This is Chuck posting as Chuck (no, really!)
The fact that all Budo, Martial art training was out lawed in the previous two centuries to the common man, except for soldiers and royal families, did that give common people a watered down budo? Must you learn from a descended art by royal family?
Originally posted by Bruce Baker
No, it wasn't forbidden, strictly speaking. The common man simply hadn't time, money or inclination to do formalized martial arts training. They were too busy staying alive.
In order to study systematized martial disciplines, we require free time, access to teachers, funds to pay, etc. The average man for the past 10,000 years (the 40-hour work week and minimum wage is really a very, very new concept) has been a hunter, farmer, laborer ... they didn't have time to do much but work, take care of family, stay alive and die if they wound up in the wrong place or got sick.
Getting together with the other blokes behind the barn and wrestling is about as formal as most martial instruction for the common man got for hundereds and hundreds of years. The one exception was when the common fellow got drafted and some old soldier shoved a spear in his hands and said "Point goes that way. Butt goes this way. Don't stick your buddy. Now, go kill a kami for mommy."
If he survived that and came back, he sat around the barracks or bivouac and compared notes with other grunts.
Only in times of peace and prosperity do we truly have the luxury to study the arts of war.
There is plenty of history outlawing schools of MA in both China, and Japan, let alone Okinawa. How many hidden techniques survived to be relearned in their original form to be understood for their original intended use?
No. There's not. I think I know where you're coming from though. Oral histories and tales told over sake often refer to the weapons bans, to the Japanese crushing the Okinawan fighting arts, etc etc etc. It's simply not exactly that way. Current, scholarly research into the true history of Okinawa reveals some very interesting things the legends just gloss over (or outright ignore) in favor of romantic fantasy.
Hidden techniques? It's common practice among the legitimate koryu to teach the secrets right up front. They are usually found right there in the basics. And if the student is dedicated, astute and diligent, this becomes clear.
O'Sensei admits to changing his focus to the new art of Aikido, making it safe to practice for all humanity, but still being a true budo. How watered down did he make it to make it safe, and how much training, study does it take to see the true applications our techniques came from?
Japanese budo, like Japanese culture itself, is like an onion. It comes apart in layer after layer and has all kinds of depths. The question is not whether Ueshiba watered down aikido. The question is how willing are we to explore the depths and find what really lies there.
And trust me, Bruce, Dillman and the other folks you seem to be listening to may do what they do very well, but they're, in many ways, perpetuating the myths rather than blowing them away, they are, in fact, obscuring mre than they reveal and they are simply not the experts on history, martial theory and budo they claim to be.
You want to get the real deal? You want to know the "Truth" (tm)? Start listening and training with folks such as Meik Skoss, Karl Friday, Ellis Amdur, even our own dear friend Peter Boylan, folks like Rennis Buchner and Jun Akiyama, people like Chuck Clark and Dennis Hooker. People who have been there, done that, got scars and t-shirts to prove it.
You're in Jersey. Get in touch with the Skosses and see if you can arrange a visit to their dojo. I'd be very interested to hear what Meik has to say about your theories ...
You want good budo? Go see folks who are doing it, not the ones who are selling repackaged myth and misinformation.
As far as budo being watered down? Maybe yours is, mine is not. Nor is that of any of the folks I've referenced above.