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Re: australian shihan taikai
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Critch you missed a seriously great weekend. All the instructors had some good stuff to pass on and I watched everything I could. Some shihan were watching one demo on one mat and then turning to watch the next on the other mat. I found myself watching demo's and then being very impressed by how well the students caught on. I have always liked watching how students move, good or bad it is natural and we need to learn to both deal with it and to help them get better at technique. What I saw is that Australia has come so far in the last 15 years since the Adelaide Taikai that it is unrecognisable.

Thanks to all the instructors and students, thanks again to all the volunteers, helpers, and ofcourse Gillian and Duncan.

Ed

Posted on: 2007/4/10 23:37
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Re: A Question of authority?
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interesting thread and I think it deserves a few more words to clear up a few issues. I think Mark probably has a good handle on the ways of the Bujinkan anyway but threads like this are very useful for low dan ranks and new shidoshi.

To my mind, and as I was asked to explain many things to people living in Japan when I was living there, there is a simple and fairly flexible hierachy in the Bujinkan.

Students should train with a Shidoshi level teacher. There are very few areas of the world where there is not a shidoshi within travelling distance and so the "shidoshi-ho" title is almost extinct.

Shidoshi do not need to train with any shihan in their area or otherwise if they do not wish to. At this level they are expected to have some form of direct relationship with Soke - even if tenuous it is there. and so the teaching can be taking as "one to one". However it has been Soke's direct words to strongly suggest that shidoshi do maintain a training relationship with a shihan or several. Generally in Japan a student will look to one of the shihan they train with to be their main mentor and their grading instructor. If there is a situation where one shihan tries to grade anothers student, then the student informs that shihan that he has been graded recently by the other (his main teacher) and it is too early for another grade. I have seen this happen several times and it is not at all impolite.

Should a shidoshi, by geography or by choice, not have a shihan that they look to as mentor and grading approval, then the student can say so at any Shihans class or Soke's class in Japan. Usually one of Noguchi, Oguri, or Nagato Shihans will observe the shidoshi at that class and let them know what they think by the end of it. That has been something that Soke has been aware of as necessary for some time.

Three Shihan are needed to nominate a shidoshi for 10th dan, effectively making 10th dan shihan. 10th dans have their name placard on the wall of the hombu and as is Japanese tradition this makes them a "named student" and so an important representative of the dojo. In the Bujinkan this means that named students are therfore also shihan/10th dan. Shihan are those of 10dan and above. In the old days it was a group of a few Japanese, none were at that time 10dan. When 10dans started getting issued to westerners it was generally accepted by the existing Japanese shihan and by Soke that these people were now Shihan.
Ten votes can kick someone out +/- Soke's rubber stamp. So it is largely a self regulating community worldwide.

It is a rank of responsibility to Soke, to the Bujinkan dojo, and to the students/shidoshi that look to you for guidance. Something not to be taken trivially, not to be abused for personal gain, and is not a rubber stamp for anything else you like to study to then be brought into the Bujinkan. If you have teaching qualifications in other things then great, but don't combine it with the Bujinkan even if you think it would help your students. It is up to Soke to say what you are qualified to teach as part of the Bujinkan.

At times some people will be given specific jobs to do. Peter has had one given to him recently. I was given the job (without knowing there was one) of helping at the hombu, at Soke's house for those with requests on Sunday's, and sometimes on other days as a general dog's body. Specifically I got stuck with two taikai in Australia - and I choose those words carefully because both times nobody else put their hands up to run them. The first one came about because at Soke's house we talked about how he would like to go to Australia and so far no invites had come even though people knew. Some were scared he would break their "control over their dojo's", other were just too lazy. I was going hime and was told I could do it if I wanted. I could see no good reason to say no to the request. Same happened a year later for Sydney - not one person made an approach to Soke so I got it again.
A few years later one particular Australian sent out a letter concerning Bujinkan Instructors needing government accreditation due to some new laws. There was indeed some new laws but this guy was using it for his own ends. In response Soke wrote a letter to the Australian authorities stating that for any matter in regard to the Bujinkan they were to contact me. Some take that as being "Soke's representative" full stop for Australia. I don't, it makes me responsible for certain affairs sure, but it is not a position where I hold authority over the Bujinkan in Australia, it is a comment to the Australian government that they should seek me out before they make rulings affecting Bujinkan people here. There is a big difference.
Some may know I have been given other tasks, some distasteful ones at that. Soke knows I couldn't give a rats backside for peoples opinions of things if it is the right thing to do, or it is a direct request from him.

As for the Australian Shihan, most are good people. Some are exceptional. In particular I would like to mention Tim Bathurst, Duncan Stewart, Gillian Booth, Duncan Mitchell, and Andrew Beattie. They are standouts to me of what it takes to be a good shihan. I know all had had more than a few challenges with politics (mostly of the personality conflict type), and commitment levels, but all have persevered and done their best to represent Soke, and their students in an openhearted and responsible way. None even think of answering to me, nor would I in my wildest dreams expect them to. One of my dearest memories is standing next to Tim as Soke's chosen bodyguards for the Takamatsu Sensei Memorial Taikai. I know in my heart, and from what Tim told me his too, we had no friends that day, but a job to do. I would love for other students of the Bujinkan to understand this sort of thing. We were offered a job, much like you are offered rank, and accepted it. By accepting it you accept the responsibility and consequences of that choice.

To put it more clearly, if you don't want the responsibility then don't accept the rank or task. Check the 10dan recommendation letters people get: kata, waza, kokoro, tomin, is what is written on mine - techiniques, form (or flow), heart and community spirit is what I write on other peoples.

What Mark is complaining about is a lack of community spirit. If he feels it is so, then it is so. That is something the American Shihan will have to address. Some of this I think does come from a history of "groups" forming. Groups where some outsiders were not as welcome as one of their own. It has happened in all countries I think, but Australia seems to be sparse on the personality cult types and so things may be a little better here, who knows.

Posted on: 2007/4/9 23:02
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Re: Advice to Instructors on the Bujinkan & Hichi Buku Goshinjutsu
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Further to Darren's comment I would like to draw a distinction between applying knowledge of some fields and applying knowledge of medicinal methods.

If you half know some budo, get into a fight, try to apply what little you learned and still get beaten or whatever, nobody is going to criticise you for trying.
In the medical field the only medical techniques you can apply to someone else in a time of duress is "first aid". To apply any other treatment (even if the patient needs it) you will need to not only have learned it, but you will need to have a recognised license in it.

If these people are practising as therapists in any manner when they are not qualified to do so then they are irresponsible, unethical, and liable. To teach any of what they have learned is just as bad. It is not until you are qualified that you have enough knowledge of a treatments precautions, contra-indications, and possible complications. Even then you will not find a masseur doing surgery. You simply have to know what is within and without your field of expertise - that is what techniques are outside of your qualification when it comes to knowledge of indications, precautions, contra-indications, and complications.

If someone fakes a Bujinkan rank and teaches, he is a dickhead. If someone fakes medical knowledge and treats or teaches someone, he is a danger to society.

Posted on: 2007/3/19 23:02
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Re: some fun at my dojo
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thanks for the comments. Nick the camera operator has just started with this setup and is learning fast. He has been a camera operator for years and did all the Sveneric seminars I hosted in Adelaide.

Norm, not watched all your seminar dvd yet but looks good so far :) I am sure the rest will be just as good. UK, hmmm looking like late May or June.....

Posted on: 2006/12/14 21:29
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Re: some fun at my dojo
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seems my server was getting bombed by downloads, so then the tech limited the download to 10k/sec. So I have put it on youtube now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUx9_vPRrUY

Posted on: 2006/12/10 17:15
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Re: some fun at my dojo
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hmm don't know what the issue might have been Shawn and Jan. I know the site was busy for a bit as a hundred or so people from the video people downloaded it to give critique to the cameraman. I will ask him tomorrow just how rough they were on him. :)
Thanks for the kind words Alex and Adam. GA would be somewhere in the states then I guess :) There is a chance I will be there next year - some juggling is going to need to be done. Besides also being off to the UK early to mid next year I am also starting a private practice and thinking of returning for some postgrad studies....

Posted on: 2006/11/26 21:08
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some fun at my dojo
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one of the guys is doing a course with a new type of camera setup.

http://www.bujinkanadelaide.org.au/multimedia.htm

check out "training 2006"

I generally don't like being filmed when training, but some of this was fun all the same.

Posted on: 2006/11/23 19:50
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anybody know a Simon Tulley in the UK?
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if you do, could you send me some contact info please.

Posted on: 2006/11/23 19:48
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hard vs soft naivety
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I see that on another thread this old arguement has raised it's puss filled head again.
It is pretty simple really, both are needed to learn some aspects of Budo. Both need to be done in a controlled way to be useful to learning. Knowing both allows you to be deceptive in your technique, hiding speed behind a slow movement, strength behind soft, flexibility in technique behind an apparent commitment, softness behind strength.

This is where kyojitsu comes in, using all things that are possible to defeat your opponent and doing so by the tactical and strategic deceptions needed to affect victory.

I think people need to take the time to think about what they are saying when expressing these ideas too as often when people say "hard training" it seems to me they are talking about "conditioning". Some conditioning for martial artists is a good idea, some people also like it as part of their training. Is it necessary? Well to lesser and greater extents depending on the person. If you want to fight like a shootfighter then yes, if you want to rip eyeballs out, then not so much.

In my time as a bouncer there were incidents where taichi practitioners took out several opponents and damn hard too. Also an SAS trooper going down to a judo student hehe. A lot more depends on the person and how they react to a real situation than what training they did beforehand. Some of the people advocating hard training are quite fat I notice and I would bet too slow to chase many down as their opponent ran for better weapons. Some of the "soft" devotees are also that by appearance too, but maybe that is more appropriate?

Learn it all, learn how to be fast, how to be slow, how to move a lot and to move a little, how to be strong and powerful, how to be soft and subtle, how to be obvious and how to be deceptive, how to be kind enough to be able to disarm your grandmother safely, and how to be nasty. It is called being complete martial artists and not a devotee of one type of training to the detriment of tactical choices.

Lastly I would like to recount something that happened at a Soke class in 1990. I was training with Kenji Mukai, who was shodan still at the time. As much as I liked him he had been a Roy student and so I often gave him a few wake-up calls in training. Soke nudged Nagato Sensei my way and I got this message "You know you have power, do you need to practice it so much? When you have subtlety aswell as power then no-one will be able to beat you."
Kind of obvious really.

Posted on: 2006/9/20 10:32
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Re: Healthcare jobs in Japan
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Hi Ben,
I looked into this while in Japan myself and there are some issues. To work in a Japanese licensed setting you have to have a 1st kyu pass in Japanese - quite a high standard.
There are however some jobs available with the American bases and I think also at their embassy. I don't know about other embassies (the Australian one is not worth anything to anybody though) so check them out too.

Posted on: 2006/6/4 22:05
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