Things that make you go ‘Hmmmm’…

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Denna gång är författaren Mark Lithgow.
Mark är känd inom Bujinkan och är den person som bott längst i Noda.
Mark är inte så dokumenterad på nätet, så det blir inte så många länkar.

Fråga gärna mig eller Mats i dojon.

Det är en text med en massa kommentarer.
Som jag skre på Fejjan: “Orkar ni inte hela tråden jag delat här, läs Mark Lithgows inlägg”.

Just det, jag kan inte hitta var originaltråden ligger. Det här är kopierat från en dansk Bujinkankille.

Mark Lithgow:

Things that make you go ‘Hmmmm’….

A couple of seminar posters were brought to my attention the last couple of days. Wow! It really looks like people sit down and think about how to word these things as eloquently as possible to justify that they will basically just be ‘making stuff up’!!! People can be so quick to quote Hatsumi sensei on how important it is to be able to move freely… But where were they the many times that he’s said “Don’t teach what you’ve never been taught!” and “Until 15th dan, it’s important to work on getting strong technique!” What I get from that is that if you want to play at the old ‘free-movement dance’, do it among 15th dans. But to teach to lower ranks at seminars, teach them good strong technique as a base for them to build on!

Just a couple of days ago at the Honbu Dojo, Sensei said “Ato wa renshû dayo!” (Now it’s just a case of practicing it!). Why aren’t comments about ‘practicing’ ever quoted, but quotes that justify making stuff up ARE? I know a little about Japanese martial history too, and seeing some of the ‘history’ on some of these seminar posters is embarrassing! As I said… Hmmmm!!!!

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Du, Sveneric Bogsäter, Elias Krzywacki, Oliver Piskurek og 77 andre synes godt om dette.
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Billy Ristuccia Like, Like, Like, Like, Like… oh sorry just hitting the Like button a few hundred times!

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Nick Armsworthy Well said Mark, well said.

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Stu Klemm Well said Mark, I am sorely tempted to attempt some joke about some esoteric something that we are studying this week. But, I’m sorry, we’re just practicing ukemi gata taihenjutsu and kihon happou, with a bit of zan shin thrown in for good measure… “Yawn….” Aren’t we wonderful? Our excellence is only exceeded by our humility. LOL

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Paul Richardson Brilliant post

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Jan Peter Tanja *applause*

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Rich Maloof Thank you.

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Steve Delaney (スティーブン・デレイーニ) Kihon, kihon, kihon!

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Roger Andersson in general I’m guessing people want to ‘be good’… ‘becoming skilled’ takes too much time and study… but I’m just guessing here

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Norman Victor Meldrew Smithers Or partly because they believe they are as good as the grade they have?, as Steve said, Kihon, Kihon, Kihon.

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Billy Ristuccia I suddenly feel the need to cancel all my Gikan Ryu seminars. ;p

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Ashley Curtis Egos and the Bujinkan go hand in hand unfortunately.

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Norman Victor Meldrew Smithers These egos are sometimes fed from those in Japan unfortunately

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Steven Hesterman very well put

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Martin Faulks Question for Mark Lithgow and Michael Pearce. Where did the whole “make your own martial arts” idea come from in ninjutsu ?

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Mark Lithgow Maybe that’s a good test of character Norman…. Having your ego fed, but keeping your feet on the ground!

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Norman Victor Meldrew Smithers Totally agree Mark

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Mark Lithgow: That’s an interesting question Martin. When I first came to Japan, we simply did basic techniques. We’d line up in the dojo and march up and down like in a karate dojo, punches, blocks, shutô, kicks, etc. We’d work on having strong movement and strong technique… on having a strong structure to our body. THAT’S what we used to call ‘Taijutsu’. Then we’d run through the Sanshin no Kata, and then we’d work a lot on Kihon Happô, with no henka. After that the teacher would go to the Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki and we’d work on a few techniques from there. We’d work on the ‘textbook version’, and maybe a couple of ‘henka’. The henka would often be textbook henka too… working from a different side, or from a different attack… but usually closely based on the original kata. Over the years, Hatsumi sensei and some of the others got bored teaching the basics, assuming that people who came here for a couple of weeks a year were spending the other 50 weeks of the year at home practicing the basics and practicing what they’d learned over here the time before. Little by little they started stressing the henka more and more. Stressing the importance of being able to adapt to the situation. Unfortunately, people took that the wrong way. When they were here, they saw Sensei doing henka… making stuff up… and they felt that they should just go with that, and felt that they were qualified to make their own stuff up too. The 50 weeks a year that they are not in Japan, rather than working on their own technical base as Sensei intends them to be, I think many (though, of course, not all!) are just taking the easy way out by making their own stuff. As far as seminars go, I think that it probably comes from this idea that many people have that ‘people attend seminars to be impressed’ attitude (Personally I don’t agree! I think they go there to LEARN! …To take something home that will add to their own training!). They want to show students things that they’ve never seen before. There are so many seminars these days that many teachers feel that they have to outdo others by showing ‘new’ things. To show new things, they feel the need to make stuff up.

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Jeff Christian Thanks for the history, Mark.

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Michael Pearce Don’t get me started. Great post. I remember those days. God they were hard but great.

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Christopher Davy Thanks Mark! Great post!

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Martin Faulks So basically people who should be learning scales are trying free form jazz because the the teacher does that in his performances.

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Mark Lithgow LOL…. Exactly Martin!

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Martin Faulks So thats my all the notes are wrong!

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Phillip Legare: Very well put Mark Lithgow. I think you’ve identified the problems exactly. People don’t practice building that strong base 50 weeks a year anymore. We just all want to imitate Soke. I recall not all that long ago Soke calling out a gaijin to demo the first kata from the go gyo and he did the kihon instead. Soke turned to some of the Japanese and said we don’t know our basics. For the next year he told the Japanese to just teach the basics. At the next year’s DKMYS the same result happened and Soke said basically the same thing. Noguchi Sensei then taught the Tenchijin for the next couple of years, in fact he was still teaching from his notes last November. The bottom line is we just don’t practice building our base enough. I think it’s great that whenever you or Mike teach a seminar here you ground everything on building a strong base. I recall Mike even being ordered to teach basics at least on two of his trips over too. So obviously this is something that is extremely important yet we all seem to have missed it over here. The other issue on seminars, well don’t get me started as Mike said. Suffice it to say there are too many seminars being offered way too frequently everywhere. In order to get a big turn out you have to teach sizzle. Or at least that is what many think they need to do to sell the seminar. Who wants to pay $175 for 2 days of basics and hearing, you suck, anymore? Funny thing is, people WILL attend if the instruction is good, reasonably priced and spaced out/coordinated so as not to overburden the students. But that would mean coordinating teaching events amongst the dojo leaders and limiting who and how often people come over. Coordinate between dojos? The horror of it all !! Back to the ego again. Last note. There are many gaijin who live in Japan now who never had the old line drill experiences you both have had. They may only train with Soke and may only know henka. Some of these guys are teaching seminars on the only thing they know and have zero base to support them. These guys , in my opinion, are continuing the false perception that this is what we should train on the most (and not our base). And they probably think they are doing a great job imitating Soke and giving us just what we pay for!! Okay sorry for high jacking your post Mark. I am off for a coffee!

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Martin Faulks Is it that flashing or exotic things get people to come to seminars ?

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Phillip Legare Sizzle = sexy.

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Phillip Legare Sexy = sales.

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Martin Faulks The irony is the sales are not that good for most events

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Phillip Legare Same here, but I have been lucky in these last few years after moving back. I do try to coordinate my seminars, I only have a few big name instructors come in each year (like Mark one year, Dean the next) and I have some really talented senior instructors living within a 4-5 hour drive to draw from. Our recent black belt seminar was very well attended. Karl Koch, Morten B. Østenstad, Don Schmidt, Steven Schmidt were some of the instructors. Funny, I can’t remember when the last time was that I did my own seminar here at my own dojo !! I am enjoying bringing people in like Mark Lithgow, Michael Pearce, Dean Rostohar so I can continue to learn and grow too. To me, that is the secrets to having a successful seminar. Coordinate, dont over saturate, pick great instructors that you yourself want to learn from.

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Brent Earlewine: “Quality Control” either starts from the top, or it has to be self imposed. If the top of an organization does not establish and then enforce/re-enforce baseline structure and methodology, then it falls to the individual to do so. Unfortunately, human nature finds the illusion of self importance and “look at me” too alluring to make self imposed quality control work consistently as a method for decent standards. When you add the ego trap of martial arts into this discussion, it magnifies the problem. We in the Bujinkan are our own worst enemy. By design or by accident, Soke essentially leaves us to our own devices. Senior instructors around the globe offer what they think students want. As Phil-San states – sexy/sizzle sells and each tries to outdo the other. This dynamic would stop almost instantly if each instructor that wanted to offer a seminar had to ask permission to teach it, AND had to prove they knew the subject well enough to even offer it! And to paraphrase Michael and Phil – don’t get me started on the issue of over saturation of seminars within the Bujinkan… In the meantime, my students and I are doing a several month step by step review of Kyu level material. Again. See you on the mat

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