“Tradition is tending the flame, it’s not worshiping the ashes”
– Gustav Mahler, a 19th century conductor and composer.
I came across this quote when reading another blog that talked about people missing the point of keeping traditions. His take on it was quite accurate. You shouldn’t keep things just to say they are tradition.
I have trained in Seidokan Aikido, which was developed by Roderick Kobayashi, and was taught the development of the system. While the techniques looked different from what Kobayashi-sensei was taught in classes from Koichi Tohei-sensei, the principles were still there. That is THE tradition.
Since you cannot truly debate quality and effectiveness of technique as they are based in many other variables such as age, sex, physical condition and liking to do breakfalls, the important tradition is continuing the principles and their development in a modern world. During a discussion, Kobayashi-sensei commented “There is not good Ki or bad Ki, there is just Ki.” This would fit for technique as well. Personality makes the technique happen the way it does but the principles are still within the technique.
Hard style martial artists seem to have a harder time with this. Many can recite their style’s history, lineage and stories but they miss the parts about why technique developed as they did and how they have developed since. This might be caused by so much sport being involved in the martial arts today. Another reason could be that these points were never taught to students for a myriad of reasons.
I am known for trying to find the history and stories from my Song Moo Kwan Taekwondo lineage but I have tried to keep the important part of training hard and understanding what is within the techniques. I’ve mentioned many times that my Aikido has enhanced my Taekwondo. This is important as it has given me better insights into what my Taekwondo needs to be able to do in Today’s world.
Are your school oaths, principles, tenets and concepts just something that you repeat as part of class or are they visible in your training?
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Author: Master Robert Frankovich
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