Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring Schedule of Events & Closings

The Spring 2013 schedule of events & closings is now available on the Dojo Calendar here:

Paper copies will be available at the dojo soon . . . .

Friday, February 22, 2013

Class & Fee Schedule Adjustment

There will be a class & fee schedule adjustment going into effect on March 1st.

The new class schedule will inlolve Mondays & Thursdays only.

Flyers with full details are now available at the dojo; please make sure to pick one up during the next week!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thoughts on Tradition

If today's filmmakers still employed the technology and methods that were cutting edge in 1905, we'd still be watching silent, black-and-white melodramas that featured neither close-ups nor camera movement. For thousands of years, the art of painting consisted of no more than stick figures of bear and bison adorning cave walls. So why is it that practitioners of most art forms except for budo strive for advancement and improvement through change?

Take a look at most modern Japanese and Okinawan martial arts. Much of today's "traditions" were actually developed and spread between 1883 and 1948. Prior to the 1880s, most budo training occurred outdoors, year-round. Practitioners wore no uniforms (training bare-chested in "shorts" was common), and there was no rank of any kind (both dan-i and menkyo-style rank in budo are less than 140 years old). Many "styles" and "systems" were unnamed. It was not uncommon for instructors to improve their art with knowledge brought back during travel. People today talk of "pure" styles, but all styles are influenced to one degree or another by older systems, and all Okinawan and Japanese arts are rooted in more ancient arts from China and elsewhere. If you took one of these so-called "pure" styles - or ANY style for that matter - and watched the way it was practiced 100 years ago, the resemblance to its 21st Century incarnation would be tenuous at best.

I consider myself to be a "traditionalist," but it's important to remember that many of the traditions that I embrace are less than 150 years old, many significantly less so! I feel that budo must change and develop constantly in order to thrive and prosper, and it's important to keep an open mind, always striving to learn from others: my peers, those who came before me, and (more frequently than you'd think) those that came after. I'm not suggesting that today's instructors make up their own kata or create a new style based on the shallow knowledge of a few various established arts; however, to add a touch here and a pinch there of one's own personal spice is necessary to keep an art from growing stagnant.