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Old 05-24-2011, 01:48 PM   #1
Toby Threadgill
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Kishomon/Keppan (Blood Oaths) in modern budo???

Hi,

The other day I was approached by a student of modern budo interested in studying TSYR. The student told me the only thing preventing him from joining TSYR was the kishomon/keppan (Oath signed in blood) he'd taken to his current teacher. I must admit that I laughed out loud upon hearing this revelation. I explained that first of all, I was the most important thing that would prevent him from studying TSYR. No one just "joins" TSYR. You are accepted as a probational student until I decide you can become a formal deshi, or not. That's the way most koryu work. Secondly, taking kishomon/keppan in a modern school of budo...Really? What pretentious nonsense is this?

For the record. a kishomon/keppan in modern budo is not worth the paper its printed on. It's a joke. If Takamura sensei heard about a modern budo employing kishomon/keppan he would have burst out in laughter. A Japanese Wado ryu shihan and friend of mine did laugh out loud when told of this. He was incredulous. Thats how absurd it is. I can guarantee you that any oath identified as a kishomon and issued in a modern budo promises to be rather bizarre and nothing like one employed in koryu. In authentic koryu, kishomon/keppan is taken to the ryu, not a person. In modern times the ritual of taking a formal blood oath is a symbolic gesture that reinforces to the student that he is genuinely becoming part of a historical or familial preservation society. Given that modern budo has no longterm historical context to preserve, taking kishomon/keppan makes no sense. It's just silly pretentious horsepucky.

What made this modern budo's kishomon/keppan even more bizarre to me is that it put the student under an obligation that included tolerating severe financial duress and literally adhering to supporting the teachers political positions, to the point of voting the way he did in elections. This smacks of the school being some sort of political action committee, not a school of budo.

FWIW... Besides issuing our own kishomon in TSYR, I have a collection of around 100 koryu densho, including several kishomon from other koryu traditions, so I know what an authentic budo kishomon demands and conveys. An authentic budo kishomon is concerned with maintaining the art, its ethos, traditions, individual morality and loyalty to the founding family or clan chief. An authentic kishomon frequently outlines the proper management of the schools technical syllabus, restricting who learns what and how they are selected for instruction. That's pretty much it.

So, what the hell is going on here? The price for studying this modern budo is that the students must forgo an individual right guaranteed to them by the US Constitution? Wow! That is some crazy $&%#! That anyone manifests the arrogance or audacity to make such a disrespectful and bizarre demand of their students blows my mind. It smacks of one person trying to control another through an artificial historical construct employed completely out of its proper context in support of an ulterior motive. This twists a kishomon/keppan into a nonsensical affectation or what Takamura sensei called "faux traditions".

Look, students of budo are not subjects. Sensei are not their kings or emperors. Even in a koryu, we are just their budo teachers. All members of my organisation are adult individuals worthy of being treated with the respect due all responsible adults. To believe any sensei is conveyed power that allows him or her to manipulate their students, facilitates potential abuse and makes such a school a manipulative cult masquerading as martial arts. It is one thing for a koryu to require students to maintain moral, spiritual or technical traditions passed down from previous generations, but it is quite another thing if any teacher employs a tool which allows him to infringe on a students individual rights. If any teacher employs any mechanism that demands financial servitude or infringes on your individual rights, walk away and never look back.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Last edited by Toby Threadgill : 05-24-2011 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:53 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Kishomon/Keppan (Blood Oaths) in modern budo???

Oh jeez.... (shaking head) ... however bizarre the teacher, eventually he will find one sucker, apparently.....

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:03 PM   #3
jester
 
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Re: Kishomon/Keppan (Blood Oaths) in modern budo???

Is this the art you are referring to?? Had no clue what those letters meant. Maybe add that to the preface.

Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:30 PM   #4
Keith Larman
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Re: Kishomon/Keppan (Blood Oaths) in modern budo???

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote: View Post
Is this the art you are referring to?? Had no clue what those letters meant. Maybe add that to the preface.

Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu
If you go to the link you provided, look in the box on the right side of the page that lists the current head master. Compare that with the author of the original post.

I'd think being asked to give Keppan in any modern art should be an instant sign to run away as fast as humanly possible. All the potential worst of "old school" stuff without any of the good stuff to balance it out...

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Old 05-24-2011, 02:50 PM   #5
jester
 
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Re: Kishomon/Keppan (Blood Oaths) in modern budo???

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
If you go to the link you provided, look in the box on the right side of the page that lists the current head master.
Nice! That is an awesome dojo Toby!!

-
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:45 AM   #6
phitruong
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Re: Kishomon/Keppan (Blood Oaths) in modern budo???

that's bloody funny! (pun intended) when i was doing iaido, i nicked myself a number of times and was swearing various kind of colorful oaths at the time, would that constitutes as blood oath? i don't think my sensei wanted any of those oaths, since it was rather graphics and perverted in details, including sexually assaulting the blade, that nicked me, which i have no idea how.

Last edited by phitruong : 05-25-2011 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:33 AM   #7
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Kishomon/Keppan (Blood Oaths) in modern budo???

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
An authentic budo kishomon is concerned with maintaining the art, its ethos, traditions, individual morality and loyalty to the founding family or clan chief. An authentic kishomon frequently outlines the proper management of the schools technical syllabus, restricting who learns what and how they are selected for instruction. That's pretty much it.
So it sounds more like a professional code of conduct, like the one I've agreed to when joining my professional organization?

Pauliina
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:48 AM   #8
Walker
 
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Re: Kishomon/Keppan (Blood Oaths) in modern budo???

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
including sexually assaulting the blade, that nicked me
Careful Phi, that's one assault that is sure to go badly for you!

-Doug Walker
光道館 高村派新道楊心流
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