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#134888 - 12/20/01 03:35 PM Book Club Introduction
A Yarbrough Offline

Registered: 12/19/01
Posts: 40
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Welcome to the Book Club. The purpose of the club is to offer a forum where martial artists can garner insight from reading martial arts texts, both ancient and modern. The book club can be a powerful tool to augment our martial arts studies through discussions sharing the collective insights gleaned from the books we'll be reading. The exciting part about an Internet book club is the opportunity it offers to share the thoughts and perceptions of participants with a wide range of backgrounds, previous study, and fresh insights.

The first book selected to be read is Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings", which can be ordered from the e-store (under Books).

The book club will begin reading together some time soon after the New Year (what a great time to hit the mental dojo)! So, be sure to check the site for announcements and more information.

Andrea Yarbrough

#134889 - 12/21/01 06:56 PM Re: Book Club Introduction
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
I'd like to add to Andrea's welcome.

Christopher Caille has asked me to help host this group, and on his suggestion we'd like to also start a running discussion on the Bubishi.

So whether you're a student trying to understand some of Okinawan Karate's past, or an instructor who may choose to use concepts from the Bubishi in your classes, I'm very willing to begin and sustain a dialogue on this important text.

I look forward to everyone's participation.

Victor Smith
Bushi No Te Isshinryu

#134890 - 01/07/02 10:21 AM Re: Book Club Introduction
A Yarbrough Offline

Registered: 12/19/01
Posts: 40
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Happy 2002! Hope everyone had a great holiday -- hopefully with some time to begin reading (or re-reading) "The Book of Five Rings" by Miyamoto Musashi. If you need a copy, here's a link from the FightingArts site's e-store under books:

As Musashi himself says in the second section of his book, entitled "The Water Scroll", "It is not enough that you read what is written here, you must train as hard as if you were the one who developed the doctrine, instead of being the one who had it given to you...Train as constantly as if you were the source of the discovery of the Way. Avoid mere imitation or learning without sincerity. Reflect on this point and train diligently."

We all know that learning from a book can never replace actual training and repetition, repetition, repetition, but in reading "The Book of Five Rings" what are some of the things you saw that apply to the study of martial arts today? (I know I saw many things to reflect on and practice, from his ideas on distancing, timing and footwork, to focus of the eyes, and self-reliance.)

Aside from the wealth of information in the text, a study of Musashi's life itself can also be both interesting and helpful. I was wondering if anyone out there has any interesting stories about Musashi, or any discussions about his character/personality and how it influenced his martial strategy.

I know these two topics are rather broad, but I thought I'd start out broad and pick up more specific topics as they come up in discussion. So, feel free to interject any thoughts you might have on the book and its author.

Looking forward to reading your thoughts/insights!

Andrea Yarbrough

#134891 - 09/01/05 07:39 PM Re: Book Club Introduction [Re: Victor Smith]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Hi Victor,

It seemed a little quiet in here so I thought i would post, just to perhaps start things rolling.....

The Bubushi - my thoughts.

i have owned a copy for about 6 months and have to say I found it fascinating. Im not kidding when I say that the majority of its information is beyond me at this point, its a book to be read/referenced to for many years.

The major benefits it has given me are as follows -

1. an interest in looking deeper into my karate, specifically TCM, PP fighting/healing. I am begining a study of PP methods (within my karate) and shiatsu massage (TCM and wellbeing).

2. It added greatly to my interest in research of the history of oriental arts specifically, specifically the impact/importance of chinese martial arts to okinawna karate.

3. The book also greatly impacted my faith in kata practise and application is the heart of karate.

4. although not an area of particular interest the herbal remedies section did prompt me to think of karate as a wider spectrum of arts, I have mentioned shiatsu, diet and lifestyle are the main areas im activly seeking to improve.

and the biggest plus is that this all falls into line with what my instructors are guiding me through within my training - no conflicts at all !

Overall I rate the text 10/10 and it should be on every classical martial artists book shelf. The version I have is Sensei McCarthys, im not sur eof any other versons.
Jim Neeter

#134892 - 09/02/05 06:52 AM Re: Book Club Introduction [Re: shoshinkan]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
I think this text, is far more important for what it done for Karate, rather than what it actually contained.

Obviously the historical portion of the book is superb, and serves to illustrate what a superb Historian Hanshi McCarthy is.

In terms of actually understanding Kyusho and Tuite, TCM theory and pratical application of the theories, I don't think this book conveys the "howto" particularly. McCarthy readily admits that he only had a basic understanding of the theories relating to the application of the information when he was translating it.

I remember reading it years ago, before I even had the basic PP knowledge that I now have, and thinking "Ok, this is cool, but how do use it?" Looking back now, I think this is what has made the translation such an important document, it got people to ask the question of "How?"

I can well see how the western PP pioneers of the 80's and early 90's used the diagrams and drawings to start to piece together the real esscence of Karate. When the penny dropped with some of these guys it must have been a great place to be, "So, let's get this straight, its all to do with those little Chinese guys who stick little needles in everybody?" Then running off to buy every Acupuncture book they could get their hands on.

For quite a while I've wondered why alot of the PP's were ommited from the 36 vital points of the Bubushi, only now am I begining to even grasp why! Extraordinary meridains baby (Kempoman, why did you do that to me? I was just getting the hang of the main 12!!!!!! ). Now looking back at those silly pictures in the original I'm starting to piece (very very slowly) what they are hinting at!

In the foreward McCarthy wrote for Rand Cardwells "The Western Bubushi", he said that he was working on an analysis of the fighting postures contained in the original bubushi, which I can't wait for. Some baffle the hell out of me.

Anyway, my conclusion is that the sheer importance of The Bubushi was not so much the information it did or didn't contain, but the questions it caused the reader to ask. I think armed with this and Hohan Sokan's scrolls the early pioneers of the west must have been wetting themselves with excitement!
Gavin King
Follow me on twitter @taichigav

#134893 - 09/02/05 10:05 AM Re: Book Club Introduction [Re: Gavin]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
nice post Gavin, and im with you on this one.

The text definatly has 'opened' up real martial arts for anyone, however whilst I gained benfit im not sure this is such a good thing in the long run, but then again you know my position on some of the more flamboyant PP people

You are spot on that without significant knowledge the book doesnt actually teach much, you have to understand the text and that takes time and practise under proper instruction.
Jim Neeter

#134894 - 09/05/05 03:14 PM Re: Book Club Introduction [Re: shoshinkan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
I've done a little research on the Bubishi.

From what I've seen it does not have a great impact in current Okinawan training, or in most karate systems anyplace. What its impact was historically on Okinawa, or even in current Okinawan seniors study, is open for discussion but there are likely no answers coming.

On the whole Funakoshi included a number of Bubishi passages in his books, and I've not seen that Shotokan took the hint from him and found a place for them in Shotkan's development.

The Bubishi text, which seems to be a notebook of training highpoints rather than detailed instructions (whether by one or several authors) contains roughly 3 sections of material.

1. Historical material of martial practice.

2. Sections on vital point striking and medical cures for same and other ailments. This seems to indicate a relationship of the author(s) between the medical and martial practices. There does not seem to have been a similar course of study the way karate developed.

3. Martial practice with sections on specific tactical instructions, drawings indicating defenses with attached instructions and even descriptions and drawings of forms.

The tactical instructions seem to be quite sensible, but I find it rare that current martial studies get into same.

The drawings are vague. As a notebook they would be memory jogs for someone with pervious training. As they stand they are open for a wide variety of interpretations.

I've done some study with a friend who teaches various Chinese arts. He feels the techniques indicated in the Bubishi really are bedrock training in a very wide variety of Chinese arts, a beginners guide instead of advanced training. That doesn't mean they are impractical, just tactically more simple in concept.

You will have to really work to find anyone who is openly teaching Bubishi concepts. That may be changing for I understand Patrick McCarthy is working on a course showing how the Bubishi can be studied martially. And if that happens it may be intersting to see what he can show.

On the whole I'm sure there are individuals who pay serious study of the Bubishi in their training, but they are not doing so pubically, I'm sure for many reasons.

Though a researcher, my focus is to understand older trends on Okinawa, nothing more. I do not include training from the Bubishi in my Isshinryu instruction (outside of Isshinryu's founder choosing his code from the Bubishi text), and have no plans to do so in the future.

Edited by Victor Smith (09/05/05 03:15 PM)
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years


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