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Thread: The demands of studying a koryu

  1. #31
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    Eddie Wu, the lineage head of the Wu family school of Tai Chi Chuan said once in an interview, 'family first, job second, martial art third'.

    Life is about choices and establishing your priorities. I think Wu sifu's advice is the most pragmatic for modern practitioners.
    Michael Becker

  2. #32
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    Bad Mo' Joe wrote:
    The Koryu that I study is small with few and far between dojo's. I know some of the practitioners may not be active e-budo-ka, but they do pay attention to the goings on on this site. This is why I have kept this particular post under scrutitiny. I apologize if this is in conflict with e-budo protocol.


    Honestly dude, if you can't post with your real name, you probably shouldn't post at all. It makes you look flaky, disreputable, etc., and seems just plain insulting to the rest of us who do follow the protocol.

    -Charles Lockhart

  3. #33
    Yamantaka Guest

    Angry DISRESPECT

    Originally posted by charlesl
    Bad Mo' Joe wrote:
    The Koryu that I study is small with few and far between dojo's. I know some of the practitioners may not be active e-budo-ka, but they do pay attention to the goings on on this site. This is why I have kept this particular post under scrutitiny. I apologize if this is in conflict with e-budo protocol.


    Honestly dude, if you can't post with your real name, you probably shouldn't post at all. It makes you look flaky, disreputable, etc., and seems just plain insulting to the rest of us who do follow the protocol.

    -Charles Lockhart
    YAMANTAKA : And this is not a simple matter of "should or shouldn't be here". Bad Mo'Joe is disrespecting all of us. He doesn't seem to feel he has any obligation with our rules and protocols but he thinks we must accept that and listen to his rantings.
    The guy makes me sick...

  4. #34
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    Sounds to me like Mo'Joe is just trying to cover his "six." He has a need to know something about what he has gotten himself into, and has approached this forum for advice -- to confirm fears and concerns he has, or to assuage them.

    If the group he trains with is in fact a cult,or a near-cult (a group that just takes its secrecy to an absurd degree, based on an abnormal interpretation of loyalty or feelings of specialness) then he stands to be severely reprimanded by his co-members. It's sad that he doesn't feel comfortable discussing this with his own group. That smacks of cultishness to me, that he should have to fear repercussions for innocent questions.

    I say we make a rare exception and cut this guy some slack. The first few responses have no doubt been of value to him.

    cg
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 29th October 2001 at 02:07.
    Cady Goldfield

  5. #35
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    Sorry, but I don't think BmJ's group are the ones taking secrecy to an absurd degree, based on an abnormal interpretation of loyalty or feelings of specialness (btw, that's great the way you said that ;o).

    It kind of reminds me of this guy I used to train Aikido with. He was really into it, but then about once a year he'd quit for a couple of months. He was this odd Christian type of guy, always worried that maybe he was caring more about aikido than god kind of thing. On the other hand, he would always tell us that he was the teachers uchi deshi (in contrast, the teacher would forget his name if he was gone for more than a few weeks). It was kinda comical the way that he'd take everything so seriously in an attempt to add drama and conflict to his otherwise uninteresting life.

    I guess this reminds me of that situation, and strikes a pretty negative chord with me. Spooky-Creepy-Comical all at the same time. But then it's almost Halloween, so maybe that's appropriate.

    Happy Halloween, kids!

    -Charles Lockhart

  6. #36
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    Charles,
    Believe me, there are such groups out there, weird as it sounds. I've met a few in my time in Japanese and Chinese arts. Some groups in particular tend to keep close tabs on what their members say and do in public. Mo'Joe could open a can of serious whup-a$$ for himself by saying just the wrong thing on a public forum.

    In medieval China or Japan, signing one's life over to a ryu made sense if you were going to make a career of being a warrior, and it was your clan's traditional system; in 21st-century North America, however, it's kind of an archaic and anachronistic way of life -- not to mention one for which Westerners are patently unsuited. But, some people like to play that game. Ain't saying that their ways are healthy or mentally balanced, but they do believe they're doing the "right thing," and anyone who wishes to train in their system is in danger of rebuke if they don't stay within the parameters the group sets.

    In Chris Nichols' book, "Moving Zen," there is anecdotal mention of some Japanese karate groups that were so cultlike that members who sought to leave the group were beaten, sometimes to death. I don't think that Mo'Joe's group is likely to fall into that cult catergory, but it could be one that will ostracize or seriously criticize him for speaking openly on a public forum. I can understand why Mo'Joe would want to protect his identity if he is involved with such a group, even though his questions and his motives are innocent.
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 29th October 2001 at 02:37.
    Cady Goldfield

  7. #37
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    Default Re: 99%, not good enough

    Originally posted by Bad Mo' Joe
    Four years ago I was extremely fortunate, and was accepted into a traditional Koryu system. Since then I have been training often and diligently. In the past four months or so, I have begun to realize that I am not 100% dedicated to the art. Previously, I believed that no matter where I was or what I was doing, if I got a call and was asked to go to the dojo, I'd be there before I hung up the phone. Now, in the advent of possibly starting a family, I have begun to realize that eventually I will have to make a choice. One day I will have to choose between time with the Ryu, and time with my family, and I have little doubt that I will not choose my family.

    Now, as most or you are familiar with, traditional Koryu arts do not allow students to have other agendas. Koryu arts require 100% dedication in order to be effective and in order for the Ryu to survive. As an extremely quasi-veteran, there are students who have spent less time at the school than I have. Is it right for me play the role of a ranking student who can commit a lot of their energy, but not 100%, to students who are being told and expected to deliver their 100%? And, is it right for me to accept the Ryu's time in training me when I, myself, cannot commit to my fullest?

    As of now, even though I am dedicated to the Ryu, and feel extremely privileged to be a part of it, I believe the answers to the previous questions to be "No." However, because this decision will be final, and irrevocable, I would like to have your input on the issue.

    Thank you.
    Even though I do not practise a traditional koryu, problems of dedication arise in other budo, such as aikido, and my comments are made here on this basis.

    First, I can understand Bad Mo' Joes reluctance to give his name, even on his second post and after promptings by E-budo veterans. I personally have no problems about giving my real name, but then again, I have a fairly thick skin and adverse comments from within my own organisation tend to bounce off. From my own experience with this and other forums, there is much individual correspondence between members which is not public and Bad Mo' Joe also has the option of seeking more private advice from members who give their e-mail addresses. I myself do not mind conducting such private correspondence.

    Secondly, I received mixed signals from his first post. The double negative at the end of the first paragraph suggests to me that he will NOT opt for the family in the event of having to choose, but this is contradicted by the seccond paragraph, where he talks of 100% dedication, which he feels unable to give. His reference to being a 'quasi-veteran' after only four years is also curious. In my experience it takes around 5 years to obtain shodan in aikido and this rank is recognised as where you really 'start' training. The reference suggests that there are very few senior students and/or the koryu is very choosy about candidates. But either way, it seems odd, if the koryu has a good pedigree and a long history.

    Thirdly, the koryu he has joined seems very unusual, in my (limited) understanding, because it seems to demand that all its members have the commitment, not just of deshi, but of 'monastic' deshi, to the extent of excluding that most usual human tendency to marry and have children. If such commitment was expected of all the members, those martial arts which rest on the iemoto system of inheritance by the male heir would disappear.

    Thus the 100% dedication could take various forms (some mutually exclusive):

    a. Even though you have a job, marry and have children, the koryu always remains the first priority. This is probably the case with many practitioners, though it can lead to employment / marital problems. Peaceful coexistence is usually the preferred solution.

    b. Even though you marry and have children, the koryu remains the first priority, such that it is the sole source of income. In the world of aikido, a comparatively small number of teachers fall into this category. The majority finance their '100% commitment' to aikido by other forms of employment.

    c. The koryu demands a full 100% commitment, to the exclusion of other employment, marriage and a family. I think there are very few practitioners in any budo with this level of commitment.

    In aikido, a comparison between Rinjiro Shirata and Morihiro Saito is instructive.

    Shirata joined the Kobukan Dojo as an uchi-deshi in 1931 and trained with Morihei Ueshiba till he joined the army in 1936. There was then a hiatus of over 20 years before he resumed teaching. When he was demobbed in 1946, he told Ueshiba that his job and family took precedence over aikido, very odd for such a dedicated student. My own belief is that Shirata was so shattered by his wartime experiences in Burma that any thought of Japanese budo left a very bad taste in his mouth. He eventually resumed teaching in Yamagata and died at a ripe old age with a 9th dan. I knew Shirata Sensei and he was an inspiring teacher and human being.

    Morihiro Saito joined Morihei Ueshiba in Iwama in 1946 as a kayoi-deshi (commuting from home). His job with Japanese railways was 24-hours on duty/24-hours off duty and he trained with Ueshiba whenever he had the time. Eventually he married, at Ueshiba's bidding, and lived on land near the dojo. He is still teaching in the Iwama dojo, has a 9th dan, and a huge enthusiastic following all over the world.

    I think the dedication of both these men was 100%, but both accommodated the demands of a job and marriage in different ways. For both men, trainng held a very important place within a larger whole, which included work, marriage and child-raising.

    In my experience, the dilemma facing aikido practitioners who feel the need to leave their mark on the art is not the conflicting demands of marriage and family (this is rarely an issue), but the question of whether to become professional: to rely on the art as their sole source of income.

    Best regards,

    Peter Goldsbury
    _____________
    P A Goldsbury,
    Graduate School of Social Sciences,
    Hiroshima University
    Last edited by P Goldsbury; 28th October 2001 at 23:22.

  8. #38
    Yamantaka Guest

    Default Re: Re: 99%, not good enough

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by P Goldsbury
    [B] First, I can understand Bad Mo' Joes reluctance to give his name, even on his second post and after promptings by E-budo veterans.
    Secondly, I received mixed signals from his first post. The double negative at the end of the first paragraph suggests to me that he will NOT opt for the family in the event of having to choose, but this is contradicted by the seccond paragraph, where he talks of 100% dedication, which he feels unable to give. His reference to being a 'quasi-veteran' after only four years is also curious.
    Thirdly, the koryu he has joined seems very unusual, in my (limited) understanding, because it seems to demand that all its members have the commitment, not just of deshi, but of 'monastic' deshi, to the extent of excluding that most usual human tendency to marry and have children.
    Best regards,
    Peter Goldsbury [END QUOTE]

    YAMANTAKA : Dear Goldsbury Sama,

    I got those same "mixed feelings" from Bad Mo'Joe's posts and that was one of the reasons I found disrespectful the way he demands much of us and gives very little. I agree that, if he wants to keep his conversation private, he could do that personally with quite a few of our group.
    Anyway, as I said, I think he got quite a lot of information from many of us, including and specially from you, and he should be glad.
    And Cady, my most noble lady, it's good to hear from you again! And you're right, of course : we both know there a lot of cults hanging aroud and Bad Mo'Joe might be afraid of them. But I think much of what has been said will be enough for him to take a good look at the group he's now in.
    best regards

  9. #39
    Gabe litz Guest

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    Why not start a family and still keep close ties with the dojo?
    I mean hey once your children get older see if there interested in the martial arts, well thats what my father did with me and I still can't beat him.:smokin:

  10. #40
    Yamantaka Guest

    Question GABE LITZ (???)

    Originally posted by Gabe litz
    Why not start a family and still keep close ties with the dojo?
    I mean hey once your children get older see if there interested in the martial arts, well thats what my father did with me and I still can't beat him.:smokin:
    YAMANTAKA : Perhaps the reason you still can't beat him, more than anything else, is stated in your own profile :

    Birthday : September 24th, 1984
    Biography : I will become Liquidfists (???)
    Location : Salem Oregon
    Interests : becoming more powerful
    Occupation : High school student
    Martial Art : liquidfist style fighting (???)

    Grow up, Boy!
    Best

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