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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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The war against the Ego has indeed its many subtleties. We often hear Sensei speak of "not wining or losing, but living", "throw away your techniques", "don´t fight". All of these statements point to a state of mind that has trancended the limitations of the Ego thru years of training, much of which afforded real danger, real Shinken Kata. If one harbors attatchment to ones life or apperance he will never be a real budoka. This thread seems to have falen on the worst trap that the path sets before us, the one against ourselves. We are all responsible for our own training, to test or not test what we know. Our instructors are there just for that "to instruct", but never will they act on our behalf. And if anybody wonders if their instructor is any good, just look at Sensei and see to it that even if he isn´t a carbon copy that he is training like Sensei is teaching. Any doubts left, try to hit him, REALY. Anyone that places himself in the position of instructor should understand that at one time or another someone is gonna doubt his expertise. But this is a very base level of training, what Soke is teatching us is so far beyond all this bickering that I would hope he doesn´t have the disapointment of reading this thread. In all sicerity I would ask that we all take a very carefull look at how what we say and do reflects on the Bujinkan as a whole, on Soke and on the memory of Takamatsu and all the Sokes that have gone before. Disagreement for the sake of disagreement is disrespect, yet RESPECT is at the core of the righteous heart of the Bujinkan.

John Holladay
Bujinkan Manaus, Brazil

Posted on: 2006/8/16 7:36
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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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Its easy to step away and control a dumb atacker, but the story is all toguether different with an experienced fighter and the only way to prepare for such an encouter in my way of seeing it is to add some rather hardcore (no pads or gloves and some level of contact)sparing to our training.

John Holladay
Hi John, you have a good point there but I will tell you something, I have been attackd here in Hungary 3 times, only once did I really have to do something VERY powerfull. What was that? The most powerfull thing I ever had to do in a REAL attack was not kill the guy trying to put that blade into my chest! I only controlled the space and took them down! So they broke their elbows on the way down, not my problem, hehehe Would I walk away from a conflict? I do everyday, could I kill a man? If I really really really really have to! You cannot imagine what can happen with muscle memory!

MY LAST COMENT IS THIS! Dr, Hatsumi did many martial arts at high levels and said he found Takamatsu sensei because he finally found what works, I believe him!

John no disrespect meant to you, it is just my thoughts!

David Holt

Posted on: 2006/8/16 8:11
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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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Hi David,
Not for one second think that I don´t trust Sensei, but if you pay close attention to what you said even if Sensei´s training with Takamatsu didn´t involve some very dangerous situations (like having someone at the level of Takamatsu attacking with a live blade), which it did, you cant remove his previous martial experience to the totality of Sensei´s experience. Don´t get me wrong, I think Sensei´s aproach to transmiting the art is nothing short of genious, because he leaves everyone with the responsibility to learn, test and apply what he is transmiting. Now following Sensei´s own advice (if you limit yourselves to what I´m teaching you´ll die in a real fight - I don´t remember which Tai Kai he said that, but I promise I´m not making it up) we have to read between the lines. I think what he means is that we have to find our own expression and our own methodology to teach ourselves what he is simply transmiting. I have several students that came from other Martial disciplines, some at high levels and others beginners, and I´ve had the opportunity to test our techniques with "experienced" fighters, they do work, but not the way we think of them when were training against predetermined attacks. Muscle memory is the key, but my only argument towards sparring (and I actualy mean kumite in the original Budo sense of the word) is that until one has trained that way there will be many gaps in ones understanding not of the techniques but of the Sabaki, Kukan, and Maai of real combat.
Gambate Kudosai!!!
John Holladay
Bujinkan Manaus - Brazil

Posted on: 2006/8/19 4:20
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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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This got me thinking about the story Soke told in one of his publications regarding walking with Takamatsu late at night after practice. I may not have the details exact as he told it, but he said Takamatsu suddenly started attacking him with a live sword. In fact, I think Takamatsu told him to catch the blade, not just evade it.

Soke didn't really say how well he did, just that he believes he didn't get cut because Takamatsu was such an expert swordsman. He didn't credit his own abilities, he credited his teacher's ability with the sword. In fact, he probably failed at times, which is why he credits his teacher's abilities as the saving grace to being cut.

This got me thinking that really it wasn't so much a demonstration of Hatsumi's muto dori as it was more of a demonstration of Takamatsu's level as teacher. It was, IMO, Takamatsu's way to show Hatsumi that he needed to trust him - even with his life. No matter how seemingly dangerous the training was (or would be), Hatsumi needed to trust his teacher and just keep going.

Oh, how the kyojutsu of lessons are so multi-leveled...

Posted on: 2006/8/19 4:34
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I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, or in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. ~ Thomas Jefferson
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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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Just one more thought on kumite. For a long time Soke was speaking of Kurai Dori. This concept of "positioning", or of our relationship to enviornment, opponent, our own kamae, etc. also implies a positioning to our own and our opponent´s mental and emotional states, something that kumite training allows is a glimpse of this "world", this is unfortunately not the case with uke/tori training. We realy only begin to grasp these ideas that Soke has been talking about, like openings in the oponents mind, and how to "take his spirit" in a real or at least semi-real encounter. Now PLEASE, this implies that years of regular training have elapsed for the sake of the safety of everyone involved. I do have some of my more experienced students spar, but just to the point where they realize how much more they have to train before they can apply what they are learning. As of now I don´t have anybody in my group whom I´d sugest Shinken Kata. But as a Jr. Instructor I feel it´s my responsibility to train in every way possible to assure my students they are getting instruction from someone that UNDERSTANDS what he is teaching. I capitalize "understands" because understanding implies experience.

John Holladay
Bujinkan Manaus - Brazil

Posted on: 2006/8/19 4:40
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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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johntah wrote:
Just one more thought on kumite. For a long time Soke was speaking of Kurai Dori. This concept of "positioning", or of our relationship to enviornment, opponent, our own kamae, etc. also implies a positioning to our own and our opponent´s mental and emotional states, something that kumite training allows is a glimpse of this "world", this is unfortunately not the case with uke/tori training. We realy only begin to grasp these ideas that Soke has been talking about, like openings in the oponents mind, and how to "take his spirit" in a real or at least semi-real encounter.
------------------------------------------------------------
A very important point was explained here....I think.

I've found that once one gains a good trusting relationship with one's training partner, both you and he/she are able to perform taijutsu in a very dynamic and changing way...you might start out as uke, and deliver an attack, but before the tori can complete their response, you counter-attack, forcing the tori to change, and of course, once tori attacks you again, quicker(not faster) and harder, you are obliged to counter and attack once more.....quicker(not faster) and perhaps harder.....if and when everything loses momentum, just start the "technique" over.....

I've found these little experiences very helpful for developing certain things....

Just as important, however, in my opinion, is sparring, on a less frequent basis, with someone whom you do not know, and have never seen before....it can change things......
-----------------------------------------------------------
johntah wrote:
if you limit yourselves to what I´m teaching you´ll die in a real fight - I don´t remember which Tai Kai he said that, but I promise I´m not making it up
-----------------------------------------------------------

This point is so important, I'm speechless.....

seriously......

Posted on: 2006/8/19 5:58
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Please be careful not to have preconceptions, and to always remember the idea of truth-and-falsehood.
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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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noname wrote:
I've found that once one gains a good trusting relationship with one's training partner, both you and he/she are able to perform taijutsu in a very dynamic and changing way...you might start out as uke, and deliver an attack, but before the tori can complete their response, you counter-attack, forcing the tori to change, and of course, once tori attacks you again, quicker(not faster) and harder, you are obliged to counter and attack once more.....quicker(not faster) and perhaps harder.....if and when everything loses momentum, just start the "technique" over.....
-------------------------------------------------------------

Let me just clarify, that IMHO, to do this kind of thing SAFELY, both/all involved must be familiar on a personal level with the boundaries of the ukemi of both/all invovled.....it wouldn't be very nice to perform an elbow-breaking maneuver if your partner is unable to follow it and as a result gets his arm broken.....

save that for the real fights....

Let's train safely....most of the time.....

Posted on: 2006/8/19 6:06
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Please be careful not to have preconceptions, and to always remember the idea of truth-and-falsehood.
-- Hatsum
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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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A small bit of my background will explain what I have experienced in my training. I started in the Bujinkan in 1987 when I was 16 years old. I had trained in other MA since the age of 9 years and had done quite well. When I say my 1st Booj instructor move I was hooked. This person had speed, power, flexibility and raw ferocity that seemed to defy reality. I began training the next class. We would condition ourselves by smashing shinai into our bodies to build up resistance to strikes we would hit anything hard. We would bare knuckle spar all the time. We would have people come to the dojo to challenge us even. We would boast all over the city that we were the best. By the time I was 20 I had had countless challenges from high ranking students from every type of Martial Arts that were in the city. I never lost. Why? I had no fear. I would never quit no matter how hurt I was. My body was a finely tuned machine for fighting and I tested it all the time.
If you are still with me here is what all of that got me.
In 1991 I went to the Texas Taikai (my 1st ever) and was blown away by sensei and others. I had also been extremely disappointed by what I saw too. I remember Mr. Severe doing a demo with his students and can attest to his skill and ferocity. I like it he trained like I did and as I thought everyone should. I saw others that I felt were not worthy of the rank that they held.
Then I met a person who shed some light on what I had seen.
Her name is Abi Allen and I will be grateful to her forever. She told me that I could learn a lot from everyone there and that I should not be closed to others. I was young and stupid (I can say it I was) and did not really get it.
Sorry that this is long winded by I do have a point.
She came to Canada for my wedding and a seminar and I had the opportunity to train with her. She tried to teach me to open up but could see that I was a closed door. She then told me to show her what I had. She then proceeded to beat me like a dog for the next hour. No matter what I did she was better than me. After an hour I was exhausted and could barley move. She asked me how I felt and I told her I was beaten. She said well now we can get started. She proceeded to teach me sanshin for the next few hours and as I learned to move properly she talked to me about me, her, life, Hatsumi, ect...

I have trained the way she has instructed me from then on and have been growing ever since. What I have learned is that I am an exponentially better "fighter" than I was before but more importantly I am a better person. I do not regret my earlier training although it caused numerous bone and joint problems and I ended up with a Kidney transplant due to the severe training. But when I teach my students I train as Hatsumi and the Shihan do. The skills and methods have been tested under conditions we can just barley imagine. I have learned to trust those that have gone before me and have suffered so that I do not have to. Instead of trying to chase reality scenarios do the techniques exactly as shown by your teachers. If you do this then the fighting part will take care of itself.

Just my personal experience

Brad V

Posted on: 2006/9/8 17:52
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Re: How does someone test what they know?
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Hi Brad,

we were all young and stupid at one point, some of us are not so young anymore but still stupid ;).


Good post.

Posted on: 2006/9/8 21:39
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