Shorinjin Saito-Ryu Ninjitsu

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Cthulhu, Sep 1, 2001.

  1. gozanryu

    gozanryu Orange Belt

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    Tatsukin, yes, I am a Student of Senseii Phelps. I have a Black Belt in the art. Been with him since 95', will stay till he throws me out.

    Matt, martial meaning for Saito? Its the Family name.

    PS- Hey Chris!
     
  2. RyuShiKan

    RyuShiKan Guest

    That was painfully obvious.

    The question was what is the martial meaning of "NinjItsu"...........
     
  3. gozanryu

    gozanryu Orange Belt

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    Ahhh! So, I'm an idiot. There is a discussion of that very subject on the web site (TFAM.com)
     
  4. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Master of Arts

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    See, here's the thing that I think most folks understand, but even more folks seem to forget -

    Japanese doesn't use English letters.

    Japanese uses Kanji (Chinese characters, some in original form, some modified over time), Hiragana (for native Japanese words and phonetic descriptions of obscure kanji) and Katakana (used for "borrow words" and foreign names).

    Romaji (a "borrow word" taken from "romanization") is the method by which Japanese phonetics are taken from their Kana form and placed into English letters. There are certain specific rules on the sounds each letter represents (e.g. "a" is "ah," "e" is "ay," "i" is "ee," "o" is "oh," and "u" is "oo"), and this dictates what consonant/vowel combination is used to represent the same Kana character...

    The kanji for the word represented by some as "jutsu" and by others as "jitsu" is correctly pronounced by the Romaji "jutsu," since the pronunciation is more akin to "joo-tsoo" than the "jee-tsoo" implied by the "jItsu" spelling...

    "Well," you may ask, "why are they used seemingly interchangeably by English speakers?"

    Because English speaking people, most notably the Americans, are painfully and condescendingly mono-lingual, and often seem to think they can do whatever they like with foreign languages as long as it suits their needs.

    Admittedly, earlier in the century, there was no established standard of Romanization for Chinese, Japanese, and other asian languages whose written language is nowhere even close to English. That led to Chinese being represented by the Wade-Giles method of Romanization that probably caused more harm than good... Pinyin is now the "authorized" and official method of Romanizing Chinese, and Romaji is the "authorized" and official method of Romanizing Japanese.

    One further note on Romaji - because Japanese has some words with longer tonal stress on certain syllables, the intonation of which changes the word entirely, it is either represented with a dash above the vowel so elongated, or doubling the vowel (e.g. uncle is "ojii," or "oji" with a dash above the "i").

    Note to Gozanryu - it is "sensei" with only one "i." Not sure what it means with an elongated "i" at the end, but I know it isn't the word for teacher...

    Gambarimasu.
    :asian:
     
  5. RyuShiKan

    RyuShiKan Guest


    Nobody called you an "idiot" so stop crying "foul".

    You may want to read posts a little better in the future though.
     
  6. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I would argue that 'jujitsu' has been adopted as an American term. It's as incorrect as any other word in this mongrel language! To buttress my claim, I note that it's the preferred spelling in 2 of 3 dictionaries at dictionary.com and that a search for it at the BBC news web site turns up four hits but a search for 'jujutsu' turns up none. Although it isn't the case right now, I've seen them use it as a metaphor--'verbal jujitsu' or 'strategic jujitsu' or some such thing that doesn't actually refer to the martial arts.

    I'd say that it's a mistake that has stuck. You might as well argue that restaurant should be pronounced with a silent 't' because it's French, or that shop should be spelled shoppe. As a martial artist I try to use jujutsu unless I believe the art in question prefers jujitsu and I would encourage others to do the same but as an English word, jujitsu is accepted and, I emphasize, preferred. It's no longer a translation issue, any more than 'restaurant' and the like.

    I see that jitsu is from from Middle Chinese zhwit, it says.
     
  7. RyuShiKan

    RyuShiKan Guest


    Maybe, but you would think a school with lineage dating back 1,000 years to the "mother land" would know how to use the word properly..........."NinjItsu" is not a Japanese word.
     
  8. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    No argument--someone translating a name now should presumably use -jutsu, and a particular art that's emphasizing its Japanese heritage probably should too. I'm only arguing that the particular term jujitsu is accepted as an American English term for a sport popular in the States, though it originated elsewhere, and as a term for using one's opponent's strengths against them in other settings ('verbal jujitsu' etc.).
     
  9. RyuShiKan

    RyuShiKan Guest


    I agree.........but it is only used in such a manner in the West.
    Japanese would never pronounce the word that way.........which is why I find it odd that the "Saito Clan" would insist it was jItsu and not jutsu.
     
  10. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Master of Arts

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    Arnisador -

    Your point is well taken, and well explained. And while I would be hard pressed to disagree with the logic of your argument, I maintain that whether we have absorbed it into our mainstream language or not, as martial artists we speak with our own specialized language that draws from a multitude of foreign language sources... Medicine and Law make use of many Latin terms, but they are pronounced properly (most of the time), and when pronounced incorrectly, their incorrect use is typically... corrected!

    Since I view MAists and the MA community in general as our own specialized "trade," I feel we have more of a responsibility to use the terms in their proper context, especially when we are claiming attachment to lineages from other countries who speak the language the terms are from... If someone created their own American NinjItsu, then fine - spell it how you like, even if it is wrong. The caveat of tagging "American" on the front kind of lets everyone know the terms will be used improperly. Whatever.

    But if someone is trying to hook onto some form of legitimacy through connection to an art whose genesis and development stem from another country that speaks the language in question, then the language should be used properly or not at all...

    Gambarimasu (spelled properly, I might add... :D )
    :asian:
     
  11. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Master of Arts

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    From what I understand, the entire "i" vs. "u" debate stems from the adoption of the Japanese words post-WWII when the first Uh-Muh-Rih-Kans brought the terms back to the US...

    They didn't know how to speak the language, certainly didn't know how to transliterate the language, and obviously didn't care either way...

    It is pretty deeply rooted, and that upsets me even more... :angry:

    Gambarimasu.
    :asian:
     
  12. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I would definitely agree with Yiliquan1 that as martial artists we should strive for greater fidelity to the correct method and I do try to do so, except where it seems to me that a given art/org. prefers the other way (e.g. BJJ).
     
  13. gozanryu

    gozanryu Orange Belt

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    I am not crying "foul" I did not re-read the post correctly. That is why I refferred to MYSELF as an idiot. I am not that thin skinned. Sorry for the confusion.
     
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  14. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Master of Arts

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    I would agree that if an art has a particular method of spelling their art's transliteration, then it can be honored, as long as they know why they spell it the way they do and it isn't out of blatant ignorance of the proper form...

    On the Yiliquan association patches, we still have "Yiliquan" spelled "Yi Li Chuan," which was the way we spelled it under the old Wade-Giles method until we "knew better" and started instituting the Pinyin method... We know that "Yiliquan" is the proper transliteration, and we use that most of the time. In "internal communications" in the association, we allow either form to be used since we are all familiar with what is being discussed. Publicly, though, I know that at least I strive to adhere to Pinyin since I feel it is more efficient, more representative of the correct sounds, and more widely understood.

    I guess all I want is for folks to know the difference and not to do things out of ignorance. If they make educated decisions, and still go against the grain, so be it. At least they would have a reason for doing so...

    Gambarimasu.
    :asian:
     
  15. gozanryu

    gozanryu Orange Belt

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    Here is our Sensei's (thanks for the spelling correction) response (partial) to the Jitsu-Jutsu issue as it applies to us. This is exerpted from the website. " Any spelling of any Japanese or Chinese word is but a best guess attempt on the part of linguists to pronounce Kanji through romanization. The Japanese themselves have accepted "Jitsu" for years without complaint. In fact, even they can barely tell the difference as it is spoken. Yet, there are distinctions, of course, and modern writers have directed our attention to these.

    For the record, Saito himself uses the old spelling "Ninjitsu", feels no need to change it, and therefore, in respect to him, I wouldn't think of it. There is also the word "Jitsu" that in Japanese means "reality" or "actuality". Saito says that Ninjitsu is "the art of understanding human behavior". So "Nin", which can mean man and "Jitsu" meaning actuality, can mean "man in his actuality or reality" - (human behavior). We like that, so often times we will use this combination of Kanji to tell our story better. In any case, how we use our romanization is our business and we feel no need to accommodate you"

    So, a pronunciation thing indeed.
     
  16. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Taken from the web site,

    Just for the record. There has been no evidence presented to the public that The art that is taught as Saito-ryu ninjitsu ever existed before mark Saito sr suddenly announced that he was a ninja master. Before that, he was teaching other arts and not claiming to be involved with ninjitsu. There are no references that I can find in Japanese sources, and the Saito ryu folks can not seem to point me to any. I have seen nothing outside of what basically comes down to Mark Saito's word that he recieved the training he claims. Phelps came on Martialtalk to chastise people about talking to him, but when asked direct questions he seems to have stopped posting for himself and retreated behind a firewall of students. Both Wayne Muromoto and Karl Friday have seen practicioners of the art and stated their opinion that the art is not Japanese in origin, but rather created by Mark Saito sr.

    If the people from the Saito ryu can provide independently verifiable proof that the art existed prior to Mark Saito sr's public announcement that he was a ninja master, and that the art really did exist in Japan, I would be very pleasently surprised. But don't hold your breath. Already they have made hundreds of posts about the subject of ninjutsu but failed to back up what they say any amount of proof that their art predates the disco fad.
     
  17. gozanryu

    gozanryu Orange Belt

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    Don, I will say 1st that , as usual, I see your point. Now I will say this. It is interesting to see your choice of words. Our Sensei is retreating behind a firewall of students? Hmm, it seems to me the Hatsumi has often been attacked on boards as far as legitamacy etc. He has never posted. Does that mean that he has "retreated" or that he is a "coward". I will ask you on this board the same thing I have asked you on others. You should have an answer now. WHen you went and talked to your boss, Hatsumi about Phelps, Saito et al, what did he have to say? After all this time, your still on the Ninja angle. There is no Takamatsuden claim. I do not think that Phelps has incurred any Giri to you to be "Verified" at all. I think we do what we do, and you do what you do. However, unlike you, we welcome you to our house anytime. We enjoy what we do. We do not labor over a keyboard trying to discredit everyone we meet. ANY of you are ALWAYS welcome at our house. And before you start typing some eloquent re-buttal, stop. Its OK, we know your position. If your ever in town, stop by and visit. Quit being so darn disrespectful. The world does not revolve around Takamatsuden tradition. Its Martial Arts Man! Relax. We are not out to steal your thunder.
     
  18. heretic888

    heretic888 Senior Master

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    I recall reading an article written by a Saito-ryu teacher of some capacity quite some time ago (I have no personal experience with the art or any of its practitioners myself). The person claimed that the 'Ninjitsu' taught in the Saito-ryu has nothing to do with the ninja clans of Iga and Koga in ancient Japan (and thus is not 'ninjutsu' or 'ninjitsu' as most people associate the word with). The writer apparently was trying to make this claim of moral superiority of the Saito-ryu over those 'evil ninja'. This individual then went on to imply the Takamatsu-den (specifically, the Bujinkan) methods to be 'assassination' arts. I found that most amusing.

    I think it's a little odd, though.... if what has been said is true, then the 'Ninjitsu' of the Saito-ryu uses different kanji for both 'nin' and 'jutsu' than is commonly associated with the words. So...... why associate it with the ninjutsu ryuha at all???
     
  19. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    That seems a rather cheap shot considering that we all know that A, hatsumi does not speak or read English, B, he does not even own a computer and C, he has not registered at Martialarttalk.com. Phelps did and posted once. Now he does not seem to be able to answer questions directed at him. So yes, it looks extremely suspicious, and your comment about Hatsumi is also fairly off the mark.


    Basically, "who?" I did not ask the question myself.



    So, why is this is the ninjutsu folder if you are somehow outside the area of ninjutsu? Just because you do not claim to come from the Takamatsu-den does not mean that you have a free ride. I would be pointing out the same things if you were claiming Koga ryu, etc.


    And I have no "giri" to accept what you say at face value, or be silent about the fact that you have no proof to back up your claims of Japanese origin and that many things what you say contrast with what it known about the subject.

    That sounds like a rather nasty comment. I have helped raise questions about the claims of many people, but you make me sound like some sort of obsesive, rather than a person who raises legitimate questions when faced with questionable claims. It is like you want to discredit me and attack me for pointing these things out. If you do not like it, please point to one peice of proof that I can check for myself. Until then, I will chime in when the subject comes up. I have no obligation to stay slinet when questions are asked.


    This would be an excellent time for you to take your own advice. If you can provide proof to your claims, that would be wonderfull. However, comments like how we "labor over a keyboard trying to discredit everyone we meet." are just crass and not where I want this conversation to go.
     
  20. Bujingodai

    Bujingodai Brown Belt

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    Who cares? Practice what makes you happy.

    I would also imagine if you asked Hatsumi about any of the mentioned groups, he would likely not know, nor do I doubt he would even care.

    Does he really not own a computer!?!
     

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