Monday, December 30, 2013
Forest for the Trees
As I am looking over message boards, and reading various blogs, I see a whole lot of “Smoke”, and nobody's looking for the fires. This isn't “just” with other groups or schools, our own students do it as well.
In everyone's great quest for “bunkai”, it's appearing as if any bunkai will suffice (as long as you have something). There are numerous motions, in various kata that “I” certainly haven't a clue as to how they should/can be interpreted. I'm sure I could come up with something for most of them, but certainly not all.
I don't spend my days fretting over whether or not I know an interpretation for every kata motion. Some motions I know 3 or 4 interpretations for, and some I know nothing. It really boils down to what motion, are you going to do in conjunction with that motion? Is it first, last, second? What's your intent? What's their intent?
The general consensus seems to be, that if you don't know, then anything else that you claim to know is suspect. I've reached the point in my study, that one can believe anything they want to (for bunkai). I may find that what someone is believing to be “bunkai” ridiculous, but that's for them and I certainly don't have to agree.
Most of what I'm seeing appears to be (often very) involved, if not downright complicated. From my own perspective, I don't believe that's how or why the kata were compiled. From listening to Oyata speak about the kata motions, he was (more often) talking about a principle, than an actual “technique”.
Much like many of the seminars he used to hold, the techniques that were taught/shown, were to convey an idea (of/for application), rather than being a list of techniques for the attendees to learn.
I was looking at a video of someone who was (attempting) to demonstrate something that they had (learned?) been shown at one of Oyata's seminars. I'm very familiar with the application, but what this individual was doing was (IMO), too... flamboyant ?.
Having seen a video of the seminar in question, I was able to watch how Oyata was instructing those attending to perform the technique. This individual had included (several) motions that had nothing to do with performing the application, and then changed how the kata motions were to be performed (evidently to “justify” what/how he was showing the technique to be applied).
Though not being the only example of this tendency, the person in question had (changed) modified the kata motions so that his interpretations would make more sense (at least to him). And this person is certainly not the only one to do so.
Back when Oyata still did “open” seminars (allowing persons from other styles/systems to attend), he would demonstrate and explain his teachings (in a very simplistic manner). This was (obviously) being done to recruit new students to join his association.
Persons who attended these “recruitment” fests, seem to believe that they had (then) “trained” with Oyata. Not so much. They were exposed to something different (from what they had been doing), but unless they changed the remainder of their training, they weren't experiencing the same manner of training (that Oyata was exposing them to).
I tend to believe that attending these seminars, was akin to attending a “rock concert”. The fact that you went to several of them, and can sing all the words to the songs, doesn't mean you were a member of the band (and could write/perform songs like the band does).
Numerous “groups” (or at least their “instructors”) claimed to of studied with Oyata (at least for a little while). The majority did so in order to “pad” their resume. Very few actually learned anything (about his system), and the majority went right back(wards) to what they had always been teaching (just that now, they can make the claim to have studied Oyata's system).
Oyata was continually improving his system. Though most systems will (doggedly) emphasize their adherence to the past, Oyata was always striving to improve his system. What was taught (even) 15 years ago, had been changed/modified by the time of his passing.
The beginning motions/methods remained the same (basics are basics), but the resultant system had been modified to produce a simpler manner of execution.
The public's perception of Oyata's methodology, has become a whirlwind of repetitive “Knock-outs”. These were such a small part of what Oyata taught, that it's almost embarrassing to bring them up. Yet “that's” what all the amateur’s want to talk about (Hell, they've put together whole “organizations” about “kyusho” and how to “knock-out” people, LOL).
These (types of) groups have nothing (really) to teach. They are only there to make a few people some money, and retain their ability to not (have to) get a “real” job.
Focusing one's training on (any) “one” aspect of defense, is self-defeating. Every situation is different. To believe that (any) “one” technique will suffice is delusional and (defensively) dangerous. The Guiding Principles that Oyata endorsed, state that a student should...
“Take care not to develop only your favorite technique, neglecting others, because that will leave a weakness in your defense. Be cautious about becoming too theoretical or technical because these too are weaknesses”.
In other words, “Don't ignore the Forest, For the Trees”. By emphasizing these (“trivial”) aspects, one's entire defensive methodology will suffer.