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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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Hi Greg,

Interesting post.

Just for clarification, when I said:
Quote:
With this comes responsibility for our training, skillsets, and actions with each other.

I am talking about us students being adults (and acting like it), not Soke's responsibility toward us. Soke is zero, and therefore has no obligations to us whatsoever. It's our responsibility to "steal" the knowledge that he shares, and then act accordingly with it, in both a training sense and as adults.

With the fear of thread-drift here, what do you define as real budo? I see a lot of people generalize by spliting and defining "real" budo from sports-minded budo. Yet the definitions are too black and white to me. MMA may be sports-based, but many of their methods work equally well on the street. Can a cop who comes from a sports-based martial art not have the feeling of real budo when he detains and controls a suspect, just as much as a student of the Bujinkan who uses onikudaki/ude garami in competition with another opponent to see if he has the timing and angling to apply it right? Egos aside, are they not similar?

If one definition of real budo is to survive, then both examples have congruency in eventually meeting that understanding. What makes it Bujinkan then? Soke saying it, or his students understanding his feeling, flow and strategies, then being able to apply them in life and training?

Thanks for your thoughts on this - I look forward to your input.

Jeff

Posted on: 2005/5/8 7:02
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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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"With the fear of thread-drift here, what do you define as real budo?"

I resist the urge to drone on about what I think real budo is, and how it differs from sports MA. This is one of those subjects that every male seems to have a responsibility to already know. Kinda like when we were young and just began driving - we all thought we were good drivers. I have yet to meet a young person who says "oh, I can operate the car alright, but I'm too young to actually be a good driver".

There are those who post on Kutaki who are desperately seeking validiation for their desire to be competitive fighters and if I go off on this subject, I will start a fight on some level. We all have to find our own path. Each will be as individual as the person themselves.

I see budo as much like a pachinko machine. Budo encompasses the whole journey of the ball, from the begining, throughout the bouncing around, to the final entry into the little hole. Sports martial arts is just the ball in the hole.

Spec ops, CIA and all the other agencies that engage in various "activities" throughout the world only do a short amount of hand-to-hand CQC. If they have to use it they've probably made some very seriously bad decisions or blew it on some other level. This is a type of real budo, albeit rather dark.

Yet someone in sports MA spends viturally all their enegery working on skills and strategies to win an actual fight, a fight they may have *willingly* entered into. Sports martial artists, in my mind, only see the fight and completely miss the rest of the picture.

"Mano e mano" as it exists in nature, is deeply rooted in *sexual* competitiveness, the quest to mate with more females than the next male. For animals, it's natural. For humans to behave this way is very childish and very primitive.

Yeah, see.. I went and did it....Gonna be hell to pay now...

Posted on: 2005/5/8 8:00
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Reputation or Responsibility
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I wonder if the issue is reputation or is it responsibility. I have over the years had great instructors in the Bujinkan who were adamant about us training with other dojos, attending Bujinkan seminars and and other arts (akijutsu) and were insistent about how important it was to spend time in Japan every year if possible. They were always happy to spar, often to our regret, and if they did not know something they would tell you and find out. And oh yes my direct teacher was not a big rank giver and rarely mentioned his own. In the end when rank did come it did not seem really important.

To me that is part of being a responsible teacher and admitting to ones humanity. I have no problem saying I don't know or admitting when I am mistaken. Pride is a dangerous thing and blinds you in conflict of any kind. If you teach you owe it to your students to do the best job possible, to ask others when you don't know the answer yourself and to continually improve yourself. Also, in my eyes to continually look at other arts to see how what is being taught can be applied to what might happen. That way they are exposed to the broadest potential set of applications.

So is that being concerned about ones reputation or assumming the responsibility that goes along with teaching this or any other art or for that matter teaching in general.

I have not seen a lot of the behavior mentioned in this post so I guess I have been lucky.

Posted on: 2005/5/8 8:03
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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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Mr. Askew,
I appreciate your bluntness and agree with most of your points. I have been told by no less than two teachers of koryu that they would not teach people who currently train in the Bujinkan because it is not even proper to associate with reasonable people who associate with "kooks" (my word choice). Ouch! But I didn't disagree and avoid kooks myself whenever possible even when "they are us" (to paraphrase Pogo).

Mr. Marcec,
I am sorry to hear that you have left the Bujinkan. I trained briefly with you at the 2002 Tai Kai and found you to be exceptionally competent and a nice guy too. It's our loss!

Posted on: 2005/5/8 13:14
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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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I think (in my own inexperience) that it boils down to this:

Competing, sporting events, sparring, all of that... is not necessary, not even for self-defense. They can all HELP to train a person to be a better martial artist, but are not singular in this regard nor are they necessary for such. I'm still a young guy, and so I don't mind sparring or even competing, especially against people from other arts. I think Alan Witty-sensei had it right -- we never know what we might have to go up against someday, and so it makes sense to think about and prepare for what people from other arts know and might use against us.

Posted on: 2005/5/8 14:23
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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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At the risk of sounding flippant... I would ask: "Why should I care that other people think that the Bujinkan is a waste of time, populated by 'kooks'?"

As far as I am concerned if I think that this is a waste of time, has a lousy grading system, is filled up with kooks and other jerks then I am perfectly free to toddle off and find a budo path that suits me better.

It just so happens that I haven't found anything that suits me anything like as well as the Bujinkan. So if someone or some people from outside the Bujinkan (or even some within it) think that what we do is lousy then I feel quite relaxed about ignoring them.

The most basic question to ask here is: "Does this affect my training?" If it does then you should look to a way of resolving the problem. If it does not then... just keep training and allow the other people to waste their time and energy arguing about how our grades don't mean anything etc.

On another plane... the fact that some other people think what I do is rubbish is excellent. They will undoubtedly be much less careful if they ever think that they want to attack me, which is only to my advantage. Think about it...

2 cents duly delivered
yours
Justyn

Posted on: 2005/5/8 17:14
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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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Quote:
Sensei did not try to stop me from fighting in fact he encouraged me to do it. He only asked that I do not bring shame to the Bujinkan name by not carrying myself properly.


This sounds very interesting. Could you elaborate on the talks or would that be too personal?

Quote:
Or how about Noguchi Shihan trying to teach the Gikan Ryu???


HEHEH having been to his Gikan-ryû training.....

Quote:
Instead we have all kinds of magical talk and very few skilled instructors no matter what their rank is.


Isn't there the saying "talk the talk, walk the walk" that could be applied to this? We should try to be true to ourselves, true about what we are. What we are, we are. What we know, we know. Outside of that - study one can, better maybe come? We are (most of us) still early on on our paths, way to go...

Good points arising from this all-around, yes!

Posted on: 2005/5/8 17:15
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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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Quote:
As far as I am concerned if I think that this is a waste of time, has a lousy grading system, is filled up with kooks and other jerks then I am perfectly free to toddle off and find a budo path that suits me better.


That's the natural way! Why would anyone hang onto anything that he/she does not like/get anything from...?

As for reputation - that we might indeed do ourselves as the saying goeth about the "one rotten apple in the basket"... Here, again, I point towards the "co-operation of teachers"-discussion of sometime ago (and no! still not building a personal power base ).

There are "bad" students and teachers in every MA IMHO and they tend to be more easily noticed than the good ones, but if no-one gives a rats a**e about it inside that particular MA, then by doing this nothing we are (to the outside atleast) presenting an "it's ok" attitude.... Democracy, right?

Posted on: 2005/5/8 17:42
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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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Mr. Olby,
Let me be crystal clear, none of the disparagements I referred to in my post were directed against Sensei or the effectiveness of his martial arts, they were directed against folks who did not comport themselves well as people and as representatives of the Bujinkan in the world.

While I agree that the opinions of ignorant outsiders to Bujinkan training should be de-valued accordingly, I certainly don't think it's prudent to ignore your next-door neighbor when he informs you that there's a drunk hobo in your back yard peeing in your potato salad.

Posted on: 2005/5/8 19:43
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Re: Bujnkan Reputation
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Mr. Askew,

Thank you for creating this thread. It is by far the best post I have read on Kutaki in a long time.

I have experienced a lot of discrimination and ridicule from other martial artists when I reveal that I am student of the Bujinkan. I have experienced this from Japanese and American martial artists alike.

There is practically no way to convince these people that the Bujinkan today is not the smoke & mirrors ninjutsu fad of the 1980's. Those that can see beyond this sterotype are still turned off by the high dan ranks, the ninja dot coms, the video correspondance training, the lack of standardization, etc.

In today's society of acquisition and personal profit, Hatsumi Sensei's egoless attitude towards his school's reputation is hardly understood, and even frowned upon!

The only way to change this is to accept that it is true.

Posted on: 2005/5/8 20:09
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