Relic Restored and Revitalized
Are you upgrading when you take a small obscure military specialty from a bygone age and give it a new role improving the lives of a new century of beneficiaries? Or is it a desecration of the historic, an affront to the spirits of those who died fighting to hold their homeland free from invading occupiers?
Fortino Napoleanico, south of Ancona on the Adriatic Sea coast, was originally built in the early 1800s as a small fortress. As part of Napoleon’s empire, the fort and its troops blocked British sailors from coming ashore to a spring to replenish freshwater supplies on their ships in ongoing war between France and Britain.
Long after that war, the fort was converted to a seaside hotel. Rooms that housed French troops, supplies, and gunpowder now serve those seeking sun and relaxation. If the remote fort had been restored as a museum, it may have attracted a few Italian tourists. Upgraded as it is now, the Fortino serves a far larger population who enjoy gourmet Italian cuisine, luxurious rooms, rest, rejuvenation, and the beautiful beach at the former fortress. Rumiko and I stayed there for awhile this summer during a visit to Italy.
Is it possible that some might have opposed the conversion to hotel, preferring to keep the fort as a museum piece? Doubtless there were such voices. But visionaries prevailed. A relic became a resort.
I faced a similar decision with my martial art years ago. I could have kept the art in museum preservation and served a tiny group of people who might have enjoyed imitating 1500s Japanese espionage and combat. That would have been a fun hobby, but would have provided very little benefit for my community and other communities around the world.
Only by upgrading the obscure art of the ninja intelligence gatherers of Iga in feudal Japan did the art come to benefit people in the 21st century world community.
To restore the hotel to museum condition, it would take only a few cosmetic tweaks and the fortress would be back. Similarly with our martial art, we could easily make a few minor changes as to how aggressors attack in training, and we would be back to 16th century Japan. The Fortino and To-Shin Do ninja taijutsu are identical in that both still hold their original structure, but now serve far more people with far more benefits thanks to a few strategic upgrades.
My vote is obviously to revitalize the relic so that it serves far more people in many new ways, without removing any of the core essential qualities that brought it into life in the first place.