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Re: thoughts on Bujinkan from 1977
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Look, it's quite juvenile to want everyone else everywhere to approve of your choices in life. Ellis Amdur has made his choice in regards to his budo career, and he seems pretty happy with them. Good for him. More people should be like that.

I don't know Mr Amdur, but as someone else has pointed out, he's pretty well regarded. This post is just his opinion, and he's 100 per cent entitled to it. It doesn't particularly ring true of my experience of Hatsumi Sensei, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. It may have.

He may have had a bad day, or just let himself down. Hell, I know I've done that, and I like to think I'm a pretty stand up guy. If it did happen, then does it really mean that much?

He's not a saint, or a religious leader. It's not necessary for him to be either of those things - just a really good martial artist willing to share his teachings. For what it's worth, I have witnessed him going above and beyond the call of duty to be kind to people when there was no possible benefit to him in doing so. I also know people who have benefitted from his kindness and thoughfulness who have nothing to do with budo. So there you go.

So to the person who reposted this, I understand the concern, but does it actually effect you?

Because this smacks to me of that famous internet cartoon:

_MSC_CLICK_TO_OPEN_IMAGE

Posted on: 2011/11/20 22:00
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Re: Short image film about our dojo and our art
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Yes, I really liked it as well. I was particuarly impressed when I read the description on youtube and found that the girl who starred in it was an 18 year old 8th kyu when it was shot - her taijutsu is excellent for someone who is a junior kyu rank, and I think it was a great idea to get her to do it.

A great promo that shows a mature and grown up approach to presenting the art. Well done all involved!

Posted on: 2011/9/8 19:27
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Re: Kotō Ryū Kata Kanji and Translation Request Take 2 (this time without the flames and BS)
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I don’t think you’re going to get what you’re asking for John. To start with, not many people have it and there’s no real reason why they should. People who have it may not want to share it - they may not feel it is theirs to share.

I’m not saying this is the case with you John – I don’t know you and have no reason to think this applies to you at all – but in general I think it’s unfortunate when teachers fall into the trap of thinking that because they have a shidoshi license, they should be able to teach everything in the nine schools. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, and it can only lead to problems.

Some of the best teaching advice I have ever got was to just teach what you know and be ruthless with yourself in assessing what you really, really know.

I have students who teach now, and what I say to them is that there’s no need to feel under pressure to be able to teach Koto Ryu Koppojutsu – just be able to pass on the lessons you have learned from your teacher, perhaps adding insight you have gained through your own studies and through your own training trips with Soke in Japan, or at seminars with other people who studied in a lot of depth.

If you’ve learned kata in Japan, then I think it’s probably okay to present what you’ve learned, but I think there are very few people who can say they are teaching Koto Ryu, or Gyokko Ryu etc.

That information is out there and is freely accessible if you are particularly interested and want to search out that kind of instruction. It’s not that hard to find a shihan in Japan interested in such things and ask them about, for example, Koto Ryu but you have to put the time and effort into creating a relationship whereby they trust you a small bit.

Actually, maybe trust is too loaded a term – I think maybe they just need to recognise you and know that you’re sincere and interested, rather than just messing about. I know in my case, I don't post information such as that you've asked for online because I just don't have the authority to do so. Just because a teacher gives it to me doesn't mean they're happy for me to hit the publish button 20 minutes later on the web.

The internet is probably not a great place to find specifics like that.

Posted on: 2010/2/14 20:28
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Re: Is Bujinkan’s credibility eroding?
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Quote:

D_Cecc wrote:

how hard is it really to "modernize things"?
drawing a gun, or pepper spray or something "modern" would not be that hard to add in to taijutsu.


Yes, of course you are right. That's why I put the word modernising in quotes - I was being a bit sarcastic. I don't think this art needs modernising because it's easily possible to add things like drawing a gun or using pepperspray without having to make huge fundamental changes. (Soke has regularly taught such things, and in a way he is the art, so it is whatever he teaches it to be.)

The point I was really trying to make was that those making the biggest noise about needing to modernise Bujinkan taijutsu are usually doing so because they have a product to sell. That's fair enough everyone needs to make a living and they may even believe that this art needs to be modernised, but to me, that just means that they don't understand what makes this art what it is. It's nature lies in adaptability but that's just my opinion, and perhaps they know better than me.

Quote:

D_Cecc wrote:

I think another issue in the org is that people set the bar so extremely high as its impossible to reach the goals.And no one ever really expects to reach them.

As in the quote above, who will ever be able to say theyve "exhausted what the art can teach".Its an impossible notion, which is extremely self limiting.


Well, it wasn't my intention to set any bar to any height, unless you're talking about other people. I was referring specifically to people who hang their hat on the modernisation thing, but I get your point.

Again this is just my opinion, but I think many people settle far too early in their budo careers. Even leaving Soke out of the equation for a minute - he's a special case - it seems to me that most of the senior Japanese shihan have a magnificent understanding of the kihon. The same is true of any of the westerners who have really excelled in this art, either through living in Japan or through spending 20 and even 30 years travelling there, and really studying. They may not be at the same level as the shitenno but they're still really really good.

That's the achievable goal I'm chasing - I don't think the bar is set impossibly high. In retrospect, I think the phrase I used 'exhausting what this art can teach' maybe was a little ill advised, because that's probably impossible.

Quote:

jwills79 wrote:

People believing something is virtually impossible is definitely limiting what you can accomplish. Just by reading past post you see people saying we will never understand what Hatsumi is doing. Or we will never be as good as him or the Shihan. Why not?


Well, I was trying to say that before suggesting that the material is flawed and needs modernising, it would be a good idea to have achieved a really high level of skill in it, particularly if you're going to market what your're doing specifically as an improvement on the original. It would be different if you just decided to do something else, MMA or something - do you see the difference?

I don't think it's impossible to become very skilled in this art at all. In fact I know it's not because I can think of five or six people who've done it, proving it's not impossible.

Also, I clearly didn't say what you're implying I said in my quote above. Hatsumi Soke is a very talanted man, and so are the Japanese shitenno - but they are men like the rest of us and they are skilled as they are because of the amount of work they have put in over many decades. Most people won't ever achieve their levels but not because it's impossible.

Posted on: 2009/10/2 17:41
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Re: Is Bujinkan’s credibility eroding?
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Quote:

Nakor wrote:

What if what the trainee wants is something that was taught in the past but not taught any more ?


That quote from Doug's blog is being taken slightly out of context here - in the quote, Noguchi Shihan was talking about Soke and the training he offers today, but you've taken it to mean all training at the hombu.

Soke may not teach kihon any more, but there are plenty of other people who do. There are many different yet complementary flavours of our art taught by the various shihan level instructors teaching in Japan. Granted not all of them teach at the hombu dojo, but I'm not aware of anything that was taught in the past that isn't taught today.

It's not all laid out on a menu for you to choose from - you usually get to do whatever the teacher wants to teach - but for example, Noguchi Shihan spent huge amounts of time over the last year cycling and recycling through the Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki and those classes were extremely popular. He may even still be doing that, I don't know.

Some teachers in Japan are also extremely open and welcoming of questions - some even start their classes by asking "what do you want to do?"

Unless you ask for something crazy, you'll probably get to do it. (I've seen people turned down, but usually only because they were asking for really advanced stuff when they were obviously not up to it.)

I think that before adding to or 'modernising' this art a teacher should have exhausted what this art can teach - certainly if they want to market what they are doing as some kind of improvement on the original.

Most people (and I include myself in this) have nowhere near a good enough grasp of the basics to be doing this. It's fairly transparent when it's done though.

Posted on: 2009/10/1 19:35
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Re: little yellow cards (bujinkan membership) WTF?
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The irony of this conversation is that not only are the certificate fees in the Bujinkan cheaper than many other Japanese martial arts, the prices also haven't changed since the early 1980s. In real terms, it's gotten cheaper over the years. The membership fee has also been set in stone for as long as I've been training, and as a result has also gotten cheaper in real terms.

I've had mixed experiences with the hombu office - mostly, I get my orders back in a matter of weeks. Once, it took longer, but as Duncan said, it's a group of volunteers doing their best, so they should be cut some slack.

On the occasion that it took many months to resolve the issue I had, it turned out that I'd made a mistake, not the office. I'd filled in a name for one of my students that was spelled slighty different to previous orders for the same person. The result was that the admin staff didn't know if if was the same person, and as it was for a relatively senior rank, they refused to issue the certificate.

It took a while to clarify that it was actually the same person. In retrospect, that was my mistake but it held up a large group order for a long time because the entire order was set aside due to that one issue.

Posted on: 2009/9/18 17:44
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Re: Welcome Back
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Well done Shawn, the new site looks great!

Posted on: 2009/9/1 23:10
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Re: Kenjutsu in the Bujinkan
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Garth, I'm far from an expert in such matters, but I do know that there is a lot more material contained within the nine ryuha than is publicly known about. It's seems foolish to argue in public about things you probably don't have as good a picture of as you may think. Don may be abrasive in his online persona, but that doesn't mean he's wrong.

It's important not to confuse the published material Soke has put out with the totality of the material that exists. Just because something isn't written down in a book or on a DVD doesn't mean it's not there. This is something the Internet is just awful for - people presume an awful lot.

It's not up to me to talk about what is and isn't contained within the nine schools, as that is Soke's perogative and not mine, but I've certianly learned lots of interesting things that don't appear on any DVD or in any book. (I'm not particulary special, so it would be foolish not to assume that lots of other people have learned a lot more than me.)

A good example is the Ura Gata Futatsu that appears in the Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu - each of the formal kata has two formal variations recorded within the densho. Until Soke published his most recent book, that material wasn't publicly available and most people not training closely with a Japanese shihan probably didn't know it existed. It was however taught explicitly in Japan at Soke's classes in 2006 (or at least it was in the classes I attended.)

Before Soke's most recent book came out, there was no public reference for that material - if I mentioned it on a forum and it challenged your preconceived idea of what was contained within Shinden Fudo Ryu, you might ask me for a source. But there wouldn't have been one for me to point you to, even supposing I wanted to.

It wouldn't have made me wrong. Not everything true is referenced somewhere in a publicly accessible way.

Posted on: 2009/7/17 21:44
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Re: What did you do today to make the world a better place?
Kutaki Postmaster
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Yeah, I'm a Duncan fan, but that was pretty tasteless.

Some jokes can be absolutely hilarious in the right place at the right time, even though they're politically incorrect -- in fact sometimes specifically because they are politically incorrect -- but context and company are everything.

Posted on: 2009/7/2 20:34
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Looking for a Bujinkan dojo in the Phillipines?
Kutaki Postmaster
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Hi all,

One of my students may be relocating to Manila and has asked me if I know of anywhere there he can continue his training - sadly I don't know anyone out that way.

Is there a dojo in Manila? Anyone know?

Posted on: 2008/10/6 0:16
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