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Thread: The demands of studying a koryu

  1. #16
    MarkF Guest

    Default Re: non-relevant question

    Originally posted by charlesl2
    Hey Mark, what do you mean by "jumping in"? Sorry, not familiar with the phrase.

    -Charles Lockhart
    May I give you a non-relevant answer then?

    The term is a modern one in which wannabes of street gangs are beat on and more, survive and you are a member.

    When the shogunate was gone, then later the using/carrying of weapons, swords, tanto, etc., the older jujutsu schools acted as little more than thugs, caused fights in the streets to call attention and try new technnique they learned.

    One of Jigoro's complaints of the koryu of the time was exactly this and was something he detested. It was one of the reasons for a school of jujutsu, to study ran, as in the jikishin ryu, and hold matches which carried symbolic, but combative victory.

    Competition, though is as old as Mt. Fujiyama as regular challenges at times went "all the way." It wasn't the focus, but they certainly took place.

    Sorry, I went too far with my non-relevent answer.

    Mark

    I hadn't seen Joe's post on the subject so never mind my "jumping in" here.
    Last edited by MarkF; 16th October 2001 at 10:57.

  2. #17
    Bad Mo' Joe Guest

    Default The demands of studying a koryu

    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.

  3. #18
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    Wow. Good timing. I've been dwelling on this issue of late as well, being as my wife and I are considering having children. It is a very difficult issue, but not as difficult as I initially thought. In discussions with Otake and his charming wife, he has mentioned that no one can really understand the real significance of TSKSR until they have a family (wife AND children), because they cannot experience the maturing effects (I know some who don't believe being married and having children is necessary for maturity will burst here, but that?fs just too bad.) that it brings and they can?ft feel that driving force to defend and fight for what they love (which is the ultimate aim of Iizasa Choisai Ienao?fs founding the school, not to use as a means to gain land and power).
    On a side note, after much research, Otake Sensei has failed to find any evidence that KSR people took part in offensive battles (that's not to say they didn't, but until someone who can actually walk the walk can give me some goods on the situation, I will take this as a given). In fact, he discovered through studying the history of Chiba Prefecture and the Katori area in specific that they evidently refused to ally with neighboring groups to participate in a bloody feud in that area in the 15th century (I believe it was). Also, the school has been highly community based since its inception and included non-bushi in its roster being as the founder was a goshi (farmer samurai) himself.
    Anyway, what this all says is that family and community are the very core of the TSKSR, and the two are by no means mutually exclusive. The Big Guy has said it himself. For that very reason, he enjoys hearing about student's plans to have children. More than anybody, he realizes the value of family and that it comes before everything else. While there is that essence of "The school comes first" at the Shinbukan, it is laced with a more reasonable "After family duties are attended to" attitude. The expectation is that you will 1. provide for family, 2. attend to duties as a students and 3. use what remaining time you have for your own enrichment and whatnot, and finally 4. get sleep (hehe).
    I am not quite sure that maintaining such a zealous 100% attitude throughout one?fs life is healthy. One should attend regularly and exert themselves to exhaustion, but without a little flexibility in thinking, one is liable to becoming a little goofy if you know what I mean. I personally believe that one can have their cake and eat it too. The problem, if you can call it that, with dedicated martial artists is that they hold to the ?geverything or nothing?h frame of mind. This serves them well in everything they do. Anything of worth should be tackled with an unswerving diligence and zeal. So when they have children, I believe they have the potential to be good parents, because they apply that same conscientiousness.
    I myself, have wracked my brains over whether I should give up koryu when I have children because I don't want to become mediocre in both, especially parenting. But that is a very inflexible viewpoint. I don't think any teacher would want to loose such loyal and well-trained students because those students couldn't put in the overtime they used to when they were single, no more than that teacher would want to loose that student because they are aging and can't bounce as high as they once could. Every student that has earnestly applied himself or herself and learned the forms and teaching and history of a school well is a model and guide to be looked up to by new and budding students. Their absence is a very great loss to any school. It isn't just about them and whether they feel content with their training and progress, it's about the beneficial presence they have in merely being in the school. In that sense, they owe it to the school to stick around, even if only after they have first spent time with that cute little goober that has their eyes and poops profusely. And you know what? The homey feel that people get when they visit the Shinbukan? That is probably the efect of having so many husbands and fathers in attendance, and having the father of father, Otake Sensei, at the helm of the school. Too hard and compassionaless of an atmosphere is not real koryu. It is a perversion of it in my mind.
    So what if you cannot put in as much time as younger students? They have much farther to go to build their foundation than you do to finish off yours and move on to the finer principles of the art. They damn well SHOULD work harder than you. There is farther distance for them to travel to reach your skill level as new students than for you as a veteran to fionish polishing your leftovers (That is not to say that veteran students can get sloppy and lax in their training).
    But, Bad Mo' Joe, I don?ft know what school you belong to or what the unique culture of the school is, so this may or may not help. I can only speak about what I know. I?fm not very good at expressing myself, which is why it takes me six paragraphs to say what would take someone else two. But I hope this is of some benefit.
    Greg Ellis
    I like autumn best of all, because its tone is mellower, its colors are richer and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and it is content.

  4. #19
    Yamantaka Guest

    Question 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. In the past four months or so, I have begun to realize that I am not 100% dedicated to the art. 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.
    YAMANTAKA : I guess it was Christ who said, in the Bible, that "if you want to be perfect, leave your family and your belongings and follow me" (more or less). Well, you might say that or you might say that such an obsession is a form of personality unbalance.
    I don't know. What I know is that you must do the best that you can. If it's a 100%, that's good. If it's just 30%, that's good also. The important thing is to be sincere and really try to do your best.

    Originally posted by Bad Mo' Joe
    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.
    YAMANTAKA : I liked very much the previous answer to you. Read it attentively. The man who wrote it follows a very ancient and traditional Ryu and the fact that its Master is married with children should say a lot.
    By the way, I'm really curious...May you say what is your Ryu?
    Best

  5. #20
    Yamantaka Guest

    Default Re: 99%, not good enough

    By the way, Bad Mo' Joe, could you please sign your name in full?
    It's a rule here at E-Budo!
    I've observed that you're also obsessed, not just with training, but with what you perceive as your security : you do not deny us your name but also your e-mail or any other information about you...That's bad.

  6. #21
    red_fists Guest

    Default

    Hi.

    Here are my 2 Yen's worth.

    I don't think that giving 100%, really means 100% of your time.
    But rather that you train with 100% intent, purpose and so on.

    Most Soke's and good Martial Artists I have met so far and heard about are
    all married, have kids and tend to have a good and normal relation with their Folks.

    My Sijo's daughter runs a School in Omiya, so he must have spend some time on Family aswell.

    Soke + no family = end of family line and sometimes style.

    Anyhuh, just my 2Yen's worth. Ooops got longer than expected = 3Yen.

  7. #22
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    Given the neo-Confusian milieu out of which the koryu come, I would think that the neglect of one’s family would be regarded with suspicion. Leave the fanaticism and enforced militarism to more modern arts.
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

  8. #23
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    Dammit, Greg beat me here again! I'm gonna have to pay more attention to E-Budo. Ah, well, I might as well say what I was going to say, even though it adds little to the discussion.

    I agree with red_fists in that giving 100% does not mean subordinating all other facets of your life to the dojo. Insofar as many martial arts (including those that I practice) are at least as much about development of character, it would seem moot that one should not sacrifice ALL other things in one's life.

    Surely it is a matter of priorities. If my daughter is rushed to the hospital, I'll miss practice. Sensei would not begrudge me that - in fact, he may think the worse if I actually came to the dojo while members of my family needed me more. However, if I skipped a practice because a really good episode of the Simpsons is on - well, that isn't good. While I am not at the beck and call of the dojo, I am able to accord it a fairly high priority in the scheme of things.

    I too practice koryu, and I have an ever-growing family that I need to provide for. A tremendous amount of my time is taken by the latter of these priorities. However, when I am able to go to the dojo (which is quite regularly - at least when I am in Japan), I make the most of my time by practising until I think I am going to puke. If there are dry spots on my keikogi, I am not going 100%.

    And that is what I think giving 100% means. When you are at the dojo, practise hard and well. Learn at all times and approach instuction eagerly. Make all efforts to keep up with practice, but also realise that there are a few things that are more important (to you, as an individual) than the dojo, and that in a battle of priorities, the dojo can occasionally lose.

    At the Shimbukan, there is no doubt that family is a very important aspect of our training. It is all around us. However, while the other members of the dojo are a sort of extended family, there is still the expectation that one will not forget his (or her) true family. Greg's correct assertions lead to the following: the diligence and zeal one applies to training is not a finite resource, to be used entirely towards one thing. It is a state of being, an energy that is constant which should (and, really, MUST) be used in everything you do.

    Other people may feel differently, but I would definitely not fit in at a school that expected me to subordinate all other things (including work or family) to practice. Apart from the malpractice issues that could potentially be involved re: my job (I am a lawyer) if the dojo said "Do X now!", I value my family far too much to say to them "You are the 2nd most important thing in my life."

    Hope that helps. I know, I know, no value-added content. I still think it is true.

    Hopefully, all any future conflicts of priorities will be resolved when I take my kids to practice at the dojo! Ah, that will be so cool....

    Cheers

    Adam Young

  9. #24
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    Good question.

    On one hand, my experience has been that instructors of all arts - especially traditional ones- greatly respect self-sacrifice and a strong passion to learn.

    But on the other hand, I've never heard any of these instructors lay the slightest guilt trip on a student for prioritizing family matters over budo resposibilities. Perhaps there may have been more of this kind of criticism historically, when budo was needed for more practical purposes (much like firemen and military still have to prioritize their job over family at times), but since "budo" is now about improving your life and that of others around you, priorities have changed for the most part.

    I know of several serious budo-ka who have been through this, and came to realize that they almost lost their family as a result of their "obsessive" budo training. They now are enjoying their family (and vice-versa) in a whole new light. I myself am nearing a point where I will need to spend time with my soon wife-to-be, as well as possibly the that of rugrat(s)in the near future. :P

    It's all part of the cycle of life I guess! Get your hard training in while your still young and have the chance.

    Regards,
    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)

  10. #25
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    Nathan,

    You mean it? Your girlfriend really is a saint!!

    Don't let my girlfriend know, she will start expecting me to measure up. So far, she just thinks everyone in martial arts is like me and I'd like to keep it that way!

    Seriously, if you ignore family - or girlfriends to train everyday, I would seriously consider very hard why you are training.

    I have several friends and sensei who did this, thinking training was more important. End result, divorces, bitterness, angry ex wives and girlfriends, bad training atmosphere since they were always unhappy.

    Balance is important. As least that's what I think.

  11. #26
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    Default Adam, Adam, Adam, just can't beat Fast Draw McCouch Potato

    Sorry dude. I live in a more advantageous time zone than you. You'll have to get up prettty early in the morning to get one up on the ol McCouch Potato. <Enter rolling tumbleweed; cue whistley music and cracking bull whip>
    Greg Ellis
    I like autumn best of all, because its tone is mellower, its colors are richer and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and it is content.

  12. #27
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    100% is how many classes per week in your experience?

    Generaly, how often in a week koryu dojo is open for practice?

    thx
    regardz

    Szczepan Janczuk

  13. #28
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    Isn't life about doing things 100%?

    When at the dojo, you must really give 100%. We'll be discussing a kata or waza with sensei and even though there are the usual number of wisecracks or cheapshots at other members (meant in fun), when we return to our allocated bit o' dojo to practice the kata in question, it is done 100%, no questions asked. What's the point of being there if your mind is back home watching TV? When that kata is performed 100%, you have that little internal smile no-one else can see, but you're as chuffed as hell to have done the technique so well, and so much better than last week.

    The time you spend with your family should be 100% too - especially with your partner

    Scott
    (Giving 100% to the two most important elements of his life )
    Scott Halls
    Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu Kenjutsu - Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iai
    兵法二天一流剣術 - 無双直伝英信流居合

  14. #29
    Bad Mo' Joe Guest

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    I appreciate all of your time spent on replies, thank you.

    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.

    Again, thank you for you time, I will be taking what you all of said to heart.

    Thanks.

  15. #30
    Yamantaka Guest

    Question Which Koryu?

    Originally posted by Bad Mo' Joe
    The Koryu that I study is small with few and far between dojo's.
    YAMANTAKA : And its name is???

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