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Self Defence
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If you surveyed many new starters I think “self defence” would rate highly, if not the top, reason for joining a dojo. Also I see the Bujinkan as being frequently sold as an effective form of self defence.

I think many people have viewed martial arts over the years as some secret store of knowledge that will give even the most unassuming person the ability to win a fight against almost anyone. From my point of view this is a bit false and a person’s true fighting ability can only really be measured within their genetic and physical potential. A person training effectively in the martial arts will be able to lift their fighting ability greatly within the limits of their genetic and physical potential but cannot truly exceed it. Of course this ‘potential’ also decreases with age, injury and disability. The result is that a very small, skinny person will still be beaten by the larger more aggressive opponent they may have feared when they joined a dojo in the first place.

Of course the advantage of the Bujinkan is that is can be enjoyed by all. Large people, small people, older people and even the disable can enjoy training together equally as I believe this is truly a budo which adapts to the individual. This being so it make a straight comparison to popular form of kakutogi in it’s effectiveness in self defence difficult as these other forms tend to have a filter in allowing nearly always young and physically capable athletes through (unless they continue beyond into teaching / coaching).

That being said how do people rate the Bujinkan system as a from of self defence? Is the ability to defend yourself and / or win a fight even important or is it about something else (eg an art of living, a cultural practice, a form of art for arts sake etc)?


Posted on: 2010/7/28 11:25
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Re: Self Defence
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I think you have to compare on the one hand the mysterious deadlyserious babblings about ours being a longer path to fighting ability, and on the other hand the significant number of practitioners who have been training over two decades and are truly awful at everything they do, even against a scripted looping punch'n'freeze dojojutsu attack, never mind a genuine 'self defence' scenario.

Posted on: 2010/7/28 11:44
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Re: Self Defence
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I'm never sure whether you are using investigative techniques to determine the [budo]-intelligence of the crowd or asking a genuine open-ended question Duncan!

However, I'll bite:

Quote:

Zenigata wrote:

That being said how do people rate the Bujinkan system as a from of self defence? Is the ability to defend yourself and / or win a fight even important or is it about something else (eg an art of living, a cultural practice, a form of art for arts sake etc)?



I rate the self-defence system highly... if transmitted properly (yeah, I know...).

If I can't avoid it, I want to be able to finish it... ideally with a touch of class (... one day).

If I can learn (and retain) even just a tiny bit of Japanese culture and philosophy in the process - wonderful

Posted on: 2010/7/28 13:47
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Re: Self Defence
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Er.....where do weapons fit into this discussion? I'm not talking about the obvious like a Glock but the kakushi buki like the rubber cord of my headphones or using a pen for more than writing. Effective use of a weapon and effective taijutsu are two sides of the same coin. I grant your point Duncan about the issue of self defense as a function of physical endowment plus training in which there comes a point in which the passage of time removes almost all previous physical capabilities. But that's all the more reason why many older and or weaker people carry an "equalizer" however defined by their society.



I never, ever want to be part of a fair fight.

Posted on: 2010/7/28 15:18
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Re: Self Defence
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At 1st this got me thinking what "self defence" means to each, might not be quite the same... Like, if we take into account law it has certain definitions as to when defending oneself ends, and one steps into the area of being an assailant oneself.

If one takes a look at the methodology of the different schools of our curriculum they have differing approaches to the conflict, IMHO.

Posted on: 2010/7/28 16:14
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Re: Self Defence
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I don't post very much, but lately I've been feeling like it might be a good idea to get involved in the discussion. This gave me ideas to think about, figured I'd share them. Regrettably, I'm probably not shedding insight on the initial question, or providing a very solid answer. However, I think because of the nature of the question, it's very difficult to answer.

I've seen several friends, and myself at one point, wondering, "How do I know this works?" The answer for any of us never became, let's go start a fight and test it. So I suppose in the end... I don't know how it rates as a self defense art vs. other arts. I'm not sure how you'd compare it... would you take a fighter of equal height, weight, experience as another but from two different arts and give them equally skilled and sized opponents, including environment to see who would fair better?

I agree that a lot of it comes down to natural ability, or genetic conditioning. Some people are more aggressive, larger, faster, smarter (in terms of how to inflict pain), others have psychological issues (confidence, fear, etc, all which could slow and daunt a fighter).

I didn't start practicing/training for self-defense, I can fight much better now... but I'll never know if another art would have conditioned me "faster" and "better" because I can't delete my Bujinkan knowledge to start anew in the other art. I hope that comes across properly. I'm not sure the question asked could be fully answered.

Would self defense involve running away? Whether through disguise or just speed? Does Self Defense matter when defense of others becomes an issue? Related to the topic... if we search out a fight, could this be called self-defense? (If in fact we are placing our selves in danger?)

With all of that said, I do think it's a very capable system and many of those that I met I plan on staying on the good side of for as long as possible. I wouldn't want to fight them. There are people in the Buj that I've met that I doubt anyone should fight. Perhaps it's their personal ability, or maybe they're picking up on teachings others are missing.

Can dedication override natural ability?

Do the different ideas of Bujinkan as a Cultural art conflict with the idea of it as a fighting art to the point where they can't co-exist? Do the BJK 'fighters' feel the Culturalists water down their tenacity? Or vice versa?

It's just a question that made me think.

And we all have found our answers to the question of "Does it work?" Those that feel it does, have stuck around. When someone feels it doesn't work... I suppose they go away, eh?

I've seen arguments on Youtube and other martial arts forums that really challenge and call out members of Bujinkan and state that we're not capable of fighting etc etc. I'm sure you've seen some of the rants.

It makes me wonder if Bujinkan could trump other martial arts in a fight... would it be fair/even? Why? is that the "ninja way?" If an MMA fighter got mugged and fought back, and beat his mugger, was it his technical skill? Or his conditioning for strength and punishment? Was he able to do more than a ground fight while the mugger's buddies came in?

I've seen many BJK members very out of shape, and I myself am not the strongest nor fastest member even in my own dojo or group of friends outside of Bujinkan. Does this apply? Would just technical skill matter or the physical demand of the art? In mma one must be at top physical condition for competing at all times (or something to that affect). In Bujinkan, I see people walk into a dojo and do their best to keep up, leaving in better shape, but there are teachers who are out of shape, or out of peak conditioning.

Still, I've seen some of them teach and demonstrate. Although this isn't a "real life situation" I feel that several of them are exceptionally dangerous and one would be foolish to attack them. Therefore, as a technical standpoint, perhaps BJK is a good self defense art.

If one works out, lifts weights, runs, and conditions their body to be athletic and win a fight, is it Bujinkan or not? Would the idea of Taijutsu fail if the defender used strength? (The idea of using no strength?)

Eh, long rant.

Posted on: 2010/7/28 16:43
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Re: Self Defence
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Techniques and weapons will give you an advantage, but they are ineffective without the will to use violence against your opponent.

Unabated violence and sheer strength is what usually wins fights.

I don't think I've encountered this concept taught at a Bujinkan school or seminar yet, but I have had A LOT OF FUN at every dojo and every seminar that I ever attended.

Posted on: 2010/7/28 17:30
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Re: Self Defence
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I've always been under the impression that Hatsumi has stated something along the lines of no strength Taijutsu can win fights.

How does this figure into sheer strength winning a fight? Is it just a concept those of below the highest echelons of BJK skill can't grasp yet? (I mean in terms of fighting, would my taijutsu lose to the same fighter who would lose to a BJKer who is very skilled in Taijutsu?)

Posted on: 2010/7/29 2:00
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Re: Self Defence
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If an unarmed 5'7" 140-pound woman is fighting an unarmed 6'5" 250-pound man, she is out of luck. It won't matter if the female is a 10th dan in the Bujinkan.

She might get some good licks in, or she might get lucky. But if she is really that highly skilled, then she should know she is outmatched and her best bet is to hopefully evade and escape.

In my opinion, that is good (realistic) self-defense.

Posted on: 2010/7/29 3:03
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Re: Self Defence
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Quote:
Unabated violence and sheer strength is what usually wins fights.


I would counter that walking away and not being there is what usually wins fights (before they become fights). However, this most often involves a willingness let go of the ego and not throw in that last counter-insult, etc. Wars of words are what most fights usually spring from. If you can diffuse the war of words before it becomes a fight, then violence and strength become moot points. Don't be the last one to retort, don't feel the need to have to be right, don't need to have the last word, don't insist on having what isn't yours, let it go - suppress the ego and you win many fights.

Shawn

Posted on: 2010/7/29 3:07
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