Brian Kagen pick: “Takamura Ha Shindo Yoshin Kai: Assumptions” by Toby Threadgill

“Recently I was introduced to a gentleman interested in martial arts training. He was not really aware of what I teach or of what constitutes Nihon Koryu Jujutsu. He just assumed that because I taught it, that I must believe it to be “the best”. When I told him I did not believe the art I taught to be “the best”, an uncomfortable silence ensued. I finally broke this taciturn moment by explaining that there is actually no such thing as a “best” martial art. Despite a noble effort to grasp what I was talking about, the gentleman in question eventually regressed, unable to shake the impression that if I was not convinced that what I taught was superior to all other forms of martial arts, that I was somehow unworthy of teaching him. I politely encouraged him to look around, consider what I had said and contact me again if he had any further questions. A few days later I received an e-mail from this gentleman in which he explained that he had indeed found someone convinced that they taught the ultimate style of martial arts. It was called “mixed martial arts” because it embodied only the best of all the styles. I just smiled to myself as I politely responded, congratulating him on his fortuitous discovery. ”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. bruce baker says:

    At some point …. each person must stop thinking inside the box of rules and realize when they leave their teacher and training area, the possibility of NO RULES exists as the real threat.

    The ultimate martial art? The ultimate teacher? The ultimate fighter?

    I don’t think the lesson is that there can only be one best of anything, but that there are many who are not best, many of whom teach the best to be the best.

    It is a long difficult road from Child-hood to adult old age. Many do not find true happiness in that journey, and maybe … it is not so much we are great fighters, or even great teachers, but searching for those moments of happiness in a chaotic world that seems to intrude on our moments when we think we have found peace. Students, and strangers who challenge us mentally, or even physically? What lesson, what words or deeds should any of us teach at that moment of intrusion?

    That is the lesson I see in stories like this. Open your mind young man, you don’t see the world for what it is. There is so much to see, so much to learn.

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