radition and movement
From: greg postal
Date: 03 Sep 1998
The only thing I have to add to what david said (I hate going after david, but he gets up so much earlier than the rest of the world...) is that sometimes, those who
are fortunate to stumble upon tradition allow it to influence them for the better.
Just like the "kata/kumite" debate, this is a very personal issue for all of us - i.e.
the debate is useful for illuminating our thinking and encouraging movement. I have been very fortunate over the last eight years or so, to be able to study at the Shubukan, with Mattson Sensei. For those who do not know, sensei does not "stand on ceremony," many more people call sensei "George" than call him sensei. I used to be one of those folks. Now, I call him sensei in virtually all settings. Why? Because it 'feels' right to me, and I believe that this is a mark of
respect, which I choose to honor. I think it would be nice if others called him sensei as well, but I don't generally get angry at this. I have noticed however, that after I call him "sensei" publicly, others tend to follow along. I also used to disdain the use of Japanese in the dojo. I have sinced changed my opinion on this (for many reasons), but certainly do not force this on anyone - except of course for my students. If someone is standing in Mattson Sensei's class, not paying attention, leaning against the wall, or (hard to believe) forcing sensei to talk over them, or ignoring the fact that he is speaking, god help them if they are one of my students. As for others? Ignore them, set an example for them, or perhaps shoot
an occasional withering glare? I suppose it depends on one's personality and style.
The only other thing I have to say (ha!) on the subject, is that one persons treasured tradition is another's excess baggage. I could go on and on about the significance of various traditions and their meanings, at least in a Japanese context, as I am fortunate to study a classical Japanese martial art besides my Uechi-Ryu, and have been at least somewhat educated in reishiki. In a traditional Japanese context, the details of reishiki are important down to the most minute seeming detail. It is very often tempting to correct someone's bow, or their
standing with their back to the kamiza, or displaying a weapon in a way which indicates that they are looking for a duel, etc. At these times, I have to remind myself that - *no one asked me!* So is tradition important? To me it is, but I don't know if that means I must insist others find it as important.
Domo Arigato, greg
P.S. "Osu" or "Oos" is a term borrowed from the Japanese navy indicating assent, or 'yes sir.' The one time I said this to my Bujutsu sensei, it earned me a withering stare, and a history lesson... apparently, in "traditional" dojo, it is considered somewhat vulgar.... (Please forgive me Jason, I just couldn't resist...)