Do you play Samurai?

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Do you play Samurai?
Original Poster: Bushi
Forum: Japanese Martial Arts
Posted On: 31-03-2005, 10:08

Orginal Post: Bushi: I have been wanting to discuss this topic for quite some time, but never found myself in the mood until now. This has been brewing below my belly for a little while now and it is only now starting to find a voice. Having said that, let me propose a question that has been eating at me.

Are the -Jutsu arts dead? What I mean by that, is it possible in this modern age to truely be studing anything other than -do? And if there is no way to study -jutsu are you fooling yourself by claiming to train/study Kenjutsu, Jojutsu, Iaijutsu, Jujutsu etc.

The reason I bring this up, is there have been numerous posts and threads concerning the spelling of Jitsu, jutsu and the like. There have been numerous threads about this and that art being battlefield tested and proven. Can a person in the 21st century actually study a -Jutsu, or are they just playing Samurai?

Wouldn’t what your learning be labelled better as -do? Since the application you will be appling in your subconscious and conscious mind be toward the modern world and not some Medeival Battlefield?

Should we label those that think they study actual -jutsu with the same label we put on those that play Knight and Welch at a Renissance fair?

If the purpose for your training is anything other than destroying the Enemy clan, aren’t you by definition training a -DO?

This is a Nihon art based discussion.

Post: Bushi:

I would like to qualify that I walk this line and this is a question I too need to answer.>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

1) Your making the assumption that the medieval battlefield is necessarily very different from modern self defense situations. I could argue, not saying I believe, that this is not true.
2) You seem to be implying that mastering a craft for simple enjoyment rather than for the purposes of “destroying the enemy clan” somehow invalidates the pursuit. Although modern armorers who will make your chainmail coifs and tunics for large sums of money are not providing their services to their King’s army, I don’t think it in any way changes the nature of the training involved into learning how to make armor. Just to use an example.
3) A school of the martial arts is similar, in many ways, to a school of philosophy. A specific lineage of masters passed on their principles to others. There is no longer an active school of philosophy that has carried its lineage directly from the original Socratic Academy, but anyone can study his principles and try to master his rhetorical technique. The same applies to martial arts. Maybe the lineage has been broken, or maybe the principles are outdated, but you can still study it.
4) Furthermore, it also appears that you wish to define the term jutsu as an art that trains one fully for the current reality of combat. Therefore, any modern self defense program could then be labeled as jutsu. Perhaps only modern Japanese schools could do that, but you get my point. If the difference between jutsu and do are based around temporal aspects and applicability, then anything current and real-world ready can be a jutsu and we don’t have to play samurai. Instead we play SWAT team or whatever.>

Post: setsu nin to:

I actualy dont see any point in discousing -jutsu vs -do, besouse these are two diferent princips or approachs to the art, not two diferent styles. First one -jutsu is approach that we should use in real situations or whatever people call it. Other one, -do, we should use in sparings, turnaments, competitions…

Which one to use? Well in my opinion much better question is when to use, than which one to use. In my opinion in competitions -do approach is much more effective, becouse rules are adopted to it. In real situation -jutsu is more effective becouse its not limited with rules.

Are some -jutsu styles effective or not depende on style and teacher and not on fact that these style is -jutsu.
More than 90% of JJJ teachers on the west are fake and have fake licence and diplomas so we shouldnt mix real JJJ with fake McDojos.

About studing Kenjutsu, Iaijutsu, Jojutsu…
In my opinion what you should learn depende on you. I often go to mountins and I wear bo (maybe I change it to jo) with myself and noone looks me wrong becouse moust people have sticks with themself. Ofcourse that I walk with it around it in twon police would put me in lunetic, but in mountins its normal. Also some principes and techniques from bojutsu you may use in hanbojutsu which is much more adopted for use in town.
Kenjutsu/Iaijutsu are great arts, but Daito/Katana is to long to take it with yourself and police would put you in lunetic. But Kenjutsu/Iaijutus will teach you princips (and many techniques) of sword art that will be more than helpful in Nito Kodachijutsu or Kodachijutsu.>

Post: BLACK PANTA:

I moved this to the Japanese forum for obvious reasons.>

Post: Bushi:

I understand both of your points completely.

I am trying to get away from the semantical arguement and enter a more practical area as it pertains to the term -jutsu. Let me try this:

Lets say I train Takenouchi-ryu Jujutsu. My teacher has the perfect lineage as Setsu likes and he has been given all autonomy from the head of the system to teach the art. Now this should alleviate “the fake Jujutsu” arguement (whatever that means). Since I am in the 21 century can I still be training in a -jutsu? I will be training for self-defense, personal empowerment, confidence building, etc. Hasn’t the purpose of the art changed and therefore its category from -jutsu to -do?

This may seem silly, but it seems like a vaild question. Am I not really training in Takenouch-ryu Judo? (Its hard to say that since Judo is hard to seperate from the Kodokan even in my own mind).

The Meiji restoration ended the pursuit of Bujutsu and birthed the age of training Budo, did it not? I’m sure people practiced Budo prior, so do not use that to “strawman” the point.>

Post: setsu nin to:

Well if we say that you train in Takenouchi-ryu Jujutsu under some licenced Sensei than you would train in -jutsu and only in -jutsu. You wouldnt train in -do.
So we cant discous here about -jutsu and -do becouse Takenouchi-ryu Jujutsu is -jutsu.

If you whant we may discouse would Takenouchi-ryu Jujutsu techniques be useful to you today in modern time.
In my opinion which ryuha to chose is individua and depende on person whant what that person whants from martial arts and for whant purpose that person need martial arts.
Takenouchi-ryu Jujutsu could be interesting to you in my opinion, usefull things that you will finde there will be, in my opinion, Jujutsu, Hojojutsu, Jojutsu, Kodachijutsu and Tantojutsu, Tessenjutsu…>

Post: setsu nin to:

Sorry I had to go so I didnt have time to responde to other part of your post.

Takenouch-ryu Judo? Well if there is some school with these name, but that it is gendai school and not koryu. Changing Takenouch-ryu from Jujutsu to Judo school would be totaly absutd in my opinion and Takenouch-ryu Judo would have totaly diferent techniques than Takenouch-ryu Jujutsu, plus you would have to throw away many techniques.

“The Meiji restoration ended the pursuit of Bujutsu and birthed the age of training Budo, did it not? I’m sure people practiced Budo prior, so do not use that to “strawman” the point.”

In my opinion we shouldnt mix -jutsu and -do as addition to Ju, Ken, Iai, Jo… with Bujutsu and Budo. Bujutsu or martial traning, describe technical part of art, while Budo describe spiritual part of art. Also these terms we shouldnt mix with Koryu and Gendai terms too.>

Post: Bushi:

I can see this thread was a waste of bandwidth….oh well.>

Post: zefff:

Bushi, what is your point or query in this thread and why does it only concern Japanese arts? Im only trying to understand what your saying so please dont take offence. I dunno nothing about Japanese arts at all but are you asking if it is a delusion to practise a battlefield method that can never be alive due to the social context of our time?

I didnt want to interupt this thread but I am interested in the subject and dont want this to die without understanding what your thoughts are, especially considering your experience. Im sure the question cant be something individual to Japanese arts.

Respect,

Zefff>

Post: Bushi:

I am saying that intent comes before content.

If a person studies a -jutsu in these modern days he is actually studing a -do. This has nothing to do with the effectiveness of a particular art. My point is that No one studies -jutsu anymore, only -do that was once a -jutsu. The pursuit of Bujutsu ended with the fall of the Samurai. It was replaced by the pursuit of Budo, so the Bujutsu arts have become Budo even though they are still labelled -jutsu. They are not actually -jutsu anymore.

I have heard people mock those that study an art call Jujutsu-do, but the more I think about that, it kind of makes sense.>

Post: setsu nin to:

As I said In my opinion we shouldnt mix -jutsu and -do as addition to Ju, Ken, Iai, Jo… with Bujutsu and Budo or with Koryu and Gendai terms.

ALso I realy cant get why we couldnt practice Jujutsu or Kenjutsu or Bojutsu today. I get that your point is that we cant study it today, but I dont get why?>

Post: Hengest:

I think, with Japanese styles at least, you have to look at the original intent of the style. Takenouchi Ryu was created for the battlefield, pure and simple. While its techniques may not be directly applicable to modern living, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it was designed for combat and not simply a form of exercise. Therefore you are learning a “-jutsu”.

Judo never had the battlefield in mind. It was developed for physical and spiritual conditioning and that remains its purpose today. Therefore you’re learning a “-do”.

But the whole “-jutsu” vs. “-do” thing is a particularly Western thing anyway, mainly down to Donn Draeger’s misunderstanding of the terms. The Japanese don’t tend to make such a big distinction anymore. As an example, the term “budo” dates back to at least the 15th century and was used in much the same way as “bujutsu”.>

Post: Bushi:

In the ancient times I assumed they studied -jutsu wearing armor. Most of the Kito-ryu’s techniques are designed for the warrior and opponent wearing armor. Do you spend the required time in that vein?

For those that study -jutsu is their intent ever the battlefield today. Now if one says yes, then I have to ask aren’t they really training Modern military Combatives or a bastardization of the Koryu art (they profess to train) and therefore a completely different art (according to the Koryu crowd), thus proving the point?>

Post: Hengest:

[quote=Bushi In the ancient times I assumed they studied -jutsu wearing armor. Most of the Kito-ryu’s techniques are designed for the warrior and opponent wearing armor. Do you spend the required time in that vein?

For those that study -jutsu is their intent ever the battlefield today. Now if one says yes, then I have to ask aren’t they really training Modern military Combatives or a bastardization of the Koryu art (they profess to train) and therefore a completely different art (according to the Koryu crowd), thus proving the point?[/quote 

Some schools were katchu bujutsu (i.e. designed for use in armour), others were suhada bujutsu (i.e. designed for use while in everyday clothes) and some schools taught both. To my knowledge, and somewhat unsurpisingly, there aren’t many pure katchu schools still practiced today. However, there are schools that still have katchu techniques on their curricula, e.g. Takenouchi Ryu and Enshin Ryu, and, in Japan at least, these techniques are still taught wearing armour.

I would seriously doubt that anybody seriously practices pure bujutsu for the battlefield today. Why would they?

But then neither of these points has any bearing on my original arguement, that it is the original intent of the system that determines whether it is “-jutsu” or “-do”. As an example, if I play piano simply because I find it therapeutic I may therefore consider it therapy. But it doesn’t follow that the piano should then be considered a therapeutic tool by everyone. It may be many different things to many different people but to the piano’s inventor it was no doubt simply a musical instrument. To my mind it is the same with bujutsu. People may practice it for “-do” reasons, but that’s up to them. That’s not what it was created for.>

Post: Bushi:

Last questions.

Do people practice arts for “-jutsu” reasons today? If so how without delving into -do? Can a Iaijutsu practioner train in Iaido without having any formal training ( in Iaido that is, not Iaijutsu), if he changes his intent? How about visa versa?

(More of a Devil’s advocate type of question)

The -jutsu and -do designation has to do with intent. The content can be identical can it not? If not, why?>

Post: Bushi:

A horrible analogy may be the studing of Dead Languages. Sure you can study them, but you do not truely speak that language. Only the people/culture that once used that language spoke it.

I understand that the languages can be vocalized. (So as not to create a tangent).>

Post: setsu nin to:

“Do people practice arts for “-jutsu” reasons today? If so how without delving into -do?”

In my opinion its wrong to view -jutsu and -do diference just from point of battlefiled. In war times there is always people who dont whant to go in war, and in peace time there is always people who whant to go in war. I know guys who were in war and who today in peace just cant widouth war so they finde war (moust often in Africa) and go there for month or two every year. Same some people didnt whant to go in war in war time and today they even dont whant goes to countries where is war as turists.
People are diferent, we are all diferent and we whant and need diferent things so whe have to choose. Arts that we call here -jutsu give us great chance to choose. We cant choose what we whant from it and whant we need from it.
In my opinion -jutsu is not reason its approach to fight. It not that koryu means that you will have to fight in armour, some Koryu schools teach Hojutsu (using of firearms).

“Can a Iaijutsu practioner train in Iaido without having any formal training ( in Iaido that is, not Iaijutsu), if he changes his intent?”
Can you practice BJJ widouth any formal traning?

Unfortunatly I have to go now, but I will answer to last question later.>

Post: setsu nin to:

“The -jutsu and -do designation has to do with intent. The content can be identical can it not? If not, why?”

Yes, they have, but not just with intent. Intent is just one part. When we talk about differences we should talk about all aspect from physical to mental.>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=Bushi Do people practice arts for “-jutsu” reasons today? If so how without delving into -do? Can a Iaijutsu practioner train in Iaido without having any formal training ( in Iaido that is, not Iaijutsu), if he changes his intent? How about visa versa?[/quote 
Yes. Practicing an art for -jutsu reasons would be like a police officer taking some HTH combat classes to become better at subduing criminals who are resistant to arrest. If that officer no longer needs those skills (i.e. changed jobs, retired) or has developed enough skill that further training is superfluous, then the officer can still continue training simply for the enjoyment or personal development reasons behind training. Therefore, the modern -jutsu artist has switched to -do.

Quote:
The -jutsu and -do designation has to do with intent. The content can be identical can it not? If not, why?

Yes and no. A -do can replicate all the same techniques of a -jutsu, but a -jutsu by necessity must be applicable to the real world, and therefore has limitations on the types of techniques within the curriculum. So, if I opened two schools with identical curriculum, called one Desjutsu and the other Desdo, after a few years and updates to the -jutsu curriculum to make sure it works, the -do would now have a different curriculum from the -jutsu. The -do school could theoretically update as well, but there is no real reason to do so, and so it is possible for the same “style” to exist in content but it is fairly unlikely.>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

I guess the core of this problem is whether or not its the original intent of the arts creators that dictates its jitsu or do status, or is it the intent of the practicioner that dictates its jitsu or do status?

If the samurai created the jitsu styles for war, but I study JJJ just for enjoyement as a hobby, aren’t I studying it as a “do” art even though the techniques are the same?

In other words, if I’m a carpenter, I’m probably going to own a hammer, and thats an important tool for me. But lets say I’m an eccentric interior decorator and I hung a hammer from my wall for purely decorative purposes. Sure its still a hammer, and I could probably take it down from the wall and use it to hammer something if I needed to. But thats not why I have the hammer, and I really never plan on hammering things with it…so doesn’t it somehow lose its “hammerness?”>

Post: setsu nin to:

8LimbsScientist

“If the samurai created the jitsu styles for war, but I study JJJ just for enjoyement as a hobby, aren’t I studying it as a “do” art even though the techniques are the same?”

Well problem is becouse techniques are not the same. Technical and spiritula aspects of -jutsu and -do arts are diferent.>

Post: Bushi:

[quote=8LimbsScientist I guess the core of this problem is whether or not its the original intent of the arts creators that dictates its jitsu or do status, or is it the intent of the practicioner that dictates its jitsu or do status?

If the samurai created the jitsu styles for war, but I study JJJ just for enjoyement as a hobby, aren’t I studying it as a “do” art even though the techniques are the same?

In other words, if I’m a carpenter, I’m probably going to own a hammer, and thats an important tool for me. But lets say I’m an eccentric interior decorator and I hung a hammer from my wall for purely decorative purposes. Sure its still a hammer, and I could probably take it down from the wall and use it to hammer something if I needed to. But thats not why I have the hammer, and I really never plan on hammering things with it…so doesn’t it somehow lose its “hammerness?”[/quote 

I think you see my point.

*points to my eyes then back at yours*
*repeats*>

Post: Bushi:

Des,

I have read and always enjoy reading your articulate (is that the appropriate word for it), since it is written) commentary. I agree to a certain extent, but even in the ancient days if an art addressed a new variable in combat, then a new art was created.

Can a guy that studies Koryu Jujutsu really say he uses it for law enforcement or has he bastardized some of the techniques thus doing a new or other art and not his koryu Jujutsu?

That is a content change. I say an intent change can lead to the use of another art or a -do form and the -jutsu form is now for traditional means still studied, but not trained.>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

[quote=setsu nin to 

Well problem is becouse techniques are not the same. Technical and spiritula aspects of -jutsu and -do arts are diferent.[/quote 

Setsu,

What if the techniques are exactly the same, but the spiritual aspect and purpose are fundamentally changed. Is it still -jutsu?

If I never plan on using JJJ to fight anyone, and my entire reason to study JJJ is for the mental, spiritual, hobby aspect, can I really say I’m studying JJJ?>

Post: setsu nin to:

8LimbsScientist

“What if the techniques are exactly the same, but the spiritual aspect and purpose are fundamentally changed. Is it still -jutsu? “

My point is that techniques are not same, but IF we say that techniques are same but spiritual aspeact of -jutsu is changed than ofcourse its not -jutsu any more.
But I have to say again that -jutsu and -do are technicaly diferent. They have diferent techniques, and thats exelent described in OSenseis book (Budo) where he give grat example of how same techniques looks if its -jutsu and if its -do.

“If I never plan on using JJJ to fight anyone, and my entire reason to study JJJ is for the mental, spiritual, hobby aspect, can I really say I’m studying JJJ?”
Archery is my hobby, but do I realy practice archery becouse I realy dont have any attend to shoot someone with arrow? If you practice -jutsu art no metter will you use it than you practice -jutsu art.
Many Samurais didnt have much chance to use their martial arts skills in time of peace, but they still practiced -jutsu arts.>

Post: jlambvo:

Hmm, I see your dilemma Bushi.

But it’s not as if some Japanese samurai woke up one day and drafted out an entire cirriculum of techniques off the top of his head, which was carved in stone never to be altered. Koryu as we know them today are the results of centuries of evolution. I think a koryu only becomes “dead” when it’s proponents insist on NOT continuing this growth, but pass it on only as a record of old practices.

I also think it’s important to recognize that the underlying princples of a koryu are the heart of an art, not how those principles are enacted in a specific context (you then after all only produce a series of scripted performances, not a martial art!). I don’t think its fair to say that applying the techniques to modern equipment is a “bastardization” of the art.

I do think its interesting to consider how the STUDENT’s intention could affect whether you are practicing a “-do” or a “-jutsu.” Perhaps this is a reason Hatsumi now refers to his art as Budo Taijutsu… there are elements of both. I always thought of -jutsu as a superset of -do, you just have to get through some practical stuff before opening up the personal development/refinement side of things. Anyway, I’d agree that if you are approaching the art as a study for security/military/law enforcement work, it is the practical application primarily and thus a “-jutsu” with the aforementioned considerations in mind.>

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