Face it friends, things are changing out there. YouTube, FaceBook, online communities, cell phones, the blog-o-sphere are all now major tools in pushing forward martial arts in ways never imagined by the masters of old. Information is out there and easy to get at for the person willing to do some genuine searching and networking. People are coming together from styles around the globe that at one time had been fractured divisions. A new dawn of budo is here friends.
YouTube in and of itself is absolutely amazing. Artists from all over the world are posting lessons, demonstrations, form, tournaments, and lectures. I had been training for 6 years in Aikido before I ever saw a film of Ueshiba Sensei in action. I never saw his major students. Then, comes YouTube and it's all there and more.
In the Kaze Uta Budo Kai we are often filming entire seminars and posting them up. Our entire organization, and anyone curious to see what we are up to can keep updated with the latest trends.
Now much of this flies in the face of the old feudal system of budo. Secret clubs, all information coming from the master. People could be purposely not shown things, and secrets were kept. I know plenty of people who still train that way, but I am choosing to ride the information wave.
Social media like FaceBook is connecting people with budo interests from around the world. I know and communicate with the heads of systems and high ranked teachers from all over the world on my feed. We post videos, comment on each others works and write our inspirational and political thoughts to share. It is happening all the time. Many budoka are really plugged in to whats is going on with each other.
Online communities are continuously cropping up. Invariably you can find the biggest names in budo and martial academia on the big boards. You can correspond with people in China and Japan and get technical advice and translation work done.
The blog-o-sphere is another of the heavy hitting fronts in the new study of budo. Artists, newbies, thinkers, historians and dabblers are all out there publishing about niche arts and budo minutia around the clock. Bloggers to serve as net workers. Bloggers are a extended community anyhow that cross the martial arts boundaries. We are all watching each others arts and contributing to each others growth. I strongly feel my blog has brought me many of the important connections and relationships that now define my budo practice.
That ancient piece of technology the cell phone is now a cornerstone in my training regime. Nowadays there are no long distance charges, so I burn several hours a week talking in depth with teachers, students and fellow friends in budo. Though we are across the country, talking with top sensei is now a casual part of the day.
Like I said, times are rapidly changing friends. I think the next decades will bring an even greater wealth of budo knowledge to the fingertips of the students who genuinely want to learn. I feel we stand a shot, as long as we are still willing to put in the sweat work on making higher quality and more knowledgeable artists than have ever been before. There are no more secrets. LET THERE BE INFORMATION!
After analyzing youtube for hours, sometimes I return to the world feeling like Neo in the movie The Matrix after he was implanted with martial arts programs. I look up from the monitor and proclaim "I know kung fu."