006, 03:05
Ed --

Something you might want to look into is the influence of Islamic thought on Chinese, North Indian, Indonesian, and Filipino martial arts. For example, think about the whole idea of warrior monks. Does that concept immediately bring to mind traditional Confucian culture, or instead medieval/early modern Islam and Christianity? For me, it's the latter. Add in Ottoman Turkish whirling dervishes and the 18th/19th century discussions of the inner and outer jihad (e.g., whether 'tis nobler to quell inner or outer demons), and the "hmm" meter starts ticking.

Trying to understand the astrology and alchemy is hard work, too, especially when learning from books rather than a teacher...
This reminds me of some of Jay Gluck's ideas I saw in one of his old books...Zen Combat, perhaps. Any connection?

Kind regards,

Joseph Svinth
18th December 2006, 07:20
As a source, Jay Gluck is not quite as reliable as John Gilbey.

The idea for this actually came from reading about the warrior monks of Islam and Christianity. Also, there were Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, and animist great khans, and of course you have the dop-dop (warrior monks) of the Tibetan and Chinese Yellow Hat sects. And there *are* Chinese martial arts that have a lot of Islamic influence, hsing-i being one of the best known. Merchants, traders, and prosletyzation; they often go together. (God, gold, and glory, as they put it in descriptions of the conquistadors.)

Todd Lambert
19th December 2006, 05:16
As a source, Jay Gluck is not quite as reliable as John Gilbey.

The idea for this actually came from reading about the warrior monks of Islam and Christianity. Also, there were Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, and animist great khans, and of course you have the dop-dop (warrior monks) of the Tibetan and Chinese Yellow Hat sects. And there *are* Chinese martial arts that have a lot of Islamic influence, hsing-i being one of the best known. Merchants, traders, and prosletyzation; they often go together. (God, gold, and glory, as they put it in descriptions of the conquistadors.)
Point taken. :) I wouldn't recommend Gluck either as a good source for MA research material. I don't think he was spoofing so much as sensationalizing to sell magazines and later books. I did come across one of his books years ago. IIRC he had mentioned the posibility of a connection/similarity with the Persian strongmen/wrestlers/whirling dervishes and Asian MA. Your remarks reminded me of what I'd read back when. A very interesting vein of thought.

Joseph Svinth
19th December 2006, 06:24
There isn't much on Varzesh-e Pahlavani (Iranian wrestling) that I've seen. Comparatively speaking, there is lots more on Turkic and North Indian wrestling. But, on this topic, Gilbey is reasonably reliable -- RW Smith wanted to write a history of world wrestling, and collected lots of info on it, but then got sidetracked... Online, try http://www.iranonline.com/magazine/issue3/varzesh and http://www.pahlavani.com/

Anyway, cross-cultural studies are interesting, if only because they tend to make us ask questions about why we do the things we do.

glad2bhere
19th December 2006, 14:56
Bruce --

On the entrepreneurs, remember that the samurai class had already been overrun by the merchants by the time the accounts we read were written.

A thought. Today, it's common to for non-Japanese to view the Tokugawa era as medieval and/or feudal. However, would it not be more accurate to view Edo Japan as early modern rather than feudal? In other words, should we not compare Tokugawa to Cromwell rather than to Edward Longshanks? If so, then in both Edo Japan and Puritan England, the commercial might of The City eventually overcame the power of the landed classes.

I agree with everything except the term "overcame". I prefer either "displaced" or even "eclipsed" (See: East India Company). The transition from a landed class founded in agrarian culture to one of an agrarian culture facilitated by the IR is one of the grat untold stories of Human history. The typical World History class will jump from the Crusades to Henry the Navigator, to the Renaissance and finally to the Reformation and Religious-freedoms driving migration to the Americas. Probably esier to teach than the nuances of a market-driven economy and the rise of corporate banking, yes? BTW: I never hear any information on the Japanese equivalent of the great Banking houses of the Netherlands. I'm left wondering how the Satsuma were able to conduct themselves with such autonomy? Kick-backs to the central government?

Open note to anyone: LOC has a micro-film of a resource I am interested in. This same work is also held by University of Chicago, Columbia and UCLA, but so far I have not been able to get anyone to work with me. No inter-library loan either to a public or college library and no copies to be made from the micro-film. Has anyone found a decent way to get around this raodblock short of going to the source and paying for access? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

warmystc
7th January 2007, 19:46
I have found out that we have to study the language of the srt or craft that we are engrossed in first. Now, coming from a buddhist standpoint, when we read so called translated versions of martial arts that we study and practise, look to development of ourselves.

Example, I have a practising Nihiren Shoshu Buddhist, so authentisaty is very important. The study of ninjutsu goes along with my practise as a Buddhist (the first skill development of Sheishin tenken ho). In physical training as well as life, this is the fist area one must look at. Now, ninjutsu is a area that is very hard to study due to all the so called teachers that say they have studied but have no documentation to show it.

I have taken on that path of finding the true Shinobi way and the first step is learning the Japanese language. In the way I can go to direct sources that have the documentation the back up their training, history, custom and traditions. Since the eighties I have known of Hatsumi Sensei and find his writing to be very creditable. It is easy, I think, to practise physical movements, but without the appreciation of the traditions the excersize is futal. There are a lot of books written by american authurs in the market and I feel they are just capitalizing on the mystique because so little is known.

The first book I encountered on ninjutsu was by Ashida Kim. I thought then he was authentic, but further study and research, I found that we is just a fraud like so many out there. Again, if anyone has read any of his material, he is one that capitalizes on the mystique only. I am starting with what is known and documented, Hatsumi Sensei. By far he is the best source I can find. Again, looking at he Japanese language or whatever martial art you are studying is the first step I think.

I hope that I have contributed to this discussion in a positive way here today in hopes that we look at the authentisity of our sources.

glad2bhere
7th January 2007, 22:54
Though I truely wish it were otherwise, I must agree with your thoughts, Byron.

The recent translation of the MU YEI TOBO TONG JI into English (See: Kim) and promoted by TURTLE PRESS is rife with "approximations". Most issues would only be of interest to someone delving well into the material. For the typical MA hobbyist it is enough to know that the work exists, what it contains generally and the place of such work in the overall history of Korean traditions.

OTOH, I have a modest understanding of Korean Sword method ("kum-bup") and must report that there are clear limits on the veracity of the translated work. Even the modern reproductions of the same work in Han-ja have their limitations. I suppose that is the greatest hazard of such research. Sooner or later we hit a point where some level of faith must be taken. I agree that reading materials in the original language forestalls that leap of faith.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
15th February 2007, 02:59
Bruce --

http://www.froginawell.net/korea/2006/07/patriotic-school-athletics-under-the-japanese-and-after/

It's an essay on patriotic school athletics during the Japanese and Rhee eras in Korea, with citations.

glad2bhere
15th February 2007, 04:52
Thanks, Joe--- This is exactly where UI am at right now!

BTW: Have you ever heard of the Sinhung Military Academy?

Most people know about the Toyama Military School in Japan. The academy I ran across was apparently run by the Japanese in Manchuria in order to develop an officer corp of Korean candidates for service in the Japanese army.

Often, there are vague comments made about this or that well-known individual "going to Manchuria". Hwang Ki, the originator of TSD supposedly worked for the Korean railway and studied at a Chinese Federal MA Academy in Manchuria. Ueyshiba (of Aikido fame) as well as Nakamura (of Toyama-ryu fame) are said to have visited Manchuria in their turn.

Some time back you mentioned an option of contacting the US government to investigate possible records regarding this theatre. Since there is precious little elsewhere, any idea how I might best organize an approach to Washington in order to find out what they know? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
15th February 2007, 06:00
NARA is a possibility. Also check the SCAP records on microfilm. Unfortunately, there are miles of archives and microfilm.

I know nothing about that military academy, but Googling suggests that there is material in Korean and Russian. Try terms such as Sinhung army school, army academy, army independence, etc., and different things turn up. Ones that look promising include http://www.dbpia.co.kr/view/ar_view.asp?pid=707&isid=26101&arid=563327&topMenu=&topMenu1= and http://www.uriminzokkiri.com/newspaper/english/Books/Segi/Segi2/htm/20.htm

P Goldsbury
15th February 2007, 12:06
Thanks, Joe--- This is exactly where UI am at right now!

BTW: Have you ever heard of the Sinhung Military Academy?

Most people know about the Toyama Military School in Japan. The academy I ran across was apparently run by the Japanese in Manchuria in order to develop an officer corp of Korean candidates for service in the Japanese army.

Often, there are vague comments made about this or that well-known individual "going to Manchuria". Hwang Ki, the originator of TSD supposedly worked for the Korean railway and studied at a Chinese Federal MA Academy in Manchuria. Ueyshiba (of Aikido fame) as well as Nakamura (of Toyama-ryu fame) are said to have visited Manchuria in their turn.

Some time back you mentioned an option of contacting the US government to investigate possible records regarding this theatre. Since there is precious little elsewhere, any idea how I might best organize an approach to Washington in order to find out what they know? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Hello Bruce,

Fumiaki Shishida, who is a professor of budo history in Waseda University, has written a thesis about martial arts in Manchuria. Shishida was a student of Kenji Tomiki, who taught at the Tenkoku University and later founded Tomiki Aikido (or Shodokan). Tomiki was captured by the Russians when they invaded Manchuria and became a POW. As did Shigenobu Okumura, who started aikido in Manchuria as a boy. Okumura Sensei is now about 86 and still carries the military passbook that he used when he was a young soldier.

I think Stanley Pranin interviewed him recently for Aikido Journal or its Japanese equivalent.

Best,

glad2bhere
15th February 2007, 14:16
Many Thank to you both!

I'm on it!

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
16th February 2007, 08:31
Check List of Seized Japanese Records in the National Archives
James William Morley
The Far Eastern Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 3 (May, 1950), pp. 306-333
doi:10.2307/2049557

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0363-6917(195005)9%3A3%3C306%3ACLOSJR%3E2.0.CO%3B2-N

glad2bhere
16th February 2007, 14:12
Thanks, Joe.

I did check SCAP but the overwhelming amount of information has more domestic (Japanese) themes than anything else. I think I was hoping for maybe some debriefing materials regarding repatriated personnel, but have yet to find anything. OTOH the OSS materials in NARA look promising with a number of missions regarding fact-finding and engaging targeted personalities to be examined.

BTW: FWIW I note that there are still areas of the SCAP materials that remain classified and are omitted from available files. The subjects have to do with compensation and reparations as well as such issues as trade, routes and border disputes. Interesting how, even decades after the war, these points are still so touchy as to remain shielded from public examination, ne?

Thanks again for your help.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Joseph Svinth
17th February 2007, 02:17
Bruce --

KGB archives are likely to have info on what you're looking for. They are probably about as accessible as CIA records -- if you read Russian.

You might try writing Alexey Gorbylev. His web site is at http://www.kyokushinkan.ru/viewsec.asp?page=67 . It's in Russian, but the e-mail is at КОНТАКТЫ , and his English is as good as yours.

Ed_morris
17th February 2007, 04:28
google translated:

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kyokushinkan.ru%2Fviewsec.asp%3Fpage%3D67&langpair=ru%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

Joseph Svinth
17th February 2007, 07:10
Good stuff there, even given the shakiness of the machine translation.

Lance Gatling
4th November 2007, 09:46
.......Fumiaki Shishida, who is a professor of budo history in Waseda University, has written a thesis about martial arts in Manchuria. Shishida was a student of Kenji Tomiki, who taught at the Tenkoku University and later founded Tomiki Aikido (or Shodokan). Tomiki was captured by the Russians when they invaded Manchuria and became a POW. .........

Dr. Shishida expanded his thesis into a book entitled 武道の教育力-満洲国・建国大学における武道教育, or The Educational Power of Martial Arts - Manchuria - Martial Arts Education at Kenkoku Univ., published 2005. There may be a few copies still available. I have a copy, will check sometime to see if there's reference to the Sinhung Military Academy.

Shishida sensei is the senior technical instructor of the Japan Aikido Association, the main Tomiki ryu aikido organization, and a very nice guy.

glad2bhere
4th November 2007, 15:45
Thanks, Lance. Very much appreciated.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

P Goldsbury
5th November 2007, 00:05
Shishida sensei is the senior technical instructor of the Japan Aikido Association, the main Tomiki ryu aikido organization, and a very nice guy.

Yes, I know. I invited him here a few years ago to give a lecture on budo history. The conversation over dinner after the lecture was very stimulating, easily as stimulating as the lecture itself.

PAG

glad2bhere
8th November 2007, 15:07
Hi, Joe:

As long as we are talking about various documents I thought I would share a little something that I found through a friend currently living in Korea. Klaas (Barends) has made an effort to locate various books for people here in the States. One of the items he has found is a reproduction of the MUYE JEBO (lit: “martial arts illustrations”--MYJB) reportedly written by HAN Kyo. Some may recall that this work was one of the major landmarks in the development of the MU YE TOBO TONG JI (lit: “Comprehensive Illustrated Manual of Martial Arts”---MYTBTJ) published in 1795. I have not been able to authenticate the date of publication for the MYJB and there are some inconsistencies with earlier published reports.

One inconsistency is that the work that I have (ISBN: 89-7585-179-6) is a mixture of both HANJA and HANGUL. As a scholarly work this would be akin to mixing academic prose with popular parlance, as it were.

Another inconsistency is that the MUJB, as reported in the MYTBTJ is said to have included 6 skills, “….the kon bong (large stick), dung pae (shield art), nag sun (triple tip spear), and ssang soo to (long sword).” The manual that I have includes kwon bup (lit: fist method), wol do (aka: “kwan dao”), hyup do (lit: spear sword) as well as two chapters on two-handed saber, one of which may, actually be single-handed saber. Since the original citation for the content of the MYJB was none other than King Jungbo (1776-1800), I suspect that the former items are a more accurate report. This, however, does not explain the variance in the work that I have.

Though the overwhelming numbers of visitors to this forum are interested in Japanese traditions, I thought that finding a work identified as one which has long been reported lost might be of interest. Needless to say I will be examining this for some time to come to understand how it figures into what we know as Korean traditions.

FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce