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Old 04-16-2005, 08:56 AM   #26
darin
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Re: Practice without tradition

Why do we have to act like Japanese to have respect? I don't think martial arts should be boxed into one kind of style, tradition, culture etc. I can understand doing the bowing etc if your training in Japan but outside of Japan there is really no point unless your teaching or training with Japanese people.
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Old 04-16-2005, 04:33 PM   #27
Anders Bjonback
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Re: Practice without tradition

In my view, tradition connects us with the founding priciples of the art, and maintaining it along with its organizations (and politics, sadly enough) should also maintain the quality of instruction. We "know what we're getting," so to speak, and we're doing things in a similar way to how it was done at earlier times. It also connects us with the wider community that also practices the art--if you go to another dojo, you may not know everyone, but at least you know to say "onegaishimasu" and bow to your partner, and how to do some variation of ikkyo.
I think that without the etiquitte and tradition (such as wearing a hakama), we could lose many of those things that make aikido different from going to the gym for a work-out, going to a dance, or practicing a sport.

"For peace and happiness are presences, not objects we can grasp and hold onto."
--Lilian Smith
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:53 AM   #28
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Practice without tradition

It's not just a matter of respect. I ask again:

If we strip away the culutral trappings from aikido, what is left? Is it budo?

And I clarify: Budo (at least IMHO) isn't an umbrella term coverin all aspects of martial practice. Wrestling and boxing, for instance, are fine martial sports, but they aren't budo. Classical judo is, for instance, defintely budo; but modern, competition-oriented judo is edging away from being budo (some would say has been out of that fold a long time).

So, IMNSHO, if you want to do aikido without the tradition and cultural context, by all means, go for it, and have fun. You wouldn't be the first.

Dress in sweats and call your art 'Fred' if you want, but it won't be aikido and won't be budo.

But why then, continue calling it 'aikido' and why maintain any association with the root art?

Chuck

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Old 04-17-2005, 05:48 AM   #29
stuartjvnorton
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Why do you have to mouth Japanese words and use Japanese etiquette for it to be budo?
Surely budo is in your heart and mind and spirit, not the words you say or the gestures you make?

Not that I'm advocating it. I'm used to the Japanese mouthings and geatures.
But if that's all that makes it budo, then could tae-bo with a bow-in ceremony and "ich-no-san-shi and tsuki!" be called budo?
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Old 04-17-2005, 07:15 AM   #30
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Re: Practice without tradition

I think it is possible to go both ways. It depends on the dynamic of the people you are studying with. I appreciate and like tradition, but don't find it to be absolutely necessary.

The guys I am studying with now (soldiers) are every bit as much as "budo" as you can get, but try and get them to do japanese traditions and see how far it gets you!

I studied with Bob Galeone in wash dc, a long time student of Saotome sensei, we opened and closed the class with a bow, but never wore hakama even though ASU pretty much always wears them. When Jimmy Sorentino took over, we went back to more traditional dojo things such as wearing hakama. Both guys are good martial artist and aikidoka in their own right, both had a different dynamic and approach. Neither was wrong IMHO.
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Old 04-17-2005, 07:25 AM   #31
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Re: Practice without tradition

I think you have to be careful when approaching the concept of BUDO.

One one hand it is easy to adopt some pseduo japanese ritualisic practices and call yourself Budoka. There are plenty of wannabees outthere for sure. These people go around conducting tea cermonies, spouting off quotations from rumi, o'sensei, musashi and what not. They may wear hakama, robes, and can sit in seiza with that calm smile on there face. Oh yea they may even know all the japanese words for all the various techniques and be able to perform them. That does not make them budoka in and of it's self.

On the other end you have the various non-gi wearing mixed martial artist type that have a disdain for anything resembling ritual, respectful, or of order. These guys can be very effective martial artist, but do not necessarily follow any sort of code or order. You might call these guys "mercenaries". They are not budoka.

There is a good thread somewhere on here that George Leydard I believe gave a good layout on budo and budoka and what it means and who really can consider themselves budoka.

No you don't have to adopt japanese rituals to be budoka, but show me an example of a organized class of warriors that don't follow a code of conduct or rituals of some sort.
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Old 04-17-2005, 08:31 AM   #32
dan guthrie
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Re: Practice without tradition

Just a few weeks ago there was a History Channel program about the Spartans. One of their early philosophers traveled the Greek world to find out what made the best society. When he came back the Spartans ruthlessly practiced his ideas for hundreds of years.
Spartan homes were almost identical. Look up "Helot" in the dictionary. Soldiers, including the Kings (there were two) owned little more than the clothes on their backs. Training in childhood included theft from Spartan farmers ( gotta' have an army that lives off the land).
Any group of Spartans ( all of the men in the upper class were soldiers ) were the best of their day and may have been the best of all time. They had almost no poets or artists - no room or appreciation of them in a brutal, militaristic society.
Most of what we know of them comes from through the writings of their enemies and other cultures' historians. When they were finally defeated their culture essentially disappeared forever.
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Old 04-17-2005, 08:42 AM   #33
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Quote:
Stuart Norton wrote:
Why do you have to mouth Japanese words and use Japanese etiquette for it to be budo?
Why would anyone who doesn't want to use Japanese words want to call what they do "budo" ?

kvaak
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Old 04-17-2005, 09:02 AM   #34
stuartjvnorton
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Quote:
Pauliina Lievonen wrote:
Why would anyone who doesn't want to use Japanese words want to call what they do "budo" ?

kvaak
Pauliina
Not being obsessed with mouthing the words, they probably wouldn't care what it was called.
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:55 AM   #35
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Practice without tradition

Quote:
Stuart Norton wrote:
Why do you have to mouth Japanese words and use Japanese etiquette for it to be budo?
It's not just mouthing ... it's learning the cultural construct and historical context within which budo became budo.

Quote:
Surely budo is in your heart and mind and spirit, not the words you say or the gestures you make?
I think that's putting too much stock in Budo as a thought-system and not keeping it in context as a cultural practice of historical combat methodolgies and the modern congates that are based on those older systems.

Can you do budo without doing the technicues of your chosen method? I don't think so.

Without the physical framework of technique, kata, etiquette, there is no budo. Likewise, without the inner workings of philosophy and theory, there is no budo.

And the cultural trappings, appurtenance and practices are just as important to budo being budo.

Quote:
But if that's all that makes it budo, then could tae-bo with a bow-in ceremony and "ich-no-san-shi and tsuki!" be called budo?
Nope. Tae-bo has a (very loose) basis in Korean arts, mixed with western boxing, aerobics, exercise theory and a very heavy dose of marketing.

For it to be budo, it would have to be spawned from a Japanese martial root, and nurtured with the cultural, physical and philosophical trappings thereof.

Ikebana, for instance, has more connection to budo than tae-bo ...

Chuck

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Old 04-18-2005, 02:04 AM   #36
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Re: Practice without tradition

Wow, that's one way to keep the clubhouse membership small...
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:11 AM   #37
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Practice without tradition

There is an interesting thread on the meaning of keiko here somewhere...I think in the language forum. To reflect deeply upon the past. Personally, I prefer keiko to just training, even though I have done and do both. I guess its just a matter of different strokes. But I also have to wonder 'why call it budo if you don't think you need the other japanese terms?"

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:36 AM   #38
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Cousin Chuck,

That was a really good post. Thanks.

What he said, folks... take it to the bank. Budo and the tag "martial arts" are not interchangeable.

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:35 AM   #39
Chris Li
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
Cousin Chuck,

That was a really good post. Thanks.

What he said, folks... take it to the bank. Budo and the tag "martial arts" are not interchangeable.
In common Japanese usage, I'm not sure that's correct. I've often heard (and seen) fighting systems from outside of Japan referred to as "budo" in Japanese by Japanese native speakers. The phrase "nihon budo" ("Japanese budo") is also quite common in Japanese, which would not, I think, be so if "budo" were by definition a Japanese art.

As far as I can tell, "martial arts" is a fairly close representation of the way that "budo" is used in common speech by Japanese native speakers.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-18-2005, 12:51 PM   #40
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Hi Chis,

Are these native speakers that are serious long time practitioners of Japanese budo or laymen? The people that I have been around use the term in very specific way very similar to Chuck Gordon's post above. I guess it's no biggy, as I can tell what someone means in conversation.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:38 PM   #41
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Practice without tradition

Heya Chris,

Yep. For the most part, similar experience here. But it's a personal twitch. I find 'nihon budo' clumsy. To me (and I try to stress that frequently), budo IS Nihon Budo.

Mix into that the sad fact that very few Japanese really have a clue about their own martial culture that wasn't spawned by the movies ... sigh.

Chuck

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Old 04-18-2005, 02:20 PM   #42
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

I went back and read a post from 05-10-2004 by George Ledyard that does a pretty good job of defining bushido and budo. Here is the link:

click here

Budo as I understand it from his post and others is a set of values. So, it that respect I would agree with Chuck that you cannot have aikido without budo.

That said, I do think it is possible to embrace the values of budo without ANY of the japanese traditions. Not sure why you'd want ot do it...but think it is possible.
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:40 PM   #43
Chris Li
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
Hi Chis,

Are these native speakers that are serious long time practitioners of Japanese budo or laymen? The people that I have been around use the term in very specific way very similar to Chuck Gordon's post above. I guess it's no biggy, as I can tell what someone means in conversation.

Regards,
I'm sure that they do - my point was that in common conversational Japanese the term "budo" is not really Japan specific.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-18-2005, 03:41 PM   #44
Chris Li
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote:
Mix into that the sad fact that very few Japanese really have a clue about their own martial culture that wasn't spawned by the movies ... sigh.

Chuck
Hey, I've run into young Japanese who have no idea what the word "Shinto" means...

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-18-2005, 09:07 PM   #45
Lan Powers
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Re: Practice without tradition

> Budo as I understand it from his post and others is a set of values. So, it that respect I would agree with Chuck that you cannot have aikido without budo.

That said, I do think it is possible to embrace the values of budo without ANY of the Japanese traditions. Not sure why you'd want to do it...but think it is possible. <

I would have to agree...the values are the same (it appears) in the Russian art Systema.
I may be, (and probably am) wrong, but it seems to be the same values on blending, controlling, and minimal damage in the demos I have seen....But they don't follow Japanese traditions and certainly don't embrace the name "Budo".
To repeat/paraphrase what Pauliina said Why call it Aikido if you don't do it like Aikido has been done in the established traditions. (Albeit short lived as "Aikido" but ancient as "Ju-Jutsu")

Nothing WRONG with it, but just martial arts..........
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 04-21-2005, 06:08 PM   #46
Steven Gubkin
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Re: Practice without tradition

Two comments.
#1 is about the concept of using bowing and other ceremonies to distinguish practise time from "normal time". To me, this defeats the purpose of doing Aikido at all. I train to have an Aiki mindset at all times. When I bow, I am showing respect. Im not trying to set up a distinction between the world and my dojo. The world is your dojo.

#2.I do not understand how anyone could think that Aikido without the japanese cultural trappings would not be Aikido anymore. When people ask me what Aikido is, I don't tell them its about wearing a skirt, or bowing to a picture, or speaking in Japanese. I talk to them about my take on the philosophy of Aikido, and show them how this philosophy is contained in the physical techniques. I have used my Aikido in a number of verbal confrontations. I was not wearing a Gi at the time, nor did I bow to my "uke". Was this not Aikido?
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:23 PM   #47
Amassus
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

Quote:
I have used my Aikido in a number of verbal confrontations. I was not wearing a Gi at the time, nor did I bow to my "uke". Was this not Aikido?
Using aikido principles in verbal confrontations is one aspect of aikido, just as the wearing of a gi and training in the dojo is another aspect. Take either of them away and you are no longer practicing aikido as budo IMHO.

I back Chuck's comments.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:28 PM   #48
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Re: Practice without tradition

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote:
Using aikido principles in verbal confrontations is one aspect of aikido, just as the wearing of a gi and training in the dojo is another aspect. Take either of them away and you are no longer practicing aikido as budo IMHO.
Hmmm - I have to disagree here.

What you wear and where you practice have no relationship to either Aikido or Budo. Early Aikido (wasn't called Aikido back then) was practiced in street cloths and a pool room. The common thread that makes something Budo or not is rei. Aikido is defined but what techniques that are practiced as Budo and to a lesser extent the philosophical underpinnings.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:44 AM   #49
Joe Bowen
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

I think we've run into a very interesting semantic argument here. I've recently been reading Don Draeger's "Classical Budo". He explains that the Budo evolved from the Bujutsu when the practical use of the Bujutsu was no longer necessary in everyday life. The Samurai and laymen classes were looking for something more in their mundane existence. Those that adapted the Bujutsu into Budo took things that were by necessity a part of motion of Bujutsu and codified them into the etiquette of the Budo. A classic example Mr. Draeger cites is the manner in which one kneels and stands in order to keep the sword readily accessible. However, spiritual purification and enlightenment is not unheard of through physical discipline in the west either. It was just never codified or expanded upon to the ritualized point that the Japanese had. So, the question could be something like, "Can you attain the same degree of self-mastery or discipline as that attained through the Japanese systems of Budo, without having to actually study a Japanese system?"
I remember hearing a story of an Australian or New Zealand Aikido instructor who after visiting Japan and learning about the behavior of the Japanese during WWII came back to his dojo and took down all things that linked his art to Japan in disgust. Is this guy still teaching "Aikido", if he is only teaching the physical technique along with his understanding of the Aikido philosophy? We as outside observers might see what he and his students are doing and say, "That's Aikido", based on how we see them move or interact, sans the proper etiquette. Or, we might say, they are doing something similar to Aikido, but not Aikido.
What I'm trying to say (and not doing to well at it) is there are many ways to obtain the same goal. The Japanese Budo paths, amongst all the martial disciplines in the world, codified their goals and paths to such an extent that we all assume that the only "Budo" is Japanese Budo. I'm as guilty as the next one in this context. However, in limiting our own definition of Budo to those arts practiced in Japan, we are ignoring a wealth of information from other sources.
Can you strip the Japanese trappings from a Japanese art, and still preserve the essence of the art? Yes, I think you can. But, can you strip the discipline and etiquette from an art and maintain the essence of the art? I don't think you can.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:50 AM   #50
Sonja2012
 
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Re: Practice without tradition

IMHO etiquette displays my inner attitude to what I am doing on the mat. It displays respect towards my teacher and fellow aikidoka, concentration, focus, compassion, etc. Of course it is possible to carry all that within myself without etiquette, but etiquette reminds me of all of these things again and again.

Also, etiquette is the best way of conveying exactly that inner attitude to beginners. I donīt have to talk to them for ages about how they should approach the art etc, they simply have to watch what is going on on and off the mat and they will learn very quickly what their attitude should be like.

For me etiquette is not about Japan or being/pretending to be Japanese, it is a reminder and it helps me to stay focused.
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