Shinto-Ryu Iai-Battojutsu USAMartial Arts School in Seattle, Washington
Takizawa Dofu (滝沢洞風) Sensei goes through winter exercises!!
He wore a straw hat and a coat for protection from the rain (Mino). All are Japanese traditional sty...le.
Some people said it is cosplay, but then how do you understand and feel samurai's culture, samurai's knowledge? Actual try gives us time to feel ancient deep knowledge.
To the Seattle School of Aikido community,
As a non-profit volunteer dojo we strive to offer the best martial arts training at the lowest cost to our membership..., but the last twelve months have seen an increase in expenses for the dojo in addition to a decrease in regularly training members. We therefore find it necessary to increase our dues to $80 a month for adults and $70 a month for kids as of January 1st 2018. To help offset this increase, we have also decided to flatten the adult membership model and eliminate the “multiple art” membership. $80/month allows you to train in any of our adult classes: aikido, budo tanren, Shinto ryu, and Icho ryu aiki budo (with instructor permission). We will continue to offer family discounts for multiple training family members, student discounts for our college age members, and financial assistance whenever possible. We do not want anyone to feel that they can no longer afford to train with us, so if you feel this dues increase will affect your ability to continue training, please contact us directly at email@example.com and we would be glad to see if we can work something out. For our younger members, we are glad to announce that we will be adding additional kids classes on Tuesday (beginners from 4 to 5 PM, yellow belt and up from 5 to 6 PM) and Thursday evenings (yellow belt and up from 4 to 5 PM)!
Thank you again for your support and train joyfully!
No Shinto Ryu class this Saturday, December 9th!
Please note that there are no Shinto Ryu sword, Budo Tanren, or Kids Martial Arts classes this Saturday, December 9th. Our teachers are continuing their own tra...ining that weekend at Dan Harden's seminar at Aikido Eastside. Regular Aikido classes are on for Friday night and Sunday morning however!
Board meeting 12/5 8PM!
The next board meeting for Seattle School of Aikido is scheduled for Tuesday, December 5th at 8PM at the dojo. As a non-profit dojo, board meetings are open to ...all members (including our awesome parents!). We will be looking at our finances in particular at this meeting and evaluating a likely dues increase to begin in 2018. Feel free to join us for Budo Tanren/Icho ryu from 6-8PM before the meeting if you'd like to get a workout in beforehand.
In lieu of regular Shinto Ryu class tonight, we will be meeting at the Grand Illusion Theater to watch Blade of the Immortal! Join us for the 8:45 show!
Interesting read on the history of nihonto shapes.
Some great thoughts from Kim Taylor on transmission and adaptation. Well worth a read!
Written on Musashi's bokuto is the phrase "without adaptation". This means you pass along his teachings without addition or deletion, as you ...were taught them. No problem there, if you do his school you do it as he taught it, if you don't do it as he taught it, you aren't doing the school.
But what is "it" that you should not change? Is it the kata themselves or the principles, the methods of teaching, the shape of the bokuto? Is it the method of teaching the kata, or the methods of meditation, the worship of specific gods?
It's a good question, we usually assume it's the kata, not unreasonable, we start with the kata and work through them to the rest of the things that make us efficient fighting units, or enlightened beings, depending on what we are aiming at. Which of course assumes we know what Musashi was aiming at.
The kicker is that Musashi didn't teach only one thing in only one way. At the beginning of his life he was interested in being a good fighter in the wars that were still happening. His advice at one time was to be a good duelist, to come to the attention of a great lord and secure a position on that reputation. Later, as he says in the Go Rin no Sho, he realized that being a good fighter can be a matter of luck, or poor swordsmanship from the other guy. He decided the best thing to learn was Hyoho, the principles, rather than the tricks that win you fights.
As for those tricks, the kata if you will, what about those? Musashi taught many kata when he was young. He left behind more than one school, if you read the histories you hear of the Enmei Ryu, the Nito Ichiryu and various variations carried on for centuries before you finally arrive at the Go Rin no Sho and the five (5) kata of Niten Ichiryu.
Niten Ichiryu as practiced in my line, the Santo Ha Hyoho Niten Ichiryu has sets of 12, 7 and 5 sword vs sword, (plus two more of 5), plus 13 bo vs sword plus 7 bo vs bo plus maybe some jutte plus..... I dunno. Where is all this "without adaptation" here? I mean from five we get dozens? How? This I have wondered about for a while, apparently.
In that article (Why Koryu? Does rare really mean better) I referred to rumours that the art has changed from what I learned. It turns out it had, as I found when I practiced with Imai soke and then Iwami soke. This change I talked about in a couple of articles in PT but addressed specificially in
http://ejmas.com/pt/2009pt/ptart_taylor-3_0909.html "Changes in Koryu: A case study from Hyoho Niten Ichiryu"
In that article I suggest that changes happened in the school in a very deliberate way for a specific reason. This is just conjecture on my part, they may have happened quite slowly without anyone noticing. Regardless, changes happened and they were made by Imai soke. Is this "without adaptation"?
I say it is. I have practiced with three soke of the school now and their verbal instructions are not different from each other, and not different from my teacher's (Haruna Matsuo) instructions to me. I have had four examples from as many generations and I have seen four different ways of doing the kata, some radical and some subtle but all different. How can this be "without adaptation"?
I happened to be re-reading Karl Friday's "Legacies of the sword" last evening and found this passage on Page 143:
"Moreover, as in the case of kata, ryuha tend to cloak the reality of any such change in a mythos of uncompromised bequeathal extending back to the founder, making it virtually impossible to assess the degree to which received interpretations of texts accurately reflect those intended by the authors. At the same time, insofar as ryuha like the Kashima-Shinryu* look upon their task as the preservation of a flame rather than a vessel, unease over possible discrepancies between current and original meanings is largely misplaced. For as the schools themselves view it, constancy to the spirit of the founder's (and subsequent masters') teachings is far more material than maintenance of the form."
Academics love quoting others who support their viewpoint and I'm an academic so listen to Dr. Friday! He is talking of the problem for historians in understanding what certain, deliberately obscure, writings actually mean, and he compares this with the difficulty of knowing that the kata have been transmitted accurately. His suggestion is that it doesn't matter, as long as the principles have been transmitted acccurately. The task is "the preservation of a flame rather than a vessel". In other words, it's not about the kata, the shape, it's about the meaning within the kata. As Colin Watkin would perhaps say, it's about the waza, not the kata.
We do, now, have proof that kata change. We have two or three generations of video to compare and it is interesting to watch the faces of beginners who look at a video of their teacher's teacher's teacher doing kata that looks "wrong" to them.
Imai soke wasn't particularly concerned that we were "doing it the old way" when we demonstrated the school for him the first time we met. He taught us the "new way" and we did the kata the way he taught. We did it because that's the way he was teaching, that was the vessel being used. Iwami soke taught in a different way, Kajiya soke teaches in a different way.
The differences may not even be acknowledged by those teaching them. If I asked Kajiya soke why he does things the way he does them he would probably reply "that's how I was taught them". Yet to my eyes, the details of his practice are different from what I remember of Iwami soke's style, and from Imai soke's style. I didn't ask because I don't care. I would be concerned if one teacher looked identical to another to tell you the truth, I would wonder how much that teacher actually understood the school as opposed to simply copying what he had been taught without understanding what was happening.
We are not identical, one person to another, and it would be unrealistic to expect our budo to be identical.
An image from Watkin sensei that was so nice I told him I was stealing it: Think of a tree. On the tree are branches and on the branches are leaves. I challenge you to find a tree with identical branches and identical leaves. Yet it is all the same tree. The leaves are the students, the branches are instructors, the trunk is the school. The roots are Musashi.
Now, what happens to the leaves should a branch saw itself off?
July 19, 2017