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Re: Being "good" at budo...
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People should really just come out of their respective closet and admit what their focus is. If you are stuck in 1540 trying to replicate what they were doing back then, then your own BBT toolbox cannot possibly end up as relevant and applicable as the practitioners who make BBT-derived goshinjutsu their primary focus.


Focus is part of it, sure, but I don't think it's just about focus. I think it kind of boils down to the question "what are you actually studying?"

If you're focusing on "BBT-derived goshinjutsu", then you're doing just that: you're focusing on something that's derived from BBT, not on BBT itself. Toshindo, for example, is a derivative of BBT but I'm willing to bet there aren't many people here who would equate it with BBT - and rightly so since a derivative of something, while related, is not the thing itself. If the derivative involves any pruning (for example, excluding the "text book" forms, ignoring fundamentals, etc) then the orignal is lost because it can't be unambiguously reconstructed from the derivative.

If you take a few principles from an art, ignore the rest of it and then take it in your own direction I don't think you can rightly claim to be studying that art. You're just using part of it as a jumping off point for doing your own thing. There's nothing wrong with that if you're honest about what you're doing (essentially creating your own school), but I really don't think you can properly claim to be studing the art you took the principles from - especially if those principles (like natural relaxed movement, controlling space, staying covered, etc) are not unique to that art.

I think that if you really want to study an art, you need to accept that it is what it is and study it. If you want to use parts of it as a jumping off point that's fine as well. I don't think either approach is right or wrong but they really are different from each another.

So it has nothing to do with being stuck in 1540. To me it has to do with wanting to study the art itself as opposed to wanting to do my own thing based on a partial understanding of it. To me, the former is a much greater challenge.

Posted on: 2010/11/13 13:20
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Re: Less than 10yrs. training and already a 5th dan?
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Dale wrote:
Because I insist they learn to do these things applying the concepts, principles, and movement I've learned from Soke and the shihan over the past 27 years, and which they learn on their own trips to Japan.


That makes sense. However, the concepts, principles and even general movements aren't necessarily unique to BBT. If you take that approach then a shodan whose main skill is shooting someone in the face may still have nothing uniquely "Bujinkan" about him/her. So I think the original question is still valid.


Quote:

What it has to do with is that the world I live in is one where sudden potentially lethal violence is an ever-present possibility. Again, others' mileage will vary, but I find this relevant to the very idea of martial art.


Sure, it's definitely relevant to martial arts but so are a lot of other things - footwear for example: you can't really engage in combat outside the dojo in bare feet. But if your profession was shoe manufacturing and you decided to focus mainly on appropriate footwear for various potential/hypothetical battelgrounds in your BBT class, would that still be BBT? The example is a bit silly, but it illustrates a valid point.


Quote:

It's reflected in the way I teach, just as I've seen various others approach training and teaching in quite different ways due to their different backgrounds. Nothing wrong with that; it's natural,


Sure, there are lots of different ways to teach the same material. Lots of different angles to approach it from.

Quote:

and "it's all good" as long as the movement is good.


I completely disagree with this. I have a friend who is extremely good at Aikido. His movement is excellent. But if he taught my class my students would be learning Aikido not BBT. So all would not be good if the sign over the door said BBT.


Quote:

No actual disagreement there. But then I wasn't being literal, that was a metaphorical expression of how I perceive priorities ...


Makes more sense now.

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For the simple reason that everything I teach comes from the Bujinkan.


Poo comes from food, but poo is not food.

Please forgive the coarseness. That's just the most effective way I can think of to show why that argument doesn't hold. Also, I want to make sure you understand that I mean no disrespect by it and that I'm not in any way comparing what you teach to poo. I was addressing the argument, not you.


All I'm trying to get at is the answer to the question: How much can you change things before the sign over your door is a lie? (And I'm not saying you're lying in any way.)

Posted on: 2010/11/12 2:54
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Re: Less than 10yrs. training and already a 5th dan?
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In my own dojo, a black belt basically means the recipient has good ukemi and can shoot you in the face or carve your guts out with the weapon you didn't know he (or she) had before you have any idea what just happened. That's how I train my people; others' mileage may vary.


If that's the case, then why teach under the Bujinkan banner? Why not just hang a "Shoot 'Em In The Face, Carve Their Guts Out & Roll Away" sign over the door?

Quote:

But then, I deal with the potential of terrorism for a living. So sue me already.


What does that have to do with anything? I'm an engineer but I don't teach engineering in martial arts class, otherwise I'd be running an engineering class not a Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu class. And even though our organization technically doesn't prevent me from giving someone a shodan because they know a lot about electromagenetism, doing so would be both irresponsible and disrespectful.


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Some of my yudansha can't do a densho/textbook/"original recipe" tsuki yet? I should worry. I am so concerned.


I would be. If someone is wearing a black belt and can't perform the basics of the art (at least in a basic way) then one kind of has to wonder what art their black belt is actually in. Hence my previous question about why teach under the Bujinkan banner. Saying something akin to "Ninjutsu is about getting things done using whatever works" isn't an answer because you don't need the Bujinkan or Hatsumi-sensei's name behind you to teach that.

Posted on: 2010/11/10 0:10
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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If a skilled swordsman from 16th centry Japan somehow came forward in time, how much of what we do today would be effective against him? Most of what we play with today would probably get us killed pretty quickly because he's not just our buddy with a bokken and I think it's safe to say that most of us don't train or practice the way that is required to meet that challenge with any sort of favourable outcome.

I can't say for sure that I understand what was meant by "real martial arts" and "elite", but I'd say the situation described above reflects "real martial arts" (admittedly within a contrived context) and I'd say that with respect to the average practitioner today, it would take someone who would definitely qualify as "elite" to survive in that situation. I don't think that's a way of putting anyone down or raising anyone else up. I think it's just a simple statement of fact. I see no reason for controversy.

Posted on: 2010/11/7 7:29
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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What if the case was the opposite? What if a 15th dan was teaching and an 8th dan from a notable teacher saw something completely wrong, should the 8th dan say something to the 15th dan?


I think it depends on their relationship.

This could also be cited as a good reason for keeping our rank to ourselves. If the 15th dan didn't know the other person's rank (and the 8th dan wouldn't say when asked) then the conversation would probably be different than if the 15th dan knew he was being questioned by an 8th dan.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 1:20
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Now, if the 15th dan understands what the teacher is trying to show, there's certainly no problem in assisting the others in understanding as well.


Ya, but that's sometimes the problem. These "helpers" often think they understand when they don't. I've been "helped" by people who thought they understood what was being taught but could not perform the technique themselves.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 1:11
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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say you go to the hombu and train with one of the shihan and some random 15th dan, not the teacher of the class, walks around the class giving advice willy nilly. Should the 15th dan dispense advice in the presence of that teacher?


Personally I don't think rank has much to do with it. For me it has more to do with context, espeically since rank isn't objectively tied to skill. For example, I don't want to hear a 15th dan who doesn't bend his knees telling me to forget about kamae, but if my training partner has feedback/advice based on what he felt during the technique, I definitely want to hear what he has to say even if he's 9th kyu.

I think it's weird, inappropriate and annoying when someone who isn't teaching the class and isn't my training partner interrupts to give me advice.

Quote:

And similarly say you have a visiting budoka and he gives advice to your students about how to do certain techniques. Ought he do that, given you are the teacher?


I don't feel the need to say anything unless it becomes disruptive.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 0:52
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Re: Why does being a ninja make you more of a target?
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Labels can been seen as limiting, but they also are identifiers.


Yup, and those identifiers have the potential to be detrimental.

If a Bujinkan practicioner who claimed to be a ninja or to practice or teach ninjutsu ever ended up killing someone when forced to defend himself, he could be in real trouble because in addition to having to prove his actions justifiable, he'll also have to defeat a lifetime of pop-culture ninja imagery in the minds of the jurors. Otherwise they may think he was just doing what he's been training to do: assassinate. Doesn't matter that it's completely untrue.

Even though that imagery has almost nothing to do with what we study today, it would be a hard sell because that very imagery was created and perpetuated in part by people in our own art back in the 80's and is still leveraged by many today to make money and gain a following.


Posted on: 2010/10/20 3:55
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Re: Columbia Tai Kai Godan Test
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I'm off today and I just finsihed attempting to bake some oatmeal chocolate chip muffins. Not being an experienced baker I seem to have done something wrong which resulted in the muffins sticking to the pan.

After trying everything non-destructive I could think of to get the muffins out, I remembered this thread and immediately whipped out my godan certificate in an attempt to scare the muffins out of the pan.

Didn't work.

It's official: Oatmeal chocoloate chip muffins are not afraid of godan certificates.

It's also official: Canadian oatmeal chocolate chip muffins are braver than American swat teams.

Sorry, I saw the opportunity for some fun and couldn't resist.


Posted on: 2010/10/20 2:49
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Re: Bushin Wa?
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... considering it bad manners to disagree with those who are seniors is a big part of Japanese Budo.


Agreed, but to be fair we need to compare apples to apples. Most other arts have a consistent, objective and reasonable set of criteria for granting rank and therefore seniority within the art.

In what other Japanese martial art do you have any chance at all of finding a solid san dan with 12 years of consistent practice attending a weekend seminar and being taught sloppy made up techniques by a group of judan and above, some of whom have been training for less than 10 years and some of whom have less technical skill than that san dan?

I think people on the whole are respectful of actual seniority. For example, most of us recognize and respect the seniority of the Japanese Shihan. That's real seniority though. It's not based on a meaningless number.

Posted on: 2010/10/16 0:59
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