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Dean X

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Hi Troy,
I don't think anyone has said anything about not trusting you, Dean, nor about you "proving" yourself. What I have sought is a baseline of what understanding you already have. And, when not providing answers, it's not a matter of not trusting you, it's a matter of the answers not coming from written words, but from your instructor (based on the understanding of the Ryu they're trying to get across to you), and your training itself. I mean, if we sent you back with the understanding that Hicho no Kata has you land forward with your kicking leg (and to the left), then turning back to the right to strike to the back of the head, and you showed that, would that be correct or not correct? Again, your best source of the information (for what you would be teaching) is your instructor... as you would be passing on what they've taught you.

Additionally, your OP was so vague that it wasn't clear exactly what you need... if you know the history of Gyokko Ryu, then you don't need us to tell you about it. If you know what the Kihon Happo is, and where it comes from, then you don't need us to tell you about it. If you know what Hicho no Kamae and Hicho no Kata are, then you don't need us to tell you about them.

So, one more time.... what do you already know, and where is your knowledge lacking?

I was vague for a reason. i dont want to hear someone specific's opinion on the matter, rather to find resources talking about everything (the history of the school, main principles etc...everything you wrote) and then, using the advice of my teacher, to extract the relevant knowledge for my research. if i needed a specific answer i would ask a specific question, but sometimes as you might know, you need to first learn what question you'd like to ask, the only way to do that is to access more general data bases, which is the origin of my request:

to simplify: i would like to find general resources (hopefully online) that talk about the 4 subjects in my OP. i promise that i will use my common senses and advice of my instructors to extract the relevent information from them. if i would not do this, it would be my fault as a student for taking said knowledge for granted, and not trying to understand or learn it's "application" in training, teaching, or real life situations.

thanks,
Dean
 

Brian R. VanCise

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There are a lot of books out there written by Hatsumi Sensei that might help you piece things together. Most are in english so you should be okay there. They should always be your first resource. There is Paul Richardson's book History of the Schools of the Bujinkan.(has some mistakes) I know there are several others but I cannot think of them right now. First and foremost get as much information from your instructor as possible. Next if he is unable to answer your questions maybe he can ask one of his instructors for further clarification. I know at one point I had a distinct question and it went up the chain and was eventually answered by Hatsumi Sensei. (I received a letter from him via one of the Shihan though I had to have it translated) Lots of infomation out there but you are going to have to dig for it! That in the end always makes for the best research!!! ;)
 

Chris Parker

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I was vague for a reason. i dont want to hear someone specific's opinion on the matter, rather to find resources talking about everything (the history of the school, main principles etc...everything you wrote) and then, using the advice of my teacher, to extract the relevant knowledge for my research. if i needed a specific answer i would ask a specific question, but sometimes as you might know, you need to first learn what question you'd like to ask, the only way to do that is to access more general data bases, which is the origin of my request:

to simplify: i would like to find general resources (hopefully online) that talk about the 4 subjects in my OP. i promise that i will use my common senses and advice of my instructors to extract the relevent information from them. if i would not do this, it would be my fault as a student for taking said knowledge for granted, and not trying to understand or learn it's "application" in training, teaching, or real life situations.

thanks,
Dean

To try once more, Dean, what does your teacher say about all of your questions? How do they present Gyokko Ryu's history? How do they teach Hicho no Kata and Hicho no Kamae? What do they say are the main principles of Gyokko Ryu? I mean, that's who you're teaching under, so you're supposed to be representing what they've taught you. If there are specific questions you have with regards to what you've been taught so far (if it's not enough for your paper), ask them... but you really should remember that, even if you're going to "official" websites, you're still going to just be getting "someone specific's opinion on the matter(s)"... and this is a discussion forum. We don't just send you somewhere, we try to answer questions and have a conversation. So, if you are interested in hearing what we might have to say, ask. But the refusal to answer anything you've been asked, and the vague way of asking about specific things means we're not going to get very far here. Up to you, now.
 
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Dean X

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the matter(s)"... and this is a discussion forum. We don't just send you somewhere, we try to answer questions and have a conversation. So, if you are interested in hearing what we might have to say, ask. But the refusal to answer anything you've been asked, and the vague way of asking about specific things means we're not going to get very far here. Up to you, now.

OK, ill go with the flow. lets go question by question:

1. What, In your personal opinion (everyone feel free to answer), are the principles of bujinkan/gyokko ryu/ninjutsu, that appear in hicho no kata? Also, how are they expressed in the kata?
 

Chris Parker

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Well, honestly Dean, I was hoping you were going to answer the questions put to you first... so we'd have some idea of where you are with your understanding. Because, as this question stands, we'd need to agree on what the Gyokko Ryu principles are, as well as the Bujinkan principles, and "ninjutsu" principles, before we got to how they appear in the kata. We'd also need to have some understanding/agreement on how the kata is performed, as that can change the expression/presence of the principles in the first place... as I said, the different organisations perform it differently... and in the Bujinkan it can change from instructor to instructor. This is what I meant when I said that, in order for you to be teaching it, the only real reference needed is the way your teacher has taught it to you initially... as that's the only version that should count for your teaching paper.

But to give you an idea of my take on things, there are no principles from Bujinkan or "ninjutsu" that appear in Hicho no Kata. And everything that is there are expressions of principles from Gyokko Ryu.

So, Gyokko Ryu principles within Hicho no Kata? Well, the Gyokko Ryu riai and ma-ai to begin with, Gyokko Ryu tai sabaki, Gyokko Ryu ken and keri, as well as uke waza, Gyokko Ryu angling and timing, Gyokko Ryu tactics, and Gyokko Ryu kamae, which themselves show Gyokko Ryu tactics and riai.

Ninjutsu principles? None. It's not ninjutsu, it's kosshijutsu.

Bujinkan principles? None. When taken as a single, separate kata, and as part of the teachings of Gyokko Ryu, it is not a part of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, although it can be used to explore and examine Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu ideals, concepts, and principles... but Gyokko Ryu kata don't contain principles of Bujinkan, Bujinkan can contain principles from Gyokko Ryu.... which is a different idea entirely.
 
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Dean X

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Well, honestly Dean, I was hoping you were going to answer the questions put to you first... so we'd have some idea of where you are with your understanding. Because, as this question stands, we'd need to agree on what the Gyokko Ryu principles are, as well as the Bujinkan principles, and "ninjutsu" principles, before we got to how they appear in the kata. We'd also need to have some understanding/agreement on how the kata is performed, as that can change the expression/presence of the principles in the first place... as I said, the different organisations perform it differently... and in the Bujinkan it can change from instructor to instructor. This is what I meant when I said that, in order for you to be teaching it, the only real reference needed is the way your teacher has taught it to you initially... as that's the only version that should count for your teaching paper.

I'll try to give out information as we go, but in some parts, im not sure what i know, because some things i was taught without naming them (as youll see in the next paragraph). in israel we tend to invent our own names for elements and not always use the japanese names as do most other parts of the world (as far as i see), if you have any specific questions about my knowledge ill be happy to answer.

But to give you an idea of my take on things, there are no principles from Bujinkan or "ninjutsu" that appear in Hicho no Kata. And everything that is there are expressions of principles from Gyokko Ryu.

So, Gyokko Ryu principles within Hicho no Kata? Well, the Gyokko Ryu riai and ma-ai to begin with, Gyokko Ryu tai sabaki, Gyokko Ryu ken and keri, as well as uke waza, Gyokko Ryu angling and timing, Gyokko Ryu tactics, and Gyokko Ryu kamae, which themselves show Gyokko Ryu tactics and riai.

Ninjutsu principles? None. It's not ninjutsu, it's kosshijutsu.

Bujinkan principles? None. When taken as a single, separate kata, and as part of the teachings of Gyokko Ryu, it is not a part of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, although it can be used to explore and examine Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu ideals, concepts, and principles... but Gyokko Ryu kata don't contain principles of Bujinkan, Bujinkan can contain principles from Gyokko Ryu.... which is a different idea entirely.

thank you very much :). i have some questions about what you wrote:
firstly, what is ma-ai and riai, i dont know these concepts (at least not by that name)?
secondly, and more importantly, how would you define the other concepts as uniquely Gyokko Ryu? i mean what is the difference between gyokko ryu tai sabaki to koto ryu tai sabaki (for example)?

finally, i stand mistaken about the ninjutsu part (thanks for correcting me), but regarding bujinkan, according to what you wrote, bujinkan is seperate from the nine schools, and might contain principles or concepts from them, but is a wholly different "system". is that so? and if so how can you train in something you have no kata or techniques in? (this last question has nothing to do with my research only my general knowledge)
 

Chris Parker

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I'll try to give out information as we go, but in some parts, im not sure what i know, because some things i was taught without naming them (as youll see in the next paragraph). in israel we tend to invent our own names for elements and not always use the japanese names as do most other parts of the world (as far as i see), if you have any specific questions about my knowledge ill be happy to answer.

Cool. That's not too uncommon in the Bujinkan, really... but in traditional martial arts, using the same terminology is rather vital to actual study of the art, for a variety of reasons. One is that everyone studying it have a common language, but even more importantly, many traditional systems have their own particular use of terminology and jargon, which provide quite an insight into the art itself. The names are never just "the names", and really shouldn't be ignored.

thank you very much :). i have some questions about what you wrote:

Not a problem.

firstly, what is ma-ai and riai, i dont know these concepts (at least not by that name)?

Riai are combative principles, and ma-ai is distancing.

secondly, and more importantly, how would you define the other concepts as uniquely Gyokko Ryu?

Neither riai nor ma-ai are uniquely Gyokko Ryu principles or concepts, but Gyokko Ryu has it's own unique riai (combative principles) and sense of ma-ai (distancing), which is different to each of the other systems.

i mean what is the difference between gyokko ryu tai sabaki to koto ryu tai sabaki (for example)?

Well, that's what I was getting at... do you recognize them as distinct? If not, then how can we progress with the different principles of Gyokko Ryu? If so, you already have your answers...

finally, i stand mistaken about the ninjutsu part (thanks for correcting me), but regarding bujinkan, according to what you wrote, bujinkan is seperate from the nine schools, and might contain principles or concepts from them, but is a wholly different "system". is that so?

Absolutely!

and if so how can you train in something you have no kata or techniques in? (this last question has nothing to do with my research only my general knowledge)

Not all systems are kata-based (traditional Japanese arts are, Jeet Kune Do isn't, and so on)... really, the answer is that each art has it's own training methods, so one thing that is present in one art isn't necessarily required for another.
 
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Dean X

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Cool. That's not too uncommon in the Bujinkan, really... but in traditional martial arts, using the same terminology is rather vital to actual study of the art, for a variety of reasons. One is that everyone studying it have a common language, but even more importantly, many traditional systems have their own particular use of terminology and jargon, which provide quite an insight into the art itself. The names are never just "the names", and really shouldn't be ignored.

I definately agree, and therefore am learning new things and expanding my knowledge every day.


Riai are combative principles, and ma-ai is distancing.

thanks.


Neither riai nor ma-ai are uniquely Gyokko Ryu principles or concepts, but Gyokko Ryu has it's own unique riai (combative principles) and sense of ma-ai (distancing), which is different to each of the other systems.

i got that there are specific riai and ma-ai for each system, but my question is, and i know it is a broad one, how can i define the special characteristics for gyokko ryu? is it written somewhere organized (like the riai for every school, ma-ai,tai sabaki and so forth), or do you just remember everything?

Well, that's what I was getting at... do you recognize them as distinct? If not, then how can we progress with the different principles of Gyokko Ryu? If so, you already have your answers..

i understand there is a difference, of course, but i dont know how to define it in words lol.


Not all systems are kata-based (traditional Japanese arts are, Jeet Kune Do isn't, and so on)... really, the answer is that each art has it's own training methods, so one thing that is present in one art isn't necessarily required for another.

thanks, got it (i think lol)
 

Aiki Lee

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Dean, when it comes to the differences between the different lineages you can start to identify what makes them unique by comparing Gyokko ryu kata to each other and them comparing them to another ryu. The differences in movement, targeting, and striking and throwing methods should become apparent. Of the Gyokko ryu kata I am familar with, there appears to me to be a very specific and effective way of setting up the desired technique through the use of clever footwork. Other than the obvious koshijutsu, this is the most easily demonstated difference between Gyokko ryu and other arts I can articulate at this time.

Oh and Chris, about Hatsumi's statement that the ninpo khon are the essence of all budo, I always took that to mean that the mechanical principles found in the kihon are essential to proper mechanics in martial arts practice. That it something I would mostly agree with.
 

Chris Parker

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I definately agree, and therefore am learning new things and expanding my knowledge every day.

Cool.


Not a problem.

i got that there are specific riai and ma-ai for each system, but my question is, and i know it is a broad one, how can i define the special characteristics for gyokko ryu? is it written somewhere organized (like the riai for every school, ma-ai,tai sabaki and so forth), or do you just remember everything?

No, it's not a matter of "remembering" things, it's a matter of learning them... and the way you do that is you are guided through the Ryu properly, and train it properly. Many of these aspects aren't written down, per se, but they pervade and shape the entire Ryu, it's waza, and so on. Now, that doesn't mean that just by repeating the movements you're actually getting the principles of the Ryu.... but only by training (and repeating) the kata can you get them. This is what I meant when I said it's not written down anywhere for good reasons.

i understand there is a difference, of course, but i dont know how to define it in words lol.

And that's the thing, it's in the feeling more than anything that can be put into words. I have been allowing my seniors to focus on one particular Ryu, and watched one of them performing a kata from his chosen Ryu-ha a few weeks back... then told him that he did it in a very "Koto Ryu" fashion (he's not studying Koto Ryu). His actions were all correct, in the right order, the attack was right, the defence was right... but the "feel" of the movement wasn't. It was too "direct", too "hard".... it didn't move around the opponent, the way his chosen Ryu should, seeking the best entry point. He just went straight ahead, forcing one. So, while the kata was "right", it also just wasn't.

Ellis Amdur, a teacher of Araki Ryu and Toda-ha Buko Ryu, also encountered this (common) problem when dealing with more than one Ryu-ha. He was entrusted to reconstruct a range of kata for Buko Ryu, specifically on Nagamaki and Kusarigama, using the very detailed documents that the Ryu maintained. However, when he first showed them to his teacher, the then head of Buko Ryu, she wasn't happy with them (and expressed that in a very Japanese way...), but it was nothing to do with the kata themselves. It was that the way Ellis had done them had a lot of his Araki Ryu in them. He then went away, and re-did them, pulling them back into line with the mentality and riai of Toda-ha Buko Ryu.

As I said, the real source for all of your understanding of what makes Gyokko Ryu what it is, and what makes Hicho no Kata a part of that tradition, has to come from your training and your instructor. This stuff just can't be written down, as it's all in the experiencing.

thanks, got it (i think lol)

Ha, cool.

Dean, when it comes to the differences between the different lineages you can start to identify what makes them unique by comparing Gyokko ryu kata to each other and them comparing them to another ryu. The differences in movement, targeting, and striking and throwing methods should become apparent. Of the Gyokko ryu kata I am familar with, there appears to me to be a very specific and effective way of setting up the desired technique through the use of clever footwork. Other than the obvious koshijutsu, this is the most easily demonstated difference between Gyokko ryu and other arts I can articulate at this time.

Honestly, Himura, that's the start of it... and is only really true on the most superficial level. It's all the stuff behind that that's where the real Gyokko Ryu lives....

Oh and Chris, about Hatsumi's statement that the ninpo khon are the essence of all budo, I always took that to mean that the mechanical principles found in the kihon are essential to proper mechanics in martial arts practice. That it something I would mostly agree with.

It still only applies to his art, though. Hatsumi's Sanshin means nothing to a Kyudo practitioner, for instance, or a muay Thai competitor... or a judoka.... or, well, anyone else, really. I'd also say that the tactics, principles, and so on expressed therein are counter to a large number of arts out there.
 

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It still only applies to his art, though. Hatsumi's Sanshin means nothing to a Kyudo practitioner, for instance, or a muay Thai competitor... or a judoka.... or, well, anyone else, really. I'd also say that the tactics, principles, and so on expressed therein are counter to a large number of arts out there.

Ok, I hear you. You raise a valid point.
 

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I am undergoing an instructor course in ninjutsu, and we have to write a paper about a technique or kata of our choosing, including a brief history and background, discription of movement in the kata, emphasis' for performing and teaching the kata, and finally a lesson plan for teaching it to a group.

I chose Hicho No Kata form the Kihon Happo.

Why not write it from your own experience. What are your ideas of the form?

Would be better than some copy/paste from internet sources, surely?

And what exactly is an "instructors course"? If it is this outside body, how will they know if your info is correct?
 
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Dean X

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Hey,

I'm advancing with the research. I want to write about where you see Kosshi Jutsu in Hicho No Kata.
I suppose it appears in all the "moves" of the kata, but I'd like you to tell me your opinion and correct me if you think I got it wrong:

So you can see it in the block, as it is a Gyokko Ryu block, with the knuckles (bones) to a weakness point in the forearm.
You can see it in the kick, striking to the suigetsu or armpit (which are weakness points).
Finally, you can see it in the Ura Shuto, where you use the outer bone of your hand to attack the neck artery of your enemy.

Did I miss something? would you define it differently?
 

Chris Parker

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Hmm. Yes, you did.

The first thing to do is to clarify what you feel/believe Kosshijutsu to be, especially within the context of Gyokko Ryu. Mainly as the description you've given here isn't Kosshijutsu.

How have you been taught to identify Kosshijutsu as distinct from other combative approaches?
 

Aiki Lee

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Hmmm. now I'm confused slightly, Chris. As I don't see much wrong with what Dean stated. I'm curious to see where this goes. Perhaps I will learn something new.
 

Aiki Lee

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Kosshijutsu on it's own is the attacking of muscles, nerves, weak joints. Shitojutsu is using the fingertips and toes to strike those targets. What i think your getting at might be that perhaps kosshijutsu in the gyokko ryu context refers mainly to the use of shitojutsu? Remember, you've been at this longer than me. :)
 

Chris Parker

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Right. Nope. Shitojutsu is the old name for what Gyokko Ryu teaches (renamed as Kosshijutsu by Sogyokkan Ritsushi, the 12th head of the Ryu). Kosshijutsu is not the attacking of nerves and muscles, that's an oversimplification and an inaccurate one, as there's plenty within Gyokko Ryu that simply doesn't do that. And no, that's not what I was getting at either....
 
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Dean X

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ok lemme have a try at this philosophy:
Kosshi in kanji (as defined by hatsumi) is 'finger' and 'bone'. as far as i see, there are two main explanations to the meaning of this: the first is practical, which is using the finger or bones (in other words the tips of your body) to strike the enemy weak points. the second and more philosophical ive read somewhere is that to truly learn gyokko ryu you must train "your finger to the bone" or something like that....

question is, how would you define kosshijutsu?
 

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ok lemme have a try at this philosophy:
Kosshi in kanji (as defined by hatsumi) is 'finger' and 'bone'. as far as i see, there are two main explanations to the meaning of this: the first is practical, which is using the finger or bones (in other words the tips of your body) to strike the enemy weak points. the second and more philosophical ive read somewhere is that to truly learn gyokko ryu you must train "your finger to the bone" or something like that....

question is, how would you define kosshijutsu?

Do you think that is the only reading of the kanji?

It's probably best to look at this a bit deeper, there's a knack to this sort of thing.
 

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