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Luke Derham
05-24-2003, 09:28 PM
As we all know, aikido is the way of love and harmony, and ki fits in their somehow also.

But if aikido is about peace and love, why is my old man telling me about how crazy Japanese instructors in the past (im not sure if they still do)rocked up to other instructor's Dojo's and challenged them to fight! Whichever dojo instructor was defeated in the fray, the Victor took his dojo sign, broke it in half and put it out the front of his own dojo!

Absolute madness! Nevertheless, if anyone has any knowledge of this so called 'dojo breaking' then please contribute! i think its fascinating...
So. I'm thinking, if 5th Dans with all their perception and knowledge of aikido, can justify running around dojo breaking, maybe its time for aikido to rise from the ashes!
Haha, maybe we should start an aikido revolution, and sort out these other so called 'martial artists', showing to them (via demonstration of course) the power of harmony and love as opposed to boring fighting. Of course the downfall of this little enlightening message is that it involves having to beat them up, BUT nevertheless, i'm Sure they will see the light at the end of it all!

If you think im taking the piss out of other martial arts, please dont submit replies critisising this, im really only having a laugh!
But think about it...one good way people learn is through experience. If you discover the particular martial art you are studying is useless in the way of a steamroller of ki, youd probably want to learn that instead!

Ever so drawn to the dark side...Luke

Michael Neal
05-25-2003, 09:42 AM
ok enlightened one

Kensai
05-25-2003, 09:56 AM
lol, I like the cut of your jib Luke....

Perhaps one day.......

As for the Jap instructors, from what I have heard, they were no saints.

kung fu hamster
05-26-2003, 07:19 AM
Chris,

I'd be interested to know who your teacher is? Where do you study aikido?

Charles Hill
05-26-2003, 08:25 AM
Chris,

Refering to the Japanese in that way is extremely disrespectful. What we are practicing is a gift from people who are Japanese, but also it can be said that Aikido comes from the whole of Japanese culture. Holding such a view that causes you to use such language can only hamper your own practice whether you are aware of it or not.

Charles

Kevin Wilbanks
05-26-2003, 10:42 AM
Personally, I can't see holding the whole of Japanese culture in such high reverence. To me, it seems like just another culture, another society, with its share of admirable and not-so-admirable aspects, that has historical and aesthetic elements I happen to like. Japanophilia, like any kind of outsider zealotry for another culture, involves a great deal of idealization and selective emphasis. I'm not a big fan of racial slurs or names, but, given the fact that the Japanese have been one of the most racist, xenophobic cultures in history, I find such a haughty defense a bit ironic. Are you even sure that 'jap' has the same negative connotations in the UK?

Grappler
05-26-2003, 10:58 AM
But if aikido is about peace and love, why is my old man telling me about how crazy Japanese instructors in the past (im not sure if they still do)rocked up to other instructor's Dojo's and challenged them to fight! Whichever dojo instructor was defeated in the fray, the Victor took his dojo sign, broke it in half and put it out the front of his own dojo!
:) Sounds like great fun! Do they still do it? Can I join in? :D

mj
05-26-2003, 01:05 PM
afaik it went like this.

If a visitor to a dojo bested the top student, he/she was allowed to challenge the sensei and if the sensei was defeated the visitor took the club sign.

There is a name for this but it escapes me just now.

Charles Hill
05-26-2003, 08:18 PM
The practice is called dojo yaburi or "dojo breaking" as Luke put it. In actual practice, it seems to have involved a formal application type process, not just walking in off the street. I have heard the story that Sokaku Takeda would challenge people, defeat them and make them sign his book of students, charging them a substantial fee. He apparently even did this to whole dojos. This would be a form of dojo yaburi. There is also a great scene of dojo yaburi in the movie Samurai Fiction. If you have a chance, I recommend it.

Charles

Charles Hill
05-26-2003, 08:47 PM
Sorry about going off topic, but I feel Kevin Wilbank's reply to my reply on Chris Gee's use of the word "Jap" deserves a reply.

I do hold Japanese culture in high regard. I do not consider "culture" and "society" to be the same thing. I hold all cultures in "great reverence."

Kevin, your post was a little vague in that I'm not sure you are addressing me specifically or are just writing your thoughts in general. In your last sentence, however, I am assuming the "you" means me.

The word, in my understanding, was a slangword used by the Allied Forces to dehumanize the enemy, a practice common to most military conflicts. I have not been to the U.K., but have known many who are from there. I have never heard the word used except in a derogatory way. If members of the forum from the U.K. have an opinion, it would be great to read your posts.

There is no doubt that Japan has its share of racism and xenophobia. However, to label it as "one of the most," is to be ignorant of how things really are in most countries around the world.

I have no wish to beat up on Chris. I just hope he/she comes to understand that such an attitude shows disrespect. This disrespect will ultimately interfer with his/her training. It also insults the Japanese or those of Japanese ancestry who might view the post.

in harmony,

Charles

Kevin Wilbanks
05-27-2003, 12:14 AM
There is no doubt that Japan has its share of racism and xenophobia. However, to label it as "one of the most," is to be ignorant of how things really are in most countries around the world.
I guess it depends upon how you want to guage 'most'. While there is plenty of racism, xenophobia, or, perhaps more accurately, tribalism to go around on the world stage, the historical record of the Japanese is nothing to sneeze at. I'm no historian, but the stories of the excesses of imperialism and brutality inflicted upon the Chinese only around half a century ago, and upon anyone whom they deemed lesser than themselves, are quite astounding. How many cultures/societies have deliberately cut themselves off from the rest of the world for more than a hundred years at a stretch? Your experiences far outstrip mine, but everything I've heard from people who have lived in and visited Japan has resonated with the same note that non-japanese can never be fully accepted and respected as members of the society to this day.

I'm not trying to cast an overall judgement about Japan. Personally, I have no attachment to racist or anti-racist beliefs. I am just reacting to the seeming irony in preaching such an egalitarian, anti-racist line in the name of a culture and society which seems to have an abysmal record of respecting such principles themselves.

PeterR
05-27-2003, 12:47 AM
Kevin you've got a point but just because a person's society (past and present) is less than steller does not make it correct to use terms that have a racist undertone when addressing or referring to them.

By the way, its usually a good idea to remember your own country's record (past and present) before judging another on the same criteria.

Kevin Wilbanks
05-27-2003, 01:18 AM
Kevin you've got a point but just because a person's society (past and present) is less than steller does not make it correct to use terms that have a racist undertone when addressing or referring to them.

By the way, its usually a good idea to remember your own country's record (past and present) before judging another on the same criteria.
Actually, my own country's history is irrelevant, since I made no absolute value claims, nor laid this out as a 'my country's better than yours' pissing contest. As I think I expressed clearly, I was responding to the irony inherent in the moralistic claims made by someone else, which implies nothing about the morality of my own position.

As far as the correctness or not of racist terms and undertones, I am not so sure about it either way. It seems quite fashionable these days to rail against anything that can be categorized as racist by any stretch, but it seems to me that the principle of anti-racism is exalted beyond any sensible measure, as though it were some self-evident essential meaning of the universe. I just don't see it. I mean, racism seems distasteful to me, but the smug facility with which people jump on their moral high horse about racism seems just as bad. It seems like the pattern is very similar, only the criteria are different. In both scenarios one is putting oneself above others and assuming a position of righteousness: one is in the name of a philosophy of genetic and/or cultural characteristics, the other in the name of a philosophy about philosophies of genetic and/or cultural characteristics.

In the case in question, I think Charles was making a lot of unwarranted assumptions about the life and character of the offensive word-utterer in question on the basis of almost no evidence. I just don't see the supposed detection of a hint of racial generalization or stereotyping as adequate justification for this sort of condescending browbeating.

PeterR
05-27-2003, 01:39 AM
Kevin - you brought up history and therefore it became relevant. And you did make a value judgement by using the term "one of the most".

I also understand that you were pointing out the irony and basically so was I in tossing it right back.

PeterR
05-27-2003, 02:08 AM
Back to the topic at hand (sorry Kevin I was feeling feisty) Dojo busting still goes on although not often.

In certain circles one of the best ways to get students fast is to challenge an existing sensei. Doesn't have to be in a dojo environment either. Conversely, one of the best ways to stop a bleed of students to the new dojo is to pay a visit.

I was seriously worried a few months back when one Karate sensei found out that one of his yudansha had started training with me. He did not look pleased and I was sure I was going to have to prove myself. Turns out I still have his student and he passed word that that "we will help each other (??)". In this case the guy looked like he travelled in those circles.

By the way - no one has commented on a gaijin teaching martial arts in Japan - at least to my face. I stand and fall on my ability to attract students and I have enough to assume race is not affecting recruitment. I think the US is far ahead of Japan in many respects but generally speaking it is not nearly so bad as a few news or "I surrived Japan" stories would like us to believe.

tew
05-27-2003, 02:12 AM
Obviously, Chris was typing a quick response to a good-humoured post, and in his haste, simply forgot to place a period at the end of his abbreviation for Japanese, i.e. "Jap."

I think that to ascribe racist inclinations or beliefs to someone based on one word in a four-line post is jumping the gun, just a little. I would think a fellow student of Aikido would get the benefit of the doubt in this case, anyway.

PeterR
05-27-2003, 02:18 AM
Good point Ted - the internet bulletin board where pronouns are typed in lower case and grammer and spelling are tossed out of the window.

(edited for grammer and spelling)

Edward
05-27-2003, 02:52 AM
I think it's always dangerous to generalize and describe a whole nation as being racist or whatever. Racism is the very act of categorizing a whole group without taking into account the individual variations that exist inside this group, well at least in my opinion.

Anyway regarding racism, when you live in a house made of glass, you don't throw stones at others, if you see what I mean.

Seth Jackson
05-27-2003, 03:12 AM
Who you callin Jap, Round eye?

*snicker*

Cuts both ways, but I notice white people tend to laugh off "racist" comments thrown at them.

Maybe noone has actually come up with a good one for whitey yet that dosent instill laughter as oppsed to hate.

happysod
05-27-2003, 04:07 AM
There's always the modern equivalent, attempting to break dojo's (and associations) by insisting on "standardised" methods of training/gradings which, of course, are only available through accredited dojos... always at least one of these in the pipeline.

Seth, I think you should travel to some areas where "whiteys'" not the top of the ethnic food-chain, laughter can become your last chosen response.

Seth Jackson
05-27-2003, 06:39 AM
Point taken.

DavidEllard
05-27-2003, 07:05 AM
I have not been to the U.K., but have known many who are from there. I have never heard the word used except in a derogatory way. If members of the forum from the U.K. have an opinion, it would be great to read your posts.

Charles
(From the UK...)

The word Jap to me doesn't really have a negative connotation. I would normally read or understand it to be merely an abridgement of Japanese. In the same way Brit is an abbreviation/abridgement of British, Scot of Scottish etc…

That said use of any form of “racial slang” is something to be conscious of – my test would be: “would I use the term to a memeber of that group”.

I guess I would be happy to use the word Jap (or brit, or scot) in a friendly context, to someone I knew, whereas I’d never use “slitty eye” or something equally as unpleasant... (unlike, I may add, the husband of the Queen, Prince Phillip…)

My 2 pence... ;)

Charles Hill
05-27-2003, 08:06 AM
Sorry, people. I'm going to stick with my conviction that the word is offensive. Please note, Kevin and Ted, that I ascribe no racist inclinations to Chris and the only assumption I made was that he/she practices Aikido.

My guess is that Chris is not 100% aware of how that word might be taken by others. My concerns were (and are) two; that the use of the word insults those members of Japanese descent and that it might interfer with Chris' training someday. I have wrote nothing of his/her character.

Ted, it would be really interesting for you to print this all out and show it to Mrs. Tohei at your dojo. I'm sure she has insights that almost no one else can have.

in harmony,

Charles

batemanb
05-27-2003, 08:29 AM
I'm married to a Japanese girl. Whilst I understand that not everyone who uses the word "Jap" is using it in a racist nature, it most definately can be used in a derogatory way, not too dissimilar from nip, wog, wop nig.... etc. It certainly leaves a leaves a sour taste in my mouth and I refrain from using it, but that's just me, some folks don't find these other terms offensive either.


Love, light, joy and laughter

Bryan

L. Camejo
05-27-2003, 09:42 AM
Interesting thread.

There was a time in my country, during the height of the Bruce Lee and Silver Fox era, that dojo breaking was almost the norm.

Folks would go look at kung fu flicks and get delusions of grandeur about going in groups and challenging other dojos. This happened mainly in the kung fu/karate styles tho. The situation was as hilarious as it was scary. Grown men trying to master all sorts of iron palm and hurricane kicks from movies:freaky:, and then going to test other dojos and take over if they beat the instructor and his head students; or become a steady source of income for the local hopitals :).

I remember a particular situation though, of an aikijj group (not Daito Ryu to my knowledge) that falsely claimed to be representative of an "official" aikijj dojo, whose nearest branch was in the USA. The USA group got wind of this impersonation and sent a representative, who was a local living in the US. The rep. walked into the school, verified his suspected information with the instructor, told him who he represented and proceeded to put the instructor and his top students in the hospital. At the end of it he closed down the school, taught a choice few people his aikijujutsu style for some years and returned to the USA.

Thankfully these folks are not too prevalent nowadays. Though I almost had a run in with a Jeet Kun Do instructor who had a student that trained at my dojo at the same time. The girl became so traumatised at proddings and challenges to "show what she learns in aikido" from her Jet Kun Do mates that she told me about it and felt compelled to leave us.

In the end I told her that if he had any questions as to the validity of our training to please address them to me, and I even invited him and his class to come train with us a bit. Of course they never showed, and in the end she left their school instead :).

Interesting the egos we must deal with sometimes :)

Just my 9.99

L.C.:ai::ki:

BC
05-27-2003, 11:16 AM
I don't recall the Japanese term, but from what I understand, it translates to "breaking the rice bowl." (Jun, any help here?)

Back in the '70s and early '80s, I've heard there was quite a lot of this going on within the Chicago martial arts community. I haven't heard about any recent occurances.

When I lived in Colorado in the early '80 my kenpo instructor, having just opened up his school, was challenged by a tae kwon do instructor down the street. There was a face-off, and the TKD guy backed down after a few tense minutes. There then ensued a very strong rivalry in local tournaments.

Jesse Lee
05-27-2003, 11:46 AM
One of my favorite aikido books is _Complete Aikido_ by Roy Suenaka. He was the Hombu aikido ambassador to Okinawa, among other things. He has a few really good stories of some failed dojo busting attempts against his own dojos, both in Okinawa and later in North Carolina.

Largo
05-29-2003, 11:36 PM
It still happens...but not as often as you'd think from watching movies. In cincinnati (where I used to live) it was the rage in the dojos around me to give free "trial" lessons. Somethimes just one, sometimes for a week. Anyways, a few people took advantage of that (as you'd figure). Now they're a lot more wary of who comes in and what can happen during the "free trial" (i.e. it's explanations and a slow drill or 2...no sparring :-(