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Thread: Here a Soke, There a Soke, Everywhere a Soke

  1. #46
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    Default e-mail address

    Before i asked Prof. Bodiford here on e-budo for his permission to post his article, i did a quick search on Google, searched for -- William Bodiford --
    I found also the above listed e-mail address, but - Ubaldo has mentioned it - it didn't work properly, my mail came back immediately. Maybe it's an old address

    regards
    Ruediger Meier

  2. #47
    MarkF Guest

    Default Surface to mail?

    While I know I will be called old fashioned, it may be that you should write on paper and put in a self-addressed stamped envelope which I am told one can get on line now.

    The problem seems to be in patience. Considering the man is a teacher (very basic stuff here folks), write him at UCLA (he hasn't hidden that, nor could he if he wanted), his Department, and wait. He may write and he may not, but I don't see any other solutions.

    If he wanted his email public, he would have not used the "hide email" feature.

    I've received things indirectly without really asking him. I considred it a gift and left out his name and/or where he teaches, as I think he has made that pretty clear.

    I know I'm not the most patient person in the world, but I've got files full of amazing written material, most of which I only asked a general question, or someone has gifted me with some great feats of the quill.

    Write and relax. God knows time is precious, but sometimes we are rewareded.

    Disclaimer: Ok, I'm sitting on pins and needles myself, and if I hadn't been so embarrassed about it as kid, I'd have no more nails to chew.

  3. #48
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    Mark,

    i don't think you're "old fashioned", but...(yeah, here it is... )

    ...the first thing i've done..., i looked at Prof. Bodiford's e-budo profile, but no e-mail address was listed there.
    ...second thing i've done..., i considered to post my question for permission here on e-budo, but because Prof. Bodiford is not regular here on e-budo i tried to find out his e-mail address and then to ask him directly via e-mail (for me, e-mail is not different from a handwritten letter, but maybe that's just because my work is full of that "stupid computer things" - i'm an admin in a NT/Unix Network ...so maybe i'm just "to deep" in that kind of *@$%& ...and i also apologized in my mail that i used this way to contact Prof. Bodiford ).
    as written above, the mail came back to me, because the mail address is - maybe - "out of order", so i decided to post my question here on e-budo. That's my story in short..., but you're right, there are other ways to ask...

    regards
    Ruediger Meier

  4. #49
    MarkF Guest

    Default

    [i]Originally posted by Ruediger[i]
    because Prof. Bodiford is not regular here on e-budo
    Hi Ruediger,
    I apologize if my post came off as flippant and sarcastic (well, the sarcasm was genuine, though. . I don't know the man personally or by way of the Internet, or by surface mail, although I do have his address which is pretty much as it is in his sig block, I have been gifted with some of his "doodles."

    I agree about Interent email, BTW. Sometimes, it is possible to have a conversation in fairly real time, and other times, it is the same.

    I just thought that if the email is hidden, then he wants to be written the old way. I doubt he would hold back if one makes the effort to write, and that is what I meant.

    Anyway, sorry for the misunderstanding, to everyone. Upon reading it, I did sound more cynical, sarcastic, and flippant than usual.

    Regards,

  5. #50
    Yamantaka Guest

    Wink AUTO-CRITIQUE

    Originally posted by MarkF
    [i]Originally posted by Ruediger[i]


    Hi Ruediger,
    I apologize if my post came off as flippant and sarcastic (well, the sarcasm was genuine, though. Anyway, sorry for the misunderstanding, to everyone. Upon reading it, I did sound more cynical, sarcastic, and flippant than usual.

    Regards,
    YAMANTAKA : No sorries, man! After all, auto-critique is good for the soul...

  6. #51
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    I apologize to everyone who could not find my e-mail address. It is not included in my e-Budo profile since any UCLA e-mail address can be found simply by checking UCLA's electronic directory (just follow the links from UCLA's homepage). This method is the most reliable, as UCLA technicians will up-date their own directory any time they modify their e-mail servers (which happens from time to time).

    I am surprised that so many people have expressed an interest in reproducing this message on their own Internet sites. Before granting permission to anyone first I want to revise the original message. I need to correct typos, add HTML tags, and revise the content in several places to address issues such as the ones raised by Karl Friday, Toby Threadgill, and Robert Reinberger. I cannot complete these revisions today. Therefore, I ask you to please be patient. In the mean time, I have a question: Is there any advantage to having this kind of short essay appear in more than one web site? If not, then I think I should pick one well-established web site and ask everyone else to link to it.

    Now, let me try to respond to some of the other issues.

    In my original message I tried to distinguish between at least five completely different (yet related) meanings or patterns of usage associated with the term ske in Japanese history: (1) as an ancient religious term referring to the head of family that maintains the ancestral temple for all other associated families within a larger clan; (2) as a classical commercial term referring to the head of a manufacturing lineage that possesses exclusive trademarks and marketing privileges, both of which are maintained through the patronage of local lords; (3) as a professional term used during the Tokugawa period for the head of an artistic lineages that possess monopolies over the performance, instruction, and licensing of certain special skills, monopolies which were enforced by the ruling authorities; (4) as a modern legal term for the successors of number 3 and who hold copyright over certain texts and artifacts that have been handed down from their ancestors; and (5) as a modern non-legal designation sometimes used to recognize and honor the special contributions of certain family lineages in maintaining their own special traditional arts and skills.

    In the extant documents, as far as I know, the term ske is associated with martial arts only in sense number 5. Of course it is possible to use the term ske as an analytical concept or intellectual construct and argue that premodern martial art lineages shared certain key features with the ske system. I believe that this is what many modern academic authors, including Karl Friday, have done. I am not in fundamental disagreement with them, but I was trying to discuss ske usage in descriptive, not analytical, terms.

    I especially want to reinforce Karl's remarks concerning the efforts of each lineage to maintain control over their own good names and reputations. When I wrote, "If there are new schools, then there is no ske; If there is a ske, then there are no new schools," I certainly did NOT mean to imply that just anyone could found a new martial school or that just anyone could claim to teach in the name of some pre-existing martial school. Likewise, when I wrote that modern-day usage of ske in reference to martial lineages "denotes a historical past, not a present-day commercial or legal monopoly" I meant "monopoly" in the sense of one group controlling all public access to a commodity without meaningful competition from competitors. In other words, monopoly in these sense of Microsoft Windows with Bill Gates, Jr., as ske. Even though the Apple computer operating system does not enjoy the same monopoly power as does MS Windows, Apple still controls its own software and will still sue anyone who copies it without permission.

    Actually, a better modern American analogy to the Tokugawa-period ske systems might be found in the world of dance. I say "might" because I know nothing about dancing. In the following analogy I will use the names "Arthur Murray Academy" and "American Ballet Theatre" as ideal types (i.e., representatives of certain general principles even if some of the details are wrong).

    In America today almost every town has an Arthur Murray Academy (AMA) that teaches ballroom dancing. Anyone can go to Arthur Murray in one location and take identical lessons as taught in any other location. Every AMA not only gives lessons, but also issues diplomas. And every diploma issued by every AMA everywhere in America includes fees that go back to an Arthur Murray headquarters. This kind of commercial network resembles a ske system. If Arthur Murray held copyright to all ballroom dance steps and enjoyed a monopoly on the teaching of all ballroom dances, then they would practically identical to the Tokugawa ske system. The successive CEOs of the Arthur Murray company would constitute the ske lineage.

    Completely unconnected and unrelated to the world of ballroom dancing there also exists private companies of classical dance like the American Ballet Theatre. It exists only in one place and trains only dancers who spend time studying in that one place. There are no branch ABTs in local towns. Therefore, ABT is the opposite of a ske system. Nonetheless both Arthur Murray and ABT alike deny the right of anyone else to use their good name without permission.

    If someone who has trained at an Arthur Murray Academy (or trained somewhere else) decides to open his or her own branch academy, then he or she need merely apply for permission with the main headquarters, sign a contract, and pay the required fees. It is very simple. The owner of the new AMA does not need to be especially skilled or to introduce anything new; he or she merely teaches the standard AMA steps according to the standard AMA teaching methods.

    If someone who has trained at the American Ballet Theatre wants to open his or her own school of ballet, it is much more difficult. Use of the ABT name would be out of the question. In order to attract students, at the very least, he or she must have established a reputation within the dance world as being of extraordinary skill. That skill must be acknowledged by colleagues at the ABT itself. Moreover, he or she must offer something new or different or better. Then, he or she would have to work over a long period of time to establish a reputation as a teacher.

    Most new schools fail, while the ABT continues to produce productions and dancers of exceptional quality. Because the ABT has endured it is possible for historians of dance to describe its successive generations of head choreographers (George Balanchine, Agnes De Mille, Jerome Robbins, etc.) as having endowed the ABT with a unique artistic heritage and direction. They might even compare their qualities of leadership and artistic control with the way that CEOs direct business enterprises. In this sense the head choreographers share certain characteristics with the successive CEOs (i.e., ske lineage) of the Arthur Murray Academies. Nonetheless, the commercial structure and public goals of the two types of organizations are completely different.

    If someone opened a local school of ballroom dance and called it an "Arthur Murray Academy" without permission, then that school would soon be closed down and the proprietor would face legal penalties. AMA is a large organization with so many branches in so many places that they would soon notice if their name was being used without proper authorization.

    If someone opened up a new school of ballet and fraudulently claimed association with the American Ballet Theatre, then that person might or might not get into trouble. Certainly such false claims would be readily exposed if made in any large city. In a small town, however, people might be happy to have access to any kind of ballet teacher without bothering to check on credentials. The ABT is not a large organization. It does not have branches across the country. It might not notice if some one in an remote town misused its name. Nonetheless it would never condone such misrepresentation and fraud.

    In Tokugawa-period Japan many forms of theater, dance, crafts, and artistic skills were controlled by commercial networks headed by ske that operated similar to the above "Arthur Murray ideal type." Legal authorities enforced the monetary rights of ske in ikebana, chanoyu, or noh (etc.) Martial arts usually were taught within smaller organizations characterized by wide diversity of structures and goals. These smaller organizations themselves enforced their rights by threat of violence and by religious sanctions. Violence, of course, was illegal. Tokugawa dictated that both sides to any violent confrontation must be punished regardless of who initiated the action or who was right or wrong. For this reason, violence usually consisted of anonymous threats and surreptitious attacks in dark streets and back alleys.

    Religious sanctions were the preferred method of maintaining legitimacy. This is how they were enforced from about 1700 onwards. Anyone who wanted to start a new martial art school would, at the very least, he or she must have established a reputation among other warriors as possessing extraordinary skill. That skill also must be acknowledged by the teacher under whose eyes that person had trained. Use of that teacher's name or of the name of that teacher's lineage, however, might or might not be granted. Moreover, this new martial art school must offer something new or different or better. The founder of the new school would write out a notice in which he asserted all of the above information and in which he listed the school's name and its goals. He would pay a woodcarver to inscribe this notice onto a large wooden plaque. Then he would present the plaque to the main temple or shrine in the area (along with a donation of money). The people in charge of the temple or shrine would not accept the plaque until after they had investigated this person's claims. They would ask local people who could vouch for him and they would request letters of recommendation from other towns. They also would seek permission from any other martial schools to which they already had ties. Once the temple or shrine accepted the plaque and hung it up in a public location, the new school would open. All its students would regularly worship at that temple or shrine, would donate money to it, and would participate in special martial performances there. If the temple or shrine did not accept the plaque, then the school would not open.

    Sometimes violence and religious sanctions operated at cross purposes. There was a very famous incident when Chiba Shsaku (1774--1855) first tried to found his martial academy. Chiba had studied two different styles (orthodox Ittry in the Nakanishi lineage and Hokushin Musry) which he combined together with some of his own innovations. In 1825 Chiba offered a plaque to the Ikaho Shrine (present-day Gunma Pref.) in which he proclaimed his new Hokushin Ittry. The shrine evidently had agreed to accept the plaque since Chiba had established a reputation as an excellent duelist. At the last moment, though members of the locally strong Maniwa Nenry objected. They threaten violence unless Chiba move out of the area. The exact details are unclear, but some how or other Chiba withdrew his plaque, left the area, and avoided a violent confrontation. If Chiba had allowed himself to be drawn into a fight, even if he had won he would have lost because the authorities would have punished him. Then he never would have been able to open his own school. (There is an even more interesting footnote to this story. In 1927 Nikkatsu made a movie about the life of Chiba Shsaku. Supposedly this movie included one scene at the Ikaho Shrine in which Chiba defeated the head of the Maniwa Nenry in a duel. When members of the Nenry found out about the movie they stormed into Tokyo, went to the headquarters of Nikkatsu and threaten to beat up the company president, the movie director, and anyone else they could get their hands on. Nikkatsu finally got rid of them only by agreeing to turn over all copies of the movie's negatives ---- which the Nenry members then took to a local temple and burned. This footnote shows that even as late as the 1920s martial lineages vigorously objected to any perceived insults to their honor and would defend it with violence.)

    Neither the threat of violence nor religious sanctions could always reach outside of a local area or particular region. Most martial organizations were small and local. Of course famous names were stolen and false credentials manufactured. This is one reason why there are so many martial lineages with the words "itt" and "shinkage" in their names. Some of them were related, but even the illegitimate ones could bask in the glory of a very prestigious name (as long as they stayed in remote areas, were not too bold, and did not get caught).

    The case of the Yagy Shinganry, whether true or not, demonstrates that names were to be borrowed only with proper permission. In other words, as said by Karl, martial schools (and all other organizations for that matter) made efforts to stop unauthorized use of their names.
    According to Yagy Shinganry scrolls sometime around 1600 a person from Sendai named Takenaga Hayato (a.k.a. Jikiny) traveled to Edo where he became an acquaintance and, eventually, a friend of Yagy Munenori (1571--1646). Takenaga already had formulated his own martial system called Shinganry. Munenori was so impressed by Takenaga's abilities (so say the documents) that Munenori granted him permission to preface the name of his style with the extremely prestigious "Yagy" name. I do not know of any academic research regarding this story and have no opinion as to its validity. Even if this story were not true, the fact that it would have been manufactured shows that people would not have accepted use of the "Yagy" name by people not related to the Yagy family without some kind of cover story asserting official permission.

    I know nothing about Don Angier nor about his possible use of the ske label. I cannot comment about him. Let me write about someone else instead. One of my former college roommates is a yshi. He was born and raised in Arkansas, has bright red hair, and has lived in Japan continuously since around 1980. He was adopted into a Japanese family to become the male successor and to continue the family name. This means that both he and his children are known by his wife's family name and that both he and his children are responsible for performing proper ancestor rites on behalf of his wife's parents and on behalf of their ancestors. I cannot imagine this old friend coming back to America. He has his heart in Japan. It is his home. But if he were to ever come back to America, I especially cannot imagine him going around and telling people: "Hey, I'm a yshi." This word is totally meaningless in American society. On the other hand, I can imagine him explaining to certain friends and family members that his status as an adopted son in Japan entails special responsibilities that are not expected of adopted sons in American society. As part of his explanation he might say that the connotations of the Japanese word yshi differ from the connotations of the English term "adopted son," and so forth. Once his friends and family members begin to understand these connotations they might occasionally refer to him with the word yshi when talking among themselves. Nonetheless, it would be idiotic if they introduced him to non-Japanese as: "My friend, the yshi."

    Now, yshi at least is a word that is understood by ordinary Japanese people and by foreigners who speak Japanese. In contrast, the label ske is not understood by most Japanese. Unfortunately it causes confusion and it has been used to inflate the status of people who do not know what it means or how it is used. If I had a friend who became a yshi in a Japanese family that possessed ske control over a traditional art, then I would advise my friend to avoid using the term ske when speaking in English and simply use the word "successor" instead. It is a lot easier to say: "I have been designated the successor to an established lineage," than to try to explain the term ske (as my own long-winded explanations so amply demonstrate).
    William Bodiford
    Professor
    Dept. of Asian Languages & Cultures
    UCLA

  7. #52
    Yamantaka Guest

    Smile THANK YOU, MR. BODIFORD!

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by W.Bodiford
    [B]I apologize to everyone who could not find my e-mail address. It is not included in my e-Budo profile since any UCLA e-mail address can be found simply by checking UCLA's electronic directory (just follow the links from UCLA's homepage). This method is the most reliable, as UCLA technicians will up-date their own directory any time they modify their e-mail servers (which happens from time to time).

    YAMANTAKA : I did that but unfortunately couldn't get access to you.

    I am surprised that so many people have expressed an interest in reproducing this message on their own Internet sites. Before granting permission to anyone first I want to revise the original message. I need to correct typos, add HTML tags, and revise the content in several places to address issues such as the ones raised by Karl Friday, Toby Threadgill, and Robert Reinberger. I cannot complete these revisions today. Therefore, I ask you to please be patient. In the mean time, I have a question: Is there any advantage to having this kind of short essay appear in more than one web site? If not, then I think I should pick one well-established web site and ask everyone else to link to it.

    YAMANTAKA : I agree with your proposal and, with all due respect, would suggest Diane Skoss's website (www.koryu.com). From there, I could get it and put it on my site, with a translation, side by side.
    I'm not surprised so many people enjoyed your text. It touches on a subject of much interest to MA practitioners and explains many things about the Iemoto system in some arts (as Aikido, for instance).
    Thank you very much for your attention and good will and accept my best regards.
    Yamantaka

  8. #53
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    Originally posted by W.Bodiford
    ...
    I am surprised that so many people have expressed an interest in reproducing this message on their own Internet sites. Before granting permission to anyone first I want to revise the original message. I need to correct typos, add HTML tags, and revise the content in several places to address issues such as the ones raised by Karl Friday, Toby Threadgill, and Robert Reinberger. I cannot complete these revisions today. Therefore, I ask you to please be patient. In the mean time, I have a question: Is there any advantage to having this kind of short essay appear in more than one web site? If not, then I think I should pick one well-established web site and ask everyone else to link to it.

    Now, let me try to respond to some of the other issues
    ...
    Dear Prof. Bodiford,

    thank you very much for the further explanations, as well as for the interesting additional details and informations you provided.

    Regarding the interest in your text, I'm not surprised that many people appreciate those academical points of view and historical facts you've made available, regarding a subject and term, that is used by an increasing amount of people in sometimes remarkable ways, today.

    The only advantages of having it appear at several sites, I could imagine, are

    a) the benefit of having it not lost if something happens with the only site it is on;

    b) avoiding of copyright problems when linking the essay, located at that one site, to one's own site;

    c) the questions regarding translations into other languages may be answered more easy, if the original text could be made available as well.

    However, that may not be issues, and if permission will be granted to one site only, I would second Mr. Alcantara's suggestion to choose Koryu.com.

    Sincerely,
    Robert

  9. #54
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    Prof. Bodiford,

    By any chance might the words "Kaiso Hokokusai" be used to describe the petition of a shrine by an individual for acceptance of a plaque? Sorry, I can't provide the kanji, only the romanji.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your insight, and thanks in advance for any comment you might have.

    Devon

  10. #55
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    Mr Bodiford,

    Thankyou so much for your time, effort and the response to my inquiry. I appreciate it very much.

    I found the analogy concerning your friend in Japan who is a "yoshi" both humourous and relevant. I basically concur with everthing you implied.

    I also agree with those who believe that the website at koryu.com would be the most appropriate place to post your excellent discussion on the iemoto/soke system. I'm sure Meik and Diane will be excellent stewards of this information.

    Thank you again for the time and effort at providing us all with such a wealth of information.

    Sincerely,

  11. #56
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    Default Re: World Head of Family Sokeship Council


    Are these great or what? One has added a new category of martial art mastery dubbed "Great Grandmaster"--presumably to distinguish the guys who can actually make their hands glow red from the ordinary Grandmasters, who can now be found in most malls across America. Another has a category called "apprenticed grandmasters," for those of high aspirations but lesser egos, I suppose. And another has one affiliate calling itself the "Kamisama Bushi Kan" (God's Samurai Hall) . . .

    Personally, I'm holding out for the title the Monkey King in Journey to the West demanded (and got) from the Jade Emperor: Great Sage, Equal of Heaven . . .
    Karl Friday
    Dept. of History
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602

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    In a video I saw that on the gi of the art's grandmaster the kanji 'soke' were embroidered on the sleeve.
    Is this customary for koryu soke or shihanke?

    Does the belt normally sport any titles or names?

    Thanks for the info.
    Peer Schumann

  13. #58
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    "In a video I saw that on the gi of the art's grandmaster the kanji 'soke' were embroidered on the sleeve. Is this customary for koryu soke or shihanke? "

    Actually It was suppose to say Sokea-cala-fragilistic-ego-expedoshus,

    but the guy ran out of bucks for his bitchin' embroidery job.


    Tobs

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    Probably that was the laundry instructions: soak, then dry.

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    Default Are my cards showing?

    Maybe the guys mommie sowed the letters on all his jackets and underwear so that when he goes to soke summer camp he won't misplace his stuff. But...then.....everybody would have the same embroidery. hmmmmmmmmmmmm. As for whether it's customary for soke in Japan to put their titles on their clothes, let's just say that it is about as common for a soke to do that as it is for them to make self-promotional videos with cheesey B-movie background music (pseudo-Japanese using a bad synthesizer), travel the country to hold ridiculously expensive seminars for pimply teenagers who wanna learn the Shaolin Death Touch in three easy steps so they can beat up the muscleman on the beach that kicked sand in their face and stole their girl, and not be able to do 10 sit-ups if their life depended on it.
    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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