Instructing in the Koryu arts, from a different thread ...

Discussion in 'Koryu Corner' started by pgsmith, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    As Chris said in his earlier post, it depends upon which koryu art. Each school is different, sometimes very different, and have their own rules, regulations, and ideals. Getting an instructor's menkyo takes about 10 to 12 years of dedicated training in the two koryu that I am most familiar with. Many of the people currently running a koryu dojo do not have any certification since they have something that is more important in the koryu world. They have the permission of the hombu dojo. The koryu are all about continuity, and knowing there are others that can answer your questions as they've been doing it longer. This is how they've managed to survive all of these years. If someone says they are practicing koryu but they do not have a connection back to Japan, then they are not practicing koryu.

    As Chris pointed out, understanding Japanese culture is not as important as understanding historical Japanese culture, where the koryu came from. And this is only really important after a certain point in the training. Initially, no knowledge of Japan or the Japanese is needed to begin training. Eventually, you will run into things which make no sense unless you've got some understanding of the culture from which it came.

    Bowing properly is one of the things that westerners have the most trouble with. :)
     
  2. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    I would ask what are the requirements to becoming a teacher within the koryu that you are currently studying. That way, we get first hand information from people who are actually training in the koryu. thank you.
     
  3. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Ok, I get the idea that understanding the historical context of these historical koryu would be important. But how about general understanding of current japanese culture and customs? That isn't important, for example, when interacting with the seniors or the head of your particular koryu?


    All you have to do is watch an episode of iron chef to see that, especially when comparing the bow of iron chef morimoto to his challenger.
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    First, my aforementioned previous post:

    Right, to clarification.

    In the systems that I have some experience in, or dealing with, the variance is huge. In one of them, there is only one "teacher", although teaching licences can be awarded for lower ranked members. In this case, the awarding is done on a case by case basis, but only to specific levels. In other words, you could have a low-level licence, and a teaching licence, which means you are licenced to only teach up to a certain point. Then there are fully licenced (Menkyo/Menkyo Kaiden holders) practitioners who are licenced to teach the entire system... but not to licence their students themselves.

    In another, you become a licenced instructor without needing to attain a particular level, and no distinction is made... in other words, you are a teacher, or you aren't. The requirement is that the head of the system appoints you as such.

    In yet another, there is no head of the system anymore, with multiple lines existing under a range of different instructors. In the line I train in, there isn't really a teaching licence awarded. The experienced practitioners teach the less experienced ones, and pass the system on that way. Another system that I've had some limited experience with also has no single head to the Ryu anymore, but there are more structured lines, with practitioners training under one of the Menkyo Kaiden holders. In that case, it's up to the individual lines how it works for their licencing. Some use Kyu/Dan rankings, rather than licencing, some use licencing rather than Kyu/Dan, and some use a combination of both.

    With another system I've trained in, a Chuden Menkyo is needed to be awarded a teaching licence. In another that I've had dealings with, the only practitioners who can receive a teaching licence are those who have attained Menkyo Kaiden.. although there are Menkyo Kaiden holders who don't have teaching licences. Interestingly, the current head of that system is being taught it by the Menkyo students.

    There's more that I know of, but these are the main ones I've had experience with. And, for the record, my Koryu training is currently three systems, with firsthand experience in three others, as well as firsthand knowledge and understanding of four more local to me.

    Hmm, no, that's a bit different. Having an appreciation and understanding of Japanese culture helps in being in Japan. While the culture of the Koryu certainly comes from Japanese culture, it's not the same thing when you really get down to it. A great blog on such topics is Wayne Muromoto's Classic Budoka one: http://classicbudoka.wordpress.com/

    Relevant to the topic from a recent blog is this:
    If you're talking about interacting outside of the dojo, well, that depends on the instructor, really. Some do keep the dojo manners off the mat... others get far more relaxed and social. But the most important part is that the mentality (and culture) of the Ryu is maintained, and nowhere is that more important than in the dojo. Otherwise you might as well ask if it's important to understand shaking hands and ordering MacDonalds in order to learn to wrestle or box.

    Bowing (the way it's used in cultures such as Japan) is outside of the scope of experience for many Westerners, so there's typically some awkwardness until that's moved past. It's really not any different to watching raw beginners try their first martial art class... there's a lot of awkwardness as they're trying to make their body do things they haven't before. But, as they keep at it, and immerse themselves more in the art they're studying, the movements become more fluid, more natural, and the awkwardness is moved beyond. Of course, there will always be some students who don't get past being awkward, and there'll always be some who just can't get past the awkwardness of culture shock, mainly as they're too invested in they way they think things "are", without realising that it's really just the way they've been, based on previous experience.
     
  5. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    The koryu that I currently study uses both dan grades as well as Shogo titles. The requirements for dan grades are very specific as to what you are required to perform, and perform well, for your test. Shogo titles such as renshi (instructor) are awarded only by the head of the school when he feels you are ready. I have heard that menkyo are also awarded, but I have no direct knowledge of that myself.

    In the koryu that I was forced to give up due to medical reasons, they also used dan grades as well as awarding menkyo. They had a single set of kata that were required to be performed for your dan grade test, and the head of the school would determine whether you performed them to the level he expected of the next dan grade. A chuden menkyo was required to teach the art, and menkyo were awarded only by the head of the school according to his desires.

    Only after a certain point. Lots of allowances are made because we are foreigners. However, after getting to a certain point in your training you are expected to be familiar enough with current Japanese culture to be able to spend time in Japan without embarrassing your instructor overly much. :)

    Never seen Iron Chef, but I've seen all sorts of goofy looking bows in the dojo. :) As Chris said, it's not something that westerners naturally do, and very few get it truly correct. However, as foreigners we aren't expected to be Japanese, just have an understanding of what and why things are done.
     
  6. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    What are some ball park numbers as far as time in grade for the ranks? How long would it take an average student to reach 1st Dan, for example? I'm asking because I have it in my head that koryo is different than say shotokan or taekwondo in that because of the teaching method (individualized instruction or small group instruction for the most part), that rank requirements are more strictly adhered to. Also there is no limit to the number of 9th Dans that can be issued by the Kukkiwon for example, but I would think a koryu would have a much smaller number of certificates and licenses issued.




    What does a menkyo entitled to do? Teach independently? Branch off and do his own thing?


    How important do you feel that is, spending time in Japan to further your koryu education? Have you been to Japan? If so, how is the training there different from training in the US?


    I think that people in Hawaii know how to bow, use chopsticks, and have an overall easier time with the japanese cultural aspects of learning than say someone who comes from a place that does not have such a heavy japanese influence. I remember reading in one of Mr. Dave Lowry's books that said something similar. If anything there are at least 100,000 tourists from Japan here at any one time, and there are plenty of opportunities for interaction with japanese nationals. In fact, I just got a new client yesterday whose wife is from japan, and we spent part of our initial meeting talking about japan and its culture.

    You don't have to be japanese, but for example, if someone cannot quite get the bowing correctly, then how are they supposed to teach a proper bow? Doesn't that in itself, mean that the koryu is being changed ever so slightly, which over time, will end up becoming a big change?

    Personally, I think it is very challenging to learn an art from another culture. I am not korean, but I mainly concentrate on korean martial arts, and focused a lot of time to get to know the culture, the customs, and so forth. Having knowledge of those kinds of things only helped to deepen my understanding of the arts that I study. I would think that it is the same way in koryu.

     
  7. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    There there technical or other differences between the multiple lines of the system that you train in? If so, what would be an example of a difference between the multiple lines?


    Do you find yourself in conflict technically or otherwise, being exposed to so many different systems at the same time? How do you keep them straight?


    I had a student who was like that harajuku kid. Funny thing about him is that he grew out of that phase, got his act together, and now competes at the World Kendo Championships regularly, representing Hawaii. How do you think his bow is? Awkward?

    I think his blog is more supportive of my position than in opposition. I skimmed through many of his subjects, he brings up some interesting points. He tends to infuse his blogs with references that I can directly relate to. There was a story about buying martial arts books at the UH library, something that I also did. There was also a mention of a sushi guy, but I don't think he realized that that sushi place is closed now. And the reason why he closed because it wasnt' as great and he made it to me. There are better sushi men out there who have small places, maintain high quality and still pack them in. In fact, there is no such place about one block from the place that he uses to teach out of. I'll go read through his blogs more carefully later.


    And you don't think that the mentality and culture of the Ryu has anything to do with understanding japanese culture as it exists today, that it is on the level of ordering from McDonalds? Is that what you think japanese culture is about?

    How important is bowing in koryu?
     
  8. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    It has been my experience that this depends upon a lot of factors. I would say in general, it is approximately 18 months or so per rank to gain sifficient knowledge to pass each of the first three dan ranks. From there, the time starts to go up exponentially as the student is required to know, and understand with increasing depth, more nuances of the ryu.

    Hmmm ... rank requirements are pretty specific, and strictly adhered to. Shogo titles and menkyo are much more fluid, and depend entirely upon what the the head of the school pretty much arbitrarily thinks they should be. This is due to the fact that the head of the school is the one responsible for seeing that the school is carried forward with its core ideals and training intact into the next generation. Because of this, they tend to be pretty picky as to who is granted full transmission licenses.



    Menkyo is a license system. The vast majority of the koryu still use a menkyo system giving various levels of license, even if they use dan grades or shogo titles. The highest level of license is menkyo kaiden, which usually signifies that the receiver has been acknowledged as having full transmission of the art. Some menkyo kaiden holders go on to create their own branch of the art, but most simply continue to train and promote the school that they are in.

    The training in Japan is much more intense and focused. When the senior instructors come to the U.S., there are always distractions, and most training is conducted in seminars to give as many students the opportunity to benefit from the senior instructors as possible. In Japan, you go and train at the honbu dojo with a normal sized class, or one on one with a senior instructor. In addition, you tend to get a lot of scrutiny and attention from all of the seniors since you've gone all that way just to train with them. Very intense. :)

    Yep, from what i understand from conversations with practitioners from Hawaii, there ia a much larger Japanese presence there than anywhere else in the U.S.

    The bow, while it is a large part of Japanese society in general, is only a very small part of the koryu. The essence of a koryu is in how the underlying precepts and movements of the art are transmitted. Each koryu has its own ideas on the proper methods of movement, power generation, attack and defence, and what to do with that knowledge. The outer trappings and kata of a koryu can, and do, change with time. It is the underlying principles that are supposed to stay the same. I feel that eventually some of the koryu lines will become more westernized in their outer trappings as more westerners are granted menkyo kaiden in the arts. I doubt that there will be that many that it will happen in my lifetime though, as I can count on one hand the number of Americans currently with enough understanding of their chosen koryu to feel comfortable with any changes in how it is transmitted. :)
    I had a very interesting conversation with a western senior koryu instructor recently on another forum about pretty much this same thing. Here's a link ... Adapting Koryu

    I think it is very difficult just to learn an art to any level of real depth. I agree though that an understanding of the underlying culture that created the art is pretty much essential to gaining a full understanding of the art itself. ​
     
  9. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Let me first say that I am enjoying this discussion with you. I am learning and get to express myself in a polite respectful manner. Thank you.

    What can I say, the korean martial arts do not strictly adhere to rank requirements and guidelines. It is pretty loose that way, which is good in some ways and bad in others. But it is what it is.


    I would think that the number would be small, and would be dependent on factors outside of just the technical curriculum.


    I was again under the (mistaken?) impression that the idea was to transmit the technical curriculum *exactly* as it has been handed down. I would think that as a practical matter this would be pretty much impossible to do,given that different heads have different personalities, different backgrounds, outlooks, interests, etc. I did read that discussion from the other forum and was surprised to discover that being a clone isn't necessarily the goal to shoot for. That makes much more sense to me than just going for the carbon copy ideal.


    Sounds like having at least some training time in Japan is essential, especially when you get towards the higher levels. Nothing beats one to one hands on training with the seniors.

    I think there maybe pockets or areas where there are more as far as numbers, but not so concentrated like where I live on Oahu. I see a japanese national out and about pretty much everyday, at the market (there are japanese markets here), at the movies, in the downtown business district, at restaurants, the mall, everywhere. There are also japanese language television and radio stations,as well as japanese language newspapers, bookstores, stores, etc. On the mainland, there are pockets. We visited NYC, and I noticed a lot of japanese nationals around. You can have more interaction if you go to places such as japanese bookstores, etc. In San Francisco and LA, there are Japantowns, but they are small and getting smaller.


    I would think the bow is an important aspect of koryu training. it certainly is an important part of korean martial arts training. everything begins and ends with the bow, and what it signifies. To me, the bow is the alpha and omega of the martial arts, any martial art really. If you don't have that down, then what happens in between those two bows can be greatly affected, at least in my mind.


    I read that and enjoyed Mr. Ellis' views. it would be enjoyable to learn from him. :) I liked his statement about how he could feel how the founder of his ryu felt. I try to convey the same thing in my chosen arts by explaining as clearly and as much as possible their philosophies, viewpoints and attitudes towards the martial arts that they created. The people who have the most trouble understanding that perspective seem to be those who prefer to substitute either their own feelings or the feelings of their downstream teacher for the founder/pioneer's feelings.


    Which I believe is the point that I was trying to make. You don't necessarily have to be genetically japanese to study or understand japanese martial arts, but the deeper and broader your understanding of that culture, the deeper and broader your understanding of your martial art will be. And your relationships will be that much better as well. Again, from my own perspective, in the korean martial arts, we often times witness instances of miscommunication and misunderstanding. I think this goes to the fact that in large part, there is a misunderstanding of culture.
     
  10. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    It has been my experience that this is absolutely correct.

    A great many people have this mistaken impression of the koryu arts. It is understandable though, because that is exactly what it is like when you begin training. Your job as a student of the ryu is to watch what your instructor does, and try your best to mimic him exactly. It takes a bit deeper understanding that is only gained through sufficient practice to start to understand the underlying principles behind what you've been trying to emulate. The vast majority of people that start training in a koryu art will drop out after only a little while. Therefore, the most common knowledge of the koryu is from these people that tried it, and pass on that it involves learning things exactly as you're told to do them.

    That's pretty much true. Virtually all of the koryu are still based in, and have the vast majority of their seniors in, Japan. So, trips to Japan start to become necessary to progress beyond a certain point.

    The ideal of ettiquette behind the bow is very important in the koryu. The physical action itself, not so much. Someone that has had vertebrae fused in their back so they couldn't bow properly would have no trouble practicing a koryu art, as long as they could still perform the movements of the ryu. Different ryu bow in different manners, according to what was done at the time and place where the ryu formed.

    I agree with you here. This is why an understanding of Japanese culture is helpful and good to have, but an understanding of the historical Japanese culture that produced the ryu is vital in order to progress beyond a certain point, since the koryu are all over 150 years old, and most are over 300. Of the two that I have practiced extensively, one was formed in the mid-1640's, and one in 1693. In-depth understanding of contemporary Japanese culture would help me in my relations with my seniors in Japan, but wouldn't actually help me much in my understanding of the ryu, since modern Japanese culture is quite a bit different from the Japan of 300 years ago when my ryu was conceived.
     
  11. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    I forgot that I wanted to touch this bit from Chris. While I don't have any personal experience, I do know of several schools that have a head instructor who handles the teaching, and a familial head of the school who isn't nearly as technically proficient. In fact, I know of one fairly famous school whose head does not even practice the art, and depends upon the head instructor to ensure proper training.
     
  12. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Firstly, there are multiple lines of each of the systems that I train in, for the record... and each of them have a range of differences, from performance of technique, to reiho, to training uniform, to grading methods (one, for instance, has a line using Dan grades, and another using Menkyo licences). To use the one you're referring to, which is an Iaido system, there can be a huge number of differences just on a technical level. The noto, for instance, is one of the big things... but then there can be great variance between how kata are taught, and even the make-up of the structure of the system itself (with some including kumi-tachi [paired forms], and others not, for example, or some choosing to leave out certain kata for a range of reasons). In fact, it's often said that if you get 20 practitioners of the system to show you the same kata, you'll get 20 completely different techniques (although they will all be recognisable as the same basic one).

    It's not easy! Firstly, though, I didn't start them all at the same time, as that is a recipe for failure, and it's not something I'd allow my students to attempt either.

    But no, I don't find myself in conflict from a technical standpoint, mainly as I do what I can to separate them. The best way I have found is to look to the differences, rather than the similarities. It's common to look to the similarities, as that provides a frame of reference, but it's not a good idea, as that's where you get "bleed" from one system to another.

    I don't think you really got the point of the quote from Wayne Muromoto, there.... The point was really that just being Japanese doesn't mean all that much when it comes to understanding the culture of Koryu... so what a Kendo player has to do with that, I have no idea.

    Yeah, Wayne's a good writer. But I don't think you really followed the important details there. Tell you what, come back when you've actually read it properly, rather than just "skimmed", and we'll see what you think then.

    Oh, and the whole aspect of making it all about you is not really relevant, don't you think?

    Wow. Uh, let's see if we can take something out of this, but I gotta say, you seem to have missed what I said again. And part of this doesn't make much sense....

    The mentality and culture of a particular Koryu doesn't really have much to do with Japanese culture today, no.

    No, that is not what I think Japanese culture is about.

    You didn't seem to get the MacDonalds reference, but more to the point, I don't quite get what you mean by "that it is on the level of ordering from MacDonalds?"... do you mean "am I equating modern Japanese culture with ordering from MacDonalds in the US?", well, not entirely. It was partially a throwaway comment, but at the same time, it was a reflection of an aspect that is part of living in a particular country/culture. Living in many Western countries, understanding, or knowing what is on offer at MacDonalds is just part of the social culture, so the idea that knowing about the popular culture where you are was serious.

    Bowing (generic bowing)? Not very. Reiho (Reigi/Reishiki/Saho)? Extremely. The difference between bowing and Reiho? Everything.

    Probably unsurprisingly, I have no disagreement with anything Paul says here, so I'm just adding my comments to his.

    And, once again, it will depend on the particular Ryu you're discussing.

    Yep. There are some systems who have very specific traditions as to how many Menkyo Kaiden holders are allowed per generation... but then again, any head of that system can change their mind and award as many as they want, should they choose...

    To clarify, the term "Menkyo" pretty literally means "licence". And, rather unexpectedly, Menkyo Kaiden isn't even universally the highest licence awarded. Some systems don't have it at all, instead having other licences, and some have further licences above Menkyo Kaiden, such as Toda-ha Buko Ryu, who then have Betsuden Mokuroku ("Additional Transmission Catalogue").

    It used to be that Menkyo Kaiden (or it's equivalent) was like a graduation, of sorts, and from that time, you were almost expected to go your own way. Many people might have then gone on and gotten a licence in another system, and then taken both to create their own new system, or just taught their personal form of the system they achieved Menkyo Kaiden in in the first place. The idea of sticking around after attaining Menkyo Kaiden is more of a modern one, really. But, for some modern occurances, the Moto-ha Yoshin Ryu was founded about 20 years ago by a Menkyo Kaiden holder of Hontai Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu, and the Araki Ryu still keeps to the idea of a Menkyo holder going off to teach their own line (there is a teaching there which refers to one domain, one line, meaning that each practitioner was expected to go to a domain to establish their own line. Ellis Amdur teaches a line of this Ryu, and was told that he was expected to basically teach "Amdur-ha"... he could refer to it as Araki Ryu if he wanted to, but the important thing was that it was his line).

    Yeah, but sometimes no. I know of some schools where there simply isn't enough room to get proper practice done... in one such dojo, the floor is only big enough to accommodate two pairs at a time. There is sometimes the comment that even 15 minutes of training is so draining that you then need to stop and let the others train, but the reality is that there's simply not enough room. In those instances, seminars can actually give more directed instruction, and certainly far more intensity.

    Yep, true. I think the relative proximity to Japan may have something to do with that... Alaska is just too cold!

    Yep, very nicely put, Paul.

    Yep, agreed. I'd emphasise "the underlying culture that created the art", as that's not modern Japanese culture when we deal with Koryu... ​

    See? You can when you try...

    Comparing any modern system (regardless of country of origin) with Koryu isn't really ever a good thing. Trying to think of Koryu in terms of any other art you've practiced just means you won't get the Koryu.


    Licence holders (Menkyo holders) are seen to be representatives of the Ryu, it's head, it's history, and so on (well, actually any member of a Ryu is considered to be a representative), so yeah. You could, for instance, be the most gifted martial artist on the planet, but if your personality doesn't suit the Ryu, forget it.

    Yeah, that was a mistaken impression, but a common one. What needs to be transmitted is what a friend of mine describes as the "heart and mind" of the Ryu. And that requires consistency, initially in the training methods, and later in the personality types who take the Ryu forward. But being a clone is not desirable, as it leads to people who can't pass on the Ryu, as they have no depth of understanding of it.

    As you rise through the levels, yep, absolutely. But it's not really so much to do with the training with the seniors (although that certainly is part of it), it's more to do with being a part of the greater "family" of the Ryu itself. It's often said that you don't train in a Koryu, you join it. And, being something that you join, there are others who have also joined it (other members), and if you don't fit in with them, again, forget it.

    The way you're using it there, well, yeah... but not quite the way you mean it. The Reiho of a Ryu is, again quoting my friend, like the gateway into the Ryu itself. It's used to put you in the proper frame of mind, and "enter" the Ryu's thought process. That said, it's the mindset that the Reiho puts you into that's the important part, not the bow itself... but that's why the bowing methods of each Ryu is different to each other. There is no single "Koryu" bow, but there are particular bows used by individual Koryu.

    Ellis is his first name, so you know. I'm fortunate enough to consider him a friend, after a number of conversations, and he is certainly someone that is afforded a great deal of respect. As far as being "enjoyable" to train under him, well, I don't know about that, ha! Quite an experience, definitely, and one that is rather valuable, incredibly informative, and good, hard training... but "enjoyable"? Ha! How much do you like pain?

    Yet you were asking me if I was Japanese, made comments that (if the traditions were actually adhered to) I wouldn't be allowed to train in Koryu, but you would be basically made to, and have consistently implied that familiarity with the culture and language is essential, and your take on my assumed lack of familiarity meant that you wouldn't listen to what I was telling you...

    And, for the record, what Paul actually said was that understanding the culture from which the art came from is important, which isn't the same as understanding the modern culture. When we're dealing with an art that came from a completely different social construct to that which is found now, as well as completely different cultural and legal norms and situations, from up to 6 or 7 hundred years ago, it's a bit different to your learning a system based in very much the modern culture of your arts country of origin. So it's a bit different to the point you were making.​

    Yep, I know the Ryu you're referring to... quite intimately, in some cases...
     
  13. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Our dojo also practices the seitei kata of the Zen Nihon Battodo Renmei, which are quite a bit different from Mugai ryu. This is how I tell them to deal with keeping them seperate, by focusing on the differences instead of the similarities.

    Thought you would! :)
     
  14. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    I think you can say that about all martial arts. At first we mimic our teachers, exactly. After doing that a while we try to distill the theory or principle and take it from there.


    I have been bowed to by people in wheelchairs, lying in bed, with back problems, etc. And even though their bow was not the same as if they had no physical limitations, still the essence of the bow was there. I don't know if I am explaining this correctly.

    It is the same way in the korean martial arts, where understanding the history and culture of the time leads to greater or clearer understanding of the art itself. For example, understanding how the korean people actually felt about the japanese and their accomplishments will lead practitioners to understand why teams from korea would go to japan for exchange matches. Similarly, understanding the history and culture upon which taekkyon was practiced helps to greatly explain many of the techniques, names for techniques, etc.

    As for your relationships with your seniors in Japan, i would think that would become one of the most important parts of your experience, the higher and farther that you travel down the road. I know it has been for me. I think the biggest hurdle for those seeking higher knowledge within the korean martial arts is "ugly american" syndrome, which I don't think is limited to just americans. The japanese people are fickle. If you are offensive, they may smile, they may be polite, they may even give you gifts, but they won't let you inside. Instead you will hit a wall and no matter what you do, you will be unable to pass that wall.
     
  15. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    You started off good, but then you went here:

    You just can't help yourself.
     
  16. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Okay, but it really should be noted that:

    - Your comments on what you "skimmed" through in Wayne's blog showed that you missed what he was actually saying, hence my comment that you didn't really get the point of his blog.

    - You admitted that you didn't even read the blog properly, which has lead to you not getting what he was actually saying, so I stand by saying that you should actually read it before deciding what you think it's saying.

    - Please. In another thread a disabled Kendo practitioner was shown... your only comment? "I think he is from Hawaii". Seriously, you seem to have this need to have everything revolve around you... and the example earlier in the thread is even more blatant.

    - You did miss what I was saying.

    - So you're not actually going to clarify what you meant?

    - Well, here's the thing. When you're not giving snide little digs, making false claims, harassing, being sarcastic and smarmy, it helps the conversation. So let's see if we can keep to that from now on, yeah?

    There's more in your response to Paul, but I'll let him see what he wants to answer out of that.
     
  17. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    For example:

    Wrong. I skimmed through all of them and read the ones that interested me, and I will go read them all later. And just because I skimmed through them doesn't necessarily mean that I missed what he was actually saying. He's a local boy like me, I know what he is talking about, and I can relate to the references to things in hawaii that he made, more so than you can, since you don't live here.
     
  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Which is just another case of you trying to make it all about you. The detail that Wayne is in Hawaii, and therefore in his talking about his personal experiences references Hawaiian locales, really means nothing. You didn't understand what he was talking about, you just recognized some places. Wayne is very experienced in Koryu, which is a major aspect of his blog, and in that regard, you are a lost foreigner here, whether you know the local cafe Wayne goes to or not.
     
  19. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    The training has been much more important than the relationships, at least so far. I have greatly enjoyed the time that I've been able to spend with my seniors, both here and in Japan. However, the training has always been paramount to the personal relationships.

    That is a very true statement that anyone with an understanding of Japanese culture will agree with. You've made me think about it more, and I am beginning to agree that an understanding of modern Japanese culture is necessary after a certain point. This fickleness is their way of avoiding public scenes and ugliness. I can clearly remember the dismay of one Japanese senior because one of his senior students from the U.S. didn't understand this. There was a banquet in Japan, and the American student refused to sit at the same table as one of his Japanese equals because the Japanese fellow had made disparaging remarks about him to others. It caused quite a scene and shuffling of places, which embarrassed the senior Japanese instructor. However, the American was eventually awarded Menkyo Kaiden, and I don't know what happened to the Japanese student as I never saw him again. So, I've just argued myself in a circle, and come back to the point that I'm not for sure just how important modern Japanese culture is to the koryu. :)

    Sorry about the ramble, I decided to put my musings into the post as I still think they're relative to our discussion.
     
  20. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Sorry, duplicate post. :drinkbeer
     

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