Discussion in 'Japanese Martial Arts - General' started by macher, Apr 9, 2018.
I agree. I’ve watched a lot of videos of that dojo and it doesn’t look like they go beyond practice.
I will suggest you cannot really know that. It is unlikely that every stage or variation on their training has been filmed and put up for the world to view. Typically the videos that a school would put on their website are a very small sampling, designed to give the public a hint at what they do. it is not complete or comprehensive.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if something cannot be found on YouTube, then it does not exist.
In general, the Bujinkan and its offshoots don't tend to use sparring as a training method
How about upping the intensity of the drills and such?
Eh ... not to the point where I would recognize it as noticeably intense (at least from my current perspective with my primary base of BJJ/Boxing/Muay Thai). Occasionally you might get to have the defender work free form or have the uke come in faster, but it's almost all stylized attacks by a compliant uke. The videos show pretty much what I would expect from a typical class Bujinkan or Toshindo class.
The problem with a great many "Bujinkan based" martial arts schools is that they tend to misunderstand the Japanese approach to training. It's the same issue you find in a great many aikido schools.The classical Japanese approach to training is through the use of kata to instill base muscle memories and develop these into a full movement approach to combat. In its early stages, it is quite stylized with slow and obvious attacks and responses in order to properly execute the individual techniques and build up the proper movement. Over time, this intensifies and branches out until movement and response without thinking becomes possible, and even necessary in order to keep from being bruised.
However, a great number of these schools are started by people that never actually got past the early stages, and so they believe that this is the entirety of the training. This thinking perpetuates with new schools opening from those students who have no clue that there is supposed to be deeper meanings behind the simple techniques that are all they know. Don't get me wrong, going to a school like that may be interesting and entertaining, and a person could learn a lot depending upon the instructor. It just isn't what was originally meant to be learned, and so can be lacking in depth and utility.
Just my observations ...
What’s the best way to choose a school?
Most people that are new to martial arts don't really care for this, but the best way, in my opinion, is to visit every school within a reasonable distance. Talk to the instructors, talk to the students, try a class or two if possible without worrying what type of martial art it is. Then rank them by which ones you enjoyed the most, and that you found most fulfilling. Join the school at the top of your list and see if you continue to enjoy it.
An older instructor in Japan once told me that the hardest thing about mastering any martial art is going to the dojo regularly. He said that it was this one thing that prevented the vast majority of people practicing the martial arts from actually mastering their art. If you can master going to the dojo, all the rest will eventually happen from that one thing.
So, whenever I am asked about martial arts schools, my advice is find the one that you really enjoy going to. As long as you enjoy going, you'll continue to practice and will eventually gain substantial knowledge and benefits, no matter what style it is.
Whenever I see a thread asking what style or dojo a prospective student should train in, I give the same advice, only in different words...
Make a list of everything in the area. Cross off the ones that conflict with your schedule and the ones you can’t afford. Visit the rest. Choose the school with the best teacher and classmates. Don’t pick a style, pick a school. Sometimes the “best style” (not that that actually exists) isn’t the best school. There are bad dojos in every style. Let’s say BJJ is the best style; I wouldn’t train in it under a bad teacher and roll with a bunch of kids all day; I’d choose a “lesser style” with the right teacher and classmates. Just like there’s far more to the right job than the highest starting salary, there’s far more to the right school than the style.
I'll add to this some guidelines I suggest to folks. Inconvenience is one of the things that increases your chances of quitting. If you LOVE it, you'll overcome the inconvenience - but there will be times you don't LOVE it. So, if two places are similarly attractive to you, favor the one with more convenience. That includes class times (probably including multiple options), location either near a frequent location (home, work, etc.) or along the path between two of them.
Also consider price, but only insofar as it must be affordable. Don't let one affordable school be overshadowed by a more affordable school.
When you visit schools to watch a class, imagine yourself in that class. Does it look interesting and/or fun to you? Don't worry about whether you'd be able to do the drills and such, obviously - but whether you'd enjoy the types of interactions and activities. Do you like the way the students interact with the instructor and each other?
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