Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Love to hear your oppinions on this video.
This is from Tomiki - from the article posted on the thread to the Tohei video:
"What are the distinctive features of Japanese Budo? They are surely matters of spirit and philosophy. It has come to be said quite often that if we diligently develop our waza, our minds and spirits (kokoro) will be improved. Since ancient times, this budo shugyo, or martial arts training and apprenticeship, has proceeded from "techniques" (waza) to the "Way" (michi). The aphorism, "The act of perfecting our waza is equal to and achieves that act of perfecting our minds," applies in its entirety to modern competition, as competition rightly engaged in helps us to perfect our waza, and so our minds. But a more thorough consideration of the distinctive features of budo and its philosophy is necessary here.
It has been handed down to this generation that the secret principle of martial arts techniques in kenjutsu (cf, The Book of the Five Rings) or in jujutsu (cf, The Heavenly Scroll of Kito Ryu Jujutsu) is to study thoroughly the principles of the arts so that we will ultimately arrive at "no posture" (mugamae)--that is, we will develop true natural posture (shizen hontai). In the same way that thoroughly mastering the principles of the arts leads the body to mugamae, such mastery leads the soul to mushin, which is often termed "no heart," or "the quietude of spirit". Although there are various terms for mushin, such as the unmoving heart, the non-living heart, the soft and pliable heart, and the every-day heart, they all mean exactly the same thing. And arriving at this state of mushin is congruent with the goals of the religious and moral systems that have existed in all eras and in all places.
The deep secret of ancient jujutsu is embodied in the saying, "True natural posture is the manifestation of mushin. Control strength through gentleness. These are the principles of jujutsu." Master Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), the founder of Kodokan Judo, well explained the subtleties behind this principle when he formulated his Principles of Judo--judo meaning gentleness--so that the original jujutsu principle would be understandable to the people of the current day. He did this by analyzing this single jujutsu principle quoted above, and dividing it into three subsidiary principles.
1. The principle of natural body (shizentai no ri), which concerns posture. This is a natural, unrestricted posture from which it is possible to attack and defend, adapting to any kind of assault.
2. The principle of gentleness (ju no ri), which concerns the position of defense. It says, do not oppose the offensive power of any kind of antagonist with force. Rather, render that force ineffective by moving your body out of the way (taisabaki).
3. The principle of breaking balance (kuzushi no ri), which concerns the position of attack. This says to go and build a chance of winning by taking advantage of the breaking of your opponent's balance or by adhering to his body.
I have taught both the kata and randori training methods together, as a unified system of practice which can help the student to understand each technique in light of the three principles listed above. I have also pointed out in my teaching that the nage-waza and katame-waza belong to randori training, while the atemi-waza and kansetsu-waza for the most part belong to kata training.
Jujutsu, which had techniques for hand to hand combat, studied "true power." In order for each us to experience personally the "core principles of the martial arts," we must not stop at the mere, repetitious practice of kata. Randori and sparing help to lead us closer to both the core principles of the martial arts and the true power that they generate by letting us experience the techniques studied in kata as they were meant to be performed: against a smart, resisting, and aggressive opponent. [...]
It is the case, though, that the method of training used in aikido today is not only based upon the practices of long ago, but is indeed just about unchanged from what was done back then. If we consider the matter from the standpoint of an up-to-date education in budo, however, a system of randori practice ought to be added and should be based upon a method of training that incorporates both kata and randori. When one is young it is important for one's budo training to pass through rigorous bodily and spiritual ordeals in randori and, further, tournaments. And as for the vast array of techniques that cannot be incorporated into randori training, the profound martial arts principles embodied in those techniques can be--must be--mastered thoroughly through the practice of kata. In this way, one may develop one's body to the wonderful state known as mugamae or shizentai, and thence through further exertions reach the ascetic practice of mushin. This is "the Way" for the practitioner of austerities. [...]
The method of practise traditionally used to ensure the safety of dangerous techniques was the kata system of practise. In ancient bujutsu, 99% of a practise was completed by kata alone. That is to say, in order to cope with an opponent's unlimited attacks, each response was practised by means of kata. That is the reason for the extreme number of kata in ancient jujutsu. For example in Tenjin Shinyo Ryu jujutsu there were 124 kata techniques, and there were over 10 ranho (literally unstructured captures). To become masterful in the practical applications of the techniques required innumerable months. Then someone would be challenged to go from kata to a violent shiai (literally street fight ) called tsujinage or tsujigiri. This gave life to kata and was the place to try to fit together objectively one's own real ability.
A martial art that has no rules is nothing but violence. Along with the perception of being prepared for death, one must participate in shiai. In the traditional writings there is a prohibition against shiai. Novices entering into shiai unpreparedly were admonished about losing their lives.
Times changed after the middle of the Edo period and shiai that caused injuries costing a life were rigidly proscribed. It was then decided that bujutsu training would be done from first to last only by kata. The bujutsu that lost the opportunity for shiai training showed signs of degeneration because it was impossible to experience personally the true power of the martial arts and the core of the principles of the arts. [...]
Kata practise is performed to avoid the ultimate power of the techniques...Randori practise is something that is done to give life to the real power of those techniques that were learned through kata. That is to say, randori provides the power to complete a painted dragon by filling in the eyes."
Okay, that's all I got through with my limited time - but it looks to be a very well-thought out and fascinating article - one, I feel, is relevant to this discussion here (i.e. Should spontaneous training sessions be incorporated into everyday practice? If so, why and how? And, what should or will it look like, and why?)