A few weeks ago I had a conversation with Soke regarding waza and its lack of importance in the advanced stages of Budo.
Soke actually asked me to give my perspective to the training group that night, so I would like to summarize that discussion here again for the blog readers.
I realize that many of my blog posts refer to waza (and furthermore) the lack of importance of waza. The reason is that this is a very important point in Soke’s teaching and therefore will show up in many of the talks that I have with him.
The discussion of that night centered around the difference between other martial arts and the Bujinkan and the view of waza and its relevance to shinken gata.
In summary, the below points are the main areas that were covered:
Non Bujinkan martial arts put strong emphasis on the doing of the technique in correct form. And even go as far as to say that if the technique is not done perfectly to form, then the technique is not correct and the practitioner is not skilled. Furthermore to say that without perfect replication of the waza the technique is not “the” technique.
In the Bujinkan, (after a strong foundation basics are achieved) our thinking is completely different and maintains strong relevance to REAL life. As no one masterpiece can be replicated to perfection, then no technique can be replicated. We can go as far to say that the reality of the situation is that other martial arts are far separated from realism.
In real life, you are not judged by how you achieve results, but by the results themselves. In a real life there are no points given for the perfection of your technique when it is a life or death situation.
This is the clear difference of the mindset of the Bujinkan and the other martial arts.
I can remember my own personal experience of training in other martial arts and how the teacher judged my technique and commented that my technique was not correct. Since I was also involved in Bujinkan training at the time, my Bujinkan mind starting asking, what does it matter how or whether the “chiburi”is done and what it looks like? If the opponent is fatally cut, and I assume that I have won, should I really put 100% of my mind into the chiburi or should I pay more attention to whether the opponent is really finished, or better yet, whether he might have vengeful friends?
So, we can see that the form is of little relevance to real life and those that put emphasis on the waza, are toying with reality. I guess the question really comes down to why are you pursuing the study of martial arts? To have perfect form or to learn the right mindset to protect yourself and loved ones?
I think the majority of the people in the Bujinkan will choose the latter answer. This is not a perfect world, so why put emphasis in perfection of something that is useless?