Question about the Godai

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by KageMusha, Sep 17, 2006.

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  1. KageMusha

    KageMusha Yellow Belt

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    First of all, Hi. This is my first post. I have been reading this forum for a while and have gotten alot of info from it, but haven't posted until now.

    I am still new to the Bujinkan with just under a year of training, but I am very curious of how other dojos present and train the Godai. I like the idea of it, but do not fully understand it yet. Any help would be great.
     
  2. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    The concept of godai is a relic from the past, in which there were a whole lot of inaccuracies floating around as to what was really being taught in Japan. So I suggest you stop worrying about it and concentrate on moving your feet and affecting the other person's balance.
     
  3. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    KageMusha,

    What you may find out here is that the Godai training method that was originally spread in the 80's isn't looked upon so nicely by some people. There should be heaps of information on this topic scattered around the Ninjutsu section. Check all of that out and you'll see what I mean. At the very least, I think that Don Roley and Kizaru have discussed how those who live and train in Japan see the issue. That is a very good place to start.

    Take care,

    Fu Bag :)
     
  4. eyebeams

    eyebeams Purple Belt

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    It's no longer used by the Bujinkan. The idea of the elements ocasionally turns up outside of the Bujinkan and outside of Stephen Hayes (but within the Takamatsuden), despite the fact that he was supposed to have made it up. At this point, you cannot get a definitive answer without risking your standing in the Bujinkan.
     
  5. Kreth

    Kreth Grandmaster

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    This is silly. The Go Dai is not a Bujinkan thing. It was something Hayes developed when he was busy dumbing things down for us ign'ant Americans...
     
  6. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    I have to second Kreth on this. To be no longer used by the Bujinkan, it had to have been used by the Bujinkan at some point.

    The godai in the san shin is a form of counting. Certain sections of certain schools are supposed to be done with the feeling of water, or air- but not earth or the rest of the godai. Thus it is not the Godai as is written about by Stephen Hayes.

    The system that Stephen Hayes came up with was supposed to be a gap between what he learned in Japan and the western audiences he was writing for. The mental ideas that he came up with for the various elements are not part and have never been part of the teaching of the Bujinkan. It may be of value, but it is not part of the Bujinkan and never has.
     
  7. eyebeams

    eyebeams Purple Belt

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    I've read at least references to elemental qualities (specifically invoked by mudra) in the Genbukan.

    Hm! What's this in Sanmyaku #3?
     
  8. Kreth

    Kreth Grandmaster

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    References to elemental influences != Go Dai
     
  9. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Again, with the voice of reason.

    There are mudras with elemental influences. They are not what Hayes developed and taught. If you read what Hayes wrote you will not be getting the lessons that are taught in Japan. There have been a lot of people that looked at these references and jumped to conclusions based on their past reading of Hayes' stuff. So Hayes' writings in many ways harmed others in their study of Bujinkan.
     
  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Kreth and Don and right on based on what I have been taught. The godai is more of a Stephen Hayes thing and now a To Shin do aspect. Definately not Bujinkan.

    Have we busted this myth yet?
     
  11. Tengu6

    Tengu6 Green Belt

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    The Godai is definately a SKH thing, at least the way he uses it. There is a huge problem with this method, and that is because he ties certain Kamae to these feelings, and since you spend roughly 9 months to a year in each "element", there are certain kamae such as Kosei, Hira Ichimonji, Jumonji, Hoko, Doko that you will not see or work with for years.

    Also, you think you can only move forward in Jumonji, and backward in Ichimonji......

    I always felt like he had all these starving students and only fed you enough to keep you alive but still hungry.......and he had the only food. I was in that system for a year before I even knew about the Bujinkan, and I only found out by accident.

    Markk Bush
    www.bujinmag.com
     
  12. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    So when I study Koyoku, should I be in "Fire" mode, or "Wind" Mode?

    LOL

    Sorry guys. Couldnt help myself.
     
  13. eyebeams

    eyebeams Purple Belt

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  14. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    But of course, we are talking about what Hayes created and not quibbling over terms.

    Yes, there is a method of counting called the godai. We use it in the sanshin and even the classifications of the highest rank in the Bujinkan.

    No, the stuff that Hayes does is not what is taught in Japan. The feelings he tries to put you into for certain techniques are wrong from the context of the Bujinkan.

    And no, asking questions about it will not endanger your standing in the Bujinkan...:bs1:
     
  15. eyebeams

    eyebeams Purple Belt

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    I've also read various people talking about the feel of this or that technique in elemental terms (even in this thread!), as well as it being mentioned in respect to the application of a kuji-in feel to kamae. Not all of these people were connected to Hayes.

    As for "what is taught in Japan," lots and lots of instructors use a syllabus different from what's taught in Japan. As for the "feel," the Hayes-line teacher I worked with cautioned students not to force a feeling into a particular technique arbitrarily, so I have a suspicion that people assume that Hayes' approach is much simpler than it actually is.

    It depends on who you ask, doesn't it? Or is it OK to train with a Genbukan dojo to find out about Tanemura's use of elemental principles in training?
     
  16. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Gary,

    The amount of people that can talk with authority about kuji-in as used in the Bujinkan are very low. The amount of people that make things up like kuji-in and elemental feelings are much greater. And I think that most of us started off reading Hayes and our outlook is thus influenced. We see things we think we are going to see.

    If you really care about the matter, take it up with Hatsumi. I am telling you what I have heard and been taught for years here in Japan. Why the hell would I lie?

    And your comment about the Genbukan is just not relevent to this discussion at all. Asking questions will not endanger your standing in the Bujinkan as you tried to say. But both the Genbukan and the Bujinkan have policies against training with each other due to some issues the heads have with each other.
     
  17. eyebeams

    eyebeams Purple Belt

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    My real name is Malcolm Sheppard. I'm not affiliated with anything-kan or toshin-whatever. I briefly trained with J. Courtland Elliot and some of his students when he was offering Ninpo-based self-defense in Toronto in the early 90s and I have quite a bit of affection for the Takamatsuden. According to some quick research, Elliot is listed as a Bujinkan judan, but he was also one of Hayes' students. I have no idea what he's up to now and wish him well.

    And lest you think I'm some kind of Toshindo stooge, let it be known that I sent a politely worded email to SKHQuest asking if Hayes held any menkyo in the Takamatsuden. I have yet to recieve a reply, which disappoints me.

    I haven't actually read anything by Hayes other than brief articles. The balance of the reading I can remember is some Jack Hoban and Charles Daniel, Essence of Ninjutsu and the Grandmaster's Book.

    In any event, I wonder if Hayes' use of the godai with Buinkan training (not Toshindo) has been overstated. If you read articles in Ura and Omote by people who used this method they emphatically deny that there are rigid postures and protocols for each element or just one element per technique, which seems to be the defacto assumption here.

    Nobody's accusing anybody of lying. As I said in the big thread at e-budo, I think many of the changes have to do with a perspective that is sincere but not strictly factual. The truth related to documented facts is not the same as the truth that comes from progressive "Daikomyo." Some things are, from a certain perspective, true and have always been true if they result from what is regarded as a deeper revelation about the nature of the art. As a Bujinkan yudansha, you are doubtless obligated to follow that feeling as much as you would the feel of a given technique. That's not deceptive at all, but for the purposes of historical and hoplological study, revelation and historicity need to be more clearly differentiated than they do in the internal tradition of an art.

    Given that the only way to find this sort of thing out meaningfully would be to actually train with the Genbukan, this is kind of a non-starter.
     
  18. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Sorry about the slip up. I thought you were named Gary for some reason.

    Well I am going by what Hayes wrote in his books on the subject. What he writes in those is quite a bit different from how the art has been taught in Japan. It has never been the way he portrays it.

    I understand you do not have a lot of experience in the subject matter, but if you did, if you had come to Japan and trained and talked with the people that were around at the time as well as read the sources from the time in question, there has not ever been use of the godai as Hayes laid it out in his books. It is a system of counting. The mental aspects of the art are quite different from the way Hayes presents them.

    I understand how some people can be a bit testy with you. Try to look at it from an outsider's viewpoint. You are a kenpo/ kung fu guy who has never been in the Bujinkan trying to tell people who are in the Bujinkan and in many cases have trained in Japan with Hatsumi what the real story of their art is.

    Isn't that a bit strange when you think about it?
     
  19. eyebeams

    eyebeams Purple Belt

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    Well, some say that and some don't. Since my experience comes from a period before Hayes' alienation from the Bujinkan, I'm inclined to be skeptical.

    The "real story" will be whatever the dominant narrative is that emerges from people talking and the customs of the organization -- and I've already alluded to some of the dynamics I suspect are in play there. I'm not trying to "convince" anyone of anything, but I do encourage people to dissect their experiences carefully.

    Am I skeptical that the Bujinkan has always taught in one way and always had the same stories about its traditions and practices? Yes I am, but such situations are not especially unusual and that it does not indicate any kind of intentional deception.

    You and others have often remarked on people misunderstanding this or that element of the Bujinkan because of a cultural gap, but it works both ways. Some koryu claim their techniques have been unchanged for an unlikely amount of time. Others claim a supernatural element in their pedigree or that they were inspired by a religious or spiritual experience. These kinds of narratives occur in the present day (Tanemura's Iga Hakuun Ryu) and Hatsumi is no "atheist" when it comes to these things himself. The fact that these things are accepted parts of the narrative, combined with the authority Hatsumi holds, means that when you say such and such a thing is true, it might not be true with the contexts of people who are not a part of that set of customs. What is true according to internal tradition is not enough when that tradition has its own standards of truth.

    As for me, I'm engaged in research for my own edification. That means asking questions and encouraging others to do the same, and those questions are not bound by what is customary in any particular organization, except to the particular people I feel I owe face to.
     
  20. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    To be more precise, you trained with Court Elliott, who was mainly associated with Hayes. You heard the stories as Hayes put it out and from his people.

    You can dress up what you say in a lot of different ways, but you have not been to Japan, not seen the sources I have and yet you are trying to say that you know what is part of the Bujinkan better than people who have for more experience in it than you.

    If you think that you are right, then write to Hatsumi (in Japanese) for clarification. He will tell you straight out. You might also try asking people that were there when you were not, or translating some of the older books in Japanese for explinations of the Godai as Hayes explains them- i.e. they don't exist.

    Or you could just admit you were wrong, learn from the experience and move on.123
     
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