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Kacem's Interview
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http://shinkendojoathens.blogspot.com ... nterview-to.html?spref=fb

Kacem's interview has a lot of things to think about. It was a good interview and worthy of discussing some of the things he mentioned in the article.

Anyone want to pick out a few things to discuss, but let's keep this focused on or about what he said in the interview.

Posted on: 2010/11/4 6:43
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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Quote:
You talked before about the lack of fighting experience even from very highly ranked Ninjutsu teachers, who can’t stand in front of an MMA athlete. MMA people claim that it’s the lack of sparring responsible for that in your art. What do you think about that?

Dr.K.Z.
: I disagree. I don’t mean that sparring doesn’t have its value. It teaches you a lot of things like distance, rhythm and timing and it also helps you check the validity of many techniques as well as your ability to do them. However, sparring is governed by rules where as real combat isn’t. Therefore sparring isn’t the panacea that will magically solve all problems. I believe that the problem in Ninjutsu (apart from the false grades of course) is that attacks are never made in reality, with full force and intent. Therefore the defenses are also loose and trainees never learn to work with correct speed and power. Also, practitioners don’t feel the need to learn the details of every move as well as correct body alignment, necessary ingredients for a technique becoming efficient, since all is done in cooperation and no one is in danger. Now you will say, if techniques were done that way, then we would have injured or even dead on the tatami. Correct. That is exactly the reason why real martial arts are finally aimed only for an elite group of dedicated people and not for everyone. From the moment of opening the doors to everyone, then a martial art has to be “diluted” and in that way loses its battle characteristics. Nevertheless, we can find the via media so that training can be realistic and at the same time have the least possible injuries. And that is the bet for someone who wants to work correctly.

Concluding our very interesting interview, I would like you to tell me what you consider most important in a person practicing martial arts.

Dr.K.Z.
: Honesty concerning one’s intentions, seriousness and continuity concerning one’s training, and no “blindness”. If you discover along the way that something isn’t right either with your master, with your art or with you, don’t hesitate to admit it and to change it at once, even if the price for that would be to start over from the beginning.


I thought this was particularly noteworthy.

Posted on: 2010/11/4 9:16
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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very thought provoking , i would like to meet this person someday , like they way he thinks

Posted on: 2010/11/4 10:36
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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I think he is spot on when it comes to the sparing. On that last part about this art only being for a very few dedicated persons I feel that is incomplete. The skills commonly achieved within this art do materially give a person the ability to protect themselves from most situations that they would be likely to experience. That may be all that some people want. Why is that not acceptable? I agree that the more "real" we make the attacks the more skilful a person can become and maybe that is where balance must be sought. Balance the level of training so the student achieves the level of skill they want. Don't insist that they MUST become that most deadly "ninja" warrior, or they are not serious enough.

Posted on: 2010/11/4 11:02
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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I think Ed's point is very closely linked to the last statement Kacem makes about not being blind, to the extent that it's really the same point.

I agree with Ed's point about severity of training and lining up what the practitioner is seeking with what the training provides. If you live a relatively low-risk lifestyle, you probably don't 'need' lethal top notch skills, unless you really desire them, in which case pursue them as such. Just don't delude yourself on any level.

I totally agree with Kacem that you have to be 1000% if you want to achieve top-notch combatives. His stating it with the wording the way he did - "...real martial arts are finally aimed only for an elite group of dedicated people..." - does come off as a bit abrasive/arrogant, which is a bit unfortunate. Stating that a large number won't make the decision to pursue it to a level he considered adequate/real etc etc would have been less so.

This thread perfectly illustrates what causes so much acrimony and hatred among the Bujinkan members worldwide : The wide differential of what each person wants/desires, what they are each willing to do to reach those goals and the (sometimes) caustically offered & often self-righteous opinions we hurl at each other about why 'our way is best/only proper etc'.

Regards,
...G.Carson

Posted on: 2010/11/4 16:13
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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Quote:
The situation in the Bujinkan, and I’m not talking about Hatsumi sensei of course but about the organization, isn’t just not good but desperate.


He is critical of the Bujinkan but tries to separate this criticism from Hatsumi-sensei. How? Hatsumi-sensei created, runs and administers the Bujinkan so you cannot separate the two. If you criticise the Bujinkan as an organisation you are criticising soke. I’m not saying that the Bujinkan or Hatsumi-sensei are beyond criticism but you can’t separate them so easily.

Quote:
You ask why this is all happening? How much of it is Hatsumi sensei’s fault or the insatiable thirst of western students for grades and diplomas that don’t correspond to reality?


It’s not just western students but the Japanese students of the same timeframe I have seen have advanced through rank at the same rate. I don’t see the evidence that Hatsumi-sensei’s grading policy is based on pressure from foreign students but is just a reflection of his own personality.

Quote:
Personally I have no grade at all. My grade is what you see on the tatami mats.


But he does have a grade. He is (or was) a lower grade for some time because he refused it. To me refusing something shows that you put value on it. I agree in principle with what I think he is saying though (judge the persons ability not their rank).

Quote:
Personally, I’ve never been interested in the organizational thing, the grades and the titles. It is something completely beyond me. My exclusive interest is in training and learning.


I agree with this point of view and it reflects my own. I think he belittled his good opinion here though my making a criticism of grades and rank in the Bujinkan in the interview. He would have been better just to leave it at this statement.

Quote:
… once they’re up against an MMA athlete for example, they are on the ground. Unfortunately, most Bujinkan teachers are only capable against their students and that’s not honorary at all. When you do martial arts you have to be able to face anyone. If you’re not able to do it, then you should at least be silent and continue training.


This is a big call. Even the best examples in the Bujinkan will mostly fail against an MMA athlete because the purpose and intent of training is different. The problem with this statement can be seen in …

Quote:
… sparring isn’t the panacea that will magically solve all problems. I believe that the problem in Ninjutsu (apart from the false grades of course) is that attacks are never made in reality, with full force and intent.


Which is reflected in his statement …

Quote:
When I train I want to learn the real thing. When I attack Ishizuka sensei I don’t fake it, but with the intent to really hit him. Only that way can I see if what he transmits to me is real or not.


The classic mistake here is that of the classical budoka. In arts that have the tori / uke relationship such as our own and similar things such as Aikido or other kobudo, the quality of the tori is dependant on having a good uke who delivers an attack at 100% with full intent. A rated MMA athlete wouldn’t do this. I assume when Kacem attacks Ishizuka-sensei he doesn’t then proceed to shuffle around him throwing little jabs and feelers to try and set him up – of course not – he throws himself into a full attack and receives Ishizuka-sensei’s technique. This is how it works.

I am interested in the quality of technique, movement, special relationship within this tori / uke structure and improving it. I love it but it’s a mistake to think this is going to prepare you to defeat an MMA athlete.


Posted on: 2010/11/4 16:22
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
On that last part about this art only being for a very few dedicated persons I feel that is incomplete. The skills commonly achieved within this art do materially give a person the ability to protect themselves from most situations that they would be likely to experience. That may be all that some people want. Why is that not acceptable?


"real martial arts are finally aimed only for an elite group of dedicated people and not for everyone."

I see the above meaning that only a few have the dedication to study any MA all the way to the end. Especially when you compare the amount of those who do persevere years after years in one art to those who only sample it for a few months of years.

Naturally, people have different needs (and these needs evolve as the person does), and all styles of MA aren't for everyone, so it's acceptable that there is seeking to be done, and even should.

Also, I feel that if a person is only studying for him/herself, they might take from any art what they feel is needed for their... needs, possibly not wanting to study all the aspects of the said style. And those needs too are alive, changing, evolving....


Posted on: 2010/11/4 16:30
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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I think the interview was good. I have nothing but great respect for Mr. Zoughari's ongoing dedication to the art.

I especially liked this:

Quote:

I had brought three techniques with me: tsuki, uke and geri, as well as a brief kata which I practiced constantly, so I would learn them all perfectly.


Posted on: 2010/11/4 17:50
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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I find it very inspiring to read how he was from a poor family, went to Japan at 17 to train, was taken in by a shihan and went on to become a scholar of Japanese history.

Posted on: 2010/11/4 19:12
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Re: Kacem's Interview
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"This thread perfectly illustrates what causes so much acrimony and hatred among the Bujinkan members worldwide : The wide differential of what each person wants/desires, what they are each willing to do to reach those goals and the (sometimes) caustically offered & often self-righteous opinions we hurl at each other about why 'our way is best/only proper etc'."

Gregory, I think you have expressed it accurately!! Way too often people will attempt to impose THEIR training ideas and ways on others who may be seeking much different results. Ninjutsu does adapt to the person and their is something there for everyone. Seek your own goals don't impose the same on anyone else.

Posted on: 2010/11/4 23:09
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