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"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

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"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

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.

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Mastery, is it achievable in the West?

We have many "masters" in Western martial systems as can readily be seen by the titles given, i.e. master, grand master, and great grand master to name but a few. It makes me think, can one achieve true mastery of the Asian martial systems? I will be posting/speaking from a more traditional view to answer this question from my point of view.

I have determined in my studies that "Shintoism" is deeply imbedded in the core of the martial systems and therefore to be a true martial system, complete and whole, one must accept the tenants and premise dictated by Shinto. To have that one must have a reverence for the past with deep intertwined integration of a deep sense of responsibility for the future thus merging past and future.

Past means biological origins, ancestry and all the cultural and belief systems that drove them to present person. This is a deeply imbedded sense of contiguity of form whereby one cannot disengage parent from child, ancestor and progeny. This is a huge responsibility. This is a huge undertaking - for any human being.

This is often described by the term or characters, "Naka-Ima," or "Eternity of the generative force of life."

If we truly desire to entertain the whole of the way then we have to take responsibility for the past and all those who in that past provided our culture and beliefs for today. Assuming the role, "giri," then we can only pass it along by merging the past to our present actions and deeds thus passing to the future, i.e. our children and in the dojo our Kohai, that which accumulates from understanding and practice of the lessons of our past, our ancestry and promoting a blend of it along with changes for the present so those who come after are influenced, taught and practice the way.

My conclusions are that to master the Asian traditional martial systems requires us to venerate the past, hold the present as a blend of now and past so that the future can achieve the next level for which all mankind strive in the cycles of life that are similar to the movement and changes of the universe, i.e. the heaven and earth with man as the link, the sun and moon for man is a microcosmic of the universe as is man of heaven and earth.

We cannot master it for it is that something that is driven into the very core of human existence through a life long living of the culture, beliefs and life of the Asian be they Japanese, Okinawan or Chinese with all the roots that support the great oak that is ancestor, present-human and progeny.

Of course I have to add that mastery in the perception of Western culture, beliefs and life give there own defining criteria for mastery of a system. If one has a dojo with many, many paying participants then along with "time-in-grade" as well as meeting or exceeding the governing organizations that provide rank criteria they can be considered "masters." One is traditionally Asian culture based and the other is western culture based. I can live with that .... but, prefer the Asian instance better.

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