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Re: The Most Direct Path
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Different lessons have come at different points for different people. Honestly, I've learned far more from my friends in the Bujinkan than I have from anything from Soke, but my direct experience with Soke is pretty much null compared to my experiences with all the wonderful budoka I have met and trained with who come from all over the world and who share their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The question then becomes whether or not Soke is the real "teacher", or is it more of the Bujinkan as a community? Soke is the head, for sure, but I would wager that it's just over a very small few who actually learn from him enough to constitute gaining any real life lessons. The rest comes from the media and the network of contacts we interact with. That's why I believe the "connection" to Soke is so important in learning Soke's budo, because the source is really far removed - even from those who visit Japan once or so per year. Surrounding yourself with people who are closer to that source (Soke) than you helps to find those common teachings that come from Soke, but also the unique life experiences of those people add dimension and perspectives that are equally necessary.

That's my opinion, anyway, so please take it as such...

Posted on: 2011/5/20 7:11
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Darren Dumas

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Re: The Most Direct Path
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Yes to some this is just a self indulging hobby and to others its a way of life. a guide for proper living so to speak. Again its about striking a balance between the physical, mental and the spiritual. Take any of these of the equation and you create imbalance....... if you look at your teacher as just a man and not a role model then in my opinion the relationship is no different then that of a coach and athlete. You essentially need to have that level of trust in your teacher for proper relationship to develop. Having trained in both traditional and non tradition Japanese/Chinese martial arts I can say with certainty that there is something very subtle about traditional/old that differentiate from most other activities out there .

Posted on: 2011/5/20 12:20
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Re: The Most Direct Path
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I think it's safe to say that the Bujinkan is an environment where there's literally something for everybody - good and, well, maybe not so good. In addition, Soke's teachings, whether in person or in media, likewise seem to have something for just about everybody's particular want, bias, flair, and level of understanding.

The question then becomes a matter of whether we truly are studying Soke's budo or simply pursuing our own thing. And, how do you know the difference in your own training? Those are much harder questions to answer, I think, than people may be comfortable with.

Posted on: 2011/5/21 6:32
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Re: The Most Direct Path
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As a relative beginner to those new beginners - you're mileage from the preceding discussion may vary.

That said, I've found practicing the Basic movements 10min every day good for my health, spacial awareness and ability to absorb new stuff.

Formal training is a luxury, an indulgence? Yes, and very calming for my spirit... Just not sure why yet!

Posted on: 2011/5/21 17:27
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Re: The Most Direct Path
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The basis of what I was trying to say is “If you want to get good at it practice and try not to be distracted by other things”.

It is interesting then how the thread morphs into such esoteric musings.

Let’s just say the hero of our story …

- Lives in a safe area, has a stable home life, doesn’t go out to bars and clubs, avoids conflict and back downs rather than escalates situations therefore doesn’t feel an immediate need to focus on fighting or self defence.

- Has a good education, good job with responsibilities, family and children who are being brought up well. He is self disciplined and self motivated. Therefore he doesn’t feel the need for some guy who runs a martial arts school teaching him a “way of life” or “guide to proper living”.

- Is interested in Japan and learning a Japanese martial art but doesn’t want to go all out and have to act in the manner of some sort of stereotype of a Japanese person or feudal samurai or ninja because the guy who runs the class wants him to – or really enjoys being called “sensei”.

- Wants to feel the classes are challenging but doesn’t want to put his body in constant danger or have to carry injury.

- Enjoys the tradition of Japanese martial arts but doesn’t feel like he has to dress up in costumes or armour.

- Loves his training in his dojo. Looks at his teacher, senior students and maybe even shihan in Japan and likes the idea of being able to move like that. He enjoys the physical and mental challenge of training and the satisfaction of getting better at the thing that he loves doing.

I still think the most direct path for this guy is the one I laid out. People who want something else are also well provided for in the Bujinkan

Posted on: 2011/5/23 14:52
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Re: The Most Direct Path
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Quote:

Zenigata wrote:
Loves his training in his dojo. Looks at his teacher, senior students and maybe even shihan in Japan and likes the idea of being able to move like that. He enjoys the physical and mental challenge of training and the satisfaction of getting better at the thing that he loves doing.


As long as this is the consistent factor, the rest of it all is just personal flair, preference and choice. It's possible to train without any of the others listed, but without this one the training becomes pointless, in my opinion, and open to leading off in all sorts of wrong directions ("wrong" meaning away from Soke's budo).

Posted on: 2011/5/24 6:39
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Darren Dumas

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Re: The Most Direct Path
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Getting back to the original topic...

Duncan, I agree with you wholeheartedly on a social level. What you’ve laid out is a situation where someone healthy is able to pursue martial arts training. This could be the situation in any martial art from what you’ve laid out and from my experience, this framework is usually what is followed by people who show up at the dojo.

On a practical, skill-building level, the training methods you’ve described are not the most effective IMHO. Simple repetitive basic movement is not enough. Difficult to manage without someone to train with but we’re all part of a dojo. And I’m playing on your all else being equal situation :)

Solo practice and with beginners calls for Static training. That is individual, specific movement, that can be done repetitively. Ukemi, Uke Nagashi, Tsuki, Sanshin, kyuho uchi/giri, etc. This is where someone can practice their role in a technique and polish that to make it efficient and natural.

That will get to a point where timing and placement are screaming for attention and a need for interactive training comes up. Fluid training, as I’ve seen it described, finds it way into what are commonly called drills. Think Ura Gyaku and transitioning to Omote Gyaku when that’s done so Tori can find out what it feels to disrupt balance and Uke can find out and feel what it’s like to be forced to move. We can also think of two people practicing Sanshin back and forth to find the distance and the flow.

In order to reach another level of integration, we need to do more controlled “stress-test” training. It’s much more Dynamic and the need for a third-party to act as referee or judge is key to prevent injury. This is when, under pressure, a budoka can really get a feeling for timing and distance. At that point, practicing this way, someone can look at their technique and know whether or not they can say, "So Far So Good".

All three of these have their benefits and shortfalls if done out of balance with the others. These are not specific to an art but really any interactive physical activity. Soke’s classes reflect this and often the third type of training is introduced for multiple opponents scenarios. It seems that his art is not subject to basics-only.

If this reads familiar, I think Rory Miller also has a PPCT instructors’ manual. It’s basics sports practice.

Please keep writing your blog. It’s a good read :)

Posted on: 2011/6/5 4:52
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