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Gabriel Suarez
11-10-2018, 09:04 AM
56736

I have been studying fighting all of my life. My focus is, and always has been, fighting effectiveness. When I was a young kid studying karate, I may have given the philosophically-correct answer to the question, "Why are you studying Karate-do?" - "So that I never have to use it sensei", but I was lying. I was training so I could kick ass in a fight and harbored no illusions about world peace or philosophical shaolin-esque harmony or any of those silly things spouted in the modern McDojos by oversized instructors.

My studies later into the founding teachers of karate in Okinawa and Japan showed me these guys were not sandal-wearing peaceniks as some like to portray them. They were regular men, some good, some not-as-good, that were good at fighting and at teaching others to fight. Hardly the prancing American hippie in a hakama getting harmonious in the dojo. So what happened? How did the physical become "spiritual"?

According to my research there are several factors.

1). In the early part of the 20th century, Japan...which was the center of Asian fighting systems at the time...was westernizing. Their search for modernity was all-consuming, and may of the old combat systems had no modern application. They being focused on combat effectiveness. The goal of archery was to hit the target, the goal of sword was to cut down the enemy, the goal of jujutsu and karate was to strike down the enemy etc. Hardly in line with the social and government goals at the time.

So the focus was removed from combat effectiveness and shifted by the leaders to one of spiritual self perfection. That was acceptable.

2). Eventually, following the path set by Judo and Kendo, the various martial disciplines became sports with the shift moving from usability in a fight to the ability to score points in a match. And just as we see in the gun world, the methods needed to kill an attacking enemy on a dark street are not the same as those needed to score well.

When sport became the focus, the combat application began to be forgotten...just as is happening in the American gun world. The suffix "Jutsu" as added to Ken-Jutsu, Ju-Jutsu, Karate-jutsu, was changed to "Do". The difference being "jutsu" being a results-based method of winning a fight, and "Do" being a spiritually-based method of character building and spiritual introspection as well as a martially-based game.

The good news is that as westerners got good at these systems, a polarization began. The sports, spiritual, esoteric type guys had and still have no focus or interest in fighting actual people for real. But there were and have always been the guys that shook their heads at the hippy karate and refocused energies on defeating enemies in fights.

The same division and distinction happened in the gun world.

Brent Yamamoto
11-10-2018, 10:48 AM
I remember one day coming into my dojo and someone had written a bunch of “DO” principles on the board. A visiting instructor had taught a seminar and written all these principles, in English and Japanese, and it was clear that rather than sweating on the mat, the emphasis of the seminar was a moral lecture. (Not saying morals aren’t important but I do not believe teaching morals is the highest purpose of martial discipline. People tend to come into my dojo with a pretty solid moral compass, and those who don’t never last long.)

Anyway, these principles were the standard stuff that you always see...and in my opinion are a lot of flowery words that can be boiled down to simply “Don’t be an asshole”. Which I totally agree with (as a general rule), but I don’t like using 400 words when 4 will do.

I also don’t like investing a bunch of moral significance into flowery words. “Don’t be an asshole” is an important principle...but it’s a simple one and you don’t achieve anything by talking endlessly about it. It’s meant to be lived. Go BE what you want to be rather than handstroking all day about it.

As I was thinking these things, my teacher Ito came through the door. “Hello Yamamoto-san” as he smiled and shook my hand. Then his smile faded as he looked at the board, reading the principles on the board. “What do you think, Sensei?” I asked, suppressing a laugh because I knew what he was going to say.

“That is a bunch of bullshit. Karate is for FIGHTING.”

Osu.

Mike OTDP
11-10-2018, 11:59 AM
Hmm...I tend toward a middle course. The study of the fighting arts tends to develop good character. Mostly because people with poor character never have the dedication or humility to develop real proficiency. On the other hand, it's essential to keep that fighting link. Otherwise, you aren't studying a fighting art at all.

Brent Yamamoto
11-10-2018, 12:13 PM
Hmm...I tend toward a middle course. The study of the fighting arts tends to develop good character. Mostly because people with poor character never have the dedication or humility to develop real proficiency. On the other hand, it's essential to keep that fighting link. Otherwise, you aren't studying a fighting art at all.

Not saying I disagree. But I do think that good character really needs to be instilled in the home. All disciplines will continue to develop character, IMO, by the simple hard work of practicing them (and that's kind of my point...the benefit comes not from talking about it but DOING it). But the initial programming comes from parents, or at least it should.

Of course an instructor is also a good mentor and when a student needs some direction a good mentor can provide it.

People don't come to me for sermons on how to be a better person. I'm not a pastor. They come to me to become better at performing violence. That is what I TEACH. But the WAY I teach, how I treat people, how I exhibit character...they learn from that as well. This is part of the art of teaching without teaching. Yes there is character development but IMO it's largely leading by example.

I do some effort on character development in kids classes, but even then it's mostly indirect. Character comes as a by-product of doing hard work.

My humble opinion.

Gabriel Suarez
11-10-2018, 12:45 PM
Good character comes from father, family, and church.

The ability to kick the asses of those who lack it comes from the sensei and the dojo.

mross
11-19-2018, 12:56 PM
After reading this thread I hope it’s ok to rant a bit. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that Karate (read any Martial Art) is useless. Kata is dancing and nobody fights like that, it just a waste of time. Time and time again I have tried, (unsuccessfully, so I stopped) to explain to them what Karate and the other arts (The Arts) where. The Arts where originally designed with one purpose in mind; to disable or outright kill an opponent so you may live for another day. Kata was a way of codifying the teaching because not many were literate back then, so kata was the “book”. In it are how to move how and where to strike for best results. The Arts where a way to teach survival, if something did not work do you think anyone who’s life depended on knowing The Arts would spend time teaching it or practicing it? The answer is yeah but it does not work is what I usually heard. My answer was: Unfortunately in many cases you are right because what you are seeing as passing for The Arts, are not even close to what it really should be. Find a school that actually teaches the real Arts. I know it’s tuff but they are out there. Most likely will not have a recognizable school name or be a McDojo. I eventually switched to the Chinese arts as their linage is more pure and has not been subjected to many of the things Gabe mentioned. I had a friend in college who learned his Kungfu from a friend’s father, who was a Chinese immigrant. The style had no concept of pulling a punch or sport sparring. Very few people wanted to train with him. OK rant off.

Gabriel Suarez
11-19-2018, 12:58 PM
Waiting to hear some,aikido guy is offended

Herbert West
11-19-2018, 01:16 PM
Waiting to hear some,aikido guy is offended
I was an aikido guy when I was younger, it was cool, and had quite a few friends at the dojo, after classes went out for dinner and it was a fun social event. For actual fight training it was Muy Thai the other four days of the week though.

mross
11-19-2018, 01:36 PM
Waiting to hear some,aikido guy is offended
I am, and I am not offended at all. Aikido was the first art I learned as a child. (Dad thought it was a good idea). I learned from a Sensei who learned it during the occupation. While the school was Aikido, at the higher levels it was re-taught more as Aikijutsu. This is the way we practice it here, this is what you do for real. Throws were nice throwing into a wall or something hard was better. It was also accepted except for a complete incompetent no one telegraphs like we did in class. So we practiced a clinch that would draw a reaction for a technique. If that didn't work our Sensei was also well versed in grappling, so it went down into a choke. Man I hated that.

cmcampbell
11-19-2018, 04:01 PM
I am not an Akido guy but......

In the old films of Uechiba, when he went in, he often hit very hard with an open hand strike on the way in. Much easier to move someone you have knocked silly.

It seems to have gotten diluted.

Brent Yamamoto
11-19-2018, 05:00 PM
I am not an Akido guy but......

In the old films of Uechiba, when he went in, he often hit very hard with an open hand strike on the way in. Much easier to move someone you have knocked silly.

It seems to have gotten diluted.

Yes, but...

There are different ways to steal the bad guy’s balance. One way is hitting them really hard. Good systems teach this. But good systems also teach how to take balance without hitting. That takes a bit more skill but it’s part of the study.

Lots of different systems teach this stuff.

cmcampbell
11-19-2018, 08:47 PM
I agree a very subtle movement can imbalance an opponent. As little a a light finger pull on their clothes can take their center and make further techniques easier and more effective.

In referring to Akido I was more thinking that many practitioners hve made it less effective by ignoring parts of what Uechiba did.

Brent Yamamoto
11-20-2018, 03:16 AM
I agree a very subtle movement can imbalance an opponent. As little a a light finger pull on their clothes can take their center and make further techniques easier and more effective.

In referring to Akido I was more thinking that many practitioners hve made it less effective by ignoring parts of what Uechiba did.

No disagreement there.

rodanvssct
11-20-2018, 06:02 AM
I don't have much to add, just that some of my Japanese and Okinawan teachers said the same things that Jutsu = combative application. They divided the time periods of fighting arts into classical, traditional and then modern where the jutsu was watered down or removed starting in the traditional era. I once trained with Silate instructor Victor De Thouars who I remember his wife did Aikido. He jokingly said Aikido was fake Silat. I like Aikido, but it is what it is and I learned quite a bit from it.

wheel
11-20-2018, 08:54 AM
I had I hard time writing my reply to this post.

wheel
11-20-2018, 09:11 AM
My first attempt ended up being a long Post consisting of a bunch of examples from my own training experience trying to explain why I agree with Cabe and my thoughts on the type of environment (Dojo) I enjoy training in.

After I started the Post again getting rid of all my examples I ended up with a shortened Post but with a piece of writing that will have the Tribe scratching their heads thinking: " Why is Elfie stating the obvious, we all know this." And that is exactly the point. You can choose to make training really complicated adding a bunch of DOS`S principals trying to turn Karate into something that it is not. Trying to fit a squire peg into a round hole. Instead of simply using Karate for it`s indented purpose-Teaching you how to fight.

Interestingly you discover a lot about yourself as a by-product of pushing and testing yourself. Forming your own ideas of what you choose to believe in, deciding what is important to you and forming a clear picture in your mind of what you want to achieve through your training-Your Do.

Cheers
Elfie

Gabriel Suarez
11-20-2018, 10:21 AM
In similar vein...is pistol shooting a sport, or a combat system?

Many would say both, but that answer assumes the technical execution of one mission is identical to the other and that is simply not true. The guy in the flamboyant shirt with the strangely set-up pistol shooting really fast may be visually exciting and manage all manner of records in that particular sport, but what he is doing is not fighting, and those who think what he does will apply to fighting are either lying in order to promote an agenda, or have not been in many fights as a frame of reference. That frame of reference being that shooting is a minor part (albeit important) of fighting. And the sort of shooting that is done in a fight is far different than you see at a match or (gasp) in a movie.

The same with unarmed combat. The fit Japanese girl doing her tournament rendition of Unsu is visually appealing and physically impressive...but that has only a remote association to what Unsu is, or how its methods are used in a fight. The same for any sporting application of Karate, Jujitsu, Kendo, or whatever.

So leading to another thread...what do you want YOUR karate to be?

Papa
11-20-2018, 10:55 AM
So leading to another thread...what do you want YOUR karate to be?

Effective and conclusive.

Gabriel Suarez
11-20-2018, 02:14 PM
And while the thread is not about Aikido, and all Tohei-Uyeshiba mysticism aside, I will say that if you don't have the ability to hit people hard, you are not a fighter, you are a dancer. Whatever it is that you do, its got to work on the pissed off gang member with skills, not just the cooperative harmony-seeking hippy in the dojo.

Brent Yamamoto
11-20-2018, 02:26 PM
And while the thread is not about Aikido, and all Tohei-Uyeshiba mysticism aside, I will say that if you don't have the ability to hit people hard, you are not a fighter, you are a dancer. Whatever it is that you do, its got to work on the pissed off gang member with skills, not just the cooperative harmony-seeking hippy in the dojo.

Absolutely. And while most of their followers might not agree, I think Ueshiba and Tohei would.

mross
11-21-2018, 07:41 AM
Absolutely. And while most of their followers might not agree, I think Ueshiba and Tohei would.

I whole heartily agree with that. My original instructor was one of very few Americans who studied with O'Sensei. While Ueshiba preached the peaceful side he was still a child of much harder times. My dojo was not a hippy paradise. The funny thing was one of the top instructors was a hippy looking guy, long hair, very soft spoken, very calm and easy going, kind of peaceful easy feeling sorta guy. Except he was an ex recon Marine that did several tours in Vietnam. His version of Aikido would not sit well with the hippy set. So while I am more RyuKyu Kempo, Wing Chuan based I am not ashamed of my entry into the martial world.

cmcampbell
11-21-2018, 05:06 PM
And while the thread is not about Aikido, and all Tohei-Uyeshiba mysticism aside, I will say that if you don't have the ability to hit people hard, you are not a fighter, you are a dancer. Whatever it is that you do, its got to work on the pissed off gang member with skills, not just the cooperative harmony-seeking hippy in the dojo.

Yes !

wheel
11-30-2018, 07:09 AM
I can look at myself in the mirror and not see a weak "disabled" body. Instead I see a warrior, a fighter.

I take pride in my physicality and what I achieved with my own blood, sweat and tears-Something that nobody can take away from me.

Karate forms in me an Iron Will showing me that by not giving up I can accomplish any goal.

Through Karate people get to meet Elfie first. Allowing me to express myself by the way I move and through my determination. Instead of simply seeing somebody trapped in a chair. (Their words not mine.) Not able to do anything.

When practicing Karate I feel "normal" (Free) Obstacles suddenly change into simple training challenges that can be solved.

I push and test myself using my muscles & limps proving to myself that I am more than just a brain, chained to a computer. Only useful when I am banging away on a keyboard.

Finally Karate taught me the concept of tribe. Not only in how to be a good training partner but the definition of true friendship.

Cheers
Elfie

BillyOblivion
11-30-2018, 08:38 AM
[QUOTE=Gabriel Suarez;1924551 So what happened? How did the physical become "spiritual"?

According to my research there are several factors.
[/QUOTE]

In addition to those:

* Post WWII Japan there was a *deliberate* attempt to de-militarize and pacify Japan and the Japanese people. This was also expressed in the martial arts they taught and still teach.
* After the Communist takeover in China there was a *deliberate* attempt to make the traditional martial arts into a watered down contest/dance so that it could not be used for (counter) revolution.
* The Communists/Progressives/Left in America were (are) trying to do the same thing mostly with an impact on the strip mall schools.

mross
11-30-2018, 10:30 AM
In addition to those:

* Post WWII Japan there was a *deliberate* attempt to de-militarize and pacify Japan and the Japanese people. This was also expressed in the martial arts they taught and still teach.
* After the Communist takeover in China there was a *deliberate* attempt to make the traditional martial arts into a watered down contest/dance so that it could not be used for (counter) revolution.
* The Communists/Progressives/Left in America were (are) trying to do the same thing mostly with an impact on the strip mall schools.

All true. Japan did some of the de-militarization to themselves when they brought Karate into the schools for Phys-Ed. Very true about China, the Boxer Rebellions still seems to be remembered, hence Kung-Fu becomes WuShu. As to MARTS taught now, I don't think it is so much a effort to water down the arts, I think it's more that the instructors just don't know how to do it right. You can find old school instructors but it is hard and you have to do a good bit of leg work to find them. What the left is really trying to water down, nay eliminate is the gun culture. If you look at what almost happened in Georgia it should be clear things are only getting worse.

Kamrook
08-11-2019, 06:36 PM
The rentatop (http://village point idea is good, but it feels more achievable to after acquiring the points via levels like we have now, but after learning we must in turn master the jutsu via usages, and other hidden requirements, make us players (http://gamextag.com) have something to focus on, we can have the trees still but it would in turn show us the mastery left to fully mastered said jutsu, or if it has requirements to learn, I t could just be something related to a certain npc teaching you, or learning mastering other jutsu, a certain level.