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Jari Virta
8th October 2001, 11:25
It is often repeated that the koryu are not for the masses. That they demand a lot more of the student than the gendai arts. I have heard things like "one must learn to speak good Japanese to study koryu" "one can only learn good koryu by staying in Japan for extended periods", etc.

How much of this is true, ie. what does the koryu demand from the student that a more modern art does not? How does this show, if a person begins to study a koryu art in the same manner as he would study Karate-do, Kendo or similar modern arts, how would he find out that he's doing "the wrong thing", would he not get rank or what? :confused:

Any comments are welcome.

Arman
8th October 2001, 15:20
In my opinion, there is a lot of mumbo-jumbo that surrounds koryu arts. If you find a school and dedicate yourself to training, you will be fine. The only caveat is that you really, really have to dedicate yourself. It is also true that the training and overall approach is quite different than, say, Judo training, or aikido. Many teachers won't spoon feed the kata to you, requiring the student to learn by constant repitition and observation. Then, when the teacher thinks the student is ready, he will provide a kernel of knowledge to correct your kata. And so on. Other teachers aren't so classical in their teaching methods, even though the art is classical. Also, in a koryu art, you are partaking directly in a tradition, a cultural lineage, so to speak, and as such the student takes on a great amount of responsibility in their training. Where Judo is primarily a competitive sport, koryu budo/bujutsu are primarliy living, martial traditions with no emphasis on competition. Where aikido is a very free-flowing art designed to emphasize harmony in any manifestation, koryu budo/bujutsu are very strict and formal, with no room for casual experimentation by the student. And so on.
What I find silly, however, are those that talk about the koryu like some sacred temple that only those enlightened enough may visit. Give me a break. All you need is an open mind, the time to dedicate your life to a particular ryu, and the maturity to recognize the responsibility the student has in preserving and protecting the art they are learning.

That's my opinion, anyway, for what it's worth. And I am no professed expert. There are probably many on this board who have far greater koryu experience and knowledge than myself. I have only studied one true koryu (Shindo Muso-ryu), and only for a short amount of time. Btw, you should also check out the literature on the subject. There is a lot of good material on koryu budo/bujutsu. While not a substitute for real training, they are good sources for supplemental knowledge.

Hope this helps,

Arman Partamian
Daito-ryu Study Group
Baltimore, MD

Jari Virta
8th October 2001, 15:35
Thanks for the comments.


Originally posted by Arman
Btw, you should also check out the literature on the subject. There is a lot of good material on koryu budo/bujutsu. While not a substitute for real training, they are good sources for supplemental knowledge.

Yes, I have read quite a bit. Right now I'm sort of "between arts". I quit my earlier martial endeavors and am looking for a new art. (Don't take this as if I'm an "art-hopper", I had my reasons for departing.)

Koryu arts interest me and I have access to some decent dojos. But I have read from many online-sources that if I want koryu, I must go to Japan once a year (= minimum usually), learn fluent Japanese (preferably bakun too), and so on.

I am willing to study with devotion, "'till grave", and uphold the tradition unchanged, but I am not willing to succumb to a cult that demands I spend every penny I ever earn on trips to meet The Grand Guru(tm) and all waking hours studying some ancient kanji.

Arman
8th October 2001, 15:55
Proficiency in Japanese is not a necessity. It does help, however, because many koryu masters do not speak English. Also, the reason so many people say you have to go to Japan for koryu is simply because there is very little true koryu outside of Japan. Be very careful when choosing a koryu, especially one outside of Japan. Check out everything about the art and the credentials of the teacher. If you can find someone in the U.S., for example, authorized to teach a koryu art, then Japanese proficiency isn't really necessary, since your teacher will most likely speak Japanese and be a convenient bridge for you. You will, however, most likely be required to travel to Japan at least once a year or every two years to train at the main dojo, even though there is a U.S. branch.

Arman Partamian
Daito-ryu Study Group
Baltimore, MD

MarkF
9th October 2001, 10:40
I've heard said by some of the more well known koryu practitioners that everything you do is "for the ryu, by the ryu, in the ryu" provided the teacher even lets you in the door, and even then, the negative decision must be accepted, and the search must go on for another koryu.

As to training in Japan, "to get the true flavor" or is it that not the dirt under your feet which matters.

And what about those arts which trip on the set time line of 1868 which are done, in every way, like koryu, but, for the time, it is gendai. What? "Sorry, you weren't born early enough." Then there is this competition thing which doesn't exist in koryu, but only in sportified jujutsu, judo, etc. Do you really believe that there were no competitions in kyujutsu? In fact, competition became a very important fact of life, it just wasn't a symbolic combative victory of today, you became the new old master of jujutsu because your ryu just beat the dalylights out of the ryu just outside town and down the street.

Why is it that all these koryu are so similar? You say not, but in reality, they are very similar. Some of all of them can find their way into each other's old school arts. Competition, stealing the technique which beat you, was all too common.

I wonder if the "jumping in" of students is still common. No, it couldn't be as we have developed as human beings and such behavior is not tolerated.

I wonder who started that tradition, the one in which you were no longer "jumped in?"

Mark

Arman
9th October 2001, 15:02
By the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the bujutsu ryu became less relevant to everday life. Hence, the transformation of the bujutsu to budo (I know it isn't that clear cut - I'm just using a gross oversimplification for discussion purposes). Practicality on the battlefield was not as important. Thus, technical proficiency and competition all declined in the Tokugawa era. It only got worse after the Meiji Restoration. I don't think we can really even compare, say, a kenjutsu koryu today with whatever was taught five or six hundred years ago. Even those arts that have preserved much of their curriculum over the centuries have undergone substantial modifications in the method and practice of instruction. While originally the primary focus of these arts was killing proficiency, by the mid-Tokugawa, the primary focus had shifted to one of spiritual development and enlightenment. Just imagine, for example, how different judo training would be today if the goal was killing your opponent rather than throwing him to the ground! (Wait a minute! Isn't that why Kano created Judo? So people could practice the old arts in a way that didn't result in death or serious injury to the opponent? :) )

Sincerely,

Arman Partamian
Daito-ryu Study Group
Baltimore, MD

Jari Virta
9th October 2001, 15:14
Originally posted by Arman
I don't think we can really even compare, say, a kenjutsu koryu today with whatever was taught five or six hundred years ago.

I remember reading somewhere (admittedly a vague source... :p ) that Hatsumi of Bujinkan had said that he is the only one teaching like during Sengoku-era. When asked, what did he mean ("But there are lots of koryu arts!") he said that other old styles had stagnated into relics that only repeat the same old kata over and over. The feeling I got from it, was that in Sengoku-era people practiced more henka (variations of kata) and mixed, matched and tested stuff more, not sticking to one True School (tm) only.

Any ideas or opinions on this? And I'm curious: has anyone else heard/read this?

charlesl2
9th October 2001, 23:02
Hey Mark, what do you mean by "jumping in"? Sorry, not familiar with the phrase.

-Charles Lockhart

gmellis
11th October 2001, 02:24
:D

hyaku
11th October 2001, 02:58
Learning either older or more modern forms of the arts A proficiency in Japanese is desirable and is part and parcel of learning Budo. Western groups have adapted their arts to suit westerners.

Even in the modern forms they are written tests in for example Kendo and Iaido in Japan.

Hyakuatake Colin http://www.bunbun.ne.jp/~sword

Kit LeBlanc
11th October 2001, 04:22
Jari,

Read this:


http://www.shinyokai.com/interview.htm

Good stuff. I believe it provides a balanced and practical perspective compared to some other stuff on the koryu. Ya gotta read the whole thing, the good stuff (i.e. not all about the particular school this man was the headmaster of) is in the middle and the end.

Jari Virta
11th October 2001, 10:29
Originally posted by Kit LeBlanc
I believe it provides a balanced and practical perspective compared to some other stuff on the koryu. Ya gotta read the whole thing, the good stuff (i.e. not all about the particular school this man was the headmaster of) is in the middle and the end.

Thanks, good stuff indeed. :smilejapa

charlesl2
16th October 2001, 02:18
I read the article/interview. It was interesting. One thing I couldn't quite pick up: the gentleman being interviewed seemed to indicate that many traditional Japanese arts/ways had become outdated in their practice, and that he had shifted his focus to more applicable principles, but I couldn't get a good feel for which principles that koryu focus on he felt were outdated.

As for the other element he discussed, how the techniques were outdated, probably he's right about at least some of it. But in my completely unqualified opinion, the techniques in koryu are (or should be) more about expressing and teaching principles. Just my take on it though.

Uh, but none of that has much to do with the original post, sorry.

In my, again, unqualified opinion, koryu training involves a somewhat complicated personal relationship between the teacher and student that has greater degree of loyalty and respect than most modern arts that I've seen or experienced. I think understanding that is more important than issues of language or physical location. I don't think that just speaking Japanese or visiting Japan for a while is going to teach you that.


-Charles Lockhart

Jeff Hamacher
16th October 2001, 03:41
Originally posted by charlesl2
One thing I couldn't quite pick up: the gentleman being interviewed seemed to indicate that many traditional Japanese arts/ways had become outdated in their practice, and that he had shifted his focus to more applicable principles, but I couldn't get a good feel for which principles that koryu focus on he felt were outdated.
this is a good point: to what degree do you maintain form for the sake of "preserving the tradition"? to what degree do you innovate for the sake of "practicality". i figure each school is free to make its own decision. the potential student simply has to do their research well and choose a school that agrees with their training goals.

... koryu training involves a somewhat complicated personal relationship between the teacher and student that has greater degree of loyalty and respect than most modern arts that I've seen or experienced.
training in some martial arts is close in structure to working out at a fitness club or belonging to a local sports team: you pay your dues, sweat your sweat, and you see the benefits of steady training. you'll probably make some decent friendships and build a good relationship with your teacher. this isn't bad, it's just the modern way of doing things. but as Charles says, koryu training is a step beyond these basics. the relationship between student and teacher is meant to be deeper, and a student's loyalty to their teacher and dojo is expected to be stronger.

now, in japan even within the modern martial arts you still see this ethic at work. the master-disciple relationship is a fundamental paradigm in japanese culture so you can hardly expect to avoid it. perhaps it's simply that koryu arts make a bigger effort to maintain that tradition where modern arts may not.

I think understanding that is more important than issues of language or physical location. I don't think that just speaking Japanese or visiting Japan for a while is going to teach you that.
simply spending time in japan and learning some japanese isn't going to do the trick, just as Charles says. on the other hand, time spent living here and seriously studying the language will definitely pay rewards in your martial arts training, particularly in koryu. martial arts training, language study, cultural exploration ... you can't do any of these things half-assedly and expect to reap the full benefit. however, make a real effort and you'll see the difference.

Joseph Svinth
16th October 2001, 11:15
Charles --

"Jumping in" and "beating in" are terms sometimes used to describe violent initiation rites into gangs. Basically, current members beat the hell out of the new guy. See, for example, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/assist/nvaa2000/academy/chap22-3.htm .

Some dojo and kwoon also have beatings in. The place where the beatings are held is often called The Room.

If you really want into the group/gang/school that uses beatings-in as a ritual, then seriously fighting back is not recommended. (Defend yes, but don't really fight back.) Although this sounds odd, especially since serious injuries and even death occur during beatings-in, the reason is that the beating-in is not a fight, but instead a way of showing how badly you want into the school/gang.

Some martial art schools and many gangs also have "jumping out" rituals in which members beat the person leaving even harder. Again, successful resistance is problematic, as if you beat up the seniors then they have lost face and so may have to come back with guns or knives to try and kill you.

MarkF
16th October 2001, 11:48
Originally posted by charlesl2
Hey Mark, what do you mean by "jumping in"? Sorry, not familiar with the phrase.

-Charles Lockhart

May I give you a non-relevant answer then?

The term is a modern one in which wannabes of street gangs are beat on and more, survive and you are a member.

When the shogunate was gone, then later the using/carrying of weapons, swords, tanto, etc., the older jujutsu schools acted as little more than thugs, caused fights in the streets to call attention and try new technnique they learned.

One of Jigoro's complaints of the koryu of the time was exactly this and was something he detested. It was one of the reasons for a school of jujutsu, to study ran, as in the jikishin ryu, and hold matches which carried symbolic, but combative victory.

Competition, though is as old as Mt. Fujiyama as regular challenges at times went "all the way." It wasn't the focus, but they certainly took place.

Sorry, I went too far with my non-relevent answer.:)

Mark

I hadn't seen Joe's post on the subject so never mind my "jumping in" here.

Bad Mo' Joe
23rd October 2001, 23:55
Four years ago I was extremely fortunate, and was accepted into a traditional Koryu system. Since then I have been training often and diligently. In the past four months or so, I have begun to realize that I am not 100% dedicated to the art. Previously, I believed that no matter where I was or what I was doing, if I got a call and was asked to go to the dojo, I'd be there before I hung up the phone. Now, in the advent of possibly starting a family, I have begun to realize that eventually I will have to make a choice. One day I will have to choose between time with the Ryu, and time with my family, and I have little doubt that I will not choose my family.

Now, as most or you are familiar with, traditional Koryu arts do not allow students to have other agendas. Koryu arts require 100% dedication in order to be effective and in order for the Ryu to survive. As an extremely quasi-veteran, there are students who have spent less time at the school than I have. Is it right for me play the role of a ranking student who can commit a lot of their energy, but not 100%, to students who are being told and expected to deliver their 100%? And, is it right for me to accept the Ryu's time in training me when I, myself, cannot commit to my fullest?

As of now, even though I am dedicated to the Ryu, and feel extremely privileged to be a part of it, I believe the answers to the previous questions to be "No." However, because this decision will be final, and irrevocable, I would like to have your input on the issue.

Thank you.

gmellis
24th October 2001, 03:48
Wow. Good timing. I've been dwelling on this issue of late as well, being as my wife and I are considering having children. It is a very difficult issue, but not as difficult as I initially thought. In discussions with Otake and his charming wife, he has mentioned that no one can really understand the real significance of TSKSR until they have a family (wife AND children), because they cannot experience the maturing effects (I know some who don't believe being married and having children is necessary for maturity will burst here, but that?fs just too bad.) that it brings and they can?ft feel that driving force to defend and fight for what they love (which is the ultimate aim of Iizasa Choisai Ienao?fs founding the school, not to use as a means to gain land and power).
On a side note, after much research, Otake Sensei has failed to find any evidence that KSR people took part in offensive battles (that's not to say they didn't, but until someone who can actually walk the walk can give me some goods on the situation, I will take this as a given). In fact, he discovered through studying the history of Chiba Prefecture and the Katori area in specific that they evidently refused to ally with neighboring groups to participate in a bloody feud in that area in the 15th century (I believe it was). Also, the school has been highly community based since its inception and included non-bushi in its roster being as the founder was a goshi (farmer samurai) himself.
Anyway, what this all says is that family and community are the very core of the TSKSR, and the two are by no means mutually exclusive. The Big Guy has said it himself. For that very reason, he enjoys hearing about student's plans to have children. More than anybody, he realizes the value of family and that it comes before everything else. While there is that essence of "The school comes first" at the Shinbukan, it is laced with a more reasonable "After family duties are attended to" attitude. The expectation is that you will 1. provide for family, 2. attend to duties as a students and 3. use what remaining time you have for your own enrichment and whatnot, and finally 4. get sleep (hehe).
I am not quite sure that maintaining such a zealous 100% attitude throughout one?fs life is healthy. One should attend regularly and exert themselves to exhaustion, but without a little flexibility in thinking, one is liable to becoming a little goofy if you know what I mean. I personally believe that one can have their cake and eat it too. The problem, if you can call it that, with dedicated martial artists is that they hold to the ?geverything or nothing?h frame of mind. This serves them well in everything they do. Anything of worth should be tackled with an unswerving diligence and zeal. So when they have children, I believe they have the potential to be good parents, because they apply that same conscientiousness.
I myself, have wracked my brains over whether I should give up koryu when I have children because I don't want to become mediocre in both, especially parenting. But that is a very inflexible viewpoint. I don't think any teacher would want to loose such loyal and well-trained students because those students couldn't put in the overtime they used to when they were single, no more than that teacher would want to loose that student because they are aging and can't bounce as high as they once could. Every student that has earnestly applied himself or herself and learned the forms and teaching and history of a school well is a model and guide to be looked up to by new and budding students. Their absence is a very great loss to any school. It isn't just about them and whether they feel content with their training and progress, it's about the beneficial presence they have in merely being in the school. In that sense, they owe it to the school to stick around, even if only after they have first spent time with that cute little goober that has their eyes and poops profusely. And you know what? The homey feel that people get when they visit the Shinbukan? That is probably the efect of having so many husbands and fathers in attendance, and having the father of father, Otake Sensei, at the helm of the school. Too hard and compassionaless of an atmosphere is not real koryu. It is a perversion of it in my mind.
So what if you cannot put in as much time as younger students? They have much farther to go to build their foundation than you do to finish off yours and move on to the finer principles of the art. They damn well SHOULD work harder than you. There is farther distance for them to travel to reach your skill level as new students than for you as a veteran to fionish polishing your leftovers (That is not to say that veteran students can get sloppy and lax in their training).
But, Bad Mo' Joe, I don?ft know what school you belong to or what the unique culture of the school is, so this may or may not help. I can only speak about what I know. I?fm not very good at expressing myself, which is why it takes me six paragraphs to say what would take someone else two. But I hope this is of some benefit.

Yamantaka
24th October 2001, 12:36
Originally posted by Bad Mo' Joe
Four years ago I was extremely fortunate, and was accepted into a traditional Koryu system. In the past four months or so, I have begun to realize that I am not 100% dedicated to the art. One day I will have to choose between time with the Ryu, and time with my family, and I have little doubt that I will not choose my family.

YAMANTAKA : I guess it was Christ who said, in the Bible, that "if you want to be perfect, leave your family and your belongings and follow me" (more or less). Well, you might say that or you might say that such an obsession is a form of personality unbalance.
I don't know. What I know is that you must do the best that you can. If it's a 100%, that's good. If it's just 30%, that's good also. The important thing is to be sincere and really try to do your best.


Originally posted by Bad Mo' Joe
Now, as most or you are familiar with, traditional Koryu arts do not allow students to have other agendas. Koryu arts require 100% dedication in order to be effective and in order for the Ryu to survive.

YAMANTAKA : I liked very much the previous answer to you. Read it attentively. The man who wrote it follows a very ancient and traditional Ryu and the fact that its Master is married with children should say a lot.
By the way, I'm really curious...May you say what is your Ryu?
Best

Yamantaka
24th October 2001, 12:42
By the way, Bad Mo' Joe, could you please sign your name in full?
It's a rule here at E-Budo!
I've observed that you're also obsessed, not just with training, but with what you perceive as your security : you do not deny us your name but also your e-mail or any other information about you...That's bad.:nono:

red_fists
24th October 2001, 12:54
Hi.

Here are my 2 Yen's worth.

I don't think that giving 100%, really means 100% of your time.
But rather that you train with 100% intent, purpose and so on.

Most Soke's and good Martial Artists I have met so far and heard about are
all married, have kids and tend to have a good and normal relation with their Folks.

My Sijo's daughter runs a School in Omiya, so he must have spend some time on Family aswell.

Soke + no family = end of family line and sometimes style.

Anyhuh, just my 2Yen's worth. Ooops got longer than expected = 3Yen.

Walker
24th October 2001, 16:17
Given the neo-Confusian milieu out of which the koryu come, I would think that the neglect of one’s family would be regarded with suspicion. Leave the fanaticism and enforced militarism to more modern arts. ;)

Adam Young
24th October 2001, 21:43
Dammit, Greg beat me here again! I'm gonna have to pay more attention to E-Budo. Ah, well, I might as well say what I was going to say, even though it adds little to the discussion.

I agree with red_fists in that giving 100% does not mean subordinating all other facets of your life to the dojo. Insofar as many martial arts (including those that I practice) are at least as much about development of character, it would seem moot that one should not sacrifice ALL other things in one's life.

Surely it is a matter of priorities. If my daughter is rushed to the hospital, I'll miss practice. Sensei would not begrudge me that - in fact, he may think the worse if I actually came to the dojo while members of my family needed me more. However, if I skipped a practice because a really good episode of the Simpsons is on - well, that isn't good. While I am not at the beck and call of the dojo, I am able to accord it a fairly high priority in the scheme of things.

I too practice koryu, and I have an ever-growing family that I need to provide for. A tremendous amount of my time is taken by the latter of these priorities. However, when I am able to go to the dojo (which is quite regularly - at least when I am in Japan), I make the most of my time by practising until I think I am going to puke. If there are dry spots on my keikogi, I am not going 100%.

And that is what I think giving 100% means. When you are at the dojo, practise hard and well. Learn at all times and approach instuction eagerly. Make all efforts to keep up with practice, but also realise that there are a few things that are more important (to you, as an individual) than the dojo, and that in a battle of priorities, the dojo can occasionally lose.

At the Shimbukan, there is no doubt that family is a very important aspect of our training. It is all around us. However, while the other members of the dojo are a sort of extended family, there is still the expectation that one will not forget his (or her) true family. Greg's correct assertions lead to the following: the diligence and zeal one applies to training is not a finite resource, to be used entirely towards one thing. It is a state of being, an energy that is constant which should (and, really, MUST) be used in everything you do.

Other people may feel differently, but I would definitely not fit in at a school that expected me to subordinate all other things (including work or family) to practice. Apart from the malpractice issues that could potentially be involved re: my job (I am a lawyer) if the dojo said "Do X now!", I value my family far too much to say to them "You are the 2nd most important thing in my life."

Hope that helps. I know, I know, no value-added content. I still think it is true.

Hopefully, all any future conflicts of priorities will be resolved when I take my kids to practice at the dojo! Ah, that will be so cool....

Cheers

Adam Young

Nathan Scott
25th October 2001, 00:32
Good question.

On one hand, my experience has been that instructors of all arts - especially traditional ones- greatly respect self-sacrifice and a strong passion to learn.

But on the other hand, I've never heard any of these instructors lay the slightest guilt trip on a student for prioritizing family matters over budo resposibilities. Perhaps there may have been more of this kind of criticism historically, when budo was needed for more practical purposes (much like firemen and military still have to prioritize their job over family at times), but since "budo" is now about improving your life and that of others around you, priorities have changed for the most part.

I know of several serious budo-ka who have been through this, and came to realize that they almost lost their family as a result of their "obsessive" budo training. They now are enjoying their family (and vice-versa) in a whole new light. I myself am nearing a point where I will need to spend time with my soon wife-to-be, as well as possibly the that of rugrat(s)in the near future. :P

It's all part of the cycle of life I guess! Get your hard training in while your still young and have the chance.

Regards,

Neil Yamamoto
25th October 2001, 01:35
Nathan,

You mean it? Your girlfriend really is a saint!!

Don't let my girlfriend know, she will start expecting me to measure up. So far, she just thinks everyone in martial arts is like me and I'd like to keep it that way!

Seriously, if you ignore family - or girlfriends to train everyday, I would seriously consider very hard why you are training.

I have several friends and sensei who did this, thinking training was more important. End result, divorces, bitterness, angry ex wives and girlfriends, bad training atmosphere since they were always unhappy.

Balance is important. As least that's what I think.

gmellis
25th October 2001, 02:31
Sorry dude. I live in a more advantageous time zone than you. You'll have to get up prettty early in the morning to get one up on the ol McCouch Potato. <Enter rolling tumbleweed; cue whistley music and cracking bull whip>

szczepan
25th October 2001, 02:41
100% is how many classes per week in your experience?

Generaly, how often in a week koryu dojo is open for practice?

thx

ScottUK
26th October 2001, 00:19
Isn't life about doing things 100%?

When at the dojo, you must really give 100%. We'll be discussing a kata or waza with sensei and even though there are the usual number of wisecracks or cheapshots at other members (meant in fun), when we return to our allocated bit o' dojo to practice the kata in question, it is done 100%, no questions asked. What's the point of being there if your mind is back home watching TV? When that kata is performed 100%, you have that little internal smile no-one else can see, but you're as chuffed as hell to have done the technique so well, and so much better than last week.

The time you spend with your family should be 100% too - especially with your partner :D

Scott
(Giving 100% to the two most important elements of his life :D )

Bad Mo' Joe
26th October 2001, 16:43
I appreciate all of your time spent on replies, thank you.

The Koryu that I study is small with few and far between dojo's. I know some of the practitioners may not be active e-budo-ka, but they do pay attention to the goings on on this site. This is why I have kept this particular post under scrutitiny. I apologize if this is in conflict with e-budo protocol.

Again, thank you for you time, I will be taking what you all of said to heart.

Thanks.

Yamantaka
27th October 2001, 11:31
Originally posted by Bad Mo' Joe
The Koryu that I study is small with few and far between dojo's.

YAMANTAKA : And its name is???

Michael Becker
27th October 2001, 22:57
Eddie Wu, the lineage head of the Wu family school of Tai Chi Chuan said once in an interview, 'family first, job second, martial art third'.

Life is about choices and establishing your priorities. I think Wu sifu's advice is the most pragmatic for modern practitioners.

charlesl
28th October 2001, 00:23
Bad Mo' Joe wrote:
The Koryu that I study is small with few and far between dojo's. I know some of the practitioners may not be active e-budo-ka, but they do pay attention to the goings on on this site. This is why I have kept this particular post under scrutitiny. I apologize if this is in conflict with e-budo protocol.

Honestly dude, if you can't post with your real name, you probably shouldn't post at all. It makes you look flaky, disreputable, etc., and seems just plain insulting to the rest of us who do follow the protocol.

-Charles Lockhart

Yamantaka
28th October 2001, 11:11
Originally posted by charlesl
Bad Mo' Joe wrote:
The Koryu that I study is small with few and far between dojo's. I know some of the practitioners may not be active e-budo-ka, but they do pay attention to the goings on on this site. This is why I have kept this particular post under scrutitiny. I apologize if this is in conflict with e-budo protocol.

Honestly dude, if you can't post with your real name, you probably shouldn't post at all. It makes you look flaky, disreputable, etc., and seems just plain insulting to the rest of us who do follow the protocol.

-Charles Lockhart

YAMANTAKA : And this is not a simple matter of "should or shouldn't be here". Bad Mo'Joe is disrespecting all of us. He doesn't seem to feel he has any obligation with our rules and protocols but he thinks we must accept that and listen to his rantings.
The guy makes me sick...:redhot:

Cady Goldfield
28th October 2001, 13:36
Sounds to me like Mo'Joe is just trying to cover his "six." He has a need to know something about what he has gotten himself into, and has approached this forum for advice -- to confirm fears and concerns he has, or to assuage them.

If the group he trains with is in fact a cult,or a near-cult (a group that just takes its secrecy to an absurd degree, based on an abnormal interpretation of loyalty or feelings of specialness) then he stands to be severely reprimanded by his co-members. It's sad that he doesn't feel comfortable discussing this with his own group. That smacks of cultishness to me, that he should have to fear repercussions for innocent questions.

I say we make a rare exception and cut this guy some slack. The first few responses have no doubt been of value to him.

cg

charlesl
28th October 2001, 17:10
Sorry, but I don't think BmJ's group are the ones taking secrecy to an absurd degree, based on an abnormal interpretation of loyalty or feelings of specialness (btw, that's great the way you said that ;o).

It kind of reminds me of this guy I used to train Aikido with. He was really into it, but then about once a year he'd quit for a couple of months. He was this odd Christian type of guy, always worried that maybe he was caring more about aikido than god kind of thing. On the other hand, he would always tell us that he was the teachers uchi deshi (in contrast, the teacher would forget his name if he was gone for more than a few weeks). It was kinda comical the way that he'd take everything so seriously in an attempt to add drama and conflict to his otherwise uninteresting life.

I guess this reminds me of that situation, and strikes a pretty negative chord with me. Spooky-Creepy-Comical all at the same time. But then it's almost Halloween, so maybe that's appropriate.

Happy Halloween, kids!

-Charles Lockhart

Cady Goldfield
28th October 2001, 20:41
Charles,
Believe me, there are such groups out there, weird as it sounds. I've met a few in my time in Japanese and Chinese arts. Some groups in particular tend to keep close tabs on what their members say and do in public. Mo'Joe could open a can of serious whup-a$$ for himself by saying just the wrong thing on a public forum.

In medieval China or Japan, signing one's life over to a ryu made sense if you were going to make a career of being a warrior, and it was your clan's traditional system; in 21st-century North America, however, it's kind of an archaic and anachronistic way of life -- not to mention one for which Westerners are patently unsuited. But, some people like to play that game. Ain't saying that their ways are healthy or mentally balanced, but they do believe they're doing the "right thing," and anyone who wishes to train in their system is in danger of rebuke if they don't stay within the parameters the group sets.

In Chris Nichols' book, "Moving Zen," there is anecdotal mention of some Japanese karate groups that were so cultlike that members who sought to leave the group were beaten, sometimes to death. I don't think that Mo'Joe's group is likely to fall into that cult catergory, but it could be one that will ostracize or seriously criticize him for speaking openly on a public forum. I can understand why Mo'Joe would want to protect his identity if he is involved with such a group, even though his questions and his motives are innocent.

P Goldsbury
28th October 2001, 23:00
Originally posted by Bad Mo' Joe
Four years ago I was extremely fortunate, and was accepted into a traditional Koryu system. Since then I have been training often and diligently. In the past four months or so, I have begun to realize that I am not 100% dedicated to the art. Previously, I believed that no matter where I was or what I was doing, if I got a call and was asked to go to the dojo, I'd be there before I hung up the phone. Now, in the advent of possibly starting a family, I have begun to realize that eventually I will have to make a choice. One day I will have to choose between time with the Ryu, and time with my family, and I have little doubt that I will not choose my family.

Now, as most or you are familiar with, traditional Koryu arts do not allow students to have other agendas. Koryu arts require 100% dedication in order to be effective and in order for the Ryu to survive. As an extremely quasi-veteran, there are students who have spent less time at the school than I have. Is it right for me play the role of a ranking student who can commit a lot of their energy, but not 100%, to students who are being told and expected to deliver their 100%? And, is it right for me to accept the Ryu's time in training me when I, myself, cannot commit to my fullest?

As of now, even though I am dedicated to the Ryu, and feel extremely privileged to be a part of it, I believe the answers to the previous questions to be "No." However, because this decision will be final, and irrevocable, I would like to have your input on the issue.

Thank you.

Even though I do not practise a traditional koryu, problems of dedication arise in other budo, such as aikido, and my comments are made here on this basis.

First, I can understand Bad Mo' Joes reluctance to give his name, even on his second post and after promptings by E-budo veterans. I personally have no problems about giving my real name, but then again, I have a fairly thick skin and adverse comments from within my own organisation tend to bounce off. From my own experience with this and other forums, there is much individual correspondence between members which is not public and Bad Mo' Joe also has the option of seeking more private advice from members who give their e-mail addresses. I myself do not mind conducting such private correspondence.

Secondly, I received mixed signals from his first post. The double negative at the end of the first paragraph suggests to me that he will NOT opt for the family in the event of having to choose, but this is contradicted by the seccond paragraph, where he talks of 100% dedication, which he feels unable to give. His reference to being a 'quasi-veteran' after only four years is also curious. In my experience it takes around 5 years to obtain shodan in aikido and this rank is recognised as where you really 'start' training. The reference suggests that there are very few senior students and/or the koryu is very choosy about candidates. But either way, it seems odd, if the koryu has a good pedigree and a long history.

Thirdly, the koryu he has joined seems very unusual, in my (limited) understanding, because it seems to demand that all its members have the commitment, not just of deshi, but of 'monastic' deshi, to the extent of excluding that most usual human tendency to marry and have children. If such commitment was expected of all the members, those martial arts which rest on the iemoto system of inheritance by the male heir would disappear.

Thus the 100% dedication could take various forms (some mutually exclusive):

a. Even though you have a job, marry and have children, the koryu always remains the first priority. This is probably the case with many practitioners, though it can lead to employment / marital problems. Peaceful coexistence is usually the preferred solution.

b. Even though you marry and have children, the koryu remains the first priority, such that it is the sole source of income. In the world of aikido, a comparatively small number of teachers fall into this category. The majority finance their '100% commitment' to aikido by other forms of employment.

c. The koryu demands a full 100% commitment, to the exclusion of other employment, marriage and a family. I think there are very few practitioners in any budo with this level of commitment.

In aikido, a comparison between Rinjiro Shirata and Morihiro Saito is instructive.

Shirata joined the Kobukan Dojo as an uchi-deshi in 1931 and trained with Morihei Ueshiba till he joined the army in 1936. There was then a hiatus of over 20 years before he resumed teaching. When he was demobbed in 1946, he told Ueshiba that his job and family took precedence over aikido, very odd for such a dedicated student. My own belief is that Shirata was so shattered by his wartime experiences in Burma that any thought of Japanese budo left a very bad taste in his mouth. He eventually resumed teaching in Yamagata and died at a ripe old age with a 9th dan. I knew Shirata Sensei and he was an inspiring teacher and human being.

Morihiro Saito joined Morihei Ueshiba in Iwama in 1946 as a kayoi-deshi (commuting from home). His job with Japanese railways was 24-hours on duty/24-hours off duty and he trained with Ueshiba whenever he had the time. Eventually he married, at Ueshiba's bidding, and lived on land near the dojo. He is still teaching in the Iwama dojo, has a 9th dan, and a huge enthusiastic following all over the world.

I think the dedication of both these men was 100%, but both accommodated the demands of a job and marriage in different ways. For both men, trainng held a very important place within a larger whole, which included work, marriage and child-raising.

In my experience, the dilemma facing aikido practitioners who feel the need to leave their mark on the art is not the conflicting demands of marriage and family (this is rarely an issue), but the question of whether to become professional: to rely on the art as their sole source of income.

Best regards,

Peter Goldsbury
_____________
P A Goldsbury,
Graduate School of Social Sciences,
Hiroshima University

Yamantaka
29th October 2001, 00:23
[QUOTE]Originally posted by P Goldsbury
[B] First, I can understand Bad Mo' Joes reluctance to give his name, even on his second post and after promptings by E-budo veterans.
Secondly, I received mixed signals from his first post. The double negative at the end of the first paragraph suggests to me that he will NOT opt for the family in the event of having to choose, but this is contradicted by the seccond paragraph, where he talks of 100% dedication, which he feels unable to give. His reference to being a 'quasi-veteran' after only four years is also curious.
Thirdly, the koryu he has joined seems very unusual, in my (limited) understanding, because it seems to demand that all its members have the commitment, not just of deshi, but of 'monastic' deshi, to the extent of excluding that most usual human tendency to marry and have children.
Best regards,
Peter Goldsbury [END QUOTE]

YAMANTAKA : Dear Goldsbury Sama,

I got those same "mixed feelings" from Bad Mo'Joe's posts and that was one of the reasons I found disrespectful the way he demands much of us and gives very little. I agree that, if he wants to keep his conversation private, he could do that personally with quite a few of our group.
Anyway, as I said, I think he got quite a lot of information from many of us, including and specially from you, and he should be glad.
And Cady, my most noble lady, it's good to hear from you again! And you're right, of course : we both know there a lot of cults hanging aroud and Bad Mo'Joe might be afraid of them. But I think much of what has been said will be enough for him to take a good look at the group he's now in.
best regards

Gabe litz
10th November 2001, 07:22
Why not start a family and still keep close ties with the dojo?
I mean hey once your children get older see if there interested in the martial arts, well thats what my father did with me and I still can't beat him.:smokin:

Yamantaka
11th November 2001, 08:24
Originally posted by Gabe litz
Why not start a family and still keep close ties with the dojo?
I mean hey once your children get older see if there interested in the martial arts, well thats what my father did with me and I still can't beat him.:smokin:

YAMANTAKA : Perhaps the reason you still can't beat him, more than anything else, is stated in your own profile :

Birthday : September 24th, 1984
Biography : I will become Liquidfists (???)
Location : Salem Oregon
Interests : becoming more powerful
Occupation : High school student
Martial Art : liquidfist style fighting (???)

Grow up, Boy! :laugh:
Best