Now that’s I’ve got your attention, I’d like to dispel that statement…. after all, I’m half white myself – that’s the half that can’t do budô! Only joking. Good grief some people have no sense of humour.
Foot spine hand is the very potency and momentum of budô. Foot spine hand, three separate spacial and movement skills that have to become one, or as one. It’s more like boogie than budô, until you have embraced the flow, and then, you can swap the boogie with budô and the budô with the boogie whenever you want.
After being tortured by John Travolta in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever I can tell you that I still bare the emotional scares, Mr Travolta he plays Tony Manero a white dude in a white suit who thinks he’s a dancer, in the same way that John Travolta thinks he’s an actor, when in truth he’s only a proficient technician. The world of budô is populated by proficient technicians. These technicians fully understand the concepts and practicalities of the foot spine hand conundrum, yet they don’t feel the beat and the rhythm. Once technical competence has been attained, the next task is to root out the feelings and the rhythms.
To make my point even stronger, on the one hand we have Riverdance, the classic white man’s dance, all feet and teeth, and on the other hand we have Lindy Hop, all fully foot spine and hand… Lindy Hop was lovingly consummated in Harlem in the 1920’s while Riverdance was the illegitimate spawn of Michael Flatley and Jean Butler that was dumped on the Eurovision Song Contest stage in 1994.
Riverdance does not constitute a dance, it’s the Jitter without the Bug, it spasms at a pace not suited to man nor beast, and I’m flatly unimpressed by its unhinged system of physical jerks, as far as I’m aware Riverdance is not big in Harlem or the Caribbean where body fluency is the currency.
So, Bring your Budô to the Boogie and your Boogie to The Budô. Move your pelvis to rhyme with the rhythms, then generate your feet to manoeuvre through distances, and in doing so time your choices of creative cruelty for the most drop deadly effects, and lastly don’t forget to smile with the sheer joy of it all.
WOW! EIGHT YEARS AGO. It certainly didn’t feel like eight years since I’d last visited Japan. In my at times, quite empty head it felt more like four or perhaps five years, and so for me I was kinda nervous going back, it was almost like my first trip. Clearly I had been many times before, yet a gap of eight years is quite significant and although very selfish and childish, I felt I might have been forgotten and unrecognised on my return.
Stepping for the very first time into the new hombu dojo, the wonderful clean and beautifully designed dojo felt like a blessing or a personal rebirth for myself and my budo, I was once again in awe of the Bujinkan. I had not taken two paces on to the mats when a figure cladd in black moved so quickly that it was a blur. It dashed towards me, it was Shiraishi Sensei. If ever there was a face moulding by decades of constant smiling, it is the face of Shiriashi Sensei. He was beaming and his smile was extra smiley, “hello Sensei Marc, it has been a long time my friend”, and I said yes, eight years he was shocked it was that long…… I was back. It twigged right then and there that if it did not feel like eight years in my head then it wouldn’t feel like eight years to Hatsumi Soke and all the senior Japanese instructors, and so it proved.
Our first lesson was with Hatsumi Soke, and fortune presented us all with an exceptionally small class, twenty students maxium. This is the purest way to be with The Grandmaster at his creative and technical best. It is always a privledge to be that close to the source. He talked and demonstrated his theme of ‘skipping stones’, and he conversed and demonstrated of that of light and dark, and touch and sensitivity, he laughed and he smiled continuously. From that lesson on it felt like I had never left. I felt in the flow and with the feeling of what was being expressed. I trained with Shorn, it was her first ever lesson with Hatsumi and her first ever lesson in Japan, something that can never be repeated. For me it was a joyous lesson on many levels.
Shiraishi Sensei is a remarkable instructor, in that he is an instructors, instructor. He takes time and pleasure and interest in everyone who attends his class, without exception. He takes the time to understand that person because he will explain and demonstrate his idea to each person at the level they require it. This is a remarkable skill on top of his other remarkable and more obvious skills. I have found over the years you can never arrive too early for a Shiraishi class. I always arrive politely early for his class, but I have never managed to get there before the class started. Shiraishi is always warming up. For me the best budo thing I learned on this trip was in the first Shiraishi class in the first warmup that once again had started before I had arrived. He taught many things, but the greatest impact was that he thought me how to watch and use my thumbs. Which I now understand. Thank you Shiraishi.
By the time Shorn and I went to Nagato Sensei’s class, we were well into the swing of hombu budo. The first thing I remember in Nagato Sensei’s class is that he came over and spoke to me and again asked how I was and how long had it been, he could not believe it was eight years. He then said “Hello, Sinead”. I was dumbfounded as to how he already knew her name. It wasn’t till later when he came back to check the spelling on her belt that I felt pretty stupid as I had bought Shorn that belt a few years earlier, but I had become un-dumbfounded. Throughout the lesson Nagato Sensei paid particular attention to myself and Shorn and towards the end of the class he enquired as to how long she had been training. Then he asked me what rank she was and when I said, he immediately shook his head and said “nooooo, higher, Godan. Today she should be 4th Dan and I insist she takes her Godan on Sunday”. I felt extremely happy for her and immensely proud of her and it vindicated my teaching to Shorn over the last eight years on top of those that she did in darkest Dublin. To say the least we were both surprised and on cloud nine. But, first we had to go to Mt Fuji! More of that for another time…
Godan Day. I have to say I don’t remember much of the training, but I remember training with Shorn all lesson. It brought home to me the day of my Godan, many years ago, I remembered my nervousness, my hopes and my fears, and so I knew how she must be feeling. We trained gently and quietly. The end of the class came soon enough, as Shiraishi Sensei took Shorn by the hand to Hatsumi. And with a clap of his hands he got all one hundred and twenty plus students to kneel by shouting ‘GODAN!’. There was one other student for the test. I remember he had a beard and was German, he went first, they clapped, he passed. Then Shorn knelt, I must have
been the most nervous person in the room because I knew at that exact moment Shorn was no longer nervous. As the sword came down, Shorn showed her commitment to the test by rolling. All too often many students who pass do so on smaller movements, that show less commitment to their survival. The more you feel, the more you move. That’s how I see it. Suddenly, everyone was clapping, nobody though, was clapping louder then I and nobody had a bigger smile. That was a good day. I will remember it for the rest of my life. I was happy and proud and I still am.
A few days later, when I thought I couldn’t be any happier, while Shidoshi Ryan Hobbs and myself were training. He was awarded his 9th Dan. I am so proud that I was with him when he gained this rank, that he so deserved through his dedication and hard work for all things Budo Warrior Schools. As one of my closest and best friends I could not have been prouder, and The Ginger Ninja is now the highest ranking student I have ever had. That is the kind of history I love. It was already my happiest trip.
For me, Shorn and Ryans achievements eclipsed and outweighed my own feelings for my final rank. I remember how excited I was when I got my Bujinkan Shodan, and when I got my Godan and yes I was very excited when I got my 10th Dan. Yet this final rank had left me almost deflated, in that I had nothing else to aim at, and after a lifetime on the mats that felt pretty weird. I thought I would have been very excited, but my excitement and my joy was for Shorn and Ryan. Some days later however. While I went to see Hatsumi Soke, after he and Shorn had finished talking about Guinness and Dublin, Hatsumi turned to me and smiled and asked about my training and after we had finished talking he suddenly asked in Japanese for something and someone appeared with a box. He then went on to say that he wishes to reward those who have trained so hard and for so long in the Bujinkan, helping to spread it around the world, for dedication and for inspiring the next generation of students with their teaching. After a long stream of compliments he then placed a gold medal around my neck and shook my hand. I was gobsmacked, shocked and proud, I am still proud even now that we are all back and life and training goes on.
“The world of Budo has been hijacked by the ‘form and technique’ clique, and those very few that do not completely conform to this dictate are derided and cold shouldered.”
Budo should be characterised by the bright burning desire to defy or defile the rules, norms and conventional wisdoms of martial arts. This should be its primary purpose, but sadly this is largely not the case as most senior instructors tend only to stick to rules, norms and conventional wisdoms of their given style, it is after all, easy money for large events and regular classes. I am always heavily disappointed not to see these ‘top’ instructors stretch themselves to delve deeper into the heart of Budo, such as Hatsumi Soke and other great Master’s would have them do. They all talk and write about the words and essence of the teachings of Hatsumi and other greats of Budo, sadly very, very few dare to be different enough to convey the teachings of Soke throughout their teachings and demonstrations. It is my entrenched belief that the origin of Budo requires that there be a capacity for those whose function is to uncover and disrupt the very things that martial arts are based on (conventional wisdoms and norms), and in doing so those who do so become the provocateurs and saboteurs who dismantle and kick down conventions while still occupying the same space. Regarding Budo and Martial Arts, as most only teach and practices conventional wisdoms, my survival instinct has led me to find another way with guidance and words from such as Hatsumi Soke but not exclusively so. The only way to fight is to fight without fighting; to find a mischief to adjust or upset your opponents spine just enough for them to make a mistake, and then interrupt them when they try to correct themselves. Budo is an extremely massive phenomenon of relatively small size, and so it is imperative not to fall for the conventional wisdoms of pure form and technique because you will fall, heavily. My training and teaching methods are often criticised and pretty much exclusively it is by those who have not met me or who have never trained with me. This is what happens when you dare to be different. The world of Budo has been hijacked by the ‘form and technique’ clique, and those very few that do not completely conform to this dictate are derided and cold shouldered. But let us draw back to look at the principle purpose of our endeavours with our blood, sweat and bruises, it is surely to learn how to survive, to do and not die. To teach this takes women and men of most earnest capabilities and experience, sadly there are very few of this nature… And so we have the majority who have combined and formed the ‘form and technique’ clique who do not dare to be different and refuse to take their gaze off the old and tattered road map that they were first handed.
I must state for the record that I am indeed a firm believer in form and technique, and I even like maps! Form and technique are easy to teach, they are easy to learn and they are easy to correct; this is ideal for beginners just as it is ideal for a lost traveller to be given a clear and precise map, but THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY. It is only when you push a technique, form or map to its very limits that it becomes interesting, and by pushing a technique, form or map to its extremes you will find out where the cracks in its structure might be hiding. This is vital to comprehend as any friction within unstructured combat will soon split these cracks wide open, and so, it is reasonable to switch to a new problem, theme or strategy before it is too late. For any successful fighting system, reality must take precedence over the obsession of form and technique, for nature, anger, viciousness and benevolence cannot be fooled. The truth is the only real kamae or stance that we must take. The reasonable student or instructor adapts them self to the form or technique; the unreasonable student or instructor continues in trying to adapt the form or technique to them self. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable student or instructor. The things most likely to let you down in unstructured combat are form and technique, this is because of the friction, friction is all the elements that cannot be accounted for and trained for, ranging from being scared shitless, slipping in mud or blood, complete darkness, complete surprise etc etc etc. In these such situations form and technique take a hammering. If though, from the earliest opportunity you expose yourself and your students to sound and proven principles and strategies you and they will fare much better amongst the mud the blood and the beer… That which cannot be easily understood is the dark matter of Budo and that which cannot be seen or detected is the dark energy of Budo.
The moment I learned the vocabulary, syntax and grammar of movement, I was amazed by what could be done with Budo, and I have dedicated my life to its study ever since. My background is steeped in the full nature of violence; I have studied martial arts since 1964, and my working career led me through 22 years as a doorman alongside 15 years in close protection; I would not be alive today except for my understanding of the dark matter and the dark energy of Budo. I have witnessed terrible shit stained death at first hand, and I have avoided it twice at close quarters. It is with this background and my extensive research that I teach and why I teach as I do. I give no apologies for this. I am prepared to fight anyone even more so than at any other time, because I am old enough to take the possible loss without any diminishment to my ego, philosophy or instruction. I fight with mind, body and soul. I fight with with blood, bone and sinew, I fight with a dark mind and dark matter and dark energy, and I do battle with words, philosophy and principle…. But whether anyone is prepared for the great ordeal of fighting me is another matter, my Budo soaks deep, very deep. The price of Budo is responsibility. I have learned throughout my life and career in Budo chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions and conventional wisdoms, like the infallibility of form and technique, it has been a long standing and close quarters exposure to harsh truths, shit stained wisdom and bloodied knowledge. Truth fears no such questioning.
If we slide into one of those rare moments of Budo honesty, we will realise that the demands of ‘correct’ form and technique in Budo are complex enough that a considerable percentage of effort is bound to malfunction before or during unstructured combat. Thus, it appears that Budo is far too serious a subject matter to be left purely to instructors of form and technique. The true test of Budo in unstructured combat is in the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. A calm mind and an aggressive body are vital to deploy fear doubt surprise and confusion on any aggressor, and a calm mind and aggressive Budo is galvanised against self-doubt and vitalised with movement distance and timing. You must respect the woman or man who knows distinctly what she or he has to do and how to do it. The greatest part of all the misdoing in Budo arises from the fact that women and men do not sufficiently understand how to satisfy and claim their own aims. They have undertaken to build a perfect tower, and then spend no more thought or labour on the foundations and structure than would be necessary to erect a garden shed. The theory of form and technique above all else is crazy, but it is not crazy enough to be true.
“Reality” is the only word in Budo that should always be used in quotes, as so many talk of it but so few have any experience of it. Always go with the truth. This will gratify some people and anger the rest. If you have to go in for the fight, take care of your mind, calm it. Your logic and clarity will take care of itself and you. Strategy is survival, strategy is intelligent inactivity. The more original a truth, the more obvious it seems afterwards. To obtain any woman’s or man’s opinion of your Budo, you first have to make them really mad at you. When you walk in another one’s tracks you will leave no footprints. But if you wish to leave a mark in this world, walk alone and tread bravely under a splendid silent sun with all its beams full-dazzling. The Incompleteness Theorem exists in Budo as surely as it does in mathematics; thus, Gödel said, it is impossible to be completely accurate and completely universal. It is the fixation of form and technique above all else that tells the lie of universal accuracy.
The worth of Budo is to be measured only by what you can carry away from it. This is a genuine open invitation for anyone, instructor or otherwise to come along to any of my classes or events to help test our theories and your theories without rancour or bitterness but only with the spirit of benevolence and friendship.
CONCORDANCE CONSTANTS:-DARK MATTER
(Scepticism of The Unexpected
By all accounts it has been a good while since I’ve touched down in Tokyo…. But hold onto your hats! Budo Warrior Schools is once again organising a far flung flight to The Land Of The Rising Sun and Budocious Taijutsu. Precise dates are yet to be confirmed though it looks like April 2016. This latest adventure is open to all regardless of rank or ability.
For the many who have been before you will know what to expect and how awesome Japan is, apart from being the home of the Bujinkan and other fantastic martial arts, it is just the coolest and craziest country in the world.
For those who have never been before I can tell you that Japan will be all the things that you will expect be and all the things that you won’t expect it to be. Japan is simply the politest and safest country in the developed world. Over 70% of its land mass is mountains – including over 100 active volcanoes, over 6800 islands make up the nation of Japan. The trains are the world’s most punctual: their average delay is just 18 seconds. Also, 90% of mobile phones are waterproof because the Japanese tend to use them in the shower. Most streets are not named. There are at least twenty different ways to say sorry…. And, they have vending machines for beer, what else could you possibly want?
As for the budo you will be meeting the world famous Hatsumi Soke and many of the best students and teachers in the world, as well as training at the seat and home of budo. It will be amazing and possibly life changing. Believe me, you won’t want to miss it. I welcome you aboard the adventure of your lifetime.
So far confirmed for this trip are myself, Shorn Byrne, Ryan Hobb, Lexie Hobbs and Dr Rhys Jones…
For more information please contact me at email@example.com
Be true to yourself, always and in doing so, if it is required you must be prepared to shake the tree of conventional wisdom, and in turn you must be prepared to be ignored then ridiculed and finally attacked before it is that you are finally accepted.
My view of budo is at last acknowledged and confirmed, if not fully approved of. My view of budo is the result of all my personal experiences to date, including my long years of training, my experiences in the security industry, plus the highs and lows of my life. Out of that melting pot I decided in June 2000 that I would once again tread the rubble strewn path of becoming an instructor of budo, I had tried once before in the mid 1990’s, and I had failed. Principally I failed as I had not learned the above wisdom that I have now shared with you. I taught my budo as I felt that I must, because that was how I was taught. I was taught not to question, I was taught to just do. This idea of ‘no talk, no think, just train’ is fine in principle for outright beginners only. For the instructors who themselves do not think and thus in turn do not teach their students to think, none of them are studying budo, it will only be quality historical reenactment at best. Being you, is a stunning act of creativity, but like any art form it has its dark side.
The budo that you train in and train for is for you, and you only. Your methodology will be the best methodology for you. All the changes that you will ride along with on your budo journey will be the best changes for you. You must respect the personal journeys of your fellow students and that of your instructor, and indeed anyone who offers any advice. Think deeply about that advise and put your best efforts in to understand that advice and be completely prepared to accept new and differing advice, and in turn to treat that advice with equal inquiry and effort. It is only in so doing that you will become a pure student of budo. To live a fruitful life you must continue to question and adapt when change is necessary or advantageous, it is the some with budo.
Form and technique is vital as a structure and framework for organising movement, distance and timing, nothing more. Just as a diary is the vital structure for a busy life, the diary is only a tool with a limited functionality, the diary does not become you. It is the same with form and technique within your budo. Just as your diary has a habit of letting you down with things pile up, when it feels there is just not enough time in the day, when you start running behind you will then have a bad day when the structure collapses. It is the same with form and technique within in budo, when the sticky brown matter collides with the device producing a current of air by the movement of a number of broad surfaces the things that will most likely let you down are form and technique. I believe that there is just too much emphasis on pure form and technique, the culprit of this state of affairs is that it is the easiest thing to teach. Life and conflict can be viewed as a game of chess; conservation, the study of cause and effect. I have been told by many who have not trained with me that I have poor form, what I would say to these people is please come and train with me and you will find that I have trained and worked and studied to lose that set of obvious postures and movements that are called form and technique.
In a game of chess form and technique are pawns while strategy is king. Strategy is a well identified set of congruent thoughts and actions specifically tailored and targeted at pitting your natural and learned advantages and strengths against your studied weaknesses of your enemy. This is strategy, this is the art of the advantage. The strategical fighter does not just draw on existing strength but creates strength through the coherence of movement distance and timing and the application of fear doubt surprise and confusion. The first natural and often times overlooked advantage of a sound fighting strategy is that more often than not your enemy will not have one. If you fail to identify and analyse the obstacles dangers and the strengths of your enemy, you are only left with hope. A strategy must have a diagnosis of the situation an overall guiding system and the ability to apply the coherent action. Think of instinct as a question and not as a decision. Judgement begins with the self-understanding of your abilities and biases. It will then extend to the knowing of other individuals and then to knowing of small groups and finally to large groups. Chance events, imperfections in execution and the independent will of your enemy all cause friction, any effective strategy has to evolve according to continuously changing circumstances.
This is my understanding of budo. I will live and die by my budo.
Hello good readers. It has been a long time since I put my fingers to the keyboard. My words may have gone into a state of coma, but I had not. Life and budo move on. Much has happened to me in the meantime. Much of it I can’t recall. Much of it makes me smile and makes me younger than I was.
I have been, for some time dubbed ‘remarcmoorable’ by some of my students. I don’t tell you this to surprise, shock, or to worry you. I tell you this because it still surprises, shocks and worries me. These students hold me, their budo instructor to the high standard of my words thoughts and deeds, and it is my stringent duty not to disappoint them, if at all possible. What do they, see in me, and what do they aspire to be with me as their short, muddle aged, and increasingly forgetfully instructor, guide and keeper of the way? I have no idea… But, I suppose that being ‘remarcmoorable’ means strangely little more than the aptitude, and capability of observing and moving in an un-habitual way. It’s not theoretical physics and I’m not a theoretical physicist; I’ve just been around for a long while and I’ve led and still lead an interesting and non conventional life. Anyone can do it, if I can because I’m certainly not remarcmoorable. I just firmly and religiously believe in the incomprehensibility of love and budo, and that with love and budo, I will live forever. So far, so good (fingers crossed).
I have a simple yet powerful idea for you all and that is, don’t squander yourself in rejection, back stabbing or politics, or scream into the night, or rant and shout at those most close to you, but sing the beauty of the good, pass on the positivity and spread the love. Those of us who continuing to strive and put ourselves on the line every day, will always have our ups and downs. That is only natural and it is the way of things. Only the characterless and the second rate are always at their best.
If we are unable to find harmony and contentment within ourselves, it is pointless to set out on the great hunt for it elsewhere. Most of our miseries spring from stupidity, bitterness and those great motivators and justifiers of bitterness and stupidity: idealism, discrimination and polarising fanaticism on behalf of religious or political ideas. We must strive to go someway beyond what we have already mastered and have understood. Onward and upwards to new plains of ideas and understandings, to stretch the elasticity in our minds and souls, because once stretched to new capacities they will never recede to what they were before. This is the only sustainable growth for our souls and psyche.
Have calmness and composure with others, because this is the way to harmony and contentment, and in this way we show and spread the love. Otherwise by means of shrewd falsehoods and lies that is to lead you and them to believe that black is white, and that heaven is hell; the greater the lie, the greater the certainty of its truth. To have and to appreciate achievement and ambition is to have calmness and composure with ourselves, and finally to have calmness and composure with budo is acceptance and belief. The green shoots of growth can only ever come from the readiness to take personal responsibility. There are many people who can only be happy when they hate. There are many great haters that I have met, and I pass them by, as I do to a careless fart, never to become Farcebook ‘friends’s’. 🙂
Budo should always be the practice of strategy, by reasoned thoughts and actions governed by natural laws that pit your strengths against the studied weaknesses of your enemy or antagonist, by means of fear, doubt, surprise and confusion, for the general benefit of mankind. And love should be the reason for it all. It is not what you know, but what you feel that concerns budo. The rest is just style and window dressing. While you are enjoying your budo, you are not failing it, and it is not failing you, and by not failing in budo you will never know what it is to become old. Do not desert your budo, keep it to your heart and make it your thread of talent, and you will become what nature intended for you, and you will know the embrace of success. Let others find their standard by which they will judge you, as the very breath and essence of budo is in it’s creativity and permutations, and so their standards will never apply. Because that which is understood and acknowledged by everyone is usually a lie. Budo cannot be manipulated. Budo won’t go away; push budo away, or pull it apart and it will always instantly regroup and reform, like smoke slipping through a firm grasp. Technical skill is in the mastery of that which is complex, while creativity is mastery of that which is simple. Be the first to training and the last to McDonald’s. There is nothing marvellous in budo, anyone can do it, and they usually do.
When you become truly skilled in budo it will be like seeing through the smog while still enjoying the view. To master budo is to master your destiny, and so for some people you will have to take an unpopular stance. The greater your kamae, the greater your progress. Budo is truth, and armed with the truth you will have infinite power supporting you along the way and illuminating your path. If you don’t like your current path you can change it, indeed you have an obligation to change it, one small, singular step at a time. The truth of budo is only in it’s credibility, and the credibility of budo is in it’s believability, and the believability of budo is in it’s persuasiveness. Budo taught and performed correctly is very persuasive. Budo is change, budo is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. Budo is also about discomfort, don’t waste it. Discomfort is one of natures most precious gifts. This is the truth, the good, the bad, and the budo.
The way of learning is to observe and ask questions. When you have more knowledge, observe more closely and ask more questions. He that cannot observe can only make excuses and he that only makes excuses cannot make anything else. Do not concern yourself about other students and instructors stealing your ideas, for the solid and simple reason, that If your ideas are as good as you think they are, you will have to ram them down their throats, because if you want to create enemies and a whirlwind of politics, just try and change something. Have courage and do not let anyone turn you around; courage is the art of being the only one who knows the truth and the truth is you are scared to death. Courage is perseverance in a heavy coat on the hottest day of the year. Courage is the integration of what you believe in, into every facet of your life. Courage is being prepared to see both sides of the story. Courage is protecting your students from your prejudices. Courage is taking the hits and the criticisms aimed directly at you, although the slings and arrows may well be fired at those you love. It is said that it is difficult to differentiate between who gets criticised the most, the successful person or the failure. Whoever it is, it’s a close run thing. It is useful to ponder on the fact that success and failure are never permanent or final, and that faults are sooner copied than correctness, bad habits, they say are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of. Success and rank should not wield power or privilege, yet it is the weight of responsibly that is the prize and price of success. Whatever success you have, be good at it.
Because what our minds can take in is governed by our endurance, we will continually makes lots of mistakes. That’s a promise. But as long as you are true to the correct path you can do no lasting harm, as you are working within the universal laws of nature, because when you pull at a single chord in nature, it is always attached to the rest of the world; you can never lose by pulling those strings, you can only lose by not pulling them. Curiosity is the key to the big engine. Success is something that everyone should try, more than once.
Until you can measure something and then express it in budo, you have only the begining of understanding. Enthusiasm without knowledge is a bucket with a hole in it. Every step of budo is taken from the kamae that makes the conscious into the unconscious. Budo must combine the toughness of the tiger and the softness of the kitten, a strong mind and a playful heart. The self, yourself, myself, the I, me, mine is not something ready-made, and preordained, but rather something in continuous formation through the practice of budo. One side effect of studying budo, is that it peels away at the layers of fear that endure through our existence. There are a lot of people who are healthier then they have ever been before, because a lot of their fear is gone, and replaced by the faith of budo. The history of budo is not the history of fighting, budo is the rich history of stories, the stories of man. The stories of men alone can become too small a peg to hang history from. If you acquire the learning of budo and if you do not practice, daily in your life of what you have learned, you will become like a fireman without a hose, an officer without authority, a bird without its wings. Life with budo is the balance of justice, control and power. Without justice, control and power you will only find a hole in the world, one which you will constantly avoid in your waking hours, and yet fall into at night.
If you want to create enemies, all you have to do is to change something or do something differently. I have grown used to the critics and even the haters. This post is a series of emails between myself and one of my milder critics. It is offered unedited, apart from the removal of the names involved. I hope that it is enlightening, illuminating and possible amusing as to how two grown men who share a common love of Budo can so easily be sidetracked into trivialities.
Please contact me directly if anyone would like any additional information regarding this post.
As I was commenting on ……
pictures, I didn’t realise that I should have addressed my comments to you, and I don’t actually think about you enough to want to get rid of you, maybe that’s a touch of Paranoia creeping in ?, my comments were and always will be about people handing out bogus certificates, yet going under the Bujinkan Banner, while I realise that we all have to make ends meet, most of us try to keep some measure of integrity towards our teaching and training. As strange as it may sound, I have nothing personally against you, or any of your students, I do however find it a bit odd that from what I have heard, very few of your students, or even their students have Hombu memberships ?.
But as I see that I have been blocked from commenting or liking posts, it makes me wonder what it is that you have to hide ?
I await your response with baited breath 🙂
I would normally start by saying what an honour it is to receive correspondence from someone of your rank. Though, we both know that you have only contacted me directly because it was decided to block you from the Budo Warrior Schools Facebook page. I am easy to locate and find yet you repeatedly chose to direct your words to …… who is a very junior rank to you. Your actions have not added to your cause. You should have always contacted me directly.
It appears to me that you continually put more emphasis on the affairs of others rather than your own proficiencies. It was said publicly by yourself that you were an expert with hand guns, but the appearance of your criminally negligent video of ‘defending yourself’ by guiding the attackers pistol across the back of your exposed neck was laughable in the extreme and thankfully enjoyed in that vein by many. Also I have heard in a way that I believe it to be true that you were under pressure at a recent seminar in Bristol to produce and impromptu display of taijutsu, I understand that you, let’s say under-performed in a rather public manner… Having received your advice, I shall offer some of my own. You should find an instructor who can help you with your deficiencies in your budo. You will find my rates very reasonable.
I do not care a jot about what you or anyone else thinks of my affairs regarding membership cards or certificates. I may have ruffled a few feathers in Japan, that is not for the first time. I have never been a yes man, in my martial studies or out of them. I am a maverick, people love or hate me and I am glad of that because it proves that I have the ability to make a difference to people and not just tow the line because that’s what your supposed to do.
I have been my rank now for five years. I know of quite a few who have gone from 4th Dan to 10th Dan well within that same time frame. That ruffles quite a few feathers. The fact that I cannot increase my rank because for no other reason that I simply cannot afford to get to Japan ruffles my feathers. So, feathers as you see are always being ruffled one way or another. We all have to put up with stuff we are not particularly happy about.
So, to summarise I am waterproof as I nor the vast majority of my students simply do not care what you or anyone else may think. I do not care that I have continued to ruffle feathers in or out of the Bujinkan. I do however have a specific page on Facebook for the specific use of my students and any other students who treat it with respect, as you did not respect it you were blocked. It appears that your feathers are now ruffled too. Join the club
I have never said that I am an expert in anything, I am however experienced with many firearms, and the technique was a valid one, I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but I didn’t do any impromptu demonstrations at my recent trip to Bristol, and nothing was under performed. As I explained in my email to you, I was commenting on something on …… page, not your’s, therefore saw no need to direct my comments at yourself. Like you I have and still do ruffle feathers, as is obvious by this thread, and on the subject of Rank, I have held mine for the last 11 years, so I agree with what you say about the fast trackers, but I never feel that this is any concern of mine.
As we have only met a couple of times, and are not on each others friends list, I don’t feel that what I said is relevant to anything you are doing, and the fact that …… is a junior rank to me ha nothing to do with the situation.
I do feel however that some of the messages he sent to me yesterday, show a slightly unbalanced character, I am still deciding what to do about that, and the fact that after blocking me from his page, he sent me a friend request under an alias, as were the messages, sort of says it all.
……, I along with others distinctly recall reading the thread on Facebook; …… had placed on his group page a series of photos of his students at his class praciticing practical pistol applications. You stated that you thought what he was doing was incorrect and you added that an expert on such hand gun matters was booked to do a seminar at …… class. …… asked who the expert was and you replied that it was yourself. It was at that point that …… deleted you and your comments from his page.
If you firmly stand by that gun disarm, you will have a long lonely vigil. Even …… eventually saw its shortcomings as he deleted the video from public display.
I stated in my last email that your failed impromptu taijutsu display was at ‘a’ recent event in Bristol and not the most recent, and as I say I heard it in a way that I believe it to be true.
You say that as you were only commenting about …… activities on his page and so therefore you did not see the need to take the matter higher. That statement is patently untrue, a lie. By your recent actions of informing Hatsumi Soke, you did take it higher but you still did not have the nerve nor the moral fibre to contact me directly.
The fact that …… was emotional in his responses to you after you had firmly pushed all his buttons is no indication of an unstable character. A clearer indicator of an unstable character is one who habitually presses his uninvited opinions upon others in such a way as to cause hurt or embarrassment for those parties for the perpetrators own ends. Also it would not take a genius to work back on all the threads to find that all the issues were started and fanned by you. You have a victim mentality, take a shot of man-up and take responsibility for your deeds and actions and shortcomings.
You say that we have met before, I sadly have no recollection of those occasions. If you wish it that if and when we meet again that we do so as honourable Shidoshi of differing opinions the ball is in your court. You need to refrain from interfering publicly or privately in Budo Warrior Schools affairs and that if you have anything that you must say, all comments must be directed privately to me and only me. If you can promise to abide by these simple rules of common politeness and decency I will be happy to reinstate you on the Budo Warrior Schools page.
Just a couple of points here, #1, most of the gun disarms I demonstrated were from seminars and courses I have attended in America, taught by Police or military personnel.
#2, I have never firmly pushed …… buttons, we would know if I had.
#3 I didn’t actually take the post to Soke myself, but I did re-post it on my page.
As for what …… does, or doesn’t show is up to him, but maybe, it’s more about who he lets see what he posts on his own page.
I hardly think someone in your position is in any way qualified to try and lecture me on nerve or moral fibre, and I would refute any sort of claim about me having a victim mentality, or needing a shot of man up, I’ll stick to the occasional Bourbon thanks, and the comments I make on people’s pages are never designed to cause hurt, if I have something I think will do that, I always convey it in a private message.
Quite frankly Marc, I actually have very little interest in what Budo Warrior schools do, and I will continue to comment on all the McEmpire, and McDojo posts on my page, any time I see them.
Before I reply to your points raised in your last email I would like to confirm that it was you who declined my genuine offer of an amicable resolution based on a mutual understanding of our differences.
……, no matter how many times you repeat a bad idea it does not make it a good idea.
Are you really trying to say that your attempt to, in your opinion ‘expose’ …… was not firmly pushing his buttons, on top of all the other issues you instigated against him?
I have been told by a very close and longstanding friend that you had emailed him and admitted that you were responsible for Hatsumi Soke seeing that post.
Whether …… removed your video or placed it in restricted viewing is by the by, because it is still proof that he was embarrassed by it, or felt sorry for you. ……, as many know is very eager to point out deficiencies in the videos and training methods of others but, on this evidence is extremely reluctant to offer similar opportunities on his videos to anyone else.
I too have spent some time training in the USA. For example I studied the Mosaic system of personality profiling and threat assessments as used by the FBI. Basically it’s a point scoring system which results in remarkably accurate assessments. You definitely have a victim mentality. I shall explain why. You consistently fail to take responsibility for your actions: the poor technique that I taught was not my fault as I learned it from someone else; I do not push people’s buttons people are just unstable; it was not me who told Hatsumi soke, i just posted it on facebook; I have no interest in Budo Warrior Schools but people keep telling me things… The problem with this psychology of avoiding responsibility and accountability is that you are saying that you are not in control of yourself or your actions. Stuff just keeps happening to you to which you have no control. That is how victims think because victims have no sense of responsibility or personal accountability for their actions: I had to walk down that dark alley as its the short cut; ok, I had a bit to drink but the guy just hit me for no reason; every man I’ve ever dated ended up abusing me… Yes ……, I have doubled checked and you do have a victim mentality. On top of that ……, you are a bully. You are a verbal and psychological bully. Not a physical bully because as we both know you are not proficient enough in that department.
Bully – noun
a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
……, no one is perfect. For example I have been pegged by many as an immature selfish show off. I am guilty as charged.
Working as an international bodyguard I had the very great pleasure of spending time with the singer, song writer George Michael. One day he gave me some sound advice, he said “Marc, handling publicity is easy. Don’t read it, weigh it!” On that note when you feel inclined to post or mail anything about me or Budo Warrior Schools or anyone connected to me or it, please make sure your spelling is correct.
I haven’t declined anything, and the message I sent to ….. was more about the fact that …… had no involvement in what happened. If you ever see anything on my page, you will find that I’m quite consistent, in what and how I post things, what are theses other issues I have instigated ?. As to your time in America, maybe you misunderstood some of the points you were being taught, after all a Maverick like yourself, probably understood everything they were trying to teach you.
As to your accusation of me being a bully, well I could say that I have heard that about you from various sources, but that is beside the point, I would agree that my proficiency to be a physical bully, is probably lacking, although my ability to defend myself physically is more than adequate.
……, you do avoid and deflect responsibility in a remarkably consistent manner. I congratulate you on your steadfast adherence to your negative character trait.
Can you please confirm or decline my genuine offer of an amicable resolution based on a mutual understanding of our differences? The answer to the question only requires a yes or no answer.
As regards the iPad incident at the hombu dojo, I believe that you deliberately engineered the incident with the involvement of an accomplice. I have yet to decide if I can be sufficiently bothered to ask the identity of the iPad owner, it could well turn out to be an interesting answer.
I am happily completely uninterested in your Facebook page and I am totally ambivalent to you personally. I will though consistently reply to your mails as is only right and proper in these circumstances as it was you who sought to interfere with and pressurise …… and his students in their in pursuit of martial arts as part of Budo Warrior Schools. It came to my notice and it is my job as principal instructor to deal with such issues, and this is me dealing with you.
While I agree with you that I may not be the sharpest tool in the box, the profiling is fairly idiot proof. With or without the profiling system you do consistently place yourself as the victim as you do not and cannot take responsibility for your actions. Another interesting side issue that you consistently display I must confess, I find quite endearing and so I will not divulge what it is. Finally, on this subject it is fascinating that a great many of the people who have a victim mentality have a substance issue, typically marijuana or alcohol.
You are obviously confused on the bullying issue I was not accusing you of being a bully. I was stating a fact. You are a bully. Here is the dictionary definition once again.
‘Bully – noun
a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.’
Could you please clearly explain what exactly it is that you believe that you are at odds with regarding the above definition and its application to your recent actions aimed at …..?
Thank you for confirming that there is a great deal of information about me in the public domain. I’m loving the weight of it all. I am grateful to you for confirming my happiness.
I can’t quite work out why it is that you care so much about how I at Budo Warrior Schools organise my system of membership cards and certificates, something that does not effect you directly than you care about the fast trackers in the Bujinkan who advance to top rank in remarkably short spaces of time. Because as you state that you have not advanced your rank in eleven years, and that clearly effects you more directly.
……, I sense that you are getting a little tired of all this and that you are running out of steam, excuses and deflections. Any team knows that it is much harder to always play on the defensive. The ball is your court once again.
Good evening Marc,
I can hardly believe that it takes you this long to think of an answer to my emails, but regardless of that, I have no idea what ipad incident you are referring to, so I’ll have to leave that one. I find it equally strange that you seem to be obsessed with my character, when your’s seems to be in need of improvement, I do maintain that I have not bullied ……, I only commented on the dodgy certificates, now I do understand that there are some people who don’t send Kyu grade fees to Japan, they seem to use them to pay the rent or whatever, and I always comment the same when I see theses certificates posted on Facebook or other forums, so that is just my stance on it.
I have not referred to you as not the sharpest tool in the box, so where you get that from is beyond me ?, as to the profiling thing, none of the people I know over in America that are involved with security services have heard of you, but then again, that is your business not mine, unlike yourself, I don’t try to make a living out of this Art, I do seminars when asked, and almost always get invited back, I have no ambitions to create or run an empire of any sort.
You will find Marc, that I never run out of steam in these sort of situations, to me it’s a bit like doing crosswords, I just keep giving the answers till it goes round in a circle, one of my main character traits is tenacity :-).
I suppose your firearms experience is down to some sort of bodyguarding course, so of course you would have more knowledge than me, and I totally disagree with your contention that I am a bully, as I don’t bluster,badger or try to intimidate people, can you say the same ?, also I have no problems with any form of substance abuse, the fact that I do like a pint, or the occasional Bourbon, is only abuse to a none drinker
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Good morning Marc,
That’s a very adult response, I would like to apologise for the brevity of my reply to your last email, it had been a long day.
Firstly, who is this …… you mentioned ?, and I am certainly not on the defensive over any of this, you keep claiming that I’m a bully , when it seems to me that you are probably more of one then myself, but maybe as a self proclaimed Budo God, the rules don’t apply to you ?, you then try to attack my character and morals, but I have never entered a relationship with a student, how is your ex and the children ?.
I’m starting to think that maybe you are just another of these pedantic little pissant’s that should as you say man up, and get from up yourself.
I guess that from the reply you have sent today, that you have run out of ideas regarding this thread, if so, that’s fine with me, you were not that much of a challenge anyway.
my blah blah response was a parody of your continuing mails. ……, obviously a typo.
Though I am regularly called remarcmoorable by some of my students I have never thought of myself as a Budo God. Thank you for the recommendation and the upscale of my persona. I shall enjoy quoting you on that.
It is difficult for me and probably anyone else to understand the connection between purely budo matters and my private life. That is a monumental deflection on your behalf. I suppose your thinking maybe is that as you have now promoted me to a Budo God that my private life is open to you as of right. Well as ever I have nothing to hide.
Until the present I had never entered into a relationship with a student. Well, it does have its benefits. We are very happily over eighteen months into the relationship. Thank you for your enquiry.
If you are trying to join the dots between my ex and my current partner I shall have to disappoint you as I was single for over a year before my new relationship was begun. My ex is coping pretty well she is a strong woman with much that gives her credit, she now has a new grandchild to dote on which brings her grand total of grand children to three.
My children are all doing rather nicely thank you. My oldest daughter married the tv celebrity Nick Knowles last year in Rome, perhaps you saw us all in Hello magazine? Next daughter finished Durham University last year with a 2:1 in biological anthropology and is working in London. Youngest daughter is now in management in the hotel industry and she still lives in Cirencester. My boy who will be eighteen in October is autistic and at college doing very well in maths and sciences. So, they are all doing very nicely.
I will close now and state than unless you can return to the original and specific aim of these mails which was your public harassing of one of my students, a purely budo matter, I shall take it upon myself to exercise my right of non reply.
“Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.” – Bertrand Russell
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi