What is American/Traditional?

What does it mean to teach or train in a “traditional” martial art? What is a “traditional” dojo like? What is the purpose or point of following “tradition?” I’m not talking about a traditional dojo in Japan. I mean here in America, with Americans teaching, and Americans taking class. Here in the twenty-first century.

I am an American, born, bred and educated. I subscribe to the American values of freedom, independence, individualism, egalitarianism. I do what the bumper-sticker says: Question Authority.

But not in the dojo. There, I am a traditionalist: authoritarian, hierarchical, harsh. Rituals must be followed, respect must be shown. Questions may be asked, but Questioning is out, at least for the duration of class.

Furthermore, I don’t believe these two personalities are at odds. They are complements, and make each other stronger. I do think, though, this is a truth not widely understood.

I’m starting this blog as a place to ponder aloud on such issues. Whenever I have time, I’ll articulate some thoughts, send them out to the world, and find out if anything comes back.

If this is your first visit, my first post might be a good place to start.

Or if you prefer, go straight to the most recent posts.

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2 Responses to “What is American/Traditional?”

  1. Hi,

    It’s my first time here but I just want to say, great blog! Spent my morning getting through all your archives – couldn’t tear myself away from my computer screen. I can’t agree more with your philosophy of traditionalism when it comes to martial arts training, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for your future posts.

    Keep up the good work.

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