Likes Likes:  0
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 72

Thread: Menkyo Kaiden & Koryu Densho

  1. #1
    Den Guest

    Default Menkyo Kaiden & Koryu Densho

    Scott Sensei has noted that Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Honbu (http://panoz.tol.it/~daitoryu/daito-ryu.com/index.htm) does not - or not longer - recognizes Menkyo Kaiden as a teaching certificate. They associate it with receiving a university degree. I have a statement and a question.

    Statement: I don't think the analogy of MA degrees to collegiate or university degrees is workable. Given that shodan, to give a gendai-budo example, while expressing a certain competence, is also simply a beginner's degree - how do you correlate that to a university degree? A bachelor's degree expresses completion of a course of study in something so broad we call it a "field" - but does not require continued study in that field. A masters degree is a teaching degree, but one that expresses knowledge of a particular subject, but not actual mastery. Actual mastery of a subject is only suggested by a doctorate. Which one is the Menkyo Kaiden?

    Question: I've always thought of the Menkyo Kaiden as a teaching degree. While I practice a gendai MA, it has similar rules. Teachers must be at least nidan; dan ranks can only be conferred by six or seventh dan or above, etc. My question is, if Menkyo Kaiden is not a teaching degree, what standard (in the strictest meaning of the word) can be used to objectively and functionally (as in use) understand the art?

    Repectfully submitted,
    Anthony

  2. #2
    Guest

    Default

    Hi,

    The Abashiri/Daito ryu group is on extremely shakey ground with their reasoning.

    To publicly proclaim that a Menkyo Kaiden is not a teaching license is ...well...bizarre. The Menkyo Kaiden is universally recognized as a document symbolizing complete transmission of particular traditions technical syllabus. To acknowledge it's issuance and then misrepresent it's meaning by claiming that it does not authorize the holder to teach sends up huge flags that magnify the political motives of the SAD group. How they rationalize this argument is equally illuminatiing.

    In the Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu, as in virtually every other traditional Japanese bujutsu ryu, the Menkyo Kaiden is definitely a teaching license. It is the highest level teaching license and is only awarded to a competent technical heir who is unusually qualified and dedicated to teaching. In fact a lifelong committment to teaching is an integral requirement to receiving a Menkyo Kaiden in our ryu. I took a keppan to verify my committment in this respect and I did not take it lightly.

    Some people have questioned my virulent comments in regard to the Seishin Abashiri Daito ryu group and the motives behind them. It's very simple. After intimate discussion of this subject with Stan Pranin and some illuminating insight from Kondo in 1994 I have a pretty good idea of how this came to pass. I believe marginalizing the Menkyo Kaiden in Kondo Sensei's posssession marginalizes Tokimune's issuance and obvious choice of technical heir. Therefore the SAD group demonstrates incredible disrespect to their pastmaster and Daito ryu. All the protestations, convoluted rationalizations and cultural insults by the SAD group cannot obscure their dishonor. They should be ashamed.

    Funny how no one questions the teaching authority of Takuma Hisa as awarded to him via Menkyo Kaiden by Sokaku Takeda. Hummm.

    I wont even discuss the dojo resignation documents of the SAD group and what they imply.


    Toby Threadgill/Menkyo Kaiden
    Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu

  3. #3
    MarkF Guest

    Default

    At least they had some ground to stand on before the change (OK it is a small piece of dirt, but it had something of an argument).

    Why the cheap theatrics all of a sudden? With this, the claim is on line with the claims of all the others, e.g., John Williams, etc.

    I didn't bother, either after reading the English index page. It's a cop-out and a weak one at that.

    So sorry,

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Posts
    2,570
    Likes (received)
    44

    Default

    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 12th June 2014 at 03:46.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  5. #5
    Guest

    Default

    Nathan,

    You stated:

    "Sometimes Menkyo Kaiden is the highest award, as the name seems to imply. Sometimes it's not."

    Do you mean to imply here that all ryu do not use a Menkyo Kaiden within their issuance of traditional licenses (acknowledged) or that some (besides the SAD) issue Menkyo Kaiden but do not use it to symbolize complete transmission of their technical syllabus?

    I would be interested to learn of any group besides the SAD group that issues a Menkyo Kaiden and doesn't recognize it as the highest level teaching license. I believe the SAD group is trying to justify not acknowledging Menkyo Kaiden... period. Never mind that Sokaku Takeda's uncontested issuance of Menkyo Kaiden make that position totally unsupportable.


    Toby Threadgill

  6. #6
    Den Guest

    Default

    "Sometimes Menkyo Kaiden is the highest award, as the name seems to imply. Sometimes it's not."

    (question to Nathan)Do you mean to imply here that all ryu do not use a Menkyo Kaiden within their issuance of traditional licenses (acknowledged) or that some (besides the SAD) issue Menkyo Kaiden but do not use it to symbolize complete transmission of their technical syllabus?
    I'd like to add to Threadgill Sensei's question. Since posting I've been reading the threads Scott Sensei posted and some of Stanley Pranin's other articles about Daito ryu. Clearly Daito ryu is a difficult case, it doesn't seem that a formal methodolgy for transmission was worked out before the last Soke's death.

    This particular case goes beyond the Menkyo Kaiden, because the underlaying conflict is over control of the ryu. Nevertheless, we expect the use of certain traditions, certain structures, to keep the process of education and record keeping from becoming totally arbitrary. How do other ryu handle these issues?

    Toby, if you don't mind, what "rights," or responsibilities might be a better word, does your Menkyo Kaiden require of you?

    Respectfully,
    Anthony

  7. #7
    MarkF Guest

    Default

    Originally posted by Nathan Scott
    It would be swell to hear how the other recognized branches of Daito ryu define Menkyo Kaiden.



    Isn't this a fairly mute point within the daitoryu community? In reading interviews with Takeda Tokimune, he had said he began using the dan-I system of grading or passing on teaching licenses instead of the menkyo, as the older system was just too cumbersome these days.

    I'm sure the grades or teaching licenses are as close to the original as possible, and some "fringe" DR groups still profess to use it.

    At least, that is my understanding within the DR groups with which I'm familiar, e.g. Roppokai, Kodokai, etc.?

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    684
    Likes (received)
    111

    Default Menkyo-Kaiden as a teaching license?

    Toby is correct that menkyo kaiden usually means a full transmission and teaching certification. But, it is possible, within some ryu, that one can receive the highest menkyo in a system and not be permitted to teach. For example, Toda-ha Buko Ryu has a three level ranking of shoden/chuden/okuden. Further development is marked not by further rank, but by the actual presentation of scrolls, the hon-mokuroku and the betsu-mokuroku. In theory, this is a complete "transmission." However, teaching licenses are considered by the soke as separate - there is a shihan-dai (assistant instructor) license and a shihan (full instructor) license. Although it hasn't occurred, it is conceivable that we had a member of considerable skill, but of a character that the soke would not want him or her teaching. What they do is not egregious enough to throw them out (hamon), but despite their technical ability, they can't be trusted to pass things on.

    Maniwa Nen Ryu, among other ryu, has an interesting safety valve. This is called an Ichi-dai menkyo (one-generation menkyo). The idea is that one is recognized as receiving the full transmission, but for any one of a number of reasons, is not permitted to transmit things further. One famous example is Homma Sengoro. This man in the Bakumatsu and early Meiji period was immensely strong. He'd started out an Araki Ryu practitioner and went to Maniwa to challenge them. As I recall, he split his bouts - winning half by grappling type moves, and losing the other half at sword length. He joined Maniwa Nen Ryu, and, as I understand it, became the strongest member. But he wasn't family - Maniwa Nen Ryu has always been passed down in the Higuchi family, in the village of Maniwa. So upon receiving the one generation menkyo, Homma set up his own dojo, some villages away, called Homma Nen Ryu. To the best of my knowledge, he taught the same curriculum. This was considered fully acceptable to all concerned. Twenty years ago, there was, I believe one or two members of the Homma Nen Ryu left - I don't know if they trained with Maniwa Nen Ryu, or if they'd really merged back together, but I know they demonstrated at the year's opening festivities.


    NOTE: this should not be considered to support anything in the Daito Ryu discussion, as this is specific to each ryu, and would have to be a formal, historically backed tradition. For a schismatic group to suddenly assert that menkyo kaiden, in a system it has, to date, meant a full-transmission/teaching certification, suddenly doesn't mean that, doesn't fly. Sort of the equivalent of the tax resisters who announce that because the dollar is no longer backed by silver, US money is meaningly so they are issuing their own.

    Best

    Ellis Amdur

  9. #9
    Guest

    Default

    Hi Guys,

    Anthony asked, "Toby, if you don't mind, what "rights," or responsibilities might be a better word, does your Menkyo Kaiden require of you?"

    Succession in the Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Kai is relatively simple and straight forward in comparison to what occurs in many koryu such as the Maniwa Nen ryu described above by Ellis. In our ryuha the holder of a Menkyo Kaiden becomes essentially an independent head of his own group of students and associated branch dojo's. No Menkyo Kaiden holder is technically senior to any other regardless of age or length of study. Each Menkyo Kaiden holder is allowed to loosely pursue his own path for the ryu but is encumbered by specific declarations and prohibitions of the ryu appearing in the eimeiroku where his keppan is recorded. These declarations and prohibitions are the same for every Menkyo Kaiden holder. If a Menkyo Kaiden holder chooses to break from these declarations and prohibitions he can be begrudgingly allowed to do so but only after officially being released from his keppan and discontinuing the use of the Takamura name. This recently occurred with Hashimoto Tetsuro Sensei in Japan who chose to break from the Takamura ryuha because his teaching duties comprised only Japanese junior high school aged students. He felt the harsh physical and mental requirements of the Takamura ryuha were not appropriate to his students given their age and level of experience. Sensei Maynard and I appreciated his concerns so his decision to withdraw as a general member of the ryuha included new status with us as an officially recognized nakama or affiliate dojo. This allows Hashimoto Sensei the option of officially rejoining the kai in the future by re-submitting his keppan to a current Menkyo Kaiden holder. (This re-joining of the kai is not automatic and could be rejected on varous grounds.)

    My responsibility as holder of a Menkyo Kaiden in the Takamura Ryuha is to oversee and maintain to the best of my abilities the martial traditions and spirit of the ryu as passed to me by Takamura Yukiyoshi Sensei. I am essentially a temporary custodian of passed knowledge who is also entrusted as an administrator to oversee various aspects of the ryu under my direct control. I am entrusted with responsability over the technical curriculum including evaluation and institution of any adjustments to that curriculum that I believe are of long term benefit to the ryu and it's genuine value to future generations. I am responsible for cultivating the talent of specific individuals who demonstrate a significant level of dedication and soundness of character so that they may follow in my path as an instructor and potentially continue the ryu when or if I am unable to do so.

    I am not free to compromise specific qualifications, requirements or prohibitions concerning enrollment, certification of branch dojo's, the awarding of teaching licenses, joining larger martial arts organizations or entering into any activity that could compromise the independent operation or reputation the ryu. To do any of these things would violate my keppan and bring with it unique consequences discussed only between Takamura Sensei and me.

    Although the possibility exists for multiple Menkyo Kaiden holders in the Takamura/Ohbata ryuha, presently there are only two and this is the first time there has been more than one. This includes myself and Sensei David Maynard. Sensei Maynard is currently functioning in an administrative capacity over several dojo's in Europe under the technical direction of European Chief Instructor, Sensei Henri Gembelliot / Joden Menkyo. Due to health and family concerns Sensei Maynard is not able to direct or operate a dojo at this time.

    Toby Threadgill / Soryushin Dojo

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    684
    Likes (received)
    111

    Default No soke

    Actually, what you are describing, Toby, was probably the norm in koryu. There were certainly family arts (Yagyu, Katori, etc.) but by far, most arts functioned exactly as you describe yours. A lot of koryu, now, claim to be headed by a soke, because their main way to shine is in demonstrations, and they very much desire to be the "sole" representative. When the arts were alive, it really made no never mind that there was Yoshin Ryu in Morioka and Aomori. Each was hired by a specific daimyo, or maintained a dojo in a specific town. There would probably be fellow-feeling (and curiousity) in the event that someone visited from one dojo to another (unless, of course, the respective instructors didn't like each other).

    Family transmitted arts, on the other hand, sometimes got into an interesting situation, differing for each ryu, when non-familial members got menkyo kaiden. As I understand it, some dealt with it like Maniwa. Others had off-shoots that became independent. It is my understanding that Yagyu Shinkage Ryu did this. (Otsubo and Watanabe Sensei(s) both, I believe, were menkyo kaiden, and were respectfully independent of the Yagyu family. (Meik or Dave, correct me if I'm wrong).

    Best

    Ellis Amdur

  11. #11
    Guest

    Smile Really? No Soke.....Okay

    Ellis,

    Really..... I sort of suspected that our organizational structure was not uncommon but I didn't realized it was closer to the norm. I guess I just assumed that in most koryu there is almost always a specific individual "in charge" to eliminate any potential friction or political bickering. During our personal conversation last month I remember we discussed this on a more specific level but we didn't really discuss the broader generalities.

    Training as I have in an environment so isolated from other more classically minded koryu, I haven't had much to compare the Takamura ryuha to. Although we don't consider ourselves technically koryu, the more I learn about koryu, the more I find similarities instead of differences. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

    Thanks,

    Toby

  12. #12
    Den Guest

    Default Re: No soke

    Originally posted by Ellis Amdur
    Actually, what you are describing, Toby, was probably the norm in koryu. There were certainly family arts (Yagyu, Katori, etc.) but by far, most arts functioned exactly as you describe yours. ...
    Family transmitted arts, on the other hand, sometimes got into an interesting situation, differing for each ryu, when non-familial members got menkyo kaiden. As I understand it, some dealt with it like Maniwa. Others had off-shoots that became independent.

    Ellis Amdur
    This is quite interesting - and is in keeping with what I thought - that there really is a cultural standard. Whether the art is koryu, or is a private family art, there are nevertheless accepted patterns for succession and transmission. While it may require the advanced practitioner to leave the ryuha, he or she might still credit the original art.

    Where though does this leave an art like Daito ryu where the family does not want to follow the established norms?
    -Anthony

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    684
    Likes (received)
    111

    Default What's a Ryu to Dyu?

    Mr. Deen -

    What follows is simply my understanding based on conversations with senior intructors. I do not have the historical research to back it up, although, of course, I think I'm correct.

    I think that in older periods, a fraud would get a visit from the members of the school. Dojo yaburi was not only an attack on other schools. It could also include someone illegitimately claiming a lineage that they didn't earn.

    Mitigating circumstances existed. First of all, it would be somewhat difficult to set up a false school that was officially hired by a daimyo, as they would certainly check one's particulars before hiring. Therefore, I believe that more frauds existed in machi dojos (town dojos) and among less prominent schools. Also, if separated by enough miles, it would be a) unlikely that the news would travel from one feudal domain to another b) that someone would be allowed to simply get permission to travel - duels required all sorts of official sanction. It would have been socially acceptable to thrash a fraud, however - the legal issues would, of course, possibly be separate.

    By and large, however, the situation today in Japan would be difficult for a ryu with this problem. There is obviously general confusion in the public what lineal succession means, particularly with the confusion of the iemoto system being "transferred" to bugei. There have been court cases in which two people, rather than having it out either at sword point or fists, sue to be called the legitimate soke. I know of one case thrown out of court, the judges saying there was no historical precident for a soke in the ryu, so both guys, sons of different teachers, were equally "legitimate." Ironically, to my knowledge, neither had ever received the equivalent of a menkyo kaiden anyway, although both now claim such.

    Given that a duel, an inter-dojo brawl, or two middle aged gentlemen tussling for wrist locks to determine supremacy wouldn't receive any social sanction in modern Japan (it would, instead, make the tabloids entitled, "Locked in Successional Dispute," or , accompanied by an embarassing photo, "Lack of Aiki in the Art of Aiki!") the options are to 1) ignore the fraud, like a lion would a weasel, 2) publically state your piece and THEN ignore the fraud or illegitimate claimant (the usually solution), or 3) to go to court. (I do know of at least one case where a rough and entirely legitimate instructor verbally took - a former fellow student who basically split off and promoted himself - to task backstage at a major demonstration, and when the fraud claimed that the other didn't know how to do things properly, the legit guy forcefully dumped, pinned and locked him and made him squeal for mercy in front of an assembled crowd of eminent koryu practitioners. In this venue and under these circumstances, this was totally approved of.)

    (Sigh) There is also a fourth option, which is certainly rife - public arguments, trying to enlist outsiders to the ryu on one side or the other. Thus, more frequent is a koryu caucusing, where the claimants politic members of other ryu for support. Pathetic.

    Best

    Ellis Amdur
    Last edited by Ellis Amdur; 21st May 2001 at 22:57.

  14. #14
    Den Guest

    Default Re: No soke

    Originally posted by Ellis Amdur
    Actually, what you are describing, Toby, was probably the norm in koryu. There were certainly family arts (Yagyu, Katori, etc.) but by far, most arts functioned exactly as you describe yours. ...
    Family transmitted arts, on the other hand, sometimes got into an interesting situation, differing for each ryu, when non-familial members got menkyo kaiden. As I understand it, some dealt with it like Maniwa. Others had off-shoots that became independent.

    Ellis Amdur
    This is quite interesting - and is in keeping with what I thought - that there really is a cultural standard. Whether the art is koryu, or is a private family art, there are nevertheless accepted patterns for succession and transmission. While it may require the advanced practitioner to leave the ryuha, he or she might still credit the original art.

    Where though does this leave an art like Daito ryu where the family does not want to follow the established norms?
    -Anthony

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Posts
    2,570
    Likes (received)
    44

    Default

    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 12th June 2014 at 03:46.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. A question regarding menkyo kaiden starting branch schools
    By morpheus in forum Koryu: History and Tradition
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 8th December 2004, 23:03
  2. Article: "Mainline Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Revisited", by Ted Howell
    By Nathan Scott in forum Daito ryu Succession Controversy
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 14th January 2004, 19:07
  3. Nihon Heiho Kobukai/ Yoshimine Yasuo
    By Vapour in forum Aikijujutsu
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 14th September 2003, 22:54
  4. Australian Koryu Bujutsu Federation
    By Paul Steadman in forum Koryu: History and Tradition
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 20th March 2002, 03:12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •