Monday, May 25, 2009

Authenticity in Koryu

I think it's pretty clear that "true and correct transmission" is basically a myth. If you still don't believe me, take a look at old films of any martial art you can find. It's almost certain that there are significant differences between the way they are done now, and the way they used to be done. Many times, these films (perhaps of 400-year-old arts) are only 50 years old. We, at least, have the benefit of viewing these films, where previous generations had only drawings or written descriptions. Surely even greater changes were introduced within the first 350 years.

So, if it's safe to say that what we're doing bears only a vague resemblance to what the founders set down, what is the meaning of "authenticity"?

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