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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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I do like your approach Darren! Our Art is not a one size fits all thing, it is very individual and we must always treat students as individuals.The attempt to "standardize" is too often an attempt to set fixed limits and boundaries. I don't think those exist in our Art, the "limits" and "boundaries" are things we ourselves impose and most often they are far more restrictive then would otherwise be true.
Marty, I completely agree that it is our own control of OUR attitude that is important, We must retain the freedom to develop as is right for each of us as individuals. No one can impose a "system" on you, you must find your own way while being completely honest with yourself. Training is a very individual thing and an instructor can only point out certain possibilities, can only help you find what is already within you. He/She is an aid, not a dictator. You must make your own choices and be willing to accept what comes as a result because it will be yours!

Posted on: 2010/10/6 23:33
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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I think the word limitation is used incorrectly here. For most practitioners having a standard wouldn't be a limitation. It would actually be a bar set that would increase the ability of those working towards it. As the Bujinkan has no 'limitations' most people follow their own and for the most part those are set too low. People are lazy and the bujinkan let's people get away with laziness often.

Posted on: 2010/10/7 1:48
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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Quote:

benkyoka wrote:
I think the word limitation is used incorrectly here. For most practitioners having a standard wouldn't be a limitation. It would actually be a bar set that would increase the ability of those working towards it. As the Bujinkan has no 'limitations' most people follow their own and for the most part those are set too low. People are lazy and the bujinkan let's people get away with laziness often.


This is an interesting point. Laziness becomes easy when the teacher/coach/etc is also not held to any standards. I believe when you take out any real challenge to uphold a standard, you end up with a social club.

And how many dojos, seminars, etc have you seen that seem to be more like social events than challenging, educational experiences that push the perceived limits of it's attendees? Yeah, quite a lot these days...

When there's nothing pushing upwards, gravity wins every time...

Posted on: 2010/10/7 1:58
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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I guess that as long as you set impossibly high standards for yourself but strive towards them regardless, you can't go far wrong.

It certainly seems to be the case that lack of effort is evident in poor exponents, whilst there appear to be virtually none who work their backsides off but still end up crap.

I appreciate the comments about my idea, and of course realised that other would have tried it before, and the points about relevance 5 years later would have been borne in mind, just as it is in my professional capacity as an auditor of training compliance in the pharmaceutical industry. Records must be kept up to date if they are to have any value.

Also, I am not trying to tie everything down into a tidy package, after a couple of decades of being involved with this art I am more than aware that this will never be possible, especially when no one at the higher echelons can agree what is the correct way to do anything in the first place.

I just want to have something as a guide, to see at a glance how I am doing and how people I may train are doing, rather than do it all by general impression of a persons ability. All those techniqes are there for a reason, and the likes of myself can only go so far when the only kata we can earnestly say we can perform any time any place any where without stopping to think about it, are the kihon happn no kata and sanshin no kata.

A kind of 'what shall we do tonight?' guide if you like, or a 'what does this guy need to work on before I grade him next?' etc


Posted on: 2010/10/7 8:22
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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Quote:

ElfTengu wrote:
...
I just want to have something as a guide, to see at a glance how I am doing and how people I may train are doing, rather than do it all by general impression of a persons ability. All those techniqes are there for a reason, and the likes of myself can only go so far when the only kata we can earnestly say we can perform any time any place any where without stopping to think about it, are the kihon happn no kata and sanshin no kata.


I don't find the 'how I'm doing' part to be really useful, because, really - how would I know? My [current] personal approach to studying that book is to try and find the lesson the kata presents or as you say, it's reason for being there.

I start by trying to follow the description, then by comparing that with what I've been shown, then attempting to identify the basics and go on from there. I pay attention to what was in the preceding kata and those that follow.

Based on past experience, when I look at the same one next year, I will see a different lesson, different basics, or not. We always, like the REM song says, stand in the place where we are. Because I want to continue expanding my horizons, I don't believe Musan for example, will have nothing further to teach me. Next year, I will be a different person studying Musan.

I guess I think that, apart from just training and studying the movement, nothing else is that helpful. Trying to apply metrics is just an exercise to keep our minds occupied.

Posted on: 2010/10/12 1:44
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
Kutaki Postmaster
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To be honest I wouldn't get too tied up in the metrics, they would only be for me to have a look at what I haven't studied for a while, or what I still need to learn. I would only be adding 'scores' (for want of a better term) to avoid making it a tick box exercise, which I know fails in industry, because saying that a person is 'trained' does not address currency or quality of their training, and does not necessarily guarantee competency in a measurable manner.

In the pharmaceutical industry you need these details in place to stop people being killed by badly manufactured drugs, and I appreciate that in budo it is a luxury, but I am not convinced that it is not worthwhile to track what people are doing in a more specific manner.

Whether I can ever actually be arsed to get around to doing any of this is another thing altogether though! :D

Posted on: 2010/10/12 22:09
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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Quote:

I just want to have something as a guide, to see at a glance how I am doing and how people I may train are doing, rather than do it all by general impression of a persons ability.


I don't think there's anything wrong with having a sort of "living checklist" that grows and changes as you do. I'm sure a lot of us have them, even if they're not written down.

Quote:

All those techniqes are there for a reason, and the likes of myself can only go so far when the only kata we can earnestly say we can perform any time any place any where without stopping to think about it, are the kihon happn no kata and sanshin no kata.


I think sanshin and kihon happo have enough material in them for people to practice/study for a LONG time, and being able to do/show them all really well is something to be very proud of - and something that, in my experience, isn't terribly common.

Everybody can do the sanshin and kihon happo to some degree and many people can do them reasonably well, but when someone does them really well - I mean they REALLY nail them consistently over and over again no matter who they're working with and without having to resort to made up variations to cover failures in their basics - it just makes my jaw drop, puts me in a kind of awe I can't even describe and makes me want to practice more and more and more and more and more. It seriously takes my breath away. After more than 15 years of training, a bunch of trips to Japan and hoards of seminars, I've met a total of 2 people who did that for me (one is the teacher of the other).

As for how far you can go, I'm willing to bet you'll go a lot farther knowing a few techniques REALLY well than knowing a lot of techniques poorly. That was certainly true back in feudal Japan and I think it's still true now. Knowing lots of techniques poorly doesn't make one "real" in any meaningful sense.

Posted on: 2010/10/14 0:02
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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Excellent post. The kihon happo is the alpha and the omega of taijutsu.

Posted on: 2010/10/14 0:10
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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Quote:

jhealy wrote:

I don't think there's anything wrong with having a sort of "living checklist" that grows and changes as you do. I'm sure a lot of us have them, even if they're not written down.

I think sanshin and kihon happo have enough material in them for people to practice/study for a LONG time, and being able to do/show them all really well is something to be very proud of - and something that, in my experience, isn't terribly common.

Everybody can do the sanshin and kihon happo to some degree and many people can do them reasonably well, but when someone does them really well - I mean they REALLY nail them consistently over and over again no matter who they're working with and without having to resort to made up variations to cover failures in their basics - it just makes my jaw drop, puts me in a kind of awe I can't even describe and makes me want to practice more and more and more and more and more. It seriously takes my breath away. After more than 15 years of training, a bunch of trips to Japan and hoards of seminars, I've met a total of 2 people who did that for me (one is the teacher of the other).

As for how far you can go, I'm willing to bet you'll go a lot farther knowing a few techniques REALLY well than knowing a lot of techniques poorly. That was certainly true back in feudal Japan and I think it's still true now. Knowing lots of techniques poorly doesn't make one "real" in any meaningful sense.


Yes, I can't argue with any of that. I also can't say that my limited repertoire is anywhere near jaw-dropping! :D

I suppose my position is analogous to the fact that I speak English fairly passably compared to the average speaker, I try to improve the way I use the English I already know, but feel that I should still also be constantly looking to improve my vocabulary and testing the currency of my ability at any given time by doing crosswords, watching vocabulary based TV quiz shows, and albeit poorly, trying to get my ideas across to other people on internet forums. :)

Posted on: 2010/10/14 4:28
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Re: Reading List and DVDs
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Quote:

I also can't say that my limited repertoire is anywhere near jaw-dropping! :D


Ya, mine neither.

Posted on: 2010/10/14 5:43
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