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  1. #1
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    Default Hidden in Plain Sight - Discussion

    Now that I've sent approximately 400 books out - I'm happy to discuss this book, as I did with my previous releases. If you have a specific question that you think my engender a long discussion of it's own, feel free to start a new thread, as in "HIPS - Chapter 1" or "HIPS - Influence of Chinese martial arts," etc.
    And if you don't have a copy to enable you to discuss anything, there is an easy solution to that.

    Best

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    Just got my copy, will try to post something once I get through it, if I can think of anything original to say that is.
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellis Amdur View Post
    Now that I've sent approximately 400 books out - I'm happy to discuss this book, as I did with my previous releases. If you have a specific question that you think my engender a long discussion of it's own, feel free to start a new thread, as in "HIPS - Chapter 1" or "HIPS - Influence of Chinese martial arts," etc.
    And if you don't have a copy to enable you to discuss anything, there is an easy solution to that.

    Best
    I'm reading it now - and my congratulations to you. It is very, very interesting, very readable. If I may be bold enough to say, your writing has improved over time, too, and has a nice informal touch with plenty of personal asides.

    I'm impressed by your effort to tie so many different ryuha together. I don't know how some folks will take the lack of precise references (like: page numbers), but even that seems manageable.

    I've finished the intro regarding Chen Gin'in, and you make as good a case as possible for his impact on the arts of the three ronin given the lack of hard data. I'm not convinced yet, as presumably will never be because of that lack of data, but am intrigued by your take on it all.

    More to come....
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

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    Default Citations

    Lance - by page numbers, I think you mean from some of the source material I cite. I made a deliberate choice there, actually. Either the book would be a true, sourced research book - or a broader sketch. I did not want a <poorly> developed research book. At any rate, I've provided all the sign posts for those who want to follow up and really develop or disprove any of my theses - or others I cited in the text.
    At the same time, I admit - I could have been more scrupulous in some of the citations.
    Ellis Amdur

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    Yes, I meant pg numbers of the many, many references. The bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

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    Hi Ellis.

    I have always liked your writings and this book is no exception . My congratulations on a wonderful piece of work.

    It will be a long time before this one will be topped.

    Happy landings and all the best.

    Johan Smits

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    Johan - honestly, the way I hope it will be topped is if one or more people do the research that still can be done.
    • I have a section in the book in which I try to offer guideposts of what to look for and where to look for historical information on the history of Chinese influence on Japanese martial arts, on the history of jujutsu, Daito-ryu and of aikido
    • I've described some (well-informed) speculations on how certain things developed within Japanese martial arts. These things can be proved or disproved, if someone is able and willing to do the leg-work.
    • It is VERY likely that certain factions of Daito-ryu have archival material that has not been released to the public. I am a big supporter of traditional martial arts keeping gokui to themselves. That is what makes the art what it is. However, when historical material, be it documents, films or whatever is held in secret, this bespeaks a certain kind of greediness that I have seen in the Japanese martial arts community - not so much among the "fighters," but among the scholars and collectors. Like a person who buys a Rembrandt and shuts it up in his house, never letting anyone see it again. Hopefully, with diplomacy and tact, some of these closed organizations can be prevailed upon, not to release proprietary technical information, perhaps, but their archival material.
    • Finally, Daito-ryu and aikido have diffused in many factions, with many senior students branching out on their own. Aside from secrecy, many teachers will not answer historical questions OR technical questions unless a student shows that he or she really cares. This is shown, not only by dedicated practice, but also by seizing the opportunity to ask the PROPER questions. Among my greatest regrets about my own training years in Japan is that I know now that certain questions I could have asked WOULD have been answered, had I asked them. Particularly with some of the younger teachers, who are delighted with the power they can now play with as they train, the opportunity to find a kindred spirit, hungry for answers and for getting better, is welcome - at least among some. But if you hold back, in what you think is humility, you will be taken for granted. I'm not talking about being crude or demanding, but this idea that the ideal student of Japanese martial arts is a craven just-follow-orders-it'll-all-come-clear-in-a-couple-of-decades, is pretty new. In Meiji, there were menkyo kaiden in various arts in FIVE years! Not because they were put-up jobs, but because the country was in ferment and often at war, and the students were hungry for knowledge. Too many students today are hungry for membership. They are happy to tell stories about the founder's miraculous power, but don't seem to crave any for themselves. If the teacher has a bit of power himself, why would he desire to give it to such spineless wretches? Step up and ask. Confront the teacher with your desire to surpass him or her. Any teacher worthwhile would be delighted. If not, maybe you should start looking again.

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    Default Is there a connection

    Mr Amdur,

    First I want to thank you for taking the time to write HIPS, outstanding book! I have read it no less than 10 times to date. As a student of Yoshinkan Aikido and Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu I truly enjoyed the questions put forth to me in this book. For one it prompted me, as well as many other reasons, to start Hozoin Ryu Takada Ha which I have been doing for a year now. I am very glad to have started this wonderfull art and it has had a change in my Aikido. Definatley interesting learning from such a different distance.
    Now more to my point. I was reading Kenji Tokitsu's "Miyamoto Musashi: His life and writings" and there is reference to Morita Monjuro (1889-1978) and his kendo-zen. He discusses the link of koshi, tanden, and sunden and the ability to "read" the opponents mind. Mr Mortita talks about Futabayama the sekitori who had 69n continues wins who stated being able to "read" his opponents intentions.
    This is very close to what I also read in a book entitled "Aizu no Takeda Sokaku", sorry author unknown at this time as I have loaned the book to one of my dojo mates and do not have it in my possesion at this time. In this book it is related that Takeda Sokichi told Sokaku that he was able to "read" the opponents mind through his sunden. This is interesting as it concurs with what Futabayama stated.
    Mr Morita also discusses the diagonal tension created by training in a nito fashion. All in all very interesting stuff as it coincides with what I read in HIPS.
    My question is do you think it is the trinity of koshi, tanden, sunden that gave these martial ancestors an edge that we or I am lacking in our current training?
    I thank you for your time and apologize for my ramblings as I am not much of an intelectual, more of a banger.

    regards Reg Sakamoto
    Reg Sakamoto
    a student of applied kinesiology through combatives.

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    Reg - thank you for continuing a discussion long asleep. First of all, I'm not familiar with the term sunden. I imagine that it is that either the point of the sword or the point between the eyes. (Which would be very different - but both would make a triangle).
    In principle, I DO believe that the cultivation of sophisticated "internal" skills was the key to the apparently miraculous abilities of some of our predecessors.
    Considering the specific words (I'll await your definition of sunden for me). Tanden is, of course, the universal center - it's not a point below the naval - it's a "virtual" ball, to some, which encompasses the lower abdomen and spine. I recently, however, heard another definition which likened it more to a flexible leaf spring (I think such differences of definition express different intent of usage - in other words, different martial arts). I think an easy way to think of tanden is a differential in a car, a gear that transmits force from four wheels (limbs), most efficiently, whatever angle the limbs are. Unlike the differential in a car, it is also additive, in that a trained tanden can express force.
    Koshi is usually defined as hips, but we should really think of it as "base."
    So - I'm curious what sunden is.

    As for reading minds - don't know about that - but one can definitely read intent. I've grappled with guys who give me a running commentary on what I'm going to do next, before I move. They can feel it. Personally, I can do that in weapon's practice. It's kind of hard to explain this, but what one should understand is that it's not passive. Part of this ability is to lead the opponent through kiai/kamae - it's easier to read people's intent when many options are closed off to them.
    Best
    Ellis Amdur

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    Ellis,

    Mr. Sakamoto will surely make things clear, but I believe if he is referring to the concept of sunden (寸田) in kendo, it is indeed a point between the eyes/eyebrows. It is also sometimes called the upper tanden (上丹田).
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, žonne he ęt guše gengan ženceš longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearaš. - The Beowulf Poet

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    Thank you Mr Amdur,

    Yes the gentleman is correct I am speaking of the sunden between the eyes. Sorry I was not clear before. Also Mr Amdur your correct I was told koshi as base, as in the small of the back so to speak. Thank you for your reply.

    regards Reg Sakamoto
    Reg Sakamoto
    a student of applied kinesiology through combatives.

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    Although many people do refer to Koshi as the small of the back, I think this is incorrect. Properly, koshi is the hip joints (which are properly supported by the lower legs), the buttocks, the sacrum and the pelvic floor.

    Now, as for sunden, now that I know what it is, I do think it is necessary to consider how these three components would be manifested in kendo. Would it not be fair to say that the organization of these three components would be rather different in Hozoin-ryu?

    That said, please consider this. When I train psychotherapists, I teach a particular way of breathing, suggesting that when one feels "ready for anything" (i.e., a relaxed combat effective breathing), one has the psychological energy/spaciousness to be aware of subtle changes in the other person's demeanor, and also to have the wherewithal to be aware of small intuitive impressions that float into consciousness. When "tight," one doesn't notice these ideas.

    Similarly, if one's body is in a perfect organization for kendo (or another martial art), ready for anything, yet committed to nothing, one can pick up similar intuitions in the midst of randori - or combat.

    I think this is tied to the anecdote of Ukei of Kito-ryu who, when suddenly attacked by a sumo wrestler (they are always the fall-guys in these stories), sort of moves and the guy drops, and when asked what he did, Ukei replies that he's not sure himself.

    Best
    Ellis Amdur

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