Moving up in ranks

General discussions on Wado Ryu karate and associated martial arts.
laurie
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:01 am
Location: Canberra, Australia

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by laurie »

kyudo wrote:
laurie wrote:Hi Igor,
I'm afraid that I disagree with the statement above.
I guess I need to clarify...
I don't really care if people wear a black belt after only a few months of training. I don't value my own black belt high enough to care. As far as I'm concerned, everyone can wear any belt they like.
That said, I don not condone brainwashing people into thinking they can get proficient in wado after only a few months of training. It takes a heck of a lot more than that.
Talking of brainwashing. Most people have been brainwashed into believing a black belt is proof of proficiency. Screw the belts. They only serve to keep the gi together. The colors are a marketing scheme that didn''t even originate in Japan. From the onset, the belt colors were a way to tie students to the dojo. It then spread in much the same way as a franchise all over the world. Doesn't that sound exactly like a McDojo scheme?
Hi Igor,
It was only really the last sentence that I disagreed with (the bit about respecting others choices), as sometimes people purposely choose to do what can only be described as the wrong thing. The belt system is a central part of the McDojo scheme and I do very much agree with your sentiments above. Keeping students' eyes on the next small incremental step is a good way to stop them seeing the wood for the trees. This is beneficial in a McDojo, but perhaps this limits the horizons in more reputable dojo's? Then again, perhaps it is a good way to stop us from trying to run before we can walk? I've held a 1st kyu for over 10 years, so my opinion doesn't hold much water on the topic of grading :).

Hi Oneya,
These guys do incredibly dangerous stuff purely for fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oMluIH3Jec but I agree that you wouldn't send your kids to them for their cycling proficiency badge! Likewise, facing a 140km/hr fast bowler is pretty dangerous too, but it is considered essential to the future of cricket to get as many kids as possible playing for fun at an early age (in a controlled and safe environment of course). I do wholeheartedly agree that if there is no serious wado ryu to be had that it cannot be considered a wado ryu dojo, but I also believe that kids can learn wado ryu and also have fun at the same time. Finally, after having had a humpty dumpty comment levelled at me lately for an increase in my waistband, your quote was most amusing!

Laurie
Laurie B.
Canberra, Australia
Gusei21
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:43 am

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by Gusei21 »

Hi Igor,

In all fairness your Wado experience is not normal.
You lived in a strange bubble divorced from the rest of the Wado world reality.
Belts are a normal thing in most normal dojos.
They are there to signify a passing of some bar set by some management.
They are there to motivate and separate.
It is a dojo rank. Nothing more.
It works.
The black belt is a different thing for the Wadokai since we cannot issue rank to our own students.
Black belts can only be issued by a certified board. So depending upon the makeup of the board and the mood of the board on that particular day....

And I think most people who walk into a dojo expects to
1) learn karotty
2) have fun
3) get in shape
4) learn self defense
5) live out their Japanese samurai fantasies
6) pick up members of whatever sex they may prefer at the moment
The last thing I expect them to do is show up to actually learn Wado.
Most people who start karate have never heard of Wado.
Our hope is that somewhere along the way they decide that they actually care and are interested enough to learn Wado.
And if that happens then we have ourselves a real student.

I don't really have a problem with Mcanything. Disclaimer. I eat at McDonalds...
What is nice about McDonalds is that no matter where you are a Big Mac tastes like a Big Mac and the fries are always the same.
I like that consistency.
I wish my dojos were consistent like McDonalds :) I want all my instructors to teach kihon, kata and kihon kumite my way - McBob.
Once in a while I get strange reports of inconsistency so then I have to go and squash it in order to get everyone on the same page.
Consistent, like McDonalds.
Quality can only be insured if they follow my template and do it my way.
And yes, I decide what is 'quality'. That's my job and no one is forcing anyone to stay.
It is my version of the koryu model. Less headache. No need to compromise. Benevolent dictatorship is much easier.

I think you can both follow the profit model and have a successful program.
I have never done it but I don't see why it can't be successful.
I don't have the personality to run a dojo. I know my limitations as a human being.
In order to run a dojo you have to like people.
You have to be personable.
You have to care about the little children.
I fail miserably on all accounts.
I am much better at showing up at a location a few times a year just to work over the instructors.
...and I eat at McDonalds and I know it is not good for me.
Bob Nash
kyudo
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:00 pm
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by kyudo »

Bob,

I don't think my view on belts and ranking is the result of spending time in a particular bubble. It's probably the other way round: I wound up in a bubble because I tend to have my own particular view on things.

In any case, I learned along the way that spending too much time in a bubble is counter productive. And obviously one should be open to different views. Empty the cup, so to speak...

Off course it works that way at McBob too...

We're talking about quality here. As Robert Pirsig already pointed out, it's impossible to put the finger on quality. The moment you think you got it, it slips away. So we can keep discussing it till the next end of the world. But I'm afraid it won't bring us one step closer.
Igor Asselbergs
http://kyudokan.nl/
Gusei21
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:43 am

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by Gusei21 »

Hi Igor

Pirsig"s point was that this is always a work in progress.
What one considers quality today will appear to look like crap tomorrow.
That is why it appears to be elusive. There is no fixed target called quality.
The more you pursue it the always just out of reach it seems. This is under the working assumption that you are progressing....

McBob serves stuff that is 'good enough'.
Good enough to pass whatever the standards happen to be at that moment.
And the menu should be good enough for most of the Wado public.
But you've also glimpsed into my personal kitchen that is not on the menu right?
Many times what I teach and what I do are totally different things.
What I do is for me. What I teach are for the others.
So it begs the question, why should I teach what I do? Partly because what I do is in a constant state of flux.
And the really good stuff is kept for personal consumption to be shared only with close friends who are willing and able. (Or in the case of Berlin 2013 that is a one time nightmare waiting to happen that I had misgiving about until I concluded that most of this will go over everyone's heads anyway and they won't really remember much of anything anyway so....nothing to fear since video cameras will be off limits since Toby and I are really planning to go way off the Indian reservation so to speak.). It took me a while to figure out that most people don't teach the really good stuff on purpose. Takagi Sensei never teaches the really good stuff to the public. Otsuka Sensei didn't either otherwise there should be more people that can do what they do. The fact that the majority of people can't do what they do is either because they were holding out or this stuff is just impossible.
I am coming to conclude that they were holding out.

Need to elaborate but later...going kayaking in the freezing cold...when I get back.
In the meantime google Tadao Okuyama if you get bored.
Bob Nash
Gusei21
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:43 am

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by Gusei21 »

An interesting incident took place lately. One of the older koryu's in Japan decided that they were no longer going to teach their more advanced (secret?) teaching to the non Japanese. And this caused some grumbling among their non Japanese students.
One of them complained to me that he felt it was discrimination because he paid his dues every year to belong to this koryu.
I don't know the details except from what I heard from a few of the American students and knowing what I know things do tend to get lost in translation sometimes so perhaps the reality is a bit different from what they seem to understand. But assuming this was true I do know that there are other Japanese martial arts groups that never taught the heart of what they do to their own Japanese students. They certainly did not share it with Americans. Given that many of these people are one step removed from the ultra right wing that ran Japan in the group during WWII these sentiments are understandable. But sometimes things are just withheld because people are not deserving.
People are willing to show you the front yard. That is for public viewing. The backyard....that's another story.
Sort of the omote/ura thing. Omote is the front. Ura is the back. Literally.

This past summer I asked my teacher why many of the things he has taught me was not written down anywhere. He replied that much of this was Kuden. (oral teachings). Kuden are never written down. They are communicated verbally from teacher to student. And much of the Kuden are taught on a need to know basis, the bottom line being, are you worthy? What worthy means I guess depends on the instructor.
I know I have already been warned by my instructor that I teach too much, that I give too much information away. He was not specific about the details. Like what? I can't teach junzuki? I doubt that. I can't teach people how I am using my body? Hmm. But some of this was self discovery. Some was drilled into me. And to be honest it is hard to tell what was taught and what was discovered. It all just starts getting jumbled together. And the way he teaches me is different from how I teach. He has never told me the 'answer'. He just lays out puzzles or shows something without breaking it down, and usually shown at a blinding speed, too fast to discern but just enough to leave a feeling.
And my task was always to try to reassemble the puzzle based on feeling. Trial and error. R&D.
A good friend of mine who is a master of the bo learned his art from his teacher in Okinawa. He was taught in the DARK. There was never any light. Just darkness and sound. The sound of the whooshing of the bo as it cut thru the air. he spent hours in the dark practicing kata in front of his teacher, Chogi Kishaba. And it must have worked because look at him now...he is world renowned for his bo (Toshihiro Oshiro).
I remember standing next to Oshiro Sensei watching Kishaba Sensei (he was really old) do a bo kata. Kishaba was on the ground then he leaps up in the air backwards. Oshiro Sensei pokes me in the ribs and whispers to me that he has no clue how the hell his Sensei pulls that move off. He says it is not human. This was the great Oshiro telling me he could not replicate what the old man was doing. I feel the same way when I see my teacher do kata. It isn't right. It isn't humanly possible. Or is it? There has to be a way to replicate it. We just don't know how.
There is a Japanese saying about 'stealing people's technique.' It is a figure of speech referring to the method of replicating someone's technique if you aren't given the how to. Matsui, the chairman of the Wadokai has told me in the past that I had to steal as much as I can from Takagi Sensei while he was still alive. I am not sure about stealing anything. He sort of just gives me what I need at the moment. Each time there is more.

Where am I going with this? Basically that there is Kuden. There is also Gokui but that is from koryu. Gokui are secret teaching of various koryu groups. Wado does not have gokui. We are modern budo. Shindo Yoshin ryu has gokui. I have no clue what they are and Toby Threadgill is not coughing up those goods to just anyone. I'm not exactly sure how the process works but even if I swiped one of those scrolls (just kidding) I am sure I could not make heads or tails out of them because they are all written as metaphors and symbolism. In other words he is not obligated to teach you anything he doesn't want to teach. This is the world of koryu. But it seems my sensei does the same via Kuden. He only teaches on a need to know basis.

Perhaps this is where the Japanese pedagogy fails? I am not sure. What I do know is that much has already been lost in the history of Japanese martial arts because of this teaching methodology. But does it really matter? I am not sure. Does this information lead to super human like powers? You bet it does. I've seen it and felt it. A part of me thinks this stuff needs to be written down. But then again it can't be learned from a book. If I tell you to incorporate your psoas thru your front leg with intent as you punch does that make any sense to anyone who hasn't trained with people who understand this stuff? I doubt it. That would be just as unclear as me telling people to manifest Heaven Earth Man while standing on the floating bridge of Heaven....lol. One is a direct instruction on isolating a specific muscle but I don't talk about the tonality or define 'intent'. The other is a metaphor for a specific type of body state via eccentric muscular usage that enables people to release tremendous internal power. Otsuka Sensei did this. Takagi Sensei has this. None of this is written down. And once you've seen it you can tell who has it and who doesn't have it. I honestly have never seen anyone else in Wado with it.

Earlier I mentioned Tadao Okuyama. Reason being, a friend of mine is rewriting a chapter in his book (Dueling with O'Sensei - Ellis Amdur) and he called asking me to find out what I can about Okuyama. Apparently Okuyama studied under Gichin Funakoshi AND under Noriaki Inoue - Morihei Ueshiba's nephew. Inoue had 'it'. And apparently Okuyama could punch harder than most according to Shigeru Egami, one of Funakoshi/s senior students. Egami was there at the same time as Otsuka Sensei under Funakoshi. Apparently Egami concluded that the average karateka had a weak punch and sought out people who knew how to really hit. He too ended up under Inoue. And Egami said Okuyama had one of the strongest punches he had ever felt by any martial artist. I also heard that Okuyama practiced his punches on American prisoners of war. He would have possessed the ability to kill the prisoners with his fists. Ellis is investigating this because if Okuyama could truly hit that hard then he had to be utilizing internal power which he would have had to learn from Inoue. To make a long story short Okuyama trained with Kenji Kawanabe who still teaches today in Atsugi. http://www.kawanabekaratedo.com/
The only way to see if Kawanabe /Okuyama had it is to see Kawanabe. The problem with these men are that they will go on and on about philosophy and hide their actual technique. They don't want to show the public. No desire. Takagi Sensei is like that. He rarely shows anything for longer than 3 seconds. It's like he doesn't really want to show his stuff in public either.
Anyway...
Bob Nash
Tim49
Posts: 296
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:38 pm
Location: Essex UK
Contact:

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by Tim49 »

Good posting Bob.
Nice to see the forum kicking into life again.
But it does need more people contributing (I’ve just looked at the membership tally – phew!)

When you suggest that the higher skill is maybe reserved for the ‘deserving’ and that resentment comes from those who see the door closed in their faces (from their viewpoint anyway). Maybe the task is to remind people what their more immediate goals are; in that to deserve to go onto the next platform you have to have tucked away and internalised the real meaning behind kihon etc.

I have spoken to people recently who believe that to learn Wado all you need is knowledge of a catalogue of techniques and know the shapes (roughly); if you have the catalogue and can do it quickly then you are a Master of Wado.

I think we all throw a little bread on the water but I can’t help thinking that there should be a certain dispelling of myths going on, and particularly encouraging people to tap into the reality of their own individual gaols.

Tim Shaw
Essex
UK
kato
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:20 am
Location: Norway

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by kato »

Bob Nash, thank you for an excellent post. Internal power is a very interesting topic. I have also seen and felt the effect of the super human like power many times.

I have read a lot about internal power in chinese arts (taiji, bagua, hsing-yi) and some japanese arts (aikido, daito ryu) and religious practises (buddist, taoist, islamic) but not much about karate´s connection to internal power like Kawanabe´s website or the shotokai website.

In Funakoshi´s book ”Karate-Do My way of life” he tells a story about Matsumura being challenged by an engraver for a duel. Matsumura won the fight without moving, he just looked into his opponent´s eyes and immobilized him with his stare. Funakoshi mentioned this story as a mere legend. Some shorin ryu sources says that the engraver was afraid because Matsumura chose a graveyard as the place to duel.

I think it is possible that this story could be true, that Matsumura had that kind of internal power. The first time I met my main Taiji-instructor I saw him do something similar. I attended a seminar where the Taiji-master was teaching how to use the internal power to heal injuries via information transmission. In the lunch break the second day most people had left the room when I saw him ”playing” with a couple of his senior students in a corner.

First there were some punching which the master countered with perfect timing and using body movements looking almost like nagashizuki. Then one student grabbed his throat. With a strong kiai-like sound from the master the student fell to the floor immediately. When he tried to get up it was like his hands were glued to the floor for a long time. Then it looked like the master could move the student around the floor, using some kind of force from the distance. When the student tried to attack he stopped by himself and fell to the floor, several times. The scene was almost like the description in Funakoshi´s book.

Anyway, as I had finally found a genuine master of empty force I chose to study closely with him for many years and luckily he accepted me as a student. Sometimes when Dr. Shen adjusted my energy system during courses he told me to look into his eyes and then he sent a very strong force through my eyes and down my spine, adjusting the vertebraes in my neck. He taught mainly healing and treatment techniques in his seminars, but in the breaks and in private talks he showed me fighting applications of different forces, many of them from a distance of several meters. He gave very detailed instructions in how to develop the various forces/internal power. But for fighting applications he just threw me around so that I could feel the effect, or just showed me once and told me to research how to use that specific force.

For years I did not tell anybody about my training. Most people do not believe in this stuff anyway and have no experience with it at all. But this training has of course influenced me a lot and made me curious if there is any Karate or Wado connection.
Cato Bruar
Wado International Karate-Do Federation (WIKF)
kato
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:20 am
Location: Norway

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by kato »

I find it difficult to mix Wado and the use of strong internal forces. Combining OK, mixing difficult.

Since developing internal forces have not been an important part of my karate training, using such forces in Wado techniques would mean that I would have to change the way I do many techniques. In kihon kumite the adjustments would be minimal and probably not noticeable for others - only a little shifting of the weight and a small change of focus and more stretching of the shoulder blades and ankle joints. In kata, sanbon kumite and some of the kihon like junzuki, I would have to adjust my posture more significantly.

How many and how big changes can we do before the teaching are no longer Wado but a totally different martial art? Kawanabe is apparently using principles which can be found in Daoist and Buddist teachings (and jujitsu), and he does not call his art Shotokan or Shotokai but Kawanabe Karate-Do.

If we during kihon kumite send force then maybe the damage could be fatal? (E.g. kihon 4 under the armpit could stop the heart, kihon 2 could injure the kindeys, etc.)

Playing with these kind of forces can be very dangerous. (Kundalini syndrome, Qi Gong disease, healer´s fatigue). Some of the techniques which are ”secret” are kept secret to outsiders because they are dangerous to practise too early. I have felt intense pain during training with forces (fighting applications) and such pain can be difficult to get rid of. A couple of years ago I attended a seminar with Soke Yamaue (Aiki jutsu), known for his force which can stop the oppponents ability to move. He said that he had to use less force now because when he used more force his partners in demonstrations would feel great pain in the heart-area. When I teach I always have to treat some of the students during the course, because blockages which moves inside the body can cause head aches or strong emotions like anger or sadness. There is a lot of bad qi gong and dangerous ”healing”-methods from people who do not know what they are really doing. If one play with this and do not know how to remove blockages it is possible to get in deep trouble.

I think that most karate practioners are not interested in spending years developing ”magical” internal power. Every week I teach openly how to develop taiji forces but only a few karate students show up, and only senior students. I have invited top chinese experts and again only a few karate people attend. Some people ask me for treatment but do not come for training, or they come for training only when they have health problems.

I try to not mix this kind of training with Wado. I practice both Wado and development of forces/internal power every day, but I never mix techniques when I teach. I am very happy with trying to follow Suzuki senseis´ teaching (and now Jon Wicks) at the best of my ability. I am still in need of much improvement.

I think it is great if anybody manage to mix Wado and strong internal power succesfully. I appreciate a lot that experienced martial artists like Bob Nash, Toby Threadgill, Reg Kear, Tim Shaw and others publish their research and historical information on this forum. The answers I got from Toby Threadgill and Bob Nash and comment from Reg Kear in the ”killing me softly”-thread was thoughtful and of high quality. It also made me think that maybe my definition of ”internal power” or force is too large or too narrow, and that there is a middle way which could improve my Wado-techniques. I will experiment.

Sorry for writing such long posts with bad english. English is not my first language.

Some information about internal power in case anybody should be interested:

1. Yukioshi Sagawa (Daito ryu):
http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/09/1 ... aebayashi/

2. Dr. Shen Hongxun (BUQI):
http://www.buqi.net/en/articles/empty_force.htm

3. Shotokai about punching:
http://www.shotokai.com/ingles/essays/another_way.html

4. Prof. Yamaue (Aiki jutsu):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwbDN5Qdf9s

5. Tian Zhaolin (Yang Taijiquan):
http://www.art-of-energetics.com/New/tian_zhaolin.htm

6. Shigeru Egami´s distance punch (Shotokai):
http://www.shotokai.com/ingles/gallery/ ... oate7.html
Cato Bruar
Wado International Karate-Do Federation (WIKF)
Gusei21
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:43 am

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by Gusei21 »

I just wrote a really long response to Cato...and it got lost...lol.
Not retyping it tonight...
In short.

Sosaku Takeda taught Ueshiba internal power.
Sosaku Takeda was friends with Shindo Yoshin ryu teachers specifically Shigeta Ohbata.
Shindo Yoshin ryu has internal power.
Otsuka Sensei did Yoshin Koryu and Shindo Yoshin ryu.
So why would someone who has internal power go to karate and decide to shut it off?
That's like saying 'hey, why don't I just fight with one arm?'

I see Otsuka Sensei using it. That explains his no motion, softness, etc.
I see Takagi Sensei using it. That exolains his speed and explosive ablilty.
It is there if you know how to look.

I don't know anything about Chinese martials so I don't pretend to know how they do it in Tai Chi or Bagua or Xing yi.
But I assume it is all related somehow.

Internal power is a result of specific type of body conditioning. In Japanese martial arts it is many times buried in metaphors from Shintoism or Buddhism. It is just a way of revamping your engine. You are turbocharging it. Then you can take that engine into anything you do be it Wado, jujitsu, MMA, sports. Perhaps if you try to fit the technique from another martial art it is hard to fit into something else but the essence of internal power is transferable to anything. It is very vanilla in my experience.
If you have a connected body, if you have a conditioned body then that internally powered body will fit into anything.

But in my opinion reworking the engine is fine but the rest of the vehicle has to be sound.
For us that means proper kihon. Exact kihon. Without proper kihon you cannot do proper technique.
The techniques are how you express your internal power.
The secrets are not in the technique. Kumite gata, kihon kumite, they contain no secrets. The secret is in the engine. But the foundation has to be there for the engine to act upon. Most people fail on the kihon so reworking the engine is pointless unless the foundation is solid.

Perhaps the Japanese pedagogy sucks. I don't know. But it works for me and that's all I care about.
And I fully understand that most people will never care about this stuff. They are happy just kicking and punching. And that is also fine by me.
Bob Nash
laurie
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:01 am
Location: Canberra, Australia

Re: Moving up in ranks

Post by laurie »

Hi Bob,

Gusei21 wrote: ...
Where am I going with this? Basically that there is Kuden. There is also Gokui but that is from koryu. Gokui are secret teaching of various koryu groups. Wado does not have gokui. We are modern budo. Shindo Yoshin ryu has gokui. I have no clue what they are and Toby Threadgill is not coughing up those goods to just anyone. I'm not exactly sure how the process works but even if I swiped one of those scrolls (just kidding) I am sure I could not make heads or tails out of them because they are all written as metaphors and symbolism. In other words he is not obligated to teach you anything he doesn't want to teach. This is the world of koryu. But it seems my sensei does the same via Kuden. He only teaches on a need to know basis.

Perhaps this is where the Japanese pedagogy fails? I am not sure. What I do know is that much has already been lost in the history of Japanese martial arts because of this teaching methodology. But does it really matter? I am not sure. Does this information lead to super human like powers? You bet it does. I've seen it and felt it. A part of me thinks this stuff needs to be written down. But then again it can't be learned from a book. If I tell you to incorporate your psoas thru your front leg with intent as you punch does that make any sense to anyone who hasn't trained with people who understand this stuff? I doubt it. That would be just as unclear as me telling people to manifest Heaven Earth Man while standing on the floating bridge of Heaven....lol. One is a direct instruction on isolating a specific muscle but I don't talk about the tonality or define 'intent'. The other is a metaphor for a specific type of body state via eccentric muscular usage that enables people to release tremendous internal power. Otsuka Sensei did this. Takagi Sensei has this. None of this is written down. And once you've seen it you can tell who has it and who doesn't have it. I honestly have never seen anyone else in Wado with it.
Gusei21 wrote: Sosaku Takeda taught Ueshiba internal power.
Sosaku Takeda was friends with Shindo Yoshin ryu teachers specifically Shigeta Ohbata.
Shindo Yoshin ryu has internal power.
Otsuka Sensei did Yoshin Koryu and Shindo Yoshin ryu.
So why would someone who has internal power go to karate and decide to shut it off?
That's like saying 'hey, why don't I just fight with one arm?'

I see Otsuka Sensei using it. That explains his no motion, softness, etc.
I see Takagi Sensei using it. That exolains his speed and explosive ablilty.
It is there if you know how to look.
...

Internal power is a result of specific type of body conditioning.
...
If you have a connected body, if you have a conditioned body then that internally powered body will fit into anything.

But in my opinion reworking the engine is fine but the rest of the vehicle has to be sound.
For us that means proper kihon. Exact kihon. Without proper kihon you cannot do proper technique.
The techniques are how you express your internal power.
The secrets are not in the technique. Kumite gata, kihon kumite, they contain no secrets. The secret is in the engine. But the foundation has to be there for the engine to act upon. Most people fail on the kihon so reworking the engine is pointless unless the foundation is solid.

Perhaps the Japanese pedagogy sucks. I don't know. But it works for me and that's all I care about.
And I fully understand that most people will never care about this stuff. They are happy just kicking and punching. And that is also fine by me.

This is some really interesting stuff - far beyond my pay grade, but very interesting nonetheless. I have attended a seminar by Toby Threadgill and the 'jedi powers' that you speak of really do have to be seen/felt to be believed. I do have a number of puzzles in my head about how these advanced body dynamics in TSYR translate to Wado ryu though. It's my understanding that TSYR has a number of specific solo kata, purely designed to instil the 'budo body'. I read that TSYR has 'one of the most structured systems' for learning these body dynamics and that it would take about 10 years of concentrated daily practise of these solo kata to reach any sort of reasonable level of proficiency . I don't know whether this 10year figure has been found experientially in TSYR, or whether it is based on the '10000 hours of practise to become a professional' theory.

Ok, onto my confusion:

1. If the above is true, then this means that Ohtsuka Sensei learned his 'jedi powers' through some very specific and structured training. If he intended for high level practitioners of Wado ryu to also have internalised such advanced body mechanics, why did he not import the solo kata training from SYR? Maybe he felt bound to keep this training secret out of respect? It just seems strange that he would choose to tuck this stuff under the mattress when in TSYR there is a pretty impressive portion of their syllabus that can be shown to outsiders at seminars etc.

2. Why did more of Ohtsuka's students not seek out these skills and why did Ohtsuka not point his students in a direction to attain them? An almost universal reaction at Mr Threadgill's seminar after feeling 'it' was "I want to be able to do that!". Clearly there are not many people with the dedication to train in the necessary manner to develop such skills, but there are/have been a number of direct students of Ohtsuka that must have met the criteria for being "worthy" and have certainly put in the necessary dojo hours.

3. How on Earth did Takagi Sensei develop his 'budo body' without the formalised pedagogy from SYR that Ohtsuka was exposed? Did he figure this all out for himself? If so, how come none of his peers managed to develop similarly? Did Ohtsuka Sensei let him practise in his backyard more than others? From your postings, it looks as if Toby Threadgill is triggering a lot of new and exciting ideas for you - perhaps Takagi Sensei also sought to investigate an art with 'jedi power' training too?

Ok, that's probably more than enough from me!

Regards,
Laurie
Laurie B.
Canberra, Australia
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