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kagebushi
4th June 2000, 05:26
Don, where are you??? http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif I think this one is for you.

Ruediger,

willkommen zu e-budo. Es gab hier schon viele Disskusionen ueber diese Organisation, besser gesagt "Kriege". In meiner persoenlichen Meinung, die Organisation ist ein Witz, und der Titel ist gekauft. Das ganze Blablabla und der Gebrauch von japanischen (oft inkorrekten) Titeln ist laecherlich. I frage mich wie jemand so weit sinken kann, das er sich einen Titel kaufen muss (es waere einfacher und billiger eine eigene Organisation zu gruenden und sich selber zu befoerdern, http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif wer so was schon braucht um seien Ego zu befriedigen). Der Hintergrund dieses amerikanischen Gruenders ist sehr zweifelhaft (er wurde schon mehrmals fuer seine Luegen blossgestellt), das er seiner Organisation einen Japanischen Namen gibt, macht es nicht mehr authentisch. Sei nicht ueberascht, aber auch einer der Moderatoren von hier, ist auch ein Mitglied dieser Kauf-Deinen-Soke-Titel Klubs, und hat sich seinen Soke Titel erworben... Sich darueber aufzuregen ist reine Zeitverschwendung, denen is egal was du denkst. Die Opfer sind ahnungslose Schueler, die einen echten qualifizierten und authentischen Lehrer suchen. Diese Schueler werden enweder entaeuscht aufgeben, oder wachsen und lernen, realisieren und sich dann einen besseren Lehrer suchen...





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Mark Brecht

Ruediger
4th June 2000, 12:20
Hi all,

someone out there, who can give me infos about the Juko-kai and the "Way of buying a Soke" http://216.10.1.92/ubb/smile.gif. Is this a serious Organization (the Juko-kai)?? I ask, because there is an Organization here in Germany with a 10. DAN Soke in Tamashii Ryu (never heard his before). It sounds ...mhhh... funny for me. Maybe you want to take a look at the Website here in Germany (the Site is also in english, but leads later to german Sites)
http://www.soke.de

Thank's in advance

Regards

Ruediger Meier



[This message has been edited by Ruediger (edited 06-04-2000).]

Jeff Cook
4th June 2000, 21:31
Mark,

Mr. Meier had the courtesy to post in English. Excuse my lack of education; I am respectfully requesting that you post in English as well so we can all benefit from your comments.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

4th June 2000, 23:45
Since being banned from another forum, I have been hesitant to post any further messages about Juko Kai or its founder, Rod Sachranoski, on e-Budo. It was so difficult for me during the server crash, I just couldn't imagine being banned from posting here, too. Suffice it to say, however, that anything or anybody associated with this organization or its supporters should be considered questionable. I will add that I have received notification from the Maine Department of Education indicating that Rod's University of Oriental Philosophy is operating without any authorization and apparently in violation of that state's law. I also understand that the Maine Attorney General is now looking into some of Juko Kai's more questionable operations. I suspect it won't be long before Rod moves his organization to another state.

By the way, my German is very limited, mostly to ordering beer and finding bathrooms. I would be interested in a translation of your previous message. Please post it or send me an English summary via e-mail.

Sincerely,

Don "Banned from Budoseek" Cunningham

[This message has been edited by budokai (edited 06-04-2000).]

Richard Elias
5th June 2000, 01:10
Popie,
Thanx for the heads-up on the clipart thing. And yes, the piece in the upper right corner is one of Don's.I'm a student of Don Angier's, and I think he might be interested. When Mr. Sachranoski first began this little venture, he asked Don to join his "Soke Board" to give it validity. Don declined. I'll be forwarding this info to him. Interesting though, you can't actually click on that piece. He also has the page copyrighted. If nothing else, Don should find this amusing. There is also a piece done by a long time friend of Don's, Walter Von Kreiner. It's the one in the upper left corner.
Thanx again,

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Richard Elias
Shidare Yanagi Ryu

[This message has been edited by Richard Elias (edited 06-04-2000).]

Ruediger
5th June 2000, 05:36
Thank you all for the replies.
My first impression, after reading the Website of the german 'Soke', has been confirmed through your comments.
I think, that the Juko-kai should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Regards

Ruediger Meier

P.S.
Mark, your german is damn good, much,much better then my english http://216.10.1.92/ubb/smile.gif

5th June 2000, 19:28
It won't fall. It will just fade into another jurisdiction. Look at how many times Juko Kai has changed states in just the past few years.

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Don Cunningham

kagebushi
6th June 2000, 16:14
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jeff Cook:
Mark,

Mr. Meier had the courtesy to post in English. Excuse my lack of education; I am respectfully requesting that you post in English as well so we can all benefit from your comments.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dear Jeff,

i wrote the post in German to answer the question, while trying not to commit arson (BTW, http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif i was not aware that the first amend. is limited to American English, neither do John`s rules prohibit other languages...). Anyway here is a rough translation:
In my personal opinion, the organisation is a Title-Mill. The (often incorrect) use of Japanese, for an American company does not make it authentic... Might as well found your own system and promote yourself (please, do not take this personal Jeff, i didn`t have you in mind when i wrote this, it was a general thought, I respect you as a moderater and a professional Soldier/Security Consultant, you marketing strageties and or whatever your reason are, are your business and only yours, afterall it is a free market economy). I also made Ruediger aware, that is kind of thing is not uncommen, as i am aware of at least one e-budo moderator here, who received his "Sokeship" through the mentioned organisation. I did not write this to attack, rather to answers to his suspicions, and to make a point (the only thing i consider really worthy to translate into English): There is no point of getting upset, about Title-Mills, as these people do not care anyway. The victims are the unkowning students, who seek qualifed and authentic teachers (but fall for the titles and ranks). Some of these students will be disappointed and give up, others will learn, grow and realize... and go on to a new teacher. That is part of the quest (nobody that it is easy...).




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Mark Brecht

John Lindsey
6th June 2000, 18:15
Oh oh, here we go again. My perspective on this whole matter is that until we have some official facts here, I think we should let subject die off for now. We have spent almost a year on this subject.

For instance, if it turns out that the Juko-kai is secretly training ninja terrorists, lets here about it. Likewise, if the Emperor of Japan names Rod a National Living Treasure of Japan, then lets here that too. My point is that the good, the bad, and the ugly are all "postable" here, but base it on hard facts, not the grapevine.

Remember, e-budo begins and ends with reiho...



[This message has been edited by John Lindsey (edited 06-06-2000).]

Mike B
6th June 2000, 18:44
Hiya,

You want facts? I have in my possession a copy of a Juko Kai rank certificate. It was given to me by an aquaintence who was trying to convince us that he was really a 4th Dan in Karate, and that he was recognized as such in Japan. (BTW, this fella's name is really on the original certificate but he can't tie his own shoes much less do karate.) At the time I didn't think much of it but after reading a post by someone here on E-budo concerning the rather comical use of kanji on these certificates I decided to have a Japanese friend of mine check it out.

Wholly Molley!

It's no rumour. The kanji for Seidokan Karate do is essentially spelled "whorehouse or more specifically "Sex Way House Karate". It's right there in black & white for everyone see! Who is Sachrnoski kidding? Not me!

Roflol

I don't remember who posted this gem of information on e-budo but whoever you are, thanks for the enlightenment. We all got a good laugh out of it here at the dojo.

I've got the goods on Rod Sachrnoski right here in my hands. His signature, big as Paul Bunyon right there promoting people in Whorehouse Karate. Now thats a fact!

Gotta luv it! http://216.10.1.92/ubb/smile.gif

Mike Beall
Shito ryu Karate
Kodakan Judo

John, You,ve got to admit that this sort of error on a formal certificate reputedly "registered in Japan" casts serious doubt's on Sachrnoski's's claims. How could a legit Japanese Budo Association allow such an error unless.........

[This message has been edited by Mike B (edited 06-06-2000).]

Jeff Cook
6th June 2000, 18:51
Mark, you are right, there is no rule against posting in another language other than English - that's why I RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED, NOT demanded, that you post in English.

And as you mentioned this: "Might as well found your own system and promote yourself (please, do not take this personal Jeff, i didn`t have you in mind when i wrote this, it was a general thought, I respect you as a moderater and a professional Soldier/Security Consultant, you marketing strageties and or whatever your reason are, are your business and only yours, afterall it is a free market economy)." In spite of your words indicating generality, you insinuate that the shoe fits.

I founded my own system by going out and teaching what I learned from various "established" classical and koryu arts; I DID NOT PROMOTE myself in any art or organization, and I have never sought promotion (I hold three black belt ranks in other classical arts from long toil through the ranks, and I was awarded organizational rank by some of the most respected martial artists in this country based upon my systematic teaching of what I know). I have been recognized out of respect for what I do and what I have accomplished. I could CARE LESS about rank, and I could care less about affiliations and petty political squabbles.

I have a school open to the public; my "strategies," my history, in fact everything regarding my martial arts training, are not just my business, but anybody who inquires or makes leading statements concerning my public dealings makes it their business, and this is the way it should be.

This is the way all public organizations should be run - if anyone running an organization has something to hide, or has the need to deceive or embellish, they need to go find another line of work.

Disclaimer: my comments above are not directed towards the Juko-Kai nor any other organization. These are my own opinions which are reflected in my "marketing strategy."

Anyway, Mark, I hope you can understand why I felt the need to make a detailed, pointed reply. This is a sore subject for many people, but it is a valuable discussion nonetheless. We all just need to keep it in the realm of "valuable" and not allow it to become another flame.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

John Lindsey
6th June 2000, 20:47
Also, I seem to recall that there is the Juko-kai message board at their site. That is probably a good place to visit as well...

6th June 2000, 22:36
Hi Kent,

Just for you, I have had contact from both the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Attorney General's office. There is nothing "alleged" about the University of Oriental Philosophy's wrongdoings. It is definitely operating illegally in that state. As I understand it, they are currently considering the appropriate legal action necessary to shut it down. They are also looking into several other of Juko Kai's questionable practices for potential consumer fraud. If the people you talked with don't know anything about it, then send me an e-mail and I'll give you the names of those actually investigating Rod's business practices. I can also supply phone numbers. If you're really in law enforcement, then you should know that the legal system moves very slowly. Unfortunately, many of those who defraud others often take advantage of this syndrome.

Finally, I was "booted" from Budoseek for making what some considered an inappropriate pun about Mr. Tolson. It had nothing to do with my exposure of such questionable groups like Juko Kai. I was invited back, but I prefer to remain in the banned status. I would rather be upfront about my thoughts than concerned with what certain people think of me.

If anyone needs to get the facts straight, you should. If you're really in law enforcement, it scares me to think of those in your jurisdiction when you so easily jump to the wrong conclusions so often. It's a frightening thought that someone empowered to enforce the law is so easily prejudiced. I am especially concerned when a person with such responsibility is involved with questionable groups like Juko Kai or individuals who are are so blantant about their fraudulent practices.

By the way, Kent, I am insulted by your comments, too. I haven't attacked you or cast any doubts on your credability. So why do you continue to attack mine?

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Don Cunningham

[This message has been edited by budokai (edited 06-06-2000).]

kagebushi
6th June 2000, 22:39
I should have kept my trap shut, or rather kept my fingers of the keyboard. I admit it might would have been better, to just privatly email Ruediger, rather than responding to such a HOT subject publicly. I thought i would avoid all this trouble by using another language, but that was a mistake. Too late now, and after people asked for the content of my post, i felt bad and tried to be fair and translate it.
Jeff, seriously i did not have you in mind when i typed the original post. I apologize if you feel offended. I am straight and honest to let you know, that i simply see no point why people would create "japanese" styles. That does not mean that i do not consider you a highly qualified martial artist, i am actually pretty sure that you have more real life and street experience of "shinkengata", than most japanese masters. I am sure your students stick with you because of your leadership and teaching skills, not because of the exotic sounding art name. (BTW great stuff for another heated debate, you were refering to some of your background arts as "classical", i think you were referring to Gendai Budo arts... http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif let`s do that one another time...).
To Kent, i did not address you directly, out of respect, there was no hidden agenda. I enjoyed during the last couple of months many of your posts, and i think the e-budo community is fortunate to have you here. As far as the Juko-kai goes, there was no shin kicking, a new member asked a fair and valid question (which i think is one of the purposes of having this board). I stated my personal opinion and nothing else. Anybody who knows japanese MA and a bit of Japanese, will start wondering when they take a look at the Juko website. I encountered some strange "japanese" titles... but lets not go into that stuff. The remark about picking on my lienage, http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif i am confident and cocky enough to ingnore that. But seriously, why is everybody offended so easily. I do not dislike anybody here, otherwise i would not spend my time here. I respect you guys actually very much (i do not think it is a contradication, that i do not really care or think highly about some of the politics or organizations).



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Mark Brecht

kagebushi
6th June 2000, 22:53
Don, come on. Your last post is getting a bit personal. I think we can disucss and debate our opinions here, but we should keep a certain respect towards each other. I think Kent showed you respect, mentioning that he is glad that ebudo is more tolerant. I know his post sounded angry, but i also understand that he feels attacked. Let`s not exchange low blows, please. It won`t get us anywhere, also it will upset John and force him to take action. Debate Don, please do not assault...

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Mark Brecht

Jeff Cook
7th June 2000, 02:47
Mark,

I am not offended, but I am very adamant about making certain that people know where I stand - I don't want to risk others misunderstanding something that is very important to me. And I also do not want to give the false impression of fraud, deceit, and lies when it comes to representing what I do.

(I do respect you and our opinions.)

As far as my use of the term "classical," I may have to concede that one to you. Perhaps gendai is a more accurate term; I draw a distinction between classical and ancient (as in koryu) - classical being the more "modern" derivations of ancient arts, such as different styles of Okinawan karate, aikido, judo, and shinto yoshin jujitsu (actually, that one may be classified as koryu). Gendai I have always seen as being more modern, as in the comparison of timelines between Shorin, Shotokan, and Wado, Wado being the most "modern" (even though it is very deeply connected to the koryu art of shinto yoshin). In this respect I would consider Shorin to be "classical," and Shotokan and Wado being "gendai."

My use of a japanese term for what I do is not an indication that I have created a japanese "style." I purposely picked a very generic term to label what I do - I did not create nor reinvent anything, but because I applied a structure to my training regimen, it necessitated a label for conveinence. And I chose a japanese term because the majority of my training has been in japanese/okinawan arts. Nothing more, nothing less.

(Notice how I try to redirect the topic away from more damaging conversation? Hope it works! http://216.10.1.92/ubb/smile.gif)

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

kagebushi
7th June 2000, 13:36
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jeff Cook:
My use of a japanese term for what I do is not an indication that I have created a japanese "style." I purposely picked a very generic term to label what I do - I did not create nor reinvent anything, but because I applied a structure to my training regimen, it necessitated a label for conveinence. And I chose a japanese term because the majority of my training has been in japanese/okinawan arts. Nothing more, nothing less.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Jeff,

i thank you for this post. I have a couple of business decisions to make regarding this issue. You just gave new food for thought.
BTW, http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif how about we jump into your forum, and continue with the Tactical Decision Exercises... We should ask Neil for something new, hey wait a minute you are the moderator, how about you putting up one ( http://216.10.1.92/ubb/smile.gif http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif instead of straying in other forums...)

http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif See you in CQC,


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Mark Brecht

[This message has been edited by kagebushi (edited 06-07-2000).]

Ruediger
7th June 2000, 16:56
Uuuuppsss,

just a little question about the Juko-kai and in return a few answers to think about. I am sorry that my question leads to this discussion. If i annoyed someone just let me say i'm sorry about this.

Regards

Ruediger Meier

Kit LeBlanc
7th June 2000, 19:02
Looks like E-Budo is OFFICIALLY back!

Kit

ghp
7th June 2000, 21:28
Rudeger [u. Mark]

Gruess di'!

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>besser gesagt "Kriege"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
"...better called [referred to as] "war.""

Freili', dass is sehr richtig (lachen). Oder, sag' man "Stimmt dass!" ?? I'hab alles vergessen. It's been over 20 years since I was in Germany.

Anyway... froeli', hertzli' willkommen.

Berg heil,
Guy Power



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Guy H. Power
http://www.trifox.com/aux/kenshinkan

Just some guy
20th January 2001, 16:14
Okay, this is more of a language question but as it pertains to Koryu I thought that this was the right place to ask. I was wondering about the exact meaning of the terms Soke and Shihanke in referance to koryu. This comes up from another thread and I was just wondering for my own information. I ask because it seems that Kashima Shinto Ryu counts its Soke back before the formation of their Ryu (coming to the grand total of 64:eek: ). Though I know that the soke is often the holder of the ryu, does one nessaserily count the first soke as the founder of the ryu? If not, when does one start counting.

Rob.Boger
21st January 2001, 03:40
Chris,

According to Karl Friday's book, 'Legacies of the Sword,'

"The Kashima-Shinry ske and shihanke lineages date back nearly five hundred years, but the school as a structured organization is a phenomenon of far more recent origin. During its early years the ryha appears to have had no institutional structure at all, which is one of the reasons that it is so difficult to establish even teacher-student relationships for the first few generations."

"The first, the ske, or "Founder's House," derives from Matsumoto's student Kunii Kagekiyo, a son of Kagetsugu. This lineage has continued within the Kunii family to the present-day (twenty-first-generation) ske, Kunii Michiyuki. The second line, the shihanke, or "Instructor's House," separated from the ske lineage with Kamiizumi and continued for nine generations, until the eighteenth century, when Kunii Taizen received certifications of mastery from both his fater, Yoshinori, and Ono Shigemasa, the eleventh-gernation shihanke, and merged the two lines."


According to the book entitled 'Koryu Bujutsu', as edited by Diane Skoss, it lists the following in the glossary of the text:

Shihanke 'master teacher'
Ske 'headmaster'

I'm sure other's can give something better if needed and I hope that helps.


Sincerely,
Rob Boger




[Edited by Rob.Boger on 01-20-2001 at 10:47 PM]

Just some guy
21st January 2001, 08:30
Mr. Boger,
Thanks for your help, but I'm afraid that this leaves me with the same question about the usage of these two words. As stated in the Kashima Shinto Ryu example, it seems that they count the Soke from the very begining of the Family thought the school itself was not founded until the 1500's, many Centuries later. One again, I was wondering if one need count the Soke from the very foundation of the Ryu or, does this word have a meaning that seems to go beyond the Budo context? If the first Soke need not nesaserily refer to the founder of the who, then who would it be refering to? If the word has a context beyond that of budo, what is said context?

Any one have any thoughts.

Karl Friday
22nd January 2001, 14:57
"Soke" simply means "main family," and can be used in a wide range of contexts, including arts other than the bugei. In bugei usage, "soke" refers to the founder's house, or to the current heir to the ryuha's formal headship; "shihanke" refers to the designated head instructor, or to a lineage of such instructors. A few traditions, like Kashima-Shinryu, claim dual/parallel lineages stretching way way back; in others shihanke are named in some generations and not in others. Usually (but not always), a shihanke is designated because the titular head of the school is for one reason or another unable to serve as the principal instructor.

Because "soke" refers to the family lineage, as well as the current headmaster, it's possible for some of the names on the list of "soke" to predate the actual ryuha. It's really just a matter of emphasis and choice on the part of the school--emphasizing the family tradition vs. emphasis on a particularly famous "founder".

It's best not to get too hung up on terms of this sort, because (like a good bit of Japanese vocabulary) their usage isn't always consistent and their meanings can be fairly amorphous.

It's also best not to take things like the beginnings of particular ryuha too seriously, since any dates or individuals cited are ultimately fairly arbitrary. The designation of any individual as the founder of a system is really only partly a matter of invention and innovation on the part of the "founder"; it's also a matter of politics and hagiography.

Bugei training and bugei ryuha did not become heavily formalized until the Tokugawa period. Before that, training for most warriors was an ad hoc mixture of learning from dad and your buddies, picking up on experience and inspiration of your own, plus scattered episodes of more structured coaching, sometimes from famous teachers (kind of like the way kids today learn to play basketball).

Obviously the "founders" of the various ryuha learned from someone somewhere, and the people who taught *them* must have learned somewhere too. If you want to, you could therefore trace any "school" back as far as you want, which is exactly what some ryuha do, when they speak of origins in the Heian period and such. When historians assert that ryuha bugei began around the 15th century, they mean that that was the point at which enough of the conventions, practices and traditions we now associate with the phenomenon began to appear to justify identifying the start of something new. Obviously, though, at least *some* of the information that defined the "new" ryuha had to have been around before this period--in fact you can follow that regression all the way back to the cavemen.

Just some guy
22nd January 2001, 20:18
Thank you Dr Friday. That was exactly what I wanted to know.

Brently Keen
24th January 2001, 00:24
Just a minor clarification in case some people reading this thread didn't realize it: Kashima Shinto-ryu and Kashima-Shinryu are two different schools and styles.

I do have a few questions for Dr. Friday:

If my memory serves me right, in "Legacies of the Sword", you mention the Jikishinkage-ryu as a school related to Kashima-Shinryu, I think you mentioned that they share a common ancestry as well as many densho. Is that correct?

Is Jikishinkage-ryu then considered to be a branch of Kashima-Shinryu? Likewise is there any lineal relation between Kashima Shinto-ryu and Kashima-Shinryu and/or Jikishinkage-ryu?

How would you characterize the main differences of these two other schools, compared to Kashima-Shinryu (either in terms of technical emphasis, philosophic distinctives, or historical context)?

Finally, thanks Dr. Friday for taking your time to share with us here on e-budo, your insights are always appreciated and add a lot to the discussions here.

Brently Keen

Karl Friday
29th January 2001, 19:03
Kashima-Shinryu and Jikishin-kageryu are both branches of what might be called the "Shinkage-ryu family"--the schools that claim substantial connection to Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami Nobutsuna. This "family" also includes the Shinkage-ryu, Taisha-ryu, Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, and a handful of others.

The Kashima-Shinryu and the Kashima Shinto-ryu are not very similar in their contemporary incarnations, although they share some common history. The Kashima-Shinryu
traces its origins to Matsumoto Bizen-no-kami Masamoto and Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami Hidetsugu. The Kashima Shinto-ryu (actually, there are several ryuha by that name, but one that's better known than the others) derives from Tsukahara Bokuden and Iizasa Choisai. In both technique and history, it's much more closely related to the Katori Shinto-ryu than to KSR, and belongs to what some historians call the Shinto-ryu tradition.

There is a great deal of confusion as to the actual relationship that held between the four men cited above, and little prospect of ever clarifying things very well. Different ryuha (and each has connections to several) offer different versions of the story, and even "objective" written texts and documents disagree as to who taught whom (for details, see my discussion in *Legacies of the Sword*). It is likely that there was significant cross-fertilization and influence between the two traditions, given that both developed around the same time in the same area, but they
split off from one another by the mid 1500s and have evolved separately ever since.

Kashima Shinto-ryu lineage is fairly straight-forward. It has been practiced mostly in Kashima village (now Kashima City), under the auspices of the Yoshikawa family. The Kashima-Shinryu's history is more complex. The modern art is the result of the fusing, in the 18th century, of the
Shinkage-ryu tradition (which, according to tradition, was heavily influenced by the Kashima martial tradition) into a system (believed to have originated in Kashima) passed down within the Kunii family in northeastern Japan.

In terms of technique, the most conspicuous difference between KSR and KSTR is that the latter principally manipulates the sword in straight, back-and-forth lines (as does modern Kendo and the majority of Japanese sword traditions), while the former does everything in spirals. A second, immediately apparent difference is that KSTR kata tend to be relatively long and involved, while KSR kata usually consist of just one exchange of techniques.

Karl Friday
29th January 2001, 19:10
Oops, somehow this post got uploaded twice--sorry 'bout that!

[Edited by Karl Friday on 01-29-2001 at 03:35 PM]

Just some guy
30th January 2001, 16:11
No, By all means Keep writing. I'd love to hear more :) .

W.Bodiford
17th February 2001, 07:35
The Japanese term *ske* seems to generate a great deal of confusion, not just among people who lack Japanese-language skills but among Japanese people themselves. In different contexts the term acquires different meanings and connotations. For this reason, when writing about *ske* in English (or, rather, when arguing about its meaning) it is useful to distinguish the ways that this word has been used in different historical, commercial, legal, and contemporary contexts.

The expert on this subject is a Japanese scholar named Nishiyama Matsunosuke. A brief English-language summary of his research can be found in the translator's introduction, pages 4--5, to *Edo Culture: Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan, 1600--1868* (1997; translated by Gerald Groemer; Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press). Detailed explanation can be found in his Japanese-language works: (1) *Iemoto monogatari* (Iemoto stories, 1956; Tokyo: Sangy Keizai Shinbunsha), (2) *Gendai no iemoto* (Contemporary Iemoto, 1962; Tokyo: Kobund), (3) *Iemoto no kenky* (Researches in the Iemoto System, 1982; Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kbunkan). This last book is the classic study in the field. All Japanese scholars who write about *ske* begin with Nishiyama's 1982 study.

Since classical times in Japan there always have existed families that exercised exclusive commercial control over the production and distribution of certain crafts and manufactured goods. In most cases those families maintained their monopolies through the protection and patronage of local nobles or the royal court. These families operated much like corporations with many branches and other affiliated groups operating together. Even if proper male progeny did not exist economics demanded that the main family line must always continue since the monopoly power rested with that family alone. If necessary, therefore, another male from one of the affiliated groups would be brought in and designated as heir to succeed to the head of the family. The heir, whether related by blood or adopted, was responsible for maintaining the unity of the corporate families, maintaining their commercial monopoly, and maintaining their good relations with their patrons. The main family itself, as a multi-generational entity, and the head of the family both were called *ske*. In Chinese *ske* (*zongjia*) originally referred to the main lineage within a clan that was responsible for maintaining the ancestral temple for the entire clan. In Japan, like China, *ske* assume the filial duties of ancestor rites, but the term implied stronger commercial overtones than religious ones.

During the Tokugawa period many types of artistic and cultural activities, not just commercial enterprises, came under the domination of familial guilds that exercised monopoly or near-monopoly power over the performance of those arts and endeavors. Actors in Noh or Kabuki theater, practitioners of tea ceremony or flower arranging, performers of musical instruments like *koto* or *shakuhachi*, and participants in many other popular pastimes could learn their crafts or skills only from instructors who had been licensed by one of a very limited number of these familial guilds. Because the familial guilds enjoyed monopolies, they earned money from every single person throughout the entire country who participated in their particular type of craft or art. Gerald Groemer (cited above) neatly summarizes the commercial powers of these familial guilds:

*quote*

1. Rights regarding the art --- for example, the right to secrecy, the right to allow or prohibit performances, rights over the repertoire or the set forms (*kata*) of an art.
2. Rights concerning the teaching, transmission, and licensing of the art.
3. The right to expel or punish members of the school.
4. The right to dispose of costumes, ranks (pseudonyms), and the like.
5. The right to control equipment or properties used in the art.
6. Exclusive rights to the income resulting from the preceding five items.

*end quote*

Let me emphasize that the above rights all were possessed by just one or two or three familial guilds that enforced their rights throughout the entire kingdom. Nishiyama argues that from the mid-18th century on these guilds provided a government-regulated medium for the distribution of cultural knowledge that allowed people assigned to different levels of society (nobles, samurai, lower warriors, townsmen, merchants, wealthy farmers, rural warriors, etc.) to interact with one another on near-equal footing. Historians have labeled the social structures created by the familial guilds the *iemoto seido* (iemoto system). In Tokugawa-period texts the terms *iemoto* and *ske* were used interchangeably. Both words could be used to refer to the main lineage within a guild or to refer to the person who is the current head of that lineage.

After 1868 when Japan became organized as a modern state, the government formally recognized the legal rights of *iemoto* (a.k.a. *ske*) to control the copyright of all musical scores, theatrical plays, textbooks, and artistic works produced by members of their guilds. In this way the terms *iemoto* and *ske* acquired strict legal definitions. To maintain their copyrights guilds had to register with the government as legal entities. At the same time they lost the ability to enforce commercial monopolies over the teaching and practice of their crafts.

Before 1868 martial arts never were controlled by an *iemoto* or *ske* structure. This is the reason why there exists so many different schools (*ryha*) of martial arts. Different styles and lineages proliferated because the ruling authorities never would allow any single martial entity to exercise monopoly control throughout the land. In every generation there always existed martial students who broke away to start their own schools with their own secret teachings and their own repertoire of kata. When they issued diplomas they did so by their own authority without paying license fees to any larger organization. In contrast to the wide diversity of martial schools, only a limited number of schools of Noh or Ikebana or Tea Ceremony (etc.) could exist because the monopoly power of the *ske* prevented any rival schools from being created. In short, the ability to found new schools constitutes a repudiation of the *ske* power. If there are new schools, then there is no *ske*. If there is a *ske*, then there are no new schools.

Osano Jun argues that the first marital art in Japan to adopt a *ske* system was the Kodokan School of judo (see his *Zusetsu Nihon bugei bunka gairon*; Illustrated Overview of Japanese Martial Art Culture, 1994; Tokyo: Fysha). Osano could be right. The Kodokan set the standards not just for members within one training hall in one location but for all participants in judo throughout the nation. The Kodokan defined the art, it controlled licensing and instruction, and it established branch schools that maintain permanent affiliation with the headquarters. If the Kodokan does not recognize something as being "judo," then it is not judo. Therefore, there is no such thing as a new school of judo. All of these elements constitute essential characteristics of traditional *ske* in Tokugawa-period Japan. In actual practice, however, no one ever refers to the Kodokan as the *ske* of judo. The term seems out of place with judo's emphasis on modernity. After analyzing the term in this way Osano goes on to suggest that present-day use of the label *ske* by practitioners of small koryu traditions not only is incorrect but reveals an ignorance of traditional Japanese culture.

Osano's strict historical understanding probably is too strict. He overlooks the legal changes in the status of *ske* that occurred after 1868. Nowadays no *iemoto* (a.k.a. *ske*) can enforce monopoly control over the practice of their traditions. Anyone can teach tea or flower arranging or anything else whether they licensed by one of the traditional schools or not. In this open environment, the traditional schools distinguish themselves from up-start rivals by pointing out that they constitute the direct heirs to a long familial history (whether fictional or real). *Iemoto* or *ske* simply happen to be the usual terms for designating the main lineage in which a craft or art has been handed down. Therefore these words have become a part of common usage when discussing families who traditionally have possessed a proprietary knowledge of a craft or art. This social or popular use of these terms denotes a historical past, not a present-day commercial or legal monopoly.

Consider, for example, the case of Kashima-Shinryu. In his books and articles the current head of Kashima-Shinryu, Seki Humitake, uses the label *ske* as a designation for the Kunii family. He uses this term as a way of honoring the role the Kunii family played in preserving Kashima-Shinryu traditions. Down to the time of Seki's teacher, Kunii Zen'ya (1894--1966), Kashima-Shinryu had for a long time been passed down from father to son from one generation of the Kunii family to the next. The modern use of the label *ske* simply acknowledges that legacy. In the writings of Kunii Zen'ya and in the scrolls preserved within the Kunii family, however, the word *ske* cannot be found. Kunii Zen'ya never referred to himself or to his family as the as the *ske* of Kashima-Shinryu. He simply signed his name. In writing out copies of the old scrolls (these copies would be handed out as diplomas), though, he usually would add the words "Kunii-ke sden" before the title of the scroll. For example, if he copied an old scroll titled "kenjutsu mokuroku" he give it the title "Kunii-ke soden kenjutsu mokuroku." In this example, the original title simply means "kenjutsu curriculum" while the longer version means "the 'kenjutsu curriculum' transmitted within the Kunii family." Used in this sense of "transmitted within a family" the term *ske* seems perfectly reasonable. Of course it is not meant to imply the existence of some kind of commercial monopoly.

Now, I would be the last one to condone the use of obscure Japanese terminology to describe American social practices for which perfectly acceptable English words already exist. I cannot imagine how any non-Japanese could call himself a "soke" except as a joke. At the same time I must say that I cannot regard this term with any special reverence either. During the Tokugawa-period *ske* designated a commercial system of hereditary privilege that took advantage of the ignorance of ordinary people for financial gain. Perhaps teachers of commercial martial art schools in America who adopt the title "soke" for themselves are more historically accurate in their usage than they themselves realize.

Robert Reinberger
17th February 2001, 08:41
A gem. A real gem. Thank you very much for that one, Mr. Bodiford.

Thinking of another recently started thread: every time I realize what level of knowledge and information is available here at e-budo.com, I really doubt if I should contribute about anything here. But, on the other hand, didn't our twaddle "provoke" Prof. Bodiford to this contribution?

Regards,
Robert

MarkF
17th February 2001, 09:02
Robert,
Absolutely. Could not have put it better.

Prof. Bodiford,
This is going to be saved as most complete description, and most accurate, I've heard. That I am a judoka means all the more to me.:)

Thank you,

Yamantaka
17th February 2001, 10:15
Dear Mr. Bodiford,

What can I say that hasn't been said already? Excellent text! I couldn't have access to you personally so I'm asking here in the List for your authorization for translating and including it in my own list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aikido-lingua_portuguesa ), where I usually include posts and texts by recognized authorities on martial subjects and japanese culture as, for instance, Wayne Muromoto, Meik Skoss, Stanley Pranin and Karl Friday.
It would be an honour for me and for my list, if you could authorize this translation of your text.
Waiting for your answer
I'm truly yours
Ubaldo Alcantara - Owner/Moderator
Aikido List in Portuguese Language

Ruediger
17th February 2001, 14:34
Prof. Bodiford,

as already written, this is an excellent post.
I also want to ask you if you would give me
the permission to use your post on my own website. My website is in german language only, but to avoid mistakes in translation, i would use the post in the original language.

The URL for my website is http://www.budo-nyumon.de

Thank you for your time

Regards

[Edited by Ruediger on 02-17-2001 at 09:48 AM]

Diane Skoss
19th February 2001, 12:03
Prof. Bodiford,

Any chance I could get permission to post your soke message as an article at Koryu.com? Perks include a bio squib and links to your choice of further reference sites. Let me know... and thanks!

Cheers!

Karl Friday
19th February 2001, 19:23
Originally posted by W.Bodiford
Before 1868 martial arts never were controlled by an *iemoto* or *ske* structure. This is the reason why there exists so many different schools (*ryha*) of martial arts. Different styles and lineages proliferated because the ruling authorities never would allow any single martial entity to exercise monopoly control throughout the land. In every generation there always existed martial students who broke away to start their own schools with their own secret teachings and their own repertoire of kata. When they issued diplomas they did so by their own authority without paying license fees to any larger organization. In contrast to the wide diversity of martial schools, only a limited number of schools of Noh or Ikebana or Tea Ceremony (etc.) could exist because the monopoly power of the *ske* prevented any rival schools from being created. In short, the ability to found new schools constitutes a repudiation of the *ske* power. If there are new schools, then there is no *ske*. If there is a *ske*, then there are no new schools.

I just want to add a minor--albeit important--quibble/clarification to an otherwise excellent post:

Will's treatment of this topic seems to at least partially confound what I think ought to be understood as two distinct constructs: the idea of what might be called the "soke system" and that of a "soke (or iemoto) + natori system." I would argue (actually, I guess I already have, in *Legacies*) that bugei ryuha had the former, but not the latter.

Whether or not the term "soke" itself was used in reference to bugei ryuha prior to the Meiji period, the family soden traditions and the license & rank systems that developed during the Edo era do amount to a "soke system" (meaning proprietorship over a package of teachings vested exclusively in the hands of one individual per generation) albeit without the natori component (networks of authority across political lines or networks of branch schools) found in arts like ikebana, chanoyu, or Noh. While bugei ryuha didn't license and promulagate branch schools on the natori pattern, they DO seem to have PROHIBITED them. That is, they do appear to have made efforts to stop unauthorized use of a ryuha name, which amounts to affirmation (in the negative) of much the same sort of proprietary rights to artistic/intellectual property claimed by other arts. Certainly it was not the case that any student, or even any "graduate" (recipient of menkyo kaiden) was free to claim to teach xyz-ryu under that name. Ryuha headmasters did have designated successors. Other "graduates" appear to have had the right to advertise their affiliation with the ryuha, but not the right to pass that right on to their own students.

That is, bugei ryuha were like ryuha of other arts in their concept of proprietary possession or transmission of the tenets of their arts. The key organizational difference was the absence of branch schools and the use of the term "soke" itself among bugei schools, prior to the modern era.

19th February 2001, 23:44
Mr Bodiford,

Very illuminating discourse on the history and use of the iemoto or soke terms. Really the best I have ever read.

I however have several questions for you

If....

An individual of western birth was chosen by a Japanese family head as a yoshi or adopted son for the purpose of maintaining a specific family tradition could the term be properly applied to his position? These passages seems to support this:

_________________________________________________________________


If necessary, therefore, another male from one of the affiliated groups would be brought in and designated as heir to succeed to the head of the family. The heir, whether related by blood or adopted, was responsible for maintaining the unity of the corporate families, maintaining their commercial monopoly, and maintaining their good relations with their patrons. The main family itself, as a multi-generational entity, and the head of the family both were called *ske*.

(I believe a system similar to this was utilized by samurai caste families when no male heir was available because family property and land was only traditionally inherited by males. - TT)

*Iemoto* or *ske* simply happen to be the usual terms for designating the main lineage in which a craft or art has been handed down. Therefore these words have become a part of common usage when discussing families who traditionally have possessed a proprietary knowledge of a craft or art. This social or popular use of these terms denotes a historical past, not a present-day commercial or legal monopoly.

Used in this sense of "transmitted within a family" the term *ske* seems perfectly reasonable.

__________________________________________________________________

The reason I ask is because of this statement from your excellent post:

I cannot imagine how any non-Japanese could call himself a "soke" except as a joke.

I happen to know an individual of western birth that does meet the generally accepted criterior of a legitament Soke depending of course on some hairsplitting of the definition.

In 1986 I happen to meet Don Angier, who used the term soke not as a indicator of any rank but sort of as an inherited administrative position for Yanagi ryu Aiki Bugei.
Don claimed to have been adopted as a yoshi and inherited Yanagi ryu from Yoshida Kenji, the son of the enigmatic Yoshida Kotaro. I must admit to some suspicions concerning his claim until I had the chance to examine photographs, film footage and then later confirm the authenticity of certain other technical information related to Daito ryu with Stan Pranin of Aikido Journal Magazine.

Any lingering suspicions were dashed on a trip to Japan in 1992 when I personally witnessed Kondo Katsuyukis recognition of Don Angier as the inheritor of Yanagi ryu Aiki Bugei and the Yoshida family martial traditions. Given that Kondo Katsuyuki was a personal student of Yoshida Kotaro and was currently the technical heir (menkyo kaiden) to Daito ryu, I took this as final confirmation.

So, Im not trying to be a jerk but am genuinely interested in your definition of his position. See the credentials of Don Angier have been put thru the ringer and not been found wanting by some pretty heavy hitters including some prominent Japanese. What would you consider his position if not a soke. Seriously interested.

Thanks again for the excellent post.

Toby Threadgill

P.S. My past teacher Takamura Yukiyoshi received a Menkyo Kaiden in Shindo Yoshin ryu from within his own family and later in life began his own ryuha. Until his death he eschewed all of this title silliness and simply preferred sensei .

Robert Reinberger
20th February 2001, 11:07
Profs. Friday and Bodiford,

while we are at it, I would like to add some questions, if I may.

While bugei ryuha didn't license and promulagate branch schools on the natori pattern, they DO seem to have PROHIBITED them. That is, they do appear to have made efforts to stop unauthorized use of a ryuha name, which amounts to affirmation (in the negative) of much the same sort of proprietary rights to artistic/intellectual property claimed by other arts. Mr. Draeger, in 'Classical Budo', wrote on page 109: 'Ushu Tatewaki founded what would become the Yagyu Shingan Ryu in pre-Edo times. Some generations of headmasters later, in the Edo period, when Takenaga Naoto received official permission from Yagyu Tajima no Kami to name his ryu the Yagyu Shingan Ryu, the martial curriculum was changed.

That seems to be a perfect example of allowance to use a certain name as opposed to 'efforts to stop it's unauthorized use'. How should we interpret this? Is it the proverbial exception, that is proofing the rule?

Ryuha headmasters did have designated successors. Other "graduates" appear to have had the right to advertise their affiliation with the ryuha, but not the right to pass that right on to their own students.Strictly speaking, that reveals the present situations in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu as well as in Daito Ryu, to name two well known examples, in a different light. Regarding MJER, a lot of people seem to think, that the several Kongen no Maki holders that were students of Oe Sensei had established legitimate branches. In Daito Ryu, the Takumakai, Kodokai and the Sagawa-line are regarded legitimate branches at least.

Should that examples be considered as legitimate, valid evolution of those parts of the Soke/Iemoto seido that were adopted into the Bugei/Budo Ryu-ha in modern times, or do that useages of the original schoolnames constitute a questionable practice, provided, that there is no formal permission from the 'official' body?

Regards,
Robert

Karl Friday
20th February 2001, 15:27
Originally posted by Robert Reinberger

Mr. Draeger, in 'Classical Budo', wrote on page 109: 'Ushu Tatewaki founded what would become the Yagyu Shingan Ryu in pre-Edo times. Some generations of headmasters later, in the Edo period, when Takenaga Naoto received official permission from Yagyu Tajima no Kami to name his ryu the Yagyu Shingan Ryu, the martial curriculum was changed.

That seems to be a perfect example of allowance to use a certain name as opposed to 'efforts to stop it's unauthorized use'. How should we interpret this? Is it the proverbial exception, that is proofing the rule?

I don't know much about the specifics of this case (Meik Skoss is the man to ask about Yagyu history), but it seems to involve something fundamentally different from the sort of thing Will and I are talking about. What Naoto seems to have received was permission to use the Yagyu family name in the name of his school. This isn't the same thing as receiving permission to teach the Yagyu family's Shinkage-ryu at a satellite location--which is what the natori system adopted by ikebana and chanoyu ryuha involved. As far as I know, the Yagyu Shingan-ryu was and remained completely independent of the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and of Yagyu family control.

Under the natori system, heads of branch schools operate under a kind of franchise sort of arrangement, in which the ryuha head retains complete authority over the curriculum and over all students of the system, whether they study at the "headquarters" or at a branch somewhere. No bugei ryuha is known to have established this sort of system prior to modern times. Rather than being set up in satellite schools of their own, to teach under the auspices of the central dojo, bugei students who mastered their ryuha's curriculum were essentially graduated--given certificates of mastery (menkyo kaiden) and set off on their own. Such students were henceforth completely independent of their teachers and their teachers' organization.

The meaning of "branch" is therefore different in the case of pre-Meiji bugei ryuha from what it means in chanoyu. In the latter, a "branch" is a subordinate part of a larger organization, teaching as a proxy for the ryuha headmaster. All ranks and licenses issued to students under this arrangement are given under the authority and in the name of the headmaster. In the bugei (prior to modern times), a "branch" is really a new ryuha, with no formal residual ties to its parent school. Thus while schools of Noh or flower arranging established branches, bugei schools simply branched--again and again with each generation, which is why there are/were so many bugei ryuha out there (vs. only two or three schools of chanoyu).

My last post does, BTW, over-simplify the control-of-name issue a bit, in the interest of making a point. As a practical matter, bugei masters had only limited ability to control unauthorized use of their ryuha names (just as they do today), since (as Will explained) they didn't enjoy the kind of gov't/legal recognition of their property rights that heads of ryuha in other arts did. In practice, the only recourse open to a bugei instructor who found someone fraudulently claiming connection to his lineage was physical intimidation (which was, BTW, illegal under shogunal and most domain law). Moreover, bugei instructors didn't always name a clear successor, and sometimes gave more than one student permission to style themselves instructors of xyz-ryu. And other students often used close variations of their teacher's style names for their own schools. The combination of these factors is the reason there are so many ryuha with similar names and so many ryuha that style themselves ___-ryu ___-ha.

Robert Reinberger
20th February 2001, 15:50
Prof. Friday,

thank you for the clarification.

Cordially,

Robert Reinberger

Patrick McCarthy
20th February 2001, 20:23
Dear Prof. Bodiford,

Echoing the request of Diane Skoss, I too would like to ask your permission to post this splendidly informative explanation in our quarterly journal. May I have your permission?

Cordially

Tom Douglas
22nd February 2001, 19:32
Pretty interesting etymological/historical thread. Now that I'm at the end of it, I'm going to get a glass of hot sake and go soke my feet.

Sorry. I just had to get that in. ;- )

Tom Douglas

Yamantaka
23rd February 2001, 16:02
Please, can anybody help me? I'm trying to contact Prof. William Bodiford to ask his permission to use his Iemoto article but until now I've been unable to do that.
He has no e-mail available. I've written to his University without success. And I asked Mr. Lindsey for help. No avail...
Any ideas what can I do except asking for Mafia's help? :((
Yamantaka

pgsmith
23rd February 2001, 17:45
Here is Professor Bodiford's email address from the UCLA faculty website. I feel funny about posting it here, but you seem sincere in your desire and it is public information. If I am in error, I apologize.

bodiford@ucla.edu

Yamantaka
24th February 2001, 00:10
Originally posted by pgsmith
Here is Professor Bodiford's email address from the UCLA faculty website. I feel funny about posting it here, but you seem sincere in your desire and it is public information. If I am in error, I apologize.

bodiford@ucla.edu

YAMANTAKA : Thank you, my friend! I tried that and it didn't function...???

Ruediger
24th February 2001, 07:22
Before i asked Prof. Bodiford here on e-budo for his permission to post his article, i did a quick search on Google, searched for -- William Bodiford --
I found also the above listed e-mail address, but - Ubaldo has mentioned it - it didn't work properly, my mail came back immediately. Maybe it's an old address :(

regards

MarkF
24th February 2001, 11:16
While I know I will be called old fashioned, it may be that you should write on paper and put in a self-addressed stamped envelope which I am told one can get on line now.

The problem seems to be in patience. Considering the man is a teacher (very basic stuff here folks), write him at UCLA (he hasn't hidden that, nor could he if he wanted), his Department, and wait. He may write and he may not, but I don't see any other solutions.

If he wanted his email public, he would have not used the "hide email" feature.

I've received things indirectly without really asking him. I considred it a gift and left out his name and/or where he teaches, as I think he has made that pretty clear.

I know I'm not the most patient person in the world, but I've got files full of amazing written material, most of which I only asked a general question, or someone has gifted me with some great feats of the quill.

Write and relax. God knows time is precious, but sometimes we are rewareded.

Disclaimer: Ok, I'm sitting on pins and needles myself, and if I hadn't been so embarrassed about it as kid, I'd have no more nails to chew.:)

Ruediger
24th February 2001, 12:50
Mark,

i don't think you're "old fashioned", but...(yeah, here it is...:) )

...the first thing i've done..., i looked at Prof. Bodiford's e-budo profile, but no e-mail address was listed there.
...second thing i've done..., i considered to post my question for permission here on e-budo, but because Prof. Bodiford is not regular here on e-budo i tried to find out his e-mail address and then to ask him directly via e-mail (for me, e-mail is not different from a handwritten letter, but maybe that's just because my work is full of that "stupid computer things" - i'm an admin in a NT/Unix Network :) ...so maybe i'm just "to deep" in that kind of *@$%& :) ...and i also apologized in my mail that i used this way to contact Prof. Bodiford ).
as written above, the mail came back to me, because the mail address is - maybe - "out of order", so i decided to post my question here on e-budo. That's my story in short..., but you're right, there are other ways to ask...

regards

MarkF
25th February 2001, 09:54
[i]Originally posted by Ruediger[i]

because Prof. Bodiford is not regular here on e-budo

Hi Ruediger,
I apologize if my post came off as flippant and sarcastic (well, the sarcasm was genuine, though.;) . I don't know the man personally or by way of the Internet, or by surface mail, although I do have his address which is pretty much as it is in his sig block, I have been gifted with some of his "doodles."

I agree about Interent email, BTW. Sometimes, it is possible to have a conversation in fairly real time, and other times, it is the same.

I just thought that if the email is hidden, then he wants to be written the old way. I doubt he would hold back if one makes the effort to write, and that is what I meant.

Anyway, sorry for the misunderstanding, to everyone. Upon reading it, I did sound more cynical, sarcastic, and flippant than usual.:D

Regards,

Yamantaka
25th February 2001, 10:23
Originally posted by MarkF
[i]Originally posted by Ruediger[i]


Hi Ruediger,
I apologize if my post came off as flippant and sarcastic (well, the sarcasm was genuine, though.;) Anyway, sorry for the misunderstanding, to everyone. Upon reading it, I did sound more cynical, sarcastic, and flippant than usual.:D

Regards,

YAMANTAKA : No sorries, man! After all, auto-critique is good for the soul...:shot:

W.Bodiford
26th February 2001, 06:33
I apologize to everyone who could not find my e-mail address. It is not included in my e-Budo profile since any UCLA e-mail address can be found simply by checking UCLA's electronic directory (just follow the links from UCLA's homepage). This method is the most reliable, as UCLA technicians will up-date their own directory any time they modify their e-mail servers (which happens from time to time).

I am surprised that so many people have expressed an interest in reproducing this message on their own Internet sites. Before granting permission to anyone first I want to revise the original message. I need to correct typos, add HTML tags, and revise the content in several places to address issues such as the ones raised by Karl Friday, Toby Threadgill, and Robert Reinberger. I cannot complete these revisions today. Therefore, I ask you to please be patient. In the mean time, I have a question: Is there any advantage to having this kind of short essay appear in more than one web site? If not, then I think I should pick one well-established web site and ask everyone else to link to it.

Now, let me try to respond to some of the other issues.

In my original message I tried to distinguish between at least five completely different (yet related) meanings or patterns of usage associated with the term ske in Japanese history: (1) as an ancient religious term referring to the head of family that maintains the ancestral temple for all other associated families within a larger clan; (2) as a classical commercial term referring to the head of a manufacturing lineage that possesses exclusive trademarks and marketing privileges, both of which are maintained through the patronage of local lords; (3) as a professional term used during the Tokugawa period for the head of an artistic lineages that possess monopolies over the performance, instruction, and licensing of certain special skills, monopolies which were enforced by the ruling authorities; (4) as a modern legal term for the successors of number 3 and who hold copyright over certain texts and artifacts that have been handed down from their ancestors; and (5) as a modern non-legal designation sometimes used to recognize and honor the special contributions of certain family lineages in maintaining their own special traditional arts and skills.

In the extant documents, as far as I know, the term ske is associated with martial arts only in sense number 5. Of course it is possible to use the term ske as an analytical concept or intellectual construct and argue that premodern martial art lineages shared certain key features with the ske system. I believe that this is what many modern academic authors, including Karl Friday, have done. I am not in fundamental disagreement with them, but I was trying to discuss ske usage in descriptive, not analytical, terms.

I especially want to reinforce Karl's remarks concerning the efforts of each lineage to maintain control over their own good names and reputations. When I wrote, "If there are new schools, then there is no ske; If there is a ske, then there are no new schools," I certainly did NOT mean to imply that just anyone could found a new martial school or that just anyone could claim to teach in the name of some pre-existing martial school. Likewise, when I wrote that modern-day usage of ske in reference to martial lineages "denotes a historical past, not a present-day commercial or legal monopoly" I meant "monopoly" in the sense of one group controlling all public access to a commodity without meaningful competition from competitors. In other words, monopoly in these sense of Microsoft Windows with Bill Gates, Jr., as ske. Even though the Apple computer operating system does not enjoy the same monopoly power as does MS Windows, Apple still controls its own software and will still sue anyone who copies it without permission.

Actually, a better modern American analogy to the Tokugawa-period ske systems might be found in the world of dance. I say "might" because I know nothing about dancing. In the following analogy I will use the names "Arthur Murray Academy" and "American Ballet Theatre" as ideal types (i.e., representatives of certain general principles even if some of the details are wrong).

In America today almost every town has an Arthur Murray Academy (AMA) that teaches ballroom dancing. Anyone can go to Arthur Murray in one location and take identical lessons as taught in any other location. Every AMA not only gives lessons, but also issues diplomas. And every diploma issued by every AMA everywhere in America includes fees that go back to an Arthur Murray headquarters. This kind of commercial network resembles a ske system. If Arthur Murray held copyright to all ballroom dance steps and enjoyed a monopoly on the teaching of all ballroom dances, then they would practically identical to the Tokugawa ske system. The successive CEOs of the Arthur Murray company would constitute the ske lineage.

Completely unconnected and unrelated to the world of ballroom dancing there also exists private companies of classical dance like the American Ballet Theatre. It exists only in one place and trains only dancers who spend time studying in that one place. There are no branch ABTs in local towns. Therefore, ABT is the opposite of a ske system. Nonetheless both Arthur Murray and ABT alike deny the right of anyone else to use their good name without permission.

If someone who has trained at an Arthur Murray Academy (or trained somewhere else) decides to open his or her own branch academy, then he or she need merely apply for permission with the main headquarters, sign a contract, and pay the required fees. It is very simple. The owner of the new AMA does not need to be especially skilled or to introduce anything new; he or she merely teaches the standard AMA steps according to the standard AMA teaching methods.

If someone who has trained at the American Ballet Theatre wants to open his or her own school of ballet, it is much more difficult. Use of the ABT name would be out of the question. In order to attract students, at the very least, he or she must have established a reputation within the dance world as being of extraordinary skill. That skill must be acknowledged by colleagues at the ABT itself. Moreover, he or she must offer something new or different or better. Then, he or she would have to work over a long period of time to establish a reputation as a teacher.

Most new schools fail, while the ABT continues to produce productions and dancers of exceptional quality. Because the ABT has endured it is possible for historians of dance to describe its successive generations of head choreographers (George Balanchine, Agnes De Mille, Jerome Robbins, etc.) as having endowed the ABT with a unique artistic heritage and direction. They might even compare their qualities of leadership and artistic control with the way that CEOs direct business enterprises. In this sense the head choreographers share certain characteristics with the successive CEOs (i.e., ske lineage) of the Arthur Murray Academies. Nonetheless, the commercial structure and public goals of the two types of organizations are completely different.

If someone opened a local school of ballroom dance and called it an "Arthur Murray Academy" without permission, then that school would soon be closed down and the proprietor would face legal penalties. AMA is a large organization with so many branches in so many places that they would soon notice if their name was being used without proper authorization.

If someone opened up a new school of ballet and fraudulently claimed association with the American Ballet Theatre, then that person might or might not get into trouble. Certainly such false claims would be readily exposed if made in any large city. In a small town, however, people might be happy to have access to any kind of ballet teacher without bothering to check on credentials. The ABT is not a large organization. It does not have branches across the country. It might not notice if some one in an remote town misused its name. Nonetheless it would never condone such misrepresentation and fraud.

In Tokugawa-period Japan many forms of theater, dance, crafts, and artistic skills were controlled by commercial networks headed by ske that operated similar to the above "Arthur Murray ideal type." Legal authorities enforced the monetary rights of ske in ikebana, chanoyu, or noh (etc.) Martial arts usually were taught within smaller organizations characterized by wide diversity of structures and goals. These smaller organizations themselves enforced their rights by threat of violence and by religious sanctions. Violence, of course, was illegal. Tokugawa dictated that both sides to any violent confrontation must be punished regardless of who initiated the action or who was right or wrong. For this reason, violence usually consisted of anonymous threats and surreptitious attacks in dark streets and back alleys.

Religious sanctions were the preferred method of maintaining legitimacy. This is how they were enforced from about 1700 onwards. Anyone who wanted to start a new martial art school would, at the very least, he or she must have established a reputation among other warriors as possessing extraordinary skill. That skill also must be acknowledged by the teacher under whose eyes that person had trained. Use of that teacher's name or of the name of that teacher's lineage, however, might or might not be granted. Moreover, this new martial art school must offer something new or different or better. The founder of the new school would write out a notice in which he asserted all of the above information and in which he listed the school's name and its goals. He would pay a woodcarver to inscribe this notice onto a large wooden plaque. Then he would present the plaque to the main temple or shrine in the area (along with a donation of money). The people in charge of the temple or shrine would not accept the plaque until after they had investigated this person's claims. They would ask local people who could vouch for him and they would request letters of recommendation from other towns. They also would seek permission from any other martial schools to which they already had ties. Once the temple or shrine accepted the plaque and hung it up in a public location, the new school would open. All its students would regularly worship at that temple or shrine, would donate money to it, and would participate in special martial performances there. If the temple or shrine did not accept the plaque, then the school would not open.

Sometimes violence and religious sanctions operated at cross purposes. There was a very famous incident when Chiba Shsaku (1774--1855) first tried to found his martial academy. Chiba had studied two different styles (orthodox Ittry in the Nakanishi lineage and Hokushin Musry) which he combined together with some of his own innovations. In 1825 Chiba offered a plaque to the Ikaho Shrine (present-day Gunma Pref.) in which he proclaimed his new Hokushin Ittry. The shrine evidently had agreed to accept the plaque since Chiba had established a reputation as an excellent duelist. At the last moment, though members of the locally strong Maniwa Nenry objected. They threaten violence unless Chiba move out of the area. The exact details are unclear, but some how or other Chiba withdrew his plaque, left the area, and avoided a violent confrontation. If Chiba had allowed himself to be drawn into a fight, even if he had won he would have lost because the authorities would have punished him. Then he never would have been able to open his own school. (There is an even more interesting footnote to this story. In 1927 Nikkatsu made a movie about the life of Chiba Shsaku. Supposedly this movie included one scene at the Ikaho Shrine in which Chiba defeated the head of the Maniwa Nenry in a duel. When members of the Nenry found out about the movie they stormed into Tokyo, went to the headquarters of Nikkatsu and threaten to beat up the company president, the movie director, and anyone else they could get their hands on. Nikkatsu finally got rid of them only by agreeing to turn over all copies of the movie's negatives ---- which the Nenry members then took to a local temple and burned. This footnote shows that even as late as the 1920s martial lineages vigorously objected to any perceived insults to their honor and would defend it with violence.)

Neither the threat of violence nor religious sanctions could always reach outside of a local area or particular region. Most martial organizations were small and local. Of course famous names were stolen and false credentials manufactured. This is one reason why there are so many martial lineages with the words "itt" and "shinkage" in their names. Some of them were related, but even the illegitimate ones could bask in the glory of a very prestigious name (as long as they stayed in remote areas, were not too bold, and did not get caught).

The case of the Yagy Shinganry, whether true or not, demonstrates that names were to be borrowed only with proper permission. In other words, as said by Karl, martial schools (and all other organizations for that matter) made efforts to stop unauthorized use of their names.
According to Yagy Shinganry scrolls sometime around 1600 a person from Sendai named Takenaga Hayato (a.k.a. Jikiny) traveled to Edo where he became an acquaintance and, eventually, a friend of Yagy Munenori (1571--1646). Takenaga already had formulated his own martial system called Shinganry. Munenori was so impressed by Takenaga's abilities (so say the documents) that Munenori granted him permission to preface the name of his style with the extremely prestigious "Yagy" name. I do not know of any academic research regarding this story and have no opinion as to its validity. Even if this story were not true, the fact that it would have been manufactured shows that people would not have accepted use of the "Yagy" name by people not related to the Yagy family without some kind of cover story asserting official permission.

I know nothing about Don Angier nor about his possible use of the ske label. I cannot comment about him. Let me write about someone else instead. One of my former college roommates is a yshi. He was born and raised in Arkansas, has bright red hair, and has lived in Japan continuously since around 1980. He was adopted into a Japanese family to become the male successor and to continue the family name. This means that both he and his children are known by his wife's family name and that both he and his children are responsible for performing proper ancestor rites on behalf of his wife's parents and on behalf of their ancestors. I cannot imagine this old friend coming back to America. He has his heart in Japan. It is his home. But if he were to ever come back to America, I especially cannot imagine him going around and telling people: "Hey, I'm a yshi." This word is totally meaningless in American society. On the other hand, I can imagine him explaining to certain friends and family members that his status as an adopted son in Japan entails special responsibilities that are not expected of adopted sons in American society. As part of his explanation he might say that the connotations of the Japanese word yshi differ from the connotations of the English term "adopted son," and so forth. Once his friends and family members begin to understand these connotations they might occasionally refer to him with the word yshi when talking among themselves. Nonetheless, it would be idiotic if they introduced him to non-Japanese as: "My friend, the yshi."

Now, yshi at least is a word that is understood by ordinary Japanese people and by foreigners who speak Japanese. In contrast, the label ske is not understood by most Japanese. Unfortunately it causes confusion and it has been used to inflate the status of people who do not know what it means or how it is used. If I had a friend who became a yshi in a Japanese family that possessed ske control over a traditional art, then I would advise my friend to avoid using the term ske when speaking in English and simply use the word "successor" instead. It is a lot easier to say: "I have been designated the successor to an established lineage," than to try to explain the term ske (as my own long-winded explanations so amply demonstrate).

Yamantaka
26th February 2001, 10:53
[QUOTE]Originally posted by W.Bodiford
[B]I apologize to everyone who could not find my e-mail address. It is not included in my e-Budo profile since any UCLA e-mail address can be found simply by checking UCLA's electronic directory (just follow the links from UCLA's homepage). This method is the most reliable, as UCLA technicians will up-date their own directory any time they modify their e-mail servers (which happens from time to time).

YAMANTAKA : I did that but unfortunately couldn't get access to you.

I am surprised that so many people have expressed an interest in reproducing this message on their own Internet sites. Before granting permission to anyone first I want to revise the original message. I need to correct typos, add HTML tags, and revise the content in several places to address issues such as the ones raised by Karl Friday, Toby Threadgill, and Robert Reinberger. I cannot complete these revisions today. Therefore, I ask you to please be patient. In the mean time, I have a question: Is there any advantage to having this kind of short essay appear in more than one web site? If not, then I think I should pick one well-established web site and ask everyone else to link to it.

YAMANTAKA : I agree with your proposal and, with all due respect, would suggest Diane Skoss's website (www.koryu.com). From there, I could get it and put it on my site, with a translation, side by side.
I'm not surprised so many people enjoyed your text. It touches on a subject of much interest to MA practitioners and explains many things about the Iemoto system in some arts (as Aikido, for instance).
Thank you very much for your attention and good will and accept my best regards.
Yamantaka

Robert Reinberger
26th February 2001, 13:59
Originally posted by W.Bodiford
...
I am surprised that so many people have expressed an interest in reproducing this message on their own Internet sites. Before granting permission to anyone first I want to revise the original message. I need to correct typos, add HTML tags, and revise the content in several places to address issues such as the ones raised by Karl Friday, Toby Threadgill, and Robert Reinberger. I cannot complete these revisions today. Therefore, I ask you to please be patient. In the mean time, I have a question: Is there any advantage to having this kind of short essay appear in more than one web site? If not, then I think I should pick one well-established web site and ask everyone else to link to it.

Now, let me try to respond to some of the other issues
...Dear Prof. Bodiford,

thank you very much for the further explanations, as well as for the interesting additional details and informations you provided.

Regarding the interest in your text, I'm not surprised that many people appreciate those academical points of view and historical facts you've made available, regarding a subject and term, that is used by an increasing amount of people in sometimes remarkable ways, today.

The only advantages of having it appear at several sites, I could imagine, are

a) the benefit of having it not lost if something happens with the only site it is on;

b) avoiding of copyright problems when linking the essay, located at that one site, to one's own site;

c) the questions regarding translations into other languages may be answered more easy, if the original text could be made available as well.

However, that may not be issues, and if permission will be granted to one site only, I would second Mr. Alcantara's suggestion to choose Koryu.com.

Sincerely,
Robert

Devon Smith
26th February 2001, 16:07
Prof. Bodiford,

By any chance might the words "Kaiso Hokokusai" be used to describe the petition of a shrine by an individual for acceptance of a plaque? Sorry, I can't provide the kanji, only the romanji.

Thanks for taking the time to share your insight, and thanks in advance for any comment you might have.

Devon

27th February 2001, 19:05
Mr Bodiford,

Thankyou so much for your time, effort and the response to my inquiry. I appreciate it very much.

I found the analogy concerning your friend in Japan who is a "yoshi" both humourous and relevant. I basically concur with everthing you implied.

I also agree with those who believe that the website at koryu.com would be the most appropriate place to post your excellent discussion on the iemoto/soke system. I'm sure Meik and Diane will be excellent stewards of this information.

Thank you again for the time and effort at providing us all with such a wealth of information.

Sincerely,

Karl Friday
15th March 2001, 18:31
Originally posted by Jim Kass
http://www.bushido.org/~whfsc/whfsc.html

and even more........Soke!

http://www.mararts.org/systems/index.htm

http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/6471/

and another one!

http://www.kiyojuteryu.org/

http://www.jukokai.com/


Are these great or what? One has added a new category of martial art mastery dubbed "Great Grandmaster"--presumably to distinguish the guys who can actually make their hands glow red from the ordinary Grandmasters, who can now be found in most malls across America. Another has a category called "apprenticed grandmasters," for those of high aspirations but lesser egos, I suppose. And another has one affiliate calling itself the "Kamisama Bushi Kan" (God's Samurai Hall) . . .

Personally, I'm holding out for the title the Monkey King in Journey to the West demanded (and got) from the Jade Emperor: Great Sage, Equal of Heaven . . .

Jiaozi
24th March 2001, 12:09
In a video I saw that on the gi of the art's grandmaster the kanji 'soke' were embroidered on the sleeve.
Is this customary for koryu soke or shihanke?

Does the belt normally sport any titles or names?

Thanks for the info.

24th March 2001, 21:10
"In a video I saw that on the gi of the art's grandmaster the kanji 'soke' were embroidered on the sleeve. Is this customary for koryu soke or shihanke? "

Actually It was suppose to say Sokea-cala-fragilistic-ego-expedoshus,

but the guy ran out of bucks for his bitchin' embroidery job.


Tobs

Joseph Svinth
25th March 2001, 00:52
Probably that was the laundry instructions: soak, then dry.

gmellis
25th March 2001, 01:09
Maybe the guys mommie sowed the letters on all his jackets and underwear so that when he goes to soke summer camp he won't misplace his stuff. But...then.....everybody would have the same embroidery. hmmmmmmmmmmmm. As for whether it's customary for soke in Japan to put their titles on their clothes, let's just say that it is about as common for a soke to do that as it is for them to make self-promotional videos with cheesey B-movie background music (pseudo-Japanese using a bad synthesizer), travel the country to hold ridiculously expensive seminars for pimply teenagers who wanna learn the Shaolin Death Touch in three easy steps so they can beat up the muscleman on the beach that kicked sand in their face and stole their girl, and not be able to do 10 sit-ups if their life depended on it.

MarkF
26th March 2001, 09:18
And for a not so funny answer to your question, and the meaning of soke, iemoto system, try this link. 34th Head Master of Wanker ryu does say a lot about most people who want to be addressed as Dr. prof. dai soke of the above ryu.

http://204.95.207.136/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=4521

Mark

W.Bodiford
30th March 2001, 06:19
I wish to thank everyone once more for your interest in my essay on "soke." I also wish to request that you please refrain from reprinting the essay or from copying it. As mentioned above, I was not completely satisfied with the wording of some sections.

I have decided to revise my essay for Diane Skoss at Koryu Books. The revised version will be much, much better. Please wait for that one.

Thank you,

Diane Skoss
22nd April 2001, 11:33
Hi all,

Actually, Dr. Bodiford has been kind enough to agree to include an essay on the question of the word soke in our upcoming book, Keiko Shokon, Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan. When the book comes out (probably August), I'll also post the complete essay on the web site at Koryu.com.

Cheers,

Diane Skoss

Yamantaka
23rd April 2001, 00:25
Originally posted by Diane Skoss
Hi all,
Actually, Dr. Bodiford has been kind enough to agree to include an essay on the question of the word soke in our upcoming book, Keiko Shokon, Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan. When the book comes out (probably August), I'll also post the complete essay on the web site at Koryu.com.
Cheers,
Diane Skoss

HURRAH!
Yamantaka :toast:

mdheiler
23rd April 2001, 17:59
Okay, I just have to play devil's advocate (sort of). I just skimmed through much of the discussion, without reading it too closely. However, it seems from this thread and from elsewhere in the world, words tend to mean whatever society wants them to mean. Therefore, I propose that we accept and support all of these individuals use of the term soke, with the understanding that for its use in America, it is defined as "really bad American martial artist who invented his own style, because he/she was unable to master any style of known historical background."

- Michael D. Heiler

Richard Elias
24th April 2001, 10:40
I would have to disagree.

dakotajudo
26th April 2001, 00:04
Originally posted by Richard Elias
I would have to disagree.

With what, and why?

If in response to the suggestion by Michael D. Heiler that soke means "really bad American martial artist who invented his own style, because he/she was unable to master any style of known historical background.", I agree this may be a little harsh, since there are some apparently competent martial artists refer to themselves as 'soke'.

Soke in this context may be as amusing to Japanese as inappopriate English usage is to Americans (for example, see http://www.satoko.com/humor.htm )




Peter

Richard Elias
26th April 2001, 05:54
"With what, and why?"

With the statement you mentioned.

My teacher is Don Angier, an American who inherited a Japanese martial tradition. He has been practicing the same art since the 1950's and is quite talented. He did not make up the art, though he may have advanced and contributed to it, that is his responsibility as the caretaker of the art. He does not use his art and his "title" to attract students, in fact, other than seminars he does not teach publicly at all. He does not make people call him soke as it is inappropriate. In the dojo we usually call him Don, sensei or sir.

Now granted, most of those using the title soke are not truly soke. But that shouldn't redefine the term. I feel that if you are going to use a term from another language, especially in reference to something that is supposed to be from their own culture, you should use the term in the manner that it was intended. Or use a different term. But that is just my opinion. Obviously not everyone feels the same, otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion.

There are some that need all the trapings, the fancy gi, the blackbelt with all the stripes, the oversized certificates on the wall above the trophies. And for those that are attracted by such those types of teachers are great. If a student of the martial arts is only going to look at the surface and believe only what he is told and not do his own studying. Then he will get what he earns and will never know the difference anyway. One that is truely worthy of studying the arts seriously will learn the difference. Some people are just not supposed to get it. For those few others that do the real thing is out there if you find out where to look.
Not everyone who studies martial arts is a martial artist.

Sorry, I got carried away there. I'll be quiet now.

Walker
26th April 2001, 16:14
Whats next?
Outcome based Physics, Engineering?
Certainly Outcome Based Martial Arts are the norm.

Whatever....

Joseph Svinth
27th April 2001, 07:04
Agreed, there are several legitimate sokes in the land. Nevertheless I would strongly encourage anyone thinking of paying for instruction under a "soke" to conduct some serious investigations of his claims. Why? Well, according to this site, you find that of 3000 applicants, only 20 passed muster as soke: http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/6471 . This suggests that the odds of finding a real soke in the midst of all these self-proclaimed masters is at least 150 to 1. And the odds go way up if you discount the claims of any of the folks on that list.

Therefore it would be easier, I think, to sign up for kendo or judo lessons at the local YMCA, and probably provide you with better instruction on average, too.

Jerry Johnson
27th April 2001, 16:56
See if I am getting this Soke thing straight. The Prof. says, basically, it's a title that really wasn't used by the Samurai, and is a modern martial arts term. A term which really is a title, e.g. CEO. which is administrative and not referring to skill, and is not widely and restrictive in its use, correct? If so, then people are making a mountain out of a mole hill about the Soke thing. That is people who claim they are in MA are 1)Overkilling on the misuse of the title to their benefit. 2) Using the title to impress others and denote themselves as being the most skilled, where clear cut boundaries are not drawn in legitimacy. Which again is to their benefit. Again a misuse. 3) Putting more weight and stress on the title then it deserves, again misusing it. 4) the ones with no doubt or gray area, not misusing the title and using it correctly at board meeting, and who may never refer or speak the word Soke and yet run their group in that tradition of monopolies. Which the title of Soke is a private matter and hidden away on a scroll some where at the most. And at the most Soke really doesn't mean much. I guess the Japanese people never heard of it, and if they do it makes them laugh.

Now someone please correct me, cause this is really getting confusing. I am at the point where if someone ever utters the word Soke in any context I am writing it off as too weird and something I am not being involved in. Unless I am convinced otherwise, i.e. a dance group, or Geshia.

Joseph Svinth
28th April 2001, 07:22
Jerry --

That explanation is clarity itself. Thanks!

MarkF
29th April 2001, 11:00
Originally posted by Richard Elias
the fancy gi


Agreed, Richard. No argument, especially with the last two posts, but if one is going to use the word, should it not be at least grammatically correct and/or complete?

It's *dogi*, not gi , dammit.;)

Mark

Richard Elias
30th April 2001, 06:10
Sorry. :smilejapa

Actually, I thought it was keikogi.

MarkF
30th April 2001, 09:28
Well, OK if you want to get technical....:smilejapa

Mark "Typing while still wearing his *judogi*" Feigenbaum

Joseph Svinth
30th April 2001, 09:30
I believe both constructions are correct, as both refer to clothing put on in the course of practicing or rehearsing something. Thus judogi, karategi, etc., are also correct.

The reason, as I understand it, is that "gi" is not a noun (e.g., "sports wear"), but instead a form of the verb kiru, meaning "to put on" (as in to put on clothes). Thus a noun is required for the construction to be a word.

That said, "gi" could quite possibly become a loanword meaning karate or judo uniform, as certainly enough super sokeys use it that way.

30th April 2001, 15:53
Joe,

"That said, "gi" could quite possibly become a loanword meaning karate or judo uniform, as certainly enough super sokeys use it that way."


How about "super sokey dodogi"

( Oh, and course these always come with the accompanying 378 different patches and must be worn with a red & white masters belt 4 inches wide! ) :)

Tobs

Greg Jennings
30th April 2001, 17:18
Originally posted by Toby Threadgill

How about "super sokey dodogi"

( Oh, and course these always come with the accompanying 378 different patches and must be worn with a red & white masters belt 4 inches wide! ) :)

Tobs

Trivia and somewhat off topic but couldn't resist:

Heard about a fellow at a recent karate tournament here that showed up in a black karategi with red piping, a number three on the breast and "Goodwrench" down one sleeve.

He did a bang up job and took second in the open weapons kata division.

Regards,

Jeff Hamacher
10th July 2001, 02:32
Originally posted by Joseph Svinth
I believe both constructions are correct, as both refer to clothing put on in the course of practicing or rehearsing something. Thus judogi, karategi, etc., are also correct.
without any other "attachments", the terms "keikogi" and "dogi" are both correct. and yes, Joe, compounds such as "judogi", etc., are also correct.

The reason, as I understand it, is that "gi" is not a noun (e.g., "sports wear"), but instead a form of the verb kiru, meaning "to put on" (as in to put on clothes). Thus a noun is required for the construction to be a word.
"-gi" is really only acting as a suffix, and cannot act as a stand-alone part of speech. it is a modification (the linguistic term for which i've forgotten) of the stem for the verb "kiru", where the phoneme "ki" becomes "gi", as in the japanese for swimsuit, "mizugi", a combination of the characters for "water" and the above mentioned wee beastie.

it's also interesting to note that in many cases, the character that appears for "-gi" is not for "kiru", but rather for "koromo", meaning "robe", such as those worn by Buddhist/Zen monks.

That said, "gi" could quite possibly become a loanword meaning karate or judo uniform, as certainly enough super sokeys use it that way.
man, almost as bad as "harey-karey" instead of "harakiri", or "kamakazi" instead of "kamikaze".:laugh: strangely enough, many japanese use the term "wear" as a loan word meaning "non-japanese clothing", and try to use it (erroneously) in their english conversation. wonder if there's any connection?;)

sorry for the nitpick, but i just had to get in there. and i'm so pleased that Prof. Bodiford's essay will appear as a feature at Koryu. if ever there was a group of articles marked as essential FAQ reading at E-Budo, this would be one of them.

cheers, jeff hamacher

Don Cunningham
10th July 2001, 04:00
I had to back up a bit to follow this, but I have often heard the simple term "gi" used by Japanese to verbally refer to martial arts practice clothing. It was more common for judogi, but I have even heard it in reference to the kendo top, typically called a "keikogi." It may be proper Japanese grammar (per Mark, Jeff, and Joseph) to use it only as a suffix, but colloquial usage doesn't always conform to strict grammar rules in any language. For example, many of my Japanese colleagues would exclaim "Nani?" instead of the grammatically correct "Nan desu ka?" when inquiring about something. [Sort of like "What?" or "Huh?" instead of "What is it?" or "What do you mean?"]

I am no language expert, certainly not even close to proficient in Japanese, but I did notice a tendency to use simple words, what appeared to be almost madeup words, especially between males. Maybe Japanese females also use such terms when talking between themselves, but they typically used more formal Japanese when conversing with the opposite gender. Some men also switched to more formal grammer when addressing women, but many males were not so considerate.

Another example that comes to mind is the use of "hamako" as a reference to someone who is a native of Yokohama. I think the literal translation is something close to "Child of Yokohama," but then it would seem more appropriate to use "Yokohamako," but I've never heard that used instead. A comparison might be "Edoka" for a native of Tokyo, since Edo is the original city name.

Just my two cents worth. I look forward to any further clarification those more knowledgable about the intricacies of the Japanese language might offer here.

dakotajudo
10th July 2001, 13:16
I took a Japanese friend for a drive this spring, When she got in my car, she saw my niece's judo uniform in the back seat. She asked if that was my "dogi".

I also found it interesting that she referred to Yawara's favorite throw as "ippon seoi", instead of the "seoi nage" that I usually hear here.

Peter

Jeff Hamacher
11th July 2001, 01:00
Originally posted by Don Cunningham
... I have often heard the simple term "gi" used by Japanese to verbally refer to martial arts practice clothing. It was more common for judogi, but I have even heard it in reference to the kendo top, typically called a "keikogi."
i'm a little surprised by that, since i assumed that japanese students of martial arts would be taught correct terminology (my kendoka wife fixed my former bad habit of using the term "gi"), but then who knows?

It may be proper Japanese grammar (per Mark, Jeff, and Joseph) to use it only as a suffix, but colloquial usage doesn't always conform to strict grammar rules in any language. For example, many of my Japanese colleagues would exclaim "Nani?" instead of the grammatically correct "Nan desu ka?" when inquiring about something. [Sort of like "What?" or "Huh?" instead of "What is it?" or "What do you mean?"]
an excellent point. a linguist may still argue that a one-word expression is a grammatically complete sentence, but it's true that everyday use of a language is not bound by the rules of perfect grammar.

I am no language expert, certainly not even close to proficient in Japanese, but I did notice a tendency to use simple words, what appeared to be almost madeup words, especially between males. Maybe Japanese females also use such terms when talking between themselves, but they typically used more formal Japanese when conversing with the opposite gender. Some men also switched to more formal grammar when addressing women, but many males were not so considerate.
i think that has more to do with sociolinguistic concerns than it has grammar per se. as with any language there are various levels of formal and informal expression. it just happens that in japanese a speaker chooses those levels according to somewhat stricter codes of sociolinguistic behaviour, at least traditionally. differences in age, gender, seniority within an organization, or social position all affect the way one person speaks to another. as well, the uchi-soto (inside-outside) relationships between speakers have a big influence, too. and think about all the ways that english gets "reworked" in common use: "whaddya gon' do 'boutit" instead of "What are you going to do about it", or "noamsain?" instead of "(Do you) know what I'm saying?" what you thought were made-up terms could just be these kinds of colloquialisms.

Another example that comes to mind is the use of "hamako" as a reference to someone who is a native of Yokohama. I think the literal translation is something close to "Child of Yokohama," but then it would seem more appropriate to use "Yokohamako," but I've never heard that used instead. A comparison might be "Edoka" for a native of Tokyo, since Edo is the original city name.

it's pretty much the same deal as saying "L.A." rather than Los Angeles, or saying "N'Awlins" instead of New Orleans. truncations like that are common in many languages. people from my hometown of Toronto used to refer to it as "T.O.", an obvious rip-off of the L.A. example. toronto's also had some more colourful nicknames, among them "The Big Smoke", and decades ago when it was just coming into its own as a city, it was known as "Hogtown".

to make a short story long, i agree with your basic point, Don. languages are living animals, and grammar or no grammar, people use them in the most extraordinary ways. take care and read you later.

cheers, jeff hamacher

MarkF
12th July 2001, 12:57
Actually, I find that judogi or dogi runs off the tongue a little easier than gi, but Jeff is right, as is Don, though what you may hear is not always what is said.

I speak fluent Spanish, and while living in Mexico I found more than a few English terms which had no equal in Spanish, said as it was in English, but phonetically correct for Spanish.

Example: Clipboard = kleep or kleepbord. Normally if all ready inferred, it is Kleep. One I especialy love from the border states of Mexico, is "Que dice su watcho?" "What does your watch say?" Now that is a classic and is even appreciated as a joke the further south you go

Business = beeznus, as in como te va el beeznus? (How goes the business) Same here, and if the Spanish, negocio is inferred, it becomes beeznus. Others are Puch for Push (empuje), Chance =Chance, pronunciation completely different, but it is used in place of the Spanish as in Chance=Opertunidad. Dame chance=Give me a chance or minute or any other exclamation meaning the same thing. Or Vamos a ver becomes simply "a ver" meaning Let me see, or dejame a ver, or a ver, literally "let me see." Closet is "closet." I won't go into the swearing as some have this idea that swearing in Spanish is weak. Well, I've got news for you, I've heard ones there which wouldn't be used in Spanish language pornography.

So how did the English slang for head guy or gal become honcho? Doh!

But in sentences or exclamations where the entire parts of each word isn't heard, it doesn't mean it wasn't said, sorta like M and N in Japanese. Kempo is kenpo, but most couldn't tell the difference without the training.

We play with words such as jutsu and jitsu, and which is correct, but coming up in the sixties, Jigoro Kano was pronounced with the accent on the first syllable in Jigoro, sounding more as Jigaro, and many times was spelled this way. I've also heard it in Japanese movies pronounced that way, so which is it? (rhetorical).

Even today, in many judo clubs jujutsu is simply juts.
*******

The idea, I think, if we are going to use a foreign language in everyday speach even if it is strictly a question of terminology, it probably should be said correctly.

But then, why is Japanese any different from Spanish, or Italian, etc.? It isn't. So if not, shouldn't the word Vamoose be taught as Vamos or Vamanos?
******

Well, that was fun. I bet the debate or those like it go on forever, as certain words become part and parcel of English just as English has become same in so many other languages and I'm not going to question it, at least anymore. It is just too complicated to go backwards.

Mark (Jewish name is Moishe)

Don Cunningham
12th July 2001, 17:10
my kendoka wife fixed my former bad habit of using the term "gi"
First, I think Jeff has articulated the language issues much better than I could have ever done. However, I found this particular comment very interesting. While I was in Japan, I found my colleagues were often more concerned about my "proper" use of Japanese than they were when talking between themselves. I would often find my own phrases being corrected by the same people that I originally overheard use them.

For example, the term "meshi" is a rather crude reference to food, but I would often use it, maybe when asking about what is for lunch. It never failed to elicit a correction. Yet, the same person who corrected me would use the term in rather the same way without any notice from others.

I've noticed native English speakers doing the same thing to ESL speakers. They will correct their grammar or pronounciation according to the rules as they learned them in school, but won't think twice about bending or even breaking the same rules when talking with others. I've found myself mildly admonishing my Japanese friends to use "proper" references when it is really quite socially acceptable to use slang or colloqualisms under the circumstances. It must be a inherent desire to help, but it can seem quite irritating when you're on the receiving end.

Jeff, I thank you for the clarifications. Now where the heck were you when I was puzzling over all this in Yokohama? It sometimes seemed the language inconsistencies were just bizarre enough that I thought I was having flashbacks from some of the recreational medications I took during the '60s.:confused:

Kimpatsu
29th October 2001, 07:25
Professor Bodiford wrote:

Osano Jun argues that the first marital art in Japan to adopt a *ske* system was the Kodokan School of judo... Osano could be right. The Kodokan set the standards not just for members within one training hall in one location but for all participants in judo throughout the nation. The Kodokan defined the art, it controlled licensing and instruction, and it established branch schools that maintain permanent affiliation with the headquarters. If the Kodokan does not recognize something as being "judo," then it is not judo. Therefore, there is no such thing as a new school of judo.
Similarly, there is only one Shorinji Kempo, but its founder is called Kaiso, not Soke. Again, with SK as with Judo, the emphasis is on modernity. I wonder if that has any bearing on the decision not to use soke?

Kimpatsu
29th October 2001, 08:00
Here I was explaining why just "gi" is wrong in another thread, only to find Jeff Hamacher has beaten me too it here!
Just one point that hasn't ben clearly addressed: Keikogi means "training wear" and dogi means "garb of the way," so you must theoretically be practicing a "do" Such as judo or karatedo to use "dogi." Having said that, we still say dogi in Shorinji Kempo (nary a "do" in sight). Also, when I was at Kyoto University, I had a language professor who claimed that you can't use "ka" as a suffix to mean "one who does..." unless it is preceded by "do," so "judoka" is acceptable, and "karatedoka" is acceptable, but "karateka" is not. All the Japanese I know, however, say "karateka" without a second thought. This professor also claimed to know 5,000 kanji, but we all figured that was debatable, too...
Best to all,

Chris Li
29th October 2001, 10:57
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Here I was explaining why just "gi" is wrong in another thread, only to find Jeff Hamacher has beaten me too it here!
Just one point that hasn't ben clearly addressed: Keikogi means "training wear" and dogi means "garb of the way," so you must theoretically be practicing a "do" Such as judo or karatedo to use "dogi." Having said that, we still say dogi in Shorinji Kempo (nary a "do" in sight). Also, when I was at Kyoto University, I had a language professor who claimed that you can't use "ka" as a suffix to mean "one who does..." unless it is preceded by "do," so "judoka" is acceptable, and "karatedoka" is acceptable, but "karateka" is not. All the Japanese I know, however, say "karateka" without a second thought. This professor also claimed to know 5,000 kanji, but we all figured that was debatable, too...
Best to all,

Dogi and keikogi are pretty much interchangeable in common usage, especially because Japanese don't usually make as much about the difference between "do" and "jutsu" suffixed arts that non-Japanese often do.

I've never heard "gi" used as a stand-alone in Japan (someone mentioned that they had), although there are a lot of weird contractions that younger people use, so I wouldn't rule it out. Still, linguistically speaking it would be incorrect usage.

"Ka" doesn't require a "do" in order to be used, otherwise you wouldn't have "geijutsuka" (artists), "shashinka" (photographers), or "shosetsuka" (novelists). The suffix does, however, imply a certain level of professionalism (as in earning a living through that activity, as opposed to being a hobbyist, which is the category that most martial artists probably fit into), so I probably wouldn't use it, for example, for myself - no matter that I have been training for some time.

Best,

Chris

carl mcclafferty
22nd February 2002, 19:45
Toby:
Being Texans we have to be careful about telling students to go get their "dogi", they might come back with something that moos. LOL

For everyone else:
As far as red/white striped obi: I have Baba Sensei's Judo Shihan obi here in El Paso, he asked me to keep it until he retired from the military this year. Of course he received it at an official function in Tokyo (it says so on his belt and the box it came in), he only wears it to official functions/special occassions when its proper (not on the floor), he's 55years old (not 20) and, he's not so arrogant as to be believe he can be a soke of his own style of judo. Noted that we are best friends or he would never have handed it to me, so maybe I'm being silly defending a great judoka. But sometimes it okay to have one and we shouldn't have our students automatically yell "soke fraud" when we see one on someone at an official function. It might proved rather interesting if you stepped on the mat with him sometime later. ouch, uch, ouch, ouch. LOL

Carl McClafferty

Cady Goldfield
22nd February 2002, 20:07
Carl,

Is that judo shihan obi the equivalent of being awarded an honorary doctorate in academe? Sounds similar.

Cady

carl mcclafferty
22nd February 2002, 21:43
Cady:

To quote Yamada Sensei "Shihan Menkyo is something that can not be asked for, it can only be given; you can't test for it and can't pay for it"
He also said its traditionally given by the "Head of Style" not by testing in front of some board. Unlike an honorary doctorate, which can be given to someone that's never attended the school, its more of a title to someone who works hard within the style but has shown his heart and lifelong effort to be extra-ordinary in the eye of the head of style. I believe that someone could reach to the highest technical level menkyo in an art and not have received a Shihan Menkyo. I suppose it could happen at a young age (20s/30s), but I've never seen it.

Japanese practitioners seem to look for guidance from the recipient, seem to accept with respect a Gaijin that receives one from the head of style. Unfortunately many 20/30 year old gaijin claim their Shihan status received from some "western martial arts board" as a rank promotion, which its not. This denigrates the rarely given award and gives those who receive the title legitimately, from a head of style, a soiled name. This makes many to keep such a Menkyo to themselves, to keep from being tarnished along with the others. Unfortunately we (Americans) should celebrate our countrymen's effort and the good light that puts us in, but we can't because we don't know. I believe many wouldn't believe the person anyway, since it rarely happens even to Japanese practitioners.

Sorry to be so long winded Cady but its one of my pet peeves. The process might be different in other koryu but the meaning's the same. PS I rewrote this four times to take out the hurtful words.

Carl McClafferty

Cady Goldfield
22nd February 2002, 23:38
Thanks for such a clear explanation, Carl, and I'm sorry if I opened a can of worms for you. Obviously, this form of recognition has a much deeper significance than an honorary degree. It isn't surprising that for each rare person who is awarded such recognition, there are 100 or even 1,000 who covet such an honor for personal advancement or self-validation, and who would exploit a title for personal gain.

Cady

Diane Skoss
11th June 2002, 19:35
Hi all,

As promised, the complete and expanded version of Will Bodiford's disquisition on the use and abuse of the term "soke" is available at Koryu.com (and of course, in our new book, Keiko Shokon). Visit http://koryu.com/library/wbodiford1.html to read the final text.

Cheers!

Diane Skoss

Yamantaka
11th June 2002, 21:24
Originally posted by Diane Skoss
Hi all,
As promised, the complete and expanded version of Will Bodiford's disquisition on the use and abuse of the term "soke" is available at Koryu.com (and of course, in our new book, Keiko Shokon). Visit http://koryu.com/library/wbodiford1.html to read the final text.
Cheers!
Diane Skoss

YAMANTAKA : And I'm very proud for what I believe was the first suggestion to Prof. Bodiford to publish his excellent essay in the Koryu.com page and in KEIKO SHOKON, the spectacular new book by Diane Skoss :

[QUOTE]
"W.BODIFORD : In the mean time, I have a question: Is there any advantage to having this kind of short essay appear in more than one web site? If not, then I think I should pick one well-established web site and ask everyone else to link to it.
YAMANTAKA : I agree with your proposal and, with all due respect, would suggest Diane Skoss's website (www.koryu.com). From there, I could get it and put it on my site, with a translation, side by side.
I'm not surprised so many people enjoyed your text. It touches on a subject of much interest to MA practitioners and explains many things about the Iemoto system in some arts (as Aikido, for instance).[END QUOTE]

By the way, Diane, can I do the translation and put the essay in my website - www.yahoogroups.com/group/Budovirtual ? Of course, I'll need to get also Prof. Bodiford's authorization but I don't think he'll deny it.
Best

Don Cunningham
12th June 2002, 14:26
I wonder if Will Bodiford would like to be an expert trial witness in my upcoming defense against Rod Sacharnoski's libel suit? Does anyone know how to contact him?

George Kohler
15th February 2005, 16:04
Bringing this back to life.

This is from a person that claims to have been in Japan for 13 years.


Soke means holder of more than one school, and Iemoto is holder of one.

Has anyone heard this before?

Diane Skoss
15th February 2005, 16:31
The person is either misinformed or misunderstanding the situation. Neither soke nor iemoto have absolutely specific-consistent-across-history meanings. They have generally accepted meanings, but the terms are often used quite loosely. It's like most things in Japanese culture; context is everything!

An expanded version of Will Bodiford's thoughts on the matter can be found in Keiko Shokon (http://koryu.com/store/ks3.html).

Cheers!

Diane Skoss

George Kohler
15th February 2005, 16:36
Thank you, Mrs. Skoss!

Regards,