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Interesting questions (I think)
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Hi all,

I have two questions on which I would like to know your opinion.
They are questions that I did to myself many time ago and on that I am elaborating my possible answers as the years pass.

I wait for your thinkings about it.

1- It is said that the majority of the traditional martial arts that have survived to the present day, included our schools of the Bujinkan, have done it due to the fact thatt they were proved in real combat, in the battlefields, and they survived. If this is like that, ¿why do you think is the reason why the majority of the waza of the schools are by empty hands? Is not supposed that a warrior was going to the war well armed with different weapons and that the last thing that he would like to use to fight would be his naked hands?

And 2- If we depart from the base from that the waza were used by professional warriors, why all of them are defensive skills? How is it that there are no waza where the attacker is the winner? Why there are no waza where the tori starts by attacking and wins?

Sorry for my english. I hope that you would understand.

Regards.

Posted on: 2013/3/8 20:18
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Dani Esteban -Koryu-
Bujinkan Bushi Dojo
Barcelona (Spain)
http://bushidojo.wordpress.com
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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I think those are indeed some interesting questions, Dani, and I think you'll hear some good answers here in time.

For me, just of the cuff, my thoughts are these:

1. Training empty-hand is a great deal easier to manage and a lot safer than training with weapons. Instead of charging in with a spear, we charge in with a punch, but many of the key fundamentals can still be studied this way. That said, from the very beginning, ninjutsu training has always taken weapons into account, starting with the basic types of a rope, a stick (hanbo) and a knife. The point I took from that over time is that training in these simpler weapons can lead to easier understanding of all weapons, new and old, close, ranged and otherwise.

Furthermore, if you look at Hatsumi Soke's classical training with his own senior shihan, you will see classical weapons aplenty. Also, if you've been attending Daikomyosai on occasion in Japan over the years, you'll have seen many training weapons in use for bo, jo, kyoketsu shoge, kunai, sword in conjunction with the various themes for training Hatsumi Soke has presented.

For most of us outside of Japan, it's simply easier and more sensible to train primarily empty handed. But if my understanding is correct, virtually all of the waza we study were originally written with weapons in mind.

2. Kappi and/or Kompi (sp?) are two 'attacking waza' that come to mind for me. Honestly I think virtually all of the waza and techniques we study could be used in an 'attacking' manner. The waza may begin with an opponent striking at us, but we have no idea why. We're starting in the middle of a larger equation, so maybe the enemy is striking at us because we charged at him with blood-lust in our eyes!

On the other hand, my understanding of Ninjutsu at present is that the ninja generally has a larger overall goal in mind than simply (?) felling his enemies like cord wood and emerging victorious. 'Battlefield' often brings to mind an image of armies clashing, literally sword to sword, and that's one aspect certainly. But the battlefield experience is very different for a sniper, or a reconnaissance team or what have you, than it is for a soldier. I think we have to take all these possibilities into consideration when we regard our training waza as 'battlefield tested'.

I think that the ninja of old probably did keep a fairly defensive mindset, and avoided direct confrontation as much as possible in pursuit of deeper, longer-term goals.

Just my thoughts, mind you. Good questions!

Posted on: 2013/3/9 2:00
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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Dear Mr. Esteban,

Those are some very interesting questions indeed.
Before answering them one by one I would like to point out a few things I think is important.

These questions do not limit themselves to the Ryu-ha of the Bujinkan but are similar to most Koryu. The answer to the questions can be found by studying general books on japanese budo.

Anyways, here are my thoughts:

1. Japanes martial arts change over time, from weapon oriented to unarmed, mostly due to changes in society. During the Meiji and modern era, many traditional schools Went extinct and those that did survive changed quite dramatically. Who needs to study sword or spear these Days? This is probably true also for our Ryu-ha. Look at Takagi Ryu for example. It used to include more weapons. Also, the ryu-ha of the shinobi probably focused more on getting out of danger and on smaller, concealable weapons. There is a way of doing the unarmed that makes it possible to use arms as well. Further, there are more weapons in the Ryu-ha of the Bujinkan than most seem to Think.

2. Mostly you would focus on good strikes and naturally, if you land one such strike on your opponent with your sword or spear, its game over. No need for more complicated stuff. Today we seem to want to practise the advanced waza more than the basic stuff (remember Tsuki, Uke, Keri). Also, the kata hide important lessons that can be used to attack or defend. The attack could be done Before Uke attacks, at the same time or after; it is still the same kata. Also, one should not neglect the Uke side of each waza. Uke should practise on his attacks as well. Think for example about the various ways of attacking in Gyokko Ryu that Uke does. It Changes from waza to waza.

This is but a small scratch on the Surface of this great topic and I hope many more will contribute to the discussion.

Regards / Skuggvarg

Posted on: 2013/3/9 23:56
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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These are good questions for people to consider if they are not familiar with kobudo or koryu.

In iaijutsu schools, there is the omote and ura of kata. Without going into too much detail, the omote is what is showed to the public, while the ura is what is "more realistic." When you are showed these kuden, then the entire character of the school can change dramatically.

The same is true for the schools in the Bujinkan. Hatsumi sensei has frequently showed the ura and omote of kata at Daikomoyosai, and some of these are on video.

The mention of the two Koto Ryu kata are good examples of when things flip, and you see "offensive" movement.

This is why it is so important to get competent instruction, so that your teacher can eventually point these things out when you are ready.

My experience in the Bujinkan and other budo has shown me that these arts are very, very deep and always shifting, for all their tradtion.

Posted on: 2013/3/10 15:17
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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Thank you for your contributions, I am enjoying.
And waitiing for new ones.
Just a little note before leaving yourselves to continue.
I think what has come down to us from the old schools is
only the soup of the soup of the soup, lots of water and little substance.
Don't you think so?
Yet we still like it and try to figure out how should be
the authentic flavor.

Posted on: 2013/3/11 4:01
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Dani Esteban -Koryu-
Bujinkan Bushi Dojo
Barcelona (Spain)
http://bushidojo.wordpress.com
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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Quote:

koryu wrote:
¿why do you think is the reason why the majority of the waza of the schools are by empty hands? Is not supposed that a warrior was going to the war well armed with different weapons and that the last thing that he would like to use to fight would be his naked hands?

Good question. Ask yourself, why do people fight? Most of the time it is over possessions like money, which represents any possession as it is used for currency. You have something I want and I am going to take it by fighting and maybe even killing you if I want it bad enough (money, food, land, water).
I believe that fighting between all humans began with cavemen who hunted for their food and had to defend their kill from others who had not killed anything. The attacker would try to steal the food or he would starve. If he tried to steal it but got caught, he would have to fight the man he is stealing from. This escalates over thousands of years into tribes fighting for land, crops, hunting grounds or water sources and eventually into countries forming and making Armies (African and Indian tribal warfare).
Armies then think of ways to beat other Armies, spears, arrows, rocks, sticks as weapons.
Thousands of years later it turns into swords, knives, and then guns, cannons. Skills that work well were taught to new generations, poor tactics were kept on record to learn from past mistakes but the skills were adapted to new weapons and tactics.
Today, we rely on long distance weapons like rifles, bombs, missiles, nuclear warheads.
In my opinion , martial arts did not begin with warriors, it began with human beings trying to kill each other over food.


Posted on: 2013/3/11 5:36
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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Quote:

koryu wrote:
Thank you for your contributions, I am enjoying.
And waitiing for new ones.
Just a little note before leaving yourselves to continue.
I think what has come down to us from the old schools is
only the soup of the soup of the soup, lots of water and little substance.
Don't you think so?
Yet we still like it and try to figure out how should be
the authentic flavor.


With some schools that might be the case. If you can find the right teachers in the Bujinkan, their is plenty of substance.

Some schools of iaido definitely seemed to have lost their deeper meanings and applications and have replaced it with spiritual mumbo jumbo.

This has happened in a lot of karate as well. Although there are many schools returning to their roots to figure things out.

I think this is why Hatsumi sensei was speaking so much about kaname recently. Make sure you understand the essential points. Therefore, find good teachers.

Posted on: 2013/3/11 10:30
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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Quote:

koryu wrote:
Thank you for your contributions, I am enjoying.
And waitiing for new ones.
Just a little note before leaving yourselves to continue.
I think what has come down to us from the old schools is
only the soup of the soup of the soup, lots of water and little substance.
Don't you think so?
Yet we still like it and try to figure out how should be
the authentic flavor.

I agree with your standpoint, especially when it comes to weapons. However, the key is in the transmission. Even if something aimed for wartimes is taught in peacetime you could use it when push comes to shove, if the practise is correct. We are fortunate in the Bujinkan to have a very strong link to the old traditions. For most Ryu-ha we have only 3 generations back to pre-Meiji times (including Hatsumi sensei) while many others have gone through 4, 5, 6 or even more. One problem though is the large number of teachers in the Bujinkan. Lesser teachers and more seekers would be healthy me thinks.

Regards / Skuggvarg

Posted on: 2013/3/12 1:37
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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I agree with most of your comments.
And yes, I have the best teachers, Hatsumi Sôke and the japanese shihans ;>)

Posted on: 2013/3/12 21:34
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Dani Esteban -Koryu-
Bujinkan Bushi Dojo
Barcelona (Spain)
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Re: Interesting questions (I think)
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Quote:

koryu wrote:
I agree with most of your comments.
And yes, I have the best teachers, Hatsumi Sôke and the japanese shihans ;>)


If you have the best teachers, why do you feel you are getting a watered down version of something. Also, if your teacher is Soke, why not ask him these questions you have?

Posted on: 2013/3/14 13:07
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