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Bri Thai
01-12-2005, 08:14 AM
All arts that aspire to be "fighting arts" have their own syllabus of fighting techniques and, of course, their own training methods of developing them.

But all out fighting is different from just about any other competitive physical activity, because you cannot train the exact event in todays world.

Boxing? Judo? Basketball? Tennis? They CAN all be done because, of course, they have a system of rules that both define the event and offer protection to the people involved. But all out fighting has not. It has no rules and no protection, so we cannot do it as a training aid.

Training, then, becomes about how best to prepare ourselves for the eventuality of an all out fight whilst getting round this problem. We design a syllabus of techniques, and then our methods of developing our effectiveness at them.

In my view there are three broad ranges of fighting arts -
Mainstream Traditional Arts (as per the Karate club at the sports centre)
Full contact competitive sporting arts (like MMA, Judo, Boxing etc) and
Reality based self defence.

Of course, even each of these three broad ranges can contain vastly different methods. But now I finally get to my point. Since we cannot train by having an all out no rules fight, which broad range best prepares us for the eventuality?

In my view, mainstream TMA is out. Most of the actual fighting techniques are diluted. Basic punches and high kikcs are in, yet attackes to the eyes, throat and other vital areas are out. Their claims of "training" these things during Kata are clearly silly. Also, their actual training methods are the poorest of the three broad ranges. Flicky kicky sparring, Kata and air striking are the order of the day. And how realistic is that? Yes, they will tell you that the real benefits come after many years training........ as if the longer it takes to get good at something is somehow evidence that it is better?

Full contact competitive sporting arts are far far better. OK, many of the most dangerous techniques are also out. No throat strikes or knee stomps etc. But the actual training methods are first class. They DO provide an environment were their syllabus can be practiced all out against a resisting training partner. These arts, whether striking, grappling or both, produce outstanding physical specimins who are, even with the ommissions mentioned above, armed with an array of pressure tested and proven effective techniques that can still take people out.

But where do the reality based self defence practitioners come in all this? The training mehtods in this community vary wildly, from combat fatigue clad porkers who make all kinds of silly special forces experience claims, to hard working, realistic, pressure testing open minded thinkers who constantly examine what form real fights take, and concentrate on designing programmes that prepare their trainees for that eventuality. No, they cannot break each others necks or gouge each others eyes out. But they can come up with radical training ideas that both train these more deadly techniques and protect their people. The better clubs also ensure that their people are phycsically prepared, by designing relevant fitness regimes. And, of course, they are the only one of the 3 broad ranges who emphasise the non physical aspect of a confrontation - like awareness, avoidance, communication, deception etc. But, for the purpose of this article, I'm merely talking about the physical aspects.

There is tension between fighting techniques and trainng methods. The more deadly the technique, the harder it is to devise realistic training methods. The less "deadly" (like right crosses and arm bars etc), the easier it is to devise realistic training. The people who "win" are the ones who get the best from both worlds.

I guess it isn't hard to see which side I'm on. Since this is a personal view I will take the liberty of scoring each of the ranges for both fighting techniques and training methods. Maybe this will promote some discussion. Here goes, scoring out of 10.

Mainstream TMA

Techniques - 3
Training methods - 2

Full contact arts

Techniques - 7
Training methods - 10

Good RBSD

Techniques - 10
Training mehtods - 8


Add the non physical development from RBSD, and all of these scores could dramatically increase. Any of the three broad ranges could do this but, of course, at the moment only the RBSD people do so in any numbers (despite a lot of "we do this too, its easy" type claims.

Any comments?

RES
01-13-2005, 12:08 AM
Bri Thai:

Great conversation starter, but I think you're suffering a few misconceptions.

1) "Traditional" and "Mainstream" do not belong in the same sentence when it comes to the martial arts. A common misconception held by many people today, is that "mainstream" martial arts are "traditional".

In point of fact, there are extremely few "traditional" schools left in the world, in comparison to the number of "mainstream" schools. However, it is a great disservice to lump that small minority in with the majority.

I agree with your assessment of "mainstream" schools, for the most part (with a few examples of individual schools which don't fit that mold). The few traditional schools, on the other hand, do not fit this mold; the budo taught in them is directly descended from the battlefield skills of centuries ago.

2) I wouldn't discount a well-trained boxer, kickboxer, or wrestler. Anyone who has a demonstrable ability to recieve injuries and continue fighting, is worthy of consideration.

3) Insofar as a "rating system" for training methods: There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of variables to account for; a "one through ten" rating system, sounds kinda video game-ish to me.

My usual advice still stands: Train in a method which allows you to frequently interact, viscerally and in real-time, with another person; and which is taught by an instructor with whom you interact well.

The well-developed, simple response, regardless of whether or not it is "the ultimate technique", beats "the ultimate technique" which is only practiced on a heavy bag.

Bri Thai
01-13-2005, 08:07 AM
Thanks for the post mate.

I feel that the "mainstream traditional martial arts" label is just that, a label. I am happy to call the air punchers who give black belts to 10 year olds "mainstream" instead of "mainstream TMA". As long as you know who I mean. :)

I agree that there are few real trad schools around. So few that I didn't think they could be included as a generalisation by themselves.

I most certainly do not discount a good boxer or wrestler. I put them in the second category and rate them super highly.

As regards the rating system? It is a conversation piece, nothing more.

I think we agree more than you realise. I didn't express myself well enough initially.

RES
01-13-2005, 11:01 AM
I think we agree more than you realise.

We do, indeed! (Except for the appropriate use of the letter "z" :D )

The optimistic side of me forsees a resurgence of traditional schools. Not just schools that make their stake on formalities, but actual traditional methods (or one-step-removed traditional-method schools).

I make a corrollary between budo and the firearms community in the US. 25 years ago, Bubba Bo Duckhunter had very little notion of what exactly constituted "tactical" weaponcraft; there were very few well-known (by the general shooting populace) firearms schools; nowadays, 46 states allow the concealed carrying of firearms (and 2 others allow open carry, but not concealed carry); the general shooting populace is beginning to accept the need for good-quality equipment (holsters, flashlights, etc.); the demand for well-made, purpose-specific defensive ammunition has resulted in exactly that; terms such as "Harries position", "Tueller Drill", and the like, are commonly recognized and (usually) understood; and good firearms schools are becoming prolific.

Similarly, Bubba Bo Karateka had, for the most part, very little understanding of "combat budo", 25 years ago. I think the martial arts community is waking up to reality; and combat arts will start to become more and more accepted.

For this reason, I believe it is essential to include the truly traditional schools (koryu) as a seperate, viable entity.

Like I said, I generally agree with your assessment; however, I'm happy to report that all is not lost. ;)

Tactical Grappler
01-13-2005, 06:06 PM
Interesting discussion, and something I have been musing on of late...

Historical Left Turn:

I would quibble with the idea that the "true," traditional budo are "descended from the battlefield."

First off, we have to differentiate between "traditional" and "koryu," (there are non-koryu, traditional schools, and koryu schools that had nothing to do with any kind of battlefield other than "the battlefield of perfection of the self").

Then we have to differentiate between what is a "battlefield" descended koryu and what is not (Araki-ryu is, for example, Tenjin Shinyo-ryu is not. Both are koryu, and both are systems "for fighting").

Now to the Topic at Hand:

What does any of this mean for someone seeking combat effective training today?

Not a whole hell of a lot, it depends.


In my experience in participating in a koryu for a few years, observing several others, and observing the community as a whole, you have a mixed bag. Ask THEM outside of public forums and they tend to have some choice commentary on the relative abilities and knowledge base of some of their fellow teachers. One man told me that even in Japan, he believed that the koryu exponent who had any real understanding of his art in a truly combative sense was extremely rare.


Training wise, an important issue is that by and large koryu tends to be practiced in kata form only. This has some serious limitations depending on how "kata training" is perceived and conducted, and the background of the participants. Particularly in close combat/jujutsu based methods. I have experienced some koryu weapons stuff that was absolutely "on the edge," and comparable in my experience to the force-on-force weapons drills and scenarios that I participate in with our tactical team.

OTOH, I have seen a good deal of the opposite as well. By the numbers, rote kata performed by some very soft types seemingly more afraid they might hurt their partners with their "deadly skills" than pushing the envelope with realistic training.

And that is the crux of it. Far too many are engaged in a living fantasy, complete with costumes, and with much of their dojo time spent spinning tales of the prowess and derring do of some warrior from 500 years ago and probably sincerely believing that prowess has transferred to them because they are "of lineage."

Others disparage modern arts simply for being "non-classical," "not a BATTLEFIELD tradition," or even (gasp) "sport" and decry their effectiveness as combative training with every argument their "never been in a fight - read too many books" brains can muster.

Still others equate being a member of a warrior ryu with being a member of a "band of brothers," akin to modern military or tactical units. It seems the folks making these comparisons tend to have *NO* real world experience in the actual armed professions they are aping. Maybe, again, it is expected that this kind of thing "rubs off" the more they draw those tenuous connections in their minds.

These were issues that I saw enough that I left off practicing koryu. Frankly, even with a right minded teacher, truly classical arts are not the most utilitarian choice if acquisition of real world, quickly developed, combat efficient skills are needed. Far better to practice with a gun in your hand than a spear or sword, if after all skill with the gun is the goal.

That said, I find myself at times drifting back to some of the ideas, theories and overall approach of the armed classical arts and re-discover some things useful, or find a different window or different perspective that maybe IS a whisper of the true classical warrior tradition - before it became the province of mainly combat anthropologists versus actual fighting men.

RES
01-13-2005, 09:00 PM
I would quibble with the idea that the "true," traditional budo are "descended from the battlefield."

First off, we have to differentiate between "traditional" and "koryu," (there are non-koryu, traditional schools, and koryu schools that had nothing to do with any kind of battlefield other than "the battlefield of perfection of the self").

Then we have to differentiate between what is a "battlefield" descended koryu and what is not (Araki-ryu is, for example, Tenjin Shinyo-ryu is not. Both are koryu, and both are systems "for fighting").




Great reply, TG.

I should delineate between the term "koryu" as I use it, and the term as it is applied by ZNBR. ZNBR, by the way, is the Japanese governmental agency which "manages" the koryu styles, and determines which is "officially" koryu and which isn't. Suffice to say, I do not subscribe to their definition of the term.

I prefer, rather, to use the term to refer to any ryuha which either originated substantially prior to the beginning of the Meiji restoration, or which was created by a holder of menkyo kaiden awarded by a pre-Meiji master.

(With a few exceptions).

I agree that not all koryu schools, by either definition, are completely combat-efficient. I also agree that the Japanese themselves have ruined alot of the old schools. I do believe, however, that there are a good many koryu schools which have not been degraded by Japanese politics and mentality, which are good schools to learn in.

I also believe it's possible to fix the problems the Japanese have created, by applying modern-day "lessons learned" in combat, to the old schools.

Tactical Grappler
01-14-2005, 05:24 AM
Roundeye-

We seem to be of similar minds. Though in my experience any idea of "fixing" the problems the Japanese have created and evaluating koryu in light of modern day experience (which requires one to have or obtain modern day experience) is NOT all that popular in koryu circles.

If I may, can you name some examples of koryu today you think are modern combat efficient? Or at least provide a platform from which to develop modern efficiency?

RES
01-14-2005, 03:03 PM
If I may, can you name some examples of koryu today you think are modern combat efficient? Or at least provide a platform from which to develop modern efficiency?

Sure, bearing in mind my differing use of the term "koryu":

Nami Ryu ( http://www.dojoofthefourwinds.com ) would be my first example. James Williams has done a superb job of exactly what I've described, applying modern-day combat understanding to the ancient skills and, conversely, applying the ancient skills to the modern-day combat arena. It's actually from him, that I got the idea to try to develop this own fusion in my teaching. It's also from him, that I stole the line "The only real difference between a katana and a handgun, is distance."

I also would describe Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu as a style which can be fostered toward combat efficiency, for the fact that the (few) (legitimate) Daito Ryu schools I have seen in the US focus quite a bit on practical skills, such as katame waza, disarming skills, and so forth.

I also include my own style, Yoshinkan Aikido. Although not recognized by ZNBR as a "koryu" style, I include it because, rather than being a derivative of Aikido, it is in fact a preservation of Morihei's original, pre-war, Daito Ryu-influenced Aiki budo. The fact that Yoshinkan's effectiveness has been proved through almost 40 years of use by Tokyo's riot police units, and that the Yoshinkan Senshusei course is considered to be among the toughest martial training in the world, bolsters this. It's a shame that many practicioners don't have the experience of undergoing Senshusei; I believe something is lost by not suffering in the course of learning combat skills. ( :D ) It's also a shame that many lesser-knowledgeable persons lump Yoshinkan in with other styles of Aikido; the difference, aside from techniques, is sometimes astonishing, even to me.

So, there's a short list, for starters.

Tactical Grappler
01-14-2005, 06:01 PM
Roundeye -

We are probably not of that similar a mind, after all. But then you did say you had a different idea of koryu.

RES
01-15-2005, 09:49 AM
Here's a good article about koryu jujutsu, just for fun:

http://www.shinyokai.com/jujutsu.htm

Tactical Grappler
01-15-2005, 06:04 PM
I prefer the interview with Takamura sensei from the same site...

RES
01-15-2005, 07:01 PM
I prefer the interview with Takamura sensei from the same site...

I have read it. It appears we are in greater agreement after all!

Takamura was especially right about the wrongful "deification" of Morihei Ueshiba and the popular exclusion of Sokaku Takeda, and the implications of this. I agree, wholeheartedly, which is why my Aikikai colleagues tend to shun me.

It's also interesting that he mentions Don Angier and Yoshida sensei. Remember in a pervious post, where I mentioned James Williams' Dojo Of The Four Winds and modernization? One of Williams' great influences is the same Don Angier mentioned by Takamura in the interview. Angier's training from Yoshida sensei can be read here: http://www.bugei.com/angier.html

The following is quoted from the article:


When I first started teaching, students began to ask me how I would deal with a boxer, or with a karateka and so on. At first I was surprised because I was not sure that I had the answers. I had to carefully examine this. I realized that the answers were right in front of me. I was busy focusing on jujutsu techniques when it was jujutsu concepts that were the solution. Techniques did not matter because they were guided by concepts.

THIS IS WHAT SOME OF US HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR DECADES!!!

Conceptualism is a major factor in my teaching. I think that shows in my posts in other discussions here, as well.

Takamura's advice at the end of the article, is also exactly the advice I give people constantly, and advice I try to live by as a teacher.

The Tengu
01-16-2005, 08:52 PM
The koryu talk is interesting and funny to witness on this particular board, since the vast majority of the visitors here don't know/don't give a damn about what it is. For those of you that do know, we need to keep in mind that Japan was still in medieval times a little over 100 years ago. Time is soooooo relative.

I don't take issue with particular martial arts/fighting systems being ineffective or outdated. I take issue with the instructors who are making the systems ineffective or outdated.

One could take an art such as tae kwon do and teach students how to be pretty damn effective against the average assailant, if only the instructors would apply a liberal dose of common sense and think outside of the tae kwon do box.

RES
01-16-2005, 09:18 PM
The koryu talk is interesting and funny to witness on this particular board, since the vast majority of the visitors here don't know/don't give a damn about what it is.


Nobody's forcing you to participate in this particular thread, man. :D

The Tengu
01-16-2005, 11:44 PM
LOL,

I should classify a new pressure point.

I'll call it the koryu kyusho. Touch this nerve, and BOOM a discussion can go to hell in a handbasket!

Look, I wasn't trying to insult you or your discourse. In fact, I agree with you more or less.

Tactical Grappler
01-17-2005, 06:38 AM
LOL at koryu kyusho. I didn't take what the Tengu said as being negative either, but a valid commentary.

I think a few issues with koryu, or to be more inclusive of Roundeye's approach, koryu and those arts which adopt the same traditional training culture, are these:

One is the almost exclusive basis in kata training. How the kata are done depends on the teacher or the system. However, any training system which does not allow for variation, or which believes that an extensive minimum period of time must be "put in" before the kata are made more "alive," or before the "good stuff" (gokui, etc) is taught is no longer about training combat efficiency, it is about preserving tradition and a social system and its status quo. We know how that works for military and police organizations, so why should it work for any other combative organization?

Second, to touch on a point Roundeye brought up: a katana IS NOT a gun but for the distance. A gun IS NOT a spear.

There seems to be a strong desire on the part of martial artists, particularly traditional stylists who train in "warrior" methods, to identify with modern combative culture. This drive has become even stronger with the advent of the war on terrorism.

In my overall practice, I look for things which will be practical, efficient training for combatives in very close quarters, while carrying weapons and wearing light or heavy body armor, because that is what I do for a living. Koryu, based on these very things, seemed perfect - until I actually did it and saw more of it.

It is simply not an efficient way to train for modern combatives. There are ideas, concepts, and even technical aspects within the framework of its practice that are valuable and timeless, and do very much apply, but the reality of modern gun and edged weapons combatives, and moving in and amongst hostiles and non-hostiles with weapons, is simply beyond what practicing kata with traditional weapons and wearing kimono and hakama can approach.

Accepting that a katana is in fact the combative equivalent to gun, I should be able to take a koryu trained man with *NO* modern combatives/tactical firearms training, hand him a gun, and expect him to perform by and large in a trained tactical fashion. He may not be able to function the weapon very well, but he SHOULD intuitively know how to take angles, how to break and close distance, how to move efficiently in varied circumstances while carrying a weapon, etc.

This is of course ridiculous. Any more than I can take a trained modern combatives man, put him in skirty pants and give him a wooden sword, and expect him to have a fundamental grasp of what it is like to move, function, and fight with a sword.

In fact, when the whole "koryu is akin to modern combatives" point has been discussed on other, koryu-friendly forums, and I have pointed out that any koryu would benefit greatly from having people with actual experience in modern combat amongst their ranks - and that such people might indeed have greater insight into the actual combative application of the tradition than a classically trained teacher with NO real world experience , people were aghast.

Why? It upsets the status quo. Sensei IS the conduit to the tradition, even if all he knows is the tradition and not necessarily how to apply it. That is a social organization, not a combative one. This hits at the key element claimed by some for koryu practice - that they were, and still ARE, warrior societies meant to train the GROUP to fight effectively and operate efficiently under combat circumstances.

No, they aren't. Not unless the particular group practicing a particular koryu knows what it is like to work together, with a group of trained men, under combat conditions. Frankly, the traditionally based group which has the most people doing anything like this is probably the ninja guys, the Bujinkan and the Genbukan. Ask the serious koryu types about them and see what kind of answer you get, when in fact, the X-kans seem to have the right idea when it comes to trying to apply classical knowledge to modern reality.

The "mindset" thing is not a koryu/non-koryu issue, it is a "combatives" training issue. In no way, no how, can "real" combative intent be manifested in training that does not involve intentionally trying to kill or injure each other. It can be mimicked, and performance stressors can be added, but it is not real intent.

Koryu practitioners often place far too much stock in the intent present in their practice, and it is simply not there. I *have* seen a very impressive display of intent, watching Nishioka sensei and Phil Relnick sensei perform some kata from the Shindo Muso ryu tradition. But it was not combative intent. There was something of value there, but the conditions in which they were manifesting the intent was not, and will never be, lethal or even potentially lethal threat combat.

As "meditations on the warrior tradition" there is value in koryu practice. But not as a primary source of modern combative functioning.

RES
01-17-2005, 07:17 AM
TG:

You have the curious habit of using statements that I've been making for years, re-constructing them, and using them as replies to my statements! :eek: Maybe you've got a bit of Aiki in you, after all.


One is the almost exclusive basis in kata training.

Kata, in a koryu art, is no different than exercises in firearms training like the "El Presidente". They are a formational exercises which are the basis of learning, not the end-point. Just as a "firearms instructor" who taught nothing but drills would be considered impractical, so is a "koryu budo sensei" who relies on nothing but kata.

Given your statement that you had formerly trained in a koryu system (or what you believed was such), I am virtually certain that your belief in "almost exclusively kata-oriented training" stems from having trained with an instructor who has very little actual qualification in a koryu discipline. Remember, for every legitimately-qualified instructor, there are at least one hundred frauds.


Second, to touch on a point Roundeye brought up: a katana IS NOT a gun but for the distance...

Says who? I find that most bits of minutae, every large concept, and many technical matters of swordsmanship, have a corrollary in gunfighting with a handgun. Sometimes the corrollary is conceptual, sometimes it is (perhaps) a peculiar coincidence, but it is there.

This statement is based on observation, not on a desire for legitimacy, as you alluded. As for connecting this desire to the "war on terrorism"; I have no intention of opening a political debate, but to answer the allusion presented: I, unlike most, do not seek to use the "war on terrorism" to legitimize myself, my methods, or any agenda I may have.


It is simply not an efficient way to train for modern combatives.

Your statement should conclude with, "...for me". As is said frequently on this board, "YMMV".


...I have pointed out that any koryu would benefit greatly from having people with actual experience in modern combat amongst their ranks - and that such people might indeed have greater insight into the actual combative application of the tradition...

Correct; people such as myself, who have been reforming koryu disciplines to exactly this purpose. Contrary to (your) popular belief, we're not all "kata queens".


The "mindset" thing is not a koryu/non-koryu issue, it is a "combatives" training issue. In no way, no how, can "real" combative intent be manifested in training that does not involve intentionally trying to kill or injure each other. It can be mimicked, and performance stressors can be added, but it is not real intent.

So, in this regard, how is budo training any different from alleged "modern combatives" instruction? It's a problem for all methods, not just old ones.

RES
01-17-2005, 07:18 AM
LOL,

I should classify a new pressure point.

I'll call it the koryu kyusho. Touch this nerve, and BOOM a discussion can go to hell in a handbasket!

Look, I wasn't trying to insult you or your discourse. In fact, I agree with you more or less.

Ya missed the "grinning" smiley at the end of my statement, didn't ya? LMAO

Tactical Grappler
01-17-2005, 09:33 AM
Roundeye-

That's what I mean when I suspected we are not of similar minds. Broad brush, yes. The devil is in the (not as important) details.

There is a problem at the root of this discussion when we have varying definitions of koryu. Daito-ryu, Yoshinkan aikido, Yanagi-ryu, Takamura Shindo Yoshin-ryu and Nami-ryu are not classical koryu. Traditional arts with different levels of connection to classical teachings, but not koryu.

If they are going beyond a reliance on primarily kata, they are altering the nature of koryu. I am not saying that is not the better way (I think it is), only that if the argument you are making is that "koryu can be training for modern combatives," and the examples you are using to support this are not koryu, there is a problem with your argument.

I mean traditions like Katori Shinto ryu, the Shinkage ryu lines, Shindo Muso-ryu etc. Even when these arts "break kata" they are still doing kata. Some used to have more competitive (challenge) oriented training, some still use contact and even force on force practice, but even that is rooted heavily in kata.

And re: guns and katana? I liken it to Dr. Karl Friday's statement about common principles. Loosely paraphrased, one can find principles and concepts in Taiji, or Taekwondo, that would apply to fighting in fighter jets. Does that mean we should consider taiji or taekwondo for training fighter pilots?

In the large sense, a la John Boyd, the experience of training men for combat in fighter planes touched off an exploration of combative principles that apply very well to personal and group combat.

It is in this way in which I think of koryu as useful, as well as in some more immediate practical areas. I think the former are universal to combative activity, and the latter are better postulated on by those with real world experience.

Can I go to a koryu, or traditional instructor and learn things that I can apply in tactical operations? To be sure. But I would not go to a man whose primary (or only) experience is in swordsmanship and/or traditional jujutsu and ask him to teach me how to gunfight. Or even knife fight, for that matter.

Ideally, I'd like the guy whose been in gunfights to teach me that, and rely on that and my own experience to corollate (sp?) what, outside of universal principles, the traditional teachings have that apply when fighting with guns.

michael
01-17-2005, 09:33 AM
[QUOTE=Tactical Grappler]



Frankly, the traditionally based group which has the most people doing anything like this is probably the ninja guys, the Bujinkan and the Genbukan. Ask the serious koryu types about them and see what kind of answer you get, when in fact, the X-kans seem to have the right idea when it comes to trying to apply classical knowledge to modern reality.


/QUOTE]

I have to agree with you there. I trained in the Bujinkan for 5 years and learned many useful things that applied to the street as an LEO. However, even though I trained with a pretty realistic and hardcore group of guys, many of the traditional methods still did not work in real encounters. I got to practice many on the street and was able to make a lot of the simpler, more direct methods work and work well. There are some really great practitioners in both the Bujinkan and Genbukan, but also many groups within that do not train for reality. As with all TMA's, it depends heavily upon the teacher. Take a guy like Phil Legare from the Bujinkan. He was a former Marine, DIA and now CIA guy living in Japan. He took methods from the Bujinkan and perfected them into some really hardcore street skills that are simple, direct and effective. I believe his real world experience had a lot to do with this and is what is laking in many schools.

Tactical Grappler
01-17-2005, 09:40 AM
Michael,

A good friend of mine, in a koryu tradition now but with a lot of road time in the Booj, really showed me this in many discussions we have had on the topic.

Even he has noted with exasperation that when considering purely combative application, with the die hard koryu stylists often the question is not "does it work?" or "is it any good?" but "is it legit koryu?" or "what is the lineage?"

Of course looking at the -kans by the same standards for "koryu" they would be in the same place as the arts Roundeye has noted. Maybe that is the key - less adherence to the koryu doctrine and more willingness to explore the principles and concepts within the doctrine to find what is useful?

Not to say some koryu can't/don't/won't do that...

Tactical Grappler
01-17-2005, 10:03 AM
Thinking on it and I've a proposal: I think the whole "what is/isn't koryu" thing is de-railing the discussion on what is really about traditional arts and training for combat efficiency.

Lets stipulate that we are talking about traditional/classical arts which are, by stated intent, about combat efficiency in terms of training method and approach versus about self-perfection or what have you.

That way, the aiki arts mentioned by Roundeye, the Booj, AND the koryu can be considered under the same umbrella.

The Tengu
01-17-2005, 01:35 PM
Ya missed the "grinning" smiley at the end of my statement, didn't ya? LMAOI mentioned to several people at the Warrior Talk Symposium that I don't post often, and when I do, I tend to piss somebody off (or at least get a behind-the-keyboard sneer). I think it's due to the lack of face-to-face communication.

I should put a big-ass grinning smiley in my signature line and be done with it! :)

Back on topic:
Koryu shmoreyoo! Who cares about what a bunch of stagnating politicians and their rulebooks think about your art? The only valid question is whether or not the system works for you!

I have trained in the Bujinkan for a good portion of my life, and have had the opportunity to train with a lot of different groups within the BJK. I am 100% sure it all comes down to the individual instructors.

I have heard some utter bulls--t come out of the mouths of high-ranking mega black belts, and I have also learned some of the most practical applications of this art from lower-ranking instructors.

I just got over my most recent "traditional artsy fartsy" phase last year and now I'm back into a "bite off their nose and spit their own blood into their eyes" phase.

Both perspectives offer valid teachings and goals, and they can both steer you down the wrong path. It all depends on how it's taught.

RES
01-17-2005, 05:11 PM
There is a problem at the root of this discussion when we have varying definitions of koryu. Daito-ryu, Yoshinkan aikido, Yanagi-ryu, Takamura Shindo Yoshin-ryu and Nami-ryu are not classical koryu.

They are not classical koryu, as defined by the Japanese government. As previously stated, I do not hold the same opinion of the term as they do. I am much less oriented toward the "classical or not?" argument, than others.


If they are going beyond a reliance on primarily kata, they are altering the nature of koryu.

Incorrect; they are altering the way koryu has been practiced since they were castrated (Meiji era), when the martial arts were all but exterminated. If anything, these "new" practice methods serve the purpose of restoring relevancy where the Japanese themselves have removed it.



And re: guns and katana? I liken it to Dr. Karl Friday's statement about common principles. Loosely paraphrased, one can find principles and concepts in Taiji, or Taekwondo, that would apply to fighting in fighter jets. Does that mean we should consider taiji or taekwondo for training fighter pilots?

"Common principles" may apply in the extreme example you provided. However, there is a great deal more commonality between different methods of personal combat, than between a method of personal combat and aircraft combat.


Can I go to a koryu, or traditional instructor and learn things that I can apply in tactical operations? To be sure. But I would not go to a man whose primary (or only) experience is in swordsmanship and/or traditional jujutsu and ask him to teach me how to gunfight. Or even knife fight, for that matter.

I don't see where this is different from any other form of personal combat training. The overwhelming majority of "firearms instructors" today have absolutely no experience in "gunfighting". This is, again, a problem common to all methods, not just old ones.


Ideally, I'd like the guy whose been in gunfights to teach me that, and rely on that and my own experience to corollate (sp?) what, outside of universal principles, the traditional teachings have that apply when fighting with guns.

Which, again, is exactly what some of us are seeking to do.

RES
01-17-2005, 05:15 PM
Thinking on it and I've a proposal: I think the whole "what is/isn't koryu" thing is de-railing the discussion on what is really about traditional arts and training for combat efficiency.

Lets stipulate that we are talking about traditional/classical arts which are, by stated intent, about combat efficiency in terms of training method and approach versus about self-perfection or what have you.

That way, the aiki arts mentioned by Roundeye, the Booj, AND the koryu can be considered under the same umbrella.

I already have stipulated this, in large part. My statements to the effect of excluding "modern" schools, stems from my disdain for "sporterized" martial arts.

Incidentally (and as I stated in a previous post), I do not consider a martial art on the basis of whether the Japanese government considers it koryu or not. In the manner which I use the term, I happily include Ninjutsu.

Insofar as the "what is/isn't koryu": Without starting an accusation contest, TG, it has been you who has been repeatedly referring to the "strict" definition of the term.

RES
01-17-2005, 05:17 PM
...I think it's due to the lack of face-to-face communication.

I agree, wholeheartedly.

We need a webcam hookup on WT. :D

Tactical Grappler
01-18-2005, 06:48 AM
Roundeye-

Okay, okay, okay. I apologize for defining koryu differently than you do ( or the Japanese government does, for that matter). Sounds like you have been back and forth with the "koryu wankers" before.

I won't continue on that point, but I will ask as to your sources regarding pre-Meiji training that shows you that kata was not the primary practice method. I am curious because I have often believed that to be the case myself.

I still maintain that operating a hangun at close quarters is a different thing than operating a longsword.

Tactical Grappler
01-18-2005, 07:05 AM
Back to the originally scheduled thread:

I think the issue, whether modern or traditional/classical, is how you are training.

Force on Force training has demonstrated that you must train with progressive levels of antagonism in order to fully inculcate skills that you intend to be there under the stress and pressure of an actual combative situation. The problem with many "combative," versus sport arts, is that they do not practice their methods outside of cooperative training.

This debate has long gone on in the classical Japanese MA community that we have been discussing, as until recently they did have a number of force on force practices and combat oriented challenge matches to test the mettle of their practitioners. With the advent of more and more rules, though, the "gaming" began.

http://www.kendo-world.com/articles/magazine/the_history_of_bogu/index.p hp

RES
01-18-2005, 02:16 PM
I will ask as to your sources regarding pre-Meiji training that shows you that kata was not the primary practice method. I am curious because I have often believed that to be the case myself.

Well, the source of that, is found in tidbits like your signature line.

Remember, the Meiji period was a time of VIRULENT re-structuring of Japan, and a large part of this was the "whitewash" of Japan's history. Had it not been for Jigoro Kano discovering a way to make Budo acceptable during this time period, I believe the martial arts would have eventually died off, much like what is happening to the concept of "militia" in the United States.

During this period, much of the old methods were lost. We'll never know exactly how much loss there was, but suffice to say, what is left is merely a shell.

Meiji faced a problem, which is the same problem MacArthur faced after Japan's surrender in the Second World War: Japan's culture is so intimately intertwined with the ancient ways of making war, that one cannot be entirely removed from the other. As a result, the martial ways couldn't be eliminated; so, the Japanese people were allowed to maintain them, in a castrated version. Sports, artistic displays, historical reenactments, and so forth, have taken the place of genuine war-making ways.

A large part of this castration, has been the notion that Budo were always practiced exclusively through kata; another, is the belief that one doesn't require a sword with a live edge in order to train (due to the kata-oriented training). Hence, swords, which are defined as any blade with a sharpened edge longer than two inches, are illegal in Japan.

It's telling that the Japanese government directly controls all martial arts in Japan, and has, for the most part, only recognized castrated styles as "ancient schools".

When a people are removed from their cultural identity, they become superficial. I think it's also telling that the Japanese people have become some of the world's most reknowned businessmen- Business is, after all, a personally-shallow endeavor which can be said to resemble war.

RES
01-18-2005, 02:30 PM
TG:

In reply to your link, here's a link from Kendo Canada which details some of the earliest use of Force-On-Force training (specifically, in Kendo):

http://kendo-canada.com/ckfkendo.htm

It's novice-oriented, but it's a neat link nonetheless.

Tactical Grappler
01-19-2005, 06:06 AM
Roundeye-

Interesting link.


Of course back in the day they had actual combat, force on force training, and challenge matches (i.e. competition) with which to test their mettle, and there were already heated debates re: kata vs. contact fighting hundreds of years ago, following the same lines that the whole "sport vs. combat" arguments take today.

So I will certainly agree, and have often argued, that kata was not the exclusive training method of koryu - back when they weren't KOryu.

For instance, take Daito-ryu founder Sokaku Takeda. Even today Daito-ryu seems done mainly through kata and cooperative exercises.

But Takeda was also an experienced sumotori, wrestling with his students until late in his life.

What is your view on the idea that some of Takeda's skills were more likely the result of his ongoing practice of sumo, a very powerful, randori based grappling method, than they were of his practice of kata as is seen in Daito-ryu today.

RES
01-19-2005, 07:52 AM
What is your view on the idea that some of Takeda's skills were more likely the result of his ongoing practice of sumo, a very powerful, randori based grappling method, than they were of his practice of kata as is seen in Daito-ryu today.

Hmm...

Ask yourself this: How many accomplished warriors do you know, who have only trained with one instructor?

I don't really believe there is such a thing as learning a "style", per se. Any set of skills will reflect upon the person learning, and later teaching, those skills. I also believe that a person's skills are determined by their life experiences.

So, the fact that Takeda was not only a jujutsuka, but also an accomplished swordsman, sumotori, a soldier, a philsopher, and many other things, all contributed to the sum of his method.

Similarly, his own students, many of whom became exceptionally accomplished budoka in their own rights, did not precisely mimick him, but rather, integrated his teachings into their own life's experiences. Ueshiba Morihei, for example, was already an accomplished jujutsuka, swordsman, and spear handler, and a combat veteran, long before he met Takeda.

From a technical standpoint, did sumo contribute greatly to Takeda's skill? Absolutely. To be confrontational with persons outside the style, but who are not amateurs, definitely improved him. On the same token, the number of sumotori who practiced with Ueshiba Morihei (some of them for decades), held that aikido improved their sumo.

We all give and take from each other.

Tactical Grappler
01-19-2005, 09:36 AM
Nicely put, and you are right, a very different way of thinking about things than many traditional martial artists have.

Of similar minds indeed, just different paths up the mountain.

Your name wouldn't be Dan by any chance, would it?

RES
01-19-2005, 09:55 AM
Nicely put, and you are right, a very different way of thinking about things than many traditional martial artists have.

Of similar minds indeed, just different paths up the mountain.

Your name wouldn't be Dan by any chance, would it?


Thank you.

No, I'm Alex.

MDH
01-19-2005, 11:53 PM
The thought I see missing in these posts is economics. Why wouldn't a sensei (either now or 400 years ago) drag out your training? The longer it takes the more they get payed. If they could teach it in a couple of weeks they'd rapidly run out of paying students. How long was the course for the WWII combatives?

Likewise with the effectiveness of the "art". If students get broken in training they're probably not going to continue to be PAYING students. Same with tournaments. The military on the other hand will just give you a medical retirement.

My two bits.

+++++++++++++
Anyway, I've been searching for something for my daugthers. The oldest is 13 and I can't quite yet bring myself to letting her carry a pistol when she goes on a bike ride. They do have OC.

Any suggestions for stick and knife and empty hand for them?

RES
01-20-2005, 12:05 AM
The thought I see missing in these posts is economics. Why wouldn't a sensei (either now or 400 years ago) drag out your training? The longer it takes the more they get payed.

Economics has only become a part of the martial arts in the post-World War 2 era.

Prior to WW2, it was actually considered insulting to give money to sensei. This was also before "part-time" students. Students of the martial arts (uchi deshi) lived in the dojo, slept on the mats on the training floor, ate whatever sensei could provide, and as repayment, they provided for all of sensei's needs, from tending garden, to washing his laundry, etc.

The "promotional system", if it could be called that, was also quite different then, than it is today. The modern-day "belt" system functions to advance economic interests rather than advance the art.

----------

Stick, knife, and empty hand for your daughters? I'll give you the same advice I give everyone; which, being an instructor yourself, you'd likely give to someone seeking firearms instruction: Shop around, look for an instructor who doesn't set off "bullshit" alarms, who has similarly-aged persons in his class, who doesn't charge an arm and a leg for instruction, teaches by physical interaction between students, and who won't require you to sign a contract.

MDH
01-20-2005, 10:18 PM
If the traditional sensei could convince enough students that his way was best then his living needs would be met. Otherwise he would have to get a "real" job and forage for himself.

That provides the economic incentive to be a sensei.

If they could inflate their abilities to attract students and extend the training time into years to keep them, that would be better then the sensei having to plant rice or starve.

I am not saying that this holds true for all but, it is something to keep in mind when judging where you will spend your time and money.

RES
01-20-2005, 11:32 PM
If they could inflate their abilities to attract students and extend the training time into years to keep them, that would be better then the sensei having to plant rice or starve.

I can see that, and it probably did occur back then, though I don't believe it was to the great extent that some might expect it today.

In the classical manner, the name of a dojo ends with "-kan", which means "house". This is because a "dojo" was very often an outbuilding of sensei's home; the chores involved in sustaining this home, were performed by sensei's wife and children (and himself, as well). I guess a better description of the exchange between sensei and student, is to say that the students lived with sensei and "earned their keep" by providing the services neccessary to support additional residents, such as tending an enlarged garden, washing the additional laundry, performing the additional cleaning needed because of additional bodies in the dojo, and so forth.

A very few sensei had very large schools which required a very large student body to maintain. In these instances, the largest schools were often the most sought-after (like a modern-day Ivy League university), and had no shortage of prospective students.

Naturally, there were also a few sensei who did not have a family; but, in these instances, it was still possible for him to support himself without the need for students.

I believe your point could be better restated thus: "...inflate their abilities and attract students, so sensei would have someone to teach...", which would be somewhat more likely; however, word travels fast, and other sensei would come around and see if he was, indeed, all that he made himself out to be, sometimes to the point of testing him physically. Another common practice, was for sensei to send one of his advanced students (frequently one of sensei's sons) to train with another instructor for a long period of time, and then come back and regurgitate what he'd learned. Sensei would only do this, if he himself had good information to the effect of the instructor's capabilities, which often came from actual confrontation between the two of them.

MDH
01-21-2005, 12:48 AM
I did not know that. Perhaps 21st century American capitalism does not translate well into 16th century Japan.

RES
01-21-2005, 06:02 AM
Sadly enough, 21st Century Japanese capitalism doesn't, either, which is why the modern-day bastian of the martial arts is the US, not Japan.

Tactical Grappler
01-21-2005, 10:37 AM
Remember too that early on many ryu were attached as "house systems" to different han. They were often more like "in house" trainers than they were separate entities.

Dojo is a more modern term referring to the training hall, it used to refer to a place of Buddhist worship.

Stick and knife - well, for knife work you can't go wrong with our very own Southnarc's DVD set (#2 out soon). Very simple, straightforward, not a lot of fancy moves and apply very well at extreme close quarters.

Mongoose
04-29-2005, 01:37 PM
Reviving another excellent thread for us new guys. :D