Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

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Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Bill Glasheen » Tue May 13, 2014 5:00 pm

This thread will involve several posts. I refrained at first from posting it as I wanted the situation to evolve to a logical point.

I'll start by posting a letter.

THE BACKGROUND...

In the Richmond area, I have a Uechi karate club which I teach in a swim and tennis club. The room is one where aerobics is taught, and it overlooks the pool and a lake. This room is adjacent to and somewhat open to a workout room with some free weights, a lot of weight machines, and some TVs that are in front of bicycle-like equipment. Within the workout room is a set of dumbbell racks that have weights going up to about 20 pounds. It's just enough to keep the aerobics queens happy.

Being the sort that I am - a scientist/master/athlete trained in several martial arts - I'm an amalgam of a traditional Uechi style and modern RBSD instructor. I keep to the Uechi curriculum core, but I'm now informed by my own education and training, and not subservient to "what the masters say." I am after all now one of them. So a little bit of creativity is both allowed and indeed encouraged at my level.

We have two sets of weights-related exercises that I regularly do when I teach, and I am pretty much the only teacher that does them. One is very much like the traditional Uechi training with jars, but I have found a way to do this with dumbbells. That's important because - as I have discovered - jars break easily, are expensive, are not easily transported on a daily basis, and can be stolen from a room that isn't yours. The other exercise I do a lot is a Bill Glasheen special. It is a combination of a one-armed Olympic Clean-and-Jerk combined with an embellished Turkish Get Up. The purpose of the jar stuff is to help develop Uechi Hands while doing Sanchin mechanics. The purpose of the latter is to develop both the core and whole-body coordination. All these exercises I do during the "Sanchin training" part of our workout.

This is an e-mail I got from the club owner. We have a good relationship with each other. But this one just got sent to me because I think he felt compelled to start a dialogue in writing.

More later.

- Bill

Hi All,
I spoke to Harry about this issue and wanted to pass it on to you Bill and Victoria as well. We had 2 member complaints, one woman was very upset when she saw free weights being used (she said being thrown around) by children without having shoes on. Harry said this was a special exercise you all due however, according to our insurance policy, "anyone under the age of 16 must be supervised by an adult while using the fitness room including all equipment and anyone using the equipment or free weights must be wearing closed toe shoes. No flip flops or open toes shoes allowed". So if you do this exercise, please have the kids take a moment to put on their shoes. I'm sorry for the inconvenience this might cause but we must abide by it.
Stacey & Eddie
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Re: Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Bill Glasheen » Wed May 14, 2014 1:25 am

Having been sent this email, I was pretty much forced to respond. While the tone from the author was just fine, obviously there were some "lurkers" with issues. Never mind that none of these people bothered to speak with me.

Eddie has my back. But it was important for me also to have Eddie's back. Insurance rules are insurance rules, and you don't ever want to get into a situation where someone is hurt and the lawyers for the insurance company claim they have no obligation to cover things in a lawsuit.

So...

I will provide some quotes from a rather lengthy email I sent to document exactly what it is we do - for his records.

Thanks for this note.

one woman was very upset when she saw free weights being used (she said being thrown around) by children without having shoes on.


The characterization "being thrown around" is recklessly inaccurate. If you don't feel so, by all means let's have said individual with all of us in a room together where the words can be put on record. We can proceed from there.

Without shoes on is completely accurate. I will explain, and then discuss what can be done.

The first thing I did was to cite my credentials as an "expert" in what I did.

The second thing I did was to show video examples of what we did. Here is one of Shinyu Gushi I provided for his documentation. It explains the whole process of jar training. Nothing like having a Brit as the narrator. ;-)

..... Uechi-ryu hand conditioning

I then showed a picture of what we were using instead of the jars, and explained how we used the indentation of the weight rather than the rim of a vase to grab onto. I pointed out how this wasn't going to shatter when dropped, and that the student could pick the exact pair of weights appropriate for his/her level.

Image

I presented another video showing both Shinjo and Nakahodo doing traditional training with jars and with makiwara.

I then shared this video of a young *woman* doing a Turkish Get Up. Not a knuckle-dragging male... Not a stereotype of a female gym teacher. A beautiful, lithe female kicking booty. Seriously... this woman is something. I had every intention of this simple exercise shaming the anonymous ninnies sniping at my back in secret. (I encouraged Eddie to forward my email)

..... 28 kg Turkish Get Up at 123 lbs bodyweight

Finally... I acknowledged that the insurance policy rules were clear, and that we'd use shoes from this point forward when doing these exercises.

More in a bit...

- Bill
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Re: Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Bill Glasheen » Wed May 14, 2014 3:07 pm

Adapting to requirements for traditional Uechi karate training under insurance company restrictions seemed no big deal at first, but ultimately is challenging.

If you've ever done the jar training and you're a purist in your Uechi abilities, you're developing both your hand/finger grip and your toes. Uechi isn't Uechi without the sokusen.

Image

When doing Sanchin stepping and turning, the centripetal force that the jars put on the rotational axis when turning creates an opportunity to work the feet and the toes. Again... you have to be a purist here in your training to experience it and appreciate it. Gripping the floor while doing turns with these weights at the periphery is almost as rewarding as holding the jars.

But if you have your shoes on, that all goes away.

Nevertheless, I told the students to bring their gym shoes to the next class, and we'd abide by the insurance regulations. So a week goes by, the class is turned over to me, and I start with the Sanchin training part. I asked who brought their gym shoes, and nobody raised their hands. They all looked at me with OMG I fuked up expressions.

I backed up to the wall behind me, and gently hit my head against it in frustration. Repeatedly. Then I looked down at the gym bag beside me. This is what I saw inside.

Image

I asked how many had their karate sparring footwear with them. Everyone raised their hands.

Insurance regulation problem solved.

Image

In fact... it occurred to me that their feet were actually *better* protected from dropping weights on them than if they had worn standard gymnasium footwear.

- Bill
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Re: Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Stryke » Fri May 16, 2014 4:04 am

Very well handled Bill , I must admit I chuckled can see the irony in having to use modern sportive karate tag equipment to remain a Uechi purest ;)

but that's pretty pure and traditional , adapting and using what we can to get the job done.

I almost got thrown out of a gym in banff because I was deadlifting and it made to much noise ... i wasnt dropping them and was being failry quiet IMHO ... they just hadnt seen that before 8-O
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Re: Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Feur » Mon May 26, 2014 3:17 am

Yeah mate but tell them the whole story....it was the school of the performing arts, where all the dancing girls work out. Surprised you found enough weight to work with. :lol:

Bill, " Uechi isn't Uechi without the sokusen."

Randy, " If your dojo does not have a Makiwara it's a dance studio!"

Funny what you can get banned for, what qualifies as real Uechi and the guys who are training in dance halls and don't know it! Cheers lads! Miss the banter with both of you!
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Re: Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:08 pm

I've been traveling, which is the reason for no immediate response.

Good to hear from you, man!

Feur wrote:Yeah mate but tell them the whole story....it was the school of the performing arts, where all the dancing girls work out. Surprised you found enough weight to work with. :lol:

Actually not far from the truth. The dancing girls (aerobics, exercise fad du jour, dance) get all the good wooden floor space, and we're happy to go along for the ride.

They get their leotards in a twist when testosterone hits "their" floors. Go figure... We don't hold their bouncing curves against them. :-P

Image

- Bill
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Re: Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Van Canna » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:27 pm

What's she saying bill?? 8)
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Re: Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Bill Glasheen » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:41 pm

Van Canna wrote:What's she saying bill?? 8)

Mmm... umm... er... Was she speaking?

- Bill
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Re: Traditional teaching in a modern, litigious era

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:30 pm

Maybe she was just exercising her lips.

Wonder if we have any lip readers on the forums.
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