There is much we know about Machiya Buntoku from Kinjo village and his feats, physical makeup. By the time this information was put out he was 73 years old.
In chapter five section two we talked about the tern Taiyu (Great Courage) and Nyako (Youthful Arrogance) and Daitai (Great Wisdom) and Jogu (Foolishness). These parallel terms must be fully understood in order to understand Machiya. As another point of interest these terms exemplify the Ryukyuan humanity. Many a talented man has come out of Okinawa especially those excelling in the martial arts. One author who wrote on that subject was an Okinawan named Ryusoetsu.
This author used Machiya as a prime example of Ryukyuan humanity and the levels one can achieve if applied properly. He makes many interesting parallels between man and his natural surroundings. His articles on Ryukyuan Jimbun or Ryukyuan Humanity are very interesting.
---RYUSO NO DAN--- (The Man Ryuso) Many newspaper articles have been written about Machiya by the newspaper in his village Kinjo. Another man they also speak of highly is a man named Ryuso. This man has also made many contributions to the art world. He was also known for his stylish clothes, which many did not like during this era. Men were never involved in avante garde of clothes or changing styles. He changed styles as often as women did. He shied away from the traditional Japanese style clothing. He hired a tailor to make all his clothes. Many people thought him daft. He was a man that was small of stature and set in his ways. He was adamant in his attitude toward the old ways. To see his beautiful styles was indeed a treat.
Many thought with the decline of the traditional Japanese style dress was regrettable. Many after a while slowly followed Ryuso in his dress and style. Many looked up to this man as a man of change for the future. As was said that men in past tended to dress in the traditional style as it were required. Ryuso set a trend for a new standard of dress.
CHUI #5 The literary writing of a man named Kenshi Sa entitled “Itomi Shi” or writing of the area of Itomi village. This is where Uechi Kanbun lived after his return from China due to the Murder mishap of one of his students in China.
Now we find Uechi Kanbun during the 39th Year of Meiji in China during the 32nd Year of Kosho. We see that it was in this area of China where he taught at the Dojo where the incident occurred. Many of these teachers and students went elsewhere to teach and study after the incident and Dojo was closed.
Many other Dojos were razed or burnt to the ground because of this incident. Although Uechi Kanbun after establishing himself and proven a good teacher, he was faced with the proposition stay or go.
He stayed at his residence for time while in China to ponder his situation. He waited for a time but opted to return to Okinawa. But during this time the competition for the water for the rice fields was high and water scarce.
His one student as most did walked to through the rice fields to get to the Dojo. During the ensuing fight between Uechi Kanbun’s student and the village man, the man struck out but Uechi’s student thrust out with his won strike and struck a blow to the body. After the fight village man was said to have lived for 10 days then died. After this incident the neighborhood people razed the Uechi Dojo. The neighborhood was in shock that such an incident could have happened.
The student told the villager that’s where he trained. I was a strange action for a murderer to take by confessing where he was trained and by whom. Everyone pointed at the razed Dojo and chanted, “That’s where the murderer trained”. The whole incident up until the day it happened, everyone was in a good mood and nothing appeared wrong or abnormal. The young murderer had met with many people that day face-to-face and appeared in fine spirits. Additionally, up until that point Uechi Kanbun was very prosperous teaching Tang Te.
One would at first glance think this was a case of self-defense and not pre-meditated murder. Again it is stated that the murderer was acting normal in all manner and fashion. But the people and local authorities deemed the guidance and training he received from Uechi Kanbun negligent and after this Tang Te could not be taught to anyone else for quite some time. After Uechi Kanbun returned home it was the 43 Year of Meiji and he was around 33 years old. After this went into seclusion it was said and delved deeply into farm life again.
He worked on his own with the Bo Staff but did not
get back into teaching Tang Te. His village changed much since his stay in China. Not long after he had seen how the art of Tang Te was starting to flourish on Okinawa especially in the secondary schools. The schools were in need of qualified teachers in this ancient art. Then in Naha there was a tea merchant known as Gokenzen or Gokenki.
He became an acquaintance of Uechi Kanbun and they talked together as friends usually for long hours into the night on a variety of subjects. People found out that Mr. Uechi was a master teacher of sorts in some art and was known as a good man who lived in Itoman village. He was always sought after for his expert opinion on a variety of subjects. Then the word was out he has expert knowledge in the art of Tang Te. His house was a shambles, as he had no way to make a living to keep it up. He chopped wood for a meager living to just eat by. He longed to ply his training to make a living but was hesitant because of his past.
Chapter VI Kikyo ato ju shichi nen no chinmoku
(After Uechi Kanbun’s return after seventeen years and his silent period while living in seclusion)
and its meaning is what we will cover in this next article. The Martial Arts Dojo is a sacred place were serious training and learning takes place. Often people are mistaken especially foreigners at the first look of a Martial Arts Dojo and what it takes to be a student and eventually a teacher. Many have seen through friends what it takes to be that dedicated and to travel such a path and live an often-austere lifestyle. This is just what most people do not know that for most it is a way of life not a hobby or a sport. One must completely take on the good and bad when following the ways of Budo, Bushido to become an effective Bugei or Bushi.
In this world any art form should not be looked on as a stage on which one will display anything but how one will conduct ones life and following a dedicated path of a martial art does that. In spite of all of this most young people today who do follow the martial path spend their time training at a Dojo and are very courteous and admirable people.
To step into a Dojo is to walk into another world where you loose bad habits and create a new way of life to enrich yourself and eventually help enrich that of others.
This path you eventually embark on will be a bright one if followed religiously. There are many virtuous people out there in training opening and closing many new worlds for them and others alike. Violence we know is inevitable and is pervasive throughout our society. So how does one handle this when studying toward a path of enlightenment? We do this through discipline, which will take the unskilled person and make him skillful in an art. This then leads one to develop mental and spiritual attributes, which re-shapes a persons lifestyle.
One cannot hurry on this path. It takes time, perseverance and daily dedication. For one to know the difference between the self and spirit is step in the right direction. Then when this is done to a satisfactory level then after learning technique defense will become automatic.
In Budo (Ken – The Sword and Judo) there are many schools of thought by many qualified teachers. Many teachers would have their students performing endless repetitions of basic techniques. This could go on for years and once the techniques become rote they move onto other areas. Some people may take longer then others
but in the end the result is the same. One may be 60 years old before he or she becomes proficient in all aspects of any art form to include both the spiritual and mental aspects. Between the spiritual and mental paths which mirror the original path lies a different plane of existence. It takes much insight and training to see how they actually work and interface with one another.
It’s like one can learn the basics of any style and train daily. But will that to a path called “Getsumei no Michi” (Following the Moon lite Path) or “Mushin no Shin”
(Mind of No Mind) maybe maybe not. It depends on ones level of training and how intuitive one is on the spiritual and mental aspects of their art.
By imbuing the one body one spirit into one and put that with Budo spirit what could this mean how does it help me? The study of Budo is as vast as in any art especially when it comes to spirituality. Budo is in the soul and is in a state of Zanshin as is all things. The martial artists of old knew they way as did their students. Matsuura Aoyama discussion of “Budo Seishin” is of paramount importance in that within the soul of the spirit resides much power. They say that life’s model is based on powerful spirituality. The aim here is that while inside or outside the Dojo one must always develops ones powers
to the fullest and this can be done through the study of Budo. The thought one must take out of this is develop the spirit of Budo. The ways are many as are the benefits. Once the spirit of exercise is developed and practiced daily there is nothing one cannot accomplish. Ones path in life is dependent on many things and the most important is spirituality.
Nihon Budo Gakkukai Kaisho
Tokyo Kyoiku Daigaku Meisho
Kyojo (Nihon Budkokan Hakko Budo
DAI ICHI SETSU
SECTION I --Naze Bujutsu Denju wo Kobami Tsuzuketa ka?—
(Why should anyone be refused Bujutsu training?)
---Chugoku-jin ni narimashita no kikyo---
(To become Chinese and then return to ones own home)
During the 42nd year of Meiji (1909) during the 3rd month of that year after staying in China for thirteen years Uechi Kanbun returns home. He has gone thru many changes in life style, language, manners and dress.
Although he leaves China and he is feeling the loss, even bigger changes await him upon his return home to his native Okinawa. Upon returning home things appear strange at first and it takes many months before he is acclimated. Many changes in the land, people and buildings he knew before he left has left him bewildered.
Even after his return he still wore the Shina (Old name for China) Chinese style clothes even still sporting a Chinese hairstyle.
After the Sino–Japanese war during the 27th year of Meiji many things in the Japanese life style had changed. Bobbed hair was in fashion and was enforced by the new laws. But some kept the hairstyle of the old ways. They had to stay hidden. Therefore the personal style of Uechi Kanbun looked rather strange. It was almost as he walked right out of the past and into the future. He still was lying low so as not to be identified as a draft dodger. Even though while in Shinkoku (China Under the Manchu’s) he was according to the Chinese authorities a lawbreaker because of the death of another at the hands of one of his students. This will haunt him for a good part of his life.
To the Okinawan authorities he looked Chinese so they tended to look the other way and let him go about his business. This was useful to Uechi Kanbun at the time. His identity was safe as the authorities though he was a Chinese political exile. That suited Kanbun perfectly. His skills not only in the martial arts benefited him but his political and Chinese Language skills made him an invaluable asset to his new lifestyle. He was watched warily when he came in thru Naha port upon his return. From there he disappeared into the countryside to escape scrutiny.
Upon his retun home After seeing this, the stubborn villagers stood up started yelling and shouting at the officials. Finally they started a riot and the quarantine doctor subsequently beat very badly. Many of the 100 or so young men left never to be heard from again. All of these people it was said smelled of liquor and were wearing anti-conscription arm bands. The conscription center director and the doctor tried to suppress this small incident.
Many others who were not of this village were nearby and upon hearing the ongoing grabbed their farm hand tools and went to the aid of the villagers. Much of the centers furniture was destroyed and the director and the doctor were pummeled with blows but stood firm. Then an unknown man struck one of the officials with a Kobushi fist at which time one of the centers soldiers drew his sword and flew about the crowd trying to disperse people and gain order.
He was challenging people left and right. It became a circle of madness with many people injured. Then out of nowhere naked swords began appearing among the peasants.
The police were finally called in to quell this disturbance. After this armed guards augmented the military with the local police as backup to be ready to quell any disturbances that may occur during these military induction physicals. Policemen were sent to all centers from this point on to be ready to quell any future disturbances. After this incident the physicals went more smoothly as the officials knew now how to handle future incidents. The original HQ’s for this effort knew what to expect from most of the village people who thought that the government was as corrupt and evil as ever in another endeavor to rob them of their young men for unknown nefarious purposes. A decree was then put out to all village heads to explain this new conscription decree in detail to the less educated.
During that time the new HQ and its new Army Division was being formed and implemented. Inspectors were assigned to each village to help implement the emperor’s new plan for call to arms to build a mighty military machine. After this incident many of the perpetrators were caught, sentenced and either fined or jailed. The fines were anywhere from 30-100 en (back then that was a lot of money) and or 2-3 years in jail.
---Jujutsu Denju Kyohi no Chusho teki na no riyu---
(Entrance or denial into the art of Bujutsu and its reasons for denial) Uechi Kanbun spent more than 10 years studying to become a Bujin. He did a splendid job of this as records so state.
He put his heart and soul into this effort, which produced a fine person and a diligent martial artist. First off this is not just building up a man and his career; he put a lot of work and dedication into learning this art form. After that though there were many years of silence. After it is was known that he was and what he did, he had many offers to expound and or teach on this subject but adamantly refused. His reasons were many in that this art was not just for everyone. It took a special person many years of initiation and hard work to reach any level of understanding.
Interest during this time in Kobushi-Ho was very high and received well by all especially on Okinawa. People wanted to expand on a road already traveled.
The Chinese way of teaching the martial arts was to teach someone at first something other than Karate like body conditioning. These exercises never resembled any martial technique. That’s why most students never stayed. This was a development and weeding out process to discover what talents or skills a potential student or adept may have. This is the information that legends are based on. This was the way Bujutsu combat styles were taught as far back as the 6th century. This was especially prevalent in Hunan Province in their city of Loyang where Su-Yama was located which was near the famous Shorin-Ji or Shorin temple.
The legends also state that Daruma also instituted Zen into the martial studies. The study of Zen was also important for new Buddhist priests. Those new students who waited outside of a perspective temple waiting to be selected for initiation into temple society were gaining in that they were developing a form of Zen patience by waiting so long. Those who were really not interested lost interest quickly and went home. It took a special kind of person to be able to survive the waiting selection process.
Also one could gain entrance if ones background or pedigree was known to the temple priests.
At the start of the year 1905 most modern schools had a rigorous physical education system is place. This system was just as harsh as the martial school systems. Many teachers out of luck often gained jobs at schools as a way to proglumate their art form if not financially well off enough to start their own school.
Some even went into the military system to be used as teachers teaching the troops. Some teachers or styles went underground to teach in secret. These schools were only available to the trustworthiest of students which was usually passed down to family members by word of mouth.
Generally during this era most martial arts were either unheard of or misunderstood. Therefore, when it’s was a family thing is ones destiny to pass this art along and keep the line as pure as possible.
Teaching only people who were of the most trusted and of good moral background. Initiation is sort of cleansing process to see who has the right stuff or qualities to be a martial student. Not just anyone could get into this elite art even especially during ancient times. Tradition was very important back in ancient times. Teacher’s back then took on very few students in order to keep the art secret and pure. Then there were teachers that had advanced secret techniques, which were taught, only to a select few and not the mainstream student population.
Students selected to learn these processes had to sign agreements of secrecy and be prepared to suffer the consequences if these were revealed to the ordinary mainstream person. But later on in history we see that some arts lifted these restrictions in order to keep the art going without it being lost forever. Some treasures needed to be shared by all within limits. Most teachers have a certain intellect, which enables them to pick out the good from the bad. Mankind is realistically brittle in nature. He needs an art form such as this to build a shell about himself for a short time until he build up his mind, body and spirit mentality. Karate can do this if applied properly by a qualified teacher. Most training today is unlike the training the priests or students of old endured. Most students today could not endure say the training that Uechi Kanbun went thru. This type of training takes a very unique and strong willed individual who is willing to give up everything in order to gain knowledge of these old arts. The initiation phase in these arts and priesthood were the most severe to learn and or adapt to. Without these basics one could proceed into the more advanced areas. The spiritual aspect of Buddhism was a stumbling block for most.
To achieve spiritual peace either with or without the martial arts was a monumental task for most and the salvation of ones soul was utmost above all other things and to be at peace with all things and not in conflict with anything is difficult to say the least. The idea of the martial arts is to use one attack to defend but not to hurt one attack one defense to dissuade an attacker that his attempts at domination are futile. If this can be done without damage to either person then one has achieved something of value. In addition if it can be done without actually thinking about it and it is done naturally then one is said to be one with the art or nature.
One must never misuse his or her art and harbor no malice to anyone. This along with proper training will eventually give one an unobstructed view of their path and a way they must follow.
Note #2: One must forge a powerful body along with an indomitable spirit. This is also the way in the study of Buddhism that priests follow. This builds a platform for peace both inner and outer. If one does not follow this path ones body functions and actions will always be mediocre. Study of Kata for the martial artist will enable one to attain the same level or plateau if studied hard enough as the Buddhists have done with their meditation exercises.
More especially important to either Buddhist or the martial artist is learning basics and developing physical strength. This training at times for both can be very harsh and strict. It is important for the adept not to falter but persevere to follow and master the basics in order to build a strong vessel. The basis for physical education must be started at an early age it must become habitual in nature and eventually when one embarks on a path in the martial arts it eventually leads to a quieting of the spirit or soul. The technique and Kata then round all this off. Movements must be as economical and non-telegraphic. Practice must become second nature.
The forging of a strong mind, body and spirit is end result. The corporeal body requires constant attention. Also by forging a strong spirit ones existence can be extended.
Note #3: Martial weapons were outlawed for most so one had to develop their natural weapons the hands and the feet for defense. Through the proper development of the mind, body and spirit a certain sense spiritually was attained and this peace of mind, when used for the martial arts, or as a Buddhist was weapon by itself sort to speak. Thus the different systems of Bujutsu were developed to offset the armed masses. These systematic art forms were developed for self-protection of the self and family.
They were useful as most were developed around nature or environment. Some Buddhists took advantage of this training and became warrior priests. Those Buddhists who dwelled in the mountains were known as Yamabushi. These priests were useful especially when the political climate was in upheaval. Many styles though in ancient times were in small groups within the family or the temple in order to preserve their styles purity. The styles head closely monitored instruction. Some of the styles aspects were tangible other were not. Some of the styles were shrouded in mystery. There were secrets in these styles, but they were taught to only a select few.
Karate especially was a closely guarded secret up until end of the 19th century and on into the 20th century. As time went on and man progressed in to the future the need for its existence to not dwindle out and be lost forever it was changed to meet the new era. Although for some like the original descendants it was taught in its pure form. But others only got a diluted version. The problem was one of misuse as thought by the original teachers. That’s why some held back when they taught only giving what they thought was needed or required during modern times. This was due to the dropping off of the combat or jutsu style and going toward the “Do” way of thinking. Thus we have Karate-Jutsu evolving into Karate-Do. For most when this art first became apparent is was intangible to most as an understandable art form partially due to its roots being shrouded in secrecy and mysticism. Karate it seems flourished for some 1400 years and it has changed much over the centuries. As man did so did the arts. We owe much to Karate’s history and man has so much more to learn. It is a culture all its own. It is a valuable cultural asset available now to all who seek it out in earnest.
Much can be derived from the martial arts both in history and practical applications both internal and external. The path is there for those who know where to look. Expect nothing and gain the universe.
There are many different people in different locales on Okinawa, which have some historical or geographical significance and many martial artists have risen up over the years and used the martial arts i.e., Karate to make a point. The significance of this is that one had to develop a perfect physical body and spiritual mind in order to make a particular art form like Karate work for them.
This is also important in order to be a good leader or teacher of others. During the year 1400 these art forms were still primitive and in their developmental stages. Eventually after many hundreds of years the martial arts became more refined. One was Karate its background, shape and or form were often practiced in secret and was closed to but a few selected few usually close family members. This tradition was help to in order to keep the style pure, as this was a family’s lifeblood or soul.
Karate Denju or initiation into Karate was a special tradition. Many who asked were often refused for one reason or another. The ones who did get chosen were of the best stock physically, mentally and of good moral character. They had to be vouched for their honesty and integrity. Even Uechi Kanbun was refused at first even with his credentials. One had to prove to the prospective teacher or intermediary that they were of good stock physically and mentally. Often new deshi or students were investigated very thoroughly. He was watched a critiqued daily to see what attitudes he would assume when a certain circumstance would arise. He had to defend the truth about his art even it if it meant his demise.
No doubt though when a person had developed certain martial attributes and had proven to himself and others that he was on a path leading toward the martial gentleman. He was on his way to become a righteous person. This tradition was also based on honor and respect of all especially your elders. Some say this is an easy task but it is far from easy as some people can attest to. Guidance in Kobushi-Jutsu was a harsh regimen. This can best attested to by Uechi Kanbun and Machiya Buntoku as they were fellow students who learned this art.
Later on Uechi Kanbun moved to Wakayama Shi or Wakayama City. With this many years of knowledge that he possessed of this art he left a legacy, which is known even to this day. His roots in this art eventually led to the forming of the modern day Uechi Ryu Karate-Do.
As stated before initiation into Bujutsu was not an easy task even for a Japanese. One had much history to learn and many basics before one could even undertake an art. One had to apply ones whole mind, body and spirit into his art in order to be taught. One must be flexible and never rigid in order to excel. The former way these arts were taught was a test of human endurance and spiritual strength.
Lets take a look at the art of Shorin-Ryu. It was written with two different kanji characters for the first character Sho. The same character Sho was also used for the art of Shorei-Ryu and written the same way the Sho in Shorin-Ryu was written. Shorei-Ryu founder Nakaima Kenri (Norisato) came from a very unique background. He went to China at the age of 19 to study the martial arts. There a former guard to the Ryukyuan embassies introduced him to a Chinese teacher Ru Ru Ko in Fuchou city. After 5-6 years he received a certificate of graduation from the master. He also traveled within Fukien province, Canton and Peking. After returning to Okinawa he passed these arts on to his son Nakaima Kenchu who in turn passed them on to his son Nakaima Kenko. He then formed the Ryuei-Ryu preservation society. Also two other people of importance were Sakayam Kintoku and Kuniyoshi Shinkichi.
The trend of the times was to preserve or hold onto what one has. One cannot be like the wave endlessly coming and going. Roots have to be planted and to do this one must have a calm composed spirit. When it comes time to be judged ones true face will be shown. This is where most make a mistake of not having a strong spirit. Some think just a strong body will do. This could not be farther from the truth. Ones form or posture must be perfect so that the opponent finds no crack or chink in ones armor to exploit. In order to do that the mind body and spirit must be one.
Once one can harness this combination there is pretty much nothing one cannot accomplish in ones lifetime. The body once properly utilized will astound even the weakest or strongest person. Once embarked upon these standards of the body must never be deviated from. In the world of Karate we often see different standards of ideas or methods. This is true but it all boils down to basics. The olden days are gone but no the ways and methods. Even in present day there are those who rise up to strive over the common man. To develop a proper attitude through the use of an art form is the best path or way a person can follow.
The image of a Bujin should be decided upon early in life. Some say that’s impossible. Not so, even at mid life one can still follow the path. We are only limited by our mind.
That’s why there are so many other sub arts within an art that one can learn. These were then taught to the most trusted of students hence, the introduction into the secret arts. Back in the olden day’s entrance into these arts were kept secret in order to keep them pure. Now days in world of Budo tradition is all that’s left which sustains these arts and its tradition that must stay strong and never waiver. Sometimes people look at the world with one face. One must have a multifaceted look at the world. Often time’s people hide on one plane. If one can live and act on multiple planes so much the better. One of the problems associated with this is the harnessing of the mind, body and spirit. This multifaceted oneness is what hopes to gain.