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Thread: The Modern Bushi and"Martial Arts"

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    Gareth Del Monte Guest

    Default The Modern Bushi and"Martial Arts"

    When referring to Firearms deployment,it obviously is categorized into civilian carry,Law Enforcement and Military.
    When asked the question "Are Firearms a Martial Art",then people begin to quarrel over the term"Martial"and "Art".
    The Samurai obviously had their own skills and terminology for the use of firearms of their time etc.
    When talking about firearms we are talking about contemporary firearms usage.Right?
    So is it a Martial Art.
    Well,it is a skill that takes many hours of repetitive training in different and challenging environments and stressful situations etc.in order for one to become somewhat proficient in this "Combat Skill"
    In the Military context,International Tier 1 Units such as Delta,SEAL Team 6,GROM,GSG9,etc. spend countless hours,ammunition and training routines in order to perfect this skill in order to secure a positive outcome in Hostage Rescue based situations etc.,just like the Bushi of old spent countless hours on Iajutsu,Kenjutsu etc.
    These "Modern Day Bushi"spend as many hours on many other skills.The use of all types of firearms(Handgun,Shotgun,Rifle,SMG etc)
    They practice the same combative "Arts"or skills of old,such as combat swimming,unarmed combat,CQB,infiltration and ex filtration into hostile terrain etc.
    So basically,yes Firearms are in fact a smaller part of the bigger picture that makes a Warrior of today more adept at success in their mission.
    Is it a Martial Art?
    Well it is an art based on survival,skill,training and commitment.So yes.
    If your idea of a Martial Art are flutes playing and walking on rice paper,then I guess you might find this a bit too contemporary for you to see it as the "Martial Art"that is found in the pretentious snobbery of elitist "Martial Artists"
    Thank you,
    Gareth.

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    Gareth Del Monte Guest

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    Thank you.
    I was trying to expand on the linked thread that you provided.
    Keep well
    Gareth.

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    http://tgace.com/2012/11/26/the-myst...d-the-mundane/

    I've often wondered how people (especially martial artists) can consider this:



    an Art with all the benefits we ascribe to martial arts (discipline, mental clarity, improved concentration, moving meditation...etc.).

    While they dismiss this:



    As simply "shooting"...a hobby enjoyed by "gun nuts", right wing extremists, rednecks and "preppers".

    Not that Iaido is NOT an "Art" or that it doesn't have those benefits mind you, but the physical mechanics of drawing a sword are not "mystical". The discipline of a trained firearms user is little different IMO. I laugh at the idea that a sub 2 second failure drill is somehow "less" than a clean sword cut.

    Don't confuse people out shooting at tin cans with skilled shooters. There are plenty of people out swinging martial arts weapons in their back yards with no training (as we all know)...they do not seem to taint the entire pool of martial artists though.

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    Do they really dismiss it?

    Some maybe, but not sure they speak for all.

    Over the years practicing budo (iai and jujutsu), and modern tactical firearms, frankly in terms of "heiho" and overall approach modern handgunning at an advanced level is little different from iai. Since iai doesn't specifically refer to a sword I'd say it IS iai.

    If you think about it, iai and jujutsu would have ended up being the most practical and useful training for the Japanese warrior's personal protection and counter ambush needs, though perhaps not the battlefield or dueling.

    While in technical and practical terms doing classical iai and jujutsu may not be the most effective practice for personal protection today, I have definitely found that the mental stance and approach are a worthwhile path of inquiry. If someone were to tell me they carry a gun for self defense and practice iai for the strategic and mental training I'd say more power to 'em.

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    Just saw this.
    I think martial is a word that gets thrown around to the point that it has become arbitrary and all but meaningless.

    Using it in the context of sword, particularly Japanese sword in comparison to modern handgun combatives is peculiarly ironic considering that neither had much use in a combative theater.
    In any era, proximity mattered. As Vetititus opined (and is echoed in other books of strategy) distance ruled and was displayed in the choice of training men:
    One hundred days for bow
    One thousand days for spear
    Ten thousand days for sword

    It's no wonder that bow and spear ruled.
    As many studies have revealed (Karl Friday was part of the significant research) The sword on a Japanese battlefield was the equivalent of carrying a 45 side arm in a modern theater; a last ditch weapon. On a Japanese battlefield we had; thrown rocks, (yes, rocks) arrows and spears that did most of the damage.

    And that said, Iai is to sword, what student driver training is to formula 1 racing. I take my hat off to men who can place a shot where it counts while they are being shot... at, while under extreme duress. .

    And for us hobbyists?
    I thought the comparison of the two videos; Iai to modern handgun and the question of acceptance should be addressed in the koryu/martial / hobbyist community as well. It seems rather ironic that we study a koryu -that for the most part were anacronisms in their own era- and think we are training in battlefield arts. I think at the very least we need to put on some armor and go at it full speed with someone who knows how to use weapons. At least in some point in our careers.

    The martial arts have given us a preponderence of presumed experts who many times never really got their boots wet. Being expert in a collection of kata and weapons handling, or being a crack shot at the shooting range was not and is not battle training of grunts and tactics of armed forces on a battlefield.

    Does it help? Depends on the training.
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 13th January 2015 at 11:09.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    I also wanted to add that the idea of a modern bushi has no relevance in the discussion. The conditions that produced bushi will probably (and thankfully) never be repeated, the romantic versions never actually existed, and were most any healthy person returned to that era, I suspect they would, in a very short time, agree with an oft quoted bushi phrase: "What is hell? Being reborn.... a bushi."
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    Thanks guys....cough!
    The former reference was to Vegetius. I have to stop typing on my phone and pay more attention..gulp.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    Mr. Harden,

    At least we got to get a little smile.

    Stephen
    Stephen Baker

    "Never cruel nor cowardly, never give up, never give in." Doctor Who

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    As Vetititus* opined (and is echoed in other books of strategy) distance ruled and was displayed in the choice of training men:
    One hundred days for bow
    One thousand days for spear
    Ten thousand days for sword
    Nowhere in Vegetius' Epitoma Rei Militaris is that said.

    And for us hobbyists?
    I thought the comparison of the two videos; Iai to modern handgun and the question of acceptance should be addressed in the koryu/martial / hobbyist community as well. It seems rather ironic that we study a koryu -that for the most part were anacronisms in their own era- and think we are training in battlefield arts. I think at the very least we need to put on some armor and go at it full speed with someone who knows how to use weapons. At least in some point in our careers.
    Totally agree.

    The martial arts have given us a preponderence of presumed experts who many times never really got their boots wet.
    Like Vegetius himself, but in his case, would be caligae instead of boots for he never served in the Roman military of his time which, by the way, wasn't the war machine once was.




    *I see you mean Vegetius

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    Combat and the battlefield are two different things. When someone is attempting to seriously injury and/or kill you, its combat. I'd refer to Kyle Lamb's (former CAG) "If you are getting shot at, its combat." One can be in a battle and never see combat, and one can experience combat without ever being in a battle.

    Iai has a great deal of commonality with civilian, self defensive, handgun carry and yes, personal combat. In terms of rationale and theory, that is. Hard to see, perhaps.

    Battlefield? Not so much, except in the rare transition drill. Old ways woulda been shortsword or knife. A similar element might be transition to blade in a weapon retention situation: several instances have occurred overseas on battlefields and here at home in the law enforcement context when long guns/hand guns are being grabbed.

    Probably among the only instances where koryu has any modern relevance in a practical combative context. Takes some adaptation but its viable to be sure.
    Last edited by Hissho; 14th January 2015 at 16:32.

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    Thinking on this further today and by way of expanding on the initial thought:

    I do NOT mean to say that the modern martial art practice of iai, "the art of drawing the sword," no matter the provenance, is a training method for personal combat or handgun skills. Clearly common sense indicates this is not the case.

    Rather, iai in the idea of "being constantly prepared to meet (match/harmonize) with an adversary in whatever situation/position one is." That has nothing to do with drawing a sword. The rationale attendant to this: the deployment of a weapon from various postures and positions, navigating different environmental circumstances, in often asymmetric encounters (multiples, surprising an opponent, being surprised by an opponent, and the use/integration of the weapon in combination with hand to hand skills at very close quarters), has a lot in common with the use of the modern sidearm in those situations wherein the latter is useful/a primary tool; that is, personal defense with a concealed or openly carried handgun, getting the drop on an enemy with a concealed firearm, responding to a weapon retention situation or extreme close quarters weapons deployment situation.

    Whereas doing so with a sword in the way that the martial art of iai is practiced can be and often is a flight of fancy, duly intimated above, the understanding that this is likely how personal combat will go down in civil life is not at all.

    I was really surprised years ago to read one of the koryu writers decrying iai as not combatively practical (even in its context) for this and that and the other thing, most of which was entirely relevant in an off-battlefield encounter, mainly because it did not fit his idea of what a battlefield hundreds of years ago was like. The fallacy, the ignorance, and the presumption of this writing did not hit me until much later. On the other hand, Karl Friday, writing from a scholarly historical perspective and common sense, hit the nail on the head, in a few sentences.

    So...don't go running out and taking up iai because you think its a good self defense discipline. But if you have enough experience with a handgun, carry most or all of the time, maybe have even used it a time or two, been behind the curve in one or more actual firearms encounters - let alone training iterations - and paid enough attention to the various kinds of things that happen in such encounters with police and civilians, the commonality of rationale is obvious.

    What happens in practice is a whole different matter.

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    Kit,

    Thank you for a very thought provoking post. I feel that you could easily replace "iai" with the word kata (in a classical sense) and your points would be equally valid.
    Chris
    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.

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    Chris- if you think about it everything we do, from arrest and control to high risk traffic stops to building clears is kata.

    Everything on the range is kata.

    ECQ combatives is kata....

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    This is a harrowing example of the kind of thing I am talking about. No sport training addresses this. Not saying that koryu done as it usually is (at least the way it is demonstrated) does either, and in fact is most often worse in many cases. But this is exactly the kind of ambush attack, at hand to hand combat range, with weapons that kills too many officers:

    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/...pect/21526819/

    A start is not necessarily to "follow in the footsteps of the men of old"....but to "seek what they sought" - and a platform for inquiry is readily found in things in kogusoku, in iai, in some jujutsu, etc. Gotta be practiced with a progressive force on force element though - breaking of kata, continuing the kata after initial engagement, valid and real attempts at countering the defender's responses and bringing the weapon to bear, etc.

    And a good start to begin to develop the understanding to even know if you are asking the right questions is to introduce weapons in the things you do. I've shared with a few senior budo practitioners here that the "old school" comes out in live randori when you make the encounters asymmetric, add a blade to one or both sides in various configurations, and alter the desired end state to outcomes more suitable to the dynamics of real encounters in the WBE (weapons based environment - like the link above) than to one on one consensually engaged grappling or weapons dueling. The latter certainly build a body and develop technique but have little to do with combat like the situation with the Flagstaff copper.

    May he rest in peace.

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