My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.
A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.
Customs, Traditions, Cultures and Beliefs
Traditions: A long-established custom or belief that has been passed on in this way; An artistic or literary method or style established by an artist, writer, or movement, and subsequently followed by others; an inherited pattern of thought or action; a specific practice of long standing, etc.
Culture: The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively; The attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group; The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group; the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group; acculturation: all the knowledge and values shared by a society, etc.
Beliefs: An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction; Trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something; impression: a vague idea in which some confidence is placed; any cognitive content held as true, etc.
I have been informed that Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei spoke to a few American's who seemed to have an interest in continuing his system of practice of the intent to learn more about the Okinawan customs, traditions and beliefs. We know that he spoke of these things as he presented those first few the silk certificates that included a rank/level pronouncement and the ken-po goku-i. Some attempted to get a greater explanation of his intentions - alas, none were forthcoming so reliance on second and third had testimonials are used.
I have no way to know for sure if this was intentional on Tatsuo Sensei's part of just a huge chasm between the cultures of Okinawa and America. It is known that humans create a world through the perceptive filters created by environment, culture, customs, traditions and beliefs of family and the society to which the family is a member. Experience as we travel through life adds, supplements, modifies our perceptive filters thus changing the world we create by our mind. Those filters provide us the knowledge and experience to either take the red pill or the blue pill.
Our own customs, traditions, culture and beliefs drive us and it can be difficult to observe and learn of other customs, traditions, cultures and beliefs if any of the data causes stress as it may or may not relate to our own - cognizant dissonance occurs and creates cause and affect to the perceptive filters of our mind.
The greatest challenge to the transmission of a system such as Okinawa Karate, i.e. Tatsuo's interpretation of karate in Isshinryu, is that our preceptive filters tend to cause changes thus changing the traditional beliefs of the original system into something unique to the individual, the individuals family and the individuals tribe/society where they reside. Classical training takes precedence when a practitioner works diligently to remain as true as humans can to the original intent, training, customs, traditions, culture and beliefs of the creator - such as Tatsuo Sensei and Okinawan Isshinryu.
This becomes a conundrum to the practitioner of the systems of karate or other martial systems. It is believed that once a human intervenes in an experiment that experiment is thus tainted unintentionally. That unintentional intrusion that causes a distinct effect to the experiment taints any chance of an unbiased result.
As today's practitioners take on the mantel of Isshinryu and martial arts generally they influence that practice intentionally and unintentionally. I believe that a true practitioner of a martial art cannot avoid this shift due to the personal perceptive filters created over our life time.
The most difficult aspect of my practice of a martial system is learning to see past some of my filters with a mind that this also is tainted by those same filters. This is a truth that colors our world where clarity over rose colored shadows can lead and mislead. This is my belief in the disparities encountered between various Isshinryu houses. They all have a distinct blueprint that manufactured that home or dojo. Changes are not impossible, merely difficult if approached from a path foreign to the belief system of that dojo.
It is my hope that I can inspire a very small view that transcends the view currently held in each dojo of Isshinryu. To inspire a change. A change that benefits the system and promotes the core belief of its founder to learn of his customs, traditions, culture and beliefs which will promote a better understanding of all customs, traditions, cultures, and beliefs - all of them.
Let me close this post by saying that I understand a bit more why Tatsuo Sensei asked his American practitioners to embrace this study. It does seem to enrich the practice and the system itself overall. It also promotes my personal belief that taking this intent places its importance within those fundamental principles of all martial systems. It fits to how we interact with other tribes, other societies, and other nations.