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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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I do sympathize John with your uncertainty ...


I didn't start this thread because I'm uncertain.


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Next I do think this art adapts to the person,

If we change the art to fit ourselves as individuals, are we really practicing the art itself any more than someone is practicing the guitar if he removes the strings and uses the shell as a drum? He may still be making some sort of music and it might even sound good, but he isn't building skill on or even playing the guitar. He's doing his own thing and there's nothing wrong with that as long as he's honest about what he's doing which is PLAYING WITH a guitar - and playing with a guitar is very different from practicing the guitar. It doesn't make him a guitar player. He might as well have been using the guitar as a canoe paddle if his goal was to become a skilled guitar player. I think it's the same with our art.

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there are no rigid rules about what must be done, only that it work.

I think this potentially describes high-level application of the art but I don't think it describes the actual learning/practice of an art that has a long and rich history, a documented lineage and has a long list of specific techniques.



Quote:

I think the "what we do in the Bujinkan" is approach each situation as unique and requiring the ability to adapt directly to it, not follow some prescribed technique. There is no "technique 421".

Sounds good but isn't that the ultimate goal of most non-koryu arts and fighting systems?

What I'm reading in a lot of in the last bunch of posts is the idea that it's the individual practitioners that are or are not effective. Nobody other than Ed seems to be defending the idea that the art itself is more effective than other arts.

If we're all doing our own thing and training in our own ways, does it even make sense to refer to ourselves as practitioners of the art?

Posted on: 2009/4/16 8:08
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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Chris and Mariusz have said it very well in my opinion. We have in our art an encouragement to adapt to each situation. In Sensei's teaching he never does the same thing twice and the situation is never exactly the same. That is a major strength, adaptability.
Art I was pointing out that there is a much better way to handle a man with a sword then getting your own sword. At least that is true in our current world. Don't presume that just because I would choose my .45 that this means I can't use a sword. You said that Sensei said we should study sword more this year but didn't indicate what we we to get from that study. I'm quite certain it was not to make us all sword fighters! There are some very good lessons to be learned working with swords, lessons on the correct distance, on timing, on relaxed movement. These are all things that require study and benefit us in all our taijutsu.

Posted on: 2009/4/16 8:30
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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John, see you here on the mat soon?

Not this year, Liz. My wife and I just had a baby last month so I won't be back until next year. I'm looking forward to it!

Posted on: 2009/4/16 8:43
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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bujincan wrote:
Quote:

I do sympathize John with your uncertainty ...


I didn't start this thread because I'm uncertain.



so you might as well choose to share your opinion...


Quote:

I think the "what we do in the Bujinkan" is approach each situation as unique and requiring the ability to adapt directly to it, not follow some prescribed technique. There is no "technique 421".


I humbly believe that the correct technique is vital. Picasso for example had great technique that can be easiest seen by looking at his very early work. The work that he is known for... well most of it that great technique is not obvious for the person who is not used to such kind of art.

Quote:

What I'm reading in a lot of in the last bunch of posts is the idea that it's the individual practitioners that are or are not effective. Nobody other than Ed seems to be defending the idea that the art itself is more effective than other arts.


I, for one would not waste a single minute of time defending/proving publicly that the art is effective, more effective etc. The reasons for it I suggested in my previous post . But just for the heck of it, I can name at least two arts that form my personal experience I see as equally effective for the modern world: Russian Systema (as taught by Mr Ryabko and Mr Vailiev) and Chen Style Tai Chi (as taught by the lineage Chen Village teachers).

Quote:

If we're all doing our own thing and training in our own ways, does it even make sense to refer to ourselves as practitioners of the art?


short answer:
"bufu"?

longer answer:
if we are doing "each our own thing" - probably no.

However, somehow I have a feeling that we maintain a connection. Either one is lucky to find a teacher who has that connection and shares it or one is not lucky and finds a person who enumerates techniques and spends ALL the time on perfecting how the techniques are executed. Please do not get me wrong I spend a lot of time on basic technical practice and I bother my teacher with some detailed technical questions, but I do not consider it a big deal; it is just the everyday hard work on the "enabling technology" as we call it in the engineering world ...


there is even longer answer but that requires me to get off this forum back to my life hehehe...

peace

mn

Posted on: 2009/4/16 9:10
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Mariusz
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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Sorry Art for missing your point,

However, I disagree with the assumption that the training happened the way John described. There is an art side to martial arts. Those two did not just clone the techniques they were training in. Impossible, they are two different people. The art has been passed down many generations with many soke interpreting the art in their own fashion. Over time, I'm sure the philosophies of how the Soke approaches a technique changes, as well. The fact is, the Bujinkan has become international and, yes, that changed the training, too. The question itself would most likely not have been posed otherwise.

I doubt you can measure the effectiveness of an art compared to another, but you can measure its success. Original Korean arts died, Japanese arts live and some are 2000 years old. For example.

Perhaps saying we are effective because of our art might be wrong. Maybe our art is effective because of some of the people it brings in or attracts or that add to it. Or, maybe it is a two way street (for any art).

Systems are only as good as the folks employing them. How do you measure success in a martial art? Anecdotally.
How do systems improve? They adapt to current situations and technologies and so on so forth. If they don't, their practitioners cease to be effective. Even in the olden, romantic days. You scoffed at the .45 issue that was brought up saying it wasn't part of this or that ryu. However, Soke has demonstrated firearm techiniques and even said thay are useful tools, therefor they have become a part of our Bujinkan system. That is why our art is succesful. It grows. And that might be why some folks are effective.
Is that valid, too?

Posted on: 2009/4/17 2:49
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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so you might as well choose to share your opinion...


My opinion has two simple parts:

1. As I said in my original post, I believe that in our current environment it's possible for individual practitioners to set themselves apart. With the way things work today I think effectiveness has more to do with the individual and very little to do with the art itself because so many people are doing their own thing instead of focusing on what's been passed down and tested.

2. I think the art itself was and can be effective. In other words I think that if it's taught by a master and it's practiced a certain way, then it will make the majority of practitioners effective provided they actually practice it that way and stick around long enough. I think this is how it worked in the past when people trained for actual survival, but I don't think it works that way today.

I think the tendency to "let go of" form before we're ready and do our own thing is there because we're faced with training partners who are there to help us instead of enemies who are there to kill us. We can get away with letting go of form (or never really learning it to begin with) before we've mastered it because there are no meaningful consequences to not mastering it. As long as there's enough fluffy talk, people with less experience (or less time in Japan) will just believe we know what we're doing and the worst that will happen if we really screw up is that we lose face - and that's different from *losing our face* which used to be the consequence of screwing up and/or not training properly.

So I think the art was and can be effective but that when we all do our own thing, effectiveness can only depend on the individual. I don't think we can make broad claims wrt the art's effectiveness because there's very little of the actual art being tested. When we do our own thing before mastering the art, anecdotal evidence of effectiveness speaks to the individual, not the art.

Posted on: 2009/4/18 4:42
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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Well put John.

I too think that there are many people who start doing things their own way too much too early. I was certainly one of them for a while. I also think that such people are outnumbered by people on the other end of the spectrum who are over copying the masters. I don't know how many times I've heard someone pass something on with a feeling of authority because Soke or one of the Shihan did that way on this one particular occasion. So often they overlook the fact that this was for one particular occasion due to the size/movement/body type of the opponent among other factors.


Gotta find the balance. It's hard to know where it is. Like so many other things, it's something that I think will become clear by training in Japan as much as possible. And not just with Soke!

Posted on: 2009/4/18 6:26
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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Quote:

bujincan wrote:

I think the art itself was and can be effective. In other words I think that if it's taught by a master and it's practiced a certain way, then it will make the majority of practitioners effective provided they actually practice it that way and stick around long enough. I think this is how it worked in the past when people trained for actual survival, but I don't think it works that way today.



Thats right. But the art does not need to be effective.
Its not a necessity. Training is more of a luxury.
Its taught from a very safe city, in a safe country, during an era of peacetime.

Quote:

So I think the art was and can be effective but that when we all do our own thing, effectiveness can only depend on the individual. I don't think we can make broad claims wrt the art's effectiveness because there's very little of the actual art being tested. When we do our own thing before mastering the art, anecdotal evidence of effectiveness speaks to the individual, not the art.


Agree 100%.
But the art has great potential to be "effective"

Posted on: 2009/4/18 10:55
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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D_Cecc wrote:
(...)But the art does not need to be effective.
Its not a necessity. Training is more of a luxury.
Its taught from a very safe city, in a safe country, during an era of peacetime.


you have got a point here! You described important "normal citizen" conditions that would or would not create the necessity.

However, allow me to add that there are various individual boundary conditions that can dictate to SOME INDIVIDUALS or small groups the necessity to pursue an effective art even in those safe-safe-peace conditions that you mentioned. Enumerating variants of those conditions would take many many pages .

I consider it a stroke of luck to be able to learn form people who are alive because the art was effective for them on numerous occasions.

mn

Posted on: 2009/4/18 11:21
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Mariusz
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Re: The Case For Systemic Effectiveness
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Quote:

But the art does not need to be effective.


True. I completely agree that it doesn't need to be effective now. It might some day though, so hopefully somebody somewhere is actually practicing and preserving it. Hopefully it won't end up lost to the luxury of illusion that peacetime brings.

Don't forget, my point was never that the art should be or has to be effective, just that I don't understand what's behind the claims we hear that it IS effective.

Posted on: 2009/4/18 11:39
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