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Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences

Guelph School of Japanese Sword Arts, July, 2001

Roundtable Discussion: Issues in teaching the martial arts

This year we dispensed with a more formal panel in order to have a roundtable discussion with persons who were teachers, but not necessarily scholars, of martial arts.  Due to time considerations, not everyone was able to submit a position paper in advance of the discussion, but those that were able to are offered here.  The intent of the position papers was to create “talking points” for the discussion that followed.

Michael Alexanian’s position paper, “The seven principles of bushido” is actually a handout he uses for his middle school course in Japanese language in culture in inner-city Detroit.  Part of his intention in using the seven principles is to help students think about values, sometimes in an environment where they have little in the way of values to go on in their daily lives.

Don Cunningham’s paper reflects his concern for the small number of “so-called martial arts ‘masters’” who lure students with fake claims of skill and engage in other unethical behaviors.

Chris Gilham’s position paper considers the differences between Japanese and non-Japanese dojo, based on his experiences of “dojo hopping” in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Deborah Klens-Bigman’s paper considers some of the cultural differences between Japan and the US when it comes to building and maintaining the structure of a traditional dojo outside Japan.

Karl Friday and Eric Tribe, though they did not have time to submit papers, agreed to take part in the discussion and contributed many valuable points.  The discussion has yet to be transcribed, but we hope to post it in the future.

Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.