History of Koryu

Discussion in 'Koryu Bujutsu' started by kyrasym, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. kyrasym

    kyrasym Valued Member

    Hi, just something I was thinking of.

    Suppose someone in the olden days, watched a legitimate ryu in practice (just like modern day DVD watching or book reading), then went on to practice on his own, and started his own style (which came from watching and self-practice).

    Since there was no Bullshido or Internet at that time, people couldn't expose fraud masters. And since this guy watched legitimate ryu in action before, what he created will definitely look combat-effective.

    And then his style got passed down as a legitimate Koryu today in modern-time.

    Is this possible?

    I mean, in modern time we can trace-back a Koryu with its scroll and such. But how can we actually trace-back what we traced back?
  2. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    No it couldn't happen. These sword style were used in combat. Masters reputations were from their fighting skills.

    The Bear.
  3. kyrasym

    kyrasym Valued Member

    Some guy could just made up some story, and
    - disciples will be considered rude to question it
    - there was no Internet to verify the story

    And/Or, some guy could just copied from other ryu, and made it look combat effective.

    They might have a hard time starting up, but a couple decades is enough to get things moving, and make the story behind the ryu convincing and sellable to others.

    Isn't it?
  4. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    You would HAVE to be samurai to start a school. During the Tokugawa period many samurai lost their combat effectiveness and some sword schools became more about character development.

    There is a tale of Yagyu Jubei becoming so angry at this trend that he went to a legitemate school of swordsmanship and caused a confrontation wherein he killed a number of the students.

    There are also accounts of a great number of schools dying out for many reasons, the death of the founder or a more practical manner being found.

    The chances of a Mc dojo thriving are not worth considering.

    If you are asking if there are some questionable sword "masters" teaching today, That is a resounding YES(Dan Bowen and company):woo::woo:

    regards koyo
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  5. kyrasym

    kyrasym Valued Member

    Can't someone make up some story and started a small training group at the back of a village or something, and then somehow it got passed down to today as a legit Koryu?
  6. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

  7. kyrasym

    kyrasym Valued Member

  8. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Afraid not. As Koyo said it you couldn't just start a school. You would need to be a samurai. Which means you would need permission from your feudal lord.

    The Bear.
  9. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

  10. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    You may want to talk about traditional MA but your brain and values are being heavily influenced by the world that you live in today. Before you go much farther I recommend that you read Karl Friday's two fine books. (see: "Legacies of the Sword" and "Hired Swords") You will find that that the World you are asking questions about was highly structured and rigidly controlled. In contrast to the romantic image of a person peering through the fence at warriors training and then going off to practice what he saw, the likelihood of this happening anywhere but in the imagination is practically nil for a variety of reasons. FWIW.

    Best Wishes,

  11. kyrasym

    kyrasym Valued Member

    My history's a bit hazy.

    Not particularly picking on any specific style, but just for example's sake, did Musashi had to get permission from anyone before he was allowed to officially start his own ryu?

    I mean, someone could start off in their backyard, and slowly got bigger. They don't really have to register their ryu, but as the training group got bigger, somehow the name got around? Possible?
  12. kyrasym

    kyrasym Valued Member

    Thank you! Will definitely check the books out. ;)
  13. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    No. for reasons previously stated.

    The Bear.
  14. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Though it comes to us from the Korean culture there is a historical anecdote that may be instructive (see: Lee)

    The servants, slaves and some farmers elected to gather as a group to train in weapons and tactics with an eye towards having some protection against bandits in their area. They gathered in a corner of a local estate on a regular basis and gethered a group of about 40 people.

    Word of the training group came to the attention of local officials. The group was arrested and executed.

    Just a thought.

    Best Wishes,

  15. kyrasym

    kyrasym Valued Member

    Then how did Kobudo survive?

  16. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    You were asking about Koryu not kobudo.

    The Bear.
  17. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    KOBUDO is a completely different animal--- completely.

    If you want to discuss KORYU in the sense of, say, Japanese traditions there are only about a zillion factors that worked against anyone but a person from a particular class learning or teaching a tradition. As late as the 1930-s, many Japanese traditions would be taught only to people who could demonstrate membership in a SAMURAI lineage, or be people of standing in the government such as policemen, military, judges and officials. A person could profess to know and teach a tradition, but since populations were restricted from movement, practitioners of the art would undoubtedly call on said upstart and "adjust him". With the advent of Post-WW II commercialism individuals began to market "new" (J. "Gendai") traditions the best-known being the ninjutsu craze of the 70-s and 80-.

    If you want to discuss KOBUDO, you are essentially discussing what we in the States would call "street weapons". These are usually everyday items that might be pressed into service as "weapons of opportunity". Since WW II KOBUDO gained some respectability as well-known teachers tried to foster a sense of tradition with these weapons in Okinawa by claiming historical veracity. This fell apart when people began to use the INTERENT and cross-check stories against each other.

    Ooooppps. :eek:

    The same thing happened in China just following the TAIPING Rebellion and just before the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. In that case, the failure of the central government to safeguard the populace resulted in people taking things into their own hands with local militia combining with local spiritual figures to produce exotic beliefs and fighting systems. But they could get away with it because there was little or no organized authority to step in. This continued through the "War-lord" Period and pretty much ended after 1949 when the Communists took over the PRC and outlawed this sort of thing. During the Cultural Revolution participating in any of the old MA practices could easily earn you 30 seconds on your knees and a .30 in the back of the head. FWIW.

    Best Wishes,

  18. kyrasym

    kyrasym Valued Member

    Hi Bruce, thank you so much for sharing your invaluable knowledge. I appreciate it very much! :)

    Previously you were saying that farmers and such, who were practicing with weapons, got executed. So that's why I was wondering how did Kobudo survived, since they were weapons to peasants and farmers. If Kobudo could survive, and if there was a backyard sword style, then it could survive as well.

    But based on your quoted message above, does that means that Kobudo, as we know it today, isn't authentic techniques that were actually passed down since the olden times?

    Thank you,
  19. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    He not saying that at all, what he is saying is that the historical reference given to back up the lineage of Kobudo doesn't stand up. The techniques may indeed be the same but there is no proven lineage.
    As a general rule you shouldn't worry about lineage as much as martial efficacy. However, the practice of Koryu is about the study of historical practices as it is about the study martial arts.

    The Bear.
  20. Rennis

    Rennis Valued Member

    Karate and "kobudo", in the "Okinawan weapons" sense of the word is, to put it simply, not of Japanese origin, having developed in the Ryukyu islands with strong connects to the Chinese mainland. While they are interesting arts in and of themselves, they developed and worked under a completely different social and cultural dynamic than the koryu arts of Japan did. Also with the Okinawan arts, the whole "peasants secretly studying and defending themselves of the Samurai invaders" story has been seriously overplayed and every serious researcher or practitioner I have come in contact with over here dismissed it out of hand.

    For what it's worth,
    Rennis Buchner

Share This Page