My Dojo Is Becoming Infected

Archangel M

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I have nothing against Eastern religions, or MA'ists who want to dabble in them.

I think that the hoopla over X-tian based dojos is sort of a tempest in a tea pot. A dojo in the US with a Christian flavor is an issue while Orientalism is "cool"? Theres enough room for all flavors IMO. Pick the one you like.
 

Makalakumu

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I have nothing against Eastern religions, or MA'ists who want to dabble in them.

I think that the hoopla over X-tian based dojos is sort of a tempest in a tea pot. A dojo in the US with a Christian flavor is an issue while Orientalism is "cool"? Theres enough room for all flavors IMO. Pick the one you like.

Absolutely, and if there are no other choices, live with it or don't practice. Personally, I've trained at "Christian" dojos and there was no issues. I don't broadcast that I'm an atheist and I can put my hands together and speak words to "imaginary" things in the sky if that's what is required because it just doesn't affect me. There's no need to be militant and it's probably far more wise to be a religious chameleon, IMO.
 

Kacey

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Absolutely, and if there are no other choices, live with it or don't practice. Personally, I've trained at "Christian" dojos and there was no issues. I don't broadcast that I'm an atheist and I can put my hands together and speak words to "imaginary" things in the sky if that's what is required because it just doesn't affect me. There's no need to be militant and it's probably far more wise to be a religious chameleon, IMO.

At their roots, most religions are a means to transmit moral values - and most have the same moral values, things like "honor your parents", "don't murder", "treat others the way you want to be treated". I have no problem with morality as part of martial arts instruction; I think that if you're going to teach someone how to injure people, you should teach them when such a response is appropriate, at least on the level of "if someone calls you a name, you shouldn't physically attack them, but if a stranger tries to make you go somewhere against your will, anything goes".

I have no problems with Christian dojangs as long as they inform people that's what they are up front. Being Jewish, I tend to stay out of them; I have no problem with other religions, but I get preached at enough about the state of my soul/afterlife/beliefs/etc. without deliberately going somewhere that proselytizes.
 

Wild Bill

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Here is something to think about. If I am reading right this guy was a paying member of the school for three years. If I had trained in an art for three years, gaining rank, and expecting to continue my training in a specific art under a specific organization, I would feel ripped off if all of a sudden the instructor split to do his own thing. What happens if he can't find another ninja school that will accept his rank? Its not like TKD where there is a school on every corner.
 

Bruno@MT

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If the other schools is a Bujinkan dojo, his rank should transfer without a problem into any other Bujinkan dojo, although there might be practical problems, considering that Bujinkan dojos have wildly varying grade requirements. And to any other ninjutsu organization he'd have to start over since rank is non transferrable.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Here is something to think about. If I am reading right this guy was a paying member of the school for three years. If I had trained in an art for three years, gaining rank, and expecting to continue my training in a specific art under a specific organization, I would feel ripped off if all of a sudden the instructor split to do his own thing. What happens if he can't find another ninja school that will accept his rank? Its not like TKD where there is a school on every corner.
Schools split from organizations all the time. I suspect that the OP would not have cared had it been for non religious reasons. His big issue seemed to be wearing the patch.

It's a school patch. This whole thread is a mountain out of molehill. People are way too sensitive and need to get over themselves.

As for being ripped off, you pay for lessons and instruction in ninjutsu. So long as the sensei is delivering lessons and instruction in ninjutsu, he is fulfilling his end of the business arrangement. If three years into it, the OP found that the instruction had declined then find a new place to train. That is what we all do when the quality of any institution declines or when their product changes.

If you've been eating at Hamburger Hamlet for the past three years and they announce that due to health concerns about beef, all burgers will be vegan veggie burgers henceforth and changes their logo to reflect the new menu, you haven't been ripped off. You've gotten three years of great hamburgers. You paid for them, they prepared them. If you don't like the idea of a non-beef hamburger, then go down the road to Five Guys and call it a day.

Unless the student was locked into some kind of contract that prevents him from cessation of patronage, which I don't believe he ever metioned, then he needs to simply go elsewhere. If he refuses to do so, then he's just subjecting himself to it anyway and whining.

And maybe he did leave. Given the age of this thread, he may well be a green belt in another art by now.

As far as rank is concerned, he's a green belt. I'm not sure how far into the system that takes him, but in most schools, it isn't all that far and chances are, his rank would be accepted at another X-Kan school. If not, he should find another JMA school that teaches to his liking. Sometimes the product you want isn't readily available in very many places. If you don't like the place that is providing the product and you cannot find it elsewhere, then sometimes, you end up with another product. Essentially, if Our Lady of Nazorean Ninjutsu is the only Ninjutsu school in town, you train there if you want to train Ninjutsu in town. If the school's patch and churchy atmosphere bug you that much then don't train there.

Daniel
Daniel
 
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Daniel Sullivan

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This is a private enterprise...not a governmental one. Live with it or leave and find a dojo that pleases you.

On a separate topic. I find Westerns who adhere to Eastern philosophies/religions as part of their martial art sort of silly/pretentious/fantasy fulfillment. IMO many martial fantasist's "put on" the eastern religion like they do a Gi.
I believe they call this larping.

Daniel
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I can respect people standing by their principles. But what I find odd is that the 'demonic' stuff was not a problem for the 20 or so years it took to him to become a shihan, and it didn't bother him when he took the godan test.

Only after he becomes a shihan, that is the moment where he 'really can't put up anymore' (what a coincidence) and creates 'Christian Ninjutsu' where all people are 'welcome', as long as they don't mind being told that they're involved with 'demonic stuff' if they're not into Christianity but into e.g. shinto or buddhism.
His timing of doing so is honestly irrelevant. If he didn't experience his conversion until twenty years or so into his training, then so be it. But regardless, it is unimportant.

If the OP doesn't like the direction that the school is going, then its time for him/her to find a new school. Plain and simple.

There have been some changes in direction at the location where I train, albeit not religious in nature. I'm not going to air it on the internet. If I am to decide that the kwanjang is taking the school in a direction that I do not wish to go, then I will bow, thank him for eight years of great classes and go train elsewhere, wishing him the best in his endeavor. The reasons for the change, timing of the change, etc. are unimportant. I either am staying and embracing (or putting up with) the changes or I am leaving. One of the two. If I choose to stay, then I will be respectful and keep the school's business within the school.

Daniel
 

Lionsroar

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I am going to post this as my only reply on this thread to clear up further confusion and perhaps answer a few questions some of you have brought up since my orig response.

In his reasons for leaving the dojo he gave us he attributed them to financial short comings and school priorities. The school priority issues were not the dojo but infact school as in his classes in his high school.

I can't stress enough again that he was never a part of the Bujinkan org, when he started training we had already started taking the steps to seperate from the Bujinkan. So some of your arguments about him being dis-heartend or feeling rippped off because of the tranistion is a mute point. Please also take to heart that Soke Hatsumi gave us his blessing to take the steps to move away from the Bujinkan. Also remember that the Bujinkan is a recognized religion.

As far as demon worship goes, anyone who trains in the 9 ryu of the Bujinkan are well aware of the fact that channeling demonic entities is a foundimental part of the higher techniques. In fact in most of Hatsumi's teachings, books, videos ect he openly discusses how he invites demons in to him to perform certain techniques and infact encourages and teaches us to do the same. Keep in mind I have trained at the Hombu dojo in Japan and seen this first hand as has anyone else who frequents there.

I have not nor have we ever had any short comings or a falling out with the Bujinkan org since the break. We are permitted by Soke to teach the 9 ryu of Budo Taijutsu. We are an open dojo and encourage all to check us out and invite all to consider training. We DO NOT descriminate others in their religious beliefs or followings, we simply replaced Shinto and Buddhism with Christian values. We are a highly accredited school with students world wide and in several law enforcement agencies, special ops and so on...

I also want it to be known that the only reason I decided to put a response on this thread was because the student that started this discussion took the position that he felt he was being discriminated against or looked down upon when infact he not once came to myself or anyother instructor to voice his concerns. Had he, like we always have in the past, I'm sure we could have worked things out with him. It was his choice to take his concerns to a public forum instead of coming directly to an instructor and talking to us in person about things. He decided to leave by sending a brief email and then come here and talk about how his dojo is "infected by the christian virus...."

I do appreciate everyones feed back and positions on the matter, however.

kind regards
 

Daniel Sullivan

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As far as demon worship goes, anyone who trains in the 9 ryu of the Bujinkan are well aware of the fact that channeling demonic entities is a foundimental part of the higher techniques. In fact in most of Hatsumi's teachings, books, videos ect he openly discusses how he invites demons in to him to perform certain techniques and infact encourages and teaches us to do the same. Keep in mind I have trained at the Hombu dojo in Japan and seen this first hand as has anyone else who frequents there.
I appreciate your response and offering the school's perspective. As for those who feel that you've come on and belittled him? Well, the OP took the step of starting this thread and presenting the school in a negative light, so I don't feel that you are belittling him

I quoted the above part because it is the only thing that I wanted clarification on. Not being a practitioner of ninjutsu or a Bujinkan member, do people who train in those nine ryu consider what they do as "channeling demonic entities" or do they consider it using ki or some other description? If so, then they don't "know" and may strongly disagree with your characterization.

Also, on what basis do you determine that what they are doing is channeling of demonic entities? No scripture and verse or 'my sensei told me so' in substitution of an answer, please; I want to know how you determine that what they are doing is demonic.

Daniel
 

Aiki Lee

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Also remember that the Bujinkan is a recognized religion.

This is not the first time I've heard this, but it doesn't make any sense to me. The bujinkan is a martial arts organization. There may be some Buddhist, Shinto, and Mikyo teachings involved but that doesn't really make it a religion does it? Isn't it more of an organization that agrees with specific spiritual beliefs just like your own organization?




As far as demon worship goes, anyone who trains in the 9 ryu of the Bujinkan are well aware of the fact that channeling demonic entities is a foundimental part of the higher techniques. In fact in most of Hatsumi's teachings, books, videos ect he openly discusses how he invites demons in to him to perform certain techniques and infact encourages and teaches us to do the same. Keep in mind I have trained at the Hombu dojo in Japan and seen this first hand as has anyone else who frequents there.

The Japanese concept of demons and gods are far different than the Judeo-Christian concept of such beings. It's not like they are channeling Beelzebub. As a Christian myself I can find why you wouldn't agree with certain spiritual ideas from Japan, but Hatsumi summoning a demon to himself in my mind is like me imagining myself turning into the incredible hulk so I feel strong enough to knock a person on his butt.

I have not nor have we ever had any short comings or a falling out with the Bujinkan org since the break. We are permitted by Soke to teach the 9 ryu of Budo Taijutsu. We are an open dojo and encourage all to check us out and invite all to consider training. We DO NOT descriminate others in their religious beliefs or followings, we simply replaced Shinto and Buddhism with Christian values. We are a highly accredited school with students world wide and in several law enforcement agencies, special ops and so on...

I also want it to be known that the only reason I decided to put a response on this thread was because the student that started this discussion took the position that he felt he was being discriminated against or looked down upon when infact he not once came to myself or anyother instructor to voice his concerns. Had he, like we always have in the past, I'm sure we could have worked things out with him. It was his choice to take his concerns to a public forum instead of coming directly to an instructor and talking to us in person about things. He decided to leave by sending a brief email and then come here and talk about how his dojo is "infected by the christian virus...."

I do appreciate everyones feed back and positions on the matter, however.

kind regards

I, for one, don't question your training, your effectivness, or your morals. You have given me no reason question your motives. What you do is your business and I have no problem with it. High school kids (and many adults) tend to overreact to anything they feel threatens their perception of the world. Bringing in a religious compontent whether Buddhist, Christian, or whatever will always make some people uncomfortable no matter what.

Personally I was a little offended by the OP's talk of a "Christian virus" as if we are some kind of poison that must be cleansed from the earth, but whatever. I shouldn't be concerned with what one teenager thinks and I don't think you should be either.

If you train well and people like what you do and you are an honest person, then things will work out fine and no amount of internet babble will change that.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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This is not the first time I've heard this, but it doesn't make any sense to me. The bujinkan is a martial arts organization. There may be some Buddhist, Shinto, and Mikyo teachings involved but that doesn't really make it a religion does it? Isn't it more of an organization that agrees with specific spiritual beliefs just like your own organization?
I belive that Hatsumi had it clasified as a religion due to some peculiarities in Japanese tax laws.

There is a thread from about two years ago on the topic here: http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=72041

Daniel
 

Lionsroar

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I appreciate your response and offering the school's perspective. As for those who feel that you've come on and belittled him? Well, the OP took the step of starting this thread and presenting the school in a negative light, so I don't feel that you are belittling him

I quoted the above part because it is the only thing that I wanted clarification on. Not being a practitioner of ninjutsu or a Bujinkan member, do people who train in those nine ryu consider what they do as "channeling demonic entities" or do they consider it using ki or some other description? If so, then they don't "know" and may strongly disagree with your characterization.

Also, on what basis do you determine that what they are doing is channeling of demonic entities? No scripture and verse or 'my sensei told me so' in substitution of an answer, please; I want to know how you determine that what they are doing is demonic.

Daniel

Yes he, "Soke" says verbatum that he is channeling demons. Also read any of his liturature, its in there in black and white. Heck take it a step further... one of the 9 ryu actually is called the 9 Demon Schools. When performing the Kuji and Juji you are calling apon and channel demonic spirits to open portals.
 

Aiki Lee

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Yes but a demon in japan is nothing more than a spiritual concept of something with a lot of power.

In America we have the "spirit of freedom" that doesn't mean we channel an actual being that exists when we talk about freedom. Demons, gods, kami are all ideological concepts. They shouldn't be taken so literally I think.
 
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Daniel Sullivan

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Yes he, "Soke" says verbatum that he is channeling demons. Also read any of his liturature, its in there in black and white. Heck take it a step further... one of the 9 ryu actually is called the 9 Demon Schools. When performing the Kuji and Juji you are calling apon and channel demonic spirits to open portals.
If that's what he says (if it isn't then I'll leave it to some one familiar with the soke's writings to debate you on it), then that's what it is. And that would be enough for me personally to bow to the soke and respectfully request to break off... which is what your sensei apparently did and apparently was given leave to do by the soke. No harm no foul in my opinion.

Daniel
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Yes but a demon in japan is nothing more than a spiritual concept of something with a lot of power.

In America we have the "spirit of freedom" that doesn't mean we channel an actual being that exists when we talk about freedom. Demons, gods, kami are all ideological concepts. They shouldn't be taken so literally I think.
Different strokes for different folks. I still don't see any real issue with the sensei breaking off. His school, his rule. From what the OP indicated, the majority of the other students seemed pretty okay with it.

I am curious as to how it all shook out ultimately.

Daniel
 
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kiai

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If I seriously, deep down believed in any kind of religion, I'd see no problem intermingling it with other areas of my life, even martial arts - because the divinity of what the belief entails far supersedes anything existent, tangibly or conceptually, in our reality.

I'd hazard a guess that most religious people aren't truly committed to their belief deep down - otherwise everybody would be doing the same, and living their life in with absolute discipline and asceticism. It's one thing to "believe" in something (which can avert certain existential fears/uncertainties), and to actually act on it 100%, with total discipline and asceticism. I'd hypothesise that religion is primarily used superficially by people, pretty deep down into the psyche, as a psychological self-defense mechanism to avert these existential fears. I personally believe that if most people, deep down, felt their beliefs to be absolutely true, then everybody would be living extremely ascetically: few do this. Despite my disagreement with their beliefs, I at least harbour a respect for their sincerity, and lack of religious hypocrisy common amongst many. Of course, this depends on the religious doctrine in question - but most people I allude to are people "following" sufficiently strict doctrines.

That's my reasoning when it comes to personally intermingling religion and martial arts, despite being atheistically-minded myself. But when it comes to forcing such intermingling onto others - that's when I seriously disagree. How irresponsible of the sensei.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I'd hazard a guess that most religious people aren't truly committed to their belief deep down - otherwise everybody would be doing the same, and living their life in with absolute discipline and asceticism. It's one thing to "believe" in something (which can avert certain existential fears/uncertainties), and to actually act on it 100%, with total discipline and asceticism.
You are confusing commitment with discipline and asceticism. Not all religions mandate or even promote asceticism. And while to live an ascetic life requires a degree of discipline, being disciplined does not automatically equate to commitment to belief.

Then there is the question of how you define the term 'religious.' I hear plenty say that they are 'spiritual but not religious' while others use the terms interchangeably.

I'd hypothesise that religion is primarily used superficially by people, pretty deep down into the psyche, as a psychological self-defense mechanism to avert these existential fears. I personally believe that if most people, deep down, felt their beliefs to be absolutely true, then everybody would be living extremely ascetically: few do this.
Not if your religion is not centered around asceticism. In some religions, it is optional. In others, not a factor at all. And asceticism has really nothing to do with use of religion as a psychological self defense mechanism.

I do disagree regarding the religious self defense mechanism in most people (though certainly in some). Most people use religion as a social club. They go to church because it is the social norm, what they are used to, and because they feel that they 'should' without really thinking very much about why. It is part of western societal norms of decency that are several centuries old. It is assumed that if you go to church, you are 'better than' one who does not. Which isn't really true, given that mafia hitmen can be quite 'religious', but it is a cultural norm.

Outside of religious obligations, many religions offer answers to questions that may not be a daily concern to people, but which people kind of like to 'know' the answer to on some basic level. Also, religion can (depending on the religion) provide vindication for things that we see no vindication for; 'he may have gotten away with what he did to that girl, but there'll be a final judgement and he'll receive his just punishment.'

Despite my disagreement with their beliefs, I at least harbour a respect for their sincerity, and lack of religious hypocrisy common amongst many. Of course, this depends on the religious doctrine in question - but most people I allude to are people "following" sufficiently strict doctrines.
Strictness within a religion is not always uniform. There are many Christian denominations that vary greatly in that regard, each citing scripture and verse to support their level of strictness. I am sure that there is a similar amount of variance in other religions.

That's my reasoning when it comes to personally intermingling religion and martial arts, despite being atheistically-minded myself. But when it comes to forcing such intermingling onto others - that's when I seriously disagree. How irresponsible of the sensei.
I withhold judging the sensei mainly because I suspect that there is more to the story than we are getting.

Daniel
 

kiai

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Not all religions mandate or even promote asceticism. And while to live an ascetic life requires a degree of discipline, being disciplined does not automatically equate to commitment to belief.

I agree: like I said, it depends on the religious doctrines in question. But my main point generalised was that most religions out there do promote (from 'divine sources')
certain discipline/asceticism. It's the selective memory of most followers that I find hypocritical - remembering all of the good things that the doctrine will bring to them (a utopic heaven and immortality), and quietly forgetting or extremely toning down all of uncomfortable elements (be it abstinence from drinking, drugs & materialism; philanthropy, etc.).

And asceticism has really nothing to do with use of religion as a psychological self defense mechanism.

Agreed again - my point is that asceticism should be practised if the doctrine is fully believed (for most of the doctrines do promote this, to some degree - which is disproportionately followed by most "followers")

I do disagree regarding the religious self defense mechanism in most people (though certainly in some). Most people use religion as a social club. They go to church because it is the social norm, what they are used to, and because they feel that they 'should' without really thinking very much about why. It is part of western societal norms of decency that are several centuries old. It is assumed that if you go to church, you are 'better than' one who does not. Which isn't really true, given that mafia hitmen can be quite 'religious', but it is a cultural norm.

This parallels my views, although I think social issues can't account for all of this, even if individually-speaking it is the most dominant factor.

From most of what you say, actually, it seems to me that we are for the most part on the same page - most apparent differences between our points seem to stem from simply focusing on different aspects, and your taking of my previous post to be universally applicable, rather than a 'for the most part of'.

But personally speaking I think religion is based on such flimsy and subjective evidence, that there's no concrete and objective point of reference to discuss anything - it seems that as a result, the participants in most religious debates, despite apparently polar-opposite views, are actually 'violently agreeing'. Consequently, religious debate universally heads nowhere.

For the record, I think a lot of the lifestyle tenets promoted by the various religions are most noble. If religion lacked this unprovable 'divine' stuff, I think I would quite certainly subscribe.
 

Bruno@MT

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The Bujinkan == religion thing is related to the fact that Hatsumi sensei has registered the Bujinkan as a religious organization (not as a religion). There were a couple of reasons, one of which was the Japanese tax law which are much more complex and strongly enforced than in most other countries. One of the tax issues was that his successor would have to pay hefty inheritance fees if Hatsumi wanted to pass on his collection of antique weapons, scrolls, etc. Given that traditional Japanese dojo typically have a kamidana (a small shinto shrine), and have some shinto or buddhism background, it was a sensible move because it was technically correct.
 
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