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Old 10-24-2013, 09:45 AM   #76
Peter Boylan
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

Quote:
Philip Zeplin-Frederiksen wrote: View Post
This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, and for that, I apologize going a bit off topic, and focusing too much on these things. But this is again the whole "Japan is uniquely unique" concept, which is just silly.

Japanese culture is no more difficult to learn, than any other. As long as you are not a foreigner living in your own little "gaijin bubble" (having only foreign friends, eating at only the foreign restaurants, etc.), it really doesn't take too long to get acquainted with Japanese customs, and how to smoothly fit in.

Japan is a wonderful country, with an incredibly rich history and a wealth of traditions. But it is no more unique, or difficult to grasp, than any middle eastern country, African country, European country, or any other culture. .
I agree with this. That's why I carefully chose the phrase "to function in". Grasping and understanding Japanese culture is quite doable. It's internalizing the myriad social rules and operating under them smoothly which is the challenge. And it's a challenge I don't think is worth the effort, because Japanese social rules are a very tight straightjacket. My life as a gaijin in Japan is much more relaxed and easy, and I can do many things that Japanese don't just because it isn't the proper social thing to do. I knowingly and willingly cross all sorts of lines in Japanese society that natives won't. I do this understanding what I am doing. Grasping Japanese culture and social mores is one thing. Being able to operation smoothly within them is another thing entirely.

Peter Boylan
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:49 AM   #77
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I agree with this. That's why I carefully chose the phrase "to function in". Grasping and understanding Japanese culture is quite doable. It's internalizing the myriad social rules and operating under them smoothly which is the challenge. And it's a challenge I don't think is worth the effort, because Japanese social rules are a very tight straightjacket. My life as a gaijin in Japan is much more relaxed and easy, and I can do many things that Japanese don't just because it isn't the proper social thing to do. I knowingly and willingly cross all sorts of lines in Japanese society that natives won't. I do this understanding what I am doing. Grasping Japanese culture and social mores is one thing. Being able to operation smoothly within them is another thing entirely.
Ah, I seem to have slightly misunderstood you, when you said "function in", sorry about that!
If I understand you correctly now, you meant the difference between "understanding" and "becoming", correct? For instance, with proper study, I can understand the mind of a psychopath, but that doesn't mean I can just become a psychopath myself (I may well be able to act like one, if needed, but it isn't "me", so to speak).
Is that correct?

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Old 10-24-2013, 11:38 AM   #78
Peter Boylan
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

Quote:
Philip Zeplin-Frederiksen wrote: View Post
Ah, I seem to have slightly misunderstood you, when you said "function in", sorry about that!
If I understand you correctly now, you meant the difference between "understanding" and "becoming", correct? For instance, with proper study, I can understand the mind of a psychopath, but that doesn't mean I can just become a psychopath myself (I may well be able to act like one, if needed, but it isn't "me", so to speak).
Is that correct?
Pretty much. Becoming as smooth and comfortable with Japanese custom and culture as someone who grew up in it is quite a task.

Peter Boylan
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:17 PM   #79
Stephen Nichol
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
I was in training in Tokyo when I was told directly by my Japanese friend that I could (not would) never understand Budo properly because I was not Japanese.
Other people have commented on this already but I happened to come across an interview with Morihiro Saito Sensei on Aikido Journal (1979 part 2) for those with a subscription:

"Those who think in that way are people who can't teach. As they can't teach correct Aikido, they create that kind of situation. I'm against this. I think Aikido will be reimported to Japan in the future. All the genuine aspects of Aikido will be taken to foreign countries. All the foreigners will take back authentic Aikido. I think in the future Japanese will go to foreign countries to learn it."

Ok, so this may be in the context of Aikido and some may separate that from 'budo'. However it has been recorded that O-Sensei stated that Takdeda Sensei opened his eyes to true budo... so by extension, in my opinion, I feel that Saito Sensei was exposed to and taught this 'true budo' and for Saito Sensei to say what he did... back in 1979.. wow... just wow.

Also, insert IP/IS/Aiki proponents here on Aikiweb that are trying so very hard to get a 'complete model' (please do not ask me to clarify that in this thread) of it back into Aikido so that people can once again have their eyes opened to 'true budo'. These people tend to be largely not Japanese in origin nor do they all live in Japan.

So once again, I do not believe you need to train in Japan to truly understand budo when we have so many sources and access to them. If you are truly passionate about it, you will seek and find a way to learn as much as you can, take on as much as you can and find what budo 'truly is to you' in the end.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:59 AM   #80
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

Quote:
Stephen Nichol wrote: View Post
... These people tend to be largely not Japanese in origin nor do they all live in Japan.
There are some strong connections to Japan. Be it via the teacher-student-lineage or be it via the personal biography.
But nevertheless I think there is defintely a movement of emancipation in it.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 10-25-2013 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:24 AM   #81
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Also, insert IP/IS/Aiki proponents here on Aikiweb that are trying so very hard to get a 'complete model' (please do not ask me to clarify that in this thread) of it back into Aikido so that people can once again have their eyes opened to 'true budo'. These people tend to be largely not Japanese in origin nor do they all live in Japan.
The myth of "Asian Mysticism" is still quite huge in the West, even in the face of vast amounts of readily available information on the internet. I, personally, find that the people who are very vocal about such subjects, are often people who have never actually lived, or spent a considerable amount of time, in the Asian country of their liking. Even in modern movies, as an example, are these concepts taken to a crazy extreme - the Japanese lady in the recent "Pacific Rim" movie, was so cliché of a Japanese that it bordered on racism, yet I know many people who simply assume that Japanese people do indeed still live and act like that. "I SHALL AVENGE MY FATHER! FOR MY FAMILY!"

Chinese Internal Arts seem flooded with this, as well as many Japanese Martial Arts. With the recent hype and popularity of Korean pop music, I'm sure it's not long before focus shifts to Korea!

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Old 10-25-2013, 01:53 AM   #82
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Philip Zeplin-Frederiksen wrote: View Post
The myth of "Asian Mysticism" ...
Just to get you right:
You understand the teaching of "IP/IS/Aiki" as Stephen called it at as form of "Asian Mysticism"?

Quote:
... often people who have never actually lived, or spent a considerable amount of time, in the Asian country of their liking
Do you know the biographies of people who are teaching this stuff ?
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:10 AM   #83
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Just to get you right:
You understand the teaching of "IP/IS/Aiki" as Stephen called it at as form of "Asian Mysticism"?
I was referring more his overall statement, as well as the "true budo" statement.
That said, depending (heavily) on how you want to define it, yes, I would call IP/IS/Aiki "Asian Mysticism". But since we haven't specifically defined that right now, it's hard to say if I feel it is that or not. People define these things incredibly differently, and without knowing more, I really can't say.

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Do you know the biographies of people who are teaching this stuff ?
Well that's a silly question. "the people teaching this stuff" is obviously not a question I can answer. Even if I knew who you were referring to, it's beyond silly to insinuate that I would need to know the biographies of all of them. And even if I did, or do not, and whether those specific people went and lived in Japan or not, that really has nothing to do with my reply.

Overall, you seem to have taken my reply horribly out of context, and trying to get something else out of it, than what I was saying.

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Old 10-25-2013, 02:38 AM   #84
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

Thank you!

I was refering to the phrase of Stephen Nicol:
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Stephen Nichol wrote: View Post
... IP/IS/Aiki proponents here on Aikiweb ...
This to me indicates that he is talking about certain persons (i.e. "proponents") and about their certain concept of aiki and thus refering to the old and ongoing discussions here about internal practice. (see the ""IP/IT/IS" vs technique"-thread )

You where quoting his phrase "these people".

Thus I wondered whether you also refer to this certain persons and their certain concept of aiki.
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:21 AM   #85
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Philip Zeplin-Frederiksen wrote: View Post
That said, depending (heavily) on how you want to define it, yes, I would call IP/IS/Aiki "Asian Mysticism". But since we haven't specifically defined that right now, it's hard to say if I feel it is that or not. People define these things incredibly differently, and without knowing more, I really can't say.
.
a bit off topic, but the funny thing is that i, an asian, got hand-on instruction of IP/aiki from a couple of american white boy gringo. ok, one of them is a jew, but his aiki-jewjutsu is pretty good.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:35 AM   #86
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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... ok, one of them is a jew, but his aiki-jewjutsu is pretty good.
http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~magi9/isracame.htm


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Old 10-26-2013, 02:50 PM   #87
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Stephen Nichol wrote: View Post
Also, insert IP/IS/Aiki proponents here on Aikiweb that are trying so very hard to get a 'complete model' (please do not ask me to clarify that in this thread) of it back into Aikido so that people can once again have their eyes opened to 'true budo'. These people tend to be largely not Japanese in origin nor do they all live in Japan.
Well, I am going to ask you to clarify who or what you mean. I trained in Daito Ryu Aiki in Japan, so who do you consider are teaching disseminating this outside Japan?
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:19 PM   #88
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Talking Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
Well, I am going to ask you to clarify who or what you mean. I trained in Daito Ryu Aiki in Japan, so who do you consider are teaching disseminating this outside Japan?
I saw a website with some guy named Oisin Bourke teaching daito ryu in Ireland. Does that count?
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:20 PM   #89
Stephen Nichol
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Well, I am going to ask you to clarify who or what you mean.
Alight, I did not think it would be necessary to do it in this thread. Most people on Aikiweb have been here long enough to know 'that conversation' and hopefully have used the 'search' feature of the forum. However the points contained to the statement made by Ueshiba Morihei 'Takeda opened my eyes to true budo' and that as I understand it he was referring to Takdeda's skill with Aiki (IP/IS/IT et al).

Granted we have to accept that Ueshiba's concept and understanding of what 'true budo' is correct and that was what Takeda opened his eyes to. It is difficult to not fall into the trap of 'grabbing one detail or thing someone said about a topic and building an entire point from it' however in this case..

Given that, the core of my point in this context is: Aiki is Budo. Aiki is a specific skill set of body work, not techniques of locks, pins, throws, weapons and so on. As others have stated on this forum and I agree with them: Aiki is the system/engine that powers and drives everything you do, whatever shape or form that your 'art' takes.

All 'arts' that contain 'Aiki' are methods that have 'wrapped' techniques around 'Aiki' to showcase how one can use it do all the stuff you may be interested in within all things considered 'martial arts.' The techniques can be considered an expression of Aiki.

1. Accept that there is a complete 'Aiki' skill set out there.
2. 'Assume' Takeda had it.
3. 'Assume' Ueshiba learned it from Takeda.
4. It would appear from many interviews and general observations made over the decades that not everyone learned the entire 'Aiki' skill set from both Takdeda or Ueshiba but did get parts of it.
5. Many systems have evolved from students of Takeda and Ueshiba (withing the context I am referring to here) that had some Aiki in them, the completeness of that is difficult to measure however when you read interview after interview, consider sources, context and so on... I for one get the distinct impression that many of the founders of these systems for many reasons, did not get the complete skill set for Aiki from their teachers.

Some had to go outside their parent art to get the core Aiki skills and try to get it back into the form of their art.

Quote:
Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
I trained in Daito Ryu Aiki in Japan, so who do you consider are teaching disseminating this outside Japan?
Oisin, assuming your teacher learned 'aiki' as demonstrated by Takeda Sokaku, described abilities from all the interviews we can read about such abilities, and demonstrated them to you, explained them , taught them to you to the point were you are able to perform the same feats that Takeda Sokaku was known for... then you have been shown 'true budo' following in the same path as described by Ueshiba Morihei.

To be clear: I consider those who learn the Aiki skill set in its complete form, the 'internals' as it were, to the point of being able to perform the feats described that Takeda and Ueshiba demonstrated (not just the visible techniques either) and people who have felt them described in interviews that you can read on Aikido Journal.

With the Aiki skill set you can perform Budo (Stop Spear, or however you wish to interpret that) within whatever context you and the art you practice. I do not believe they are mutually exclusive. It is only that most often these days we see and learn the external expressions of Aiki/Budo and not the true driving skills inside it.

Once again, this is my opinion and position on this topic. If you believe that there has been a continuing separation or loss of transmission of the complete Aiki skill set within the art you are practicing, you can still practice the outside/external form while seeking the internal part from another source if necessary and then try to bring it back into the 'form' without having to give up on their art. That source for some will come from the most readily available area.

In my own personal situation the information came from this forum, lead to people like Dan Harden, from there to Gleason Sensei, Akuzawa and Sam Chin (3 out of 4 on my short list are not in Japan), any of their advanced students who possess what I understand and accept as 'Aiki' IS/IP etc. While I feel that my teachers possess some of the Aiki skill set, I have not experienced what I understand to be the complete set. Some of them understand this as well and actively seek out and study from other teachers in the tradition of having the mind of the 'continuous student'. I believe that Aiki skills as described to be an essential core to what I want to learn. I have decided to try and learn them along with the Aikido I practice and express it within that context.

I hope this clears up my thoughts and feelings on learning budo sources not in Japan.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:47 AM   #90
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

So if Takeda opened Ueshibas eyes to true budo, and only Dan Harden's This Stuff method is true Aiki....then only This Stuff is true Budo. At least Ark is doing This Stuff so the poor people of Japan have some opportunity to feel true Budo!

Didn't Ueshiba also say Aiki is Love? That can only mean that you must practice This Stuff to develop Aiki to know what love is...
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:40 AM   #91
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post

Didn't Ueshiba also say Aiki is Love? That can only mean that you must practice This Stuff to develop Aiki to know what love is...
come on Cliff! just admit it, that you loved Dan. i can feel the aiki all the way from here, because there is a disturbance in the force.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:04 AM   #92
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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come on Cliff! just admit it, that you loved Dan. i can feel the aiki all the way from here, because there is a disturbance in the force.
That's from the Indian food I ate last night for dinner!
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:30 AM   #93
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

As outlined in this announcement, if you wish to discuss internal training in aikido, please be sure to start a new and separate thread in the Internal Training in Aikido forum.

-- Jun

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Old 10-29-2013, 03:55 AM   #94
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
Rather than merely echo Peter's reply, I thought I might point anyone who is interested to a fine piece of scholarship that addresses that notion in a fairly rigorous and sometimes surprising manner:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Taming-Sam.../dp/0674868099

To that, I would only add that while the concept of "michi" or "do" has a long provenance, the opening of those arts to broader social circles, while not entirely unknown, particularly during the very late Tokugawa era, didn't really become a mass phenomenon until the Meiji era, and both functional and conceptual change are associated with that opening.

Hope this helps.

FL
Hello Fred,

Have you looked at her other work, entitled Bonds of Civility? I think she focuses more generally on the arts that were opened to the broader social circles, all of which I suspect involved mastering 'forms', as exemplified by those with 'true' understanding. (Chapter 12, entitled, "Hierarchical Civility and Beauty: Etiquette and Manners in Tokugawa Manuals," presents some intriguing evidence of this.) She focuses on the so-called za (= sitting) arts, but I think the link with martial arts is not so distant.

The other issue for me is that of invented tradition and this is connected with the question of 'true' understanding. If you remove this word from the title of the thread, it becomes a no-brainer. Of course, one can understand budo without training in Japan, but what does 'true' understanding add?

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 10-29-2013, 07:13 AM   #95
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Granted we have to accept that Ueshiba's concept and understanding of what 'true budo' is correct and that was what Takeda opened his eyes to.
I don't think what Ueshiba meant with "true budo" was what he learned from takeda.
Indeed he said that takeda had opened his eyes to budo, and I also agree that this statement refers to daito-ryu-aiki.

But I think this:
Quote:
O Sensei: Aikido is Ai (love). You make this great love of the universe your heart, and then you must make your own mission the protection and love of all things. To accomplish this mission must be the true Budo. True Budo means to win over yourself and eliminate the fighting heart of the enemy...
is not what was taught to him by takeda.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:17 AM   #96
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Have you looked at her other work, entitled Bonds of Civility? I think she focuses more generally on the arts that were opened to the broader social circles, all of which I suspect involved mastering 'forms', as exemplified by those with 'true' understanding. (Chapter 12, entitled, "Hierarchical Civility and Beauty: Etiquette and Manners in Tokugawa Manuals," presents some intriguing evidence of this.) She focuses on the so-called za (= sitting) arts, but I think the link with martial arts is not so distant.
Thank you for the tip. I will add this to my reading list.

Peter Boylan
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:19 AM   #97
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
The other issue for me is that of invented tradition and this is connected with the question of 'true' understanding. If you remove this word from the title of the thread, it becomes a no-brainer. Of course, one can understand budo without training in Japan, but what does 'true' understanding add?
In reading this thread and a few others related to it, I was reminded of the concept of the so-called "pizza effect". Not that it is a completely consistent analogy with Aikido and it's global spread, but there is a lot here to be "chewed" on (pardon the pun). It seems to me that Aikido in many cases is a great example of an art "marketed" in some sense to the larger, global community and that in itself fed back in to what is done today. So I wonder how much of what is done today and seen as "tradition" is actually more along the (rather slippery) lines of so-called "invented" tradition.

And oddly enough some of my friends in koryu arts sometimes (not always) seem *less* concerned about some of these cultural things than those in Aikido, an art that is quite clearly vastly more modern.

Anyway, just a comment from the cheap seats. That's about the limits of my knowledge on these topics and it is more a sign of my own skepticism about many things.

So, carry on...

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Old 10-29-2013, 09:04 AM   #98
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

Kieth, I'm not quite sure I agree with the marketing aspect you mention, or maybe I misunderstood your post. I think that aikido would like to market itself, but either does not or falls short. I am surprised by how many people I encounter that have never heard of aikido, some of them even practicing martial arts themselves. Then just about every martial art with a few exceptions (silat, caporeia, systema) are more popular and offered in more locations and stripmalls (the quality of such places may be questioned), but overall the popularity of other martial arts leaves aikido far behind.

For those that practice, there are always questions as to the effectiveness of any given art, but the showcasing of other arts, and their availability seems to me to leave the marketing factor out of aikido.

Then the issue must be raised, should aikido change to attract a larger base? I personally do not think so, but then again there are so many different styles and orginizations, each with their own take on the art. Couple that with the time it takes to learn and refine even the basics versus other martial arts, and I wonder again if marketing is prevailent or needed. Aikido will attract those to it that wish to train, as evidenced by the numbers who give it a try and then move on, and I don't think marketing has any significant role in that.

Then figure in the costs of marketing, in addition to just keeping the dojo doors open and the lights on, leaves little in the way of a marketing budget.

Anyways, I've rambled on enough
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:21 AM   #99
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

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Alex Fitzgerald wrote: View Post
Kieth, I'm not quite sure I agree with the marketing aspect you mention, or maybe I misunderstood your post.
Actually I was referring to the early history of Aikido, primarily when Tohei was just rising in the organization and Kisshomaru was making his presence felt in the original organization. I think a good argument could be made along the lines of Hobsbawm's discussions that an awful lot of what most now take as "traditional" arose at this time. Bits of this, bits of that, some long standing traditions, but many others "created" along that time. These things allowed participants to feel "part of the group" or maybe better yet, part of an "elite" group. Hobsbawm goes in to a lot of this stuff in his introduction to his book on invented traditions. When I first read that a few years ago I kept smiling thinking about the "evolution" of Aikido. How much was done to "meet the needs" of the consumers at the time, all very necessary I think to keep Aikido afloat in a very difficult time in Japan. And the "repackaging" of some of O-sensei's stuff in the more mystical vein also fed in to the stereotype of "mystical oriental arts" that still attracts many. And then notions of being one with the universe, peace, love, understanding, and all that good stuff that really started to kick in during the 60's and 70's. The timing was incredible if you stand back and consider it all.

Anyway, the point of invented traditions is that many things are to some extent taken to be "tradition" that are on closer examination rather recent and to some extent "artificial". They can be more about inclusion (or exclusion), about group dynamics, about creating an identity, about yearning for the mythical days long gone (that often themselves didn't exist). I'm reminded of books like the Hagakure, and various things we still hear today with alarming frequency about "Bushido". Well, today we talk about "budo". But I think there is a tremendous amount of idealized and self-serving views of these things.

Anyway, not really my area, I'm just an amateur that loves to read stuff.

Oh, the pizza reference is about how you can go to Italy today and get a "traditional" pizza. And how people here will argue incessantly about what style of pizza is "truly authentic". All when pizza as we know it was a somewhat American thing that Italians now make for American tourists looking for the "real deal".

Or to put it another way... It's complicated.

Anyway, a lot of Mr. Boylan's threads lately have reminded me of all of that. So I just dusted off my copy of Invented Traditions for when I finish the book I'm on now. All interesting stuff so I'm sorry if I went a bit far afield.

Carry one as they say...

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Old 10-29-2013, 12:05 PM   #100
aikidark
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Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

Ahh...makes perfect sense, Kieth. Thank you for the explination, and introducing me to another facet of aikido I had never considered.
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