The Whisper Game

careless whisperAs the Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan webmistress, Shihan has given me permission to film and upload videos from the dojo at my discretion for all of the arts, except for Karate and Kobudo. He is very selective in what he wants shared publicly from those two arts. We are also not supposed to talk about any of our specific training or methodology regarding them, which is why I don’t discuss those sort of things. It’s basically like Shihan thinks of training in traditional budo as a version of the whisper game, and the farther you are away from the original source, the less valid the information is likely to be. Master Miyagi created Goju-Ryu, he taught it to Master Toguchi, and Master Toguchi taught it to Shihan Roseberry, so we are about as old school as it gets! Even if all the answers could be found on the internet, Shihan doesn’t want us to look for them there.

 Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan Media Policy 

The coming of the information age, with its various media of video, print and the Internet, has presented novel issues for the traditional budo organization, not foreseen by past practitioners and teachers in the budo. Therefore, a policy regarding such matters is particularly important for an organization that holds as one of its goals, the continued practice/preservation of traditional Japanese and Okinawan martial arts. It is the philosophy of the Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan organization that a traditional budo organization educate its members/students via direct teacher-student interaction, with the ultimate aim being a learning process facilitated via actual, physical instruction and execution of its curricula. As part of this philosophy, the SRSBK organization limits distribution of its curricula to members of its organization who are actively training in its traditional arts, and does so solely via actual, in-person, training and instruction.Shihan has said many times that “the answers are on the floor.” One of the things that he means by this is that by spending time with the materials of our system, and actively performing them, many answers to the student’s questions will become apparent. 

Our system is rich in sequences requiring the use of a partner. One of the reasons for this is that physical training with a living partner is an essential element of learning and obtaining proficiency in the budo. It is literally a “hands-on” process. Understandably, branch members may frequently be great distances from a sensei who can provide them with answers to specific questions. In that instance, the preferred solution is to come to the sensei, or to bring the sensei to the student. 

With that said, it is the policy of the SRSBK budo organization that it require its members to abstain from publishing materials detailing the execution of its varied curriculum, such as kata, kiso kumite, kata bunkai, or other pre-arranged drill sequences. This abstention requirement includes all “empty-hand” as well as “kobudo” or “weapon” materials within both its GojuRyu Karate and Matayoshi Kobudo programs. For purposes of this policy, publication shall include, Internet posting of video, Internet posting of written descriptions or “how to” sequences, and other public distribution of recorded media of the above mentioned materials, via CD, DVD, VHS tape or via other data recording means, as well as distribution of print media, such as books, magazine articles, etc. detailing the execution of said materials. 

Finally, SRSBK members are asked to remember that they are representatives to the public of the organization as a whole. As such, while conducting themselves, they should be mindful of traditional budo etiquette, including the “Notions for Training.” Noteworthy among these ideals, in this context, are those of modesty and preserving/upholding our system. One should foster a sense of discretion regarding one’s training or abilities. As an analogy, traditional etiquette says that when leaving the dojo, the student should not openly display one’s obi. The reasons for this etiquette are twofold: (1) showing off one’s obi is immodest and reflects poorly upon the student’s teacher and the student’s system, and (2) doing so invites conflict or challenges from individuals outside of the dojo. By extension, our practitioners should refrain from unnecessary publication of their abilities or our curricula. As an organization operating under the model of a traditional Japanese or Okinawan ryu, the SRSBK budo organization functions via a hierarchical system. The location of governance of this hierarchy is the hombu dojo, headed by Shihan John Roseberry. Therefore, when in doubt about activities involving the aforementioned materials, members should consult with the hombu dojo.


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