An Issue of Validity ??

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Bill Mattocks

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Tinfoil Hat Brigade.

In any case, my dojo's Okinawan style (Isshinryu) is and was taught by a man who was trained by two of Master Shimabuku's students, one of whom is still alive. There were not two different Tatsuo Shimabuku's. He inspected and approved of the methods and kata taught by my Sensei's masters, and thereofore it is the 'real thing'. Not that it matters much what anyone else thinks of that.
 
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jtweymo

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Bill Mattocks said: Tinfoil Hat Brigade.

In any case, my dojo's Okinawan style (Isshinryu) is and was taught by a man who was trained by two of Master Shimabuku's students, one of whom is still alive. There were not two different Tatsuo Shimabuku's. He inspected and approved of the methods and kata taught by my Sensei's masters, and thereofore it is the 'real thing'. Not that it matters much what anyone else thinks of that.

Actually that's a very good point (the bit about approved instruction by a recognized headmaster.) LOTS OF THESE SCHOOLS GO THAT ROUTE. And it's a valid instruction.

However there's another interesting fact. I'm not sure which ones are and are not... but very very few Okinawan or Japanese karate ryuha are koryu. SO PRETTY MUCH ALL KARATE RYUHA are the same time of gendai ryuha that page was talking about. Karate schools are the most common form of these gendai ryuha.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Actually that's a very good point (the bit about approved instruction by a recognized headmaster.) LOTS OF THESE SCHOOLS GO THAT ROUTE. And it's a valid instruction.

However there's another interesting fact. I'm not sure which ones are and are not... but very very few Okinawan or Japanese karate ryuha are koryu. SO PRETTY MUCH ALL KARATE RYUHA are the same time of gendai ryuha that page was talking about. Karate schools are the most common form of these gendai ryuha.

If I understand the point of the website you pointed to correctly, his or her entire rant was devoted to pointing out that there are martial arts that were developed prior to the Meiji Restoration and those that were developed afterward. Gendai budō (現代武道) being post-Meiji Restoration and Koryū (古流) being pre-Meiji Restoration. That being the case, Isshinryu is most definitely Gendai budo. So what? I don't care. Do you care? Does anyone care?

I can't imagine why anyone would care, other than for a historical perspective. The author of the web page seems to imagine a culture of martial artists in Japan looking down their noses at Western martial artists, whom they imagine to be learning an 'inferior' form of martial arts, and the author assures us that this is not the case.

I don't suffer from the fear that others don't find my martial arts valid. I don't care. And I've never run into anyone who has told me any such thing.

Karate, as far as I can tell, came to Japan from Okinawa, and Okinawa had it from Southern China, and it is all Gendai Budo. It does not bother me - I set out to become a student of Karate, specifically Isshinryu, not 'authentic Japanese' martial arts. What I'm into is self-defense training. What I'm not into is silly games about what martial art is more authentic than another.
 

Aiki Lee

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Yeah I honestly don't see the point of whatever that person is writing about, but there are little sources cited and it is written in a very amaturish style. When it comes to the koryu/gendai thing: I'm with Bill.

Who cares? If a martial works, who cares how old it is? Overall the content didn't seem that relevant to me.
 

Kreth

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Anyone notice a pattern between the posting style ON THAT WEBSITE and somewhere else you may have seen a similar style VERY RECENTLY? :idunno:
 

Andrew Green

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First thought - good God, at least use a consistent font size in a document...

Second - Why on earth is he trying to mimic an academic study in format, when it doesn't read like one at all and has no references...

It felt like he had an agenda, and I think this paragraph proves that:
When we are told by a dojo operator or martial artist that they practice or teach “Shintō yōshin ryū”, we have an amazing tendency to automatically assume and claim that somehow the martial art is not really Shintō yōshin ryū but was instead concocted by the dojo operator himself or by his instructor since “...everyone knows that Shintō yōshin ryū is an extinct school of jujutsu...
as his style is "Shinden Yoshin Ryu"


The author of the web page seems to imagine a culture of martial artists in Japan looking down their noses at Western martial artists, whom they imagine to be learning an 'inferior' form of martial arts, and the author assures us that this is not the case.

This is just my personal take, but very often it seems that people that hold that sort of view are doing inferior martial arts, and they realize it. But rather then trying to improve they deny that anyone accessible to them is doing any better, and that Japan (or China, Korea, etc) is the true home of the real stuff, and their style is close... so very close... to being the same, they just need someone to tell them the secret decryption key to what they have been practicing and they will become a true master.

Basically a big case of "grass is greener..."

The truth is martial arts exist everywhere, and there is great martial arts all over the world. With the world becoming smaller and information becoming more available I'd say that the state of martial arts now is likely far better then it was 200 years ago.
 

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I do think it's healthy for people to understand that what we train in and study today is seldom older than 150 years with tenuous ties prior to that point.

Ultimately, though, it seems that this would only be a bad thing to those individuals who identify perhaps a bit too strongly with the samurai and want to in some way connect to ancient Japan (or similarly insert "monk" and ancient China).
 
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jtweymo

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stevebjj said:
I do think it's healthy for people to understand that what we train in and study today is seldom older than 150 years with tenuous ties prior to that point.

Ultimately, though, it seems that this would only be a bad thing to those individuals who identify perhaps a bit too strongly with the samurai and want to in some way connect to ancient Japan (or similarly insert "monk" and ancient China).


That was my intent when I wrote the page linked above, reminding that many schools are modern era but are still perfectly valid. To point out that there were currently these types of gendai jujutsu schools all over Japan.

And that they are valid schools of martial arts. Validity (as a martial art) was the issue, which is why I entitled the thread "an Issue of Validity". Strangely enuf, lots of folks insist that such jujutsu schools are somehow not valid. Not authentic or legit. What they are is actual gendai schools.

To Karateka it ain't very relevant (as far as some would be concerned.) Karateka are sort of used to the whole thing anyway. Jujutsu practitioners however, we get it all the time.

Anyway, the guys posting above are kinda right... the whole subject is really very mundane and not very big a deal. After all, it's only garden variety judo, jujutsu and karate. Much to-do about nothing?
 
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jtweymo

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Oh and BTW, for the record, the subject of the linked page above is not coincidental to the fact that my school of jujutsu is Shinden yoshin ryu...

I openly admit that our school came from the same gendai school(s) mentioned in the text... lots of American and British jujutsu schools bearing "Yoshin" in the name do.

What nobody was sure of (about our school) was if the "Takagi ryu" or the "Shinto yoshin ryu" form of that gendai school was the origin?? Then again, it's all the same gendai ryuha anyway, going by like 15 different names.

It's no coincidence, it's the same school!
 

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Does any of that really matter? I mean, we're not talking baseball trading cards or comic books.

Those require a high level of "validity" and "authenticity" because people in that community find value and are willing to exchange money for those items.

Why would you apply that kind of logic to the MA's?
 

Aiki Lee

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It is a fact that most "legitimate" martial arts that have techniques that work are all somehow linked to older martial arts of the past. After all, the techniques have to come from somewhere.

Take daito ryu for example, that martial art is not really that old, but Takeda-sensei claimed the art could trace its orgins back to the gempei wars. Whether or not this is true doesn't really matter since Takeda had to learn his techniques from somewhere which were likely passed on to him by peole who would likely have been connected to the older koryu schools.

At least that's what I believe.

so in the end koryu or gendai; it doesn't matter. In the end all that matters is if you can make it work.
 

Bill Mattocks

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If some maroon throws a punch at me in a bar and I block it and knock him down with a johnny-come-lately technique, he can say "That's not an authentic move," all he wants. I'm standing, he's on his ***. Authentically.
 
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jtweymo

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Bill MattocksIf some maroon throws a punch at me in a bar and I block it and knock him down with a johnny-come-lately technique, he can say "That's not an authentic move," all he wants. I'm standing, he's on his ***. Authentically.


Ha ha ha... that's a fine point indeed! You're (all) right of course. Reality is that none of it's really important.



Himura Kenshin It is a fact that most "legitimate" martial arts that have techniques that work are all somehow linked to older martial arts of the past. After all, the techniques have to come from somewhere.

Take daito ryu for example, that martial art is not really that old, but Takeda-sensei claimed the art could trace its orgins back to the gempei wars. Whether or not this is true doesn't really matter since Takeda had to learn his techniques from somewhere which were likely passed on to him by people who would likely have been connected to the older koryu schools.

At least that's what I believe.

so in the end koryu or gendai; it doesn't matter. In the end all that matters is if you can make it work.


Good one, the Takeda Daito Ryu is a famous example of (an older) gendai of similar type. It usually gets glossed over as such. I had only been pointing out (in that page) that such examples exist and are common (Daito ryu is a very good example of the same thing on a larger scale.)


Nolerama Does any of that really matter? I mean, we're not talking baseball trading cards or comic books.

Those require a high level of "validity" and "authenticity" because people in that community find value and are willing to exchange money for those items.

Why would you apply that kind of logic to the MA's?

No, you're right, of course. I never really understood why we bicker over this sort of thing. But still we do... sometimes.

You're right though, it's very much pointless to even care about it.

I only posted the page because of common trends to dissect validity (of such jujutsu schools in general.)

Any martial art is generally valid.

And it all really is nothing but garden variety Judo, jujutsu and karate... no matter how one hashes it out.
 

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What's you guys opinion on this subject?
Since you asked, my opinion is that it was written by someone with no connection to the koryu, that doesn't understand what they are or how they work, but desperately wants to call himself part of it. I've never quite understood some people's fascination with wanting to be seen as a koryu without actually having to be a koryu. I figure it has to do with the fact that most people's preconceptions about the koryu arts are wrong. Most see the koryu as just another martial art school, like Muay Thai or Tae Kwon Do. These folks almost always say things like "this school over here seems much more realistic", or "that wouldn't get you anywhere if you had to get in the ring with it", or "my illegitimate art would wipe the floor with your legitimacy!" These statements are all true in a sense, since there are good and poor practitioners of any arts. The statement that isn't true is that the koryu are simply another martial art. To understand the koryu, it requires a little bit of Japanese history, which the vast majority of folks simply aren't interested in. However, I'll give the quick synopsis so some of you can make it through without snoring on your keyboards! :)

The Japanese during the samurai era (approx. 800 to 1868 A.D) were divided up into various family and extended family "houses". They all developed martial arts to a fairly high degree because, for the thousand years of their existence, fighting was their main job and purpose. These arts were handed down through each family, and jealously guarded from outsiders because they may be called upon to use them against those outsiders at any time. After Japan was unified under the Tokugawa shogunate around 1600, wars were outlawed, many of the prominent samurai families were no longer in existence, and many samurai found themselves out of a job. Quite a number moved to the cities and began teaching their family arts as a living. Many of these schools became quite large and spawned branches in other cities, but they were each controlled by the head of the school. The content and methodology was strictly controlled, and the school was handed down to a successor. Over the intervening years, many of these schools have died out as no qualified successor was able to carry on the school. However, there are still a number of these schools in existence today, and they are known collectively as the koryu.

The koryu is not a manner of teaching, or any specific technique. Depending upon the strength and abilities of past heads of the school, they may not even be teaching particularly viable techniques anymore. What they are teaching is the same thing that they were taught in the same manner that they were taught. And that should be the same thing that their teacher was taught, on back to the founder. There are lineages and records (the Japanese tended to be a bit anal about records) of everything except the techniques themselves, since they tended to be pretty jealous about sharing the inner workings. Students study and practice the koryu NOT to learn self-defense. There are any number of good self-defense arts easily available. Students practice the koryu to be connected with the history. They want to hear the stories that have been handed down, hear about why things were done this way instead of that. Learn the techniques that were developed back when swords were the weapons used against each other. They wish to try and ensure that this succession of teacher to student continues for another three or four hundred years.

Now, all of that being said, I go back to my original statement. I don't really understand why some people get so hung up on the koryu. There are more effective martial arts. There are arts that aren't nearly as particular about all the details (does it really matter which foot you step onto the mat with?). As long as you're training hard and like what you get out of it, it's all good. And yet, some folks just aren't satisfied with that, they want to be something more. That's the part that I don't get. If you want to be a part of a koryu school (must have something missing upstairs!) then you have to apply and join an existing koryu school. That's the only way.

Sorry about the long ramble, but you did ask! :)
 

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If some maroon throws a punch at me in a bar and I block it and knock him down with a johnny-come-lately technique, he can say "That's not an authentic move," all he wants. I'm standing, he's on his ***. Authentically.
Except that there really aren't any new moves, just slick new ways of marketing them. Which I think is why I think a lot of the TMA guys (and ladies) just roll their eyes when they hear about someone breaking away from a system to "improve" it as combat this or reality-based that.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Except that there really aren't any new moves, just slick new ways of marketing them. Which I think is why I think a lot of the TMA guys (and ladies) just roll their eyes when they hear about someone breaking away from a system to "improve" it as combat this or reality-based that.

Old or new, knocked down is knocked down. That was my only point. I don't care where the block came from that my sensei teaches me, or the counter for a punch. If I used it and it works to defend my fat butt, then I'm a happy camper. You can call it 'old-style ancient Chinese sekrit and this time we really mean it', or you can call it 'Bob's your uncle punch-em-up' and it all means exactly the same to me - a way to defend myself.

Authentic? I authentically kick bad guy's ****. That's as authentic as I care about.
 

Kreth

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Old or new, knocked down is knocked down. That was my only point. I don't care where the block came from that my sensei teaches me, or the counter for a punch. If I used it and it works to defend my fat butt, then I'm a happy camper. You can call it 'old-style ancient Chinese sekrit and this time we really mean it', or you can call it 'Bob's your uncle punch-em-up' and it all means exactly the same to me - a way to defend myself.

Authentic? I authentically kick bad guy's ****. That's as authentic as I care about.
Yeah, I was pretty much agreeing with you on that. I was just pointing out that TMA doesn't need to be reinvented. Most people doing so have a limited understanding of the art they're trying to "improve."
I don't think I ever learned this in a dojo, but once when I was bouncing, a guy started some ****, and didn't want to leave when asked. So I grabbed a handful of his crotch, and told him that me and his balls were going outside. It was up to him if he wanted to come along.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Yeah, I was pretty much agreeing with you on that. I was just pointing out that TMA doesn't need to be reinvented. Most people doing so have a limited understanding of the art they're trying to "improve."
I don't think I ever learned this in a dojo, but once when I was bouncing, a guy started some ****, and didn't want to leave when asked. So I grabbed a handful of his crotch, and told him that me and his balls were going outside. It was up to him if he wanted to come along.

Authentic!

:asian:
 

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Old or new, knocked down is knocked down. That was my only point. I don't care where the block came from that my sensei teaches me, or the counter for a punch. If I used it and it works to defend my fat butt, then I'm a happy camper. You can call it 'old-style ancient Chinese sekrit and this time we really mean it', or you can call it 'Bob's your uncle punch-em-up' and it all means exactly the same to me - a way to defend myself.

Authentic? I authentically kick bad guy's ****. That's as authentic as I care about.

Amen!
 
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