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Old 02-08-2013, 01:17 PM   #7
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 814
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #34: Suganuma Morito: The Calligrapher

I am out of town. Currently sitting on a deck in the middle of a surprisingly unbuggy jungle on the Oso Penninsula, spider monkeys and scarlet macaw overhead, with the ocean scant yards away.

And I am drawn away from this lovely place for . . .

Every dojo I've ever been in has rules, sometimes quite small, and some clearly impractical. Why can't I, a guest, simply walk up to the bokken rack and start swinging one? Dangerous? C'mon. I'm actually an expert swordsman, so the rules don't apply to me. Oh, you bow upon entering the mat? Well, I don't, but don't take offense, because if you knew me, you'd realize that it's not arrogance or anything like that - we don't think that's necessary in our dojo (but I bow inside - and really really deeply, too).

Why have the rules? So that the dojo functions as the dojo owner wishes it to be. I've gone into many dojo and not liked the rules - I just don't go back. I don't presume to have the right to insult the dojo owner and tell him what's wrong with his rules, or more blatantly, insult him.

Further more, I've got this odd idea that what we learn in the dojo is supposed to apply - as close as possible - to life outside. What did Tohei say? "Aikido in Daily Life?" So if something is right in the dojo environment (in general, by the way, not any specific rule), why not outside?

I'm not going to reiterate the rationale of the column series, now 34 in number. See column #1 for that. But this discussion here is the evidence why I set up the rules. Not that this thread is horrible or even all that offensive - its simply that the column is SET UP as an archive, not a discussion forum. And rather trivial byplay, argumentation, personal insult and sidetracks in stupid puns and other jokes, ill-befit something meant as a historical record.

There is a technological lag, that Jun will be working out, where no one will be able to post without his or my approval - moderated, in other words. Until then, we have relied on the integrity (and ability to read English) of those who choose to post in response. Given that the rules are clearly enunciated, everyone who has chosen to post outside them has, to date, either skimmed over the rules, not reading them, (these are usually, the "wow, that's really cool," posts), or those who have decided that the rules don't apply to them because what they choose to write or argue about is beyond such rules.

I came very close to pulling the series at its inception, having several other routes to publish where a pure archive would be unquestioned. I'm very glad to have maintained the project here, because it is as if presenting in a dojo. And as I say, every dojo - hell, every combatives gym - has rules. When I visit my son at the boxing gym he's training, I always am introduced to the owner, ask permission to watch and also ask to be told where I can stand or sit. What's that phrase? . . ."Budo begins in reigi and ends in reigi" Reigi means "the obligation to bow," or put another way, "little rules." Pretty silly, I know.

Ellis Amdur

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