Posted On:10/26/2008 9:45pm
Style: 剛 and 柔
So the CMA forum has all these threads of interviews with old Chinese masters discussing, in essence, aliveness and hard training and the value of sparring. I thought the JMA forum had to catch up, and a quote that Sang referred to over in f4nf4n's RNC/near-fight thread lead me on the path to precisely one such JMA interview.
Sang's post ( No BS Martial Arts - View Single Post - Backing away from a fight.... ) quotes Takamura, who says:
Originally Posted by Yukiyoshi Takamura
"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence.”
(DCS has also quoted Takamura, as well as Ghandi, in a brilliant post here No BS Martial Arts - View Single Post - Does MA really train to fight in real life? but that is not relevant so moving on...)
I searched for the Takamura quote, and (oh god, I pray I didn't miss it on the search function) I thought I would post it here, seeing that Takamura says even MORE insightful things related to the practice of techniques using uke and tori:
These terms are common in modern budo, but not very common in traditional bujutsu
...the character of martial arts:
Without physical and psychological conflict there is no "martial" in martial art. Fear, to be overcome, must be confronted and experienced. Fear must become part of your life experience. Appreciation of fear and the appropriate reaction when confronting fear is the sign of a mature martial artist. Are not your dojo mates and teacher the ones that you should ultimately trust when learning to confront your fears? In a real dojo, they are. Remember that most people who call themselves martial artists are nothing of the sort.
...aliveness (or, in his words, realism and training with fear):
Some people observing your training might consider it unusally rough. Is this true?
I don't think that is an accurate observation. The term "rough" implies to me frequent serious injuries. Are we more realitic in the way we approach our training? I must say yes. When we practice striking, we strike very hard. If you miss your block or technique you will get hit hard. We practice unorthodox attacks and we practice them at very high speed compared to most dojos. We intend to instill a more realistic amount of stress into our situational training. The fear of receiving hard strikes at high speed creates stress that simulates the fear response felt in a genuine confrontation. Eliminating this type of training only converts the art into calisthenics. It does nothing to prevent injuries.
The whole interview is at http://www.dojoofthefourwinds.com/takamura.html
My point is that good TMA is alive, good JMA is alive, and that good MA involves a rational, thoughtful, respectful set of teachings and relationships. I'd really appreciate any thoughts on this interview, or any others you find that are similar.
Since people have questioned Dojo of Four Winds, Don Angier and his Nami-Ryu, here are your links, O skeptics:
As I see it, he's legit but interestingly not koryu--his teacher authorized him to teach, but not under the same ryu.
Shime Waza Test Dummy
Posted On:10/26/2008 11:52pm
Style: StrikeyGrappling & WW2-fu
Originally Posted by 1point2
(DCS has also quoted Takamura, as well as Ghandi, in a brilliant post here http://www.bullshido.net/forums/show...2&postcount=50 but that is not relevant so moving on...)
That's Ueshiba-sensei. Not Takamura. Same lineage, tho, suppose it doesn't matter.
"Judo is a study of techniques with which you may kill if you wish to kill, injure if you wish to injure, subdue if you wish to subdue, and, when attacked, defend yourself" - Jigoro Kano (1889)
***Was this quote "taken out of context"?***
"The judoist has no time to allow himself a margin for error, especially in a situation upon which his or another person's very life depends...."
~ The Secret of Judo (Jiichi Watanabe & Lindy Avakian), p.19
"Hope is not a method... nor is enthusiasm."
~ Brigadier General Gordon Toney
Posted On:10/27/2008 8:28am
DCS' quote is from the interview with Takamura that I linked to. He also quotes Gandhi (Ghandi? spelling WTF?) on the value of self-defense in addition to nonviolence.
Where's the Ueshiba quote?
Valiant Monk of Booze & War
Posted On:10/27/2008 8:47am
If you're gonna do this, do it right. Copy/paste the whole thing like in the CMA thread, that way if it ever gets taken down, we still have it. Spanx baby.
Posted On:10/27/2008 9:23am
It won't submit--I think it's too long. Tried a few times.
Last edited by 1point2; 10/27/2008 9:26am at .
Posted On:10/27/2008 9:27am
It is okay to do something like this:
Posted On:10/27/2008 9:40am
Or do multiple posts...
Posted On:10/27/2008 10:05am
Yeha, that's what I mean should have been clearer.
Posted On:10/27/2008 10:28am
Part 1, Takamura Interview
INTERVIEW WITH YUKIYOSHI TAKAMURA
Aikido Journal 117, Fall 1999
For our readers who are unfamiliar with the Shindo Yoshin-ryu system, would you talk about its origin and characteristics?
Shindo Yoshin-ryu was founded by a Tokugawa clan retainer, Katsunosuke Matsuoka in 1868. Matsuoka Sensei studied Yoshin-ryu, Hokushin Itto-ryu, Jikishinkage-ryu, Tenjin Shinyo-ryu jujutsu, and Hozoin-ryu. He based Shindo Yoshin-ryu on Yoshin-ryu, but added concepts from other schools as well. He believed that the Yoshin-ryu concept of passive defense was incomplete and needed the balance of positive heiho or tactics. The original Japanese characters of Shindo Yoshin-ryu were "new willow spirit," but they soon were changed to "sacred willow spirit."
The original Shindo Yoshin-ryu curriculum could be more correctly considered a bujutsu than jujutsu as many weapon techniques are included in the curriculum (mokuroku). However, the popularity of judo and the waning interest in weapons training resulted in much of their influence being lost by the early 20th century in the mainline martial arts traditions.
Several of the roots of our school begin in the early years. My grandfather Shigeta Ohbata was originally a Yoshin-ryu student of Hikosuke Totsuka like Matusoka. Totsuka was evidently quite fantastic. My grandfather trained at his dojo before he met Matsuoka Sensei. In his day, Totsuka was thought to be the match of anyone. An absolutely wonderful technician. In his prime, it is said he was unbeaten by anyone including opponents much larger than him.
Despite my grandfather¥s great respect for Totsuka, he left the Yoshin-ryu after meeting a student of Matsuoka named Ishijima. Shigeta eventually received a menkyo kaiden (teaching license) in Shindo Yoshin-ryu around 1895. Matsuoka and Shigeta both trained in Jikishinkage-ryu under Kenkichi Sakakibara so they developed a close friendship. My grandfather did not intend to start his own school but had effectively done so by the early 20th century. This became known as the Ohbata school. He built his own dojo with the help of a friend named Hasegawa in the Asakusa district of Tokyo.
Shindo Yoshin-ryu is well-known in the Japanese karate world because Wado-ryu jujutsu kempo (karate) founder Hidenori Otsuka received a menkyo kaiden in Shindo Yoshin-ryu. A common misconception of most Wado-ryu practitioners is that Hidenori Ohtsuka became the headmaster of Shindo Yoshin-ryu. While he did receive a menkyo kaiden in Shindo Yoshin-ryu, several others did as well resulting in several schools. The original (Matsuoka) line succeeded through Motoyoshi Saruse to Tatsuo Matsuoka and still exists today in Japan.
Sensei, when did you begin your training in martial arts?
I don¥t know for sure. My memories of being in the dojo go back very far. Both my father and grandfather made me train while a young boy. I was already accustomed to being in my grandfather¥s dojo so I probably started actual training around five or six years old.
Were you taught by your father and grandfather?
Yes. As I mentioned, my grandfather received a teaching license from Katsunosuke Matsuoka. He, in turn, taught my father. My father and grandfather both taught me. Matsuhiro Namishiro Sensei continued my instruction after the death of my father and grandfather.
Would you tell us more about Namishiro Sensei?
He was one of my grandfather¥s most talented students and my father¥s closest friend. He also trained extensively in Shinkage-ryu kenjutsu and Shindo Muso-ryu jojutsu. He had the greatest influence on my sword technique. Although my grandfather trained in Jikishinkage-ryu under Kenkichi Sakakibara and taught this art to my father, the majority of my instruction was in Shindo Yoshin-ryu. I learned very little sword technique, from my father and grandfather. My grandfather evidently considered the passing of his Shindo Yoshin-ryu teaching license to be extremely important. He intended to pass it to my father upon his return from victory in the war against America. However, sometime in 1944, the reality of what was happening in the Pacific War must have led him to realize that my father might never return home.
When I was only sixteen years old my grandfather formally presented me with a menkyo kaiden at the dojo. This was entirely symbolic as I was in no way proficient enough to deserve such a license. He privately instructed Matsuhiro Namishiro Sensei to complete my training if he and my father did not survive the war. Confirming his greatest fears, both he and my father died in 1945.
Wasnt your grandfather afraid that Namishiro Sensei might also die in the war?
No. Prior to the war, Namishiro Sensei was severly injured in an accident during kenjutsu practice. He was completely blinded in his left eye. This injury left him unfit for military service but did not seem to affect his martial ability. Upon his recovery he was as good as ever. We often tried to take advantage of his compromised vision, but it was as if he could see better without his eye. He occasionally wore an eye patch of sorts. The sliced-open eye socket made for a gruesome reminder of the seriousness involved in kenjutsu training. Occasionally, he would remove the eye patch and insert a wooden eye with a slice painted on it to frighten his opponents during a match. I remember one time when a young tough entered the dojo in military uniform saying that he could cross a bokken with anyone. Namishiro Sensei flipped his eye patch up and exclaimed that he had once been so bold but had lived to become more humble. The young tough sort of slinked out of the door as Sensei explained how hard it was to get a wife looking like he did. Namishiro Sensei bellowed with laughter after the guy left. He was quite a sight!
Earlier you discussed the origins of the Takamura school. There seems to be an influence of Shinkage-ryu kenjutsu as well.
Yes, the influence of Namishiro Sensei left a large impact on the Takamura school. He was a great teacher and his expertise in Shinkage-ryu really influenced my training. His grasp of the martial concepts and secrets of Shinkage-ryu are obvious within our school, especially at the upper levels of instruction. Although my father and grandfather both studied Jikishinkage-ryu, it was Shinkage-ryu through Namishiro Sensei that most influenced my kenjutsu. It was only natural that many of these concepts would be incorporated into the Takamura school.
Did both your father and grandfather perish during in the war?
Yes. My father, Hideyoshi Ohbata, was a high-ranking army officer and reportedly died on Saipan late in the war. My grandfather vanished in one of the firestorms that raged in Tokyo during the American bombing campaigns. We believe he was in the Asakusa area staying with a friend when he was killed. This area of Tokyo was completely destroyed by the bombing. One morning he was supposed to attend a meeting including the press and local politicians. He did not show up which was very unusual. The call immediately went out and many of his friends including his students started searching for him. Many of his friends had connections with the police and the search for him was intensified but he was never found. It was a great loss.
You mentioned that your grandfather¥s dojo was located in Asakusa...
Yes, Asakusa is in the north part of Tokyo. I think the dojo was located between Sensoji and the Otori Shrine. A wealthy man named Hasegawa helped my grandfather build it. He was involved in the construction business and was also a student. By the time I was training he was no longer around, but my grandfather mentioned him often. The dojo was destroyed during the bombing raids. I never saw it afterwards but Namishiro Sensei did. Tears were streaming down his face when he returned. He said nothing could be saved, not even my grandfather¥s swords.
Was the dojo ever rebuilt?
No. Several years ago we tried to find the location of the original dojo, but everything is so different now. It was impossible to tell where the exact location was. Even the streets are all different now. A few landmarks told me that I was very close, but again everything was so changed. The last time I saw my grandfather¥s dojo I was only about 15 or 16 years old. You see, we left Japan soon after the dojo was destroyed and eventually settled in Sweden. I returned to Japan many times over the years but never really tried to find the exact location until recently. My mother had moved back to her original home in Otsu so I seldom had the opportunity to look for it.
Posted On:10/27/2008 10:29am
Part 2, Takamura interview
You indicated that your grandfather trained directly under Kenkichi Sakakibara, one of the most prominent martial artists of the late 19th century. Would you tell us what you recall hearing about your grandfather¥s experience training in Jikishinkage-ryu and what you happen to know yourself about the famous teacher? Takeda Sokaku was also supposed to have trained under Sakakibara Sensei. I wonder if this is the connection between your grandfather and Sokaku.
Unfortunately, I know very little about Sakakibara Sensei except that my grandfather met him during a demonstration and had towards him an almost divine reverence. One thing I do remember that I was told by Namishiro Sensei was of my grandfather¥s strength in "positive heiho of ippatsu" (Instant victory with one stroke). He attributed this tactic to Sakakibara Sensei and said that it affected his decision to leave the Yoshin-ryu and pursue training, in Shindo Yoshin-ryu.
In going over my notes I find that Sakakibara, according to Namishiro Sensei, was quite aggressive in his kenjutsu. This influenced Namishiro Sensei in his application of techniques and his way of instructing me. He specifically talked about how Shigeta admired Sakakibara¥s strategy of employing feinting and countertiming followed by a very powerful attack. The use of hip movements in successful feinting is extremely important as, without it, the feint will fail when one is confronted by an experienced opponent. In my notes I also found mention of the heiho totsuzen-totsuken concept. This refers to the strike from the subconsciousness, so fast that you youself are not aware you have made it. It exists in only the most dangerous and superior swordsmen. It is a technique of true masters.
Its interesting, 20 years ago nobody had ever heard of Sokaku Takeda. Now I get asked about him all the time. Your magazine has done some very good articles on him. Many people attempt to minimize Takeda Sensei¥s perceived influence on aikido. That is too bad because it is very disrepsectful to Ueshiba as well as Takeda. Would it not be just as disrepectful for my students to minimize my grandfather¥s influence on what I teach today? What I teach and the way I teach it is quite different from what he taught me, but his influence will always be there and deserves proper recognition.
Many people also attempt to make Ueshiba Sensei into a god. What foolishness! Ueshiba Sensei was just a man. Maybe all this talk of Takeda Sensei will bring the aikido world back down to earth. Many will, however, resist it because it¥s always easier to convince people to follow a god.
I understand your grandfather also knew Kotaro Yoshida. He was one of Sokaku¥s senior students and received a kyoju dairi or instructor certification. In what way were they connected?
My grandfather worked for a Tokyo newspaper as a reporter and traveled often. He had many friends in government and politics. He met Kotaro Yoshida while traveling. Yoshida Sensei and my grandfather discovered they had much in common so he introduced my grandfather to Takeda Sensei. I know my grandfather met Takeda Sensei several times but I am not sure when or where. It was possible that it was Hokkaido because my grandfather Shigeta traveled often. I had the impression that my grandfather was more impressed with Yoshida Sensei than Takeda Sensei. I don¥t know why I have this impression. It may simply be that he talked about Yoshida Sensei more. I know my grandfather was very impressed with Yoshida Sensei¥s technique and regarded him as a martial artist of phenomenal ability. Yoshida Sensei was instrumental in Morihei Ueshiba being introduced to Sokaku Takeda. He is also well-known for instructing Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushinkai karate, and Richard Kim. My grandfather adopted several concepts and techniques from Yoshida Sensei and taught them in the dojo. We still do these forms as part of the Takamura school.
I know Yoshida Sensei and my grandfather still traveled together sometimes after 1930. Yoshida Sensei visited my father¥s house with my grandfather on several occasions when I was a small boy. I remember being scared of Yoshida Sensei. He dressed funny and occasionally played mean tricks on me. One time I even hid under the floor when I knew Yoshida Sensei was coming! It¥s very funny now when I look back on it.
I found out later that Yoshida Sensei had a son named Kenji. This was interesting news as my grandfather never mentioned that he had any family or children. The son evidently traveled to America and eventually passed their family art to a student in the USA. His name is Don Angier and I witnessed several demonstrations by him in Los Angeles many years ago. If I remember correctly he was a police officer at that time. He is an excellent technician.
I have an old picture of my grandfather with Yoshida Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Hiratsuka Sensei and Inazu Sensei. I¥m not sure when or where it was taken. An interesting thing is that several years ago Don Angier Sensei sent me a picture of Kotaro Yoshida Sensei by way of a mutual student, Toby Threadgill. In the group with Yoshida Sensei is my grandfather! It was a big surprise to receive a photo of my grandfather from Angier Sensei. It must be from 1935 or later as my grandfather looks to be the age I remember him.
Yoshida Sensei was purported to have been a member of the so-called "Black Dragon Society."
I believe Yoshida Sensei was a member of both the Kokuryukai and the Genyosha as I believe my grandfather Shigeta was. I know very little particular information about these groups. I know they purposely approached many who embraced bushido to raise their numbers and influence. The military version of bushido was seen as a distortion of samurai ethics by some of the upper class who resented the commoner military. Real samurai were not commoners so the commoner army would be destined to failure. This tactic was used effectively to encourage persons of samurai heritage to join these groups and the military. It was a grave error of judgement and the part these groups played in Japan¥s destruction should not be underestimated. But I do believe many who were members of these organizations were simple patriots and not aware of Japan¥s real imperial pursuits. Some families are still ashamed unjustly for their ancestors¥ membership in these organizations.
Please describe the present status of the Shindo Yoshin-ryu school in Japan.
It has been a long time since I have had contact with the mainline Shindo Yoshin-ryu dojo in Japan. I last saw Headmaster Tatsuo Matsuoka around 1970, I believe, when I made contact through Taro Kozumi, a student of Hidenori Ohtsuka and Kinosuke Abe. I believe Matsuoka Sensei died about ten years ago. This left the future of the mainline of the school uncertain. I have also heard that the headquarters dojo was a victim of fire and do not know if it was rebuilt. I think Fujiwara Sensei is in control of the future of the mainline school, but I have no idea of his intentions. I am not even sure how many mainline dojos exist now in Japan. The last time I heard I believe there were four or five. Takagi Iso, until his recent retirement, maintained a Takamura school dojo in Osaka. Senior student Hashimoto Sensei is considering teaching at a new dojo, but the situation there is not settled.
The Wado-ryu jujutsu kempo headquarters dojo still teaches Shindo Yoshin-ryu in Tokyo. I understand that Shindo Yoshin-ryu does not generate much interest within the Wado-ryu now. This is too bad as Wado-ryu founder Hidenori Otsuka held a menkyo kaiden in Shindo Yoshin-ryu. He received his license from Tatsusaburo Nakayama Sensei around 1921. My grandfather knew Otsuka only slighlty but thought highly of him. He was a man of exceptional reputation. I hope that Wado-ryu does not loose its jujutsu roots which makes it one of very few karate styles to have a bujutsu heritage. I know some Wado-ryu dojos that still have a jujutsu influence as in earlier times. Kozumi Sensei came to me in 1968 from Wado-ryu with excellent jujutsu skill. Many years later, one of our present senior instructors, Toby Threadgill Sensei, came to me from a Wado-ryu sensei named Gerry Chau with equally impressive Shindo Yoshin-ryu knowledge. It is regretful that this has now become the exception. Sport karate matches seem to drive the future of Wado-ryu away from its jujutsu roots. It would be good news to hear that this impression is incorrect.
You mentioned earlier something I think is very important when you said that the original Shindo Yoshin-ryu school is more correctly a sogo bujutsu (comprehensive martial system) than a jujutsu because it includes weapons training in its curriculum. Would you talk more about the historical reasons for the elimination of a large part of these old martial systems and the pros and cons of practicing the specialized modern martial arts?
The modern idea that old jujutsu are weaponless arts similar to judo is not correct. The truth is there are many jujutsu arts which are fundamentally different. The very old jujutsu bear many names such as yawara, kumiuchi, kogosoku, hakuda, and koppo, etc. Mostly these are true koryu (classical martial schools) and were conceived for battlefield combat against armor-clad soldiers. Most of these systems were not very intricate as they were quickly taught to ashigaru (foot soldiers) and include more simple weapons. Some of the more intricate systems included advanced techniques and weapons such as the kusarigama (chain-and-sickle), tanto (knife), or even kodachi (short sword). They were invented so that lightly armed and armored samurai could successfully engage superior armed and armored opponents.
Jujutsu in the Edo period changed due to the extended era of peace. These arts adapted to address the new reality of an environment without armor. The old systems changed while many new systems were founded. These schools still included much weapons training as the basic principles and techniques of weapons were still the heart of martial systems. Certain weapons, however began to fall into disuse as others gained in favor due to the new reality. The end of armored warfare saw a decline in the use of the nagamaki (long-bladed halberd), yari (spear) and other weapons.
Weapons such as the jutte (truncheon), tessen (iron fan), sode garami (sleeve entangler), tanto and jo were more emphasized. Changes in weapon techniques, which were the core of an art, also affected the application of unarmed techniques. Eventually, unarmed techniques developed more of their own flavor due to the popularity of unarmed contests. This signaled the beginning of judo-like jujutsu and the end of many true classical traditions. By the turn of the century, many schools began to ignore much of the weapons curriculum in favor of unarmed combat. The popularity of judo, founded by Professor Jigoro Kano, forced even greater change on many of the older jujutsu schools. This is somewhat of a mystery as the real innovation of judo was not in the area of technique as much as in teaching methodology. Judo adopted a more scientific approach to teaching and explaining physical technique. Older jujutsu schools still used mystical explanations using ki and other such concepts. Scientific explanations appealed to most of the public as more modern and superior to outdated martial mysticism. This resulted in the public embracing judo over jujutsu and other Japanese classical schools. Kano was also successful in making judo seem to appear more upper class than jujutsu. This was very shrewd as the truth is exactly the opposite. Judo is more a commoner¥s art while jujutsu was an art of the samurai.
So, what is commonly called jujutsu today is, for the most part, not the jujutsu of old. What are commonly practiced today as jujutsu are actually small parts of complete martial systems called bujutsu or bugei. There are many reasons for learning only part of a martial system. The most obvious is the simple truth of the changing reality of the environment. Changes in technology and military tactics led inevitably to weapons falling into disuse. Where a weapon system survives it does so for a reason different from that of its original value. This is why iaido is more popular than iaijutsu and kendo is more popular than kenjutsu. Neither the spiritual nor sporting dimension of the sword existed when it was invented. The sword was developed as a tool of war. Other aspects of swordsmanship came later. Some of these aspects were adopted by the warrior class because they found them beneficial, but these things were secondary. The bottom line for the warrior is the vanquishing of the enemy. This must not be forgotten. This truth is what makes a martial art "martial."
Sometimes old martial arts or weapons retained their value over long spans of time and great changes. Tanto were used by samurai as an alternative weapon, but the knife is still on the belt of modern warriors as a companion to modern firearms. This is amazing when you think about it! The knife may be one of the all-time greatest weapons due to its versatile nature. History seems to confirm this.
Another reason for learning only a part of a bujutsu system is simply time. We are not warriors 24 hours a day now. The modern world only affords us so much time to train so we practice what is realistic to learn. To learn a bujutsu completely would be a full-time job. Very few people have time or wish to make sacrifices of this magnitude for bujutsu. It is better to learn one aspect of a bujutsu well than learn all of them poorly. Also, we are free to learn what most appeals to us. Some learn the sword, some learn jujutsu, and some learn naginata (halberd). This is good in that it gives future generations freedom of choice and opportunity.
Some people think that learning only jujutsu without studying a complete bujutsu is not good. I regard that as the view of a dilettante. It is better to learn something well than to learn it poorly or to learn it to impress others because it is exclusive or difficult. Learning to impress someone else and not for yourself or for the teachers who came before you is not a proper motivation. The best martial artists are driven to train because of a love for the arts, a love for their teachers now and in the past, rather than themselves.
Lastly, there are those of us who are committed to and accept the sacrifices of learning and teaching a complete bujutsu or bugei. We are not better than our friends who choose one part of a bujutsu or who practice modern martial arts. We practice a complete system because we believe and hope that there is a bonus worthy of the sacrifice. It does exist. It is understanding the technical and historical core of a martial school. A true bujutsu or bugei tradition is a cohesive puzzle. Every separate aspect combines to strengthen the whole and complement each other. The realization that individual techniques are not the art but rather a temporary reflection of a deeper set of concepts and martial strategies is liberating. This allows us to embrace and understand the okuden (secrets of the art). Mastery of these principles allows a martial school to grow from generation to generation from old applications to new. Through the okuden we grasp the intellectual genius that appears after years of training in a true bujutsu. It is like an old signature of many masters, each one visible on top of one another, each one part of a greater whole. This is what makes a ryu (school or style) a ryu.
Cobbled together systems which include different arts like karate mixed with aikido are almost always missing the signature of genius. It would be better to keep the systems separate because combining them erases most of the signatures of all previous teachers¥ wisdom. They are separate traditions whose concepts and truths are not really compatible. They were conceived in different environments for different reasons. Let them succeed at what they are instead of failing to be what they were never meant to be.
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