How Pure Are The Arts?

puunui

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I obviously don't know the poster either, but from what he's been writing, he appears to be offering at least some things that have been known--though not necessarily written as gospel--by many within Kajukenbo. By his posts, he seems to be offering (what LOOKS like) legitimate perspective based on either first-hand communication, first-hand knowledge, inference, or a combination of those things. Seems like a fair standard to apply.

As a Kajukenbo man--dating back to the late 1970's--and as someone who understands the occasional consequences of speaking freely, I understand to some degree why the poster chooses to remain anonymous.

Thanks, I think. :)
 
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MJS

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Me too. Please feel free to jump into the discussion at anytime. It doesn't have to be only Professor Bishop and myself.

Oh I will. Been busy the past few but I havent forgot about this thread. :)

I obviously don't know the poster either, but from what he's been writing, he appears to be offering at least some things that have been known--though not necessarily written as gospel--by many within Kajukenbo. By his posts, he seems to be offering (what LOOKS like) legitimate perspective based on either first-hand communication, first-hand knowledge, inference, or a combination of those things. Seems like a fair standard to apply.

As a Kajukenbo man--dating back to the late 1970's--and as someone who understands the occasional consequences of speaking freely, I understand to some degree why the poster chooses to remain anonymous.

Well, like I said, I'm not Kaju, so....in a nutshell, someone could say whatever they want and I may not know any better. But yeah, he is offering up stuff. :)

Well, what can I say, I have been a rule breaker my whole life. But on the other hand, walking one the edge is where out of the ordinary things happen. I enjoy my iphone because Steve Jobs kept pushing the envelope and wanted more. I'm glad he broke the rules. Professor Bishop just needs to get to a place where he realizes I am not an anti-kenpo or anti-kajukenbo guy and take this for what it is, which is an opportunity to show people just how special kajukenbo really is. He's getting there. Who knows, he might even sell a few more books through this discussion. I hope he does, and I hope people get more curious about kajukenbo, perhaps enough to even study the art itself. I don't know about you, but I'm getting excited about kajukenbo through these discussions, as we wait around for the USOC Hearing Panel to issue its order on remedies in the USA Taekwondo case. :)

Well, I just dont want to see this thread get locked and turn into a crap fest like others have, thats all. :) And yes, as I said, I enjoy threads like this....theres always alot to learn. :)
 

John Bishop

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Sure, you can ask. But I think there is a MT rule about demanding answers, cross examination or interrogation style questions, or things like that. If people don't answer, I don't think you can keep asking them the same question. Maybe one of your moderator friends can clarify that point. As for who I am, nobody special. If you passed me on the street, you probably wouldn't notice me at all. :)

OK. It just lends some credibility to a persons claims if they are known to be a person who should be in the know. Anyone could go on a forum anonymously and say anything. They could say they were James Mitose's illigetimate child (which suppossedly there are some) and know all his history that no one else knows.
Plus, I was mostly curious if you are someone I had heard about. 12-14 years ago Sean Springer, one of Clarence Luna's black belts, told me about a guy he talked to who was a friend of Peter Choo III. Now if you would have told me your name, and it matched the name in my notes, I would have known that you were for real. As it stands now, the things you have been saying have been on the internet for years. So anyone can repeat them here.

Ok, so the 30 year comment doesn't apply to Professor Ordonez, because Sijo did see him in 1968, which is what I believe I said, right? And because Professor Choo and Professor Holck were related by marriage, they obviously kept in contact. And I know Professor Ordonez kept in contact with Professor Choo as well. So when you were speaking about the 30 years of separation, it was more having to do with Sijo losing touch with the other co-founders, and not the co-founders amongst themselves.

Agreed

Are you certain that the techniques that you feel belong with the Original Method was in fact the same material that was in place in 1947-49? Or had it evolved by 1968 with Sijo's own study of chinese martial arts as well as the study of the seniors on the mainland?

They were in place long before 1968, and brought to the mainland starting in 1957 with John Leoning, 60-63 with Tony Ramos, Aleju Reyes, Charles Gaylord, and Joe Halbuna.

GM Parker does credit Professor Chow for that though. How does that work, in your mind? Also, I understand that GM Parker used to visit Palama Settlement and perhaps other branches when he was in Hawaii during the 1950's, that GM Parker was influenced as much or more by Kajukenbo than perhaps Professor Chow. Any comments on that topic?

He trained with Chow during a different time then the Emperado brothers. He did start at the Palama Settlement school, but went to Chow's school after 2 weeks. He did visit Sijo at times, and they were friends all their adult lives.

So if Sijo was promoted to black belt in 1949, then he wasn't a black belt for most of the time period that the Black Belt Society was busy creating Kajukenbo, 1947-1949. Also, I don't think Professor Chow ever referenced Professor Mitose by his last name only. He was respectful in that way.

Pretty amazing that these 5 young men created a martial art that would last the test of time, and be practiced by tens of thousands of practitioners in 37 countries.
I've seen or listened to hours and hours of video and audio tapes of Prof. Chow that Sam Kuoha has, and it's evident that he had very little respect for Mitose.
 

John Bishop

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On this topic, what do you think about Professor Mitose and Okinawan Karate? I saw a video interview of Professor Thomas Young, who I believe basically admitted that Professor Mitose's kenpo came from Okinawa. And to me, Professor Mitose's features look Okinawan, as opposed to a mainland Japanese. I think Professor Mitose was Okinawan myself. I have a book from Mizuho Mutsu I believe and it has the some of the same photographs that Professor Mitose included in his book What is Self Defense.

Well, that's another topic that comes up quite often. My personal opinion (which I can't prove, but others can't disprove) is that Mitose either learned some Okinawan Karate or learned it from books available at the time. There's no question that he plagiarized two Okinawan Kempo books, when he wrote his own.
He also used Okinawan training devices like the makiwara, and taught the Naihanchi Kata.
When I talked to Thomas Young in 1988, he told me kenpo was Okinawan, even though he couldn't explain the history of it. Sijo told me that Mitose claimed in the 40's, that Choki Motobu was his uncle, and teacher. But we know Mitose made a career of being a conman.
And then there's the martial arts historian Richard Kim. He told me in 1989, that Mitose "had lessons from Choki Motobu". He even wrote about the connection Hawaiian Kenpo has to Okinawa in his book, "The Weaponless Warriors".
 

Chris Parker

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Just to take a break from the Glenn and John (and John) show, I don't like not answering questions, but have been caught up in other arguments and other things over the last couple of days. So, my apologies for the delay.

Chris,

I have a feeling that you and I are approaching the Arts from different enough perspectives that we aren't going to agree on this topic. Be that as it may, I'm enjoying the verbal sparring so to continue...

Hey Mark,

Ha, yeah, we probably are. But, like you, I find the verbal interplay enjoyable.... and it's so much more fun when the other side can put an argument together!

You, as an individual, my distinguish between "pure" and "original" but the vast majority of the martial arts worls doesn't. I don't really have a disagreement with anything that you wrote in the above, except to say that preserving anything in the martial arts merely for the sake of doing so in the face of clearly superior methods is absurd. I'll address that more as the post develops.

Oh boy, are we coming from different places...

When it comes to the distinction of "pure" versus "original", as I'm looking at the distinction between the words themselves, I wonder how you might know what the "vast majority of the martial arts world" thinks... After all, the Ed Parker quote earlier ("pure knuckles meeting pure flesh equals pure karate") doesn't make any demands on the meeting of these items being "original". And as far as your take on "preserving anything in the martial arts merely for the sake of doing so in the face of clearly superior methods" being absurd... well, you're fairly off the mark on the reason for not altering aspects or an entire art itself, but we'll deal with that when we get to it, yeah?

I did read what you wrote and I realized after rereading my post that I was riffing on the idea in general and not in specific with your posts. Apologies.

Not a problem... but, uh, you do it again, you know.

I am aware of the evidence. I don't accept the objectivity of those claims as readily as the traditional schools would like, but I am aware of the claims. Even if it is true, historical recreation isn't an interest of mine, but I can see how it appeals to others. IF, however, we were to find a measurable way to improve the performance of the sword swing that was objectively better than the way that it was done 400 years ago should we cling doggedly to the old way for the sake of purity or creating a facimile of the initial way?

Right. Let's clear a few things up, shall we? There is nothing remotely like a "historical recreation" aspect involved in the arts you're referring to there. As far as you not accepting the claims as readily as the schools might like, you, uh, do realise that there are numerous physical artifacts (scrolls, training weapons etc) that demonstrate exactly what you're not wanting to accept. In quite a lot of detail. Down to the specific training that was used and is still used. Within the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu (the school passed down from Musashi) there is, along with everything else, a bokuto (wooden sword) that was supposedly carved by Musashi himself passed down. There are some characters carved into that bokuto, which give it it's name: Jisso Enman. Roughly translated, that means "without adaptation". In other words, the passing of the system, which goes along with the bokuto, includes the very instruction to pass it without adaptation. There is also nothing even close to wanting to create a "facsimile" of the initial methods either... in fact, that's the last thing that's desired. It's considered the epitome of bad training, and a worst case scenario for the arts themselves, even worse than the art not continuing.

So is it the sake of purity? Well, kinda, but not really. It's more about valuing the art and it's history than anything else... but there's also a real appreciation for where the lessons came from. When you look at arts that were designed for, and were successful at, killing other people and keeping the practitioners alive at the same time, changing things later to an untested alternative because you think it's "better", or "superior" can be seen as a rather arrogant approach, disregarding the people who's lives allowed the information and lessons to come to you in favour of thinking "hey, I think this might be better".

You and I might agree on the "pure" and "original" dichotomy but the majority of the ma world doesn't. As to the "japanese didn't invent swords" comment I thought the meaning and implication were clear.

No, not really. Mainly as the basic premise was flawed, but we'll get to that.

Given that they aren't the first culture to utilize those weapons, then any system or method that they developed for doing so was naturaly based off of an earlier school of knowledge. They took and changed the material to adapt it for their needs, as well they should. Attempting to use the Koryu arts as a model to be emmulated as a hallmark of "purity" is, at its foundation, silly. They weren't pure from the begining, being as they were distillizations of earlier knowledge.

I'm going to be blunt here and say "garbage". Just because one culture developed swords, doesn't mean that every other culture that developed swords copied them, or their methods for their use. You're grasping at straws without any basis... and you're misrepresenting my comments again. I have not used the Koryu arts as a model for anything, much less a hallmark of purity... hell, I've said specifically that every art, following it's own philosophy, is pure, not just Koryu, much less Koryu being the hallmark for such things.

Oh, and your Koryu history might need some work, not all were distillations of earlier knowledge... but we're getting ahead of ourselves again.

Minimalist training, but training nonetheless. Point is, if he applied the "system is superior to the individual" idea then he wouldn't have developed what he did. He still didn't magically create his system out of thin air. No one ever has.[/;QUOTE]

Background on Musashi? Okay! By "minimalist training", it's not really known what actual training Musashi had. His father was a skilled martial artist, but it appears that Musashi moved away from him early on, and lived with his uncle. Living with his uncle was harsh, training, such as it was, was little more than beatings. He left his uncle by his teens, going into a local village and seeing an open challenge from one Arima Kihei of the Shinto Ryu for duels. Musashi decided to accept this open challenge, and promptly beat Arima to death with a stick. No real technique to speak of, he just kept bludgeoning him. From there, he started wandering, and accepting duels where he could. He would work on his swordsmanship by himself, but it still wasn't what would be regarded as "formal" training. This continued up until he was 29, when he had his famous duel against Sasaki Kojiro at Ganryu Island. After that, he gave up dueling, and retired to meditate on his life. He took up Zen Buddhism in a big way, and came to some realizations about his previous life. Namely that his success was not due to particular technique or superiority as a warrior, but mainly due to the attitude he had of unflinching in the face of a sword, and pure dumb luck. It was only looking back over his experience that he began to see the structure of his heiho (strategy), and began formulating his art. The techniques were taken primarily from his dueling experiences, not previous martial training, and were refined as he gathered students, eventually passing the art onto three particular students. The art is highly influenced by Buddhism, to the point where knowing the Buddhist Sutras is considered essential to understanding his art... and to understanding his writings (which also require training in Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu to be truly understood).

So, after a fashion, Musashi did create his art out of thin air, as it was based mainly on his dueling experience, rather than previous schools that he studied... as he really didn't study any.

As to the "system is superior to the individual", well, yes. Of course it is. That's the only reason martial arts exist, frankly. If we go the other way, then why would you train in a specific martial art, if the individual can trump it's collective knowledge and experience? You train in a martial art to go beyond what you could as an individual by taking advantage of that collective experience and knowledge.

The basic premise of all martial arts training is that the system is superior to the individual. Otherwise we get back to the ego issue... and I'm sure you can see where I'm coming from on that.

Superstition doesn't equate with historical fact. Simply because a Japanese guy thought that the karate fairies came down and planted the idea into his head for a super cool new way to slice people up with a sword doesn't make it factual. Hell, there are a few websites out there where they claim that Aliens taught them martial arts. Both hold the same water, as far as I am concerned.

That wasn't recounted with the idea that it's historically accurate, it was recounted to give you an idea as to the mentality of the holders and practitioners of the art, why they would resist such changes. You know, the beliefs and values of the Ryu... it's philosophy... that can be rather multifaceted, and this is one aspect of some systems.

Even with that, I don't believe that those arts have remained unchanged. Each individual that performes the movements do so slightly differently as a matter of their anatomy and psychology. Again, you and I might see the difference in the "purity" vs "oniginality" concept but most don't.

Within the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu (the school passed down from Musashi) there is, along with everything else, a bokuto (wooden sword) that was supposedly carved by Musashi himself passed down. There are some characters carved into that bokuto, which give it it's name: Jisso Enman. Roughly translated, that means "without adaptation". In other words, the passing of the system, which goes along with the bokuto, includes the very instruction to pass it without adaptation. Whether or not you believe it doesn't really come into it, honestly. It's a matter of the art staying true to itself, and believe it or not, it can change without compromising that very aspect, which would keep it "pure" even if not "original". But again, I gotta ask... if you are agreeing with me that the two terms "pure" and "original" are different, where are you getting the idea that the majority of the martial arts world disagrees with it... and now you?

This defines the crux of our disagreement. You view the martial art systems quite differently than I do.

Ha, yeah, I do. I'd point out that you see them wrong, but that might be taken as arrogant...

The way I see it, taking a martial art is like taking a math class. The textbook is really important but the ultimate aim is to develop and internalize the information contained in the book to a level that you surpass the need for the text as anythin other than a reference. The way you're describing it, the book is the important thing.

No, not at all. However I would say that if you're taking a class in, say, algebra, then trying to apply what's found in your French text book won't necessarily work.

A better way to phrase it is this.

Karate doesn't exist as a thing in and of itself. It can't know more than I do as it isn't a real thing outside of the people performing it. I have instructors that are more knowledgeable than I but even with them the fact remain that they are not all knowing. They can, in point of fact, be wrong.

Ah, some distinctions. Karate is a thing in and of itself... but not a physical thing. It is a concept, complete and congruent, which is expressed through the physical methods associated. As far as karate knowing more than you, honestly, I'd say yes, the particular karate system (which is made up of the experience and knowledge, the history of the system itself, as contained in it's methods and passed through it's instruction) can certainly know more than you when it comes to the way it works. And if your instructors can be wrong in terms of karate itself, then they need to study a bit more, ideally from those that know more than they do. Really, the simple detail of being an instructor should mean that the art is internalised to the point where the experience in the art is used to find answers to new questions... in other words, the art itself instructs you and gives the answers. They're allowed to be wrong in other areas, though.

Appeal to authority is a logical fallacy.

Appealing to authority when the authority is where the answers are found isn't a logical fallacy... but then again, I'm not sure that I did appeal to anything of the kind.

The systems are there to teach you certain skills. They are teaching models. Intellectual constructs designed to pass on information. Many who came before me as well as many who will come after will refine those methods, as well they should. Blindly accepting that the system knows better than I is a sign of intellectual laziness. Test your methods, see if they work. If not, then figure out why.

No, the arts are there to teach you a particular approach, via the medium of particular skills and physical methods. Testing the methods is definitely something that should be done, but it should be in the context of the art itself. Just looking for physical approaches is what I meant when I distinguished between martial arts training and just learning to fight.

Sometimes, as you say, you don't have a deep enough understanding of the material. Other times it is because the material itself isn't that effective. Don't be to egotistical to look at a body of information and method of execution that you are emotionaly invested in and replace it with something that works better. In order to do that you have to be humble enough to admit to yourself that what you have spent all this time learning and internalizing isn't the pinnacle of the Arts and adapting to better ways.

No one said anything was the pinnacle of anything, really. And really, it comes down to context. What are you training for? If it's to be a martial artist, and train to know your system, then assuming that because you can't make something work that it doesn't (provided you're looking at it in it's proper context, and not trying to fit something where it doesn't fit) won't bring you any closer to understanding or really knowing the art. If it's just so you can hit people, whether competitively, self defence, or whatever, then it's not training a martial art really, it's just using martial arts to another end.

I have seniors who can seriously motor, they can hit damn hard, and are very good "fighters"... but they aren't "martial artists" yet. That was demonstrated to them rather simply by taking them through a simple strike with a staff weapon that they've been training for years, and giving some very detailed correction. Each of them said afterwards that they felt like they were learning the strike for the very first time again. Now, these guys can hit with a staff without any problem... but they now know how to do it with the art's principles in mind... and that makes a huge difference.

I would argue that we derive a greater sense of hubris from associating with schools and systems because it gives us bragging rights due to the systems age/fame of the founder/ reputation than it takes to admit that we may have invested in something that doesn't work for what we are wantint to train for.

Just a thought.

Ha, yeah, real bragging rights. If I was to mention the arts that I study to people, they just look at me blankly. I train in the arts I do because I'm interested in understanding them on a large number of levels.

Yes and no.

I don't feel that there is an inherently superior status of "martial artist" as opposed to "fighter". Terms like "purity", "original", traditional, and the like are great buzzwords that , I feel, are of little use to developing the skillset that the martial arts teaches.

Superior? Nope. Different? Yep. And as far as developing the skillset that the martial art teaches, well, that depends on the art in question... for some of them, traditional and other terms are entirely appropriate.

That being said(and its more of a general point in the discussion and not a specific reply to your point), knowing what you are training for and what result you are wanting to achieve for training is indispensible. Most arts can be readily adapted to competition fighting just as more "sport oriented" arts can be adapted for effetive street self defense skills. I would argue that it isn't the system but rather the individual fighter, that matters in each case given that they will have gone though the process of testing their material and adopting different methods as appropiate.

Just because something can be adapted doesn't mean it's intended, or ideally suited to be. And a number of systems really aren't suited to be turned into competition, to do so would really defeat the purpose of the art to the degree that it's not the same art anymore. The other way around is a fair bit easier. But the idea of it being the individual person not the art, well, I'd disagree. Ideally, when it came to a well trained person employing their art, there really shouldn't be a distinction. The person can do what they do because of the art, so it really is the art coming out in that person.

Question is, are they still doing their base art? I think so, as each of us are steadily creating our own individual martial art. I don't do Shotokan when I am throwing a reverse punch. I'm not boxing when I throw a jab. I'm not doing JKD when I do a trap/hit combo. I learned those things from those Arts, but I'm just Mark throwing a revers punch/jab/trap-hit combo.

Once I've internalized those skills they belong to me, not the people that taught me and certainly not the systems they used to train me.

To be blunt, Mark, that to me shows a lack of martial art training, as all it is is looking at pure technical ideas, and then corrupting them by bringing in other ideas. And, to be honest, I'd be willing to bet that there is one underlying art that you use, and you've adapted the other aspects so they match the underlying one. Otherwise it's honestly just a mess you've described there... it works in movies and in books, but not in reality.

That seems to be the argument here. I say the man is more important than the system, you seem to see it the other way around. Different strokes.

I don't think you should be able to separate them... but when it comes down to it, yeah, the art is more important. Without it, the person has nothing to base their approach on.

If I found an objectively better way to change that transmission, then yes I would. I'd be polite about cause thats just the way I am, but appeal to authority is a logical fallacy.

The young man in the example isn't right because he is a mechanic, rather he is a mechanic because he is probably right more ofter than not in this subject. His experience, knowledge, and wisdom, will not refute an objectively provable fact.

The martial arts are the same way.

Except, of course, they're not.

The biggest thing is how you know that the new method (going back to martial arts here) is better in an "objectively provable" way? I'll put it this way... you've learnt a particular kick, taught to you by your instructor. You're okay at it, but not fantastic. You meet someone who does a similar, but different system, and they show you a different way of performing a similar kick... say, from a different footwork, or with a different use of the hips. You try it, and to your amazement, you can kick in a way that you think is "better" with this new method. So you try to incorporate it into your training... except that the different footwork, or use of the hips means you need to adjust the way you're standing now to accommodate this new kick. Your instructor sees you and asks why you're standing like that, and you proudly show your new kick. Hmm, says the instructor, and gets you to try it. Kicking a pad, it's a little faster, or harder, so well done. But against your instructor, the new set up means it takes too long, and you can never have a chance to even get it off. Then your instructor takes you back to your original one, and points out where you've been going wrong in your method in the first place.

What is the objective, provable fact here? Which is really better? Well, the answer is that one is better for one system, the other is better for the other. And yes, the above is based on real experiences where I've had students with other martial arts backgrounds try to show me how much better some of their previous methods are.

If you're learning a martial art, learn it completely, flawlessly, before you decide that another approach is better. Cause it could be that you're just doing it wrong.

Now you're the one thinking "young"

Ortugg, Neaderthall founder of mounted axe head fighting.

Glagu, Australopithicus founder of smashing people with stones.

Ook-ook-meep, Ancient chimpanzee master of poo flinging.

If there is such a thing as the original martial arts it would be them.

Everbody since then has been imitating and repackaging, or at least adapting to fit with the realities of the enviornment that they are in.

Seriously, Mark? Really? Well, tell you what, if you can find me evidence of pre-historic systematic teachings of martial arts, none of which is what you're referencing above, then you may have an argument in terms of "original" martial arts. There's a world of difference between a martial art and just an act of violence.

Oh, but your last line there about "everybody since then..." is completely wrong, by the way.

As was this.

We have obviously different experiences in the martial arts and it informs our world view. As I stated at the begining, we are unlikely to see eye to eye on this. No worries.

Just my view,
Mark

Ha, agreed. But the back and forth is interesting and fun.

I'm going to agree/disagree with some of this Chris. While you say that its not the techs, but instead the philosophy...well, I highly doubt that even in the same art, g that every single person is doing things the same way, despite the philosophy.

You'd be surprised. They wouldn't need to be carbon copies of each other (I'd be shocked, and a little worried if they were!), but a Shotokan guy, showing Shotokan, isn't going to be rolling around on the ground. An FMA guy isn't going to be big on head-kicks. A Judo guy isn't spending his time trying to punch his opponents in a match. While each person will have their own expression, it will still follow the philosophy of the art. Mainly as the philosophy of the art is expressed through it's techniques... so provided the Judo guy is using Judo, he's showing an expression of the philosophy, no matter what his tokui waza (favourite technique) is.

I said the same thing you just did, in my opening post, when I talked about method of execution. I think TF was basically talking about not giving credit where its due. It I took Kenpo techs, and Arnis locks, made up my own art, without giving the credit.....well, I believe thats what he was talking about.

It depends on how you created the new art. If it was just the Kenpo techniques and Arnis techniques but with different names, maybe. If you created a new art using the principles of both source systems, and made something genuinely unique, then you're fine.

I suppose they can be similar. Yeah, they're different in a sense, but the same, in a way. Let me ask you this...when the Jinenkan and Genbukan were formed, are you saying that neither was influenced by the Bujinkan?

Influenced by? Sure. But more realistically, sourced from (far more in the Jinenkan's case, the Genbukan has minimalist actually sourced from the Bujinkan the way it is presented these days). That said, the Bujinkan, Genbukan, and Jinenkan are not martial arts, they're organisations. And each organisation has it's own approach to teaching the arts, which is rather distinctly different.

As for Emperado...I think thats an insult to Kaju Chris. But if you think about it....Hapkido and Aikido could be repacked. Same types of locks, just different names and ways to perform them.

Yeah, apologies for that, no offence was intended. As for the idea of Hapkido being Aikido repackaged, well, yeah. Honestly, it is to a great degree. Hell, Hapkido is the Korean pronunciation for Aikido. But that gets into a whole mess... and Hapkido has grown into it's own separate art in many ways.

I don't really agree with your assessment of taekwondo's developmental path, at least when compared to Aikido, but that's ok. What I wanted to ask you is do you think taekwondo "pure" now, given its development over the last 68 years?

Hey Glenn,

Is TKD "pure"? Which system of TKD? Each is pure provided they adhere to their own philosophy, so each needs to be taken in it's turn. But yeah, really. As all single arts are, no matter where they came from.
 

puunui

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OK. It just lends some credibility to a persons claims if they are known to be a person who should be in the know. Anyone could go on a forum anonymously and say anything. They could say they were James Mitose's illigetimate child (which suppossedly there are some) and know all his history that no one else knows.

I'm not Professor Mitose's illegitimate child.


Plus, I was mostly curious if you are someone I had heard about. 12-14 years ago Sean Springer, one of Clarence Luna's black belts, told me about a guy he talked to who was a friend of Peter Choo III.

I know Sean. Is he still a dolphin trainer? It's been a while since I have seen or spoken to him, over twenty years. I think he is hapa like you, but I never asked him about that. We may have spoken about kajukenbo, but I have no specific recollection about it.


Now if you would have told me your name, and it matched the name in my notes, I would have known that you were for real. As it stands now, the things you have been saying have been on the internet for years. So anyone can repeat them here.

I doesn't bother me if you think that what I am writing is stuff I got from the internet.


They were in place long before 1968, and brought to the mainland starting in 1957 with John Leoning, 60-63 with Tony Ramos, Aleju Reyes, Charles Gaylord, and Joe Halbuna.

So I guess the answer is we do not know where that kung fu came from then, because if it did come from George Chang, I think you would have said so, and I don't believe you have said that.


He trained with Chow during a different time then the Emperado brothers. He did start at the Palama Settlement school, but went to Chow's school after 2 weeks. He did visit Sijo at times, and they were friends all their adult lives.

What about the Frank Chow story? Was Frank Chow a student of Sijo? GM Parker says that he first learned kenpo from him.


Pretty amazing that these 5 young men created a martial art that would last the test of time, and be practiced by tens of thousands of practitioners in 37 countries.

I agree, kajukenbo, and the kenpo story as well is an amazing thing.


I've seen or listened to hours and hours of video and audio tapes of Prof. Chow that Sam Kuoha has, and it's evident that he had very little respect for Mitose.

On those tapes, did you hear Professor Chow refer to Professor Mitose by his last name only?
 

puunui

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I thought I wrote long posts. You beat me.

Within the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu (the school passed down from Musashi) there is, along with everything else, a bokuto (wooden sword) that was supposedly carved by Musashi himself passed down. There are some characters carved into that bokuto, which give it it's name: Jisso Enman. Roughly translated, that means "without adaptation".

Maybe he was saying pass this bokuto down "without adaptation" or alteration.


In other words, the passing of the system, which goes along with the bokuto, includes the very instruction to pass it without adaptation. There is also nothing even close to wanting to create a "facsimile" of the initial methods either... in fact, that's the last thing that's desired. It's considered the epitome of bad training, and a worst case scenario for the arts themselves, even worse than the art not continuing.

So is it the sake of purity? Well, kinda, but not really. It's more about valuing the art and it's history than anything else... but there's also a real appreciation for where the lessons came from. When you look at arts that were designed for, and were successful at, killing other people and keeping the practitioners alive at the same time, changing things later to an untested alternative because you think it's "better", or "superior" can be seen as a rather arrogant approach, disregarding the people who's lives allowed the information and lessons to come to you in favour of thinking "hey, I think this might be better".

Contrast that thought from a quote from YAMAMOTO Kansuke which is in the Samurai Aikijutsu book:


"We can separate Samurai teachers of strategy (heiho) into three separate classes. A 'Heiho-Sha' is a Samurai who has studied deeply from many masters and added the results of his own research to his fighting method. This allows him to be ever-victorious; a virtuoso in the art of war. A 'Heiho-Jin' is a person who has not studied the martial arts so deeply, but has picked up some good points and specialised in certain techniques which he applies at an opportune time so as to win (he picks the right time to fight). He will sometimes, but not always win. A 'Heiho-Tsukai' copies only the example of his master and passes on the techniques as he himself learned them, without adding his own experience. As a result the techniques decline as time passes."
 

puunui

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Well, that's another topic that comes up quite often. My personal opinion (which I can't prove, but others can't disprove) is that Mitose either learned some Okinawan Karate or learned it from books available at the time. There's no question that he plagiarized two Okinawan Kempo books, when he wrote his own.

Who would he have learned from? And where, in Hawaii or Okinawa or Japan?


He also used Okinawan training devices like the makiwara, and taught the Naihanchi Kata.

You don't see him striking it hard though, if at all.

When I talked to Thomas Young in 1988, he told me kenpo was Okinawan, even though he couldn't explain the history of it. Sijo told me that Mitose claimed in the 40's, that Choki Motobu was his uncle, and teacher. But we know Mitose made a career of being a conman.

If his uncle was Motobu Sensei, then that would mean he was okinawan, or at least half. My father said that back in those days, the Okinawan and Japanese communities were separate, with little or no mixing. Okinawan and Japanese were considered two different people, like how Japanese and Chinese and Korean are considered different. At one time I was interested in finding out if Mitose was an alternate pronounciation of Motobu, but never followed up on that. Sometimes okinawan names translate differently into japanese. For example, one of my friends' last name is Kaneshiro, but it can be alternatively pronounced as Kinjo in Japanese. I believe he told me that in Okinawa, it would be pronounced kanegusuku. We have an okinawan cultural center here now, maybe I will go up there and ask someone.


And then there's the martial arts historian Richard Kim. He told me in 1989, that Mitose "had lessons from Choki Motobu". He even wrote about the connection Hawaiian Kenpo has to Okinawa in his book, "The Weaponless Warriors".

I never met Kim Sensei, but I did write to him and he kindly wrote back. It was about the connection between Hapkido and Daito Ryu. I have a copy of Weaponless Warriors. I'll go look through it tonight.
 

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So I guess the answer is we do not know where that kung fu came from then, because if it did come from George Chang, I think you would have said so, and I don't believe you have said that.

No, the answer is I believe what Uncle Frank wrote about Chang, and what Sijo told me. When Reyes, Leoning, Gaylord, and Ramos were training in the 50's, nobody teaching had any kung fu experience. That's Sijo, Joe Emperado, Woodrow McCandless, Marino Tiwanak, Benny Mediro, Pauly Soronio.

What about the Frank Chow story? Was Frank Chow a student of Sijo? GM Parker says that he first learned kenpo from him.

He wasn't a student of Emperado's. From what I heard he wasn't a black belt. They (Frank and Parker) were high school kids that met at church.

On those tapes, did you hear Professor Chow refer to Professor Mitose by his last name only?

That and a lot worse. But he also referred to most of the people he talked about by their last name; Parker, Emperado, Mitose.
 

John Bishop

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Who would he have learned from? And where, in Hawaii or Okinawa or Japan?

I don't know. One theory is he learned in Kona, where he was born and Mutsu's family lived. Could have easily picked it up in Japan. I wouldn't be surprised if he learned from a book. He only knew 1 kata, which was also the one illustrated in Motobu's book. And he only had to know enough to impress some beginners who had never seen karate before.
Once his students became somewhat proficient, they left him to study with others. Bobby Lowe with Kyokushinkai, Paul Yamaguichi with Goju Ryu, Woodrow McCandless with Emperado, William Chow on his own.

If his uncle was Motobu Sensei, then that would mean he was okinawan, or at least half. My father said that back in those days, the Okinawan and Japanese communities were separate, with little or no mixing. Okinawan and Japanese were considered two different people, like how Japanese and Chinese and Korean are considered different. At one time I was interested in finding out if Mitose was an alternate pronounciation of Motobu, but never followed up on that. Sometimes okinawan names translate differently into japanese. For example, one of my friends' last name is Kaneshiro, but it can be alternatively pronounced as Kinjo in Japanese. I believe he told me that in Okinawa, it would be pronounced kanegusuku. We have an okinawan cultural center here now, maybe I will go up there and ask someone.

Richard Kim said he knew him casually, and he definetly wasn't Okinawan. And like you said, Okinawans and Japanese are two different peoples, with Okinawans being more ethicnically tied to China than Japan.
Motobu's son said they were not related to Mitose.

I never met Kim Sensei, but I did write to him and he kindly wrote back. It was about the connection between Hapkido and Daito Ryu. I have a copy of Weaponless Warriors. I'll go look through it tonight.

page 66


On a side note, do you know the story behind these pogs, and who among us received them?
pog.jpg
 

puunui

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No, the answer is I believe what Uncle Frank wrote about Chang, and what Sijo told me. When Reyes, Leoning, Gaylord, and Ramos were training in the 50's, nobody teaching had any kung fu experience. That's Sijo, Joe Emperado, Woodrow McCandless, Marino Tiwanak, Benny Mediro, Pauly Soronio.

So Sijo, Joe Emperado, Woodrow McCandless, Marino Tiwanak, Benny Mediro, Pauly Soronio had no kung fu experience? The Joseph Emperado issue is an interesting one. I don't know if that should be discussed here.

That and a lot worse. But he also referred to most of the people he talked about by their last name; Parker, Emperado, Mitose.

Ok. I never heard him speak like that, about anybody. He was kind of angry at some of those names, and said certain things which I do not know are true or not. But I remember Professor Chow being mindful about that, at least with Professor Mitose. I never met Professor Kuoha, but I saw some of the letters he wrote to Professor Chow. They reminded me of the letters that GM Parker used to write, about why he couldn't send money this month because this or that happened.
 

puunui

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Richard Kim said he knew him casually, and he definetly wasn't Okinawan. And like you said, Okinawans and Japanese are two different peoples, with Okinawans being more ethicnically tied to China than Japan.

The Okinawan people look different than the Japanese people. They have a more "hapa" look to them, if that makes any sense. Professor Mitose has those big eyes and short stature, that makes me think he is Okinawan. And the surname Mitose is unusual. I tried to look it up once in a Japanese surname book and couldn't find it.


On a side note, do you know the story behind these pogs, and who among us received them?

No, not really. I'm hoping to see Peter the son this weekend. Should I get one more for you?
 

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No, not really. I'm hoping to see Peter the son this weekend. Should I get one more for you?

No, but thanks for the offer. I've had the one in the picture since 1997. That might be a clue to it's sentimental value to us in Kajukenbo.
 

puunui

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Here is a question: Was Sijo teaching in the 70s in Hawaii, and if so, where? I tried to contact him after I saw his entry in Bob Wall's Who's Who in the Martial Arts, but never got a hold of him.
 

Chris Parker

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I thought I wrote long posts. You beat me.

Ha, you should see me when I really get going...

Maybe he was saying pass this bokuto down "without adaptation" or alteration.

Glenn, honestly, that is possibly the worst and most desperate attempt to grasp at straws with absolutely no basis in understanding or logic that I've seen here. No. Not in the slightest. And, for the record, there are few people on this forum who can speak from a more informed position on Musashi and his intentions, and they tend to frequent other places.

Contrast that thought from a quote from YAMAMOTO Kansuke which is in the Samurai Aikijutsu book:


"We can separate Samurai teachers of strategy (heiho) into three separate classes. A 'Heiho-Sha' is a Samurai who has studied deeply from many masters and added the results of his own research to his fighting method. This allows him to be ever-victorious; a virtuoso in the art of war. A 'Heiho-Jin' is a person who has not studied the martial arts so deeply, but has picked up some good points and specialised in certain techniques which he applies at an opportune time so as to win (he picks the right time to fight). He will sometimes, but not always win. A 'Heiho-Tsukai' copies only the example of his master and passes on the techniques as he himself learned them, without adding his own experience. As a result the techniques decline as time passes."

Without getting into the source material (the book) itself, perhaps some context would clarify the quote.

Yamamoto Kansuke was a general of Takeda Shingen's who lived in the early 16th Century. At that point in time, the Ryu idea was very new, and yet to be widely adopted. Additionally, it was what was known as the Sengoku Jidai, the period of warring states, and Yamamoto himself was known as an unorthodox strategist, so it's not unusual that he would think in such a fashion.

Additionally, to read Yamamoto's words, he is not talking about maintaining a system, really. He talks about personal methods, as opposed to prescribed methods, which is really just showing his personal take on things. You could just as easily look at the words of his namesake, Yamamoto Tsunetomo, as recorded in the Hagakure (about 300 years later, so in a very different context, for the record):
YamamotoTsunetomo said:
Listening to golden sayings or deeds of men of old is to learn their wisdom. This is an unselfish attitude. If you talk with others discuss these excellent well known accomplishments, dismiss your narrow minded ideas and your course of action will not be wrong.


It's also worth remembering that, at all times, this discussion has gone on. And each art answers it in their own way. Koryu that have remained have, by and large, done so by remaining true to their original methods, or as close as they can. But even there it's not a universal rule... there are arts such as Araki Ryu who have a tradition of testing their techniques over and over again, changing ones that don't pass muster, dropping ones if necessary. Other systems add to their repertoire, provided it remains true to the art itself. Even the most closely guarded and maintained do so in such a way that they don't become static museum pieces.
 

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Hey Mark,Ha, yeah, we probably are. But, like you, I find the verbal interplay enjoyable.... and it's so much more fun when the other side can put an argument together!To be blunt, Mark, that to me shows a lack of martial art training, as all it is is looking at pure technical ideas, and then corrupting them by bringing in other ideas. And, to be honest, I'd be willing to bet that there is one underlying art that you use, and you've adapted the other aspects so they match the underlying one. Otherwise it's honestly just a mess you've described there... it works in movies and in books, but not in reality.
Chris,I am enjoying this debate as well and will continue it more tomorrow as I am getting a bit pressed for time.However, I am going to be very blunt here. My view on tharts are a lot different from yours. I have had a different set of experiences in the time that I have trained than you have. Due to this, I have a batch of strong opinions that clash with yours. That is just the way of things.Assuming that I disagree with you because I have a lack of training is insulting, condescending, and wrong on an epic scale.I started training in 1983 in shotokan. I was 9. I have stayed with shotokan as my base art since then. I crossed over in the Han Foo Wa/Jeet Kune Do(Bill Shaw's interpretation of JKD with Danzan Ryu throwing techniques heavily emphasized) in 90 as I had moved and there was no shotokan where we had gone. I boxed with significant experience in college. I have been training in American Kenpo and Chinese kenpo since 2000. I am certified to teach Army Combatives up to level 3 now.Point to the above is the I don't suffer from a lack of training. I have been fortunate enough to work with many great teachers and coaches over the years. I have been teaching, first as an assistant instructor, then with my own class since 1989 as a brown belt(I was in charge of teaching the kids classes at the school). Hopefully, I pass your litmus test.Here is the thing, I disagree with the positions you hold. I don't, however, assume that you are ill informed, poorly trained, or unknowledgeable. You place a different value on the Arts that you train and the experience of training in an "Authentic" martial art than I do. I have been doing this long enough to realize that not every thing that my teachers said/thought/taught/wrote were objectively perfect. In point of fact, I have learned that due to the same dogmatic approac to training that you are espousing, at times they were incorrect. It doesn't make them bad people. They were just mistaken on some things. I am too. Happens. I don't, however, feel bound to continue teaching material that I KNOW to be flawed due to loyalty that blinds me to thinking intelligently and as objectively as possible about the Arts. I feel it be dishonest of me to do so.Are there things I still don't know about shotokan? Sure. Is that list pretty damn small? Without a doubt. It certainly is in comparison to what I do know about my base art. At what point in my skill development/time in training/expansion of my knowledge do I earn the right to look at my Art and say "Pushing into the floor does nothing to increase the power of my punch?" Hell, a high school level of physics will demonstrate it is impossible to push into the floor unless you have a really low ceiling to push up on.Should I continue to teach something that is incorrect to maintian the Art, or do I jettison the idea and teach my students something that is more effective and doesn't require cartoon physics to believe?As to your assertion that I have a base Art, I sure do. I work other material to fit it. I teach shotokan, basically. We don't do 3 and 5 step kumite. I start them off on ippon kumite and they stop that at 7th kyu in favor of free sparring. We don't do our stances as deeply at JKA Shotokan. My students learn a lot of kenpo techniques as I find that they work great to teach prinicples and concepts of movement. I work a lot of trapping drills at 3rd kyu and above. My guys learn quite a bit of throwing and we use JKD's 5 methods of attack model. I use a lot of boxing training drills as well ingraining as muchof that skill set as I possible can.We do a couple of the kicks differently from traditional shotokan and I disagree with method of execution in those kicks(Yoko Geri, in particular, as the knee is a hinge joing and that method forces the knee to move at an angle that it isn't really built to do. We also strike with the flat of our heel instead of the blade of the foot), I shorten the distance that my students cove in a single stepping movement. After 7th kyu we don't do a lot of defensive work against the step through punch, opting instead to work on improving our defenses against jabs and jab/cross combos. Its much more practical.Now, I don't expect you to approve of my teaching methodology or approach to the Art. I frankly don't care if you do. However, all of the above changes to my Art and how I train my students are based on several decades of experience and not casual whim. I think I have developed enough skill, knowledge, and ability to observe, analyze, and alter as needed my Art. If you don't agree, I invite you to explain to me what benchmarks I need to hit before I am qualified.As I have stated, our views differ enough that we will not see eye to eye. Thats fine. I have enough faith in the knowledge that I have gained from my teachers, years of training, and experience that I don't need to mimic what someone who came before me did. I was taught to think about the Art and to always understand that the Art is there for me, not the other way around.If how you are training works for you(and your students if you teach) that that is outstanding. It doesn't mean that you are in any position to tell me that my approach is wrong, when in fact you have never had any direct contact with me or my students. Yes, it does make you arrogant. It demonstrates that you are rigid in your thinking and unable to accpet that there are knowledgeable people out there that hold differing position from you. The assumption that you made about me and my training speaks volumes about you. As to your assertion that my approach looks good in movies but not in reality. I don't think that you are in any way qualified to be a arbitor of that. The ecclectic approach has worked well for the MMA movement. It worked extremely well for the JKD movement. Works well for the All of the Chow derived kenpo systems out there as they owe their existance to this same experimetation and adjusting mindset. It specifically works well for the Kajukenbo guys. Hell, by your own depiction of Mushashi's life and the development of his Art it worked well for him.You disagree with it and don't find it palatable. I get that. Your view on this isn't objectively correct, it is subjectively so, and your assertion that it is demonstrates that you are emotionally invested in your training methodology(as are we all) and you don't seem to grasp the idea that someone who disagrees wit you can do so and it doesn't invalidate your position.Just a thought,MarkP.S. The caveman and chimpanzee reference in my last post was intended to humorously illustrate the absurdity that the age of an Art makes it superior to another Art. Times change, the way we fight changes, technology changes and impacts how we understand things like sports science and human movement, and the social/cultural impact on how we fight change. Looking to someone who taught 400 years ago without the benefit of the intervening 400 years of developments in the above mentioned things is as absurd to me as the idea that individual people can innovate in the martial arts is to you. Again, my view, but I am not vain enough to think that what I think is important enough to presume that the only way that anyone disagreeing with my is doing so out of ignorance.
 

puunui

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On a side note, do you know the story behind these pogs, and who among us received them?
pog.jpg

So I saw Professor Choo's son today and showed him this picture. He said he never heard of pogs from his father before and doesn't know what it is for. He did say that towards the end, his father was signing all kinds of stuff or was asked to sign all kinds of stuff, but he was having a hard time holding the pen due to his illness. He said that his mother, brother and even he signed things for his father, certificates, and whatever else. He said one way to tell if his father truly signed or not is that he always signed his name "Peter Y.Y. Choo, Jr." He couldn't tell whether yours was signed by his father or not, because no "Jr.", but he said it could be. He said his mother's handwriting is messier, so you can tell when she signed on behalf of her husband. She didn't sign yours.

He said he met you in Benicia in 1997, when he and his brother went up for some kind of tournament and celebration, after his father passed away. He kept the belt that I believe was given to him, and his brother has the uniform. They embroidered "sijo" on it, and have it framed in some sort of glass case. I don't know if he was talking about at that 1997 tournament, a 50th anniversary of kajukenbo event I think he said. But he said he was treated well by people there and has good memories about it.

He did say that some people were shocked when George Chang showed up to the funeral because some kajukenbo members felt he had died already, a long time ago. But Mrs. Choo, Peter's mom told everyone that this is George Chang, he was a photographer and that he was her and her husband's friend. I don't remember feeling shock about it, the only thing I remember was that Peter was crying at his father's funeral and it was the first and only time I saw him cry. I still have that paper that was given out at the funeral around here somewhere.

I told him some of the stuff that was being said here and he was getting a little disturbed about it. He said maybe he should come on here and straighten things out. He said someone tried to email him a while back and ask him some kajukenbo history questions, but he never responded. He still keeps in touch with Professor Ordonez. He did say again that Sijo Emperado did carry on with Kajukenbo and that his father was grateful about that. But, like you say, because he and others were away, they only had Sijo's recollections on the history, and perhaps he had forgotten or misremembered things. He said he and his father watched some sort of video interview (I'm think it was the panther productions one, but not sure) and they were chuckling at what was being said. They also read that Inside Kung Fu magazine interview as well -- same reaction.

I asked him about the naming of Kajukenbo, and he did confirm that his father was the one who worked through different combinations until he came up with kajukenbo, which everyone approved. He did acknowledge that Professor Holck is usually credited with the naming, which is not true, but his father let it go and just went along with it rather than argue about it. But if you are interested in the truth, it was Peter Choo who created the name.

He said he didn't find out about his uncle Joe Holck's death until much later, when his cousin called him.

He also said that Bo stands for American or Western Boxing, and that George Chang was the photographer who had no kung fu experience when the Black Belt Society met in the forties.

If you have any questions for Peter, let me know I will pass them along to him. If you want to tell me about that pog, and I can pass that along as well. He asked me to email him a copy of that photo, so he can show it to his brother and they can figure out if the signature is his father's or not.
 

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Glenn, honestly, that is possibly the worst and most desperate attempt to grasp at straws with absolutely no basis in understanding or logic that I've seen here. No. Not in the slightest. And, for the record, there are few people on this forum who can speak from a more informed position on Musashi and his intentions, and they tend to frequent other places.

You sure it wasn't some sort of "keep off the grass" sort of instruction? :)


Yamamoto Kansuke was a general of Takeda Shingen's who lived in the early 16th Century. At that point in time, the Ryu idea was very new, and yet to be widely adopted. Additionally, it was what was known as the Sengoku Jidai, the period of warring states, and Yamamoto himself was known as an unorthodox strategist, so it's not unusual that he would think in such a fashion.

Additionally, to read Yamamoto's words, he is not talking about maintaining a system, really. He talks about personal methods, as opposed to prescribed methods, which is really just showing his personal take on things. You could just as easily look at the words of his namesake, Yamamoto Tsunetomo, as recorded in the Hagakure (about 300 years later, so in a very different context, for the record):

I don't know if that quote from the Hagakure helps you. I think it hurts your argument.


It's also worth remembering that, at all times, this discussion has gone on. And each art answers it in their own way. Koryu that have remained have, by and large, done so by remaining true to their original methods, or as close as they can. But even there it's not a universal rule... there are arts such as Araki Ryu who have a tradition of testing their techniques over and over again, changing ones that don't pass muster, dropping ones if necessary. Other systems add to their repertoire, provided it remains true to the art itself. Even the most closely guarded and maintained do so in such a way that they don't become static museum pieces.

So, if the koryu were about say, american revolutionary war techniques, the koryu would behaving people march onto the field of battle wearing bright red uniforms standing in a line with their flintlocks, firing in unison? What is the value in preserving that?

On saturdays sometimes, this group of I think koryu practitioners work out in this park next to my church. I watch them sometimes. They wear dark hakama, blue I want to say, and practice in a very ritualized fashion that always strikes me at very impractical. I think i heard them use the term "kata", for what I would call one step sparring. One attacks, and the other defends. I makes me think of how they used to fight in the american revolution, which is why I gave the example above.
 

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