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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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Quote:
take the principle that "the knee should bend in the same direction as the foot (of the same leg) is pointing." Or, stated differently and in terms of a common problem, "don't let your knees cave in"


In this case the principle is alignment, the expression the form .
Could be wrong

Posted on: 2007/8/31 23:46
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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Quote:

In this case the principle is alignment, the expression the form.


Alignment is really a concept, not a principle. An alignment principle is the specification of a particular alignment of particular parts for a given set of circumstances.

As for expression, if you express a principle in words, then you use words. If you express the principle in movement, then you use your body. There are different forms of expression.

I don't mean to nit-pick, but I really don't buy the idea that the principles of movement cannot be meaningfully expressed in words or learned intellectually. Of course, intellectual understanding alone isn't worth a whole lot if one is trying to be a martial artist, but it can be a good starting point for people with certain learning styles.

John

Posted on: 2007/9/1 0:43
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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I like this analogy but I'm sure someone will find it's faults:

In physical chemistry, we were taught that we could derive a solution to almost any problem with our calculus and algebra so we didn't need to memorize more than a handful of equations and rules after learning the complete curriculum

Is this directly applicable to kata practice in Budo taijutsu?

The above example is pretty typical of how human beings organize and pass on the knowledge and skills in diverse are areas of study so you tell me.

This is why I think that it should be common sense that if you understand the underlying principles, you have a grasp of that subject. Understanding takes lots of correct practice. I invite anyone to please point out any subject of study where this is not so.

In Japanese budo, the kata is a very sophisticated unit of transmission. If it's taught by a teacher in an unbroken transmission-line and learned by a hard working, and gifted student, it can convey sophisticated kinesthetic knowledge to every sense and supposedly can connect the student directly to the past (cavemen even, just like beer).

The written word and the moving image are much more limited than kata because they lack the data-rich information conveyed by the senses.

Again, I am curious how many people think the Bujinkan represents a special case where the above conditions simply don't apply?

Posted on: 2007/9/1 4:21
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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Adrian,


At the risk of sounding trite or even dismissive( which i assure you isn't my intent ), i would answer all of your questions by saying, quite simply: don't worry about it. Seriously. That's not just my opinion, either. Just keep training and maybe after forty years or so you'll be able to answer these questions yourself.

And then hopefully you can tell me!

The analogy i was told( by someone of many, many years involved in budo ): asking such questions is like a child asking questions that can only be answered when they become an adult.


All the best,



Mark Spada

Posted on: 2007/9/1 5:19
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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I see your analogy and raise you another analogy.

I don't see training in the bujinkan as learning a physical science. Rather, it is more akin to learning to play music.

Soke is teaching to the masters of their musical Genres. Most of us are still working on our playing skills with our instruments. We still need to practice scales and learn to play by ear so that we can create beautiful music. There are many principles of music to learn until they become second nature, and then we can understand what Soke is teaching.

Marty

Posted on: 2007/9/1 12:00
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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Hi all,

thank you friends for helping me learn!
I will explain below...

Quote:

mrdunsky wrote:
(...)
I don't see training in the bujinkan as learning a physical science. Rather, it is more akin to learning to play music.

Soke is teaching to the masters of their musical Genres. Most of us are still working on our playing skills with our instruments. We still need to practice scales and learn to play by ear so that we can create beautiful music. There are many principles of music to learn until they become second nature, and then we can understand what Soke is teaching.

Marty


I really like this analogy to music!
Here is the story... Last night, I wanted to seriously answer to the original post since I was prompted by the statement:

Quote:

shinoobie
So you know what principles are, and you know that you can't learn them intellectually. To discuss them in words is meaningless, and has all the potential in the world to lead you down the wrong path. I can only name one principle of Bujinkan budo taijutsu that I know to be true, and it's about learning the art and not the art itself.

"There is no shortcut."


I had agreed with this only partially last night... so I wanted to follow up

Now, please bear with me for a moment..
John du Pre Gauntt posted this link to the fantastic text (http://www.happobiken.com/seminar2.htm) thanks a lot, John! This text was really describing in words many principles that I could verify as true form my own experience and added quite a lot of deeper insight...

I thought, it may be "meaningless to discuss" in detail, but just to enumerate the principles may in fact be useful for the person who asked.
So, if I can do it at least partially (to the limited extent to which I understand the principles...), why not to try? Maybe it will benefit somebody; inspire to explore some topics...?

I never tried this before in the context of bujinkan. I saw it done for other disciplines that I studied (electronics, logic, philosophy, swimming, stretching...) and it was a useful learning tool. Even for some other esoteric arts, such as tai chi or bagua zhang, there are books that discuss the principles, I dare say that I even understood parts of them (only AFTER a lot of training with a great teacher though but still the discussion in books extended my understanding...). So why not to try for bujinkan?

So... I wrote down quite a few of principles, re-playing various feelings, lessons, insights and (mis)understandings that I store inside (especially form various classes with my teacher but also from many other encounters)... Then I copy/pasted this to compose a post to follow up what Mr. Nate Hallum wrote (quoted above). I wanted to show that such enumeration is useful. Then, I looked at those principles again and I realized that he was right! I noticed, for example that for most of the principles that I wrote down:
- there are cases when you may choose not to apply the principle "for a while",
- they are layers after layers of understanding of each of those principles that are building (slowly!) over time when you study with a good teacher,
- principles are interdependent and deeper understanding of one of them automatically deepens understanding of the others. Then they seem to converge into something that cannot and perhaps should not be analyzed!

It was late at night, I was sitting on the floor of my little home dojo typing and thinking. Nice jazz playing in the background (kcsm.org stream). Then I realized that this is like jazz, exactly as Mr. Marty pointed out: each of those musicians have really great education and know all the principles of music. Most of them are actually also great composers! But when they play, they do not think about those principles any more. They are way above the state where they would have to. These musicians ARE the Jazz.
Then my login to kutaki.org timed out. So I had to re-login in order to post . I was tired and by mistake I lost the above-mentioned post that I had been working on... I took it as a sign that I need to think about it more! I choose to go to sleep instead of composing a post again that night.

So Mr. Nate was right, but at the same time it was not useless for me to try to discuss those principles in words. I learned something!
Well, one of the principles that I wrote down and that I have found always applicable is:
"Be always aware of kyo-jitsu tenkan"!!
I will repeat again: the way I see it, Mr. Nate was right and I was right although I tried to contradict him... If this entire kyo-kitsu thing does not make logical sense it is OK, it is not supposed to make sense! (IMHO)

if you got that far, thanks again for your attention !
please comment

Mariusz

Posted on: 2007/9/1 17:32
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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There are things that are expensive to learn in terms of system resources of the brain. Movement is one of these things.

"Don't punch, move to where the punch is."
"This is a walking exercise."
"Stop trying to DO something."

These are things that I hear that I would identify as principles of the art. Without the presence of my teacher and the context through which they were said, they are very likely to be interpreted through the prejudices and filters in place of the reader. And on that matter, if you were looking for things that you could already understand and process then you wouldn't really be learning anything, would you? We can reference what we know, but we can't really learn anything new about movement in words simply because we're not designed to do it that way. Words as reference, yes. Words as a movement learning tool, not really.

I stopped reading "Understand, Good, Play!" because of this phenomenon. I read many things in that book and I was very excited to hear the great wisdom of the Boss himself. I found after a short period of time that without being there, I was simply reading the empty shell of another person's experience; a shrimp's shell, with no meat in it. I mean no offense to Ben Cole but it was nearly useless to me.

This is the way I feel about learning principles in word form. The way to learn all of them is to go to class. It isn't about learning styles, it's about being human. Humans learn movement through the movement of other humans, not their words. You may claim to learn things intellectually and without movement, but be careful... You just might respond intellectually (and without movement) when the fist is coming at you.

Posted on: 2007/9/2 14:55
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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Quote:

Shinoobie wrote:

I stopped reading "Understand, Good, Play!" because of this phenomenon. I read many things in that book and I was very excited to hear the great wisdom of the Boss himself. I found after a short period of time that without being there, I was simply reading the empty shell of another person's experience; a shrimp's shell, with no meat in it. I mean no offense to Ben Cole but it was nearly useless to me.


Have you ever been talking to a teenager, trying to help them see the error of their ways, when they say "I know!", or "I am doing that" (when obviously they don't and they aren't). Words from the Lips of Buddha can't help those who won't hear them. Understand, Good, Play does a good job of representing ben's interpretation of what Soke said, but to have any real understanding of the meaning you would have to be hearing the Japanese, and know the situation in which it is being used. Those of us who have heard him say many of the things in the book have some understanding (albiet on a very low level), but if you haven't been there, and don't know the situation in which they were used - it is a curiosity.

I have written down notes that Soke's interpreters said when I was in Japan that made no sense to me at the time. Years later I read the notes, combined it with something else I heard and have had moments of insight. Words have to be combined with an experience, and the listener has to be ready to hear them to be beneficial in training.

In the words of Diana Ross, "You can't hurry Love, You just have to wait, Love don't come easy, it's a game of give and take". Substitute Budo for love and you have one of the many "principles".

Marty

Posted on: 2007/9/2 17:33
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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Just thought I'd put in my two cets worth.

If you want to know what principles are and what ones there are specifically in martial arts I would reccomend this book; The Book of Martial Power by Steven J. Pearlman.

While this is not specific to the Bujinkan, it is a worthwile read and will at the least give you some ideas and things to look at or for in your training.

That being said, you can only understand the principles through training. Getting things on an intellectual level is easy compared to being able to apply them, and application is where it counts.

Once you have learned to apply them, you must forget them just like everything else. If you get bogged down in the intellectual process of taijutsu you will never truely excell. You need to lose the mind and let things happen and allow them to be shaped by a true freedom of expression, much like a great artist or musician.

My thoughts,
Jim Delorto

Posted on: 2007/9/4 10:41
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Re: OK, so what exactly are "principles"?
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adie wrote:
One thing I've heard a LOT of during my years in the Bujinkan is that "it's not about the technique, it's about the 'principles.'"

Or another one: "Forget the kata and take the principles."

I am starting to wonder what exactly these "principles" really are. Here are some things that may be interesting to discuss:

<snip>

Please, nothing smarta$$ like "the pointy end goes in the other guy" or anything which is so vague and obvious as to be useless.

<snip>

...How do you know that you have "got" the principles and are not just fooling yourself that you have it, while in reality just having your own idea of what the "principle" is?

Adrian Hendry


I have a completely different take on the original topic here, so I thought I would throw it out for everyone:

I don't think Adrian is looking for a shortcut -- or to understand intellectually what his body doesn't know. My guess is that he is more looking for someone to try and explain the "mysterious principles" that everyone loves to go on and on about.

For example -

People like to say, "The kata aren't important, just the "principles" - that is all we should be training on, as that is what is alive while the kata is just "dead"".

So, this begs a couple questions:

First off, how do you "know" what the principle is that is being taught in the kata. Most people throw the kata away almost immediately (normally because they can't do it very well) - and move directly into henka land. They then use the "principles are the only important parts" excuse for their move.

So... when you talk about Koku, what is the principle that is taught? I have heard some answer that it is about presenting a target and then moving to a space where you can counter from. So... is bobbing and weaving in boxing proof that boxers understand the principles of "koku"? If so, there isn't much depth to "koku" then, as any local boxing club can teach you the "principles behind koku" by your second lesson...

So it must be deeper, right? All of the simple answer make the schools we train in looking like we inherited the retard scrolls. Seriously, there is generally a lot better way of passing on "don't be where he thinks you are" then the double strike, cross step, simultaneous kick / boshiken that you find in Koku. So... maybe it is a bit harder than that.

And that is an easy one. There are entire levels that seem to repeat the same "theme" (like the blind, behind you mutodori that you see in Gyokko Ryu)-- so was the original guy bored and just putting in filler because he had extra "scroll" to write on and didn't want to make it seem like he was being cheap or wasteful? I mean - why have 10 ways to handle that when you only NEED to write down "when a person cuts down at you from behind after grabbing you - move offline and affect their balance through the hand that grabbed you - just be creative and do what you want"... or something like that...

I hear this used as an excuse much too often for NOT knowing (and purposely NOT caring to know).

I can't do Koku - but I can use the principle of it by standing over here and cross stepping ... it is almost the same... only my version is better because it uses the principle of koku, and that is what matters most...

Ooooh. Someone several hundred years ago penned koku so you could pass along "Don't be where they think you are".

Right.

When Sensei teaches principles, it is built on a foundation that most of us don't have (actually, none of us have it). He can teach the principle. Because he is at Ri - and he is the source (not "a" source)...

Are you?

-Daniel

PS. As always - feel free to let me know what you think...

Posted on: 2007/9/4 16:32
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