Wado, budo, self-defence.... What's it all about?

General discussions on Wado Ryu karate and associated martial arts.
acer
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Re: Wado, budo, self-defence.... What's it all about?

Post by acer »

I knew Suzuki Sensei was full of it when he gave Oneya a 7th dan, his other brother an 8th dan and his other brother a 7th dan!!!!
Sorry I just notice that...Could you please tell me who (except the late Fukazawa and Jon Wicks)where and when Suzuki Sensei ranked 8th Dan?
oneya
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Re: Wado, budo, self-defence.... What's it all about?

Post by oneya »

You will find some information at the bottom of any of my posts but perhaps you would like to tell us who Acer is.


oneya.
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Wado Kokusai San no Ya.

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majin29
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Re: Wado, budo, self-defence.... What's it all about?

Post by majin29 »

I'm obviously very very green to Wado but have taken various other martial arts over the past 30 years. To me, Wado is a revelation. It makes so much sense. Other systems I trained in required a million different moves and a million different scenarios to choose the right response. Sadly this wasn't good for me in the least. In a high stress situation, it's not realistic that I can search my brain to react to a punch or choke. Even in the few months I've studied Wado, I see an inherent difference in the approach. And the constant interaction with fellow students is really unique to me. I love the fact that we're always doing sanbon or kumite in every class. The fact that one is faced with an opponent in their daily training is paramount in my opinion.

I've been able to watch the higher ranks practice their drills and sets, and I'm honestly quite impressed. Sure, no one is Bruce Lee in our class but I offer that no one in real life is anyway. That's the movies. I think the most telling evidence about Wado is that you don't hear of a lot of karate stories in the news. Most advanced karateka know how to avoid physical altercations.
David Coscina
claas
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Re: Wado, budo, self-defence.... What's it all about?

Post by claas »

From the topic about Wado in Russia:
kyudo wrote:I haven't been around this forum for a while. I couldn't resist this topic...

I find it slightly hilarious to see how a couple of grown men seriously discuss the pros and cons of the different martial arts on TV. Then again, it's no more hilarious than a couple of grown men discussing the latest football results as if it were the next presidential election. So it's probably me...

Nevertheless, this topic raises some interesting questions that have been on my mind, lately.

What is a fight?
It seems to me that a basic property of any fight is that it has two options: fight or flight. Either you go in and you end it as fast, as efficient and as ruthless as you possibly can, or you run away as fast as you can. Looking at it that way, the one who can run the fastest may be the winner. Any situation where two people oppose one another at a more or less fixed distance (ma-ai) to try to 'score' is therefor something else. It may be competition or even a life-or-death duel, but it's as much a fight as a game of chess.
As far as I'm concerned, the kumite that is presented as 'fight' in the series and as 'fight' in most martial arts, including Wado is no fight at all. In fact, what we call fight is no more than a highly ritualized game. It may be about life and death, but it's a game nonetheless. The game that is shown in the series, that you see in the dojo, and even often in the streets, has an arranged place, a time, a space, involves honor and ego and has some implicit but very strict rules:
• Do not seriously injure or kill one another.
• Leave your gun, your baseball bat and your pepper spray at home.
The outcome of such a game is to some extend determined by the skill of the participants, but is mostly determined by the rules and rituals that apply. So that makes any pathetic excuse for loosing as lame as any reason for winning.

The other day I practiced kumite with a highly skilled martial artist (non-Wado). When he attacked my head with a very fast hook, I found that Wado had not prepared me for that type of assault. As I was trying to figure out how to deal with it, it occurred to me that he only could attack me with a hook thanks to the specific ma-ai that applied for that particular exercise. Taking a step back for a more Wado-like ma-ai would have rendered his hooks pretty much useless. But then I would violate the ritual and defeat the purpose of the exercise. As a result I decided that his hooks didn't matter all that much to me. I was more interested in learning about his remarkable skills. After all, this wasn't a fight.

There's a fascinating story about Choki Motobu that touches the same subject of fight:

Motobu was attending a large party when a former student burst in and, waving a knife, challenged Motobu. “I can use this,” the student declared stabbing the knife into Motobu’s table, “I will never lose the fight.”
“I won’t fight with any weapon,” Motobu stated calmly. “I won’t fight with a knife.” Although he tried his best to convince the student not to fight, the student insisted. “Are you really that determined to fight me with a knife?” asked Motobu.
“I am,” proclaimed the student defiantly. “I won’t change my mind!”
“All right then,” said Motobu finally. “I will take you up on your offer, but we should not fight in the house.”
The student grabbed the knife and headed for the door. Motobu followed closely behind. Just before the student reached the door, Motobu kicked him in the back, shattering his backbone.
(Source: Charles Goodin)

Motobu used a kick to take him out, but he might as well have hit him on the head with a can of beer. It's wasn't the skill that made the difference. Motobu simply ignored the rules and ruthlessly put an end to it as fast and as efficient as he possibly could. Motobu really fought, while the other guy was merely performing his ritual.

Recently I watched a Japanese series depicting the life of Musashi.
http://www.pinit.tv/video/10033/Miyamot ... -SP-1-2014
Musashi always sought to fight. By doing so he dismissed the option of running away, turning his bouts into highly ritualistic games of life and death. There's an interesting exchange in the series, between Musashi and his tutor Takuan:
T: "What are you fighting for? Is it to become famous? Or to be remembered by next generations?"
M: "I used to fight for a successful career and for honor. I was desperate to gain a reputation. It was this selfish desire that made me snatch the lives of more than 70 people."
T: "When you die you will definitely go to hell."
M: "Yeah."
T: "So you don't want a reputation anymore. You don't want a career either. Then why do you go on fighting?"
M: "I want to see what is further ahead."
T: "What for?"
M: "To see what my limits are."
T: "Your limit may be death."
M: "It may be. But I won't mind. Until the last moment before I die, I'll go on seeing."
And so it seems that the purpose of Musashi's fighting was to fight. Which makes it little more than a game. Or a life's exploration if you want to look at it from a more favorable perspective.

But does it matter that most 'fighting' is merely a game?
Hell, no. We enjoy whatever we're doing, right? If not, go do something else. Take up chess, aikido, sudoku or basketball if that is your thing.
For me, I find that the rituals of Budo help me forge my mind and body. If it involves a fight, it is primarily a fight against my own demons, not against others. That works for me. And whether or not I'd be able to take out a boxer on TV doesn't matter all that much to me. After all, I can still run pretty fast or throw a can of beer his way...
I think that reducing the dynamics of physical confrontation to a mere fight of life and death would be slightly naive. Of course on the other hand seeing this ultimate fight as the only real one and trying to understand how not to participate in ego bouts, is a valuable viewpoint that requires mental training. An untrained person simply cannot choose how to view at a situation (in case the opponent isn't totally harmless) and will just do what is natural to the personality. Accepting this and accepting the challenge involved is probably a good thing.

The problem however is in that the dynamics of confrontations are de facto very complicated, having at least social and physical components: How can one know when to apply the survival tactique, when for examples bullies are many times experts to some degree on playing around with the dynamics of how to establish the social platform of bringing the situation towards a fight and dictating the rules. Establishing the rules is a huge part of the fight and in order not to lose the initiative one should participate in the "meeting" where the rules are decided upon. You can see that Motobu of the story participated and even "reached a conclusion".



About the "defending against hooks by using Wado", the first thing that comes to mind is that on the hook distance one should already dominate. Our safe neutral distance is longer. The second thing is that styles do not fight. Since people fight, what hinders one to perform, even if food once eaten hit the fan and one can notice the opponent swinging a hook? The third is that I do not agree that Wado would not have the stuff needed when attacked with a hook, even if I do agree that Wado is not mere boxing and that our focus in formal training is in other stuff.



That is also a valuable point where self-improvement is mentioned as a goal. Not just from the budo perspective but also from a strategical one. Already Sun Tzu recognized the meaning of knowing the self and knowing the enemy. Sometimes a more modern approach unfortunately separates the two and makes a choice between them. I think for example kihon kumite gives a good platform for training to know yourself and the opponent, provided that a sense of seriousness and being aware is first established. I believe jiyu kumite or other approaches that are more alive are needed. In some modern arts they use different kinds of half free fighting exercises (with a certain unpredictibility) instead of jiyu kumite. Of course many karate teachers do something similar. In competition training this would for example make very much sense.
Lasse Candé
Helsinki, Finland
kyudo
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Re: Wado, budo, self-defence.... What's it all about?

Post by kyudo »

Thanks, Lasse, for your thoughts and some good points. Obviously, it's not as if I have all the answers. I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Von Clausewits stated that war is the continuation of politics by other means. By the same token, one could argue that a physical fight is the continuation of a discussion by other means. While the deviding line between fight and dicussion may be murky, the choice between participating in that exchange or not is very clear. I'm currently involved in this discussion by my own choice. No one forced me.

Words like 'fight', discussion', 'game' and 'war' are just that: words. Each can give these words a very personal meaning. But for me there is a fundamental divide between participating in an exchange (for lack of better word) by choice or by force. On the one hand, the choice side, there's jiyu kumite, there's a game of chess and there's a life-or-death duel. They have in common that the participants participate by choice. Whether or not it's a 'real' fight is beside the point. On the other hand, on the forced side, there's a mugging, a one sided war and there's kihon kumite.

Jiyu kumite and kihon kumite fall on different sides of the divide, because kihon kumite involves the roles of tori and uke. Ukemi wants to attack, whereas torimi needs to deal with it, whether he likes it or not. Sure, they both need to adhere to the kata, but this is an exercise, not a fight. For me, the beauty of kihon kumite lies in the art of turning the situation around. Ukemi attacks, but somehow, torimi takes over the attack. If performed well, ukemi already looses the initiative even before actually attacking. Should ukemi choose not to attack, then the kihon kumite would be over and done with because torimi has no reason to take any action. Jiyu kumite is fundamentally different because both sides want to attack. So they swirl around one another at a more or less fixed distance, trying to get through each other's defences. In kihon kumite, torimi has no reason at all to do a thing like that. The divide is not only in intent, it is also very much technical. It's no wonder that the lessons of kihon kumite are seldom applied in jiyu kumite. They are entirely different beasts.

Back to Motobu: his challenger choose to challenge him. By doing so he also set some explicit (bring a knife) and implicit rules (be honorable). What the challenger failed to understand is that Motobu was never bound by those rules. Motobu took on the role of tori. He didn't have much choice. He couldn't very well run away, so he had to deal with the challenge. Which he did, in his own inimitable way.
Igor Asselbergs
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oneya
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Re: Wado, budo, self-defence.... What's it all about?

Post by oneya »

Ah, is this the ghost of Acer past complaining about hooks that pass in the night Igor..?

Anyway, kihon kumite is not fighting. It is a practice called keiko - 稽古 - the first kanji of which 稽means ‘consider’ and the second kanji 古means ‘old’... Placed together like so: 稽古. It can mean a physical practice that may smooth the pathway.

Strangely though, I know that if you do practice this keiko ( 稽古) my earache will eventually go away.


oneya
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Wado Kokusai San no Ya.

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kyudo
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Re: Wado, budo, self-defence.... What's it all about?

Post by kyudo »

oneya wrote:Ah, is this the ghost of Acer past complaining about hooks that pass in the night Igor..?
I hope not...
oneya wrote: Strangely though, I know that if you do practice this keiko ( 稽古) my earache will eventually go away.
Rest assured that I'm still working on it and perhaps one day it will relieve you of your earache.
Igor Asselbergs
http://kyudokan.nl/
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