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Chris Parker

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Chris,

Like I said before you and I would agree on most points. What I disagree with is broad based comments that are incorrect. You see I and others have been in the room when kata for Kukishinden ryu were covered. So if we can agree that there is good sword work within that ryu then we can agree that people within the Bujinkan can have sword skill sets that are fine.

Hey Brian,

The material held within, say, Kukishinden Ryu Happo Biken Kenpo is great. However, in order to get that out of it, you need to have an understanding of the sword in the first place. There are plenty of clips of people using the material, but getting it completely wrong, because they don't understand the weapon. Having great material does not necessarily equate to having skilled practitioners, sadly. Here's an example:

Jeffery Miller doing things that wouldn't work in reality, mainly as he misses the timing, tactic, and situation that the kata deals with.

Then we have the Pittsburgh Bujinkan, as part of their "Living Densho" series showing Kukishinden Ryu Kenpo Kamae:
Aside from the fact that a couple aren't from Kukishinden Ryu, there are a number of errors with most of the kamae themselves... and what is with that terrible draw at the beginning? You can hear the ha scraping across the inside of the saya! With a real sword he'd find himself splitting the saya and taking off a few of his fingers pretty quickly!

This lack of understanding of sword is further supported by both your and my observations that the only decent sword people in the Bujinkan are those who have gone and sought sword training outside of the Bujinkan itself. The material might be there, but the people to teach it don't seem to be.

What the Bujinkan can lack quite often is people teaching to quickly with little to no understanding of what they are doing. This is and always has been the organizations main issue.

Yep. Of course, why that is could stand some objective introspection....

An organization that grew unproportionately like no other system in the world. (headed under one man and not a government) The Bujinkan did this and it is still an issue of immense proportion.

No, I really don't buy the "we're the biggest, we grew so quickly, that's why it's out of control" argument. The Bujinkan's lack of quality control is not due to the rate of growth or size, but the opposite argument could hold some merit. Again, some objective introspection is good.

Hand in hand would go the way ranks are handed out and you get many, many people completely inept as teachers.

So the question begs why are they awarded a teaching rank and taken into the fraternity of instructors if they're nowhere near ready for it?

However, with this great growth you also have exponents who traveled or lived in Japan and while attending Hatsumi Sensei classes they also attended and received primary instruction with one or several of the Japanese Shihan. Many of these people have received the proper training and in turn passed it down to their students.

I'm afraid even that argument gets shouted down by some.... There has been the argument put forth that the amount of time in Japan doesn't matter, the rank held in the organisation doesn't matter, the relationship to Hatsumi Sensei doesn't matter, the amount of experience doesn't matter, as no Westerners have ever "got it" (aside from Doron Navon... I'm sure you know who I'm referring to that puts this argument forth)... In fact, the argument is that if you're learning under a Westerner, you might as well not be learning the art, as you need to be learning in Japan from one of a few select individuals... who are the ones who taught the previous Westerners.... who you shouldn't learn from, as they didn't get it... which does put some doubt on the teaching credentials of the Japanese you should be learning from! After all, there are over 3,000 Shidoshi these days, and if none of them ever got it, why would you put any faith in their teachers?

I will say that I think that argument (no Westerners ever got sufficient skill) doesn't hold a lot of merit either, but I will say that I see plenty of issues with even the Japanese Shihan's use of sword, so learning from them, due to their status, wouldn't be enough for me. To learn Budo Taijutsu? Absolutely, go to them. To learn usage of the sword? Sadly, no.

I'll put it this way.... one of the things heard in Koryu sword circles, at least in some training sessions I've been in, is "no lazy Bujinkan sword!" It really does pervade the entire organisation.

The Bujinkan I would say has as many people of quality (actually more in my opinion) than in the Genbukan or Jinenkan or any off shoot. What they unfortunately also have is many, many more who are very, very bad.

Hmm, I don't know that the numbers would actually support you, to be honest Brian. But, more important is the second half of your statement. Simple number of "good" people doesn't actually indicate anything other than that those people would probably have been good no matter where they were. Having it be statistically far fewer (1 in 10, say, for the Jinenkan, 1 in 12 for the Genbukan, 1 in 1,000 for the Bujinkan), but relying on the fact that there are more Bujinkan members to give a higher number of "good" Bujinkan people than Jinenkan or Genbukan is frankly fudging the numbers.

Still in the end I am happy to have been and be a part of this because you actually do have the opportunity to be closer to the person who is the source for all of the Takamatsuden arts.

The most important thing, I feel, is to be happy where you are, so fantastic. However, it might be noted that the only person who claimed that Hatsumi was Takamatsu's only heir was, well, Hatsumi. Takamatsu Sensei had other successors in a range of lines, so saying that Hatsumi is the only source for the Takamatsuden arts isn't really accurate either. It gets magnified when the actual Ryu aren't really taught... Hatsumi may hold the lineage of them, but he really doesn't teach them.

What is important though and I mentioned it earlier in my previous post is that it is very, very hard to expect any system to have all the answers. That is some thing that people in any system need to understand. Older instructors from back in the day did a lot of cross training and that is some thing that should continue today!

Hmm, historically, the concept of cross-training, and it's prevalence in certain periods of history was far from a "standard" thing. Certainly a number did train in a number of arts and systems, but the reason wasn't necessarily even to be better at anything... it was that certain Daimyo would reward their retainers with higher wages, better appointments, swords etc for attaining Menkyo Kaiden in different systems. Then there were some systems that wouldn't let you train in anything else if you were training with them.

I quite often think people get confused when watching Hatsumi Sensei. This includes very experienced martial practitioners as well as people that study within his system.

I think the confusion, to be frank, is something deliberate that he does. It's much easier to be marveled at when people aren't sure what you're doing, or how you're doing it. The problem is that he's put himself in the position of being a "teacher", and if everyone is confused, and doesn't know how he's doing what he's doing, that's not teaching, it's putting on a show.

I have often believed that Hatsumi works in the world of possibilities and the what could happen.

Hmm. I'd agree if I hadn't seen so many, many instances of what he does being completely outside the realms of possibilities and realism. What he does is put on a show, and plays with concepts, whether they have anything to do with reality or possibility or not. Which is fine, provided that is understood. If you want to learn the finer details of controlling distance, balance etc, if you want to experience a truly creative martial artist in free expression, which is an amazing thing to witness, Hatsumi is the man, no doubt. But reality and actual possibilities? I'm afraid not.

This has been proven out in that at this stage if you want a good basis in the system then you need to study with his origional students. (ie. the Japanese Shihan)

Unfortunately, we then get back to the idea that none of the other students of the Shihan have really "got it" (according to some)... Additionally, you really shouldn't need someone like Noguchi Sensei to teach you the Kihon. I can certainly agree that he can provide a wealth of insight and knowledge to your performance of them, but you shouldn't need to go to someone of that level for such basic instruction. Maybe some fine-tuning, but that should be it.

Because he works in the realm of possibilities of what could happen he takes the basic fundamentals from the ryu-ha comprising Budo Taijutsu and applies them in a variety of different ways. He applies his skill sets without worrying about being perfect as in actual combat or any violent situation perfect simply will not happen. He shows this and is not worried about it. Not worried about criticism, not worried about anyones opinion. He teaches within the possibilities of what could happen and some times that is not perfect and yet in other times he shows perfection. (or as close to it is possible)

The biggest problem with this is what he says, though. If it was put forth that way, fine, but Hatsumi Sensei does have a tendency to say things like "this is what you need in a real fight... in a real fight, you need to be aware of these things...", even when what he's just shown is so unlikely to occur he might as well have told you that you need to know every language on earth in case the girl you meet tonight is from Lapland, and only speaks Swahili. He also has a tendency to show things that are so unrealistic as to never occur (an unarmed person punches when you have a sword or two in your belt, Hatsumi shows how to draw your sword in responce and use it to cut/lock up the attacker, then says that "you need to be able to access your sword, and draw it this way"(?). No, as that attack doesn't come up in any of the Ryu, and it's Hatsumi playing with ideas, not possibilities or reality. He just dresses it like he is. And completely agreed that he's not fussed about other people's opinions or criticism... but, honestly, that's another part of the issue in the first place.

When you look at iaido instructors and most Japanese systems there is a striving for constant perfection and rarely will you see an instructor show anything that is not very, very close to a very, very tight performance. This is a difference in approach of teaching. Having experienced both I can appreciate both. I think when learning a system one should work very, very hard towards perfection.

Yep, agreed.

However, later on in ones training one needs to place yourself in positions where the perfect cut, technique, etc. is impossible. Whether through technique training, sparring, etc. When rolling with my students I have to constantly take a technique and slightly change it to the moment in conjunction to where the other practitioners body is. Is the technique perfect? No it would not be textbook per se but it incorporates all the fundamentals and has been maneuvered to get the desired result. To many people simply do not understand this in Hatsumi Sensei's approach!

There's quite a difference between needing to adjust a technique in the moment and going off on creative tangents, though.

Out of interest, does anybody know of pubilcally available clips showing good examples of Kukishinden ryu kenjutsu?

If there is, I haven't seen it! If you're looking for material to aid in your exploration, though, I'd suggest a combination of Manaka Sensei's DVD (which covers them in more "technically correct" fashion), and then bring in Hatsumi Sensei's Ken Tachi Katana DVD. He never actually shows the kata properly, but shows the concepts and ideas in a very close fashion (closer than Hatsumi Sensei tends to in any other DVD, he usually has the senior students show the formal kata first, then he explores concepts from it). In this one, there are a few things that are ill-advised in swordsmanship (to say the least), but you'll get a feel for the system itself. You'll still need someone to show you the formal kata, though.
 
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Brian R. VanCise

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I really hate it when every point that a person wants to address is broken up into little quotes. It is an over whelming kind of a thing and I do not care to address all quotes in that fashion. So, having said that I will address things in one paragraph as always.


Chris we will obviously agree to disagree on some points
! You are right on some things and we would agree on many points. However, it would appear that you are also misinformed in other areas. Typically I stay out of internet discussions like this for just this reason. I certainly do not like to generate ill will towards anyone and especially towards me and hope that none has been or will be generated here as I respect you. There is no debating or trying to inform someone on the internet when they already have a perception developed and in a fortress like mode. I do not feel that you are necessarily the best suited to address all issues within the Takamatsuden arts. Not that you do not have a wealth of information, are a great guy and a fantastic martial practitioner. Just that you are not in my opinion the authority on the Bujinkan, Genbukan or Jinenkan because you have not studied within those groups. (ie. your primary training is an Takamatsuden off shoot and by all accounts a good one) If you base everything solely of internet video of dvd's, books, etc. then that is simply not good enough. I am not saying that you cannot have an opinion just that it may not be accurate. The lord also knows that I would not catagorize myself in any way "the expert" on the Bujinkan, etc. Certainly someone with experience who has trained at times with Hatsumi Sensei, the Japanese Shihan, many western Shihan including Doron Navon but not an expert at all. (many of the western Shihan I have trained with are great by the way) The Bujinkan is not my main focus so even though I have been practicing for around twenty years in it I will leave it to the "real experts" to defend it who have sacrificed quite a bit more than someone like myself. Unfortunately most of them stay off MartialTalk at this point in time. Sorry to have bothered but felt the need to address misinformation on several levels. Bagging on another system even when making some correct points does no one any good. Instead it can and does create a culture of this which unfortuantely I believe pervades the internet. it also does no good for the perception of the system of the person putting it forward. Like I said before you and I would agree on many points but neither of us benefit in any way from this conversation. I hope we can though still be internet friends and would love to meet you in person and disucss all things martial and do some training. No ill will or hard feelings on my part. Just my opinion! A conversation like this only lessons each of us! No one gains I will have an opinion that there is some good sword work within the Bujinkan because I have actually witnessed it first hand plus have a perspective on Japanese sword work outside the Bujinkan in order to base that on. You will have a different opinion based on your information. There you have it!
 

Chris Parker

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I really hate it when every point that a person wants to address is broken up into little quotes. It is an over whelming kind of a thing and I do not care to address all quotes in that fashion. So, having said that I will address things in one paragraph as always.

Ha, sorry about that... I have a tendency to prefer to be thorough.

Chris we will obviously agree to disagree on some points! You are right on some things and we would agree on many points. However, it would appear that you are also misinformed in other areas. Typically I stay out of internet discussions like this for just this reason. I certainly do not like to generate ill will towards anyone and especially towards me and hope that none has been or will be generated here as I respect you. There is no debating or trying to inform someone on the internet when they already have a perception developed and in a fortress like mode. I do not feel that you are necessarily the best suited to address all issues within the Takamatsuden arts. Not that you do not have a wealth of information, are a great guy and a fantastic martial practitioner. Just that you are not in my opinion the authority on the Bujinkan, Genbukan or Jinenkan because you have not studied within those groups. (ie. your primary training is an Takamatsuden off shoot and by all accounts a good one) If you base everything solely of internet video of dvd's, books, etc. then that is simply not good enough. I am not saying that you cannot have an opinion just that it may not be accurate. The lord also knows that I would not catagorize myself in any way "the expert" on the Bujinkan, etc. Certainly someone with experience who has trained at times with Hatsumi Sensei, the Japanese Shihan, many western Shihan including Doron Navon but not an expert at all. (many of the western Shihan I have trained with are great by the way) The Bujinkan is not my main focus so even though I have been practicing for around twenty years in it I will leave it to the "real experts" to defend it who have sacrificed quite a bit more than someone like myself. Unfortunately most of them stay off MartialTalk at this point in time. Sorry to have bothered but felt the need to address misinformation on several levels. Bagging on another system even when making some correct points does no one any good. Instead it can and does create a culture of this which unfortuantely I believe pervades the internet. it also does no good for the perception of the system of the person putting it forward. Like I said before you and I would agree on many points but neither of us benefit in any way from this conversation. I hope we can though still be internet friends and would love to meet you in person and disucss all things martial and do some training. No ill will or hard feelings on my part. Just my opinion! A conversation like this only lessons each of us! No one gains I will have an opinion that there is some good sword work within the Bujinkan because I have actually witnessed it first hand plus have a perspective on Japanese sword work outside the Bujinkan in order to base that on. You will have a different opinion based on your information. There you have it!

Here's the funny thing, Brian, I agree with almost everything you say here.... except in some finer details. Really, I haven't "bagged" on the Bujinkan at all, I have stated that sword is not a focus, and it shows. While you state that I'm not in a position to be an "expert" on the Takamatsuden groups, honestly, I'm probably in a better position than most, having had dealings with all three Kans (which includes training, conversations, comparisons, and more), seen how we approach things (we may be an offshoot, but we weren't when I started), trained in Koryu (sword specific), and more. Someone who is pretty much just dealing in one, on the other hand, would be less able to comment on similarities or differences, I feel.

When it comes to using videos as references to base my ideas on (not solely, I might add...), by commenting that I haven't seen what isn't on video, honestly, falls flat. There's, what, 40 odd years of video out there now, including all the DKMS's since 1990, multiple "Training with Hatsumi/Training in Japan" videos and DVDs, then of course, there's the Hiden Densho series, which is basically the video of every one of Hatsumi Sensei's classes over the past 15 years or so as they come out. And, unless the senior membership "turn off" their swordmanship ability whenever a camera is rolling, making observations as to the general state of swordsmanship in the Bujinkan based of such a wealth of video evidence could be taken as being rather valid.

The thing I find most interesting here is that you seem to be arguing against things that I have said. I have stated that it is not my opinion that the Western seniors aren't good, or don't "get it", but that that was an argument that I have heard put forth, as have you. I also stated that I believed that there were good Bujinkan members with sword, but that they got that understanding from outside of the Bujinkan. You agreed with me by basically saying as much yourself.

My argument is really fairly simple. The Bujinkan Ryu contains some very solid swordwork, but, due to Hatsumi Sensei not being interested in it to the degree that he is in Bo and Taijutsu, it isn't focused on. Instead, there is a focus on using Taijutsu, and employing a sword within that framework. This has lead to a lack of actual swordsmanship (kenjutsu) skill within the Bujinkan overall, which you agreed with. This is supported by all evidence that has been presented.
 

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Chris where I have a problem is someone insinuating that there is no good swordsmen or women within the Bujinkan. That simply is not the case. What I do agree with you is that there are some bad ones out there but they are not representative of the best practitioners in the Bujinkan. (this goes with the overall Bujinkan in all areas) The best ones in my opinion also have training outside of the Bujinkan in iaido and that gives them another perspective to work with. I appreciate the concise, technical aspects in my iaido training. Yet, I also appreciate the freedom of movement in Hatsumi Sensei's method of teaching. Having a good foundation from long ago in the Takamatsuden arts I have been blessed. (as have many others) I would not appreciate anyone tearing them down or their teachers. What I also have a problem with is in people going out collecting video clips from some bad examples and then saying here it is everything is crap. That simply is not true and you know it as well as I do. With Soke yes I would expect you can find an interesting clip here or there because he has been filmed like no other martial practitioner ever. However, look at my explanation in a previous post on his methodology and you can understand why or at least attempt to. Hatsumi Sensei is the inheritor of the Takamatsuden arts. This is without question. He also is the principle teacher to the other founders of the Genbukan and Jinenkan. Once again this is without question. He was also a teacher to your teacher as you well know. I find it not to my liking when others are "bagging" on him. He is a revolutionary martial practitioner and there has been attempts recently (few years) to really go after him. I have a problem with that!

Once again we do have many things that we agree with each other on.
 

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Gee this is getting a bit repetative, so i wonder if there is a difference between aiado and iai jutsu , and what you guys think of each , since were going off into sword systems etc,

Regards ,

Greg
 

Chris Parker

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Chris where I have a problem is someone insinuating that there is no good swordsmen or women within the Bujinkan. That simply is not the case.

No, Brian, I've insinuated (actually, outright said) that swordsmanship is not the focus of the Bujinkan, that the way sword is approached is not what would be classed as swordsmanship, and as a result, if you are seriously wanting to focus on sword, the way it is approached in the Bujinkan is not an advised plan. It's really the same as saying that you don't really learn sword in an Aikido school, which you don't. You learn Aiki principles expressed through use of a sword... the same way that, in the Bujinkan, you learn Budo Taijutsu principles expressed through use of a sword. If you're unsure of that (the Aikiken aspect), head to a sword-specific forum and look for anyone claiming to know how to use a sword due to their Aikido lessons.

And the reason for sword not being a focus is that it's not a focus of Hatsumi Sensei's. That's not an attack on him, it's an observation. It's evidenced quite easily by simply watching him with a sword, or a representative weapon. Look to the thread on "Iai in the Bujinkan by Hatsumi Sensei" over on MAP. The clips are removed from you-tube now (I was looking for them for this thread, actually), but they're still easy enough to watch if you have the Ken Tachi Katana DVD, as it's the "extra material" on that disc.

As I said, though, if you look at it as an expression, or exploration of Budo Taijutsu principles with a sword, it's exactly as it should be. The problem comes in when it's thought of as swordsmanship training, and as that was the focus of the book request at the beginning of this thread, it's pertinent to make that point.

What I do agree with you is that there are some bad ones out there but they are not representative of the best practitioners in the Bujinkan. (this goes with the overall Bujinkan in all areas)

No, but what they are is representative of the Bujinkan, whether most of the membership wish to admit that or not. The elitist argument of "well, the ones that put videos out but aren't really any good don't really represent the Bujinkan, because they don't really get it" is frankly no argument at all. Of course they represent the Bujinkan, they are putting up videos based on their Bujinkan rank, showing their take on the Bujinkan art, under the name of the Bujinkan. Whether you (or others) like it or not, they do represent the Bujinkan.

The best ones in my opinion also have training outside of the Bujinkan in iaido and that gives them another perspective to work with. I appreciate the concise, technical aspects in my iaido training. Yet, I also appreciate the freedom of movement in Hatsumi Sensei's method of teaching.

You know, Brian, that just supports what I've been saying... in fact, it's actually repeating what I said first. JKS asked whether there were any Bujinkan members who were skilled with a sword, and I answered that I'd think absolutely there are... but that they would have gained that skill from outside the Bujinkan itself. Since then you've argued against me by restating the exact same thing I already said. Interesting, don't you think?

And when it comes to appreciating Hatsumi Sensei's teaching method, fantastic. Although I have to say that it's completely beside the point, honestly. It doesn't mean anything when it comes to whether or not actual sword skills are taught.... in fact, it's an indication that they're not. That, once again, doesn't mean that what's being taught is bad, without value or merit, or anything else... just that it's not swordsmanship. For the record, though, it's a lot easier to see when you've trained in Kenjutsu, rather than Iai.

Having a good foundation from long ago in the Takamatsuden arts I have been blessed. (as have many others) I would not appreciate anyone tearing them down or their teachers.

I haven't torn anyone down, Brian. I have made observations. None of it has been attacks, stating that Hatsumi is wrong in a number of areas isn't an attack, it's an observation. And believe me, Brian, he is wrong in a number of cases.

What I also have a problem with is in people going out collecting video clips from some bad examples and then saying here it is everything is crap. That simply is not true and you know it as well as I do.

Actually, I looked through every example I could find, and couldn't find anything that I would consider good. It wasn't just a deliberate sample of poor examples... I mean, I included Kacem Zoughari, who many feel is one of the most technical around at the moment, I chose a 13th Dan Shihan, I also had a clip of Hatsumi Sensei himself (after the one I wanted, which centred on sword, was removed), and there is a consistency throughout all the clips. Some hide it better, but the same issues are present. That indicates that it is common to the Bujinkan approach. I mean, if every single example you'd ever seen from a wide range of sources all showed the same thing, ranging over 40 years worth of material, would you still be saying "oh, I haven't seen everything, I shouldn't make judgments about them yet" if it wasn't the Bujinkan? Do you think that, although it isn't your main martial focus, you may be a bit to close to the issue to be looking at it objectively? This is an extreme example, and I mean no comparison between Hatsumi Sensei and the Bujinkan, but how many clips of Ashida Kim to you need to watch to known that there are areas in which he is rather lacking in understanding and knowledge?

With Soke yes I would expect you can find an interesting clip here or there because he has been filmed like no other martial practitioner ever. However, look at my explanation in a previous post on his methodology and you can understand why or at least attempt to.

Yes, I saw your explanation, and, as I said, I found it flawed. I see the idealism you're employing with regards to him, and understand it, but no. The explanation failed. And in terms of "an interesting clip here or there", honestly, I've got gods know how many hours of footage of him, and, when it comes to sword, I'd be hard pressed to find any example where I would say the swordsmanship passes muster as swordsmanship. It would be interesting to sit with you and discuss something like a DKMS video (any of them, really), to compare what we're seeing, but at this point in time, that's not an option. I will say that we are obviously seeing different things due to different experiences and backgrounds, though... but I really do think you're a bit too close to see what I'm actually saying.

Hatsumi Sensei is the inheritor of the Takamatsuden arts. This is without question.

No, it's not without question, actually. Hatsumi Sensei is an inheritor of Takamatsu Sensei's teachings. There were others. And even the ones he claims have been disputed, such as the court case surrounding Gikan Ryu, and one or two other things.

He also is the principle teacher to the other founders of the Genbukan and Jinenkan. Once again this is without question.

With regard to Manaka Sensei and the Jinenkan, sure. But it's also important to note that Manaka also created the Jinen Ryu to focus on swordsmanship, Iai, Jutte etc as he felt the Bujinkan teachings were very lacking in that regard, so there's further evidence of a lack of sword training in the Bujinkan... after all, he was a student of Hatsumi Sensei's for, what, 40 years? Since he was 14?

With regard to Tanemura Sensei and the Genbukan, that's more a matter of debate, and you may get an answer you don't expect if you asked Tanemura himself. Although he spent the most amount of time under Hatsumi, out of all the lines in the Genbukan, only the Gyokko Ryu line comes from Hatsumi Sensei. Nothing else does. They are lines that Tanemura Sensei recieved from Sato Kinbei Sensei, Kimura Masaji Sensei, Ueno Sensei, Fukumoto Sensei, Nagao Sensei, and so on. The line of Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu he teaches is a completely separate one to the Bujinkan, for instance. And, in order to focus the swordsmanship for the Genbukan, lines such as Mugen Shinto Ryu are present, and Tanemura has structured an entire syllabus for sword out of that, Kukishinden Ryu Kenpo, Togakure Ryu Biken, sword found in Daito Ryu (from Nagao Sensei, Ono-ha Itto Ryu), and his own perspective. So, no. Not without question.

He was also a teacher to your teacher as you well know. I find it not to my liking when others are "bagging" on him. He is a revolutionary martial practitioner and there has been attempts recently (few years) to really go after him. I have a problem with that!

Yes, I'm aware of the relationship to my teacher... a fair bit more than you might be aware of. But again, I was not "bagging" on him. I was observing that there are some things that he does incredibly well, and other things where it seems more that the student body allows, or encourages, the image of him as expert in all areas. This is part of where people have a problem, citing the perceived "cult of personality" problem. And, to be frank, saying such things as "he is a revolutionary martial practitioner" is part of it. He's certainly a unique teacher and practitioner, with some fantastic skills gained from a lifetime of training and experience, but he's not really changing anything other than the way the Bujinkan arts are seen. He's not what I would consider revolutionary... as he has caused no revolution. MMA has, as has BJJ in recent decades. Hatsumi Sensei, for all that he has accomplished, has not. Outside of the X-Kan area, he's actually not that well known.

Once again we do have many things that we agree with each other on.

That we do. In fact, most of your arguments against me were done by repeating what I had already stated... so we're probably a lot closer than might be thought.

Gee this is getting a bit repetative, so i wonder if there is a difference between aiado and iai jutsu , and what you guys think of each , since were going off into sword systems etc,

Regards ,

Greg

Hey, Greg.

Yeah, it's a little repetitive... so let's look at your question there! Sadly, there's really not a clean answer, as, as with all such things, the only answer can be "it depends". And what it depends on is what the heads of the systems decided to call it. There's really no hard and fast distinction in Japanese arts that would make one a "do" art, and another a "jutsu" one. For example, I train in a system that contains Iaijutsu (and uses another name as well, again a "jutsu" term), and another which refers to it's approach as Iaido. The Iaido system is bigger, and is certainly a combative form, with a great focus on ensuring the opponent is dead, so it's hardly a more "spiritual" system. Then there are systems that do away with the idea entirely. I was invited to attend the training of a system (as an observer) who refer to their Iai syllabus as just that, Iai. No "do", and no "jutsu". And you'd be hard pressed to find any real distinction between it and the other two other than the individual idiocincrasies that exist in each system anyway.

I'll put it this way: Shinto Muso Ryu, up until the 25th Headmaster, Shimizu Takaji, referred to their system as "Jojutsu". Shimizu decided to change it to "Jodo", in line with Seitei Jo, which he helped create out of Shinto Muso Ryu methods, albeit simplified in a number of ways. However, the change was not universal... and today you can find different lines teaching the same art (with their own "flavour", depending on the teacher and line... the Kyushu line and the Tokyo line can be quite different) named either "jutsu" or "do", with no real distinction between them.

Oh, but just to confuse you, even the usage of the term "Iai" isn't universal... some systems use the term "Batto", some "Battodo", and some "Battojutsu".... and some Jujutsu systems use the term Iai to refer to their Jujutsu unarmed suwari waza!
 

skuggvarg

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Out of interest, does anybody know of pubilcally available clips showing good examples of Kukishinden ryu kenjutsu?

I like this one:

Apart from that, anything by Mr Zoughari. Check out the Shinobi winds DVD where there is a lot of footage on kenjutsu by Mr Zoughari. Chris may not like it but youll be hard pressed to find something better within the Bujinkan (in my opinion).

Regards / Skuggvarg
 
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Chris Parker

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Ah, he's an interesting one... honestly, if it didn't say "Bujinkan" on his clips, I'd swear I was watching a Genbukan practitioner. And that's because he seems to mainly be copying Genbukan material. His Asayama Ichiden Ryu clip is basically copying the way Tanemura Sensei shows Asayama Ichiden (which is distinct and different from other lines), his Takagi Yoshin clip shows him performing versions of the Ishitani Den, which is the line in the Genbukan, rather than the Mizuta Den, which is the one found in the Bujinkan, and then there's this one. The movement, the chiburi and noto, the kamae (with the very straight front leg) are all very much what is found in the Genbukan. So I'd say he's basically copying Genbukan material, or was with them originally.

To the clip itself, though, the first technique is performed with poor sense of distance (moving in to strike with the kashira, then trying to draw and cut with a gyakute nuki), which is done in a way where the cut isn't supported by his wrist, and would have issues in terms of cutting power. The overcut on the second one isn't really very good either, but is pretty much a copy of one of Tanemura Sensei's demonstrations (not actually Kukishinden or Togakure, for the record, but part of the Genbukan Bikenjutsu syllabus, created out of those sources and others, but not strictly the Ryu methods). The third is Togakure Ryu Biken, but done with too much strain on the wrists, which can cause issues with hasuji and absorbing the impact when cutting... but again we see the very Genbukan form of reiho (sword held out to the side, also seen in their form of Tenshin Hyoho Kukishin Bojutsu). The next one is better (and I'm assuming only out of distance for safety), but the fifth, basically a version of Kiri Sage, has a few issues, namely the jam (although safety concepts were probably coming into play there), the running when he didn't have the advantage, and would have been sent onto his backside, and the placement of the kick itself.

Saw that one in my search.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Chris,

You are taking shots whether you feel it or not. You are right in that BJJ/MMA has incredibly revolutionized martial arts in recent years. It is the boom that is going on right now. However, if you go back to the 80's there was the Ninja boom which for better or worse did have a revolutionary effect in that you, I and probably anyone else who studies the Takamatsuden arts would not be studying it unless that happened. It did happen, he is a revolutionary martial practitioner. (in this regard your opinion is well unimportant) No, I am not that close to the situation but instead very objective! that is why it is easy for me to see that you are taking shots at the Bujinkan. I have and do practice Budo Taijutsu and am a member in the Bujinkan but..... that is certainly not my main focus of study. In regards to Tanemura Sensei he came to those teachers already a finished product based on his training with Hatsumi Sensei. So much so that he could easily assimilate minor nuances in teaching and allow them to find someone to carry on their lines. However, he was principally taught by Hatsumi Sensei and there is absolutley no doubt in that! (irregardless of what he says, you say or anyone else says) Maybe knowing a little more regarding Manaka Sensei and Jinen Ryu there is no doubt that he created this ryu-ha so that he could pass on his approach in his way. I would expect anyone at his level to do so! His sword training based though comes from the Takamatsuden arts and teaching directly from Hatsumi Sensei with I am sure some outside influcences as would be expected by anyone studying as long as he has. Both the Jinenkan and Genbukan have maintained extremely tight quality control and it shows. Though I would have to give the edge to the Jinenkan. I applaud them for this as I believe in extremely tight quality control! (that is how I go about my business) As I said before I do not necessarily think you should promote yourself as "the expert" on the Takamatsuden arts. Your system broke off a long time ago and has missed out on maintaining a current feel of the movement and training. I would not bag on your instructor and would appreciate it if you would show the same restraint on the individual that taught your instructor. I think you owe it to him as your training in your system would be mute without him. Once again I would place myself in the exact same position in that I would not characterize myself as "the expert" and would want the people reading this to know that there are other people out there with more experience and more knowledge in this area than both of us. Unfortunately they are not here. My biggest issue with your take here is that you present yourself as this is the way it is when it is not! Sorry! That and you are bagging on Hatsumi Sensei and the Bujinkan and I have a problem with it!

We can continue to go around in circles here. My opinion that you are "bagging" on Hatsumi Sensei is not going to change. Yes, we agree on a lot of things but the above is not going to change. So....... maybe we should drop it!
 

Chris Parker

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Chris,

You are taking shots whether you feel it or not.

Seriously Brian? You're telling me what my intent is now? Really?

Brian, I have a lot of time for you, and a lot of respect from your posts on this and other forums, but you seem to be deciding what I mean in my posts here, regardless of my actual intent or phrasing.

You are right in that BJJ/MMA has incredibly revolutionized martial arts in recent years. It is the boom that is going on right now. However, if you go back to the 80's there was the Ninja boom which for better or worse did have a revolutionary effect in that you, I and probably anyone else who studies the Takamatsuden arts would not be studying it unless that happened. It did happen, he is a revolutionary martial practitioner. (in this regard your opinion is well unimportant)

The MMA boom and the BJJ boom have changed the way the martial arts are seen and trained across the board. Ninjutsu has been affected by it, along with pretty much every other system... things such as the "aliveness" movement, and the idea of a system working in the context of MMA/BJJ has pervaded the martial arts consciousness. Ninjutsu enjoyed large popularity in the early 80's, but it didn't change the way other arts trained. Besides, if anything, we could afford the credit for "revolutionary teacher" to Stephen Hayes, if we're just looking at popularity being given to the system, rather than Hatsumi.

But I have to ask, how is my opinion "unimportant"? Because it disagrees with yours?

No, I am not that close to the situation but instead very objective! that is why it is easy for me to see that you are taking shots at the Bujinkan. I have and do practice Budo Taijutsu and am a member in the Bujinkan but..... that is certainly not my main focus of study.

Hmm, you're not too close to see objectively, yet see attacks where they aren't, and want to put Hatsumi up as a "revolutionary" teacher, then say that my opinion is "unimportant" when I disagree with that assessment, argue that, regardless of even what Tanemura has to say about what he teaches, and where the influence came from, your take is so accurate that "there is absolutely no doubt!"... frankly, Brian, you're getting rather emotionally involved in this discussion, which I'm not. And that kinda shoots your comment down there, honestly.

Besides, the only members of the Bujinkan that I have genuinely "taken shots at" are those who insist that Hatsumi is borderline infallible, a master of everything he does, and anyone who doesn't agree is questioning him and the art. That's who I have a problem with.

In regards to Tanemura Sensei he came to those teachers already a finished product based on his training with Hatsumi Sensei. So much so that he could easily assimilate minor nuances in teaching and allow them to find someone to carry on their lines. However, he was principally taught by Hatsumi Sensei and there is absolutley no doubt in that! (irregardless of what he says, you say or anyone else says)

Seriously? Regardless of what Tanemura Sensei says about his own training? Surely he would have some perspective on the matter, yeah? Yes, he trained with Hatsumi Sensei for a long time, was the Vice President of the Bujinkan, but a number of the lines he learnt feature a lot more than "minor nuances" in terms of differences... and then there's the Ryu that aren't in the Bujinkan as well.

Maybe knowing a little more regarding Manaka Sensei and Jinen Ryu there is no doubt that he created this ryu-ha so that he could pass on his approach in his way. I would expect anyone at his level to do so! His sword training based though comes from the Takamatsuden arts and teaching directly from Hatsumi Sensei with I am sure some outside influcences as would be expected by anyone studying as long as he has.

So... you're saying you're unfamiliar with Jinen Ryu, but are stating where it comes from? I will say that aspects such as the Iai don't really match anything I've seen in the Bujinkan, so I'm not so sure about your assumption there...

Both the Jinenkan and Genbukan have maintained extremely tight quality control and it shows. Though I would have to give the edge to the Jinenkan. I applaud them for this as I believe in extremely tight quality control! (that is how I go about my business)

That they have.

As I said before I do not necessarily think you should promote yourself as "the expert" on the Takamatsuden arts.

I don't. I just present my observations based on my experience and understanding.

Your system broke off a long time ago and has missed out on maintaining a current feel of the movement and training.

See, this argument I just don't get... I understand having consistent contact with seniors to ensure you don't go off the track, and to be corrected as you continue, but as members of the Bujinkan are free to go off in any direction they want, and there seems to be very little correction, rather constant newly created expressions, correction isn't an argument either. To be blunt, the reason the argument is made is so people keep coming back to Hatsumi, not for improvement of their teaching and training of the art. This is then further encouraged (positively reinforced) with fast rank promotions.

I would not bag on your instructor and would appreciate it if you would show the same restraint on the individual that taught your instructor. I think you owe it to him as your training in your system would be mute without him.

I'm more than used to my instructor being attacked... there was a thread about his blog on Alpha Style over on MAP. And really, Brian, all I've said is that Hatsumi has gaps, and one of the is sword. I am being restrained.

Once again I would place myself in the exact same position in that I would not characterize myself as "the expert" and would want the people reading this to know that there are other people out there with more experience and more knowledge in this area than both of us. Unfortunately they are not here.

Here's the thing though... what would you say if those more knowledgable and experienced people agreed with my assessment? Because, when it comes to sword practitioners, they really do seem to. At least, all the ones I've talked with in various fashions.

My biggest issue with your take here is that you present yourself as this is the way it is when it is not! Sorry! That and you are bagging on Hatsumi Sensei and the Bujinkan and I have a problem with it!

Seriously, Brian, I'm not. I'm making observations. I've also pointed out a number of times that these observations are not even indicative of anything inherently negative... as I've said, it's not swordsmanship, it's Budo Taijutsu incorporating a sword. And if you want to focus on Budo Taijutsu in all it's aspects, that's fine and great. There's no problem. But that doesn't make it swordsmanship, just because you think the observation is by definition an attack.

We can continue to go around in circles here. My opinion that you are "bagging" on Hatsumi Sensei is not going to change. Yes, we agree on a lot of things but the above is not going to change. So....... maybe we should drop it!

So... you are now saying that the idea of my attacking Hatsumi and the Bujinkan is just your opinion... without really knowing where my perspective is coming from.... but my opinion based on my observations is "unimportant"? And I'm "taking shots whether (I) say so or not"?

I agree with dropping it, though. If for no other reason than you have not actually presented any counters to my arguments or observations, other than claiming that my observations don't count, even when you state the same thing that I have. Hmm.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Chris,

It is a very old tactic to say some thing nice about someone and then say something negative. You did this in this conversation by saying Hatsumi has great Bo and Hanbo skills but really has no swordsmanship skill. (or some thing to this effect) You did this. You created this. It is on you! I agree with you that his Bo and Hanbo skills are fantastic. (they really are) I also agree that there are a lot of Bujinkan practitioners with terrible sword skills. Your words were more along the lines that there is no swordsmanship in Budo Taijutsu just using a sword with stick movement. In that I disagree. We both know that the ryu within Budo Taijustsu have sword skills within them. I also disagree that there are no good sword practitioners in the Bujinkan. Where we agree again is in the opinion that the best sword practitioners in the Bujinkan also have outside influences in iaido, etc. That doesn't necessarily mean that the sword technique in the Bujinkan is bad just that in "my opinion" it helps to give them another perspective which I think is important in all Japanese sword work. I would say the same thing if a Japanese sword practitioner only practiced iaido in that they would benefit greatly from studying another line of Japanese sword work. My contention is that Tanemura Sensei came as an almost finished product to his other teachers. Everyone knows of the enmity that Tanemura Sensei feels toward Hatsumi Sensei and probably vice versa. I would not expect him to give Hatsumi Sensei a lot of credit but that does not change that he owes him credit for his development just as if you had a riff with your teacher and broke off you would still owe him a lot for your development. You may feel that your just making observations here but...... your criticism is taking shots whether you have the intent or not. In some regards you seem to be taking more shots on here and elsewhere at the Bujinkan and that is just sad Chris. I regret getting in this conversation because I do not like to push back or point out to people online that they are being disrespectful or bagging on a system but here we are.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Chris,

Just wanted to point out that while I might disagree with you on a few things that does not mean I do not think you are a great guy without a lot of knowledge.
 

Aiki Lee

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Perhaps it's time we let this thread die? It really has nothing to do with the OP anymore and though it has been an interesting study in how people percieve differently, I feel no good will come out of continuing this discussion in this fashion.

Just my opinion. For whatever it's worth.
 
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