Shushukan Budo Insights #14: Keep your secrets for yourself

There are these people in the martial arts world claiming to know „secrets“, „secret knowledge“ or the „knowledge of ‚the old masters'“. Or more likely selling those to you, calling it „teaching“ and claiming to be your temporary „sensei“. What they teach is the basics but no „secrets“ of any martial art. And they are not your „sensei“ for sure. For there are no „secrets“, and a person providing aservice is not necessarily a sensei.

I had always been fighting for recognizing „true“ lines of teaching, „authentic“ traditions and to having you dedicate yourself to studying with a „true“ master – a person who had understood what his or her art ist all about.

But the more I pointed out that there is such a thing like an inhereditable implicit knowledge within a method of teaching, the more people argued, they had such a connection to an authentic method or tradition. And that they had such a teacher. Well, they didn’t in most cases. But that doesn’t matter tht much, because there are only a very few lines of tradition existing in Germany.

In the end, we are all people with a love for the martial arts, and we don’t want to see our art being deconstructed and historicized. Because it corrupts our process of building identity. OK, naming your art after a video game and claiming an over-2000-year-old ass-kicking-tradition of weaponless monks is horseshit. And you probably lack competence, when you invent such a tradition. Because being a part of an authentic tradition includes the knowledge about the language used and the do’s and dont’s of martial tradition.

The more I draw back from the German Karate community, the lesser I care about where the traditions result from. Traditions are always (!) constructed. So, please do your research before you found your own tradition. I have shifted to watch movements instead of traditional landmarks. Because how you move shows me how much you have understood. If you talk „secrets“ I will decline your „teachings“ with thanks.

If you need to teach „secrets“ to have your students worship the floor you tread on… Grow up! And if you mention the shaolin monks with their prohibition of weapons or the farmes of Okinawa as a starting point of your art’s history: Go and grab yourself a history book.