Modernization of Ninjutsu

Hanzou

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The more important thing to look at is the aim of the sparring, if it were to be integrated, then look at the methodology...

The aim of the sparring would the same aim as in other MAs like Judo, BJJ, Boxing, Muay Thai, etc. It is all done to enhance the general skill of the practitioners, and teach them how to apply those techniques under duress. That in turn increases the general effectiveness of the system.
 

Hanzou

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Then you would be wrong. Quite badly, really... especially thinking of HEMA as a "modernisation" of anything... if anything, it's an attempt to go back in time...



I'd disagree with that... for one thing, there is no BJJ or HEMA in Akban at all... its basically Bujinkan with some Judo approaches and a healthy randori aspect... I don't agree with a number of their applications and conclusions, but that's a different discussion... I'm also not fond of their stealing other arts methods and passing off their lacking versions as something they actually teach...

 

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RBSD, by and large, didn't actually operate in that fashion... some people took the name and applied to things like Krav Mags-like approaches (which came out of the very real violence of the Middle East) and older Combatives methods (which, themselves, came from a time where war meant you had a reasonable expectation of getting "up close and personal" with the enemy, so had a real application in mind)... but RBSD, as it was coined by Jim Wagner and employed by Geoff Thompson, Richard Dmitri, Deane Lawler, and others was more about understanding the nature of modern violence... something that, as Rory Miller puts it, happens faster, closer, more suddenly, and more aggressively than people realise (although he's talking about opportunity predation more than anything else there... resource predation often employs more intimidation tactics, for example), and being able to gear your training towards that... often, there was minimal "technique" involved... a teacher might have a preferred one or two technical things that they did, but it was far more about understanding how to handle sudden onslaughts... as well as understanding the social, legal, and psychological aspects and ramifications.

I should have been more clear on my usage and discussion of the term, "RBSD" and elaborated a bit more. Those guys (the ones you mentioned) developed a "civilian self-defense" model appropriate for more modern times and use that term to describe it. My reference was to those instructors who use the term "RBSD" and teach things like WW2 combatives AS a civilian self-defense model as it was taught and meant to be used by the soldiers back then and the disconnect between the two methods (wartime military vs. civilian) and the trouble you could get into if you try to use them on someone to protect yourself in most situations (for example, eye gouging in response to a shove).

We are in agreement that systems are designed for a specific environment and function. When you change those parameters the system doesn't always function the way it was meant to be used. I always remember reading an interview with Rickson Gracie (its been years and I can't remember the martial arts magazine it was in). but basically he said that BJJ was designed for the Brazilian culture where everyone would circle up and watch the fight and not get involved (question was along the lines of bystanders and kicking you on the ground) he also said that if he ever got in a fight in the US, he would punch and run and also probably carry a weapon because other people like to get involved.
 
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Hanzou

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I should have been more clear on my usage and discussion of the term, "RBSD" and elaborated a bit more. Those guys (the ones you mentioned) developed a "civilian self-defense" model appropriate for more modern times and use that term to describe it. My reference was to those instructors who use the term "RBSD" and teach things like WW2 combatives AS a civilian self-defense model as it was taught and meant to be used by the soldiers back then and the disconnect between the two methods (wartime military vs. civilian) and the trouble you could get into if you try to use them on someone to protect yourself in most situations (for example, eye gouging in response to a shove).

We are in agreement that systems are designed for a specific environment and function. When you change those parameters the system doesn't always function the way it was meant to be used. I always remember reading an interview with Rickson Gracie (its been years and I can't remember the martial arts magazine it was in). but basically he said that BJJ was designed for the Brazilian culture where everyone would circle up and watch the fight and not get involved (question was along the lines of bystanders and kicking you on the ground) he also said that if he ever got in a fight in the US, he would punch and run and also probably carry a weapon because other people like to get involved.

To be fair, people circle around and watch people fight in the US too. It aint just Brazil.
 

punisher73

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To be fair, people circle around and watch people fight in the US too. It aint just Brazil.

Didn't say they didn't. Rickson's point was that (at the time of his interview/experience) bystanders didn't get involved at all in Brazil and he felt that they did in the US and didn't want to risk going to the ground because of that.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Didn't say they didn't. Rickson's point was that (at the time of his interview/experience) bystanders didn't get involved at all in Brazil and he felt that they did in the US and didn't want to risk going to the ground because of that.
It's also probably relevant that Rickson (and other Gracies who tended to get into fights on the beach and in the streets) often traveled with a posse of friends and family members who could enforce the "let those guys fight it out one on one" code. For example, check out Rickson's famous fight on the beach with Hugo Duarte.
 

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Didn't say they didn't. Rickson's point was that (at the time of his interview/experience) bystanders didn't get involved at all in Brazil and he felt that they did in the US and didn't want to risk going to the ground because of that.

The core principles still basically work though.

You are going to have a hard time holding Rickson down so your friends can womp him.

Where you would have a much easier time with your average ninja.

Which I think is the difference between modernization vs just working well.
 

Buka

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The core principles still basically work though.

You are going to have a hard time holding Rickson down so your friends can womp him.

Where you would have a much easier time with your average ninja.

Which I think is the difference between modernization vs just working well.
As a related aside, when Rickson goes knee on belly to you - it's like being an insect stuck with a pin in science class.
 

Chris Parker

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He removed the dangerous techniques and focused on techniques that could be practiced relatively safely. This increased the general skill level of his practitioners.

And this is what you refer to as the "fluff"? The dangerous techniques... are the "fluff"? You, er, do get the idea of "martial art", yeah?

Besides which, did he? Did he "remove" them? Or just remove them from randori practice? There's a big difference there... was it that he "rejected" anything, as you suggested?

I would happily argue that Judo and it's descendant systems have done a very good job of proving their worth in the practicality department.

Ninjutsu on the other hand....

Snide digs aside, did you want to read what I actually wrote? What I said was that the reasons for the changes were largely pedagogical, based in Kano's work in the education system in Japan, rather than for the reason of "practicality"... I said nothing about whether or not anything was or wasn't "practical", or had any results one way or the other... so, sure, argue away... but, once again, you're arguing with something that no-one has ever said...

I'm arguing for a refinement of the methodology in order to bring it into the modern era. As for Ninjutsu not fading into obscurity, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Agree to disagree? No. I'm speaking from a factual standpoint regarding the membership on a global scale, and you're thinking that, as it's not represented in areas you inhabit, it's not still around. One is a comment based in reality, the other on a limited perspective giving a skewed understanding... and, again, practitioners of an art that is not in line with your own doesn't mean it needs to change to be what you do in order to "bring it into the modern era"... if people want to train in something like Judo, or BJJ, or MMA, then guess what? They will. But if they want something more along the lines of what is found in the Takamatsuden arts, then guess what? They'll end up there. And if they want something different again? This is why there are so many options... and if you've found what you like, that's great! It doesn't mean anything other than that you've found what you like, though... so, perhaps you should try to understand what something else is, and (more importantly) why it is what it is, before you insist on changes to bring it into line with your limited approach?

Didn't Judo's success show that a high level of safe sparring and a minor emphasis on kata created more effective martial artists whom were far more capable of executing their techniques under duress?

Kano didn't think so. Randori was only meant to be a minor aspect, a limited approach with limited (realistic) value... it was a training method that was, by definition, only really usable in a small facet of martial art study... and was never meant to be the focus or defining factor of Judo or the Kodokan.

In fact, Kano didn't consider randori to be the most important aspect... he felt that the Kime no Kata, followed by the Katame no Kata, were the real "heart" of the Kodokan's methods... as that was where the actual "martial art" of Judo lay (especially in Kime no Kata). He also wanted the Kodokan to not just be Judo, but to be a kind of central location for all Japanese martial arts. He felt that only training Judo would lead someone to be a rather one-trick martial artist, incomplete, and that would be further amplified by focusing on randori as a primary focus. This is why he maintained the Koshiki no Kata (Kito Ryu), and developed another dozen or so sets of kata, either newly created (Kime, Katame, Nage, Ju), or were imported from Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu (Itsutsu no Kata) or Kito Ryu (Koshiki no Kata). He also wanted the Kodokan to be the central base for the newer, and newly developing arts, such as Kendo, Jodo, and later Iaido, as well as a number of koryu. This is why he sent students to Ueshiba, why he brought in Shimizu Takauji to teach Jodo to his Yondan and above students, why he invited four shihan of Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu to the Kodokan to teach his senior students "real" martial arts...

Randori, really, was just a training method that could be utilised by any school... Kano talked the newly formed Butokukai into having a jujutsu division (initially it was focused on what they referred to as "kenjutsu", basically early kendo), and brought in a number of teachers of a range of koryu to help preserve them in some fashion. Remember, the samurai era had ended less than half a century before, and many of the old generation teachers were wondering if they had a place anymore... Kano was convinced they did, and that what they taught had value, so he worked with them, and created the Randori no Kata (Nage no Kata and Katame no Kata) to get a core, somewhat simplified set of techniques that could be drilled in randori, and the Kime no Kata to preserve the "heart" of Japanese jujutsu (I've had some great conversations with members of the schools whose techniques went into the formation of the Kime no Kata, comparing how they were altered, and so on... very interesting!). But randori wasn't really meant to be it's own thing, and especially not a focus... back in those days, you only competed with it up to Yondan at the most... and weren't a teacher until Sandan... it was, really, for early development, to be done while you were still young enough... but has come to signify "Judo". It's the beginners version, really.

When it comes to the idea of "high level of safe sparring and a minor emphasis on kata creat(ing) more effective martial artists", well... no. It created competitors who got good at applying a more limited skill set in a restricted format... if that's the same thing to you, though, that's going to be your perspective... it wasn't Kano's...

The aim of the sparring would the same aim as in other MAs like Judo, BJJ, Boxing, Muay Thai, etc. It is all done to enhance the general skill of the practitioners, and teach them how to apply those techniques under duress. That in turn increases the general effectiveness of the system.

So... Judo... sport, training in a competitive format to work in a competitive format... BJJ... sport, training in a competitive format to work in a competitive format... Boxing... sport, training in a competitive format to work in a competitive format... muay Thai... sport, training in a competitive format to work in a competitive format... really, the only thing you can say is that training in a sporting, competitive format helps you in performing in a sporting, competitive format... uh... okay....

But, more to the point, you've basically looked at one aim, one context, and looked at four different variations of the same thing. That's not the same as looking at what the randori aims would be in an art that doesn't fit that context or mentality at all... which is my point. You aren't looking at the art itself, you're looking at your (bluntly) very limited and narrow perspective and value set.

In other words, there are any number of other aims for various "sparring"/free-form/randori approaches, each of which will alter the structure employed... and that aim has to be congruent with the art, otherwise, what's the point? You want to to BJJ, do BJJ, you want to do MMA, do MMA, you want to do Judo, do Judo... but thinking something different is going to necessarily match it in aim, mentality, approach? You're doing a disservice to all involved there.

I also note you've linked a BJJ page from the Akban site... okay, so they may have begun to work with someone from BJJ... it's not featured in any of their approach that I've seen, but it's possible... of course, they have a habit of putting things up to claim they are teaching (and have been taught) a number of things, such as Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu (Portal:Traditional weapons)... and, believe me, they haven't (I do kinda love the comment about "all criticism is welcome"... when I called Yossi out for his Katori posting, he blocked me... ha!).

Yossi started under Doron Navon, a judoka and Feldenkrais teacher who was one of the first non-Japanese training with Hatsumi in Japan, starting around 1966, for the record... which is where the Bujinkan and Judo comes from. BJJ? Without listing who the teacher is? Any rank? Affiliation? Yeah... not sold. And absolutely no HEMA in their work at all. So I still hold that, no, Akban is not what you claimed.

I should have been more clear on my usage and discussion of the term, "RBSD" and elaborated a bit more. Those guys (the ones you mentioned) developed a "civilian self-defense" model appropriate for more modern times and use that term to describe it.

Cool.

My reference was to those instructors who use the term "RBSD" and teach things like WW2 combatives AS a civilian self-defense model as it was taught and meant to be used by the soldiers back then and the disconnect between the two methods (wartime military vs. civilian) and the trouble you could get into if you try to use them on someone to protect yourself in most situations (for example, eye gouging in response to a shove).

Yeah... that ain't RBSD, no matter what they call it. Really not too dissimilar to people with a bit of karate, maybe some TKD, possibly a bit of Judo, suddenly claiming to be teaching "ninjitsu"... it ain't, no matter what they call it...

We are in agreement that systems are designed for a specific environment and function. When you change those parameters the system doesn't always function the way it was meant to be used.

Yep!

I always remember reading an interview with Rickson Gracie (its been years and I can't remember the martial arts magazine it was in). but basically he said that BJJ was designed for the Brazilian culture where everyone would circle up and watch the fight and not get involved (question was along the lines of bystanders and kicking you on the ground) he also said that if he ever got in a fight in the US, he would punch and run and also probably carry a weapon because other people like to get involved.

And this is what I was referring to when I spoke about cultural understandings of violence... Brazil has a fairly major focus on "machismo" and "manliness/toughness" as part of it's image, tempered with a sense of fairness in conjunction... so fights between young men in public is just an expression of that... the circling is both so there could be witnesses to the toughness and macho-ness of the men, as well as to enforce the societal expectations and rules... all of which leads to the adoption of tactics that are allowable (and safe) in such a situation that might be a bad idea in others... to go back to the beginning of this post, the idea of a limited repertoire to enable a form of free-training (randori) in Judo has the same result... things that work well in that environment, but aren't necessarily the best plan in others (which is why Kano didn't want it to be the big aspect... Kime no Kata teaches the "martial art" side of Judo... randori doesn't).

Now, we're talking here about a modern, largely Westernised culture, in the last half century... what happens when you look at a cultural understanding of violence from a completely different (Eastern) culture, with a completely different social structure and expectation, from centuries ago?

This thread makes me realize how little I know about anything.

It makes my head go like this.....


Ha! We're only scratching the surface here....

The core principles still basically work though.

You are going to have a hard time holding Rickson down so your friends can womp him.

Where you would have a much easier time with your average ninja.

Which I think is the difference between modernization vs just working well.

Rickson is much harder to hold down because he trains in that environment. It's not a matter of a difference between "modernisation vs just working well", as you haven't really differentiated them for one thing, but more importantly, you're just saying that training to a focus and a context works better for that focus and context... well, yeah. The biggest issue is you guys all want to use your focus and context to represent all martial approaches... and the world is a lot bigger than that.
 

Steve

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I should have been more clear on my usage and discussion of the term, "RBSD" and elaborated a bit more. Those guys (the ones you mentioned) developed a "civilian self-defense" model appropriate for more modern times and use that term to describe it. My reference was to those instructors who use the term "RBSD" and teach things like WW2 combatives AS a civilian self-defense model as it was taught and meant to be used by the soldiers back then and the disconnect between the two methods (wartime military vs. civilian) and the trouble you could get into if you try to use them on someone to protect yourself in most situations (for example, eye gouging in response to a shove).

We are in agreement that systems are designed for a specific environment and function. When you change those parameters the system doesn't always function the way it was meant to be used. I always remember reading an interview with Rickson Gracie (its been years and I can't remember the martial arts magazine it was in). but basically he said that BJJ was designed for the Brazilian culture where everyone would circle up and watch the fight and not get involved (question was along the lines of bystanders and kicking you on the ground) he also said that if he ever got in a fight in the US, he would punch and run and also probably carry a weapon because other people like to get involved.
There's always a transfer of learning going on, whether someone is going from being a ninja or competing in cage fighting. If a ninja is confronted with real world violence, he or she will rely only on their ability to transfer what they've learned from a guy like Chris Parker (who has said in the past he's never even been in a fight). That's all they get, so in a moment of genuine crisis, it's in their best interest to have a realistic idea of what they can actually do, and what they cannot. I don't believe they can get that from someone who doesn't even have a realistic impression of what he can do himself. The pernicious thing here is that they are being told they are better prepared than someone who trains for sport, and that is borderline criminal in my opinion. It's the same as telling someone they are safer from COVID by drinking Ivermectin than getting vaccinated.

People who train in BJJ or MMA, if confonted with violence outside of the gym, are in the same boat. They are also transferring skills from one context to another. The advantage that a person who trains BJJ has is that he or she has actually applied their skills in context, and so they know how good they are and what they are able to do, because they do it in competition.

Let's say we have two guys, one is an experienced farrier who has never made a knife, but is experienced working with iron and steel, and one who has practiced making knives for years, but has never actually turned on the forge. The former guy doesn't know much about knives. He's familiar with them because he uses them, but he's very comfortable working with metal. The latter knows all the jargon and can talk for hours about the theory involved.

If you point a gun at both of them and say, the first person to make a functional knife will live. The other one dies. Who do you think, under extreme pressure and stress, is best prepared? I know I'd expect the experienced farrier to succeed. He understands how to make things with iron and steel and can transfer his practical expertise to making something different. The latter guy is still at a comprehension level, able to talk about things, but never having done it. Given time... and experience... he could probably figure it out. But under pressure, and with no option for failure (such as in a self defense situation), he is not well prepared.
 

Chris Parker

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There's always a transfer of learning going on, whether someone is going from being a ninja or competing in cage fighting. If a ninja is confronted with real world violence, he or she will rely only on their ability to transfer what they've learned from a guy like Chris Parker (who has said in the past he's never even been in a fight). That's all they get, so in a moment of genuine crisis, it's in their best interest to have a realistic idea of what they can actually do, and what they cannot. I don't believe they can get that from someone who doesn't even have a realistic impression of what he can do himself. The pernicious thing here is that they are being told they are better prepared than someone who trains for sport, and that is borderline criminal in my opinion. It's the same as telling someone they are safer from COVID by drinking Ivermectin than getting vaccinated.

People who train in BJJ or MMA, if confonted with violence outside of the gym, are in the same boat. They are also transferring skills from one context to another. The advantage that a person who trains BJJ has is that he or she has actually applied their skills in context, and so they know how good they are and what they are able to do, because they do it in competition.

Let's say we have two guys, one is an experienced farrier who has never made a knife, but is experienced working with iron and steel, and one who has practiced making knives for years, but has never actually turned on the forge. The former guy doesn't know much about knives. He's familiar with them because he uses them, but he's very comfortable working with metal. The latter knows all the jargon and can talk for hours about the theory involved.

If you point a gun at both of them and say, the first person to make a functional knife will live. The other one dies. Who do you think, under extreme pressure and stress, is best prepared? I know I'd expect the experienced farrier to succeed.

Are you genuinely unable to read simple English, Steve? Really?

"... a guy like Chris Parker (who has said in the past that he's never even been in a fight)"

Dude. Stop. For one thing, that has never been said by me. In addition. I have stated, directly, to you, multiple times that that is far from the case. I have listed numerous physical encounters, and ones that I have managed to avoid physical conflict in.

You constantly lie regarding what I've claimed, and have no clue what the hell you're talking about. Get over whatever the hell your problem is. Now.
 

Steve

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Are you genuinely unable to read simple English, Steve? Really?
Me fail English? That's unpossible!
"... a guy like Chris Parker (who has said in the past that he's never even been in a fight)"

Dude. Stop. For one thing, that has never been said by me. In addition. I have stated, directly, to you, multiple times that that is far from the case. I have listed numerous physical encounters, and ones that I have managed to avoid physical conflict in.

You constantly lie regarding what I've claimed, and have no clue what the hell you're talking about. Get over whatever the hell your problem is. Now.
Calm down. You've also claimed expertise in BJJ, as well. Hard to keep up with what you claim, to be honest.
 

Chris Parker

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EXPERIENCE in BJJ, Steve... seriously, you seem to try to go out of your way to discredit me at every opportunity, despite it all being refuted and refutable. Whatever the hell your problem is, get over it. Now.
 

Hanzou

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And this is what you refer to as the "fluff"? The dangerous techniques... are the "fluff"? You, er, do get the idea of "martial art", yeah?

Yes, the techniques that you can never practice at full power because they're too dangerous to your partner. Thus you never really practice them, nor do you ever gain enough proficiency to use them effectively. Which is why it has been proven to be better to practice techniques that can be repeated in a safe environment over and over in order to gain a high level of proficiency against a resisting partner.

Besides which, did he? Did he "remove" them? Or just remove them from randori practice? There's a big difference there... was it that he "rejected" anything, as you suggested?

He removed them from randori practice. Considering that Judoka don't get tested for Kata knowledge until their Shodan rank (and its only the first kata) that means that the vast majority of the time Judoka are doing randori instead of kata. Heck, some Judo schools have removed kata entirely.

Snide digs aside, did you want to read what I actually wrote? What I said was that the reasons for the changes were largely pedagogical, based in Kano's work in the education system in Japan, rather than for the reason of "practicality"... I said nothing about whether or not anything was or wasn't "practical", or had any results one way or the other... so, sure, argue away... but, once again, you're arguing with something that no-one has ever said...

I would argue that importing new techniques, removing techniques, removing kata, creating new kata, and relegating certain techniques to kata go quite a bit beyond merely pedagogical. You're in fact creating an entirely new martial art. And the point remains, the result was simply a more effective system of martial arts that in turn spawned other highly effective forms of martial arts.

Agree to disagree? No. I'm speaking from a factual standpoint regarding the membership on a global scale, and you're thinking that, as it's not represented in areas you inhabit, it's not still around. One is a comment based in reality, the other on a limited perspective giving a skewed understanding... and, again, practitioners of an art that is not in line with your own doesn't mean it needs to change to be what you do in order to "bring it into the modern era"... if people want to train in something like Judo, or BJJ, or MMA, then guess what? They will. But if they want something more along the lines of what is found in the Takamatsuden arts, then guess what? They'll end up there. And if they want something different again? This is why there are so many options... and if you've found what you like, that's great! It doesn't mean anything other than that you've found what you like, though... so, perhaps you should try to understand what something else is, and (more importantly) why it is what it is, before you insist on changes to bring it into line with your limited approach?

I said we'll have to agree to disagree because I'm not even sure Ninutsu practitioners themselves even know what Ninjutsu is these days. There has been a constant debate about who is teaching the "real" stuff, and it's an argument I simply don't want to get mired into. What I do know is that if someone states that they practice anything related to the Bujinkan, they simply aren't taken seriously. Individuals obtaining 20th degree black belts and being unable to fight out of a paper bag will do that to a system.


Kano didn't think so. Randori was only meant to be a minor aspect, a limited approach with limited (realistic) value... it was a training method that was, by definition, only really usable in a small facet of martial art study... and was never meant to be the focus or defining factor of Judo or the Kodokan.

In fact, Kano didn't consider randori to be the most important aspect... he felt that the Kime no Kata, followed by the Katame no Kata, were the real "heart" of the Kodokan's methods... as that was where the actual "martial art" of Judo lay (especially in Kime no Kata). He also wanted the Kodokan to not just be Judo, but to be a kind of central location for all Japanese martial arts. He felt that only training Judo would lead someone to be a rather one-trick martial artist, incomplete, and that would be further amplified by focusing on randori as a primary focus. This is why he maintained the Koshiki no Kata (Kito Ryu), and developed another dozen or so sets of kata, either newly created (Kime, Katame, Nage, Ju), or were imported from Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu (Itsutsu no Kata) or Kito Ryu (Koshiki no Kata). He also wanted the Kodokan to be the central base for the newer, and newly developing arts, such as Kendo, Jodo, and later Iaido, as well as a number of koryu. This is why he sent students to Ueshiba, why he brought in Shimizu Takauji to teach Jodo to his Yondan and above students, why he invited four shihan of Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu to the Kodokan to teach his senior students "real" martial arts...

Randori, really, was just a training method that could be utilised by any school... Kano talked the newly formed Butokukai into having a jujutsu division (initially it was focused on what they referred to as "kenjutsu", basically early kendo), and brought in a number of teachers of a range of koryu to help preserve them in some fashion. Remember, the samurai era had ended less than half a century before, and many of the old generation teachers were wondering if they had a place anymore... Kano was convinced they did, and that what they taught had value, so he worked with them, and created the Randori no Kata (Nage no Kata and Katame no Kata) to get a core, somewhat simplified set of techniques that could be drilled in randori, and the Kime no Kata to preserve the "heart" of Japanese jujutsu (I've had some great conversations with members of the schools whose techniques went into the formation of the Kime no Kata, comparing how they were altered, and so on... very interesting!). But randori wasn't really meant to be it's own thing, and especially not a focus... back in those days, you only competed with it up to Yondan at the most... and weren't a teacher until Sandan... it was, really, for early development, to be done while you were still young enough... but has come to signify "Judo". It's the beginners version, really.

Kano's intentions aside, the fact remains that you aren't really tested on kata in Judo until you're testing for you first black belt, and even then, you're only tested on the first kata. So that means from your first day in Judo until the middle of brown you're doing far more randori than kata, if you're doing kata at all. That's my point, and it's a far different situation than the 90-95% kata situation you're describing.

When it comes to the idea of "high level of safe sparring and a minor emphasis on kata creat(ing) more effective martial artists", well... no. It created competitors who got good at applying a more limited skill set in a restricted format... if that's the same thing to you, though, that's going to be your perspective... it wasn't Kano's...

So... Judo... sport, training in a competitive format to work in a competitive format... BJJ... sport, training in a competitive format to work in a competitive format... Boxing... sport, training in a competitive format to work in a competitive format... muay Thai... sport, training in a competitive format to work in a competitive format... really, the only thing you can say is that training in a sporting, competitive format helps you in performing in a sporting, competitive format... uh... okay....

This comes down to what we consider martial skill. If a BJJ black belt enters a classical JJ school and can easily submit everyone in there, then clearly the martial skill has been better taught to the BJJ black belt. Now we can toss in a bunch of nonsense to attempt to counter this point, but the simple reality is that most people enter martial arts in order to increase their fighting ability, and in the grand scheme of martial arts history, the martial arts that have less reliance on kata have performed better in terms of fighting effectiveness. Further, most of those competitive sports you mentioned were created for self defense purposes. Kano said Judo can be used for self defense, and the Gracies obviously viewed BJJ as being applicable to self defense. Considering that Toshindo and the Akban have adopted BJJ into their curriculums, it would appear that they have a similar view, despite its sportive aspects.

But, more to the point, you've basically looked at one aim, one context, and looked at four different variations of the same thing. That's not the same as looking at what the randori aims would be in an art that doesn't fit that context or mentality at all... which is my point. You aren't looking at the art itself, you're looking at your (bluntly) very limited and narrow perspective and value set.

In other words, there are any number of other aims for various "sparring"/free-form/randori approaches, each of which will alter the structure employed... and that aim has to be congruent with the art, otherwise, what's the point? You want to to BJJ, do BJJ, you want to do MMA, do MMA, you want to do Judo, do Judo... but thinking something different is going to necessarily match it in aim, mentality, approach? You're doing a disservice to all involved there.

Shouldn't the aim be to create better martial artists? Wouldn't better martial artists be those that can properly defend themselves if attacked? Isn't that the aim of the majority of people who venture into martial art schools?


I also note you've linked a BJJ page from the Akban site... okay, so they may have begun to work with someone from BJJ... it's not featured in any of their approach that I've seen, but it's possible... of course, they have a habit of putting things up to claim they are teaching (and have been taught) a number of things, such as Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu (Portal:Traditional weapons)... and, believe me, they haven't (I do kinda love the comment about "all criticism is welcome"... when I called Yossi out for his Katori posting, he blocked me... ha!).

Yossi started under Doron Navon, a judoka and Feldenkrais teacher who was one of the first non-Japanese training with Hatsumi in Japan, starting around 1966, for the record... which is where the Bujinkan and Judo comes from. BJJ? Without listing who the teacher is? Any rank? Affiliation? Yeah... not sold. And absolutely no HEMA in their work at all. So I still hold that, no, Akban is not what you claimed.

The link says that BJJ is now part of the syllabus of Akban. I did read somewhere that they have also incorporated HEMA into their teachings, however that's rather irrelevant. The relevant point is that you have a Ninjutsu organization actively incorporating outside, modern methods to enhance their perceived effectiveness. Toshindo has also done this (but they hilariously claim it is some Earth-based Ninja style or something) for the same goal. I have seen the newaza from both schools, and yeah the influence of BJJ is very clear, and pretty much proves the point that there are Ninjutsu orgs out there that see a problem with their standard teaching methods and are looking for solutions.
 

Steve

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EXPERIENCE in BJJ, Steve... seriously, you seem to try to go out of your way to discredit me at every opportunity, despite it all being refuted and refutable. Whatever the hell your problem is, get over it. Now.
You're just a convenient example of a larger point, which is that instructors can only share with their students what they really know. And the students will only be able to do what they gain expertise in doing themselves. You can't transfer their learning to practice for them. You can't fake experience, and where the stakes are potentially dire, it's irresponsible to give people an unrealistic impression of what they're really learning.
 

Hanzou

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Rickson is much harder to hold down because he trains in that environment. It's not a matter of a difference between "modernisation vs just working well", as you haven't really differentiated them for one thing, but more importantly, you're just saying that training to a focus and a context works better for that focus and context... well, yeah. The biggest issue is you guys all want to use your focus and context to represent all martial approaches... and the world is a lot bigger than that.

That is a highly narrow view of looking at Rickson's skill set, and what can be applied with that skill set. The ability to hold someone down who is being aggressive and the ability to not be pinned down when someone is on top of you is applicable to a LOT of self defense situations. Frankly it is an invaluable skill to have.
 

punisher73

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There's always a transfer of learning going on, whether someone is going from being a ninja or competing in cage fighting. If a ninja is confronted with real world violence, he or she will rely only on their ability to transfer what they've learned from a guy like Chris Parker (who has said in the past he's never even been in a fight). That's all they get, so in a moment of genuine crisis, it's in their best interest to have a realistic idea of what they can actually do, and what they cannot. I don't believe they can get that from someone who doesn't even have a realistic impression of what he can do himself. The pernicious thing here is that they are being told they are better prepared than someone who trains for sport, and that is borderline criminal in my opinion. It's the same as telling someone they are safer from COVID by drinking Ivermectin than getting vaccinated.

People who train in BJJ or MMA, if confonted with violence outside of the gym, are in the same boat. They are also transferring skills from one context to another. The advantage that a person who trains BJJ has is that he or she has actually applied their skills in context, and so they know how good they are and what they are able to do, because they do it in competition.

Let's say we have two guys, one is an experienced farrier who has never made a knife, but is experienced working with iron and steel, and one who has practiced making knives for years, but has never actually turned on the forge. The former guy doesn't know much about knives. He's familiar with them because he uses them, but he's very comfortable working with metal. The latter knows all the jargon and can talk for hours about the theory involved.

If you point a gun at both of them and say, the first person to make a functional knife will live. The other one dies. Who do you think, under extreme pressure and stress, is best prepared? I know I'd expect the experienced farrier to succeed. He understands how to make things with iron and steel and can transfer his practical expertise to making something different. The latter guy is still at a comprehension level, able to talk about things, but never having done it. Given time... and experience... he could probably figure it out. But under pressure, and with no option for failure (such as in a self defense situation), he is not well prepared.
I think we are more in agreement than disagreement with the point I was trying to make. I didn't say that there was no transfer of skills to a closely associated environment. Nor did I say that it couldn't be adapted or used. The context of what I was saying is that when you transfer an art out of the specific cultural and specific environment it was created in, the system doesn't always function the way it was meant to. I gave an example of how Rickson would change his approach because it would be different than how it was in Brazil. Didn't say it wasn't effective. Rickson understood that there are certain dynamics that come into play in the US that he didn't have to worry about in Brazil. That was also the point of the WW2 combatives. You must adapt arts to fit into a new set of circumstances when you remove them from their original context. Some arts require very little modification or adjustments (many combat sports for example). Other arts are so far removed culturally and historically that you would be better off not trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Let's use Shotokan Karate as an example of that. Historically, Shotokan came from Shuri-te karate in Okinawa. It was developed based on indigenous self-defense methods of Okinawa and influenced by chinese arts to create something new, but still held to their cultural environment. It was a close in system that incorporated striking, stand up grappling and groundfighting (avoiding the ground and how to get up quickly, NOT ground grappling like we think of today). Funakoshi took it over to Japan and changed the art to fit in with the paradigm shift that was happening there. Shotokan became more focused on character development aimed at young military age males. The class structure was completely changed and how classes were done reflected military training at the time (lining up according to rank, drills done by a number count, everything done the same way etc.). Katas were changed and moved away from their combative focus (for example, Wansu kata used to have a dump/throw in it and it was renamed Empi and the throw was replaced with a jumping spin to work on athleticism). To make it more in line with Kano and his approach to Judo, Funakoshi removed the grappling aspect of the art and focused only on the block/punch/kicking of the art to distinguish it and make it unique. Since young males liked to spar, the distance was increased and the distance used was the distance used by kendo and not its original close quarter range. My point? The traditional kata were still kept as a training tool, but the applications didn't make sense most of the time because of the changes. To make Shotokan's applications more workable, you have to remove the elements that Funakoshi put into his art to make it unique in the first place. The question then becomes at what point do the changes give you a new system/art?
 

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I think we are more in agreement than disagreement with the point I was trying to make. I didn't say that there was no transfer of skills to a closely associated environment. Nor did I say that it couldn't be adapted or used. The context of what I was saying is that when you transfer an art out of the specific cultural and specific environment it was created in, the system doesn't always function the way it was meant to. I gave an example of how Rickson would change his approach because it would be different than how it was in Brazil. Didn't say it wasn't effective. Rickson understood that there are certain dynamics that come into play in the US that he didn't have to worry about in Brazil. That was also the point of the WW2 combatives. You must adapt arts to fit into a new set of circumstances when you remove them from their original context. Some arts require very little modification or adjustments (many combat sports for example). Other arts are so far removed culturally and historically that you would be better off not trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Let's use Shotokan Karate as an example of that. Historically, Shotokan came from Shuri-te karate in Okinawa. It was developed based on indigenous self-defense methods of Okinawa and influenced by chinese arts to create something new, but still held to their cultural environment. It was a close in system that incorporated striking, stand up grappling and groundfighting (avoiding the ground and how to get up quickly, NOT ground grappling like we think of today). Funakoshi took it over to Japan and changed the art to fit in with the paradigm shift that was happening there. Shotokan became more focused on character development aimed at young military age males. The class structure was completely changed and how classes were done reflected military training at the time (lining up according to rank, drills done by a number count, everything done the same way etc.). Katas were changed and moved away from their combative focus (for example, Wansu kata used to have a dump/throw in it and it was renamed Empi and the throw was replaced with a jumping spin to work on athleticism). To make it more in line with Kano and his approach to Judo, Funakoshi removed the grappling aspect of the art and focused only on the block/punch/kicking of the art to distinguish it and make it unique. Since young males liked to spar, the distance was increased and the distance used was the distance used by kendo and not its original close quarter range. My point? The traditional kata were still kept as a training tool, but the applications didn't make sense most of the time because of the changes. To make Shotokan's applications more workable, you have to remove the elements that Funakoshi put into his art to make it unique in the first place. The question then becomes at what point do the changes give you a new system/art?
I agree, and I'm sorry it sounded like I didn't (don't). I think the only real point I was trying to make is that training for a context is still not performing in that context. So, we agree (I think) that if you train for, let's say BJJ, and you only really use your BJJ in competition, there's a gap between competition and a street fight.

You trained for one context, and you're using the skills in another, and so there's the potential for failure. How likely are you to succeed? Well, hard to say for sure, but you can look at things like your skill level in context A, the other person or people's skill in context B, how similar context A and context B are, and the cost of failure (i.e, the stakes involved).

All that said, this presumes your skill in context A is functional skill based on real experience... skill level that can be evaluated independently and objectively. Where things go awry is if you train for context B, (i.e, "real world self defense") , but have no opportunity to perform in that context, you are stuck. If you have little or no opportunity to apply your skills, what actually happens is you end up creating a new context... which is super sketchy.

This is the "self defense' training context. At best, you have some skills in a complimentary skill set, much like the BJJ guy. At worst, you have no actual skill set, and don't know it.
 

Steve

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As a related aside, when Rickson goes knee on belly to you - it's like being an insect stuck with a pin in science class.
Giva Santana would make guys tap just from shoulder pressure in side control. He would say he was just giving you a hug.
 

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