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Thread: Samurai walking methods

  1. #46
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    Thanks all for the suri-ashi info. Funikoshi did state that this was the 'fashionable' way of walking when he was young, and I did not get the impression that he was referring to karateka or other martial artists only, but rather that many people walked around like this in their daily lives. Apparently, long after it fell out of common use he was still walking this way, and people use to enquire if he had hurt his legs, or got the impression that he was feeble.
    David F. Craik

  2. #47
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    Question

    Hi Greg,
    I don't know if you should dismiss Kono that lightly. According to an old interview by Stan Pranin for Aikido Journal, Kuroda Sensei used to study jujutsu with him. Bugei still has a copy of that article on their web site as they sponser Kuroda Sensei for seminars a couple times a year.

    Cheers,
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

  3. #48
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    Originally posted by pgsmith
    According to an old interview by Stan Pranin for Aikido Journal, Kuroda Sensei used to study jujutsu with him.
    Hi Paul,

    I thought he was helped by Kondo Katsuyuki, not Kono Yoshinori. I could be wrong though.
    George Kohler

    Genbukan Kusakage dojo
    Dojo-cho

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    He may be a whompin stompin bad mutha..(shutcho mouth!), and if he is, I will apologize to him, but I still can't stand over-philosophizing regarding budo. I don't think there is a whole lot to the practice of budo itself. Like that funny quote attributed to Meik Skoss goes: "This point goes in first." Principles are good. Philosophy is good. In doses. But not fourteen books (and counting) worth. Perhaps he wouldn't irk me so much if he actually practiced (another than Ninjer Star Throwin') one of the acknowledged traditional arts he writes about, or if he would stick with the history and culture and stay away from the
    For those who can read it, check out the book list and especially the titles of the books on his homepage...
    http://www.shouseikan.com/chosho.htm
    You'll notice he comes out with one every year or other year. Gotta make a living somehow I guess.

    By the way, referring to the walking method, I found this link describing Kono's assertion that Japanese walked that way once upon a time. Give it a read.
    http://www.sccs.chukyo-u.ac.jp/ICCS/olp/p2-41/p2-41.htm
    Greg Ellis
    I like autumn best of all, because its tone is mellower, its colors are richer and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and it is content.

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    Greg, interesting link. I hear what your saying about over-theorizing. To a degree, I figure theorizing is what you do when your not training in the dojo or practicing on your own. It is the proper time for the mental aspects of the training. However, as you point out, this can be taken too far, to the exclusion of regular training, and then you often end up with empty theory.

    I've also seen the results of extensive book research that is not backed up by the benefits of a qualifed instructor to refer to. Mostly correct, but some facts are misunderstood slightly, and there is nobody to correct them.

    Kono was the person that worked with Kuroda Tetsuzan Sensei, not Kondo Sensei. Kuroda Sensei credits Kono quite a bit for his assistance in discussing theories and being his "mirror", but I don't know who brought more into the relationship in this regard. It sounds as though Kono is taking the full credit for a lot of his theories (?).

    I do find it hard to believe that ALL Japanese used to walk in the nanba aruki fashion all the time. It makes sense combatively, but seems like wasted effort in most other contexts.

    According to the YSgR enbu tape I just found, Shimazu Sensei states:

    "This is the way a bushi walked. As mentioned before, this is referred to as the Culture of Nanba. This way of walking appears in all the ancient writings and picture scrolls. This way of walking is the basis for all techniques."

    Going back to "nanba", if we are talking about Osaka, the term apparently refers to Minatomachi specifically, which is in the Minami area of downtown Osaka.

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  6. #51
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    Originally posted by Nathan Scott
    "This is the way a bushi walked. As mentioned before, this is referred to as the Culture of Nanba. This way of walking appears in all the ancient writings and picture scrolls. This way of walking is the basis for all techniques."

    Going back to "nanba", if we are talking about Osaka, the term apparently refers to Minatomachi specifically, which is in the Minami area of downtown Osaka.

    Regards,
    In Japanese "nanba" is usually written in katakana, mainly because the root kanji are not clear. The two most likely candidates seem to be "nanba" as in "a difficult situation", the reasoning being that that type of walking is more difficult than normal walking, and "nanba" as in "southern barbarians", the reasoning here being the origins of the practice in Japan's far past. Some people claim that it developed as a dance term. The Osaka "nanba" doesn't seem to be a popular theory, but you never know .

    Best,

    Chris

  7. #52
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    I think Chris was referring to the term "nanban". On the demo tape, Shimazu S. definitey says "nanba".

    Don't make me go out and buy a book on YSgR in Japanese just to figure this out!!

    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  8. #53
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    Originally posted by Nathan Scott
    I think Chris was referring to the term "nanban". On the demo tape, Shimazu S. definitey says "nanba".
    It's the same kanji, but "nanba" is a variant reading (which is probably why most people write it in katakana). Anyway, you motivated me to look it up - the word is indeed "nanban" (read "nanba" in this case), and according to the Daijirin it comes from Kabuki and Japanese dance.

    Best,

    Chris

  9. #54
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    Exclamation watch that romanization, folks

    Originally posted by Yobina
    >> Chris Li said, "nanba" as in "southern barbarians", Southern? Barbarians? Who would this be in reference to then? Foreigners? <<


    update: obviously, Chris beat me to the punch with his post.

    actually, it was me that brought up the "southern barbarians" angle, and just to be clear, the term is usually nanban; nanba is given only as an alternate pronunciation. speaking honestly, i have no idea if the term "nanban-aruki" even exists; it was just an off-the-cuff hypothesis. the upthread Kono-sensei holds dear the notion that japanese people changed their theoretical traditional way of walking (arm and leg of the same side of the body moving in the same direction at the same time) to conform to the "western" method following the Meiji Restoration. i thought that there might be a connection there.

    according to the Kojien, the term "southern barbarians" originally referred to the various island "nations" of south-east asia and their peoples. it came to be used in reference to portuguese and spanish traders who passed through those colonies on their way to japan. the "southern" bit stems from the direction of arrival for those ships. the japanese observed that they all came from the south and just lumped them together. the barbarian component should need no explanation ... surely, when your own ethnic group is descended directly from the gods everyone else has to be a lesser form of life. even in recent times you'll find terms which incorporate nanban as a prefix.

    it's also correct, it seems, to use nanba in reference to a section of Osaka, or to a difficult/tricky situation or scene. what they have to do with walking is probably as people have explained it upthread.
    Last edited by Jeff Hamacher; 25th September 2002 at 02:35.
    Jeff Hamacher
    Those who speak do not know,
    Those who know will not speak ...
    So I guess that means I don't know a thing!

  10. #55
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    For what it's worth, and it's probably not worth much...


    There was a story on NPR a few years ago. Think it was on All Things considered concerning a recent attempts to revive an old style of walking in Japan. It did indeed involve walking with the left arm sync'd to the left leg and vice versa. I cannot remember the name of this style, but the explanation was that it was an old style of walking meant to add to the mystic of the Noble classes. It was meant to help distinguish between the Japanese aristocratic class and the commoners. Wish I could remember the name they used for it.

    I'm suprised Mr. Bieler doesn't remember more about it as we discussed it before class shortly after I heard the story.
    Charles Mahan

    Iaido - Breaking down bad habits,
    and building new ones.

  11. #56
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    Sorry, Charles. I though everybody walked like that.

    Jack Bieler

  12. #57
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    I searched the NPR online archive for anything related to "Japan" (20 pages) and the piece was not there. Unfortunately, the archive only appears to go back as far as 2000.

    I've emailed NPR asking them about this, and will let ya'll know if they get anything worthwhile back to me.

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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