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Archive for the ‘koryu’ Category

Random Thoughts on Succession Issues

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2014. Not to be used without permission

(This post is one I have been sitting on for awhile now and is a bit more “stream of consciousness” than other pieces I have posted. With that said, it has been sitting around doing nothing long enough so here it is.)

Among the numerous aspects of Japanese martial arts that confound and confuse the Western practitioner, the issue of succession in an art probably ranks near the top of list. This is no doubt in part because there is no one clear cut method of succession that covers all the Japanese arts. The idea most people have, even in Japan, is that either a family member or a top student will take over the art when the previous heads retires or passes on. While in some cases this is true, there are numerous variations on the theme of transmission.  (more…)

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Musha Shugyo: The Warrior’s Pilgrimage?

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2014. Not to be used without permission

I recall my days in university when one of my professors in Japanese history warned me to be wary of research that focuses too greatly on one particular angle of viewing a subject. At the time we were discussing a well known work on a particular branch of Japanese religion and my professor was pointing out that the author of the work wrote almost exclusively from the view point of a “true believer” and had mostly ignored social and financial angles that helped explain how this group survived into modern times. This problem is nearly universal in any sort of research and trying to maintain the proper balance of “views” can be a major challenge. (more…)

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Blame It on the New Guy

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2014. Not to be used without permission

The technical differences between various lines of the same ryu are one of the things that many find hard to reconcile in the koryu world. At first glance one would think that varying lines within the same art should be more or less the same, but the reality is that more often than not they are anything but.

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Watch What You Say

Watch What You Say 

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2013. Not to be used without permission

 

Upon joining koryu, the new practitioner will often be required to swear some form of oath and vow to follow various rules required by the ryu. Depending on the tradition this can take different forms ranging from an ultra traditional making an oath sealed in blood sworn to the various deities the ryu worships, to modern updated versions which due away with the deities and blood oaths, (more…)

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“Newbie Questions”

Seen several times on several forums lately:

“Hi, I am a newer student and want to know more about the concept of ABC”

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Kata Practice: “Fixed” Forms?

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2009. Not to be used without permission

Kata practice is the prevailing traditional method of study in Japan’s various classical martial pursuits (and most other cultural arts as well). While this method is the norm, it is not without its detractors, especially among more modern practitioners who prefer more free form methods of practice. The single largest complaint is that kata is “fixed” so (more…)

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Mae: The Kihon of Iai…

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2009. Not to be used without permission

It is well established that the kata “Mae” (and the various other names it goes under depending on the ryu) is the single most important kata in all of the art of iai. This is the first kata taught in most ryu and also the first kata taught in all three of the major iai umbrella organizations’ sets of fixed kata. The basic (more…)

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