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Thread: Tradition Is Tending The Flame. It's Not Worshiping The Ashes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Default Tradition Is Tending The Flame. It's Not Worshiping The Ashes

    Have you ever run into someone who has learned all the forms of the art, but there is nothing alive in what they do? This quote from Gustav Mahler made me wonder about that. I wrote all the thoughts out in this blog

    What kind of problems have your seen?
    Peter Boylan
    Mugendo Budogu LLC
    Fine Budo Books, Videos, Clothes and Equipment Direct from Japan

    Find my Budo Blog at

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA
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    I guess I've been lucky in my 63+ years of training, Peter. I can't remember a single one of my many Sensei who was dogmatic in what & how he or she taught me. From my very first judo Sensei at age 5, to my latest jodo Sensei at age 68, all of them have been - for lack of a better term - interpreters of the art.

    As a good example, I've been a Fencing Master for many years, & when my jodo Sensei (Menkyo Kaiden) saw a small modification that I was making to several of the kata (& driving my Sempai crazy), he asked me to show him what I was doing, and why. It was actually a technique in fencing where the opponent's blade is bound, preventing him from completing the attack. I was quite surprised when he actually changed a number of our kata to include that little mod. We've since had a large number of students from other dojo come to train with us, & not a one could understand why they were unable to complete the attack! Talk about changing a 400-year-old ryuha!

    As another example, my wife & I train in MJER, & I have an artificial left kneecap that prevents me from sitting in tatehiza. So rather than just letting me sit out all the Chuden waza, Sensei developed a tachi-based way of doing those waza. And it worked so well, that now we do nearly ALL MJER waza in both tachi & the normal way! Sure, it almost doubles the number, but doing Mae, for example, from seiza AND from tachi makes a whole lot of sense when you figure that not even the Japanese today sit as closely-packed as they did a few hundred years ago.


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