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Thread: Kashima Shin-ryu & Daito ryu

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    Default kashima shinryu and daito ryu connection?

    I have been reading the book "Legacies of the sword" by Dr. Friday and I have noticed the deep connection with Takeda Shingen and the minamoto clan. I also notice that this is the same lineage claimed by several daito ryu groups (minamoto clan not kashima shinryu), could there be a connection? Afterall, noone seems to know where the jujutsu (hiden mokuroku) of daito ryu comes from for sure (asayama ichiden ryu?)

    I was just wondering if there could be a connection between these arts as the book mentions the kashima shinryu cnnection to the minamoto quite a bit. Perhaps Dr. Friday could help with this?
    Erin O'Neill

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    Default Dr. Friday?

    I hope that Dr. Friday can tackle this one, as I'm sure that he would be more than qualified to respond.
    Erin O'Neill

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    I do not see how there could be any meaningful connection.

    Both lineages might trace their histories back to some kind of association with Takeda Shingen, but that hardly establishes a link. Many different groups of people were associated with the Takeda had one time or another. They did not necessarily overlap or interact with one another. Even if they had, it was a very long time ago ---- probably well before methods of martial art instruction first began to be systematized and routinized. Any influences from those days probably would have been obscured and lost by subsequent developments.

    Moreover, no similarity currently exists. I do not know the exact content of the Daitoryu's Hiden Mokuroku, but from the general descriptions of Daitoryu (in survey works like the Nihon Budo Taikei) there appear to be no traces of Kashima-Shinryu: no shared vocabulary, no similar sets of exercises (kata), nor any shared principles.

    I hope this is helpful.
    William Bodiford
    Professor
    Dept. of Asian Languages & Cultures
    UCLA

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    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 28th March 2014 at 20:39.
    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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    Default Reiki-no-ho

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    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 28th March 2014 at 20:40.
    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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    Hi, Nathan.

    First, let me say that "reiki" in Kashima-Shinryu is NOT related to the so-called "reiki training" or "healing touch" (etc.) promoted by so many new-age groups (and usually traced back to Mr. Mikao Usui and his experiences on Mt. Kurama).

    As you know, the Japanese word "ki" (or "ke"; in Chinese, "qi" or "chi") has many different meanings and nuances. In conversation, these shades of meaning can be distinguished by context. In writing, however, sometimes they are distinguished by adding additional lexicographical elements, such as "rei" (reiki), "yo" (yoki), "katsu" (kakki), "kyo" (kyoki), "satsu" (sakki), "doku" (dokki), "dai" (daiki), etc. The word "reiki" is of Chinese origin. It appears, for example, in ancient classics such as the *Hanfeizi* (ca. 3d cent. BCE), in Tang dynasty poetry, and in popular fiction such as the Qing dynasty novel *Dream of the Red Chamber* (ca. 1790). In Japan the term "reiki" is used in the texts of so-called "Watarai Shinto" (or "Ise Shinto," ca. 13th-14th cent.). During the Tokugawa period it also appears in the writings of the Rinzai Zen monk Torei Enji (1721-1792) and in many popular tracts on morality. In other words, "reiki" is a generic term --- widely used in many different contexts --- that should not be associated just with any one group, any particular practice, or specific doctrinal affiliation. (NOTE: I cite the texts mentioned above only because I have e-text versions of them on my hard drive and can search them. If I had other e-texts, I am sure I would find additional citations.)

    O.k., now, as for "Reiki no ho" in Kashima-Shinryu, page 22 of Karl Friday's book describes the role of Takemikazuchi in the famous "kuni-yuzuri" story from the *Kojiki* (712):

    quote:
    ---------
    But a second son, Takeminakata-no-kami, challenged Takemikazuchi to a test of strength. First demonstrating his own prowess by twirling a huge boulder on his fingertips, Takeminakata then attempted to take hold of Takemikazuchi's arm. The latter, however, changed the arm into a column of ice, and then changed it again into a sword blade, causing his opponent to draw away in fear. When, in his turn, Takemikazuchi took hold of Takeminakata's arm, "it was like taking hold of a young reed; he grasped it and crushed it, throwing it aside. Immediately [Takeminakata] ran away."
    ---------

    Kashima-Shinryu texts regard this mythological archetype as the origin of and model for "Reiki no ho." Many other koryu jujutsu texts similarly cite this story as the origin of their special techniques. Japanese sumo does likewise. At the old Kokugikan (Sumo Tournament Hall) in Tokyo I saw a painting that depicts the contest between Takemikazuchi and Takeminakata. In the painting, they are performing what in Kashima-Shinryu we would call standing reiki.

    The key element in this archetype is that each of the two practitioners, in turn, grasp hold of the other's arms. I do not know how common this kind of exercise might be in koryu jujutsu, but in light of its relationship to this myth and of the myth's importance in Japanese martial culture, I would be surprised if it was uncommon. I think every style of jujutsu must teach techniques for releasing one's own arms from the grip of another (i.e., te-hodoki, te-nuki, te-kaeshi, etc.). At higher levels of initiation, the oral instructions (kuden) regarding these kinds of techniques might very well entail some of the aspects we associate with reiki-no-ho.

    I will not venture to guess whether or not we "would use aiki in applying techniques to a resisting ukete." I have never trained in Aikido or Daitoryu or other traditions that identify themselves as aiki-jujutsu. It seems that what is or is not "aiki" is a matter of heated debate, one in which I have no claim.

    I can say that over the years I have taught many students who at one time or another had practiced Aikido. From what I observed and what they reported, it seems that in actual practice Kashima-Shinryu's reiki-no-ho and Aikido's kokyu-dosa are very different. The physical movements themselves differ, the approach to breathing differ, and the aims of the practice differ. As a result, former Aikido students usually cannot progress as quickly as can other students who lack any previous training. (I have known one exception, though. So, maybe it depends on the students.)

    The reiki-no-ho illustrated in Karl Friday's book consists of just the basic form. There also exist an almost infinite variety of variations (reiki-nage and reiki-taoshi) performed from sitting, standing, and walking positions. Again, as far as I can tell, none of these are the same as Aikido techniques.

    I hope this is helpful.
    Last edited by John Lindsey; 6th May 2003 at 23:19.
    William Bodiford
    Professor
    Dept. of Asian Languages & Cultures
    UCLA

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    Professor,

    Are you able to amplify the purpose of reiki-no-ho within the curriculum i.e. what attributes and or skills it trains and what relation it has to the kenjutsu and jujutsu of KSR?

    Thank you
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

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    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 28th March 2014 at 20:40.
    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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    Professor Bodiford,

    Glad to have your participation here, please feel free to contribute more as you are able. I am very interested in whatever you might be willing to share here about Kashima-Shinryu either it's techniques, theory or history. And along with Doug (and Nathan) welcome any further comments you might have on his question regarding reiki no ho and it's relationship to KSR kenjutsu and jujutsu. As far as I can tell from having read Professor Friday's book and viewing some video of KSR the practice appears similar to Daito-ryu's aiki age, but is also different in it's purpose, practice, and application.

    FWIW, I'm in agreement with what you said regarding any historical connection between KSR and Daito-ryu as far as I know, there isn't any known connection. However, if both arts are in fact descended from or closely related to either tegoi or Takeda Shingen then it's possible that whatever similarities may exist are the result of a common origin.

    I'm wondering if you might care to comment a little more on the relationship between Jikishinkage-ryu and KSR as it is my understanding that they do share a common history at least up to some point. Aren't some of the densho identical?

    Also if you're able to perhaps you could share what you think might be some important differences between Jikishinkage-ryu and KSR today. IOW, since becoming separate ryu how do you think they differ, or how would you characterize them? Sokaku Takeda did study Jikishinkage-ryu rather extensively - perhaps some similarities may exist through that influence?

    Nathan,

    Not to further confuse things, or take away from the main subject of this thread, but what do you mean by "aiki atmosphere"? FWIW I do not want to divert this thread into another aiki debate - I'm just not sure what you meant by that.

    Brently Keen

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    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 28th March 2014 at 20:40.
    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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    Originally posted by Nathan Scott
    Doug,

    There was more information about the reiki-no-ho that was included in Professor Friday's book that I didn't quote (pages 124, 131, 134-135, 159). The additional information in the book I think will at least mostly answer your question (not to disuade Professor Bodiford from sharing more information! I'm sure we'd all love to learn more about it).

    If you don't have the book, go buy it!
    Shhhh! Playing dumb in hopes of more info. Seriously, It has been some time since I last cracked that book and its obvious that I need to return to it again with new eyes.

    BTW - mostly answer just dont cut it for me these days, but I will follow up on the sections you suggest to see what my feeble mind can do with them.

    FWIW - it would really be great to see the translation upon which its based. I would be fascinated on several levels to bee how the two interact.
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

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    Doug Walker wrote:
    Are you able to amplify the purpose of reiki-no-ho within the curriculum . . . ?
    and:
    BTW - 'mostly answer' just don't cut it for me these days . . .
    Actually, it is very difficult to say anything beyond what you can find in Karl Friday's book. Karl worked off-and-on for more than 10 years to write that book. The hardest part was trying to develop a conceptual framework that would allow him to explain the topic in a way that would be accessible to non-practitioners. I am still amazed at the degree of success he achieved. I certainly could not duplicate that kind of success here after giving only a few day's thought to the topic. An internet discussion forum can hardly begin to provide readers with the kind of context necessary for any intelligent discussion of the dynamic physiological relationships entailed by this kind of topic.

    Even simple mechanical activities, like cooking and carpentry, are difficult to explain in words alone. Cookbooks and technical manuals rely on their readers already possessing knowledge of measurements, materials, tools, and techniques. Even with the most knowledgeable readers and the most well-written directions, successful results frequently require multiple attempts in a process of trial and error.

    Bugei are infinitely more complicated, involving as they do not just measurements, materials, tools, and techniques, but also interactions with other (frequently uncooperative and unpredictable) human beings, as well as environmental, physiological, and psychological aspects. Therefore, they escape even our most verbose attempts at description. The same can be said of techniques in most modern martial arts and sports. Everyone reading this message already knows the importance of direct one-on-one instruction for learning these endeavors. Thus far, I have not said anything new.

    Nonetheless, this point deserves renewed emphasis because the pedagogical methods commonly used for teaching Kashima-Shinryu (and, perhaps, other koryu) probably have received less influence from the modern educational theories that form the basis of modern martial arts and sports. --- By "modern educational theories" I am referring to the pedagogues developed in 19th-century Europe that emphasize (on the one hand) "creative self-development" of body and mind along with (on the other hand) the presentation of lessons in a step-by-step format usually consisting of: (a) simple definitions, (b) general principles derived from these definitions, (c) systemization of data based on value-rankings according to these principles, and (d) methodical application in practice. We are so accustomed to approaching topics in this way, that we can easily fail to recognize other methods even when we are subjected to them.

    Kashima-Shinryu always is learned through constant repetition of two-person kata in which the active person (shitachi / shite) in the inferior student role should overcome and subdue the attacking person (uchitachi / ukete) in the superior teacher role. The technical elements (movements, relationships, moments, etc.) of these kata are described by an extensive and rich vocabulary of specialized jargon (consisting of words like "reiki").

    In Kashima-Shinryu (unlike modern textbooks) almost all of these terms are undefined. Or, if defined, then the definitions are very loose and open-ended. They always are incomplete. The basic generic meaning is never the real meaning. As the contexts change the terms seem to acquire new or even contradictory connotations. As students delve deeper into the kata they frequently discover that words originally understood in a static sense as a description of their own situation in isolation actually describes a dynamic relationship involving multiple factors (and people). What had been understood as a noun, also can be used as an intransitive verb to describe something performed or accomplished in a certain way --- or as a transitive verb to describe what is done to another. Frequently terms acquire psychological layers of meaning as it becomes clear that the accomplishment of these actions (or negotiation of these relationships) requires specific kinds of awareness, clarity, integration, courage, and will power. Likewise the term might acquire abstract nuances in so far as these modes of action might imply certain ethical outlooks or demand particular forms of spiritual training to achieve. Regardless of the addition of these additional layers of meaning, the terms never lose their fundamental referent: physical technical skills embodied in concrete forms (kata). For someone fully initiated into the entire system of kata training, the vocabulary is simple, direct, and obvious. To the uninitiated, however, the jargon can seem hopelessly vague and abstract. (And at the pens of far too many popular authors, they even sound mystical.)

    Students typically learn the kata and the vocabulary in a process that goes something like this: In repetition after repetition the students always interact directly with the teacher, synchronizing with the teacher's movements so as to seize control of the situation and subdue the teacher. During this process the kata become more and more elastic. Tempos can be speeded up or slowed way down. Elements first introduced in other kata can suddenly (without warning) be inserted into the middle of this earlier kata. The sequence of movements can be reversed. Instead of moving to the right (or clockwise) the teacher might go left (or counterclockwise). In short the kata become dynamic, ever-changing, and ever-evolving: faster, slower, backwards, forwards, right, left, high, low, inside, outside. Every possible variation is explored in a semi-controlled process of give-and-take. Throughout it all, the students learn how to adapt, to synchronize with any of the teacher's movements so as to seize control and subdue him.

    Occasionally, though, something else happens. The teacher --- right at the very moment when a student is seizing control of the situation --- will neutralize the student's power and subdue the student instead. Inevitably, the first few times this happens the students will be caught completely off guard. They will not be able to detect or understand what happen. Even if the teacher says, "O.k., I will do it again. Come at me!" The students will not be able to discern how the teacher neutralizes the students' powers. At that moment, there is no point in trying to teach the students. The best the teacher can hope for is that, confronted with this mystery that they cannot understand, the students will become energized, more focused, and more aware. As the students abilities of perception grow stronger, sooner or later the student will be able to detect the neutralization technique applied by the teacher. Once that happens, then the student is ready to start learning.

    As the students learn how to perceive and discern what the teacher does to them, then they can gradually begin to imitate the teacher and master the same techniques. Mastering these kinds of techniques, however, is not the same as learning new kata. Each kata consists of a series of procedures and techniques. Beyond those obvert techniques, there exists the underlying techniques that animate them (giving them more power) and allow them to be neutralized (robbing them of power). Mastering these second-level kinds of subtle, inner techniques requires learning how to apply them not just at one moment within one kata, but how to apply them at any and all moments in all kata. As the students learn how to activate and control the underlying element within, for example, sword techniques, they also must learn how to develop that same skill in other contexts: within spear techniques, within naginata techniques, within jujutsu techniques (etc. and etc.). Frequently the process of attempting to develop the same skill within a different weapon system reveals previously undetected facets of the technique. As this happens, the students should start to discover the links between systems (body-mind-opponent; short-weapons-body-mind-opponent; medium-weapons-body-mind-opponent; long-weapons-body-mind-opponent): i.e., the underlying structure that unites all the systems into an integrated whole.

    It is not enough for the students merely to learn how to detect and prevent the teacher's neutralizations --- and how to apply the same kinds of neutralizations to the teacher. With every new breakthrough, with every new level of skill achieved by the students, the teacher must raise the stakes. Again, just as the student is about to use a newly developed level of skill to seize control of the situation, the teacher will neutralize the student's power and subdue the student instead. In this way, the learning process starts over again. For every special skill, there is always a way to go beyond it and to neutralize it. The students learn layer and layer of kata. And, within those kata, they learn layer upon layer of second-level skills that profoundly alter the original meanings (i.e., limitations) of the kata. As they apply these second-level skills to an ever wider range of situations and weapons systems, they uncover variation after variation. Thus, each technique/skill becomes multi-faceted, and each facet begins to reflect all the other techniques/skills. These multi-faceted mutual reflections constitute the ryûgi (i.e., the fundamental principles that govern the tradition and its teachings).

    As a result of this approach to learning, it is not uncommon to hear students say: "I just learned _(blank)_ for the first time, again." In other words: each time they learn something completely new, but every time what they learn is merely an extension of the same things they already know. During this process, the students cannot be taught. They must learn on their own. The teacher can do nothing more than to place the students in situations that will allow them to discover new knowledge. Verbal explanations, precise definitions (etc.), merely distract the students from struggling to figure things out on their own. It is in this struggle that they learn. They learn with their bodies, with their muscles, with their sinews, and with their bones. They learn by exploring the previously undetected (and unsuspected) hidden recesses of the kata through repetition upon repetition.

    The above description represents my feeble attempt to explain why words cannot capture the attributes or skills developed by reiki-no-ho or its relationship to kenjutsu, jujutsu and other curriculums in Kashima-Shinryu. This is the very topic that students of Kashima-Shinryu (including me) struggle with every day. The learning never stops. The ramifications of reiki-no-ho (or any other technique) are never exhausted. To try to say that it is "this" or "that" sends precisely the wrong message to students. Instead, they should realize that it is never "just this"; one can never say categorically that it is "not that." (But it cannot be anything and everything, either. One must learn how to develop the precise skills that will bridge the gap between "this" and "that.")

    Sorry for the verbose response. I hope it is helpful.

    Now I will attempt shorter answers to the other questions.
    William Bodiford
    Professor
    Dept. of Asian Languages & Cultures
    UCLA

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    Brently Keen wrote:
    I'm wondering if you might care to comment a little more on the relationship between Jikishinkage-ryu and KSR as it is my understanding that they do share a common history at least up to some point. Aren't some of the densho identical?
    The relationships among the various branches of Jikishinkageryu is a major topic in an of itself. Significant branches include: Naganuma-ha, Fujikawa-ha, Akaishi-ha, Danno-ha, etc. As far as I can tell, in each of these branches certain core kata and transmission documents (densho) are the same. Some branches (depending on when they split apart) also apparently teach kata and documents not found in other branches.

    Regardless of branch, the full, official name used in their documents is "Kashima-Shinden Jikishinkageryu." The designation "Kashima-Shinden" is another way of saying "Kashima-Shinryu." In this sense it is not completely mistaken to think of Kashima-Shinryu as a branch of Jikishinkageryu. But it is not completely correct, either.

    After Kashima-Shinryu split off from Jikishinkageryu, Kunii Taizen (the twelfth-generation head of Kashima-Shinryu) reworked the basic Jikishinkageryu kenjutsu kata to accord with traditions and documents that are not found within various branches of Jikishinkageryu. As a result of Taizen's revisions, none of the Kashima-Shinryu kenjutsu kata resemble Jikishinkageryu kata. Apart from our standard curriculum, today we still practice a small number of kata and techniques that we label as being derived from Jikishinkageryu. Those kata and techniques, however, are not listed in any Kashima-Shinryu documents. They are taught solely as kuden (oral initiations).

    Nonetheless, Kashima-Shinryu technical vocabulary reveals the close historical relationship between the two traditions. Maybe 90-95% of the vocabulary found in Jikishinkageryu documents also is used in Kashima-Shinryu. A large percentage of the vocabulary found in the documents of various other Shinkageryu lineages also is used in Kashima-Shinryu. But we also use many terms not found in the documents of those traditions. (In contrast, only a small percentage of the vocabulary found in documents of various Ittoryu lineages has parallels in Kashima-Shinryu. And, almost none of the vocabulary associated with modern kendo or iaido or Musashi's Gorin-no-sho is used in Kashima-Shinryu.) Even when the same vocabulary is used, however, it is not necessarily used in precisely the same way. The vocabulary of each tradition must reflect that tradition's own unique ryûgi. (Regarding this point, see my remarks in a previous response.)

    Differences between Kashima-Shinryu and Jikishinkageryu? I am not really able to say. First, I am familiar only with the Danno-line of Jikishinkageryu as represented by Namiki Yasushi sensei. Second, my knowledge is only cursory, mainly based on watching performances over the years by Namiki sensei and his students. Such performances do not necessarily reveal much. The format of the kata are so different (as mentioned above) that an untrained eye probably would detect no similarities at all. Nonetheless, they can be found. Perhaps it would be fair to say that Jikishinkageryu kata externalize and slow down elements that we attempt to internalize in real time. I doubt that explains much, but it is the best I can do.
    William Bodiford
    Professor
    Dept. of Asian Languages & Cultures
    UCLA

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    Nathan Scott wrote:
    I didn't mean to put you in the aiki-hotseat, but Karl's book states that the concept of aiki exists in KSR . . .
    Actually in Kashima-Shinryu scrolls the word "aiki" 相氣 is written with different glyphs than the ones used for writing "Aikido" ?氣? or "aikijutsu" ?氣術 (etc.). Of course, differences in the glyphs might not be significant. The context, though, also seems dissimilar. In Kashima-Shinryu "aiki" is part of a series of teachings (aigamae, aigasumi, aijaku, aiki, aishin . . .). I do not know very much about Aikido (etc.), but I am not aware of the "aiki" of Aikido being contextualized in this same manner. "Aiki" might just be a coincidental homophone. What Aikido people refer to as "aiki" probably would be described with different words in Kashima-Shinryu.

    Best wishes,
    William Bodiford
    Professor
    Dept. of Asian Languages & Cultures
    UCLA

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    Professor,

    Thank you for spending so much time on my question. Good points made. I hope you understand that Nathans mostly answer sounded to me like less than the best answer. Now I have a better understanding of what the best answer that can be given is.
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

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