Training in Japan

Discussion in 'Koryu Corner' started by Dean X, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. Dean X

    Dean X White Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    hey everybody!

    I'm planning on traveling to Japan for 2 months during January and February (yes I know it's gonna be cold)...

    I've been training in bujinkan for 12 years or so and obviously I plan on training in Japan.

    But I also what to train in other arts, and I wanted to know if any of you guys can recommend teachers of koryu in Japan that would accept students for a short period of time?

    Willing to try anything so any recommendations are good

    Thanks!
     
  2. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Not too cold compared with other countries. Some koryu have you sweeping up and making tea for a few years before you are allowed to participate. Not really something you can do for a few months.
     
  3. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    20,547
    Likes Received:
    1,635
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Northern VA
    I'd think it might help if you have an introduction or reference letter from your instructor and perhaps instructors in the arts you're interested in from the US. As I understand it, many of the koryu arts just aren't interested in putting the time into a visitor... but might make an exception for a visitor with the right introduction.
     
  4. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    58
    jks9199. He is also planning to visit the Philippines. I suggested that in another post but he doesn't seem to have got the message that you do not just wander around dabbling in this and that. Dean X didn't bujinkan teach you the principles of 'giri' and 'on'?
     
  5. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,006
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hi Dean,

    I was going to answer this via your PM, but might as well answer it here instead.

    No, I'm not aware of any Koryu dojo that would be open to such a thing. You have to realise that a Koryu tends to be rather particular about who is trained in their methods… it's really more of a family than anything else… what you're suggesting is almost akin to saying you're going on a holiday to Japan with your wife, but want to date around with a number of other girls in Japan while you're there… and expect not only your wife (your current school and teacher) to be okay with it, but for each of the families of the other girls to be fine with being trialled for a short time, then handed back. In other words, it's just not done. Koryu, more than any other arts, really require dedication.

    Now, that's not to say that you can't get some exposure to them without being a member… there may be some embu while you're in Japan that you can attend (especially if you're going to be there for a few months)… some schools occasionally have public seminars that are open to the public… but to come along to a regular class and expect to be a part of their training (interrupting the training of those already dedicated to the school) isn't the way things are done.

    The next thing to be aware of is that Koryu are rather personal endeavours… you don't go do Koryu just because you're interested in the general idea of Koryu… you join a particular Ryu-ha because you can be of benefit to that Ryu-ha. There's no way to recommend a Ryu-ha to anyone… to do so would be to vouch for the person, and to recommend them to the Ryu, not the other way around… and, honestly, we're not about to do such a thing.

    I understand that, in this day and age of cross-training, and people thinking that random collections of individual techniques cobbled together being what actually works, this approach is rather unusual… but it's how these arts survive. They require dedication to the Ryu themselves, not opening themselves up to having outside methods corrupting what they teach. In a very real way, a Ryu is the art itself… if you only do a part of it, it's not the Ryu… if you try to combine aspects of one with another, it's then nothing at all. None of this is what any of the Ryu want… so they'll be rather reticent to go along with your plans.

    Hyoho, to be frank, I'd highly doubt that such concepts are ones that Dean has come across (in his Bujinkan training or elsewhere). Despite it's foundations in some of Japans classical arts, it really is not something I'd ever describe as "traditional Japanese martial arts"… it's quite modern, really, just with traditional trappings, so to speak, and is highly Westernised… particularly when taught in the West. And while that's great for those who are after that, it does often leave an rather incorrect impression that the students are doing something close to classical Japanese arts, when the reality is quite different.
     
  6. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Dean as Chris mentions "In this day and age of cross-training, and people thinking that random collections of individual techniques cobbled together being what actually works, this approach is rather unusual… but it's how these arts survive."

    Thing is if you do Koryu and have spent time doing something else the concentrated effort and many hours are spent removing the idiosyncrasies of that other thing to try and do koryu. Even koryu has a grey area but to the trained eye we can quickly see other methods that someone puts in mostly to fill in gaps. It's a lifetimes practice, sometimes a philosophy that goes with it and no grades.

    Not sure about this year but Nihon Kobudo Kyokai usually has its Embu in February.
     
  7. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,006
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    It's a pity Dean's not there in November…

     
  8. Dean X

    Dean X White Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Thanks for the answers.

    I'll search for open seminars during the time I'm visiting.

    But just to generalize, what you're saying is there is no way of studying a classical martial art aside from dedicating your life completely to that art and highly likely moving to Japan?

    If so, it saddens me, as I was hoping in the future to broaden my knowledge in Japanese arts further than the modern "westernized" ones as you call them, but according to what you say it's practically impossible...
     
  9. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    20,547
    Likes Received:
    1,635
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Northern VA
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    20,547
    Likes Received:
    1,635
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Northern VA
    I just had a thought, while reading various articles from koryu.com...

    Let me start by noting that I do not -- let me emphasize that I DO NOT -- train in a koryu style. I don't train in a Japanese style, in fact, though I've had a very long interest in the Japanese martial arts, and there are certainly Japanese influences on my own art.

    Asking to "drop in and visit" a koryu training hall or class might be a bit like asking a monk in a monastery to drop in and "see what life is like". There are times and some monasteries that permit occasional retreats where you can join in the life of the religious there for a few days. Often, you may have to have some sort of affiliation with the order in question like the Secular Franciscans or Benedictine Oblates have to monasteries in order to actually enter the monastery for a retreat, though some occasionally open the doors a little wider. But, by and large, you can't just drop by... If you're going to enter their community, even briefly, they're going to ask you to abide by their ways. They're probably going to get a feel for you before you go very far.

    Is this making a bit of sense?
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
  11. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Dean X My opinion is based on the fact that I am the head of koryu and licence holder of another. The values and attitudes 'are' handed down from one human being to another hopefully with no adaptation and are not our own to mess with. One would sometimes wonder how it's all survived so long with so few doing it. There are some very proficient exponents that have lived in Japan and have returned to the West to hand on what they have been taught. Just because you see a Western face does not mean they don't know what they are doing. My Soke felt that the future of koryu perhaps lay in the West because there are few Japanese that are interested or who actually have the time to commit.

    The thing is.....I was once like you. Dont give up, keep looking. Be prepared to travel.
    It might help if we knew who you are and where you are based to try and put you in touch with someone. Pm me?
     
  12. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,006
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Er… no. But the thing is that the only way to learn and train these arts properly is to dedicate yourself to them (not your life), which might mean moving to Japan, or it might not.

    That said, sure, you can broaden your knowledge… but you have to make choices. You can't do everything… and some arts will require that you don't do any others. The big issue here is that you're (presently) rather unaware of the way these types of systems operate… which is fine… but expecting them to match some ideal you have in your head doesn't mean they have to.
     
  13. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Messages:
    27,432
    Likes Received:
    1,399
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Dean,

    When you go to Japan train with Hatsumi Sensei and the Japanese Shihan. If you wish additional training in another system while you are there I am sure that they or one of the seniors there can set you up with some or point you in the right direction. While it certainly may be very hard or almost impossible to train in a Koryu while you are there. Still there are a lot of other opportunities.
     
  14. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    214
    Trophy Points:
    58
    I don't know Hatsumi Sensei's views on cross training. Some don't like it. One departed sensei would have students met at the airport and take them up the mountain to a centre. Raise the flag in the morning and they would train on and off until nine in the evening. No sightseeing! He was the same when taken abroad. Would be waiting by the van early morning before anybody else dressed up an ready to go. Lol, after a few days of that everybody was looking out of the hotel window to make sure they didn't keep him waiting.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Zumorito

    Zumorito Green Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    USA
    Ah! That's definitely the kind of school I want to go to in Japan. Those are probably the ones that go out of their way to make sure that you truly want to learn from them. Might be like how it was in Boot Camp; they try to make you want to leave and really make you stressed out and want to quit. The ones who make it are the ones who truly want it with all their heart, the ones who will be the most loyal and trustworthy. I believe that's the only way I'll be able to learn the ancient arts and wisdom that has been passed down by generation after generation.

    I also heard elsewhere that some schools make you sign a literal blood oath to keep the teachings a secret, as well as other things such as not using the arts for evil purposes; in some places it's a blood oath to deities that could be likened to the patron saints of martial arts; two main ones if I recall correctly I'll have to check my archives for specifics. Is Koryu like this? Is it older or newer than Katori Shinto Ryu?
     
  16. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,006
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    What Hyoho was describing is getting rarer and rarer… and, honestly, wasn't that common to begin with in the first place. Bluntly, it's more something seen in fantasies than reality… and in more "pseudo-Koryu" than in many actual authentic dojo. So my advice is to forget this fantasy along with your other ones. Fantasy and Koryu don't tend to go well together.

    You're talking about Katori Shinto Ryu itself, the blood oath is called keppan. It's required in Otake Sensei's dojo, but not in other lines, for the record. But, as with much in regard to Koryu, it's completely irrelevant to anyone outside the ryu itself, and those inside it know what it means, so don't need to get into it, or give it any more focus and attention than it earns by itself.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Zumorito

    Zumorito Green Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    USA
    Thanks for the information. No, I'm not going to let my dreams go. The only other thing I can imagine for my life would lead to nothing but misery and madness. I need to get back in touch with nature and spirituality, and I need to conquer my fear to defeat my personal demons. I don't expect you to understand, but you don't have to act like such a jerk about it.
     
  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,006
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    To be clear, I'm not telling you to let your dreams go… hang on to them, definitely! What I'm advising is to get rid of the movie fantasy aspect, as looking for that will mean you will miss where your dreams can actually come true. Additionally, it means you'll be looking for the wrong thing… and it means that your dreams, should you find a way to have them, will simply not live up to the false image you have in your head.

    I'll put it this way. Among the various arts I study, I train in Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu. I have been interested in this system for years… but there are no teachers around me. So I travel across the country a few times a year for instruction (about 1600 miles, for the record), and practice in between. I wanted it, and I found a way to have it. But I approached it realistically, learning what the reality was, what to expect (as much as I could), and was therefore prepared for what was involved.

    So believe me when I tell you that I know what your aims are, from both sides (before, and after)… and I'm giving you advise from actual experience in exactly what you think you're after.

    Dreams are good… fantasy is not. Okay?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Zumorito

    Zumorito Green Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    USA
    Aren't dreams inspired by a fantasy in the mind though? And hey, I've read Grimm's Fairytales; Fantasy is AWESOME. :)

    I may have my head in the clouds, but my feet are firmly planted on the earth. :)
     
  20. Zumorito

    Zumorito Green Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    USA
    I'm not interested in the movie stuff so much as the spirituality stuff. I have some major issues deep down and want to find a way to make myself feel whole again; alive and happy, not like I'm slowly dying inside.
     

Share This Page