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Steve Greenfield
20th September 2000, 22:56
Hello,
In the book Legacies of the sword by Karl Friday on page 3 he says that Kunii Zen'ya the Soke from 1914 to 1966 fought many challenges including one with a ninja. I would be interested to know if there is a record who this ninja was.
Thanks


[Edited by Steve Greenfield on 09-20-2000 at 05:02 PM]

ghp
21st September 2000, 04:04
Steve,

I have no idea who the ninja was. However, I'm inclined to believe that Kunii sensei beat him hands down.

My teacher, Nakamura Taizaburo (well known batto godfather) said in a Hiden magazine interview:

"Before the Second World War, most koryu teachers could not cut with a sword. However, amongst all the koryu teachers, Kunii [Zen'ya] sensei could cut anything. He was fantastic."

Kunii sensei was a budo teacher at the Rikugun Toyama Gakko [Toyama Military Academy]. Other issues have photos of Kunii sensei teaching jujutsu and kenjutsu ca 1960s -- he looks formidable.

Regards,
Guy

Karl Friday
2nd October 2000, 18:42
Kunii actually had more than one encounter with people who styled themselves practitioners of ninjutsu, but the only one of these whose claims he respected was Fujita Seiko. Kunii and Fujita were actually friends and drinking buddies. The last generation of bugeisha were a very wierd bunch!

Brently Keen
30th October 2000, 02:30
Karl,

It sounds like there might be an interesting story behind this friendship. Did they actually have a match, or did they just hit the bars together?

Brently Keen

johan smits
15th August 2001, 15:22
In an article by William Bodiford I read Kunii Zen'ya had parts of his diary published under the title "Showa no musha shugyo nikki", in it are his experiences during his travels around Japan to test his skills against various martial artists.

Now this seems would be very interesting for anyone who has an interest in koryu. So my question is: is there any chance this is going to be translated in English and made available?

If so, when?

If not, why not?

Ok it's three questions.

Best,

Johan Smits

pboylan
19th August 2001, 16:29
While I'm not William Bodiford or Karl Friday (the two most likely to translate something like that), I can guess that the odds of it showing up in English are small. First, translation of that sort of material is a royal pain in the ass (this doesn't begin to describe it really). Second, there is almost no market for it, so there is nothing to be gained (there's even less academic market for some reason). Third, it would require the permission of Seki Sensei (current KSR shihanke) and Kuni'i Sensei's heirs. This is not likely to happen either.

Frankly, translation is a real pain, because it's incredibly difficult to translate nuances and feelings from Japanese into English. That's why I don't do more of it myself.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Martial Arts Books, Videos and Equipment from Japan
http://www.budogu.com

Mark Tankosich
20th August 2001, 01:11
Can someone please provide more info about either the article or the book referred to here? I'm particularly interested in how I could get a copy of the book.

Thanks.

johan smits
20th August 2001, 08:34
Peter,

thanks for your answer. I do understand but still think it is a shame. It would be very good if such sources would be directly accessible in english.

Mark, I searched Google and came up with an article in which William Bodiford gave some biographical info on Kunii Zen'ya. That's where I got details about the book.

It's a bad, bad mondaymorning.

Best Regards,

Johan Smits

Richard Stein
20th August 2004, 12:07
Is this a normal request? It is taken from the Kashima Shinryu website...
'The study, performance, or teaching of Kashima-ShinryŻ must never be conducted in parallel with or as part of any other martial art system. Therefore, in the interest of maintaining Kashima-ShinryŻ's integrity as a traditional form of Japanese culture, on-going membership in other martial art organizations is prohibited.'

Im wondering how when looking at different Koryu practitioners bios, they manage to train in so many diff styles. Is this only particular to Kashima Shinryu? I have an interest in this Koryu and am just curious..

R A Sosnowski
20th August 2004, 14:29
Originally posted by Richard Stein
Is this a normal request? It is taken from the Kashima Shinryu website...
'The study, performance, or teaching of Kashima-ShinryŻ must never be conducted in parallel with or as part of any other martial art system. Therefore, in the interest of maintaining Kashima-ShinryŻ's integrity as a traditional form of Japanese culture, on-going membership in other martial art organizations is prohibited.'

Im wondering how when looking at different Koryu practitioners bios, they manage to train in so many diff styles. Is this only particular to Kashima Shinryu? I have an interest in this Koryu and am just curious..

It's another Japanese "case-by-case" situation. I have heard that Suio Ryu has the same prohibition (but curiously, it does not apply to Kendo & Kendo no Kata).

In KSR, they are up front about it; other styles may not be so up front. And it's not a problem for the rest.

Caveat emptor.

bripley
20th August 2004, 16:16
Where did you find that - can you please post a link?

Richard Stein
20th August 2004, 16:34
Here is the link.

http://www.kashima-shinryu.jp/English/contact.html

Charles Mahan
20th August 2004, 17:13
I don't think it's unheard of. I suspect with most koryu, whether they specifically forbid it or not, training with other schools is generaly frowned upon. I wouldn't know where to find the time. I have no idea how others do it. I suspect the root of such a prohibition would stem from similar concerns along with a desire to strictly control cross contamination of styles. And I'm sure that most koryu arts still have secrets they don't want other styles to know about.

bripley
20th August 2004, 17:14
Interesting, thanks. Hopefully Dr. Friday will ring in on this.

Arman
27th August 2004, 03:27
Interesting. Just as a note, if you take a look at the list of fairly well-known people who frequent this site, or publish, on koryu, I think just about all of them have studied more than one koryu, often times two or three.

FWIW,
Regards,
Arman Partamian

Ron Tisdale
27th August 2004, 15:15
Hi Arman,

I've also noted that many of those (Meik Skoss, Ellis Amdur, others) have also noted that it was done with the explicit understanding of their instructors, and they often say themselves that it is not a common thing to do. What with the change in mindset needed between the different ryu. I'd really be interested if anyone of that caliber was to post on this thread...

Ron

Karl Friday
8th September 2004, 22:26
Originally posted by Richard Stein
Is this a normal request? It is taken from the Kashima Shinryu website...
'The study, performance, or teaching of Kashima-Shinry?Emust never be conducted in parallel with or as part of any other martial art system. Therefore, in the interest of maintaining Kashima-Shinry?Es integrity as a traditional form of Japanese culture, on-going membership in other martial art organizations is prohibited.'

Im wondering how when looking at different Koryu practitioners bios, they manage to train in so many diff styles. Is this only particular to Kashima Shinryu? I have an interest in this Koryu and am just curious..

This sort of policy isn't particularly unusual among koryu--or at least wasn't in the past. Quite a few Tokugawa period oaths of entrance (kishomon) seem to have included promises to stay away from other schools. Specific teachers do, of course, sometimes grant permission--or even encourage--specific students to study other specfic arts, but this is (As Ray notes below) a case-by-case thing. Very few koryu teachers would be less than upset to find out that one of their students had been training in some other art without explicit permission.

In the case of Kashima-Shinryu, this is a recent clarification and codification of a long-standing policy. It was adopted partly in response to the higher public profile Kashima-Shinryu has assumed in the last decade or so. This has led to an increase in people seeking to cross-train in Kashima-Shinryu; and also to the appearance of a number of people in and out of Japan who claim to have "learned" Kashima-Shinryu, and to have grafted bits and pieces of Kashima-Shinryu arts onto other--often incompatible--arts. Both developments can lead, as the web page passage Mr. Stein quotes suggests, to unhealthy dilution of the art; and the latter development is potentionally harmful to the reputation of the art and the school, as well.

For schools that operate (as most koryu do) through private dojos at only one or two locations, a kind of de facto policy applied case-by-case is perfectly adequate to handle this sort of concern, but because Kashima-Shinryu teaches primarily through multiple chapters at educational or research institutions, a uniform, de jure policy on admissions is necessary.

Karl Friday
9th September 2004, 22:39
I just noticed that I had accidently cut a whole section out of my post--oops! Anyway, here's the addendum, which should have fit in between the second and last paragraphs my post yesterday:

A much more important, and fundamental, concern, however, is the nature of cross-training--or rather, simultaneous training in multiple arts--itself. While some arts resemble or complement one another very well, making simultaneous study in both a beneficial practice, there are also many cases in which arts clash in fundamental ways that make attempting to do both at once something akin to trying to run a rapids while standing in two canoes at the same time. With respect to most other ryuha and most other arts, Kashima-Shinryu is (we believe) a canoe.

That is, the headmaster and other senior exponents feel very strongly that
Kashima-Shinryu is sufficiently different, in fundamental points (many of which are not all that readily perceptible to outsiders or beginners), from most other arts to warrant special caution with regard to simultaneous study. In most cases, it is felt, attempts to study Kashima-Shinryu in tandem with other arts lead to either a bastardization of Kashima-Shinryu blended into the students' other art[s], or a thorough grasp of neither art. Either way, the students in question aren't really learning Kashima-Shiinryu.

This problem is exacerbated by both superficial (apparent, but not real) similarities, and superficial (apparent, but not real) differences between Kashima-Shinryu and some other arts. Aikido, for example, has often been viewed (by Aikido-ists or outsiders) as very similar to Kashima-Shinryu on many points of technique or philosophy; yet advanced Kashima-Shinryu students see little overlap--and crucial differences--between almost every aspect of the two arts. The result is that (based on my experience and that of every other Kashima-Shinryu instructor I've ever discussed the topic with) Aikido-ists are among the most difficult students to teach Kashima-Shiinryu to, because they have to un-learn so many fundamental (often subtle-but-critical) habits of mind and body (indeed, to date no advanced Aikido student has successfully moved beyond the intermediate levels of Kashima-Shinryu training).

Hence the special caution with regard to admitting students who also train in other martial arts. In a nutshell, the Kashima-Shinryu's position is that, more often than not, attempting to learn Kashima-Shinryu in parallel with other martial art training is detrimental to the would-be student's prospects for success--and potentially detrimental to the integrity of the art itself.

For schools that operate (as most koryu do) through private dojos at only one or two locations, a kind of de facto policy applied case-by-case is perfectly adequate to handle this sort of concern, but because Kashima-Shinryu teaches through multiple chapters, primarily at educational or research institutions, a uniform, de jure policy on admissions is necessary. (Please excuse the repeat, and slight rephrasing, of this last paragraph!)

Richard Stein
20th September 2004, 08:39
Thank you for your informative reply, Mr. Friday.

Nathan Scott
22nd September 2004, 02:40
Hi,

FWIW, in shinkendo, we also prohibit cross training in other sword-arts (unrelated arts is o.k. though). We don't want shinkendo's strong parts to be incorporated into other sword arts, don't want the divided loyalty to inside information, don't want to deal with the habits of other sword arts mixing in with our own methodology, etc. Most of the same reasons that Professor Friday listed for Kashima shinryu.

Interestingly though, we also have some tollerance of cross training in kendo (?).

Regards,

shieldcaster
1st October 2004, 08:11
Dr. Friday (or anyone else who would like to answer),

Are there, in your professional opinion, any arts that you feel compliment/suppliment Kashima Shinryu. I have read numerous points regarding the Aikido/Kashima Shinryu non-fraternization issue, and so far, seem to agree. The Kashima Shinryu website states that a teacher/student may study another art for the sake of satisfying any physical fitness/club requirements. I also know that Kashima Shinryu tends to be a rather broadly inclusive art (I believe the term is 'sogo', could be wrong), training in many weapons and jujutsu. That obviously doesn't lend itself to any necessity for cross-training.

Obviously assuming that any permission had been granted prior to any training; 'in a vaccuum' so to speak.

I am very interested to know if you (anyone) may think so.

My greatest respect to you, Dr.

Thank you.

Karl Friday
1st October 2004, 15:14
Originally posted by shieldcaster
Are there, in your professional opinion, any arts that you feel compliment/suppliment Kashima Shinryu.


The short answer is yes, but it becomes a pretty tricky question, when you come down to specifics.

There are a number of other martial arts (and other activities!) out there that can teach students things that would enhance their Kashima-Shinryu learning. A few of these are broadly complementary--essentially compatible with Kashima-Shinryu principles--and others have things to offer particular students at particular times and places in their development. The problem is that the activities in the latter category can often also be detrimental to other students at other stages of development. The whole issue is really yet another of those case-by-case things so common in matters concerning Japanese arts and culture (cf. pretty much any post by Meik Skoss:D ).

shieldcaster
7th October 2004, 05:53
Although I am eagerly awaiting my copy of Legacies..., I have not yet had the good fortune to read it. So please forgive me if these questions are covered therein.
I think that neither of these questions fully apply to the current topic of this thread, but they do apply to the actuall title:
1) Has the Kashima Shinryu curriculum ever included the yumi?
and,
2) It was mentioned in indirectly in a thread regarding the teaching the teaching of 'KSR' at the Meiji Jingu that KSR studies included "exorcism." I know that the ryu traces its roots, traditionally, back to harai-tachi and Kuninazu-no-Mahito's development thereof (shinmyo-ken). But is there--at any level of study (that anyone is allowed to write about here)--any emphasis placed on this type of knowledge. I'm sure that the implications of KSR's mental/spiritual side may come into play at this level--but at this point, what do I know? This is a truly fascinating premise, and one that would fit well into a personal study that I am pursuing.
I am anxious to hear the reply(ies) for both.
Thanks.

Karl Friday
22nd October 2004, 20:39
Originally posted by shieldcaster

1) Has the Kashima Shinryu curriculum ever included the yumi?

Kunii Zen'ya maintained that it once did, but that kyujutsu had virtually disappeared from the curriculum sometime in the late Edo period. It survives in Kashima-Shinryu today only as a set of general principles--we don't actively practice with bow and arrow.



2) It was mentioned in indirectly in a thread regarding the teaching the teaching of 'KSR' at the Meiji Jingu that KSR studies included "exorcism." I know that the ryu traces its roots, traditionally, back to harai-tachi and Kuninazu-no-Mahito's development thereof (shinmyo-ken). But is there--at any level of study (that anyone is allowed to write about here)--any emphasis placed on this type of knowledge.

"Exorcism" is actually a rather loose translation for harai, which refers to various sorts of interaction with spirits and energy sources. This is a key part of Kashima-Shinryu teachings, even at the early levels (although beginners seldom realize this!), but not one that lends itself well to verbal description. Most of the instruction on this facet of Kashima-Shinryu is subliminal--built into the kata. It's the sort of thing that's really only visible in hindsight--I'm just beginning (after almost 30 years!) to get a handle on what's entailed and how deep this vein runs through Kashima-Shinryu martial art.

shieldcaster
23rd October 2004, 00:52
Thanks a million for the reply, Dr. Friday. It helps tremendously. I can understand the 'verbal description' issue. I've only been studying Kashima Shinryu for a few months now, and my sensei has been more than forthcoming about answering any of my questions, regarding any aspect of the Kashima Shinryu curriculum. Unfortunately, at this point there are still certain areas which are a bit hard to tread, as his English is far better than my Japanese (which is all but non-existent)--so some discussion leads headlong into the brick wall of the language barrier.

As for the yumi question: I am teaching English as JET at a high school, and I need to become an active participant of club activities after school. So far, I have been doing a different club everyday. I need to choose one (because I will become one of the staff sponsors of that club). My HS offers judo, kyudo, sumo and kendo, as budo goes, and the other clubs are rather competetive and practice further into the evening (which is not possible for me). My sensei is aware of this, but hasn't really given me a thumbs up or thumbs down on any of them. Do you have any advice? I have no experience in any of the budo at my school, and I sure as hell don't want to complicate my Kashima Shinryu studies.

I am still eagerly awaiting you book, it's taking awhile from America. I'm sure that through the course of both my study of your book, and my study of Kashima Shinryu, I will continue to have questions. Thank you for your replies thus far. And thank you, in advance, for all of your replies in the future.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

rupert
26th October 2004, 07:57
On my website I point out that I think KSR is a good compliment to Aikido. In fact, my first exposure of it was from senior teachers in the BAF in the UK (1980s). My second exposure to it was in Shiseikan (Japan, early 1990s) as all their senior instructors practised it regularly. Personally, I like it and think that it does indeed compliment my Aikido.

However, I have had a couple of angry emails from KSR purists telling me how the technical and philosophical make up of KSR oppose Aikido, meaning, they don't think they are compatible / don't like the idea that they might be, suggesting that I remove such statements from my site. I disagree. I don't know a lot of KSR, but what I do know fits nicely with my own scheme of Aikido.

KSR purists are no doubt worried about dilution of their art. Well, that is a real worry, but it won't come from the likes of me as I don't teach it (although I have stolen / adapted a few handy exercises).

Karl Friday
26th October 2004, 13:57
Originally posted by rupert
On my website I point out that I think KSR is a good compliment to Aikido. In fact, my first exposure of it was from senior teachers in the BAF in the UK (1980s). My second exposure to it was in Shiseikan (Japan, early 1990s) as all their senior instructors practised it regularly. Personally, I like it and think that it does indeed compliment my Aikido.

However, I have had a couple of angry emails from KSR purists telling me how the technical and philosophical make up of KSR oppose Aikido, meaning, they don't think they are compatible / don't like the idea that they might be, suggesting that I remove such statements from my site. I disagree. I don't know a lot of KSR, but what I do know fits nicely with my own scheme of Aikido.

If your exposure to "KSR" is through the Shiseikan at the Meiji Grand Shrine and its satellite group in England, it's hardly surprising that you find it compatible with Aikido. These are Aikido schools teaching Aikido, with the addition of some kenjutsu and other techniques adopted (and heavily adapted) from Kashima-Shinryu. The sword and other weapons technique taught at the Shiseikain is not Kashima-Shinryu; it isn't even similar to Kashima-Shinryu; it's a fundamentally different art.

With regard to the issue of "KSR purists": you're certainly entitled to your own opinions, but you should also recognize that there is a difference between informed and uninformed opinion. Experience with bits of Kashima-Shinryu kata adapted and grafted into an Aikido curriculum is not a solid basis for informed opinion concerning the compatibility of Aikido with Kashima-Shinryu, any more than observation of soccer-style kickers on American football teams is a solid basis for conclusions about the essential similarities between the two games Americans and British call "football."

The simple fact is that Aikido and Kashima-Shinryu are very different arts, even though they share some superficial resemblences. For more on this issue, check out some of the earlier discussions in the archives of E-Budo and some of the on-line Aikido fora.

cxt
26th October 2004, 14:08
Mr. Friday

Are any of the KSR folks/branchs at the University of Kansas still active?

Or did I read that wrong as a location?

Chris Thomas

Karl Friday
26th October 2004, 16:00
Originally posted by cxt
Are any of the KSR folks/branchs at the University of Kansas still active?


Not any more. The KU branch was actually rather short-lived--from 1978-80 while Will Bodiford and I were students there. At this point the only active and authorized branch schools in North America are at UCLA, UGA, Montana State, and Eureka. But, of course, things change as qualified students graduate and move.

cxt
26th October 2004, 17:18
Mr. Friday

Thank you.


Chris Thomas

rupert
27th October 2004, 06:29
Originally posted by Karl Friday
If your exposure to "KSR" is through the Shiseikan at the Meiji Grand Shrine and its satellite group in England, it's hardly surprising that you find it compatible with Aikido. These are Aikido schools teaching Aikido, with the addition of some kenjutsu and other techniques adopted (and heavily adapted) from Kashima-Shinryu. The sword and other weapons technique taught at the Shiseikain is not Kashima-Shinryu; it isn't even similar to Kashima-Shinryu; it's a fundamentally different art.

With regard to the issue of "KSR purists": you're certainly entitled to your own opinions, but you should also recognize that there is a difference between informed and uninformed opinion. Experience with bits of Kashima-Shinryu kata adapted and grafted into an Aikido curriculum is not a solid basis for informed opinion concerning the compatibility of Aikido with Kashima-Shinryu, any more than observation of soccer-style kickers on American football teams is a solid basis for conclusions about the essential similarities between the two games Americans and British call "football."

The simple fact is that Aikido and Kashima-Shinryu are very different arts, even though they share some superficial resemblences. For more on this issue, check out some of the earlier discussions in the archives of E-Budo and some of the on-line Aikido fora.

I guess in the most part, you are correct - can't deny it really. Of course, being taught KSR by Aikidoka may have altered / influenced the KSR as taught. The 'limited' KSR I 'experienced' in the UK did match that which I 'experienced' in Japan. Also, in Shiseikan (yes, of Meiji-jingu) they did not mix it with their Aikido (as they did in the UK). At that time, a couple of the senior Aikido instructors were learning KSR officially, I think (not absolutely sure though). Shiseikan is only mildly connected to the BAF - nothing official, more personal - I only learned about the 'connection' after I joined (I was a university exchange student in Japan). The BAF is certainly no 'satellite.' Anyway, whether the KSR I learned was real KSR or not, what I learned was / has been very useful to my Aikido / Jujutsu training.

Also, I am only writing from my own experience. Many people study this or that form of kenjutsu or kendo and claim it helps their Aikido. I did study some Musoshinden-ryu in the UK for a couple of years but found it did not help 'my' Aikido at all (I know others who claim otherwise). The KSR, real or not, that I found, did help my Aikido. Am I not allowed to say that? I guess I should modify my website and write - the 'bastardised KSR that I learned.' Maybe that would satisfy the purists (only trouble is, the Korean government has blocked access to my website so I can't change it - another story).

I did not claim to have learned authentic KSR from KSR Hombu. I did not claim to be an expert. I did say, "I don't know a lot of KSR, but what I do know fits nicely with my own scheme of Aikido." I just wrote about my experience. Thus, my experience is not as you say 'uninformed,' as it simply represents my experience. You can not deny my experience.

I have always told myself that if I ever got back to Japan I would seek out a KSR club as my 'tainted' experience of it is that it IS a good compliment to 'my' kind of Aikido, what ever that may be. Well, if the initial post is official policy, I guess they would not let me join.

Karl Friday
27th October 2004, 18:49
Originally posted by rupert
I am only writing from my own experience. . . . The KSR, real or not, that I found, did help my Aikido. Am I not allowed to say that? . . . I did not claim to have learned authentic KSR from KSR Hombu. I did not claim to be an expert. I did say, "I don't know a lot of KSR, but what I do know fits nicely with my own scheme of Aikido." I just wrote about my experience. Thus, my experience is not as you say 'uninformed,' as it simply represents my experience. You can not deny my experience.

I'm not denying your experience, I'm clarifying it. My point is that your experience is not with Kashima-Shinryu, it's with something else entirely. The mere fact that your teachers called what they were teaching you "Kashima-Shinryu" doesn't make it Kashima-Shinryu. Your conclusions--your opinion--concerning the utility of Kashima-Shinryu training for Aikido practioners are (is), therefore, by definition uninformed, inasmuch as you have no informational base concerning Kashima-Shinryu on which to build.

Not being an Aikidoist, I'm not in a position to judge whether or not there are elements of Kashima-Shinryu technique or philosophy that might enhance one's Aikido training. The answer to that question would depend, in part, on how broadly you define "Aikido"--how much new material can you add, and how far can you depart from the path that Ueshiba Morihei defined and still being doing "Aikido" rather than something else.

Inaba Minoru and his students have taken selected Kashima-Shinryu kata conceptualized and reconceptualized--filtered, as it were--through the perceptual framework and understanding of an advanced Aikidoist (and explained to Inaba at the depth and level appropriate to a Kashima-Shinryu novice), and used them to augment their Aikido training and instruction.

But acknowledging the utility of this sort of borrowing--"cherry picking" as one of my colleagues likes to call it--is a very different thing from asserting that Kashima-Shinryu training can make one a better Aikidoist or that Aikido training can make one a better Kashima-Shinryu practitioner. Familiarity with cherry syrup made from picked cherries simply isn' t the same thing as knowledge of raw cherries or cherry trees.

This isn't an issue of what anyone is "allowed" or not allowed to say. It's one of accuracy in expression.

Earl Hartman
27th October 2004, 20:24
Originally posted by Karl Friday
Inaba Minoru and his students have taken selected Kashima-Shinryu kata.....and used them to augment their Aikido training and instruction.

I do not practice aikido, nor do I practice Kashima Shinryu. However, this statement by Dr. Friday clarifies the nub of the problem.

Practicing anything with ulterior motives is fundamentally wrong. Using Kashima Shinryu (or anything, for that matter) to improve one's understanding of aikido (or whatever) is proof of an ulterior motive. A person with ulterior motives does not study an art because he wants to understand the art, he is using the art for what he thinks he can get out of it. This is, quite simply, wrong, from both a practical and moral point of view. It is natural and very commonplace, but it is still wrong.

Simply from a practical point of view, it is wrong because a person practicing something with this attitude can never really see what it is he is doing. An aikidoist studying Kashima Shinryu will always, whether he knows it or not, judge Kashima Shinryu against his "real" art, aikido. And, as Dr. Friday points out, he will "filter" everything through his understanding of what he thinks aikido is (or, even worse, what he thinks it should be). There is no way that such a person will ever be able to understand Kashima Shinryu, or whatever art he is studying to "complement" his aikido.

I often have people come to me and say they want to study kyudo because they want something "spiritual". These people never last, because when their experience with kyudo doesn't conform to what they think is "spiritual", they assume that kyudo is at fault rather than their own silly preconceptions. Only those people who accept kyudo for what it is and study it diligently ever come to understand the real spirituality of kyudo (which is always totally different from what they thought it was).

It is the same with this. You should study any art for what it is, not for what you think it should be or what you want t get out of it. If you can do that, it seems to me that no two arts need necessarily be incompatible. The incompatibility comes when you want to use something (in this case, Kashima Shinryu) to benefit yourself in some other more important area (aikido). This shows a lack of respect to the art you are studying, and when this happens nothing of any value can be learned.

Speaking as a kyudo instructor, if someone ever came to me and said "I want to study kyudo so I can get better at aikido", I would not waste my time with him.

P Goldsbury
28th October 2004, 00:45
Originally posted by Karl Friday
Inaba Minoru and his students have taken selected Kashima-Shinryu kata ......and used them to augment their Aikido training and instruction.

Mr Hartman,

I agree that this is the nub of the problem, as you put it, but I am less sure of the moral aspects involved.

I myself do not practise Kashima Shin-ryu, though I do know Mr Inaba and have also experienced his aikido. Nevertheless, aikido practitioners do practise other arts in addition, such as iaido and jojutsu, and I am pretty sure they do this to benefit their proficiency in both arts. Whether it is possible to do this and do justice to both arts is, in my opinion, another issue and I think some traditional koryu might forbid such cross-training. I am not so certain about modern (gendai) budo.

There is no evidence that Morihei Ueshiba practised Kashima Shin-ryu, but he purported to practise Kashima Shinto-ryu and elements of this art seem to be incorporated into sword kata of aikido. Morihei Ueshiba himself trained with the ken and jo, but whether these kata are essential to aikido as it has come to be, is controversial. Of course, Ueshiba practised other arts and must have incorporated elements of these into what eventually became aikido. I suppose you could argue that (a) the masters of these arts were happy to teach him, and / or (b) aikido itself was not fully formed, so to speak, at the time and so any ulterior motive of Ueshiba's was not so easily discernible.

That said, I, too, would be rather uncomfortable if someone came to my dojo with the intention of using aikido to practise another art.

Best regards,

Earl Hartman
28th October 2004, 01:27
Originally posted by P Goldsbury
That said, I, too, would be rather uncomfortable if someone came to my dojo with the intention of using aikido to practise another art.

That is really all that I mean. Perhaps "disrespectful" is closer to the mark than calling it an issue of morality. But doing this is indicative of a mindset that I think is detrimental to really learning budo.

Exploring various arts to soldifiy one's understanding of budo in general, or practicing various arts to understand those arts is not what I'm talking about. This seems entirely reasonable to me (although difficult). I know a man who is a very senior practitoner of a venerable koryu art in Japan (he is Japanese). In addition to his primary art, which is primarily concerned with the sword, he practices kyudo, horsemanship and sojutsu.

Why?

Because warriors back in the day knew these arts and so he wants to do what they did as best he can in today's world. But he is studying those arts for what they are, not as stepping stones to something better or more important.

This is an entirely different thing than using one art as a tool to understand another art that one thinks is more important. That is just, well, insulting is the only word I can think of.

Jack B
28th October 2004, 16:50
This is an entirely different thing than using one art as a tool to understand another art that one thinks is more important. That is just, well, insulting is the only word I can think of. Aikido is so nebulous that it is almost as if one is referring to "enhancing one's own personal budo", which is what your senior practitioner does, while independently maintaining his primary art. It is not as if Aikido were a koryu with defined kata and training regimen. Of course the others are, and have every right to make requirements of their adherents.

P Goldsbury
28th October 2004, 23:19
Originally posted by Jack B
Aikido is so nebulous that it is almost as if one is referring to "enhancing one's own personal budo", which is what your senior practitioner does, while independently maintaining his primary art. It is not as if Aikido were a koryu with defined kata and training regimen. Of course the others are, and have every right to make requirements of their adherents.

Mr Bieler,

Well, I have trained in aikido for 35 years, so perhaps I qualify as "your senior practitioner". I myself do not practise aikido in order to "enhance my own personal budo", if this is different from why anyone would practise budo or bujutsu to begin with. Aikido is a complex psycho-physical practice, in the sense that it is training, and is open-ended, in the sense that there is no limit to how proficient you can become. In this respect it is no different from any koryu.

I think the issue in this thread is not the issue of whether so called martial arts are really martial arts, but the motivation the practioners of one art might have for practising another and whether the motivation affects the content or quality of the training. Some aikido practitioners see no need for such cross-training.

Yours sincerely,

P Goldsbury
29th October 2004, 00:07
I see that you meant by "enhancing one's own personal budo" practising the secondary art(s) in addition to one's own. Perhaps I should add something to my last post, lest I be misunderstood.

Aikido is commonly called defensive, and a corollary of this is that the systematic teaching of attacking often depends on the instructor. The question whether you need to learn how to attack in a particular way, in order to defend against such attacks is moot. Nevertheless, many aikidoka practise karate, in order to hone punching and kicking skills, and also judo, in order to focus more on openings or ukemi. I think there is nothing nebulous about this.

I can see why Dr Friday would argue that learning a few basic moves of KSR should never lead one to suppose one is learning KSR. Equally, one could say the same with someone who comes to aikido mearly to learn a few joint techniques or "soft" ukemi. However, the principles and parameters of the art might lead some practitioners, for the best of reasons, to go outside the art, in order to try to grasp these principles and parameters more clearly. I may be wrong, but I think you would not find this in a traditional koryu.

Yours sincerely,

Jack B
29th October 2004, 22:29
What I am referring to as nebulous are the curricula and teaching methods. As you say, these differ greatly depending on the style and instructor. There is a vast array of varieties of Aikido, even within the same organization, to an extent you would not see in a koryu. The lack of a comprehensive curriculum allows gaps in training for some practitioners. Is it unethical for students to cross-train? That depends on the situation.

I have had students come to me to learn some Aikido to enhance their other, primary art. They do not stay long, and are generally a waste of time. At some point you either buy into the principles of a system, or you do not and will never get it. I will say that those who stay are the ones who start out genuinely interested. Aikido sensei also have the right to make requirements of their adherents. I certainly did not mean to imply that Aikido is not, or cannot be, a real budo.

shieldcaster
1st November 2004, 02:39
So, that obviously counts out Aikido--which is not news at this point. However, I am still quite interested as to the possibilities of my doing a bit of either Judo, Kendo or Kyudo with my school, and whether or not any of that training would adversely effect my KSR studies.

The ole KSR/Aikido discussion has occupied many a thread here on E-budo, and I can dig that. So, now that we've twisted the knife a little more and added a bit more salt to the wound, I think we've found ourselves back at the starting point. I fully understand that for better or worse, it would not be a good idea to go mixing in Aikido with my KSR. So...does anyone have any advice for the other gendai listed above.

Dr. Friday: so Kunii Sensei maintained that the yumi was studied at one time in KSR. Do you have any specifics on why that would've ceased? Or, are there any reasons why yumi training couldn't be pursued from a KSR perspective?

Thank you all, for your assistance.

Karl Friday
1st November 2004, 15:18
Originally posted by shieldcaster
I am still quite interested as to the possibilities of my doing a bit of either Judo, Kendo or Kyudo with my school, and whether or not any of that training would adversely effect my KSR studies.


My guess would be that Kyudo would probably not interfere with your Kashima-Shinryu studies, and would probably fall under the heading of allowable exceptions, since you'd be doing this in a school club, essentially as part of your job obligations. But you need to discuss this with your teacher, and perhaps with Prof. Seki.

Kendo would definitely clash rather dramatically with your Kashima-Shinryu studies (and vice-versa); judo probably would as well.

As to why archery disappeared from the Kashima-Shinryu curriculum, I'm not sure. It might have been something as mundane as Kunii Zen'ya or one of his predecessors simply not being interested in practicing or teaching it. It survives today only as a few basic bits of theory in the kuden, and these seem to me to be compatible with Kyudo--at least within the boundaries of my limited understanding of Kyudo. Again, though, you need to discuss this directly with your teacher.

BTW (just FYI to all interested): Seki Sensei has asked that we use the abbreviation "KSSR," rather than "KSR," for "Kashima-Shinryu," in order to avoid confusion with the Katori Shinto Ryu, which is also regularly abbreviated as "KSR" in various internet fora. He's also declared "Kashima-Shinryu" to be the official/formal/preferred romanization for the ryuha name.

shieldcaster
1st November 2004, 23:49
Noted. I will get with my teacher a.s.a.p.--my supervoisor is a bit jumpy about me not having chosen a club by this point. We have talked about it a bit, but nothing too serious. My impression is that he feels the same about the 'cross'-training as you. I would have to agree with the two of you, in my limited opinion.

Having said that, I would be interested in researching a bit more deeply the historical aspects of yumi usage in the KSSR. (And as for that, I have been using that acronym here in Japan correspondence, but on this forum it is always KSR. Thanks for the clarification.)

Thanks again, Dr. Friday. And again and again.

Earl Hartman
2nd November 2004, 00:00
Well, since modern kyudo consists almost exclusively of standing still in one spot and shooting arrows at a stationary target, if it turns out that there is a conflict between kyudo and KSSR, I would certainly like to know what it is.

shieldcaster
2nd November 2004, 01:00
I have discussed the obligation of having to join a club, and most likely a budo club, with my sensei. I have discussed the fact that I cannot train a budo that will interfere with my KSSR studies with my supervisor, who is a bit jumpy about me not having joined a club by this point.

In both cases they have been very understanding. I have expressed my interest in pursuing kyudo with my teacher, and he seems to think thus far that that won't be a porblem. He is not too certain about any history of yumi in KSSR, but said he'd check into it for me.

I would love to speak with Prof. Seki about a number of things, if that is appropriate. However, I do understand that there is a bit of a 'chain of command' and I shouldn't go getting ahold of Seki Sensei everytime I have a question. I would be VERY interested to learn a bit more about this whole yumi-in-KSSR thing, though--especially if I will involved with kyudo from a professional angle.

I do not in any way wish to jeopardize any training or relationship that I have (and will have) with Kashima-Shinryu. Nor do I want to cause any friction with my peers and supervisors here in my everyday workplace. If I need to speak to Seki Sensei regarding any or all of these points (especially the yumi in KSSR!), then I would be greatly honored to have some of his time. I will be here at this school for at least the next few years (and presumably be involved with whatever club I choose to sponsor/participate in for that long, as well) and I will no doubt have a relationship with Kashima-Shinryu for a far longer period.

I don't anticipate any of this being problematic, and I think that everyone will have an understanding for my position (both professionally and privately). I will speak to my teacher today, and get his input. If you have any further input, Dr. Friday, please don't hesitate to advise.

Thanks a million!
And thank you, too, Earl!

Earl Hartman
2nd November 2004, 01:38
If you find out anything about yumi in KSSR, please let me know.

In this connecton, I should point out that in addition to its use as a battlefield weapon, the Ogasawara Ryu specialized in the ritual use of the bow and arrow. I have not researched this subject to any degree other than to read a few books, but at Court there were many ceremonies that used the bow and arrow in a ritual fashion. The bow and arrow were considered to have the power to banish evil influences (O-Harai) and to bring good fortune. As a result, the Court often held archery ceremonies to pray for peace for the realm, or pray for good harvests, etc.

I believe that most schools have some version of these ceremonies, but the Ogasawara Ryu is generally considered to be the repository of the oldest traditions in this area.

shieldcaster
2nd November 2004, 03:27
Yeah, I've read up a bit on Ogasawara Ryu. Very interesting stuff, really. Definitely worth further research on an academic level. On a personal (as well as academic) level, I am far more interested in the more pragmatic angle of yumi usage. In particular, having seemingly stumbled upon the possibility of kyujutsu in KSSR (...back in the KSSR :D), this may really open some doors to further my exploration of KSSR--and especially from an apparently forgotten (superfluous?) source.

Kyudo/kyujutsu have always interested me--along with about a million other things! But, if given the chance to maybe dig a bit deeper into KSSR and its yumi history, I may be able to uniquely intensify my growing relationship with KSSR, and pursue an interest that has over the years eluded me.

My fascination with Kahima-Shinryu has left my wife shaking her head on so many occassions that it could now be considered habitual. She is very supportive, but is not interested in the least. This has just fueled the fire even more!

So...I'm rambling again. Yes, Earl, if this goes any further into the depths, I will certainly keep you informed (as much as is possible) on what I discover/am shown. In my little universe, you happen to be the official Kyudo Guy, so should I have any questions, comments or criticisms you will hear them right after my wife does.

So, hopefully this will continue on...

Earl Hartman
2nd November 2004, 03:39
To repeat, I don't know anything about KSSR, but AFAIK, the only group that still practices the art of battlefield kyujutsu is the Satsuma Heki Ryu, based in the town of Izumi in Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu (a bit of a schlep from Kaga-shi; anyway, they don't accept any students unless they already have a 5th dan in modern kyudo). My guess is that if Dr. Firday says that there is no extant kyujutsu curriculum in KSSR, he's right.

One thing I did see on the KSSR website was a demonstration of people using bows as spears or something like that; IIRC the website said that they were demonstrating how to use the bow as a weapon at close quarters once all one's arrows had been discharged. I think the blurb said that KSSR was the only ryu to preserve this technique.

In that regard, while modern kyudo refers to the upper tip of the bow as the urahazu, or the "rear nock" (to distinguish it from the bottom of the bow, which is the motohazu (the "base nock"), in the Heki Ryu this part of the bow is called the hokosaki, or the "spear point". In battle, the archers would fit spear points onto the upper tip of the bow so that when one closed on the enemy after all one's arrows had been shot, the bow could be used as a spear. A vestige of this is still seen in the technique of the Satsuma Heki Ryu.

shieldcaster
2nd November 2004, 04:13
Yes, I understand that you do not know much about Kashima-Shinryu. Nor was I saying that Dr. Friday was stating that there were any real vestiges of kyujutsu extant in KSSR. He did however say that there were kuden and a few theories. I think that counts for something to me; maybe it's nothing and will go nowhere...

Do you have the link to the KSSR site about the bow/spear. I know that Heki Ryu has an HQ club at Tsukuba University, and that KSSR is headquartered there, though I doubt that means anything.

It is still very interesting. I have to wait till this evening to get ahold of my teacher, but I hope I'm not digging myself into a hole here.

Don't worry, Earl, I am clear as to what you were saying, I think that in my ramblings I may have got a little confusing.

Karl Friday
2nd November 2004, 13:01
Originally posted by Earl Hartman
One thing I did see on the KSSR website was a demonstration of people using bows as spears or something like that; IIRC the website said that they were demonstrating how to use the bow as a weapon at close quarters once all one's arrows had been discharged. I think the blurb said that KSSR was the only ryu to preserve this technique.

Earl, are you sure about this? I think you may be confusing websites and/or schools here. I've never heard of any techniques like this, and I just re-checked the KSSR site and couldn't find any pictures like the one you describe. Are you talking about www.kashima-shinryu.org (the official website of the ryuha)? Hmmmm . . . .

Earl Hartman
2nd November 2004, 18:49
Dr. Friday:

Quite a while ago I saw a few pictures on the net of a demonstration held somewhere in Japan; I did a Google search and now I can't find them. I was pretty sure that the school was KSSR, but if you say no such technique exists, then I assme that I was mistaken.

shieldcaster
4th November 2004, 07:05
Dr. Friday (or anyone):

Can you give me some pointers on where I should get a Kashima-Shinryu bokuto here in Japan? Also, I need to get a Judogi, any tips on that, as well?

Also, a bit off of this particular post's subject, but...I was at the Meiji Jingu Embu yesterday and many of the people I was there with were asking why Kashima-Shinryu (as if I'm now a freaking expert) was not represented. I couldn't help thinking that that was a good question.

renfield_kuroda
4th November 2004, 12:32
How about you get the bokken your sensei recommends to you when you start training?
Barring that, www.bokkenshop.co.jp.

Regards,

r e n

Ron Tisdale
4th November 2004, 17:09
Hi Ren,

You might have missed it, but I believe he already trains (it seems) in KSSR, and already knows the appropriate style of bokken, he's just asking for some options in terms of *where* to pick one up.

Ron

shieldcaster
5th November 2004, 13:20
Good call, Ron. And, Ren, the link doesn't work.

Karl Friday
5th November 2004, 14:34
Originally posted by shieldcaster
Can you give me some pointers on where I should get a Kashima-Shinryu bokuto here in Japan?

There are quite a few shops in Tokyo that handle bokuto of various sorts, many of which also carry Kashima-Shinryu bokuto (and sometimes shinai). In the past I've found them at a shop near Jinbocho station, and at ones near Suidobashi and Iidabashi (sorry, I can't remember the names of any of these shops!). Your most economical bet, though, would be to get one from the KSSR Bokuto Kikin, which buys Kashima-Shinryu training gear in bulk (and discount) for resale to the various branch schools. Once again, talk to your teacher about this.

Judogi you should be able to find at any martial art supply place and most sporting goods stores, pretty much anywhere in Japan. Tsuchiura has several good shops that carry a variety of judogi and aikidogi suitable for KSSR training.

renfield_kuroda
6th November 2004, 02:02
Oops.
http://www.bokkenshop.com/

More stuff under the Japanese link than the English.

Regards,

r e n