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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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Darren wrote:

Soke is not a priest and the Bujinkan is not a religion.


Are you sure about that? I was told when we visited a dojo in Japan that he was a priest. If I'm not mistaken, in two different religions. (maybe Shintoism and Buddhism) I'm not sure why but maybe for taxes. He receives most of his income in cash.

Wasn't the Bujinkan also contemplating getting a religion status for taxes purposes?

I also believe Takamatsu was a priest at one point. Maybe it is where Hatsumi got the idea?

Posted on: 2011/1/6 13:08
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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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Benkyoka wrote:

I think this is a case of projecting what one wants training to be.


I definitely agree with this and isn't that where a lot of the division within the Bujinkan stems from?

Posted on: 2011/1/6 13:14
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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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I agree with you Daren on the going beyond the religious, and the universality of Soke´s teachings, that is why I refer to it as spirituality and not religion. My point is, if you are atending a class on any subject so ever, and the instructor keeps making reference to a given area of knowlege, wouldn´t it befit the student to research such area? Now in Soke´s case, lets just take Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai as an example (I just got done reading it for 3rd time), take a highlighter and mark each reference to kami, Budhism, Shinto, metaphysics, spirituality, otherworldly things, and tell me, aside from the parts where the techniques are listed, how much of the book is left unmarked. Now, apply that to everytime Soke speaks on his videos and do the same.

I, like anyone else am subject to my life experience and of course this will influence how I see things. I´ve dedicated most of my life to the practice of martial arts and the study of spirituality, but it is precisely because of my dedication to this area of study that I can´t help but to reconize in Soke´s teachings something beyond emphasis, but actualy a complete dedication to spiritual practices, the martial arts beying one of them, but also Shinto, Budhism, amongst others. Of course Soke isn´t implying we should become Budhists or whaterver other religion. Very much like with the Taijutsu where he draws from nine diferente traditions to teach us Jisen, so he does with these spiritual traditions. Ninpo is not religion, nor is just a martial teachnique. It is far easier to say what it isn´t than what it is, but I think Takamatsu puts it prety clearly: Ninpo is a complete system os self defense for the body, mind and spirit. Soke in The Way of the Ninja, Secret Teachniques says: Ninjustu isn´t for protecting the body, it is for protecting the soul.

It just seems to me that if we are going to interact, much more so, to learn from someone with a diferent background than ours, it would befit us to learn about where this person is coming from, and if he is pointing towards a direction and some of his aleged pupils are going in another, what should we make of this? In the end we all give what we have to give and take what we can in this life, this whole thread started at why there seems to be some historical inconsistencies to the authenticity of Takamatsu Sensei´s and Soke´s teachings. I´m just trying to point to a few reasons why they may not have been and continue not to be entirely forthcoming, and also how that isn´t in any way something I see as wrong for someone in their position. After all, how would you feel being in the position of a leader who is teaching arcane knowlege and a vast number of your audience only care about mundane things?

I have not had access to munch kuden, aside from the 20+ Daikomiosai, Kuden and other dvds I own, and the kuden of people I´ve trained with in the past like Lubos Pokorny, Jack Hoban, Andrew Young, Papa San, Pete Reynolds, and of course my friend Rob Renner, but I feel it´s enough informations to asert the direction Soke has given to his work. I´m working on organizing my life in order to be able to move to Japan in a year or two, I´m confident this will broaden my understanding of things and might in fact change my views on some of them. I own most books Soke has writen and quite a bit of other works on Martial Arts and eastern spirituality. I´m not Bhudist, nor Shinto, nor Taoist, but, much of what I´ve learned from studying these traditions are a part of me and I find great value in them, especificaly when it comes to my training in Ninpo and understanding things that Soke says based on these traditions that leave most people who lack this knowlege completely confused, while others shake their heads in afirmation oblivious to what was actualy meant.

I´m ranting, but in fact all I´m saying is that if the understanding of these things weren´t necessary Soke woudn´t spend most of his time reminding us of them.

Posted on: 2011/1/7 3:32
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John Holladay
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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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Quote:

MMAdaisuki wrote:
Quote:
Darren wrote:

Soke is not a priest and the Bujinkan is not a religion.


Are you sure about that? I was told when we visited a dojo in Japan that he was a priest. If I'm not mistaken, in two different religions. (maybe Shintoism and Buddhism) I'm not sure why but maybe for taxes. He receives most of his income in cash.

Wasn't the Bujinkan also contemplating getting a religion status for taxes purposes?

I also believe Takamatsu was a priest at one point. Maybe it is where Hatsumi got the idea?


Actually, from my understanding, Soke filed for the Bujinkan to be a religious organization for the legal status protections it provides in regards to the Hombu Dojo. It had nothing to do with religion. Since the Bujinkan isn't an actual religion, then Soke (or anybody else) has an ordination/priesthood from it.

Whether someone is an actual priest elsewhere is a different matter, just as anybody holding doctorates in other arts doesn't make them a doctor of the Bujinkan.

Posted on: 2011/1/7 4:36
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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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Interesting post, John. Certainly there's something to be gained in trying to understand a little of the references and such that Soke uses. I have learned quite a bit just because there are so many references to things which are tied to the religious/spiritual things that are part of the cultural history of Japan. But, I also find that it is easy to become distracted by them, as well. Soke uses many ways to communicate. Much of what he says and writes about is very difficult to understand, as he plays with meanings of words and will even say things that seemingly contradict. Just trying to read some of his early writings compared to his recent writings reveals many common themes, but also things which show he also is evolving. Regardless, his mentions of "demon play" and stuff like that can cause confusion unless someone has an understand of what "demons" are in Japanese mythology (very different than what the West has defined as 'demons').

Regardless, knowing this hasn't made my taijutsu any better. Having a Japanese Shihan tell me I need to move my right knee a quarter inch to the outside in order to line up my kamae correctly does make my taijutsu better. Knowing the meaning behind the kuji and mantras used in the initial bowing in ceremony doesn't do anything to make my kihon happo better. Pointing out that I need to lower my weight more to line up my boshiken with the target better does make my kihon happo better.

As far as "feeling", that comes from experience, not knowledge (in my opinion).

My point is that these things are optional and may add some color to an aspect of the Bujinkan. But, I think it's a mistake to assume that you need to have this knowledge in order to "fully understand" this art. As a "global budo" (Soke's words), this art should be able to fit with any culture, any sprituality/religion that values preserving life. Even with references to Shintoism, Buddhism and so on, the terms might be different but the message is still universal.

Besides, Soke is famous for shaking up people's understanding of his budo. It would be logical to assume he also does the same with people's understanding of any spiritual aspects as well. Keeping people confused seems to be the common denominator.

Look, I'm not arguing against your points. It does provide for interesting exploration. I'm just trying to take away the 'need' for such things in order to train in the Bujinkan. My real concern is in placing so much importance on it that it becomes a powerful tool to manipulate and take advantage of people who are vulnerable to such things. Instead of learning strong taijutsu kihon (which is what most of us desperately need), they spend their time writing dream journals, experiencing astral travel, and all sorts of other things that often comes from people who are too caught up in 'spritual' training in their martial arts. Whether a real science or not, it will do nothing to make their taijutsu as efficient as it should be because it takes the training out of the body and puts it in the mind. It makes for over analyzing, which is something that goes against "no think" (again, Soke's words).

Posted on: 2011/1/7 7:57
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Darren Dumas

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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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We seem to agree on many poits Daren, and I also should say here that in the time I´ve been a part of Kutaki I have realy enjoyed your frank and straightforeward posts.

It is unfortunate that people take advantage of 'spirituality' to make money, but don´t they do that with the Kihon Happo and all of taijutsu as well, often times teaching in seminars dinamics completely impossible to use in a real scenario? I disagree, however, that our taijutsu can´t be improved by way of our spiritual refinement. I agree with the universality of the principles, and yes they are dormant in every spiritual tradition.

However, the understanding of the dynamics of our human metaphysical make up and how to make us function at our most eficient level is the spirituality to which I´m refering to. The sources Soke tends to quote are amazing in facilitating an understanding of these things for us to guide ourselves by. No mater how much you understand the proper angle your knee should be point towards, it is Mushin that will determine whether this will be usefull in a real fight. Of course understanding without practice is useless, understanding should only be a tool towards freedom of action.

I have a blog I often write on for our training group here in Manaus and of course others here in Brazil that train, we are very much in need of information and discussion of our art in our language. I also tranlate the blog to English. I´ll leave the address here for you and anyone else who would like to to check it out and leave your coments if you would like. I have dedicated it to this ura side of our art, considering that aside from Soke very few people venture to speak on these things.

www.oguerreirodacasadivina.blogspot.com

Posted on: 2011/1/8 2:18
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John Holladay
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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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johntah wrote:
We seem to agree on many poits Daren, and I also should say here that in the time I´ve been a part of Kutaki I have realy enjoyed your frank and straightforeward posts.

It is unfortunate that people take advantage of 'spirituality' to make money, but don´t they do that with the Kihon Happo and all of taijutsu as well, often times teaching in seminars dinamics completely impossible to use in a real scenario? I disagree, however, that our taijutsu can´t be improved by way of our spiritual refinement. I agree with the universality of the principles, and yes they are dormant in every spiritual tradition.

However, the understanding of the dynamics of our human metaphysical make up and how to make us function at our most eficient level is the spirituality to which I´m refering to. The sources Soke tends to quote are amazing in facilitating an understanding of these things for us to guide ourselves by. No mater how much you understand the proper angle your knee should be point towards, it is Mushin that will determine whether this will be usefull in a real fight. Of course understanding without practice is useless, understanding should only be a tool towards freedom of action.

I have a blog I often write on for our training group here in Manaus and of course others here in Brazil that train, we are very much in need of information and discussion of our art in our language. I also tranlate the blog to English. I´ll leave the address here for you and anyone else who would like to to check it out and leave your coments if you would like. I have dedicated it to this ura side of our art, considering that aside from Soke very few people venture to speak on these things.

www.oguerreirodacasadivina.blogspot.com


John, its not that Taijutsu can't be improved by spiritual refinment.....rather that it requires all three elemetns (body, mind, spirit) to develop in harmony.

Posted on: 2011/1/8 4:56
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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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Quote:

Darren wrote:
Regardless, knowing this hasn't made my taijutsu any better. Having a Japanese Shihan tell me I need to move my right knee a quarter inch to the outside in order to line up my kamae correctly does make my taijutsu better. Knowing the meaning behind the kuji and mantras used in the initial bowing in ceremony doesn't do anything to make my kihon happo better. Pointing out that I need to lower my weight more to line up my boshiken with the target better does make my kihon happo better.

As far as "feeling", that comes from experience, not knowledge (in my opinion).


From your keyboard, to the Bujin Kamisama's monitor screen.

Posted on: 2011/1/8 15:57
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Re: How would you or wouldn't you handle this?
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My point is that in a sense it is all spiritual refinement, considering the unity of Shin Gi Tai. So jut like in junan Taiso, the mind has to be flexible enough to allow for contradictions and paradoxes, and also the spirit has to be awakened and it´s workings brought to the surface. However, they all have to go beyond this to th point of beying zero and expresing Shizen Tai. It has been said to be the simplest of things, but no one has ever said it is easy!

Posted on: 2011/1/11 1:10
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John Holladay
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