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Old 03-24-2008, 02:46 PM   #51
RonRagusa
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Mike -

I don't expect I'll ever be satisfied. I want to keep growing in Aikido as long as I continue to practice. It's as true today as it was on day one 30 years ago.

Ron
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Old 03-24-2008, 02:52 PM   #52
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Hey, as long as your students understand that, no harm no foul. I can't say that much of the aikido weapons stuff out there does any more or less than that. I know to take aikido weapons with a grain of salt from exposure to koryu, so I don't get soooo het up about it. Most aikido weapons is used to enhance the empty handed skills. I guess there's not so much wrong with karate or whatever doing the same thing.

But then again, I look at Shirata Sensei's buki waza, for example...and I see something completely different. I guess some part of me wishes that all aikido weapons had that "edge" to it. My penchant for something more showing again...sigh.

Out of curiosity, exactly how do the 'weapons' clips there illustrate "ki development"? I kind of get the movement training, and if you are moving, I guess conditioning and strengthening kind of come naturally.

Best,
Ron
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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Chris -

We do not use the bokken as a proxy for a real sword. For me a bokken is a weapon in it's own right and, consequently, I feel free to work with it in ways that I would never consider with a real sword. Reasons for weapons work at our school include ki development, movement training, conditioning and strengthing.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:23 PM   #53
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
There was this one fellow who used to post his "training videos" on YouTube, with claims of teaching students swordsmanship for free at a local park. However...he also admitted to having NO training in any kind of sword art - or in ANY martial art. He was only "teaching" with bokken, but even wooden swords can do damage to a human body if misused.
I remember that! I think there is a post around here with a linky. He even got a reporter from one of the papers to do a fluff piece on him! Yikes...

And I know of someone else local that fits the bill too...a branch dojo I trained at was all set to have him come in to teach a seminar...until the reporter posted a retraction after it was found the guy was lying about his credentials AND his self-defense expertise. And this is all before we get to the fact that getting hit with a wooden stick hurts, and one breaking during class can have an end fly off and impale someone.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:44 PM   #54
G DiPierro
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
We do not use the bokken as a proxy for a real sword. For me a bokken is a weapon in it's own right and, consequently, I feel free to work with it in ways that I would never consider with a real sword. Reasons for weapons work at our school include ki development, movement training, conditioning and strengthing.
The only problem is that a bokken is not a weapon in its own right. It's designed as a training tool that serves as a simulation of a sword. What would be the point of having a wooden weapon with a small handle at one end, a slight curve, and most of the length shaped in a tapered diamond-like pattern? There is none, apart from simulating another weapon.

If you are using the bokken as a "weapon its own right", then you are not doing sword techniques but essentially jo/tanjo (a bokken falls some between them in length) techniques with a deformed stick. You might as well just take a jo and cut it down to the length of your bokken and use that. Then at least there would be no confusion about what you are doing.
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:53 PM   #55
Aikibu
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

I agree with everything that has been posted and I spent a few years myself getting all hot and bothered by fakes, posers, and wannabes...

In fact I have done more than my share to put a few out of business...

This is not the case with this video...

The founder of our Aikido with O'Sensei's blessing tore everything apart and created something new with it and also developed his own expression of "Aikido Sword." In the end he was awarded one of Japan's highest Budo honors for it....

There are two groups of folks here (Ahhh Ying and Yang)

Those who feel that somehow anyone who tries to develop something new can be classed in the same sentence with posers fakes and wannabes

And those who recognize this as a sincere effort to "try something new" and support it....

It amazes me that others cannot make the same kind of distinction...

William Hazen
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:59 PM   #56
Aikibu
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
The only problem is that a bokken is not a weapon in its own right. It's designed as a training tool that serves as a simulation of a sword. What would be the point of having a wooden weapon with a small handle at one end, a slight curve, and most of the length shaped in a tapered diamond-like pattern? There is none, apart from simulating another weapon.

If you are using the bokken as a "weapon its own right", then you are not doing sword techniques but essentially jo/tanjo (a bokken falls some between them in length) techniques with a deformed stick. You might as well just take a jo and cut it down to the length of your bokken and use that. Then at least there would be no confusion about what you are doing.
Thats funny...Miyamoto Musashi thought enough of a "bokken" aka "wooden stick" to beat a few highly accomplished swordsmen to death with one.

You might want to do some further study about what a Bokken is and what it does.

Respectfully,

WIlliam Hazen
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:23 PM   #57
G DiPierro
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
Those who feel that somehow anyone who tries to develop something new can be classed in the same sentence with posers fakes and wannabes

And those who recognize this as a sincere effort to "try something new" and support it....
It has nothing to do with the value of creating something new. It has to do with whether what you create is grounded within a legitimate tradition. The fact is that most of the videos posted in this thread are not. If you want to see an example of something "new," apparantly designed specifically for XMA-style kata competitions, that still reflects some understanding and respect for the traditions of the sword, look at this. Now I'm in no way a fan of this "kata," but it's obvious that, unlike these other people, this person has actually had some proper training in how to use a sword.

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
You might want to do some further study about what a Bokken is and what it does.
A bokken is a wooden replica sword. What it does is simulate a real sword.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:40 PM   #58
Mike Sigman
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
There are two groups of folks here (Ahhh Ying and Yang)

Those who feel that somehow anyone who tries to develop something new can be classed in the same sentence with posers fakes and wannabes

And those who recognize this as a sincere effort to "try something new" and support it....
That's a good thought, Bill, although I've seen that argument in a number of martial arts, over the years. Wouldn't the determining criterion be whether O-Sensei would have been willing to acknowledge it as his Aikido, conforming with the principles of his art? Or, as another thought along the same lines, are you suggesting that every innovation someone can dream cannot possibly be a misuse of the term "Aikido" because, in your opinion, the "try something new" deserves unquestioning support?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:57 PM   #59
Aikibu
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
That's a good thought, Bill, although I've seen that argument in a number of martial arts, over the years. Wouldn't the determining criterion be whether O-Sensei would have been willing to acknowledge it as his Aikido, conforming with the principles of his art? Or, as another thought along the same lines, are you suggesting that every innovation someone can dream cannot possibly be a misuse of the term "Aikido" because, in your opinion, the "try something new" deserves unquestioning support?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
I don't think I'll ever know what O'Sensei would think of what some folks do as Aikido... and to be fair Mike both you and I know that question is moot...It's all a matter of intent...and in most cases respect...You Tube is a poor medium in most cases for getting the "feel" of someones intention with thier "innovations" To paraphrase a Supreme Court Justice on another subjective criteria. "I'll know it when I feel it."

When I was a child I remembered how hot and bothered The Karate Folks I was learning from used to get over Bruce Lee and his form of no forms in Jeet Kun Do...All the innovators I have met are grounded in tradition and only then do they try something new...

What I am suggesting Mike is that you know the differance too...and so do some others. So what are we talking about?

Every few years some whiz bang super duper death touch artist comes along and we know right away he is bogus...and then get a few vids like this one that is subject of this thread and from what I can see I am not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water quite yet.

WIlliam Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 03-24-2008 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:57 PM   #60
ChrisMoses
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
The founder of our Aikido with O'Sensei's blessing tore everything apart and created something new with it and also developed his own expression of "Aikido Sword." In the end he was awarded one of Japan's highest Budo honors for it....
I think you're glossing over the understanding/learning paradigm in Japanese budo (shu, ha, ri). What you're describing is one way that the "ri" phase can be realized, the breaking down what you already knew and forming something new *from the valid and extensive understanding that you already had*. That's hugely different than someone who hasn't progressed through the stages of development and is experimenting and developing something new basically with no real understanding or valid knowledge.

Chris Moses
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:02 PM   #61
Mike Sigman
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
I don't think I'll ever know what O'Sensei would think of what some folks do as Aikido...
Well therefore, everything is acceptable, then, Bill. I love it now that post-modernism has come to Aikido.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:42 PM   #62
Aikibu
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I think you're glossing over the understanding/learning paradigm in Japanese budo (shu, ha, ri). What you're describing is one way that the "ri" phase can be realized, the breaking down what you already knew and forming something new *from the valid and extensive understanding that you already had*. That's hugely different than someone who hasn't progressed through the stages of development and is experimenting and developing something new basically with no real understanding or valid knowledge.
Hmmmm.I am trying to figure where in my quote you were able to assume I knew nothing of shu ha ri?

Real understanding and valid knowledge can only be gained through practical experiance and again all I am trying to 'explain" that one can actually parse the true from the false here and with out making it another worn out riff on Argumentum Ad Athoritum...

The original vid hinted at the fact the demonstrator knew what a bokken is... How one might use it.. and featured a number of Martial Artists in the background including one who appeared to be observing and perhaps "grading" his efforts...

To put that in the same catagory as Poser Fake Ha Ha Ryu might be a bit of a stretch is all I am saying Chris...

William Hazen
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:47 PM   #63
Aikibu
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Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Well therefore, everything is acceptable, then, Bill. I love it now that post-modernism has come to Aikido.

Best.

Mike Sigman
Wow Mike...Your awesome cognative abilities are wonderful to behold!

What a conclusion!!! What brevity and lucidity!!!

Thank You!!!

Bowing Down to You Sensei!!!

William Hazen
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:55 PM   #64
RonRagusa
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hey, as long as your students understand that, no harm no foul. I can't say that much of the aikido weapons stuff out there does any more or less than that. I know to take aikido weapons with a grain of salt from exposure to koryu, so I don't get soooo het up about it. Most aikido weapons is used to enhance the empty handed skills. I guess there's not so much wrong with karate or whatever doing the same thing.

But then again, I look at Shirata Sensei's buki waza, for example...and I see something completely different. I guess some part of me wishes that all aikido weapons had that "edge" to it. My penchant for something more showing again...sigh.

Out of curiosity, exactly how do the 'weapons' clips there illustrate "ki development"? I kind of get the movement training, and if you are moving, I guess conditioning and strengthening kind of come naturally.

Best,
Ron
Hi Ron -

First off let me set the record straight. The way I move with the bokken & jo staff is a direct result of many years of watching Maruyama Sensei wield his weapons informally. His instruction was decidedly different however. He limited himself to the katas that are pretty much standard throughout Aikido. And while one could gleen some of what he was doing watching him perform them, the real stuff became far more evident when he was just casually weilding a bokken or jo. Even though I haven't been affiliated with Kokikai for seven years now his teaching has formed the foundation upon which my Aikido has grown.

The turning point with weapons came one class at summer camp when a student commented that Sensei would have just cut his fingers off because his hand moved too far up the blade. Sensei looked at the student, looked back at his bokken and ran his finger up and down the blade.

"It's wood.", was all he said.

From that point on I realized that a bokken is a bokken is a bokken...

I make no bones about the fact that my weapons work has nothing to do with fighting. Like I said, it's about movement, conditioning, ki development etc. I have taken what I learned from Sensei and tried to build on the knowledge in ways that are meaningful to me and hopefully my students.

Regarding your question about how what you see in the videos illustrates ki development it's necessary to understand how I view the nature of ki. For me, and again a lot of this comes from Sensei, ki involves more than developing inner strength. Ki is also about movement, posture, how I relate to and form a connection with my uke etc.

What you see in the videos is surface stuff. What doesn't come across are the feelings engendered from the practice. My weapon becomes my partner and I don't seek to wield it as much as move with it. I try to minimize my arm movements and simply follow where the weapon is moving while simultaneously leading it along a continuous path that that doesn't retrace any arcs.

Weapons work comprises one portion of our ki development syllabus. We also have a large number of solo and paired exercises. Taken together all the exercises, weapons based and empty hand, provide students with tools they can employ to explore the development of their own ki.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Ron
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:11 PM   #65
ChrisMoses
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
Hmmmm.I am trying to figure where in my quote you were able to assume I knew nothing of shu ha ri?
I'm trying to figure out in my quote where you assumed that was what I was implying. I said that I felt you were "glossing over" the distinction, not that you were ignorant of it. I don't think OSensei gave that kind of permission/encouragement to many ikkyu students who had never studied any actual JSA. I felt that you were blurring the huge distinction that I see between someone like Nishio Sensei (whose aiki-toho is generally quite respected in the JSA) and Kompetitive Krotty tournament kids playing Samurai.

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
The original vid hinted at the fact the demonstrator knew what a bokken is... How one might use it.. and featured a number of Martial Artists in the background including one who appeared to be observing and perhaps "grading" his efforts...

To put that in the same catagory as Poser Fake Ha Ha Ryu might be a bit of a stretch is all I am saying Chris...

William Hazen
Actually most Poser-ha SokeyDokey Ryu goof balls actually have *some* training basis for their "art". Which would put them (just a little bit) ahead of what *I* see in the OP video. They at least often have something of the flavor of a real Japanese based system. There is *nothing* that I see in the OP video that has the flavor of Japanese budo. Now, as I and other folks have pointed out, there's nothing wrong with that. But putting on a hakama and grabbing a wallhanger to get yer grove on doing some admittedly impressive gymnastics is (IMHO) dishonest. It presents the surface of something without having any traceable heratage back to what it is attempting to emulate. The fact that there's a guy watching his demo, does nothing to make me feel that what he's doing is any more legitimate. The guy watching him, probably knows just as little about the JSA as the kid doing the flips.

A few years ago I was up at an embukai with various JSA schools. People demonstrated according to their rank within their school, and at the end there was a demonstration of an Aikido group's weapons work. The Aikido school listed what they would be demonstrating as "MJER and Yagyu Shinkage Ryu". They got out and did their thing, and part way into their demo, one of the senior guys who was organizing the thing stopped them and asked (very politely), "So, excuse me, but I'm familiar with the entire MJER syllabus and have seen YSR when I lived in Japan. What you're doing is neither, so I really look forward to your explanation of what it is you're acutally demonstrating for us today." Turned out they did Chiba's weapons katas and they decided that since it all comes from traditional JSA, they would just pick some of the better known "branches" of JSA to credit. But what they were doing simply did not have the look and feel of what they claimed to be presenting. People didn't have a problem with them presenting Aiki-ken because it wasn't an ancient and storied lineage. In fact they were specifically invited to do just that. They didn't like the seeming misrepresentation of what they were doing.

If you want to do acrobatics, that's cool. But do it without hiding behind trappings of a tradition you're not part of.

Last edited by ChrisMoses : 03-24-2008 at 10:14 PM.

Chris Moses
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:17 PM   #66
G DiPierro
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
The turning point with weapons came one class at summer camp when a student commented that Sensei would have just cut his fingers off because his hand moved too far up the blade. Sensei looked at the student, looked back at his bokken and ran his finger up and down the blade.

"It's wood.", was all he said.

From that point on I realized that a bokken is a bokken is a bokken...
That's an interesting story, but I suspect you read a little more into it than you should have. Some people seem to think that a bokken or iaito should be treated as if it were a live blade at all times. Personally, I think the idea is ridiculous: a bokken is not a live blade, nor is an iaito. However, when using a bokken or iaito as if it were sword, which is to say in the context of practicing sword techniques, then it should be treated as if it were a sword, and touching the blade should be considered an error.

Now when you say that his hand "moved too far up blade," if you mean that he simply gripped the sword slightly above the shaped handle because there was no tsuba, then this obviously doesn't matter, since on a real blade the tsuba would prevent that. On the other hand, if he had actually grabbed a spot well into the blade area, as I have seen many people in aikido do when performing tachi-dori, then clearly it was an error. However, even if it was this kind of error, most Japanese teachers would not take well to having such a thing pointed out by a student, and might brush it off with a response such as the one given here.

Either way, I seriously doubt that his intention was to imply that one should train with a bokken as if it were just a piece of wood rather than a representation of a sword. Anyone who would suggest such a thing does not understand the concept of what a bokken is for, and is actually just using it as an oddly-shaped stick, as I described earlier.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 03-24-2008 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:51 AM   #67
Aikibu
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I'm trying to figure out in my quote where you assumed that was what I was implying. I said that I felt you were "glossing over" the distinction, not that you were ignorant of it. I don't think OSensei gave that kind of permission/encouragement to many ikkyu students who had never studied any actual JSA. I felt that you were blurring the huge distinction that I see between someone like Nishio Sensei (whose aiki-toho is generally quite respected in the JSA) and Kompetitive Krotty tournament kids playing Samurai.
I can kind of see where you "felt" I was glossing over the huge distinction? All I said was I enjoyed the vid and support most efforts to experiment and try to improve upon something...You can do that with most Gendai Arts however I do understand the Koryu Arts are etched in granite with regard to thier syllabus.

Quote:
If you want to do acrobatics, that's cool. But do it without hiding behind trappings of a tradition you're not part of.
I must have missed that part where they stated they were hiding behind some traditions they were not a part of? If that is the case I could not agree with you more and it puts a different perspective on things...

Take Care Chris,

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 03-25-2008 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:03 AM   #68
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Hi Ron, thanks for the replies. I get what Maruyama said when he said it was just wood. Even as a representation of a sword, it is in fact, still a piece of wood.

Some of our bokken work involves a movement *similar* to chiburi before the bokken is returned to the hip. But it is always stated when this is taught, that this is NOT chiburi, because the bokken is NOT a sword. So the movement in aikido should represent zanshin, a focused close to the buki being deployed. Un-necessary force as if you were shaking blood off a blade (if that could even work) is not encouraged. Rather, a calm, reflective, aware state of mind.

On the other hand, if during Hashu Giri, I was to touch what would be the blade portion of the bokken IF it were a sword, my teacher would correct me. So while there are differences between how a bokken is used and a sword is used, the bokken is still treated "appropriately", based upon what it represents. I believe that in most schools, passing the blade under my arm pit would be like committing seppuku so your opponant didn't have the pleasure of cutting you down

By the way, my first exposure to aikido was under Cecelia R. in Philadelphia. Do you keep in touch with her by any chance? Powerfull lady...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:12 PM   #69
ChrisMoses
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

First, let me be clear that I really don't lose much (any) sleep over this kind of thing. My knickers are not in a bunch.

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
All I said was I enjoyed the vid and support most efforts to experiment and try to improve upon something...
So at the risk of seeming petty, I don't see what would be improved by this kind of thing. I suppose I think of the (physical) goal of swordsmanship as the efficient deployment of a particular lethal weapon. What's in the vid, isn't particularly efficient or particularly lethal, so it would seem to be going away from what I would consider a desired end state, thus not an improvement. Again though, different goals might be in play here. This looks a lot cooler than real JSA. Real JSA is pretty boring stuff in general. I am reminded of the beautiful scene between Indiana Jones and the saber wielding opponent in "The Raiders of the Lost Ark" however...

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
You can do that with most Gendai Arts however I do understand the Koryu Arts are etched in granite with regard to thier syllabus.
First I'll offer the following distinctions/definitions. I admit that these are not uniformly agreed upon, but this is how I break things down.

- Koryu: Japanese budo older than 1968 (example: TSKSR)
- Gendai: Japanese budo founded after 1968 *in Japan* based on older (probably koryu) traditions. (example: Aikido)
- Goshin: Japanese *influenced* budo founded outside of Japan or by non-Japanese. (example: Danzan Ryu or Icho Ryu)

So there's how I break it down, and I would say that it's been my experience that even the koryu are more flexible than many people would give them credit. If that weren't the case, we wouldn't see the various branches (ha) or factions. Many of the koryu have nearly gone extinct over the years and were often revived by interested students who had to rebuild aspects of their art that had been nearly lost. It might seem arbitrary that I require gendai budo to have been born in Japan, but I think the distinction is important. An art (like my own sword line) that was developed after the Meiji restoration in Japan, was still surrounded by and influenced by older arts. These arts faced the criticism of their peers who would have been in a place to judge their value. When we visit Japan for embu, there are quite a few koryu schools that attend and the room doesn't magically divide into koryu and gendai practitioners. We actually got invitations to come and stay with a few koryu instructors on our last visit. Goshin budo, no matter how martially valid, is a different animal. At its best, it can be held to similar standards of the gendai budo, but always seems to be at its best when it admits its origins and trains accordingly. To really be considered goshin budo, I believe there needs to be a real traceable connection back to Japanese budo (koryu or gendai). It's that connection that may be honored in the terminology and appearance of the art.

Then there's other martial arts. It doesn't matter how martially valid your stuff might be, if your art isn't actually based on any real knowledge of a Japanese art, it isn't budo.

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
I must have missed that part where they stated they were hiding behind some traditions they were not a part of? If that is the case I could not agree with you more and it puts a different perspective on things...
Again, I just have to assure you that I'm not on a witch hunt here, I really don't care what other folks do. I'm just talking about a phenomenon that I find kid of silly and more than a bit pathetic.

I think (possibly incorrectly) that there is an idea in certain Karate circles, that they're tapped into the spirit of budo and that they have a kind of free license to explore all of Japanese budo without any actual experience of it.

As an example, there is a VERY senior Karate instructor here in the US (Japanese born and trained, thousands of students) who lists on his resume that he is the Chief Instructor of Shinto Ryu USA. This is based on the idea that he is a very senior martial artist here in the US, and worthy of representing nearly the entirety of Japanese Budo. This is despite the fact that he doesn't even know any of our curriculum, but did host our senior shihan from Japan a few times in the 80's for seminars. Now it doesn't seem to matter to him, that neither he or his students study our curriculum (or that my teacher instructs all 12 of the SR practitioners in the US directly), he is entitled to that position based on his seniority in karate.

I admit, that these are different things, but I think it's kind of indicative of some of the martial culture that we see in the Kompetitive Krotty scene as well.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:29 PM   #70
Timothy WK
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
- Koryu: Japanese budo older than 1968...
- Gendai: Japanese budo founded after 1968...
I assume you meant 1868, the start of the Meiji period...

--Timothy Kleinert

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Old 03-25-2008, 12:37 PM   #71
ChrisMoses
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
I assume you meant 1868, the start of the Meiji period...
DOH!

That's what I get for typing while tired...

Thanks for the catch.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:52 PM   #72
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: What style of Aikido is this???

TWT beats DWI anytime...day or night!

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