Martial arts -- HISTORY AND TRADITION

Xue Sheng

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Another opinion of "neither", then.



Now gentlemen, between the two of you, or either whom will answer...

tell us in some small detail neither what, exactly? So that the specific point(s) are spelled out. Nothing fancy mind you.

I think an issue here is when one tries to cross over from Japan to China for a comparison of martial arts history and tradition. The 2 are not all that similar actually when it comes to views and beliefs within martial arts. Yes there is a Chan/Zen Buddhist influence but beyond that not much else. And in China the Buddhist side of things does not cross over to all CMA styles, some are Taoist, some are Buddhist, some use Confucianism and others no claimed association at all. And although I am not sure I would not be surprised if you find something similar in Japan, some Zen, some Shinto, some both some neither.

You have a martial arts tradition and history in China and you have a martial arts tradition and history in Japan but they are not all that similar. You do have Chinese martial arts going to Japan, allegedly form Shaolin and I would also imagine from some of the monks that traveled form Japan to China to study Buddhism and bring it back to Japan but the views of martial artists and their class in society were not the same in China as they were in Japan.

As to Japan and China all martial arts are influenced by both history and tradition of both countries it is just that the history and tradition of those countries is not the same.
 

Hyper_Shadow

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it is just that the history and tradition of those countries is not the same.

Very well said. Makes me think actually about a more recent change in history that I've only stumbled accross today. I was checking out Hawaiian martial arts and in general the Polynesian MAs. I stumbled upon Limalama, a very interesting, martial art with deep cultural roots. It was created by a man named Tuumamao Tino Tuiolosega. He was a boxer in the military and a well known street fighter in Olesega. He was also the son of the last King of the Pacific Isles before they became part of the US. Essentially the techniques he was taught as part of his cultural heritage were supposed to be taught only to those of royal heritage as they were considered sacred. Tino decided he would use his knowledge to help people when he became an unarmed combat instructor in the US military.

But that's just trivia. The point I'm making with this is that those systems eventually get washed aside, regardless of the the previous cultures. Essentially they are forced to change with the times. So even if the core beliefs remain, the can neither espouse such a system nor can they dismiss it. What effects such changes is the times.

As for different cultures I can't say. I have to admit my knowledge on chinese hierarchy is sketchy at best. I do know the Japanese were very structured and everything had it's place so I can speak for that, but as for other cultures, it would have to depend on 1.) whether they have such a hierarchical structure in place to start with and 2.) how deep rooted the martial philosphy is within that structure.
 

pgsmith

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tell us in some small detail neither what, exactly? So that the specific point(s) are spelled out. Nothing fancy mind you.
I already did that.
You had pretty much no chance of progressing in life because of how it looked and reflected on high ranking members of societ.
That is actually not a true statement. Due to the fact that Japan's history involves much fighting, there was actually quite a lot of opportunity to move up from the farmer class to the samurai class through might of arms. Later in Japan's history, the Tokugawa shogunate solidified the the castes, making it extremely hard for the farmer class to move up, but allowing the merchant class, who did very well without all the fighting, to be able to buy their way into the upper class. There were periods over the course of the 1000 year history of the samurai that movement was basically impossible, but those were more isolated periods than history as a whole.
 

kwaichang

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..no matter what position, IMO, knowing the history of it and a bit about the society it evolved in, helps to ground your knowledge...and have more respect for the chosen art.
 
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jtweymo

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Hi guys,

Well said, all of you guys. I appreciated the lot of remarks.

Hyper Shadow said:For me to say neither I would say it cannot espouse the old systems simply because the old systems relied on it for a guidance on conformity. There are many other factors that would have to be taken into account for these systems. Factors such as different families and their traditions. The person in charge of state at the time (which emperor). The standing of the family. The individuals and their personal relationships throughout. Main factors being constant change in times meant that old traditions were constantly adapted. The Budo we know today may not even be the same as what was actively integrated all those years ago.

Did it dismiss social order? Yes and no. Yes in terms of if you were poor generally, you stayed poor. You had pretty much no chance of progressing in life because of how it looked and reflected on high ranking members of societ. If you were rich you stayed Rich (unless you were really stupid and lost family fortunes and stuff in which case you were cast out and stricken from record). No because The hierarchical structure was in place long before the advent of the Saburai and their later counterparts the Samurai.
The code only really came in as a way to turn Saburai to Samurai by curbing certain barbaric tendancies in the emperors guard (wouldn't be fitting for the emperor to have a bunch of brutes serving him now would it?).

This contains the point(s) what i was driving at, the 'neither' position here included a "yes and no" as to whether Budo had been a part of what helped dismiss the old caste and social orders, etc. As such, quite right... it CANNOT espouse the (olde orders), just as was stated. That is to say, I agree in full. Seems most (if not all) of the posters agree? Probably this is due to wide-spread recognition of these essential facts and points.

Xue's remarks on the difference are excellent, China's experience, historically, are not all that comparable as he explains.
 

Hyper_Shadow

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That is actually not a true statement. Due to the fact that Japan's history involves much fighting, there was actually quite a lot of opportunity to move up from the farmer class to the samurai class through might of arms. Later in Japan's history, the Tokugawa shogunate solidified the the castes, making it extremely hard for the farmer class to move up, but allowing the merchant class, who did very well without all the fighting, to be able to buy their way into the upper class.

I suppose I really should have worded that a little better. What I was trying to get at was that if you were poor, you stayed poor. The fact that you had the money to buy your way into a seat of power would be testament to your eligibility for that class of people at the time. But well picked up on, thanks for correcting me.
 
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jtweymo

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Hmm,

Ya know Hypershadow, it's still true in our own current society, and even truer in the martial arts community... one needs to practically buy his way into the more respectable ranks and positions (both of society and of the MA community.)

If poor and under-equipped, I'll use the word "under-equipped" but I really mean ('lacking certain symbols of status which are tantamount to acceptance' -- such items as the Daijiten and other Sino-Japanese reference texts, perhaps an actual sword from Asia, etc) If one is "under-equipped" then one's social position and reputation instantly suffer.

IF NOT CORRECTED, to borrow your words on it, "...the poor stay poor..."

One point of interest though? I am about 45 years old, and was around before the internet became available. MOST of the old status symbols (such as Japanese documentation and instruction and etc) have become publically available on the net itself, free for all. Thus the original status symbols of 25 years prior (which had been status symbols since about 1942, BTW) are now obsolete.

Moral of the story? Usually, a mere 25 years will make all the difference in the world. In 25 years YOU and all of us here now, will look around and see that many of the status symbols became available (whereas once they were rare and not generally available.) In 25 years, you will have obtained those things you largely wanted.

So maybe the poor remain poor only in a temporary context? I wonder, was it not always like this?

:)
 

kwaichang

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Hmm,


One point of interest though? I am about 45 years old, and was around before the internet became available. MOST of the old status symbols (such as Japanese documentation and instruction and etc) have become publically available on the net itself, free for all. Thus the original status symbols of 25 years prior (which had been status symbols since about 1942, BTW) are now obsolete.
:)
While you make a case, I must add, those of us who have been around that long DO value our Japanese language rank certificates, etc. and other such "old stuff", so saying they're obsolete isn't quite the case.
 

Xue Sheng

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I am about 45 years old, and was around before the internet became available.

You know I think I remember when I was 45 :)

it's still true in our own current society, and even truer in the martial arts community... one needs to practically buy his way into the more respectable ranks and positions (both of society and of the MA community.)

Point of interest, I personally know of 3 Sifus that if you try and buy rank or respectability they will likely kick you out of class or just plain ignore you and teach you nothing. I also know of one (a 4th) that I suspect would likely give you a beating but then he is in China where he could get away with such things.

This is not to say there are not those out there that do not sell ranks both in the US and China. The first CMA Sifu I ever had has changed a lot since I first trained with him and where he once made all train he now sells teaching certificates to just about anyone it styles he never trained in China.
 
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jtweymo

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Well Xue,

I wasn't so much talking about buying ranks or titles, I was talking about buying one's way into things by the aquisition of relevant status symbols. BUT in all fairness, since rank and title ARE possibly such status symbols... actually it does still apply. Somewhat.

The aquisition of these status symbols is relevant to the thread, for example, the coveted status symbols of the samurai, and of the knightly classes of Europe, for example. These became available to most of the commoner classes when those modes of society vanished.

No matter what one's opinion (on the purchase or "illegitimate" acquisition of rank or title in the Martial arts -- and personally I don't care that much for it myself) the relevance of this custom, as rank being a relevant status symbol is a comparable model to the same historical principle(s).

Otherwise, it's all the same though. :)



Kwaichang said: While you make a case, I must add, those of us who have been around that long DO value our Japanese language rank certificates, etc. and other such "old stuff", so saying they're obsolete isn't quite the case.

Oh I didn't mean that these, or any relevant status symbol, was any less vaild... only more readily available now, due to the increased avenues of information and access. SOME would say that they are more relevant now than ever before, since they are all better understood these days. For example, people used to make a big fuss about the ryuko-no-maki ("Dragon-tiger scrolls"). Only later, via the internet and it's freer access to information, that these documents and indeed the term itself are nothing other than a common form of Instruction manual. Today they know this fact, but years ago, it was all very 'mystical', "secret documents" (ewww!), "scrolls" (ahhh!), very presitigious that panned out to be common classifactions of documents (standard language dictionary term, ryuko-no-maki, ryu-no-maki, ko-no-maki = "instruction manual" -- even some driver's license manuals are called.... ryuko-no-maki.)

Yeah, it's all still valid, perhaps more valuable than ever before BECAUSE we now know what they REALLY are.

:)
 

Xue Sheng

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Well Xue,

I wasn't so much talking about buying ranks or titles, I was talking about buying one's way into things by the aquisition of relevant status symbols. BUT in all fairness, since rank and title ARE possibly such status symbols... actually it does still apply. Somewhat.

The aquisition of these status symbols is relevant to the thread, for example, the coveted status symbols of the samurai, and of the knightly classes of Europe, for example. These became available to most of the commoner classes when those modes of society vanished.

No matter what one's opinion (on the purchase or "illegitimate" acquisition of rank or title in the Martial arts -- and personally I don't care that much for it myself) the relevance of this custom, as rank being a relevant status symbol is a comparable model to the same historical principle(s).

Otherwise, it's all the same though. :)

Which could be another reason the comparison of CMA and JMA don't work to well. Traditionally there are no ranks or status symbols of Rank in CMA other than sifu and the students of that sifu. I guess where you get status in CMA is lineage

But coming from CMA I am wondering what exatly you are referring to as "Status Symbols" and how one acquires them.
 
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jtweymo

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Xue said: Which could be another reason the comparison of CMA and JMA don't work to well. Traditionally there are no ranks or status symbols of Rank in CMA other than sifu and the students of that sifu. I guess where you get status in CMA is lineage

But coming from CMA I am wondering what exatly you are referring to as "Status Symbols" and how one acquires them.

Hi ya, Xue

Actually yeah, I think I heard about this before from other folks, that there aren't many "status symbols" in the CMA, other than the reputation of the sifu AND also in some cases the reputation of the school/style itself. Which, I got to tell ya, is itself highly respectable (very social really, very nice indeed!)

As for what are meant by the "status symbols", wow, Xue, there's all kinds of them. For example, everything from (1) the densho, makimono and meijo of any given Japanese ryuha or system. Then there's (2) various technical books on Budo subjects (such as the Daijiten, the Bubishi so on and so forth.) (3) Then of course, there's ownership and possession of actual Japanese swords (tachi, kodachi and etc), polearms (yari and naginata and etc) body armor (roi-kumiuchi and etc) (4) Lesser known awards and award items given by ryuha so on and so forth. MORE POSSIBLE BY FAR THAN EVEN THESE THREE would include historical documents (usually rare texts) written in European languages between 1888 - 1965.

Crap Xue, you name it and these guys have it for a status symbol.

I mean literally, YOU NAME IT and they got some form of it as a status symbol. Highly structured both among the Japanese and the Western exponents of the Japanese schools. THE REAL KICKER is that social position somewhat dictates whom may have these symbols (even here in America) and so if the wrong person owns it... it's considered of less integral value!!!!!!!!!!!

Haaa HAaaaa HAAAAaaaaa, whew!!!
 

Hyper_Shadow

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MOST of the old status symbols (such as Japanese documentation and instruction and etc) have become publically available on the net itself, free for all. Thus the original status symbols of 25 years prior (which had been status symbols since about 1942, BTW) are now obsolete.

That actually brings to mind stuff I heard about folks who were trying to buy Menkyo Kaiden over the net and worse, the folks that were actually selling them (something like 瞿25,000 could get you a cert of total transmission?!).

As for what are meant by the "status symbols", wow, Xue, there's all kinds of them. For example, everything from (1) the densho, makimono and meijo of any given Japanese ryuha or system. Then there's (2) various technical books on Budo subjects (such as the Daijiten, the Bubishi so on and so forth.) (3) Then of course, there's ownership and possession of actual Japanese swords (tachi, kodachi and etc), polearms (yari and naginata and etc) body armor (roi-kumiuchi and etc) (4) Lesser known awards and award items given by ryuha so on and so forth. MORE POSSIBLE BY FAR THAN EVEN THESE THREE would include historical documents (usually rare texts) written in European languages between 1888 - 1965.

Pretty much symbols of status, but it does go deeper than that. Far deeper. You will not find someone being able to buy Densho, usually they are a family treasure. In fact as far as I know any sort of scrolls of information, weaponry, lesser known awards (which may include some forms of religious jewellery) are all given with Menkyo Kaiden. That is only ever given to one or two select students in a school. There is no way to actually gain copies of the information. To have actually earned the right to possess it in the first place you would already be of a martial mindset that would prohibit you passed that information to any other than whomever you would pass Kaiden to.

Actually yeah, I think I heard about this before from other folks, that there aren't many "status symbols" in the CMA, other than the reputation of the sifu AND also in some cases the reputation of the school/style itself. Which, I got to tell ya, is itself highly respectable (very social really, very nice indeed!)

I can attest to that. When researching modern day heroic martial artists, the name Huo Yuanjia popped up a lot. So I looked him up. Not least of all did I realise that he plays a central role to the plot of Bruce Lee's fist of Fury and Jet Li plays him in Fearless he was actually a renowned fighter. Upset the Japanese quite a bit as well by kicking the snot out of 20 of their best Judoka in a competition or so the story goes.Apparently the guy fought tonnes of people. And then I traced back a bit further and you get all manner of people and things popping up. Chinese martial culture is actually very exciting (from the tiny snippets I've read). Huo Yuanjia established the Jingwu Sports Federation all through sheer reputation of being a great martial artist. He was able to bring people together in an extraordinary way.

Anyways, back on subject. In terms of Dojo conduct (which I should stress nowadays differs from the structure of a feudal lords estate), rank and the true knowledge of that rank (in terms of koryu rank i.e Menkyo system) cannot be brought, only earned. I know this to be a fact. On the flip side, I also know people can be voted up to ludicrously stupid ranks in other ranking systems (10th Dans and all that argument). But now you're stumbling into very shark infested waters. These sharks are commonly known as the 'Budo Police'. I say sharks, they're more like carrion feeders in my personal experience, but there you go.
The major problem is, people nowadays are trying to observe certain titles and traditions that are no longer compatible with todays social setting and changing multiculture. There is also the problem that some people will also pervert and twist certain aspects of a culture just entirely to suit themselves.
Don't get me wrong, I'm quite a firm traditionalist, however, I also observe common sense and a willingness to be proven wrong (I wouldn't enjoy these sorts of threads if I didn't!). Plus, you have to think. No matter how strict you wanna be and no matter how you want to conduct yourslves in your own dojos, nowadays, we're governed a lot more by outside influences from the government. Think in terms of base laws concerning self defense and your rights (something especially grey in British Law unless you look it up), child protection, health and safety the list is endless.
Also you have to look at the fact that in this day and age if you're running a dojo commercially you are at the mercy of your customers. Rank or no, it makes no difference to parents of children who attend and potential customers.

Anyways that's some completely random rubbish having reread it, hope there's some nuggets in there that's relevant.
 
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jtweymo

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Oh man.
Oh boy, guys.

Uhm, okay. Before I enter these remarks, I BEG you guys not to think I'm disagreeing or bashing any of your posts (I value all remarks so far, and the conversation is great.) The remarks I'm entering are to point out the reality of the field in question (the "status symbols" mentioned.)

Please don't think I'm arguing or being snotty.


(1) Densho, mokuroku, meijo and menjo, makimono the 'maki' type texts and documents (ryuko-no-maki, ryu-no-maki and tora-no-maki) etc etc. These are ALL common classification of documents within traditional Japanese society. Not actually even specialized for the most part. Commonly accessible.
(1-A) Old examples of these documents or copies of all these can be readily purchased, or otherwise acquired (traded for, obtained for free or nearly free and etc etc) through both Japanese and Western channels. All one needs is an outlet or source for them... a simple search of the internet reveals about 55 such sources, not the least common of which is Ebay and etc. Phone books in major cities provide and average of three sources (usually the higher class booksellers.)
(1-B) New and current examples of these documents or copies of all these can be readily purchased, or otherwise acquired usually through the exact same channels and sources.
(1-C) THE REAL KICKER: Less accessible but not much more so, one can have drafted and commisioned ANY OF THESE DOCUMENTS TAILOR FIT MADE TO ORDER (your specifications) professionally, or non-professionally on an amateur basis (all of this whether "legitimately", "illegitimately" or even "counterfeited"). THEY ARE ALL COMMON CLASS DOCUMENTATION and are as readily availalble to YOU (or anybody) if you know where to go (ain't hard to find.)
(1-C2) THE REAL FREAKIN' KICKER: Just like in our own society, some of these documents are perfectly legitimate to be drawn up and executed BY YOU YOURSELF. If you have reasonable technical knowledge and the skill to execute them. Just like in our own society and it's classifications of documentation -- some of these documents it is fully legitimate to draw them up yourself (and the Japanese citizenry do all the time.) EVEN SOME WESTERN INSTRUCTORS DRAW THESE DOCUMENTS UP, some I have known have a stamp, and documents backing it up, that make the document "legit" in the Japanese or Okinawan school.
That's why I spoke the way I did of their being status symbols, it's a value assigned by the practitioners themselves. BTW, menkyo kaiden and etc... not as a "paper mill" mind you, but as legitimate menkyo kaiden can be obtained -- for a number of legitimate purposes by a number of legitimate avenues. I (indirectly) know of three menkyo kaiden straight out of Japan that were obtained this way... one of these guys never went to Japan at all... he filed the paperwork by mail!!!!

Ignorance of the actual conventions is what was addressed here, every word is absolute truth, verifiable with minimal effort via simple internet searches. PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE THAT DOESN'T GET A LOT OF RECOGNITION.


Again, fellas, I deeply apologize if I appear to be bashing or bitching!!

I'm not, dudes!

:)
 

pgsmith

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I mean literally, YOU NAME IT and they got some form of it as a status symbol. Highly structured both among the Japanese and the Western exponents of the Japanese schools. THE REAL KICKER is that social position somewhat dictates whom may have these symbols (even here in America) and so if the wrong person owns it... it's considered of less integral value!!!!!!!!!!!
Your statements are true only as regards a certain segment of what I prefer to call "Japanese style" martial arts. The various karate organizations, judo organizations, and jujutsu organizations that sprang up in both the U.S. and Europe mostly by people that were stationed in Japan after WWII. Within those circles, there is definitely a lot of what you are talking about ... status symbols, in crowd and out crowd, haves and have nots. However, it is impossible to apply those same standards to the koryu arts. The koryu are all, with a couple of very rare exceptions, based in Japan. Knowledge and sweat equity (time that you've practiced steadily) are what count in the koryu arts. While many practitioners of the arts do have many of the "symbols" that you talk about, it is for their own research and edification rather than as a "symbol" to impress others. Long time koryu practitioners are not impressed at all with what you have, they are impressed by what you know. A natural result of studying the koryu is an interest in history as you try and understand where your art came from. History is as much a part of the knowledge that is passed on in the koryu as martial techniques themselves. This is why symbols are generally ignored since they are easy to fake or buy. The only way to gain knowledge is to work for it.

At least, that has been my experience.
 
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jtweymo

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Haa haaa haaaa

Paul, I dig you, man!!

Paul said: Your statements are true only as regards a certain segment of what I prefer to call "Japanese style" martial arts. The various karate organizations, judo organizations, and jujutsu organizations that sprang up in both the U.S. and Europe mostly by people that were stationed in Japan after WWII.

WHY do I get the feeling you already know what I'm about to say here? Maybe you read my web sites? Heh heh heh :) :) :)

I AM from one from one the families and schools who practice "...The various...judo organizations, and jujutsu organizations that sprang up in both the U.S. ...mostly by people that were stationed in Japan after WWII."


HA HAA HA, I think you know this too, don't you? My grandfather and his uncles, WWII, combat Judo (AKA Kano Jiujutsu), they were teaching their kids and nephews "combat Judo" ("Kano Jiujutsu") since 1948. All the boys in our family since 1948, i was myself at and since age 11 years old. It was why I got interested in (jujutsu) and wound up in the dojo that practiced our shinden yoshin ryu. THAT dojo was headed up by a guy who, likewise, had served in the U.S. military stationed in Okinawa -- they learned jujutsu (shinden yoshin ryu school) over there and to make money and have a good time opened a few dojos over here after their military service was up.


Hah you must've already know ithat you were describing our kind of outfit!! hee hee, you're a hoot, Paul!!

I dig you, man.

:) :) :)
 

pgsmith

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I know in a basic sort of way what your background is, but that has no bearing at all on my statement, nor do I know why you are so set up about it. It is just those schools that are quite enamored of the various "symbols" that you are talking about. Because they've only a tenuous connection with their roots in Japan, they tend to be focused on different things than the koryu.

Don't mistake me, there is nothing wrong with the vast majority of those schools. I've met and trained with people that were great martial artists as well as good people. I'm not denigrating those arts at all. What I'm doing is pointing out that they are quite different than the koryu, and you are attempting to lump them all together as "Japanese arts".

Apples and oranges ... both good, both good for you, not the same. :)
 
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jtweymo

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Hi ya Paul,


Paul said: nor do I know why you are so set up about it.

Erh, did you mean "up set"? (upset)? I'm not upset.
I was expressing minimal amusement because I was a member of the group you were addressing (I thought it funny.) If that sentence above reads correctly (and isn't the word 'upset') then I'm not entirely sure what ya mean.... but okay!

Paul said: I'm not denigrating those arts at all. What I'm doing is pointing out that they are quite different than the koryu, and you are attempting to lump them all together as "Japanese arts".

Apples and oranges ... both good, both good for you, not the same. :)

Oh yeah, I know it. I'm... confused why you brought up the koryu at all, unless perhaps in regard to the "symbols"... that must be what you mean? Anyway, from what I've seen, the Western koryu exponents are even more apt to have interest in certain types of these status symbols but in all fairness, I really can't say because I've never known any koryu men personally.


Paul said: It is just those schools that are quite enamored of the various "symbols" that you are talking about. Because they've only a tenuous connection with their roots in Japan, they tend to be focused on different things than the koryu.

Well, sometimes that's true but most of us in my vector of these schools and systems know that in reality these texts, documents and accoutrements are actually very easy to obtain and so are not of any actual intrinsic value beyond a mere curio. The only parties I know of that attach any actual relevance to these types of materials are those whom do so from some sense of tradition, or as social interactions between schools and groups. Personally and in my circles, these sort of things are chuckled at, we see it as being a form of distraction and/or misjudgement (because most of it's common class documentation.) I don't own any of these things right now, but I have owned a few examples, bought my first makimono when I was 16 or 17 years old. Only held it in possession for about two months and then sold it to an interested local dojo instructor. YOU DON'T WANNA KNOW WHAT HE DID WITH IT if you know what I mean. That sort of thing happened two or three times and turned me off so bad that now I rarely ever bother.

:soapbox:
 

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Long time koryu practitioners are not impressed at all with what you have, they are impressed by what you know. A natural result of studying the koryu is an interest in history as you try and understand where your art came from. History is as much a part of the knowledge that is passed on in the koryu as martial techniques themselves. This is why symbols are generally ignored since they are easy to fake or buy. The only way to gain knowledge is to work for it.

That's pretty much all you need to know if you wanna boil it right down to stark black and white. You either have folks who are impressed by ability and knowledge or you have folks who are impressed by title and prestige. That doesn't mean you won't get some highly skilled practitioners who hold prestige, but it does mean the vast majority of respect among koryu practitioners is generally given to those with the ability.

Anyway, from what I've seen, the Western koryu exponents are even more apt to have interest in certain types of these status symbols but in all fairness, I really can't say because I've never known any koryu men personally.

Speaking as a koryu bloke I can attest at having knowledge about certain status symbols and such. But that's more to do with personally wanting to dveour as much knowedge as possible in my field. Fact is in my dojo if you were to walk in you wouldn't be able to distinguish who was running the place (unless you were a very good and skilled martial artist who could judge someones strength at a glance) since we all wear the same gi, the same belt and talk to each other and everyone else in the same manner. You wouldn't hear any titles being bandied about unless someone specifically asked for them. However, I can't attest for any other koryu schools because I simply haven't found any in the area where I live.

Apples and oranges ... both good, both good for you, not the same. :)

Yeah, apples are worse for your teeth and oranges are a pain to peel... :lfao:

Well, sometimes that's true but most of us in my vector of these schools and systems know that in reality these texts, documents and accoutrements are actually very easy to obtain and so are not of any actual intrinsic value beyond a mere curio. The only parties I know of that attach any actual relevance to these types of materials are those whom do so from some sense of tradition, or as social interactions between schools and groups.

Just to make a quick point on that, you do have to look at each individual school. I'm not Japanese and I don't pretend to be (never been that short, meself ;p) but if I am given an old (genuinely really antique) object be Densho, Tachi whatever; I will honour them simply because they wereb a gift. Out of respect I would then find out what exactly whoever gave said object to me wanted me to do with them. Usually if these things are passed with a title, case in point someone recieving Kaiden, their use and how you set about figuring them out is a mystery and generally the only person that can help is usually dead or on their deathbed. But that's neither here nor there, I have to contest that statement based on what I know and have seen.
I cannot deny that there are places where those objects are just (for want of a better word) ornaments and have been bought and sold. But there are those that are treasured items to people and they are only passed on to those who've shown an outstanding aptitude in the arts.

Again, fellas, I deeply apologize if I appear to be bashing or bitching!!

You're making some good points, man. And it does beg the question. With so much disagreement (especially when it comes to the legitimacy arguments and whatnot) what can we really rely on? Answer: you can rely on yourself, your dojo and those you train with and that's all you need. It is good if you have objects and things that have been passed with titles because it gives you something to work on and research and expand what you know. The titles themselves are actually pretty irrelevent.

Don't worry if you do appear to bitching. Generally if you talk passionately about something in any case it often appears to be so.
 
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