Koryu with ninjutsu curriculum

Discussion in 'Koryu Corner' started by Aiki Lee, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    If anyone would be willing to answer these questions or point me to where I might discover them for myself, I would be most appreciative.
    My questions are if there are many koryu schools with a ninjutsu curriculum or only a few, and of those that have them are they taught in any way, shape, or form?
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hmm. First off, what are you meaning by "ninjutsu curriculum"? Is there something you have in mind particularly, or are you leaving it up to the definitions of the individual systems themselves? Then, are you taking into account the different lines of a range of Ryu, some of which might have something they call "ninjutsu" (or similar), and others might not? Next, why would a system have such teachings as part of their curriculum, but not teach it? If it's not taught, it's no longer part of the curriculum, yeah?

    From there we might be able to get to something. Maybe.

    Oh, as an aside, the posts I've seen here that try to deal with this subject are either unanswered threads, or ones where the answers are coming from a Bujinkan perspective, and are rather inaccurate and, to my mind, nothing but bad information (even though the sources are apparently ones held in high regard for their knowledge... hmm). So I'll see what I can do, within my abilities to answer.
     
  3. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    Ok. I have heard that some Koryu have parts of their syllubus specifically refered to as ninjutsu. I want to know if (1) is this true? and (2) Is it found in many koryu or only a select few? When I ask if such a material is taught or not I am more specifically asking whether the topics are actually trained in (as in they go out and practice such methods, whatever they may be; or are the topics covered in those sections more explained and not physically performed for whatever reason?

    Really, I'm looking for any kind of answer that might further help me understand how a koryu works and what other systems other than the kans believe ninjutsu is.
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Right, let's see what we've got here...

    Yes.

    Hmm. How many is "many"? Really, it depends on the reasons for the system in question, the circumstances that surround the arts creation (and usage), and so on. Typically, look to sogo bujutsu systems, particularly those from the Sengoku Jidai/early Edo period. One thing I'll say, though, is that there really isn't such a thing as "koryu" as a complete group, it's really just a term for ease of communication... so there can't be a "select few". There just wasn't any group mentality going into the creation/formation of Ryu-ha that that implies.

    Well, in many cases, there really isn't anything to go out and physically train, so "actually trained" would most likely be a no. But again, it depends on what is meant by "ninjutsu" in the Ryu in question.

    Honestly, it wouldn't really add much to understanding "how a koryu works", other than understanding that each Koryu is a separate and distinct entity... and in terms of other systems having a belief of what ninjutsu is that is different to the Ryu-ha of the Bujinkan (and related organisations), well, it's not quite that... it's more that they apply the term to what they want to.
     
  5. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    What would the ninjutsu aspects of some of those arts include? Stealth tactics? Ambushes? Survival/endurance strategies? Something completely different?

    I'm not asking you to lay out exactly what it might be, just broad descriptions.
     
  6. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Again, it depends on the system itself. Scouting might be considered a "ninjutsu" teaching, except for in Katori Shinto Ryu, who consider it regular military tactics, and not ninjutsu. There might be stealth, there might not. There might be anti-surveilance, there might not. There might be poisons, there might not. There might be escape methods (including physical methods), there might not.

    What I can say is that the idea of there being "ninjutsu" within a koryu (bushi) system is not really the same as is found in what might be considered more "ninja" systems, or what is documented in references such as the Bansenshukai or Shoninki, which are far more specialist texts. The main reason comes down to the focus of the system itself... a system such as Kashima Shinryu is not focused on anything to do with "ninja", or "ninjutsu", but contains aspects centred around the idea of information gathering as part of an overall military curriculum, as part of the strategies there. Systems such as the ones referred to as "Ninjutsu Ryu-ha", primarily coming from the Iga-Koga areas, have the "ninjutsu" aspects as a core, or central aspect to their methods, so it influences everything that is done. A good case study there is the Togakure Ryu, which, regardless of what is thought of it's historical validity, certainly seems to be a historically accurate representation of a "ninjutsu Ryu-ha".

    Within Togakure Ryu, there are three broad areas of study, being Ninpo Taijutsu, Ninja Biken/Shinobi Biken, and Ninjutsu. The Ninjutsu section deals with aspects such as weather prediction, use of elements, infiltration, bribery, psychology, use of nature for escape, and so on. This is actually the entire focus of the Ryu itself, namely information gathering through the usage of infiltration, spying, contacts, and disguise, coupled with methods of extraction. When you start to look properly at the Ninpo Taijutsu curriculum of the Togakure Ryu (with this focus in mind), something becomes a little apparent... namely that the entire taijutsu aspect of the art is designed around the idea that you're on an infiltration mission, and get caught, or need to escape. The Santo Tonko no Gata deal, really, with only two main forms of situation: having been grabbed (and typically being pulled in one direction or another), or having "attackers" approaching with drawn weapons, both of which are "arresting" style attacks; and attacks with drawn weapons, which is what might happen if you are discovered where you shouldn't be. There are no striking or kicking defences, and each technique ends with escaping (running away).

    Then you have the Hiden Gata, which are about working your awareness to avoid being discovered, the Shige Gata, which are about avoiding being captured in the first place, and only the Ukemi Gata being ones dealing with handling an attack... but even then, the dominant trait seen is the usage of Shuko. Frankly, Shuko, along with almost every weapon associated specifically with the Togakure Ryu, is a really badly designed weapon. It shortens your range, and puts your wrists into a weaker position to use them effectively... but they are very well designed for infiltration as a climbing aid. So, if you climb a castle wall, and come up against a couple of guards who potentially heard you coming (or just happened to be there), then the expectation would be that they would attack... and as such, Shuko are more climbing tools that get pressed into usage as weapons by necessity. This again fits with the idea of Togakure Ryu not being a "battle" art, but one of infiltration, with the physical combative methods being there as a support for the primary aspect of the art. The Bikenjutsu employs a shorter blade than would normally be expected, as it was entirely possible that the weapon might need to be employed in an area that doesn't allow for a longer weapon.

    From this, you can see that in a "Ninjutsu Ryu", such as Togakure Ryu, the idea of Ninjutsu is centered around information gathering/espionage, by means of infiltration into an area that you might not be normally allowed to be in. Katori Shinto Ryu, on the other hand, deals with military technology in a far broader scope, looking at strategy, castle fortification and design, tactics, various weapons, army direction, and more, and as a part of that overall system, they include an area they refer to as "ninjutsu"... which is often described as being more "anti-ninjutsu" than ninjutsu itself. Honestly, that's not really the correct case either, as "anti-ninjutsu" is still "ninjutsu"... and, by teaching the methods against common, or known methods of infiltration, extraction, espionage etc, the methods of such need to be known.
     
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  7. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Do you know if there are any more purely "anti-ninjutsu" aspects or systems? I'm not talking "noble, honorable warrior vs. stealthy, win at all costs ninja" silliness, but any approaches or teachings specifically to oppose one of the ninjutsu ryu or the more clearly ninjutsu teachings in the other ryu?
     
  8. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hmm. Well, most systems have methods of "anti espionage", usually as part of the methods themselves (here's how you get in, so here's how you tell if someone's trying to get in), but I don't know of anything specific to go against a particular Ryu's methodology (although I am familiar with that occurance in the more combative methods of some Ryu).
     
  9. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'd never quite thought of that before--did samurai develop anti-ninjutsu techniques they passed along? I have had the impression that the ninjas were not so plentiful that this would be a common occurrence.
     
  10. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    Thank you Chris for your answers. Post #6 was quite informative and is helping me understand a bit more the differences between all these things. I also appreciate the questions other posters are asking, so thanks to everyone for keeping the thread going!

    Why would one ryu refer to something as ninjutsu, but another ryu look at similar skills and not refer to it as such. Is the "ninjutsu" term itself that vague?
     
  11. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    It might help to realize that there isn't really a distinction between "ninja" and "samurai"... in fact, most that we would call ninja today were samurai in one way or another. The warriors of Iga and Koga were just that, the warriors of Iga and Koga (Iga no Mono and Koga no Mono respectively), one of the most famous "ninja", Hanzo Hattori was listed in records as "a bushi (warrior) from Iga", and so on. As a result, it's best to think of groups coming up with "anti-ninjutsu" methods as really just an expression of different military technologies competing for security and supremacy, with survival being the primary aim for most of the Iga and Koga groups. It's really no different to one school developing sword techniques against common sword methods.

    My pleasure.

    Well, yes. It is. But then, so is everything else. For instance, how big is a Jo? If you study Shinto Muso Ryu, it's about 4 foot. If you study Kukishinden Ryu, it's personalized, at about the armpit height (although Kukishin Ryu has it as a definite four and a bit foot length again...). If you study Muhi Muteki Ryu, it's closer to 5 feet. If you study sword, what do you study? Just the use of a single sword? Do you study Iai? If not, is it still studying sword? And what if you do study sword, and it includes Iai, but it's called Batto? Is that something different? Why, or why not? Do you only use a long sword, or do you use a short sword as well? How about both together? And, if you don't use s short sword, or both together, is that still kenjutsu when other systems do use both? How about Jujutsu? Some systems use weapons, some don't. Some are primarily throwing, others don't have much at all... some have almost no striking, others have a fair amount. Some don't have seated techniques, others feature a lot of suwari waza (but might call it Idori waza, or Iai waza...). Is there anything that makes one Jujutsu, but not the others? Can you see where I'm going with this?

    Ninjutsu refers to the espionage aspects, information gathering, and so on. Exactly what is involved in one groups usage of such ideas will be dependant on the Ryu itself. Some (such as the more "Ninjutsu Ryu" themselves) will be more involved, or pro-active in their application of such ideas, leading to a wider range of skills in those systems, whereas a more "bushi" system who have it as an auxiliary aspects to the bulk of their teachings (such as Katori Shinto Ryu or Yagyu Shinkage Ryu) will have a more limited approach to the concept by necessity (or really, the lack of necessity for a larger body of knowledge and skill).
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  12. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Thanks for the informative posts Chris. Let me ask a question to try and wrap my brain around it. If we put it into a modern military context (in VERY rough and broad ways). All soldiers learn the same basic skills. After that they learn certain specialized skills. So, your scouts would learn how to infiltrate gather information etc. Your combat medics would learn how to apply medicine in the field. Then, you might have a group of select soldiers that operate on their own outside of the regularly structured military. These guys would have to have training in alot of different areas instead of specializing in only one or two. A group like the Navy SEALS would have to learn different types of weapons, explosions, infiltration tactics, stealth and escape methods, combat medicine etc. and a host of other skills needed to complete missions.

    This is how I have pictured the ninja. A soldier that recieved special training to carry out specific missions, so it seems that many of the things that are "ninja" related would be in other systems too because they are the same tools and tactics that the regular soldiers would be learning too in many cases. Just not rolled into one package.
     
  13. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Here's my two cents ... everything in Japanese is that vague, since Japanese is a very context driven language. Here's an example for you ... Muso Jikiden Eishin ryu is one of the most widespread of Japanese sword arts, second only to kendo. It consists mainly of single person kata, wlthough there are two person kata when you get into the higher ranks. I know of at least two of their kata that are specifically regarding locating and killing someone in total darkness. Would that be considered ninjutsu oir anti-ninjutsu? MJER iaido just calls it kata and moves on. Also, once the country was unified in 1600, there was no real reason to continue training in mass warfare and espionage techniques. The vast majority of training slowly turned toward more of the dueling nature that it is today. Much was jettisoned and lost over the years in favor of concentrating on areas of the art that were still in use.

    There are never any easy answers where the Japanese arts are concerned. :)
     
  14. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    I can see where you're coming from, but that's just not the reality in a few ways. The way these arts work is a little different to specialization after basic training... mainly as the intended recipients of such arts weren't really taught in the same way that modern armies are. In modern armies, typically, a new recruit goes through basic training, and then might get some additional training in one area or another, based on where they were being assigned. By contrast, most martial arts (speaking historically of Japanese systems here) were typically only trained by the higher classes, and the training would entail everything that the art contained, with the only real idea of specialization being based on the martial system itself. You really wouldn't train in one system for basic understanding, then another for a specialization.

    It really should be remembered that the majority of what martial arts (formalized) there were were quite distinct from basic soldier training. This is mainly due to there being a dominant and separate warrior class, who ran the country, which made the make-up of the armies a little different. It changed depending on when exactly you're talking about, but as most of these Ryu-ha are from Sengoku Jidai or Edo Jidai (Warring States Period, mid 15th -17th Century, and Edo Period, basically peace-time from the 17th Century to the mid/late 19th Century), we'll take Sengoku Jidai as a template.

    Armies could be broken, dominantly, into two distinct groupings (within it's structure). The common thought, or belief, is that they were made up exclusively of samurai, professional warriors trained from birth, but that simply wasn't the case. The samurai only really made up the higher ranks, the generals and commanders of the army, with the bulk of the forces (the infantry etc) being made up of conscripts, who might be farmers, peasants, or similar, under the jurisdiction of the particular Daimyo (feudal lord) of the area. As these conscripts weren't samurai, they wouldn't be given what we would class as martial art training... instead, they'd get a basic form of training with whatever weapon they were given (typically spears), and that would be about it. So while they would get the equivalent of modern "basic training" (well, a fair bit more "basic", to be honest!), there really wouldn't be much chance of any specialist training after that (excepting for those particularly skilled, who managed to catch the eye of their commander, or general, and get some special attention, sometimes to the point of being promoted to the status of "samurai", most famously in the case of Hideyoshi). Higher level training really was the providence of the samurai.

    When it came to the training of the samurai ranks, what that would be would depend on a range of different variables, such as if there are any Otomo Ryu ("Official Ryu" of a particular Daimyo/domain), or what else was around for a particular samurai to train in. Some Daimyo would reward samurai seeking out licencing (training) in various disciplines, in order to ensure a wider skill set (what we would consider cross-training today), so if a samurai managed to get Menkyo in two arts, say swordsmanship and spear, he would receive a higher pay, if he got a third, say, suijutsu (military methods of swimming), or bajutsu (horsemanship), he might get a higher pay again, and perhaps a short sword, add more and he'd receive a long sword to match, and so on. Other Daimyo, on the other hand, would want to control what influence others had on their retainers, as to study a Ryu is to study a different way of thinking (in many ways), so would limit what a samurai of their domain could study.

    Many Ryu at this point in time were more "sogo bujutsu", or composite schools. These Ryu-ha might have a major focus, such as Kenjutsu, or Sojutsu (spearmanship), but aimed to give a wider, overall education when it came to military matters. It really was more like Officer training than anything related to Basic Training, as the aim was to develop warriors with complete tactical understanding. A part of this training often included gunryaku heiho (or similar), essentially "battlefield strategy", which would include things like how to engage in or defend in siege warfare, how to set up an encampment, how to field an army, common or unique martial strategies for army movements, and the usage of various military assets, as it were, which would include how to engage and employ people as "ninja", whether specifically ninja themselves, or just regular samurai operating in a "ninja" engagement. In fact, in some Ryu-ha, the "ninjutsu" portion really is little more than "how to use a ninja properly".

    It should be recognized, though, that even in this case, the idea of "use a ninja properly" doesn't necessarily even imply the warriors of Iga and Koga, but more about how to use people to get information, including how to turn local people into spies, and so forth.

    In this case, you can see that the idea of "ninja" itself can even have different meanings, with some interpretations being the warriors of Iga and Koga, who, as part of their warriorship identity included a higher focus on espionage, even though not entirely exclusive to them, and another usage of the description being essentially the "job description" for anyone employed for the gaining of information, which could very easily be someone not of a warrior class. By the same token, there wouldn't be "military medics" who were soldiers, either, even though a number of martial traditions would include basically forms of first aid... the idea was that you'd look after yourself, rather than there being specific people for specific jobs, by and large.

    Hmm, hope that made some sense... any questions, just ask. There's more to it, obviously, but I fear I'd just be confusing the issue if I put it all down now...

    Ha, despite the popular imaginings, the idea of "killing in the dark" really isn't anything to do with ninjutsu... there's little historical evidence of any connection with the idea of "ninja" and the idea of assassination. Probably the most famous story that tries to link the two concepts is the death of Uesugi Kenshin in 1578. The story goes that Uesugi, who was engaged in battles with Oda Nobunaga, was rather distrustful of shinobi (ninja), especially those in the employ of Oda. At one time, one of Oda's ninja, one Ukifune Jinnai. Ukifune resolved to watch and strike when Uesugi's guard was lowered, however the Daimyo was constantly on guard. So Ukifune decided on a rather unique plan.... Ukifune was unique for a range of reasons, including his skills, but also in regards to his stature. He stood only about a meter tall (just over three feet), and he had taken advantage of this seeming limitation by training himself to remain in very small, enclosed areas, in order to gain access where others' couldn't... and saw an opportunity to use this unique skill in an attack on Uesugi.

    Ukifune decided to wait in Uesugi's toilet.

    He hid himself under the boards that formed the floor of the latrine, waiting for a long time for the inevitable to occur, and Uesugi's digestive process to reach it's conclusion. When Uesugi came in to relieve himself, Ukifune struck, thrusting directly upward with his sword as Uesugi sat above him. Uesugi screamed in pain, bringing his guards into the toilets, but by the time they arrived, Uesugi was already dead, and Ukifune had dropped into the sewerage below, escaping by breathing through the saya (scabbard) of his sword, making his escape to safety and freedom.

    Catch is, of course, that this story is a legend. While it's true that Uesugi was in the latrines when he cried out in pain, and his soldiers came in to find him slumped, and carried him out, he was alive when they did so. In fact, he didn't die for another three days... and there was no sign of any injury from a weapon. The official historical records state that "at the ninth day of the third month, he (Uesugi Kenshin Daimyo) had a stomach ache in the bathroom. Unfortunately, the evil persisted until the thirteenth, when he died." There were tales of Uesugi being ill for some three years previously, and while it's uncertain exactly what he died of, it was more likely a form of cancer, or ulcer, even possibly a burst appendix that actually killed the warlord. As a result, the story of Ukifune can be discounted as a historical account of "ninja assassination", and, as it's one of the major supporting stories for the idea, the concept of ninja assassins doesn't have a lot of real support.

    When it comes to the Edo-Jidai being a time of peace, and therefore a range of aspects of certain Ryu being jettisoned, as no longer needed, I would point out that ninjutsu, in particular, was one skill that retained relevance longer than a number of others. The way the peace was attained and maintained included a range of different measures for ensuring the loyalty of the various warlords, which included forcing Daimyo to maintain two separate households, one in their domain, and another in the new capital of Edo (present day Tokyo), keeping the Daimyo financially strained and unable to raise and maintain a military force able to rise up against the government. But to keep doubly sure, the Daimyo and their family would be in the different locations... while the Daimyo was in Edo, his family would be in the domain's house, and when the Daimyo went back to their home domain, their family were relocated to Edo. While that might seem like just a way to stress the families connection, that wasn't the point.

    The Tokugawa government employed a range of "agents", essentially ninja, known as metsuke ("eyes"), under the direction of the Hattori leadership (Hattori Hanzo, possibly the most famous "ninja", had been instrumental in aiding Tokugawa Ieyasu's attaining of the position of Shogun). These metsuke were put in different positions in the Daimyo's households, without the Daimyo knowing who was one, and who wasn't. They might be the gardener (the classic one, really), a member of the village, cooks, really, anyone. Their role was to observe, and report anything on the movements of the Daimyo, or his family. So, if the Daimyo was found to be plotting anything while in his home, his family in Edo would be in real danger, and obviously if the Daimyo was plotting in Edo, he was under constant watch there, too. So the role of the ninja, maintaining and gathering information, was more important than learning spearmanship in a time when there were no pitched battles (well, very few ones).
     
  15. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    While that is certainly true, the vast majority of dojo that sprang up all over after the Sengoku Jidai were run by out of work samurai trying to make a living. They had no reason to teach or retain the more esoteric aspects of the family arts that they learned such as mass troop movement, siege techniques, swimming in armor, horse archery, or espionage. Those that were paying to be taught had no use for any of that, so much of it was lost. There are still schools in existence which teach those things, but only a few.
     
  16. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hmm, the majority of "out of work samurai" dojo were established after the Meiji Restoration, rather than in the Edo Jidai, mainly as it was at that point that the Bushi class was abolished... there were schools of "Commoner's Yawara" in the mid-late Edo Jidai, but that wasn't the same thing as passing on the Ryu that were still (at that point) the exclusive domain of the Bushi class. Additionally, the usage of espionage was still a major and applicable skill set, as opposed to troop deployment plans and siege methods, so that stuck around a bit longer. That said, you might be surprised at how many systems still exist that retained their teachings of such things even throughout the peaceful Edo Jidai, and the turmoil of the Meiji Restoration. Most systems that don't teach them are actually Edo period systems themselves... those that had them originally were more likely to retain them than drop them because they didn't have an immediate application. And the idea of "those that were paying to be taught had no use for any of that" is not entirely accurate either... while the methods were a high level teaching, meaning that anyone who didn't reach that level didn't get them, that didn't mean they weren't taught.

    But, as you've brought up a rather interesting area, I'm going to take the opportunity to post some videos of a particular skill set, which is not very well known. It's referred to as Suieijutsu/Mizujutsu/Tosuijutsu, depending on the lineage, and again, each would have a specific area of expertise.


    Suifu Ryu Suiejutsu


    Suinin Ryu Suieijutsu


    Shinden Ryu Suieijutsu


    Iwakura Ryu Suieijutsu... early Edo-Jidai


    Kobori Ryu Tosuijutsu... established in the Mid-Edo Period (around 1700)

    You may note that the last two are Edo period systems... in fact, the 12 established "official" methods of swimming come from a competition sponsored by the Tokugawa Shogun in 1810. In fact, the Tokugawa Shoguns were largely responsible for supporting and promoting the idea of swimming as a combative skill set. The Suifu Ryu's methods were once so widely known in Japan that their strokes would be considered about as popular as the over-hand stroke today, leading to a number of similar arts being formed (again, in the Edo Jidai), such as Kobu Ryu, Takeda Ryu, and the Sasanuma Ryu (which focused on swimming in lakes, where the Suifu Ryu itself aimed at swimming against currents in rivers). Shinden Ryu was for swimming long distances, Kankai Ryu for the open sea, some focused on the use of particular weapons (including sword, spear, bow and arrow, or firearms), and so on.

    Obviously, this is only one of the skillsets, but it does illustrate that the Edo period wasn't exactly quiet when it came to developing martial skills, even the more "esoteric" ones...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  17. Jameswhelan

    Jameswhelan Yellow Belt

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    By comparison with which historical shinobi ryu-ha do you evaluate Togakure ryu to be historically accurate?
     
  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi James,

    Sending you a PM on what I meant there.
     
  19. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    That is not what my reading has led me to believe, but I don't have time or references at hand to be able to explain why. Suffice to say that there were a whole lot of hungry, out of work samurai roaming around during the whole of the Edo Jidai, and a great many dojo were opened. Many of those dojo were happy to teach whoever came in the door. Of course, these same dojo did not teach all of the inner workings of their respective ryu, so much knowledge was lost during that time.

    I never meant to suggest that it was. I was simply pointing out that the prevailing idea during that time was not necessarily preserving the knowledge of a ryu in its entirety, it was more along the lines of specialization. This is evidenced by the schools you pointed out, but also by the amount of knowledge and material that was lost during that time.
     
  20. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi Paul,

    You know, I think we're both talking about the same things here.... what I'm referring to by "opening dojo's" is more the opening of the Ryu to the general populace, but you seem to be referring to more of the "commoner's yawara" I mentioned. If that's the case, then yeah, no disagreement. I do think that the amount that was "lost" can be a matter of contention, and needs to be balanced with the amount that was developed at the same time though.

    Ah, see, I was taking that from your comment of: "They had no reason to teach or retain the more esoteric aspects of the family arts that they learned such as mass troop movement, siege techniques, swimming in armor, horse archery, or espionage.", most specifically focusing on the idea of "they had no reason to teach.... swimming in armour... or espionage", when the reality was that those aspects were in a larger state of development than at other points (most specifically the swimming in armour skill set). Peacetime is always a time of development and specialization, when you get down to it... wartime tends to look to immediately applicable (therefore simpler) skills that cross a larger range of areas. I don't think we're in disagreement there, though.
     

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