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Thread: Adapting Koryu

  1. #151
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    " Not mine, rather it is a baseline knowledge of my abilities and limitations against an understanding of use of force law, human performance under stress, and situational factors all pertaining. Though it is true that a Jury or prosecutor may not see it that way. They may also have little understanding of the factors above. Who is right? "

    That is a major problem in a way. Who is right and who will have to live with the conseqences? I understand that in ' Ye olde Japan ' it was possible to extract yourself from justice by moving and picking up life in place three villages further. Not so here and know.

    Could it be that koryu in Japan were in tactics and consequently in approach and techniques much more in line with government's rules and regulations? Was it part of tactics? Is that something which koryu practiced in these days and age and other locations should adapt to?


    One of the differences I see between koryu and ' modern arts' - let's call them that for now is that koryu is much more of a way of living - a certain approach to life. This is missing in modern arts. Modern arts only train sports or self-defence (or a combination) but as such these arts teach a fragmented approach to self-protection. This results in lack of traininig in certain very important parts of self-protection and thus in a devaluation of it's worth as such.
    Is there a lesson to be learned from koryu for teachers of modern arts? Lot's of them I feel. Starting to learn a koryu after getting to a certain level of modern arts first is just not the best solution to this I feel.

    Happy landings,

    Johan Smits

  2. #152
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    Could it be that koryu in Japan were in tactics and consequently in approach and techniques much more in line with government's rules and regulations? Was it part of tactics?
    Johan - a great question, and the answer is yes. For example, many ryu have a teaching called something like "tome sandan" - essentially, the three ways of todome. Essentially, if a bushi killed someone, he was expected to take his kozuka (a small accessory knife), if the killing was on the order of a superior, he stabbed the corpse in the bottom of the foot: for revenge, underneath the ear; for a vendetta, in the solar plexus. (This was to make it legal, so to speak, although one still might be expected to do seppuku. An illegal killing meant one would be merely executed, and dishonored). BTW - I've read several writers who believe that these were "finishing blows," of a dying person, by stabbing vulnerable kyusho. Incorrect.

    Furthermore, the kishomon (entry documents) in a ryu always had stipulations when one could fight with people from another school - usually after one was menkyo only. I think this had several purposes: 1) one hoped, thereby, not to have one's school shamed by inept members losing to others 2) "harm reduction" - that meant there'd be very few fights (illegal social disruption), without blatantly saying, 'you are all doing a hobby and may not use it."

    So, of course, there were innumerable restrictions - Edo Japan was probably the only successful long-term totalitarian state.

    But as to the second part of your question:
    Is that something which koryu practiced in these days and age and other locations should adapt to?
    , you are thinking way too hard. That's easy. I know I'm not allowed to cut the head of the snotty kid in the computer repair store, nor can I use a kusarigama to punish the guy who took my parking space. One practices koryu. And if someone is so ignorant that they don't know their own society's laws, or so willful that they believe, as a genuine larping koryu wanker that the laws don't apply to them, then they go to prison.

    The only requisite adaptations are in applying the mindset to the society one lives in (and many do not have a clue to doing that, or any interest), and possibly on a combative level, using principles and techniques that are value on the "battlefield" where one is: that could be anything from what Kit talks about in the field as a law enforcement agent, to my using "kamae/kiai" in such a way that people I am investigating willingly give me information that is used to get them arrested, removed from a job site, or the like.

    Ellis Amdur
    Last edited by Ellis Amdur; 15th March 2012 at 08:09.

  3. #153
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    Ellis,

    That is an answer is it not? And a clear one. Essentially nothing changes and adaptations are on the level of what is practical. This means that koryu can be fully transplanted into another society and culture and still retain their value as a practical form of self-protection.

    Apart from the above. Koryu were the product of a certain culture, in which religion or anyway believe, and a certain world-view were an important part.
    I can imagine that a certain world-view (thinking about life, ethics) can be transplanted to another society and adapted without much problems.

    But how about the religious aspects ? It seems to me that this could present a problem either for people (practitioners or would-be practitioners) who are religious or for those who are not.

    Happy landings,

    Johan Smits

  4. #154
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    Well, koryu aren't religions. And far too much is made of things like mikkyo (it was just psychology by another name - Draeger constructed a somewhat false image there). And if someone feels that the rituals that a particular koryu requires offends their religious sensibilities, then they can go away and pray somewhere else. It's a one-way street, that. Seriously. I will not accommodate ideology in the slightest. I remember some Christian family sued the a US judo fed because of the requirement to bow to the opponent. The hell with them (mixed metaphor though it may be).
    Ellis

  5. #155
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    Okay so that is not an issue at all.

    Happy landings,

    Johan Smits

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    As Ellis stated very well. It shouldn`t be a problem unless the person brings that baggage with them. When in Rome do as the romes do. It is a phrase that many people should remember when they are in another country or even at a cultural event within their own country, city, town.... what not. I have no sympathy for anyone that can not open up thier mind and respect another culture`s way of doing things!!!
    Jeff Collier

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    I thought when in Rome do as the Visoths do?
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ookami7 View Post
    As Ellis stated very well. It shouldn`t be a problem unless the person brings that baggage with them. When in Rome do as the romes do. It is a phrase that many people should remember when they are in another country or even at a cultural event within their own country, city, town.... what not. I have no sympathy for anyone that can not open up thier mind and respect another culture`s way of doing things!!!
    I found the quote botton that's cool!

    You know I was just asking because one of the important things for me is that I should be able to place my activities in the here and now of my own life and culture.
    It is not so that I do not respect other cultures (this does not imply by the way that I do respect other cultures just like that because they are different - a culture needs to have some elements in it to deserve my respect. This is very un-Dutchlike of me.

    (lookiing at the state the world is in today it might be better to say some elements of other cultures should be lacking in them to deserve my respect - but that is an aside)

    Back to the floor:

    For instance in case I have do a certain ritual during training or if I have to pray to or make amends to let's say Japanese spirits or Gods or whatever.
    That is all very well for me as long as I have a teacher who can explain - read: translate - it for me so that it makes sense to me and it can mean something to me.
    In the absence of such a teacher the gestures and all would be meaningless to me and I would soon feel I am ' playacting' samurai.

    Growing a full beard and a Toshiro Mifune hairdo is what some people find cool. And it probably is cool. It is just that I am not one of those people.

    Happy landings,

    Johan Smits

  9. #159
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    Johan, really all it is a open mind and being able to give and take. Understanding the other culture and adding what you think are positive parts of that culture and sharing in turn your own. A good example of this is that I went with my Kendo sensei and his family to their home town over summer. A little bit before Obon started. Besides showing me some of the local tourist stuff we visited his family graves and family that still lived in the town. I respected the culture and followed the basic traditions. In addition I also showed my respect in Christian tradition as well. Any one that has been over here long term can tell you examples from foreigners that try their best all the way to the stupid ones.... like the one that was caught skinny dipping in the imperial moat As I tell my kids, life is what you make of it!!! The milage of your yen will very
    Jeff Collier

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    Quote Originally Posted by johan smits View Post
    I found the quote botton that's cool!

    You know I was just asking because one of the important things for me is that I should be able to place my activities in the here and now of my own life and culture.
    It is not so that I do not respect other cultures (this does not imply by the way that I do respect other cultures just like that because they are different - a culture needs to have some elements in it to deserve my respect. This is very un-Dutchlike of me.

    (lookiing at the state the world is in today it might be better to say some elements of other cultures should be lacking in them to deserve my respect - but that is an aside)

    Back to the floor:

    For instance in case I have do a certain ritual during training or if I have to pray to or make amends to let's say Japanese spirits or Gods or whatever.
    That is all very well for me as long as I have a teacher who can explain - read: translate - it for me so that it makes sense to me and it can mean something to me.
    In the absence of such a teacher the gestures and all would be meaningless to me and I would soon feel I am ' playacting' samurai.

    Growing a full beard and a Toshiro Mifune hairdo is what some people find cool. And it probably is cool. It is just that I am not one of those people.

    Happy landings,

    Johan Smits
    It might not mean much even after an explenation, but it will probably mean something after several years doing the same thing over and over.
    Steffen Gjerding
    Kakudokan dojo

    Yup, lousy english

  11. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefffen View Post
    It might not mean much even after an explenation, but it will probably mean something after several years doing the same thing over and over.
    That is just not how I work. I try to be friendly and hospitable and kind
    oh and honest, did I mention honest?
    Doing things which have no meaning to me means that I am playacting.
    When you playact you are not sincere. When you are not sincere you are not honest towards a teacher.

    That is no good.

    Happy landings,

    Johan Smits

  12. #162
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    Doing things which have no meaning to me means that I am playacting.
    When you playact you are not sincere. When you are not sincere you are not honest towards a teacher.
    Then perhaps you wouldn't do very well in the koryu. It has been my experience that much of what I was asked to do made no sense ... at first. There are a number of movements and responses I was taught in the kata that are quite counter-intuitive. I was told that I'd understand later which, much to my surprise, I did. Some of the things that I was more stubborn about having explained still didn't make much sense until later, when I had the proper background to understand what my notes really meant.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

  13. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgsmith View Post
    Then perhaps you wouldn't do very well in the koryu. It has been my experience that much of what I was asked to do made no sense ... at first. There are a number of movements and responses I was taught in the kata that are quite counter-intuitive. I was told that I'd understand later which, much to my surprise, I did. Some of the things that I was more stubborn about having explained still didn't make much sense until later, when I had the proper background to understand what my notes really meant.
    There is a very real chance I would not do well in koryu. Even with that knowledge I am quite a happy person
    One thing though, why did your teacher not just explain? So you would have a fair chance of understanding and things would be much clearer, much sooner?
    Aah he was testing you maybe, if you are of the koryu wood variety or not.
    Those who are not will not progress or will stop training.

    Might that be something koryu could adapt? As in adapting teaching methods?
    To anohter time, society, brand of students? I am warning you it is probably me just not understanding what it means to train in koryu, etc.

    Happy landings,

    Johan Smits

  14. #164
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    "I was told that I'd understand later which, much to my surprise, I did."

    I think there is only so much someone can learn, process and integrate at a time. That includes information and physical skills. Even with detailed explanation it just goes in one ear and out the other (or gets put in a notebook only to be rediscovered years later). I've seen or heard things in class that my teacher did and thought "wow that's new, or that's different," only to go back and watch video from years before and realize he did or said the same thing and I just didn't get it at the time. I don't mean to sound all Zen fortune cookie but it is sort of the case of "the teacher will appear when the student is ready."

    "Well, koryu aren't religions."

    Agreed, but they do require a certain amount of faith. Faith that doing the Hojo no kata or Ikkajo kata or what ever abstract kihon kata you study (heck kata in general) till your head spins will somehow increase your ability for combative or hands on engagements.
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

  15. #165
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    On making no sense -

    That was my experience and in fact I abandoned koryu because of it. It was later experience in some critical situations that made me see the sense in some of it, confirmed with later musings and discussions, and then meandering back into the koryu world.

    On Faith -

    I think its deeper than this on a number of levels. Faith that what you are learning will 'work' is a different thing than faith that empowers your morale and calms your mind in the face of life and death. This first I see as technical/tactical, and it is more a confidence in your practice.

    Faith in the religious sense is part psychological, part spiritual. Siddle has written directly about the role of religious faith in terms of facing deadly force encounters. If you have a strong faith that some religious force is looking out for you, that they will take care of you, and that what you are doing is "right" in a spiritual sense, that is a tremendous force multiplier. That may give someone a far greater "cup o' courage" than if one did not feel that those things are in place. I think you see this with the bushi beliefs in mikkyo - not only is a religious approval of one's actions obtained, but various magical technologies are offered to provide the psychological sense that one is protected. Going into a situation in which you honestly feel you may be killed can be made easier if one truly, honestly has faith that one is protected.

    That this can be perverted is clear: from WW II Japanese Shinto-Zen "holy war" and "war Zen" to radical Islamists; but I don't think anyone would contend that these folks are LESS dangerous or LESS powerful foes because of their religious beliefs. It's just the opposite because of their faith.

    Facing death is a spiritual experience. As the saying goes "there are no atheists in foxholes." I think the reason that mikkyo was so intertwined with bujutsu was that very reason - these were men who at least originally knew they were going to be facing death, and knew how difficult that could be at times, and understood that men who had something to empower them and override their fear had observable effects on combative performance.

    And in the best traditions also provided a grounding in compassion and ethics to prevent their charges from becoming simply soulless killers.

    I think both are incredibly important to this discussion when it comes to actually laying one's life down, or taking another's life. You want your enforcers to be mindful if at all possible, and you don't want them paralyzed by fear in the anticipation of what they are about to do, or by guilt in the aftermath.
    Last edited by Hissho; 15th March 2012 at 18:05.

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