PDA

View Full Version : We expect our MA teachers to be more perfect



Joseph Svinth
9th February 2001, 13:13
Peter Boylan:

"We expect our martial arts teachers to be more perfect than we are, not just as martial artists, but as human beings as well, and all too often we are stunned when yudansha and teachers display familiar human shortcomings. Is it realistic to expect martial artists, even those who have been training for decades, to be above our human frailties? Not really. There isn't any sort of organized program for teaching personal and spiritual development within any of the martial arts, even those with the greatest reputations for it, Tai Chi Chuan and Aikido. The way practice in the martial arts is structured is for technical, not spiritual, development. 20 years of practicing nikkyo will give you a great nikkyo, but it won't necessarily make you a better person."

http://ejmas.com/tin/tinart_boylan_0201.htm

Yamantaka
18th February 2001, 10:17
Originally posted by Joseph Svinth
Peter Boylan:

"We expect our martial arts teachers to be more perfect than we are, not just as martial artists, but as human beings as well, and all too often we are stunned when yudansha and teachers display familiar human shortcomings. Is it realistic to expect martial artists, even those who have been training for decades, to be above our human frailties? Not really. There isn't any sort of organized program for teaching personal and spiritual development within any of the martial arts, even those with the greatest reputations for it, Tai Chi Chuan and Aikido. The way practice in the martial arts is structured is for technical, not spiritual, development. 20 years of practicing nikkyo will give you a great nikkyo, but it won't necessarily make you a better person."

http://ejmas.com/tin/tinart_boylan_0201.htm


YAMANTAKA : Curious...I've put that same text on my portuguese list and it also got no answer...Perhaps people doesn't like to hear that.
Ubaldo

Joseph Svinth
18th February 2001, 10:48
Ubaldo --

Based on the underwhelming response to my efforts at posting happy stories, it occurs to me that perhaps the Spirit of Budo is not Good, but something else entirely. If so, then what is it?

Toward getting people to thinking about that question, an anecdote: In 1987, female Jell-O wrestlers working in Chicago bars described their motivation as the high that they got from doing whatever they damn well wanted. Said one of them to a Washington Post reporter, "It took me two years to get aggressive enough to be a good wrestler. Id never hit anybody before. I had to learn to be aggressive and thats hard for a woman because we were taught to be sweet and nice and cute." Replied General Foods, the manufacturer of Jell-O: "Its disgusting to have people swimming around in food."

Is that a better description of the true spirit of budo, learning to be aggressive enough to do whatever we damn well want?

Yamantaka
18th February 2001, 11:09
Originally posted by Joseph Svinth
Ubaldo --

Based on the underwhelming response to my efforts at posting happy stories, it occurs to me that perhaps the Spirit of Budo is not Good, but something else entirely. If so, then what is it?

Is that a better description of the true spirit of budo, learning to be aggressive enough to do whatever we damn well want?

YAMANTAKA : Slave-Master, you're dooming me to Aiki-Hell...
So be it, I think our problems are male-fantasies. We all wish to be big, brawny macho types, beating the crap out of everyone and getting the love and admiration from women. We wish to smash people, without getting smashed. We wish to hurt, without being hurt. We wish to be feared by men and loved by women. We wish for everyone to go "OOOHHHH!", amazed by our lightning speed and our fearsome strikes.
We want to be Bruce Lee, Jet Lee and Musashi, all in one.
We want to be God!
Or am I wrong?
That's why, I think, so many people are involved with competitions and NHB : To prove themselves to others.
And, finally, how many dojo teach BUDO (as a way to improve ourselves, physically, ethically and spiritually) ?
Falling to Aiki-Hell


[Edited by YAMANTAKA on 02-18-2001 at 05:12 AM]

Joseph Svinth
18th February 2001, 11:40
Ubaldo --

Since we are on the subject of motivations, what do you think of the view of that subject that I expressed here? http://ejmas.com/svinth1.htm

MarkF
18th February 2001, 11:49
We want to be Bruce Lee, Jet Lee and Musashi, all in one.
We want to be God!
Or am I wrong?


Nope, you're note wrong, Ubaldo. But epinephrine (Adrenalin) is a strong, addictive uncontrolled substance. I don't think we can do anything about that, except, I suppose, in TM, Qi Gong. But even in these, the competition is addicting. Remember the bus which was "stolen" in Taiwan recently? Addictions such as this is why the Olympics, and Jell-O Wrestling are so popular.

Haven't had a fix recently, have you?:D

IchiRiKen1
20th February 2001, 03:25
Originally posted by Yamantaka


YAMANTAKA : Slave-Master, you're dooming me to Aiki-Hell...
So be it, I think our problems are male-fantasies. We all wish to be big, brawny macho types, beating the crap out of everyone and getting the love and admiration from women. We wish to smash people, without getting smashed. We wish to hurt, without being hurt. We wish to be feared by men and loved by women. We wish for everyone to go "OOOHHHH!", amazed by our lightning speed and our fearsome strikes.
We want to be Bruce Lee, Jet Lee and Musashi, all in one.
We want to be God!
Or am I wrong?
That's why, I think, so many people are involved with competitions and NHB : To prove themselves to others.
And, finally, how many dojo teach BUDO (as a way to improve ourselves, physically, ethically and spiritually) ?
Falling to Aiki-Hell


[Edited by YAMANTAKA on 02-18-2001 at 05:12 AM]

I don't know that all of us necessarily want to be big macho types, but I have to agree with the latter part of Yamantaka's statement (i.e. Bruce, Jet, Musashi, etc.).

My school makes a big to-do about training not only the physical techniques, but the mind and "spirit" as well. I have recently, after about 8 years or so of teaching, come to the full realization that a) you can't teach the students everything, and b) you can't expect the students to learn evertything. There are some concepts/techniques/etc. that simply can't be conveyed sufficiently; only time, practice and experience will teach them. There are some concepts/techniques/etc. that some folks, God love 'em, are never gonna get.

So I would agree that it is unreasonable to expect our teachers to be better than us. In a perfect world they would be, but we all know this is far from a perfect world. But the stark reality that so many Bad Budoka exist to defame the character of the arts, that so many teachers fall far short of the stylized ideal, should do nothing whatsoever from preventing each of us to strive toward such a goal.

There are millions of Christians in the world who caveat their every action with "I am only human, and therefore prone to sin," yet they continue to claim to adhere to the precept that they should live their lives as Christ did. There's the precedent for us to follow.

Check out Kensho Furuya's book Kodo: Ancient Ways. It has a lot of good stuff about how a "master" should behave and think.

Just my worhless 2 yen...

BC
20th February 2001, 16:43
Mr. Svinth:

I wouldn't get too disappointed about the lack of response on this subject. For the past few days I have been trying to access this thread, and for some reason kept getting error messages.

Anyway, I think that most martial artists want to emulate their teachers and hold great expectations about them, up until a certain point in their own development. Then they realize that these individuals are as human as they are, just as with a child who goes through this progression in his perceptions of his parents throughout his life.
First there is the complete admiration and almost idolization of his parents. Then the young man/boy starts to realize his parents just as human as everone else, and sees all the "faults and shortcomings" that he overlooked before. Then comes the acceptance of these "faults" and the realization that despite these, there are many (hopefully) strengths and admirable qualities that exist within his parents from which he can learn. The same can be said of the how the student of martial arts perceives his teacher(s).

I personnally have struggled to find the right balance of expectations of my teachers with the reality that my own goals and aspirations in my own physical and spiritual development will not always be the same or even remotely similar to that of my teachers. When I look at my instructors and sempai over the years, I see the full spectrum of human strengths and shortcomings mixed in with all of them in various degrees from what I see when I look in the mirror. What I have learned more than anything else at this point is that each of them struggles with these issues in their own ways, and that I can learn from these people by identifying the qualities which I admire and would like to emulate, and the the qualities which are distasteful to me which I wish to avoid. The challenge sometimes is to be able to not always look to those people who stand out so much in their possession of these positive or negative traits, but to find the ones who don't stand out. Those individuals who display modesty, calm and serenity - shibui. These are the ones that are the real challege to observe and learn from. Just my two cents.

gmanry
20th February 2001, 17:30
Hello everyone. My name is Glenn Manry and I am pretty new to E-Budo.

I think that many who adhere to the concept that Budo is a way to betterment of the spirit and enlightenment are buying into a set of goods sold to the Japanese people when the previous cultural model was pulled down from its lofty heights.

The Samurai culture was not really a place for the betterment of the spirit, though history has been somewhat idealized to convey this. Samurai existed for the betterment of their lord, whatever those goals may be. So goodness and light were really not a part of that philosophy. Sure the requisite honor to ones parents and affiliations are thrown in to give an appearance of propriety. However, lets face it, these people lived on the labor of others. To be sure many of them were good men, but many of them were not. Goodness on a universal scale was not the purpose of Bujutsu.

Budo was sold to the Japanese people as a way to preserve the dying culture. Many of those accepted into the halls of Budo were accepted on the recommendation of those who were typically thought to be upstanding citizens (the rich). Wealth does not morality make. In fact, many of these wealthy men were a part and parcel of the organizations encouraging Japan to encroach upon their neighbors. Budo culture was used to prepare young men to be the soldiers for the brutal wars of conquest waged by the Japanese government.

So, it is a mistake to expect Budo activities to foster moral fortitude in and of itself. It was never actually designed to foster benevolent sentiment, but strict discipline and adherence to traditional rule. We might want to recognize that evil can be disciplined too...

Having said this, it is also possible to make personal decisions to adhere to a particular set of moral and ethical concepts in one's practice. We must make that individual choice. Very few organizations are really able to claim that this is the case in their teachings, and then even if they can, they cannot guarantee the conduct of all their members given the large number of those claiming to be Budoka today.

Glenn R. Manry

Steve C
21st February 2001, 10:11
Another good, thought-provoking thread. Thanks, Guys! ;)

Well - I think that MA training might give us two things that relate to the original post.

1) MA tempers you to be a more capable fighter. It teaches technique and agression. It requires discipline and endurance. That's neither bad nor good; you can temper swords or you can temper ploughshares.

2) If you train in a club which emphasises etiquette and consideration during training, it trains you to live through stressful, confrontational situations while all the time retaining your calm and manners.

Now that is good - It creates people who are capable, disciplined, focused and who have their egos under control - the kind of people who make good leaders and team members.

As to the related question of whether the fighting skill itself is good; well, I have a friend who's father used to be a soldier and is now a priest, who wrote a thesis on the morality of war. He said "There's no such thing as a just war. The best you can do is to choose a just peace, and fight for that."

Ultimately, though... if you want to be a better person, pick up a book on ethics. Not one about good ways to kick someone in the face.

Yamantaka
22nd February 2001, 20:36
Originally posted by MarkF


Haven't had a fix recently, have you?:D


YAMANTAKA : No, Mark San. And do you know something terrible? I never had a purposeful fix in my life. I had altered perception experiences with epinephrine but I never looked for them...My limitations, perhaps? :))
Best

Yamantaka
22nd February 2001, 20:41
Originally posted by Joseph Svinth
Ubaldo --

Since we are on the subject of motivations, what do you think of the view of that subject that I expressed here? http://ejmas.com/svinth1.htm

YAMANTAKA : I think you're quite right and that those are the most common reasons for learning a martial art. By the way, may I translate and put it in my own List, O Wise one?
Best

Yamantaka
22nd February 2001, 20:46
Originally posted by gmanry
Hello everyone. My name is Glenn Manry and I am pretty new to E-Budo.

I think that many who adhere to the concept that Budo is a way to betterment of the spirit and enlightenment are buying into a set of goods sold to the Japanese people when the previous cultural model was pulled down from its lofty heights.

So, it is a mistake to expect Budo activities to foster moral fortitude in and of itself. It was never actually designed to foster benevolent sentiment, but strict discipline and adherence to traditional rule. We might want to recognize that evil can be disciplined too...

Having said this, it is also possible to make personal decisions to adhere to a particular set of moral and ethical concepts in one's practice. We must make that individual choice.
Glenn R. Manry

YAMANTAKA : Every human creation has two faces. I'd say that your last declaration is balanced : you make your own decisions when you adhere to a set of rules you think are good. And then you try to do your very best...
Best regards