Kuchi Waza

Lately I’ve been contemplating the existence of this blog. Shihan says that talking about martial arts is “kuchi waza” (mouth technique), and that we should be doing not talking. So sometimes I feel like blogging makes me a dreaded “kuchi bushi” (mouth warrior).

Also, talking about myself all the time seems to reek with ego, and it feels a little wrong. I constantly struggle with wanting to share things from my personal experiences, which I hope may help or entertain people, and feeling like it’s just all about me. Me, me, me! Prior to blogging, I was an incredibly private person, so opening myself up to the entire freaking cyber world is pretty scary. It’s not always an easy or comfortable thing for me to do.

Everything I have ever said, or could ever say, about martial arts has probably already been said, and in much better words. There are millions of blogs out there like mine. So, why bother? Why blog? I don’t know, but in some way I feel like this is part of my martial journey. I am compelled to write these things down, and some people seem to enjoy reading them, so I blog on. A true “kuchi bushi” is someone who does a lot of talking and not a lot of training, which isn’t me. So as long as I keep doing, I think it should be alright for me to keep writing about it.

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6 comments on “Kuchi Waza

  1. Yep, I'd agree with the last part. Talking about something you enjoy is normal, and I'm sure helps both you and your readers improve. If you were talking instead of going to class, then maybe, but like you said, you're doing both.

  2. It's a phase…just like the doubt one carries when contemplating awarded rank and self-perceived ability (or lack of).There is, in general, a degree of contempt by many martial artists for those that spend time documenting their studies. Not disrespecting your teacher, as my own feel the same way: 'why spend valuable training time TALKING about training?'The core problem with this mindset is that it is an absolute one, with no middle ground. I consider it to be unrecognized hubris; as a student, I know that learning is on the mat and knowledge exists in the body of the teacher. Transmission IS physical. But when the teacher is gone, writings remain. Cold comfort for the student…but a pointing finger for those that come afterwards.

  3. Thanks, Slidey, Sarah and Narda.Shihan does know about this blog and he doesn't have a problem with it. He also has detailed writings that cover his fifty-plus years of training. The difference is that although he has been offered money many times to write a book, he prefers to keep his knowledge within our organization, while I give my thoughts out to the world.Not that I have even the tiniest portion of knowledge that he does, but I don't want to disrespect his notion of how a martial artist should be. Not that I think I've done that, as I said he supports my blog, but it's something that is always on my mind.

  4. Does he ever refer to himself as Shihan, out of interest (I'd assume not, as I'm guessing that's just his students paying him respect, rather than a title he insists upon)? I still find it strange when martial arts instructors in the West are referred to by honorifics like that, but then it isn't something I grew up with.Even when I did kung fu, I just referred to the teachers by their first names. They did later bring in 'sifu', but I was a sufficiently senior long-time student by then that I guess they didn't feel the need to push it with me.

  5. He doesn't call himself that but that's how we refer to him, out of respect, and because we are a traditional school. We also call all our other teachers Sensei. Off the floor, we are free to call everyone anything we want, and some of Shihan's senior students who are very close to him just call him John, but I don't feel comfortable doing that.

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