“Culture takes three to four generations to develop, but only one to be lost,” - Ota Shosuke

Budo, the warrior way, is a culture in danger of extinction. Not three, not four, but countless generations have gone before us. Always seeking, probing, developing, practicing, and then passing along to the next generation what meager learning is had or what little understanding is gained. And so, we progress.

However,  overwhelming arrogance and a self-centered image of our place at the top of the world has taken the place of humility and a picture of ourselves as one link in a great chain.

Look at other, more recent disciplines such as Taekwondo or Isshin Ryu karate, both founded in the 1950's and both in more or less the third generation.

Developed out of Shotokan karate, Taekwondo began as a discipline for armies, used on the battlefield to devastating effect.  Watching the 2016 Summer Olympics and seeing what Taekwondo has become makes me doubt its future. And now, there will be an International conference to determine how to "fix" Taekwondo. I am not saying it will no longer exist, nor am I implying there is no one teaching the true form because I personally know better. But I doubt it will remain a martial way other than in small pockets and isolated groups. It is a spectator sport now, like boxing.

Isshin Ryu karate, the brainchild of Shimabuku Tatsuo, is another example. I personally know a first-generation student of Shimabuku Sensei; he is an upstanding man and extremely skilled martial artist. Yet most of the lower-ranked proponents of Isshin-Ryu ignore what he teaches because "it is not the way we do it". Amazingly enough, there are films of Shimabuku Kaiso performing the Isshin Ryu kata and waza in different locations and different years. These films have been digitized and are widely available on YouTube where anyone can watch them. I can point out details to the first-generation student or his own students and typically receive "that is right" or "I never noticed that but yes". More than once a student has gone back to the first generation asking questions based upon things I have said and have then changed their practice. Outside of that group I get "no, not right" or "we do not do it that way in Isshin Ryu" or "that is a bad film" (even though the waza are consistent across years and location changes). Incredibly, I have been told on more than one occasion that the founder of Isshin Ryu "didn't know what he was doing".

Martial artists are already beginning to sneer at Taekwondo, most have only seen the "Olympic" style and have no idea what is really behind it. Okinawa is the birthplace of karate and also the birthplace of Isshin Ryu but I have met Sensei from Okinawa that will not even discuss Isshin Ryu or acknowledge it as a form of karate.

Please do not think I am singling out these two arts, either.  Take a look at all of the different Shotokan Karate organizations; only one of which I consider legitimate. And yes, I know of at least one "Shotokan" instructor who is actually part of the ISKA (International Sport Kickboxing Association), has no lineage in Shotokan (his actual response was "what's that?") and received his rank from "MOMMY". Yet, there he is teaching away like he has all the knowledge in the world.

These modern times may well signal the end of the martial way.