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    Zen and Judo

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    Anatol

    Posts : 181
    Join date : 2014-01-20

    Re: Zen and Judo

    Post by Anatol on Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:31 am

    Hi NBK

    NBK wrote: The term 'natural keikogi' apparently means one made from unbleached cotton (as cotton doesn't naturally assemble itself, other than to cling to other threads in a cotton boll.)   Bleached cotton, growing up on a cotton farm and having owned a few dozen cotton keikogi, is bleached early in the manufacturing process.

    Why is cotton bleached?  I guess primarily for stylistic sensibilities, and early on, to compete against bright, new synthetic threads.   But trust me, there's nothing natural about carded, pulled, steamed, combed etc cotton made into cotton thread, bleached or unbleached, other than the cotton itself.
    "Naturalness" itself is a concept and not "natural" ;-) But there are very different thoughts and concepts, what is "natural". As I understand why a judogi should be of unbleached cotton refers more  to "wabi sabi" as a reminder, that beauty is not perfect and perfection can be boring and that nothing of beauty lasts. Last one is very (Zen) Buddhist (see dukkha). "White" is shining (wabi sabi is more hidden and modest) and for a purist maybe to perfect, symbolizing white attributes like beginning, purity and death. Simplicity is the key and thats what Daoism and Zen Buddhism are sharing too. There is a lot of critics in Laozi and Zhuangzi for not being simple, As an example for clothing, eating etc Laozi 53:

    The great Way (da Dao) is very smooth but people love bypaths.
    The court is very well kept the fields are very weedy the granaries very empty.
    Their clothes are fine and colourful on their belts are sharp swords,
    they are filled with food and drink a superabundance of expensive goods.
    This is robbers boasting, certainly not the Way.


    Also, I think that Kano shihan would have balked at (that's my diplomatic side - from my undiplomatic side, how about 'puked all over'?) the notion of spending such extravagant funds on a keikogi just because it's made of bleached cotton?  I need to recheck but I can't recall any of the numerous text I have with basic instructions to make a keikogi specifying ''unbleached cotton only'.
    Maybe ;-) But from my point of view I would critisize the desire of "imperfect perfection" - which is only seeking perfection on a next level. Beauty and pureness and exquisite can be very attractive and therefore expensive ... It's the same in China.

    NBK

    Posts : 1059
    Join date : 2013-01-10
    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Zen and Judo

    Post by NBK on Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:58 am

    Anatol wrote:Hi NBK

    NBK wrote: The term 'natural keikogi' apparently means one made from unbleached cotton (as cotton doesn't naturally assemble itself, other than to cling to other threads in a cotton boll.)   Bleached cotton, growing up on a cotton farm and having owned a few dozen cotton keikogi, is bleached early in the manufacturing process.

    Why is cotton bleached?  I guess primarily for stylistic sensibilities, and early on, to compete against bright, new synthetic threads.   But trust me, there's nothing natural about carded, pulled, steamed, combed etc cotton made into cotton thread, bleached or unbleached, other than the cotton itself.
    "Naturalness" itself is a concept and not "natural" ;-) But there are very different thoughts and concepts, what is "natural". As I understand why a judogi should be of unbleached cotton refers more  to "wabi sabi" as a reminder, that beauty is not perfect and perfection can be boring and that nothing of beauty lasts. Last one is very (Zen) Buddhist (see dukkha). "White" is shining (wabi sabi is more hidden and modest) and for a purist maybe to perfect, symbolizing white attributes like beginning, purity and death. Simplicity is the key and thats what Daoism and Zen Buddhism are sharing too. There is a lot of critics in Laozi and Zhuangzi for not being simple, As an example for clothing, eating etc Laozi 53:

    The great Way (da Dao) is very smooth but people love bypaths.
    The court is very well kept the fields are very weedy the granaries very empty.
    Their clothes are fine and colourful on their belts are sharp swords,
    they are filled with food and drink a superabundance of expensive goods.
    This is robbers boasting, certainly not the Way.


    Also, I think that Kano shihan would have balked at (that's my diplomatic side - from my undiplomatic side, how about 'puked all over'?) the notion of spending such extravagant funds on a keikogi just because it's made of bleached cotton?  I need to recheck but I can't recall any of the numerous text I have with basic instructions to make a keikogi specifying ''unbleached cotton only'.
    Maybe ;-) But from my point of view I would critisize the desire of "imperfect perfection" - which is only seeking perfection on a next level. Beauty and pureness and exquisite can be very attractive and therefore expensive ... It's the same in China.
    Naturalness itself as a construct... How thought provoking.

    'Seeking perfection on a next level' and the problematic aspects of its desire does strike me sometimes as a conceit in itself.

    Ben Reinhardt

    Posts : 790
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Bonners Ferry, Idaho, USA

    Re: Zen and Judo

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:19 am

    I saw a wonderful slogan on a T-Shirt a couple of years ago (at a Judo shiai and training camp), worn by a visiting Japanese sensei,  that I think sums up the "zen" of Judo perfectly...

    "Less Chat More Splat"

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/49/messages/258.html



    _________________
    Falling for Judo Since 1980

    Anatol

    Posts : 181
    Join date : 2014-01-20

    Re: Zen and Judo

    Post by Anatol on Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:52 am

    Hi Ben

    Nice quote but

    "Less Chat More Splat"



    in its content is also confucian (with its emphasis on learning and practicing)

    or

    protestantic (with its focus on working)



    So not specific to Zen but useful in practice and sometimes misused from authorities and hierarchies ...

    Anatol

    Posts : 181
    Join date : 2014-01-20

    Re: Zen and Judo

    Post by Anatol on Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:33 am

    Hi NBK

    There is a lecture of Alan Watts about unbleached silk/cotton and the uncarved block,

    which is a daoist (Laozi) concept for "simplicity" (pu)


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvInAoiPBu4


    .

    NBK

    Posts : 1059
    Join date : 2013-01-10
    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Zen and Judo

    Post by NBK on Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:44 am

    Excellent - a classic, thanks for posting.

    An aside....

    Using the image of 'unbleached silk', I think I can see a glimmer of the notion of wabi / sabi and how you could see that beauty and simplicity in natural fiber, but don't get the leap to the notion of the importance or similarity of unbleached cotton. Both unbleached silk and unbleached (JA: 未晒し) cotton bleach naturally, through the action of sun, normal washing, etc. Of course silk won't take regular washing, so probably with normal human wear would keep its natural color longer.

    Here's an old treatise on bleaching silk - looking at pp20-21, you see that the various colors of silk are from natural contaminants, but just five days in the sun will bleach out much of that without unnatural chemical process. What's more natural than sitting in the sun? If a silkworm chrysalis dies without becoming a moth, the outer wrapping of the cocoon will bleach white in the sun over time......
    https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=D01PAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=what+happens+to+unbleached+silk&source=bl&ots=uUBHjaEKJ4&sig=-NbOkg8wff0UGXPMZVdXfUpuY9U&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vxHMVK-8OKHXmgWxrYHgAg&ved=0CDIQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=what%20happens%20to%20unbleached%20silk&f=false

    Looking at Google in Japanese there are a number of unbleached cotton judo keikog available from a few makers, but seemingly without exception they are very inexpensive, single weave gi, less than US$100. I've had a number, and they all bleach out through washing (without artificial bleach) and use very quickly to the point that they cannot be distinguished from the initially bleached cotton gi.

    NBK

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