The X-Kans

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by MJS, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    The thing is, though Greg, that there isn't a discussion of "quality", there's a discussion of "quality control". And that's a very different thing.

    "Quality" means that you are asking if there is anything or anybody worth studying from in the art, or organisation, which seems to be what you're addressing here (same with Cryo earlier). "Quality control", on the other hand, means that there is a uniformity to the organisation. You can have quality with no quality control, but it tends to be rather haphazard at best, and is more about the individual, rather than the art. In other words, a quality practitioner in an organisation with little to no quality control would most likely have been a quality practitioner no matter where they were.

    You can, conversely, have little quality in an organisation even with quality control... all it means is that everyone of the same rank is roughly the same in terms of skill, ability, knowledge etc. It just might not be a good organisation to be in, but at least you'd know what you're getting into!

    That is not what is found in the Bujinkan, though. You may be learning from a 15th Dan, but is it a 15th Dan at Nagato's level, or Tim Bathurst's even, or is an RVD-type 15th Dan? The simple fact that there is such variance for this rank (and all others, frankly) is proof positive that there is no quality control in the Bujinkan. Other evidence is seen in your post, when talking about Hatsumi Sensei's promoting methods, and the idea of a student needing to find a good instructor. Now, all arts have good and less-impressive instructors in them, but the degree of difference, especially in the higher ranks in the Bujinkan is ridiculous. I'm sure you'd agree there.

    When it comes to your phrase of needing to find "the diamond in the ruffage" (uh, pretty sure you meant "Diamond in the rough" there, otherwise that's not a pretty image, ha! And, while I'm here, it's really not a good phrase to use, as a "diamond in the rough" refers to an unpolished and uncut stone, with the hidden beauty yet to be revealed by careful polishing and skillful removal of unnecessary parts, not searching for something good amongst a lot of bad, or lesser examples. Unless you're saying that the students can learn from a bad instructor and still create a "diamond" out of that school....), frankly that's just a cop-out. If there was quality control in the first place, that wouldn't be a part of it. Honestly, the simpler, easier, more reliable, and better result for the student would be to attend a school where the quality is assured before they stepped in the door. Otherwise, what on earth are these lesser persons' doing claiming to represent an art/organisation by being such bad examples of it? Surely as a Bujinkan member you'd be outraged by that? Same goes for the "just enjoy the training and the rest will follow" comment. Seriously, just a cop-out. Be better. Demand better. Don't train with those who have low standards. Don't support them as members of the organisation. Be better. Demand better. That way everyone wins.

    I honestly don't think that Menkyo Kaiden in the Ryu-ha has anything to do with the Bujinkan, really. For one thing, Hatsumi isn't teaching the Ryu, he is teaching Budo Taijutsu, which is his modern martial art creation, with it's technical basis being taken from his experience and the Ryu-ha that he is caretaker of. But it's not the Ryu-ha themselves. As a result, having Menkyo Kaiden or not has no real bearing on the individual's ability to transmit Hatsumi's Budo Taijutsu; it would only have bearing if they were transmitting the Ryu themselves. After all, that's why Manaka Sensei, for example, doesn't teach Budo Taijutsu, he teaches the Ryu-ha. Budo Taijutsu is Hatsumi's, Manaka has authority to teach the Ryu (he is ranked in them specifically). But it is really a different kettle of fish.
     
  2. Stealthy

    Stealthy Blue Belt

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    Considering the very purpose of rank is to ensure quality control I find the state of the Bujinkan at the moment to be completely abysmal.

    That Ninjutsu still commands a modicum of respect is a miracle.

    Edited: To spell it out. Incompetance from any Ninjutsu School reflects poorly on ALL schools by default and irrespective of personal opinions about what certain ranks entail the lay person assumes a Black Belt can actually fight and well so to find one that can't relegates their entire system to the garbage can. Sure you can try and reclaim some honour with a clever story about how not everyone in the school is that bad or how it's only THAT school and the other ones are okay but the fact remains damage has been done and not all of the honour and prestige can be restored.

    I would have thought a School with the Samurai code in its heritage would value Honour slightly higher than that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  3. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    That's the purpose of rank in America, not Japan. The Japanese have a different view of what the rank means from what I understand.
     
  4. Stealthy

    Stealthy Blue Belt

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    Need I say more?
     
  5. yorkshirelad

    yorkshirelad Master Black Belt

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    Hmmm, this is interesting. I know that Hatsumi teaches Budo Taijutsu, but if he is caretaker of his branch of the Takamatsuden ryuha, doesn't that mean he has to pass them on at some stage? Does anyone know if Hatsumi still teaches the individual to the Japanese Shihan in order for his branch of Takamatsuden to be passed on to a new generation, or does he just teach an amalgamation of ryu as Budo Taijutsu only? If he passes on Budo Taijutsu to one of the Shihan does that mean that they automatically become the Soke of all of Hatsumi's branch of Takamatsuden?
     
  6. gregtca

    gregtca Yellow Belt

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    The question was both , quality & control , yes there seems to be little control & quality . maybe go back to studying the ten chi jin manaul , that was some control , it was supposed to be the shodan training manual,
    I meant "ruffage" as the other word i was using was not appropiate, there are some excellent instructors , but lets be real there is alot of crap ones too , but this is true off all arts , just depends on how wide a gap between the good, the bad & the ugly,

    oh i never said "Unless you're saying that the students can learn from a bad instructor and still create a "diamond" out of that school" But training is about ALL experiences , and what you personally take from it,you learn from good & bad , and yes i beleave most importantly to enjoy what ever training you may be doing ,

    any way just a radom thought

    BW to all
    Greg
     
  7. yorkshirelad

    yorkshirelad Master Black Belt

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    The only thing you learn from the bad instructors, is to not train with them. If you're a brand new student to the Martial Arts, you have nothing to relate the bad from the good. It is an orgaization's duty to impose some degree of quality control on its instructors. Otherwise, students get hosed!
    Can you imagine the poor souls who get their shodan from RVD's DVDs and then are exposed to Nagato Sensei in Japan, along with the shodans who were trained directly by him? They must feel somewhat deflated.
     
  8. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    Chris... don't misunderstand me... I don't think the size of the organization lends to its lack of quality. I said it is large enough that it has more exposure, so it is seen more often. That's all.

    As far as the issue of quality and A.B.C. training... it comes down to, (as it has been explained to me, I aploigize if I get this wrong, I'm not trying to speak for anyone) a two fold issue, both of which I think I hit on in my original post: The first is that Hatsumi caters to the rank chasers... gives them what they want and then dismisses them as "paper tigers" who are not worth training with. Is that right? *I* wouldn't do it that way, but it's not my organization, and I feel lucky enough to have trained with a large enough number of instructors in the art to kinda tell the difference. A lot of guys maybe can't and that's unfortunate... but it isn't my place to change that. Secondly, the "ABC" approach isn't wrong at all, IMO... I just think too many, and I will use the term again, Japan Elitists are trying to jump ahead and make everything look like Hatsumi and skip out on the basics and learning the ABC's of the particular Kata.

    I'm even man enough to Admit that I have a problem in that area. I was taught Sanshin, Kihon Happo and even the Kata as a "A.B.C." and then branched out from there. Now I have younger belts coming to me and they are like "How do you do Ate nage" and I am like "Uhhh, you do it like... well I do it like this... but thats wrong for you" which is totally wrong from the ABC approach. But I recognize that I am doing more timing/distance/flow than Step by Step training anymore... and thats part of why I refuse to teach.
     
  9. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Not quite, Himura. There is a concept within Japanese society whereby someone would be promoted beyond their level, or promoted early, as it would then be a stimulus to be "worth" the promotion, as Japanese culture is based on the concept of "shame", rather than "guilt". In other words, the Japanese method there prompts the Japanese person to work hard, or risk bringing shame on themselves, and the workplace/association/dojo.

    We in the West, however, are more interested in individuality, and our value system is based more in guilt. So unless there is guilt attached (the person is made to feel that they don't deserve the grade, and they are misleading others based on it unless they work hard, then it won't have the same result. And the very idea of that gets undermined when people (Westerners) are told that they have the new grade because "they're very good, and training hard!" Then given another grade. There is no impetus for even the Japanese early promotion method, and using it as an explaination is again, a cop out, as it really doesn't apply.

    No, it is up to him whether or not he passes them on. What he does with them is up to him, really.

    Doubtful, honestly. Hatsumi seems to have moved away from teaching the Ryu-ha many years ago, with most of his awarding of Menkyo in the various Ryu occuring during a time when he was very sick, and believed that he might die. He got his senior students to copy his scrolls so the arts would be preserved then, which was in the early 80's.

    And, to be clear on this, Budo Taijutsu is not an amalgamation of the Ryu-ha. The mechanics and technical methods from them form the basis for the expression of Budo Taijutsu, but that is very far removed from making it an amalgamation of the Ryu. The Ryu themselves are complete methods of thinking, approaching the issues and problems of combative situations, with their own unique philosophy and "feel". You cannot integrate them, or amalgamate them without losing what they are.

    Depends entirely on what Hatsumi Sensei decides to do.....

    No, you didn't say that, that was me trying to understand what you did say (by taking to the common phrase you seemed to be trying to use... although I see what you meant now). But, again, this really just comes down to quality control. If there was some, then there wouldn't be the huge gap between instructors of the same rank, a few very good, and many far less than may be desired. And as this thread is about why the Bujinkan gets such stick compared to the other X-Kan organisations, this issue of quality control is one of the big reasons.

    Oh, I got that, my friend. But I don't really agree, honestly. How big is Shotokan? How many Kendoka are there in the world? The Bujinkan may be the biggest of the X-Kan organistions, but it's far from the biggest martial art organisation in the world, and other, larger systems don't suffer from this issue. And if the Bujinkan had more quality control, neither would it.

    Yeah, the issue does come down the the fact that most people training in a martial art simply go to the most local school, so with so many truly bad instructors out there, if the students only know that instructor, then all it's going to do is keep the bad teaching/learning going for another generation.

    Absolutely agreed there. The ABC's, so to speak, are the fundamental first step to learning the art. They really can't be skipped, yet many seem to....

    As it should be.

    Hmm, it really should be A-B-C for them to learn it, though. But one thing that always puzzles me is this idea that proper kata training and learning (ABC) doesn't teach timing, distance, flow etc... that's pretty much exactly what they teach! Anyone who isn't teaching that as part of the kata training shouldn't be teaching. Period. Other than that, all they are are a string of movements, it's the distancing, timing, and flow aspects that makes them kata.
     
  10. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    I don't think I am being clear... because the Bujinkan is so big, the quality control issues show more than if it was small. If an organization sucked, and had 30 schools world wide, it would probably be less glaring than if it sucked and had 2000; There would be less videos, less demo's less places for people to see their failings. I think we are on the same page with this one, I just don't think I am explaining what I mean well.

    They do, yes... but (and this is my opinion on them so it may not carry any weight) they do so in a "Static" way. I've seen many people get caught up in the Kata or completing the sequence and cannot use flow or transition when it goes bad, and so they add strength or other non-essential elements, instead of changing a technique to fit the opponents changing movements. *I* feel that only by learning the ABC of a Kata, so you can do it "by the book" and then "playing" with the kata can you figure out that "Well, if I do Ate Nage, and the arm Drops like this instead orf cranking harder and trying to force Ate Nage, (and getting socked in the jaw every time) I can move to Fudo instead... I think a lot of people get caught up in "Do A. Then B. Then C. Never Deviate!" and that is ALMOST as bad as skipping right to the flow portion as well.
     
  11. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    This is what I was refering to. I feel that it is a cop out as well when western students without proper work ethic are promoted beyond their skill level. The Western mindset of "If I have it, I earned it." means that those promoted early by any teacher in any organization are likely to think they are skilled enough to deserve it unless they are able to provide themselves with an ego check.

    And, Stealthy, I'm not quite sure what you meant by your last comment so please, say more.
     
  12. Stealthy

    Stealthy Blue Belt

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    I was merely pointing out that hiding behind the old "it's a Japanese way of doing things" is just another clever story to help retain students, honour and prestige which would otherwise evaporate.

    While I can appreciate there is some merit to reenacting olden times (the medival fans do it all the time) when you start handing out 15th dans to go along with it, it does become a bit of a joke.

    Personally I am of the opinion that if it doesn't work you are doing it wrong....and yes I know I am wrong. But from my perspective you have decades of martial artists out there doing it wrong and yet hiding behind their high ranks saying this is the correct way.

    To be honest at first glance it looks like Ninjutsu has 15,000 defenses against one attack which is just ridiculous. Sooner or later the inclusion of variations and alternatives has to become a joke since nobody in their right mind could honestly say they can actually incorporate them all seemlessly into a fluid responsive fighting art.

    Personally I would rather focus on one style at a time and only having mastered that move on to another or "heaven forbid" vary it.

    edit:To present this in a slightly different way I would say, the only thing you should be varying are the attacks. Travel to all of the other martial arts from Silat to Western Boxing and if at any time you find the Matrix of your style is incapable of dealing with their attacks then by all means locate and correct the problem(in essence modifying the Style..permanently). Any other deviation from the Style should be considered a lack of discipline and purged. It is my mistaken belief that this is what the ancestors of Ninjutsu did and somewhere along the way the ball has been dropped, the Matrix has been forgotten and all you are left with is a set of random techniques that in no way come together to form a singular fighting system since so many of the expressions are incorrect.

    With Respect,
    Stealthy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  13. Stealthy

    Stealthy Blue Belt

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    Actually I think this quote says it better than my poor attempt.

    Still not a reason for the Bujinkan to get flamed so heavily since Hatsumi has every right to invent his own Style therefore quality control is no doubt the main issue.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  14. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    Thanks for your clairification. There is something you said that I'd like to comment on.

    I don't think you are wrong at all about being able to make something work. However when it comes to preserving a tradition I think the answer lies in, whether or not something would have worked back in the era it was created. I do think there are various martial artits out there who have been doing "it" wrong and they are found in all styles. So in general, I agree with you here.

    I do think that some martial artists out there create needless variations to "make it work" when in reality the onl reason it isn't working to begin with is because they have not learned how to properly apply the lesson or technique. My teacher has a saying, "The technique never fails. You fail the technique." If someone does something the correct way it should work, when it doesn't it is usually because they did nomething wrong with footwork, or the set up, or their leverage is wrong or whatever.

    I see nothing wrong with variations as long as they are rooted in principles that have been trained extensively, but if a person is always just making up sloppy solutions to an attack without any kind of tactical mindset then I feel it is time to go back to the fundamentals.
     
  15. ronin7411

    ronin7411 Orange Belt

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  16. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Looks to me like someone's got an axe to grind and a lot of time on their hands. Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is what it is. Like any art, its effectiveness is shaped primarily by how it is trained, not the material itself.
     
  17. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly!
     
  18. Stealthy

    Stealthy Blue Belt

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    The principle practice of Mikkyo Buddhism is Guru yoga which is reliance on the Spiritual guide as though he/she is a living Buddha, this is not a cult it is a several thousand year old full blown religion.

    A "reliable" teacher will request his students to go out into the world and test the teachings. The Human mind is hard-wired to rely on others and it is only natural that deviant minds will exploit this necessary function and create cults for their own gain.

    Is Ninjutsu a cult?..hardly, can it be?...of course but you don't have to be a Ninja master to start a cult.

    It is only natural Hatsumi shuns anyone who refuses to rely on his teachings. Good luck finding a qualified teacher who wouldn't. Which is not to say Hatsumi is qualified just that no qualified teacher would waste their time on someone who refuses their principle practices so why would Hatsumi be any different.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajrayana#Guru_yoga

    At this point most Western Ninjutsu practitioners jump in and start singing and dancing with the old Ninjutsu is not Mikkyo routine which technically it is not or rather it is not only. If you look back over the years Hatsumi has steadily shifted towards a more Buddhist approach and has shunned any who would not accept it.

    I thank you for the clip but to be honest all I can say is it was made by a complete nincompoop with zero understanding of the principle practices of training the Mind.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  19. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Johnny, for crying out loud, son, what are you trying to do? These clips are very old news, highly skewed, and fundamentally flawed. Do you really want me to dissect the "arguments" they give?

    Seriously, give it a rest. Either come back with some actual argument, something new, or give it up! I'm a little sick of telling you the same damn thing every time you come back here like this, only to run off before you get yourself banned. Stop it, okay?

    Actually, can we just ban him? I mean, since his original thread here, the only thing Johnny has done is turn up to disrupt threads (often nerco'ing them first) to give these non-arguments designed to upset and inflame those here. I'm sick of it, frankly.

    Johnny, consider the post reported in this light.
     
  20. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Agreed, the Buj is a huge org. compared to the other 2. But, in the end, wouldn't you say that the quality ultimately falls on the teacher? Ex: someone jets to Japan to train. If they suck while over there, I'd imagine someone would say something. Now, we could hope that they'd take the advice of the senior person and improve, or they could just brush their advice off and continue down the wrong path. But if they do continue down the wrong path, then yes, ultimately it'll be the trickle down effect....they'll produce poor students, who'll produce poor students, etc.

    I see the same thing in Kenpo.123
     

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