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Thread: The Nine Ryu-ha of the Bujinkan - are they legitimate?

  1. #181
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    Here's the fundamental problem: thinking that koryu are 'impractical' simply because the likelihood of being attacked by a sword-wielding enemy is fairly low.
    Is koryu modern self-defence? Of course not, and I don't know anyone in koryu who say it is. But koryu is so much more than the mere techniques. That's the point; it's a system of transmission, it's a culture, if you will.
    I find it stupendously practical, in that it is beneficial to me. The fact that you cannot grasp that, as your outside of the ryu, is not really my problem, but don't base your accusations of 'impracticality' on your lack of understanding. We're not even using the same ruler to measure.

    Regards,

    r e n

  2. #182
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    Originally posted by Gary Arthur

    My point is that Dr Hatsumi teaches the Bujinkan arts in such a way that they are of use today. If you attend one of his seminars he will often show an ancient technique and then show how it can be performed with a knife, gun or other modern implement. I think this is possibly one reason why Dr Hatsumis arts are not Ko Ryu. His style of teaching them is different. Whereas (and I stick my neck out here) Ko Ryu arts seem to be very kata orientated, in the Bujinkan arts there does not seem to be a set way. Once one learns a kata it is changed.

    The difference?

    In the Bujinkan arts we are training to develop natural movement which leads to the Ku No Seki (Void Realm) not trying to remember specific kata.
    Gary are you saying there are no koryu teachers are out there doing this?? I would suggest you do some more in depth research. I can think of several koryu teachers that will show how old techniques can be used in modern self defense. Think about it, the stuff you are learning from SKH or Hatsumi it is from old school martial arts right or did they make it up a few days ago? You think they are the only two guys in the world that know how to make that adaptation?

    Your last comment shows how little you know about kata and the purpose it serves. I seem to remember your teacher is selling DVDs online of kata from Koto Ryu and Kukishinden. HELLO!?!?!
    Another thing it is not about "remembering" kata. Before you go making any more silly statements like this, look into a concept known as "shu ha ri" or "hanareru". Try to fit it into your down time when you are not learning kata from To Shindo.

    Gary I have one question for you. Did you ever play organized sports?
    Christopher Moon

  3. #183
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    Gary

    Seems you have a bit of logically inconsistancy in your last post.

    On one hand you indicate that koryu have gone thu large (and unspecific, undocumented, without example) "change."

    Change to the extent that a period samurai would either be "horrifed" or laugh himself silly.

    Then in the next paragraph you take issue with the kata based koryu---wait for it, wait for it--NEVER CHANGEING. (my paraphrase)

    See, you can't have it BOTH ways.

    If they don't change then your previous opinion is invalid--by your own words.

    And since AGAIN as you put it the Bunjikan stuff "changes" and has been changed--it no longer counts as koryu--because it is no longer an accurate (sp) transmission of period arts.

    Shot yourself in the foot a COUPLE of times on this one bro.


    Chris Thomas

  4. #184
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    Sorry

    That should read "logicial inconsistant" above.

    Can't even form a decent sentence some mornings.

    Sorry.


    Chris Thomas

  5. #185
    Gene Williams Guest

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    Actually, it should be "inconsistent" with an "e."

  6. #186
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    Gene

    See below.
    Last edited by cxt; 15th November 2004 at 16:48.

  7. #187
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    And since I changed the words slightly the whole first sentence makes less than good sense.

    Should have reworked the entire first sentence.

    Should know better than to type prior to my morning tea.

    As one of students tried to explain to me once on a term paper.

    "Well it made sense in my head-I just typed it wrong"

    Really crossing my fingers that they won't stumble across this.

    Sorry.

    Chris Thomas
    Last edited by cxt; 15th November 2004 at 16:49.

  8. #188
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Koryu and Bujinkan: why double standards?

    Originally posted by hyaku
    Originally posted by hyaku
    Well its quite coincidence you should out up this thread as I just looked at something else connected with your group.

    I guess it would be healthy start to avoiding ridicule if you stopped hacking up pumpkins!

    As a member/director of the Todo Renmei I am dissapointed that no one responded to my post.
    Wheeee! Hi Colin!! Well I for one think it's extremely healthy to open yourself up to ridicule once in a while. (Other people must too, since internet discussion forums are still popular, and blogs even more so. Bwahahaha)

    For instance there's a photo of meself not cutting an empty pop bottle at http://www.uoguelph.ca/~iaido/iai.oldpictures.html

    I thought we had a photo or two of some pumpkin cutting we used to do each fall at the Bonsai show but I don't see it there. Oh well, we used to cut pumpkins. I've also cut styrofoam pool noodles with my iaito, and newspaper sheets with shinai.

    Should have seen some of the email I used to get about that bottle shot, one fellow actually suggested that I was bringing all of ancient Japan into disrepute by having such a terrible photo up online. Went on to tell me I should quit. Wonder if he's still practicing?

    Come to think of it, I was on national TV not that long ago knocking a mat off a stage, stand and all. OK it was a little plastic camera tripod that was barely enough to hold the mat upright and it was the third cut on that mat but hey, if I was any good I'd have been able to cut it right?

    I can't believe folks are bothering with this thread. What's the problem here? It's not as if you can make money by saying "I'm a koryu" or can you? Am I missing something?

    Kim "who met his first troll around about 1994 on wreck.martial-arts"

  9. #189
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    Default Mr. Arthur

    Originally posted by Gary Arthur
    major snippage
    Of course not. Yari jutsu teaches us distancing, timing, angling, as well as giving us an understanding of where our martial roots came from, and may even improve our character.

    This type of practice however is far removed from the life and death situation where the attacker is a knife wielding drug crazed rapist or murderer.

    It is my opinion that if a samurai from the period of the Sengoku Jidai came back and saw some of todays Ko ryu he would be either horrified or reduced to laughter.
    This alone rather points-up some... interesting understanding of 1) history, 2) the intentions of kata and 3) linguistics. Your assertion later in the post that the goal for you ninjers is to be able to react, but everyone else aspires to memorize kata is laughable.

    Having had a very minor exposure to Kukishin outside of the Takamatsuden, and contrasting people (on tape, admittedly not the best method to base observation) w/in that loop, there is a marked difference in not just approach, but in mindset... exactly the sort of thing transmitted (effectively, one could argue) through kata. Not mere rote repetition of it, but an understanding on a 'practical' gut level.

    Be well,
    Jigme
    Jigme Chobang Daniels
    aoikoyamakan at gmail dot com

  10. #190
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    Some people seem to have not really understood my post, let me clarify.

    In my understanding before about the end of the period of the warring states (Sengoku Jidai Period)martial arts had very little organised structure. Warriors would wander around Japan, meet a teacher they could train with and exchange ideas. Martial arts were often taught outside and sometimes a student would only spend a few days with any teacher. In other words martial arts Ryu were very unorganised.

    After this period with the unification of Japan with Tokugawa Ieyasu, and because it was a time of peace the martial arts became much more organised. Schools were started and often techniques documented on paper for the very first time. This led to the founding of many different Ryu Ha.Techniques and Kata were formalised and practiced in a set way.

    My point therefore was that if a samurai could come back from the Sengoku Jidai period and could see these formalised martila arts then he would be horrified. I think even some of the martial arts teachers at the time that did this were not particularly happy with it, but there was little use for samurai anymore, and one had to make a living.

    The point I am trying to make is that since then some Ko ryu (Not all) have still been teaching in the way that they were laid down at that time with little change. Now whilst there is nothing wrong with that, because as i have pointed out they indeed do have value, especially when it comes to researching how the techniques were performed at that time.

    However in the Ninja arts although we train in Kata, the kata are example of a fight that once learnt are changed. We call this Henka, and whilst i agree that there are indeed Henka in the Ko Ryu there seems to be a different approach taken by Dr Hatsumi that I cannot really put into words.

    And yes of course there are Ko Ryu teachers that teach modern adaptions of the art that they teach, but the Bujinkan arts seem to go so much more in depth than just an example of how to use that kata or technique.

    I guess the difference is that whilst some of the Ko Ryu are still practicing the techniques as they were laid down although years ago, Ninjutsu has been under constant development and change, through the work of Takamatsu sensei who was still operating as a Ninja in the 20th century. His skills although based on ancient techniques had to work whilst he was a spy, warrior and bodyguard.

    Unfortunately within various Ninjutsu organisations be it the Bujinkan or Genbukan there is a belief that the more techniques one knows the better they are without them realising that the Kata are fight examples we learn from, and then move on.

    I sometimes feel that a Kata is like a bridge on a journey. As we journey we go over lots of bridges. some are simple bridges, others ornate, others are very mechanical whilst other very natural and made of wood. We go over these bridges and when we have passed over that bridge (mastered the kata) we move onto the next one to continue the journey. Unfortunately there are so many that either want to go back and look at the bridge they have just passed over or would rather look at bridges on the map and think that owning the map they understand the art.

    My point here. Well its to use the Kata as stepping stones or bridges to reach our goal. Its a little like learning chop sticks on the piano. Once we can play Bethoven or Mozart, do we think I know I'd better go and practice chop sticks again.

    My personal feeling (and this might upset a lot of people, but here goes) is that Ninjutsu takes the kata just a little further than most Ko Ryu forms. Just my humble opinion.

  11. #191
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    A more accurate analogy, given my not-so-deep understanding of kata, but my fairly good understanding of classical music, is between scales and kata.

    Any good classical musician practices scales ad nauseum, and when they read music that has a certain portion of a scale, it is easy enough to plug that part in. The scale is the backbone, but not the whole of the music. Chopsticks doesn't get anyone far except my niece.

    What are we arguing about here anyways? I appreciate Mr. Arthur's posts in the ninpo forum when I look in, and have found some other very good posts surprisingly rising from the morass.

    Seems to me that the original poster is a bit confused on what gives a system its efficacy: the structure of the system itself and how much that system validates its own structure. Is it me, or are koryu and kan apples and oranges with completely different structures, and tastes?

    As far as why the federations in Japan have not recognized Mr. Hatsumi, seems like that was quite reasonably answered a few posts ago--he hasn't found it necessary for whatever reason, and so has not endeavored to do it. While some ryu may not be part of the federations, it seems always the decision of the soke to try to join, not some members at the bottom of the pole wondering if their system is as cool as somebody elses'.
    J. Nicolaysen
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    "I value the opinion much more of a grand master then I do some English professor, anyways." Well really, who wouldn't?

    We're all of us just bozos on the budo bus and there's no point in looking to us for answers regarding all the deep and important issues.--M. Skoss.

  12. #192
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    Gary

    So by defination then "ninjutsu" would not be koryu?

    More to the point, you say above:

    "Ninjutsu takes the kata just a little further than most Ko Ryu forms"

    Maybe, maybe not.

    Just how many forms of Ko Ryu do you know?

    How many have you had in-depth experience (sp) with?

    What Ko Ryu have you studied?

    How long have you studied them?--in terms of years?

    See, seems to me your drawing conclusions from little practical experience (sp)

    Do I really need to point out the problem with that?


    Chris Thomas

  13. #193
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    Originally posted by nicojo
    A more accurate analogy, given my not-so-deep understanding of kata, but my fairly good understanding of classical music, is between scales and kata.

    Any good classical musician practices scales ad nauseum, and when they read music that has a certain portion of a scale, it is easy enough to plug that part in. The scale is the backbone, but not the whole of the music. Chopsticks doesn't get anyone far except my niece.

    What are we arguing about here anyways? I appreciate Mr. Arthur's posts in the ninpo forum when I look in, and have found some other very good posts surprisingly rising from the morass.

    Seems to me that the original poster is a bit confused on what gives a system its efficacy: the structure of the system itself and how much that system validates its own structure. Is it me, or are koryu and kan apples and oranges with completely different structures, and tastes?

    As far as why the federations in Japan have not recognized Mr. Hatsumi, seems like that was quite reasonably answered a few posts ago--he hasn't found it necessary for whatever reason, and so has not endeavored to do it. While some ryu may not be part of the federations, it seems always the decision of the soke to try to join, not some members at the bottom of the pole wondering if their system is as cool as somebody elses'.
    A kata is more like a concerto; fundamentals are scales...und now, Nicojo, "you vill play eet until you know eet."

  14. #194
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    Originally posted by Gary Arthur

    However in the Ninja arts although we train in Kata, the kata are example of a fight that once learnt are changed. We call this Henka, and whilst i agree that there are indeed Henka in the Ko Ryu there seems to be a different approach taken by Dr Hatsumi that I cannot really put into words.

    Perhaps if you didn't look at kata as examples of a fight it might help you understand why some people don't follow your particular line of reasoning. Kata, at a very simplified level dealing only with physical techniques, might better be looked at as embodiments of principles. Kata aren't saying "when X happens do Y" but more "doing Y as a response to X lets Z happen" By repeatedly training in the kata your body begins to absorb these movements as a natural, reflexive way of moving. At the same time hopefully a person understands the principles and they become a natural part of their mindset. Have you ever seen two sword practitioners perform kata at full-speed? Have you ever seen the more senior switch techniques in the middle of the kata? The flow is spontaneously changed but that change is completely in keeping with the principles that have been instilled through kata training. This of course isn't just limited to swords.

    That is just the first level. This is I believe what Hatsumi sensei means when he says to forget the kata/form. This is by no means a unique outlook or method of training. Unfortunately a large number of people in the Bujinkan feel that variations are the key to an art being "alive", which is odd when one considers that they rarely are adept at the basic kata (which is a whole other issue), and that anyone training in unchanging, anachronistic kata is somehow missing the "true essence" of bujutsu.

    This turned out to be a slightly more long-winded way of saying "the Bujinkan doesn't have the market cornered on proper kata training" than I planned but please just look at it as another viewpoint being expressed.
    Nicholas Steele

    Any errors or omissions are strictly the responsibility of those from whom I've plagerised.

  15. #195
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Koryu and Bujinkan: why double standards?

    Originally posted by Kim Taylor
    I can't believe folks are bothering with this thread. What's the problem here? It's not as if you can make money by saying "I'm a koryu" or can you? Am I missing something?

    Kim "who met his first troll around about 1994 on wreck.martial-arts"
    Hello Kim

    The only reason I bothered was that if I remember right Hatsumi got a certification for sword work from the Todo Renmei. So I was wondering what the standards were.

    I think I have a shot somewhere of me butchering a cabbage in my younger days. We all have to start somewhere but generally over here in Japan I don't think its something its condoned. To me its an uphill struggle to try and get away from cutting the wrong kind of things be it inanimate or living. Its not so much what I personally think as the generally accepted swords standards we are supposed to uphold. If we want to call ourselves "great" there we have to put the shop in order.
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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