Thread: On Koryu
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:43 PM   #1
Toby Threadgill
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 166
On Koryu


A bit of clarification is due here because there are people all over the internet who offer commentary and criticism of koryu who don't know a damn thing about them. So, ignore them and don't listen to their myths. If they're not in a koryu, they're guessing based on a book or second and possibly third hand information, likely from someone else who isn't in a koryu either.

In this day and age most koryu do not keep "secrets" or limit exposure to certain teachings because they're afraid of being publicly compromised or feel their public dissemination will somehow threaten their legendary ability to defeat all comers. Such blathering is childish nonsense. We're not sitting around in our dojo's, closing the curtains and peeking outside to make sure no one see's the "good stuff". We're just trying to responsibly preserve something in a manner worthy of those who left it to us. We agreed to certain restrictions on how this is done and accept that we are charged to maintain those restrictions.

Frequently a koryu school maintains proprietary teachings out of a sense of social responsibility or as a method to ensure that the legitimacy the arts lineage is not fraudulently compromised. In our case we teach some things that are very nasty, meant for assassination and such. It is socially irresponsible for any instructor in TSYR to teach these things to the public at large. If some wanker doesn't like that, I really don't care. Such an individual has no responsibility to the school or its heritage so his opinion doesn't get any consideration, only my scorn. Usually this type of individual is just an egomanic and emotional bully who wants to badger people into telling him something he doesn't know. An all to frequent tactic is to attack a koryu teacher claiming they don't know something in the hopes that they will divulge some proprietary aspect of their art in their defense. I don't play that game and the people that want to play that game with me can go harrass someone else. I consider them rather pitiful and unethical individuals. I have nothing to prove to anyone except my teacher and those who are on the path with me to preserve TSYR. If my ego was so out of control that I had to go public with our uchiden to PROVE how wonderful we are, I would not have been chosen for the role I now fill.

Look, no person or art has all the "good stuff". IS/IP is just one piece of a very complex and interrelated number of important skills in numerous schools of budo. I understand that in the contxt of aikido, such a skill is much more important because it resides at the center of aikido's technical foundation, but don't be too myopic. IS/IP skills manifest themselves in numerous ways that can be unique to a particular school. When someone tries to represent himself as THE authority on what constitutes ANY particular skill, I have to laugh. There are many facets of combat and in a comprehensive sogo bujutsu like TSYR, these skills are interconnected in ways that are not in other schools who have a more focused area of technical study. Few people are qualified to comment on the depth of all these various skills, but numerous Tom's, Dick's and Harry's will sit behind their keyboard and pontificate on this subject until their fingers bleed. It's hilarious.

There is no doubt that there' are lots of things people outside koryu know that we don't concern ourselves with in TSYR. But to that I say, so what! They do what they do and we do what we do. If I went off on some diatribe about how Chinese martial arts suck because their sword making and application of sword tactics are so primitive, what does that get me? One thing it does do is make me look like an asshole. The other thing it does is make me look stupid and arrogant at the same time. If you're listening to people who behave like this I think you need to ask yourself why? Are you so desperate for information that you are willing to subject yourself to someone who behaves in an arrogant or emotionally unbalanced manner? Individuals like this are "kusaimen" (stinky noodles*) Remember, if a teacher has a lot of knowledge but behaves like a jerk, don't train with him, he's still a jerk. His "knowledge" does not make him any less a jerk. I promise there's a nice guy out there somewhere who knows what the jerk knows and a relationship with the nice guy will be much more rewarding.


Toby Threadgill / TSYR

*Kusaimen (stinky noodles)- No matter the quality or expense of the ingredients, if you mix crap into your noodles, it's all crap.
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