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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 5:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 405
Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
You know, we go over this and over this, but we just can't seem to get to the heart of it, can we?

We argue over kata technique and "application", but that's like finding a tool of an ancient society and conjecturing as to it's "actual" use. Like the moves of our kata, it can be ANYTHING -- EVERYTHING that we choose it to be.

And on this subject, I went toe-to-toe with Rick Wilson right here on this Forum less than a year ago. You might remember the discussion. I wrote:

"Kata first and foremost ARE for improving form and working on broad principles, but not for “figuring out” anything. If you are thinking of “application” in kata, how do you achieve “Mushin”? And when you assign a meaning to each kata, or to the technique in each kata, doesn't that automatically preclude that kata or move from meaning ANYTHING ELSE, if even for only a moment?

My point is this: Kata for form, yes. Kata for balance, yes. Kata for endurance, strength, speed, timing, yes, yes, yes and yes. Kata for “meaning”, no. Why? Because the application in kata is so apparent, but still so ambiguous. Is that a block or a sweep? A strike or a grab? If it's one (at that moment) it cannot be the other. When it is both, it is kata. Then it is form.

My teacher once asked me if I had ever considered the three revolving boshikens in Seisan to be anything else but boshikens. I said, “Blocks”. He said, “Good,” but reminded me that for a very long time in Okinawa, the practice of martial arts was a big no-no. The result? Many of the “meanings” in the kata were missing or hidden. Knowing this, he asked me to stretch my imagination to see if I could envision the three boshiken in reverse as three clawing techniques to the face instead. Now THAT is martial application is it not? And MAN were my eyes opened.

But what had he done, really? Had he figured something out that Kanbun had not? Or had he finally showed me that all things are no things and that kata can be everything and nothing all at once?

Don't “ruin” kata by assigning “style” or meaning to them, Rick. Yes, applications are evident in everything we do. I use them a lot as example of what the kata COULD be used for, but with the understanding that there is more, lots more. Seen in this way, we do no service to our style or to the kata by “figuring them out”. Instead, we cheapen them; bastardize them; hog-tie them. Don't fall victim to this, Rick. Be bigger and braver than this. Have faith in the kata and in our system. Leave the meaning, the style and the application to other areas of our practice."

Fast forward to today. . . I question you. A rather simple question at that: What is the meaning, or application of our Sanchin thrust? Maybe it's a nerve strike? Maybe it's used to rip the heart out of the chests of the weak? Maybe a grab? Maybe it's really just practice to get the beer out of the refrigerator faster??!!

And on this question of what's "real", I ask you what is more real than standing face-to-face with the world's best fighters? How many of you have even THOUGHT about approaching THAT level of REAL training before you sit around and pat each other on the backs over the new strike or grab you just made up?

Bill writes: But sport fighting is sport fighting, and is artificial. It is a facimile of fighting, but ultimately it is a sport - period. This is not a controversial statement, is it? I think Gary would agree.

And I do, Bill, but. . .

I remind you and all of those who say there are no "rules" on the street -- YOU ARE WRONG! To say that, you admit to me and everyone that you have never actually seen one, nevermind been in one!

So what are these rules? They are written in our penal code! Check them out sometime! They're fascinating! Kick a person with a shod foot: Felony. 2 - 10 years. In a tournament, the same full-power, rib breaking kick will get you only one point.

Smash someone's face in on the street? Ah, intent to maim or disfigure. Felony. Tournament? Warning.

The REAL truth is that like tournaments, there are rules everywhere! And like tournaments, there are people who will follow them, and those who won't.

Jim Deluca who trains at my school (and who very well might be the toughest person I ever met) spoke to me on this subject of street fighting, rules and what's real. He said, "People say there are no rules on the street and that's just plain B.S. In most fights people do not try to poke your eyes out, bite your fingers off or kill you. Sure these things happen, but usually, people follow some kind of rules, even when they street fight."

He's right.

Bill continues in his post, AN IMPORTANT POINT!:

If sport fighting met all our needs, then we would abandon kata and bunkai and prearranged kumite, wouldn't we? We would give out ranks totally based on how you rank on the tournament circuit. But we don't do that. Good!

And on Bill's second point, regarding free sparring and it's place in our practice, I've got bad news for you: The reason we don't do MORE of it is because 1.) People FEAR it like they fear death; 2.) Teachers don't know how to teach it; 3.) It's too damn dangerous, once people get good at it and 4.) People are really more concerned with making a buck than really teaching martial (whatever that is!) arts!

Remember boys, the bunkais and pre-arranged kumites were added LATER to SLOW DOWN sparring practice (which was too REAL for most folks). Bunkais and kumites are stupid, out dated, and a waste of valuable practice time once you pass your first dan rank!

Want proof? Walk into any boxing gym. No pre-arranged BS there! Now compare any of their 1 year boxers to ANY of our 1 year students! See the difference? THOSE people have skills! That's trial by fire, baby! THAT'S the reality you're all hiding from.

You don't like "point" sparring? Go cry in your soup if you want. But for crissakes, stop whining about it. It's OK, no one's going to MAKE you do it!

Stay safe. Do your bunkais, do your kyu kumite. Then finish practice, get on your computers and debate the REAL meaning of the part of Sanchin after the bow when you move your feet apart.

I'll be in my dojo training...

Gary


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
I am relunctant to jump into this. And, yet, here I go.

For a while now I realize with the popularization of the marital arts, we get many people training for their own reasons and purposed. Not always in preparation for self-defense. This is fine. Derive what benefits you want from it. But, I am of the mind that one shouldn't decieve oneself either. If say you want self-defense or think you are better prepared for the unknown out there, well... put aside the words and get on the floor or the ring. Yes, there are rules but within those, you have a freestyle situation where the opponent is going to try to hit you and you are going to try to hit back. Period. There is no hypothesizing about being hit, or hitting, or being taken down, or being choked or locked out. It is a test by action or reaction, not by words.

One can dis competition as not being "real world" with it rules. But my experience is that those who mix it up are the ones that tend to do better in real life than the ones who don't or do so minimally. Who am to say this? No one special but still someone who has practiced closed to 30 years and had been involved in my estimate about 60 fights from my high school to college years. These were play fights, if you must know, with people hospitalized and, yes, killed in some cases. And, what do I know from these. One. That I am lucky not to be dead or in prison. Two, I still don't enough whether a person can ever be fully prepared for such occaisons. Three, don't pretend even to teach it because as one of my Chinatown buddies always likes to say, "Don't F^cking tell me. Show me." And this statement basically is a challenge to show what you can do on the floor or better yet on the streets. It's valid challenge from him because he and I both know what he has done on the streets with 1/3 of the training time that I have.

I diagree with how Igor reacted and treated certain people on this forum. Yet, I agree with his observation/warning. Realize the limitations of our training. Recognize the parameters we set for our training according to why we train in the first place. But, if it's about being prepared for the street, let's not decieve ourselves. We don't know until we get there. After having gone through, we still really don't know for the next one. I believe in his own way, he was also trying to say, "don't tell me, show me." Unfortunately in this regard, this medium is about words and not action.

Igor, cry your tears, but you will continue to do in what you believe and recognize, without delusions, the parmeters you set for your training. Don't worry about the words. Ultimately, it doesn't mean a damn thing to your practice.

Anthony, you are certainly continue to do just kata and derive what benefits you want from it -- create your world. It's as valid anything else for practice. But, don't mistake people who spar or participate in tournaments as being "egotistical." They are simply operating on different set of parameters from you.

david


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 12:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 48
Location: Kranj, Slovenia
Dear Gary,

You DO NOT KNOW HOW HAPPY I AM TO finnaly
hear SOMETHING THAT A SOBER AND HEALTY MIND HAS PRODUCED - Your post of course.

Because this morning for a moment I thought
MAYBE it was I that went total CRAZY because of the FEEDBACK that I have received on my VIRTUAL STREET FIGHT with Bill.
The sole purpose of this fight was not to humiliate Bill BUT to clearly SHOW that VAST difference between WHAT ONE CAN DO and WHAT one THINKS HE CAN DO.

And this is also the CAUSE of the tragic incident that Clarence Wilder went through.

But I need Your TOP URGENT HELP NOW MY MATE.

BECAUSE of this terrible misunderstanding, Bill Glasheen WAS obviously so FRIGHTENED
of this PAPER TIGER that he turned the thread
to FBI who is coming after me on basis that
I have threatened BILL to KILL????????

Please CALL Bill RIGHTAWAY and clear out this
FATAL MESS because I do not have any desire to walk with a bunch of FBI agents on my back.

I have better business to do.

Yours in Karate-DO.

igor

Please reread complete "All those applications..and my open letter


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17196
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Igor

I believe you sent an e-mail to George yesterday with the following title: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
LATEST: BILL GLASHEEN IS JUST GOING TO BE SHOT

Igor, you work for an airline. You should know better. Something like that said at an airline terminal - even in jest - will get you put in jail immediately in any country of the world. We all expect better of you.

I am very happy that Gary and David are speaking up. They are engaged in a debate. They are acting in a mature fashion. They have very eloquently expressed a point of view that I mostly agree with. They are changing my mind about a few points. And they did it while respecting their fellow practitioners and reflecting well on their style and their instructors. They make everyone proud.

Just for the record... When Rad Smith first turned me over to David Finkelstein in the mid-seventies (as a student of Uechi), his comment was Sparring is fantastic. Why don't you do as well in your kata? If anyone reads what I have written, they will see me agreeing with Gary and David and - yes - even Igor on many key points.

Strange how false perceptions grow.

-- Bill


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 48
Location: Kranj, Slovenia
Dear Bill,

It is good that you have spoken again.
BUT
I am sad that you have exposed to public just a headline of my e-mail.

I had several good reasons to make such an alarming headline:

1. I presume Mr.Mattson is receiving hundreds of mail as it is obvious from the mail box.So I had to be sure he would jump and read the alarming one.

2.I was alluding to the tragic incident that just have happened to Clarence and that you may as well finish like him if you continue to preach those street survival BUT not from my hand dear friend.

3. I have issued a number of warnings to you and that I will finish you with arguments and who can claim this is not a gentleman behaviour as in the street the predator you teach your students they are able to fight WILL issue NO warnings.

Now I am forced to quote my whole e-mail to Mr.Mattson for public review and I refer they also read what I have to say on thread "Ad Decorum.."

quote:
Dear Mr.Mattson,

First of all,PLEASE PASS my SINCERE and VERY BEST WISHES to Clarence Wilder for a succesfull recovery. Ihave fond memories of practising with him at your old Hancock Str Dojo.

Sorry to draw your attention in such a way (the title of my e-mail) BUT you have got a VERY, VERY GANGEROUS VIRUS in between your senior ranks of students (where I count Bill Glasheen). It has in fact to do specificalls with WHAT unfortunately happened to CLARENCE (if he just would not be such a jerk to play a karate hero, he might have come out of the incident without those holes in his stomach but just for a price of a couple of bucks.
BUT IT IS THIS INSANE-TWISTED REASONING your senior students are preaching on your forums THAT I feel has completely diverted from WHAT UECHI-RYU KARATE-DO basic principles are...

I followed your finger pointng to Mr.Morris and posted my opinion which at first glance differed very much to opinion of most of your forumers BUT I intended to REVEAL the ROOT of the ROTTEN in due course. Than by checking other forums I realised HOW MUCH complete GARBAGE is published and decided to post another one and take on the most productive forumer of yours - scientist and my friend Bill Glasheen. HE FAILED as he is LONG and WIDE (this is direct translation of polite Slovene expression for JERKS). The condemnation I began to write yesterday and is still coming out..so I politely ask you to get informed by reading the posts at BILL under "All those applications.." BECAUSE in course of fw hours I will post a far more EXPLOSIVE BOMB than Mr.Morris letter ever was. Unfortunately you will have to take your stand too, as these are your pages and your students, so I, like gentleman, issue you prompt notice in advance.
Thanking you for your attention,

Very best regards,
Igor Prasnikar

end of quote:

Now Gentleman,

THE VERY REASON I HAVE DECIDED TO GO SO FAR is that your pages are PUBLIC and my students are also taking your advices of which some are excellent, some reasonable and A HUGE AMOUNT TOTALY IMMORAL.

And my students are asking me when I shall start teaching them how to break necks, open juggler veins with snartling teeth, knock out there fellow schoolmates and friends in Dojo.

AND I have NEVER EVER SEEN THAT THIS HAS BECOME A PART OF A TRADITIONAL KARATE-DO OF ANY SECT, except some junk-twisted karate that is so often presented on mass media.


TAKE YOUR STAND GENTLEMEN, ALL OF YOU.

I am open for any argument and shall admitt every mistake of mine.

igor

PS
Dear Bill, I know it hurts, but remember old saying. WHO ACTS LIKE A FOOL IS NOTHING BUT A FOOL. And what is the good point in this.

THAT WHEN YOU STOP ACTING LIKE A FOOL, YOU CEASE TO BE FOOL. And life goes on its steady course.

THIS MY GENTLEMAN, IS LESSON NUMBER 0 (before you take your gis on) in KARATE.

TRY TO LIVE WHAT YOU PREACH and THAN you shall know the difference..(Oh,My God is this
English difficult language..one has to use so many damn words to say some plain simple facts.)

Sayonara
igor


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17196
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Igor

My original statement about your e-mail title stands. Some things are just not done.

As for Clarence...I was not there. You were not there. Any comments now are both ill-informed and in poor taste. I am a human being first and karateka second. Nobody will be second-guessing what Clarence did any more than he will all by himself - to himself. Right now the only thing I have to say about Clarence is that I think the world of him and wish him well.

As for most of the rest, I frankly don't see how anyone perceives we are all that far apart.

-- Bill


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 4:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 48
Location: Kranj, Slovenia
Dear Bill,

Just a small correction...a vivid description of how it happened was published on Van's forum and Clarence decided to finish him when he was about 4 feet away(if I recall, you may correct my statement). This could be subject to some evaluation but I agree it is not appropriate under circumstances.
Sometimes I say Jerk to my very best friends
who make fatal mistake. I offer my apology to Clarence, anyhow.

Igor


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 148
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Gary,

You wrote: "And on Bill's second point, regarding free sparring and it's place in our practice, I've got bad news for you: The reason we don't do MORE of it is because 1.) People FEAR it like they fear death...."

But what/why do they fear? Getting hit? Getting bruised? Getting knocked down on their asses? Then what are they studying martial arts for? Balance? Poise? Meditation? Cleansing of the soul?

Come on - down deep, everyone of us wanted to learn something about "self-defense," whatever that is. But isn't the proof of the pudding in the tasting? In our case, is not the proof of the pudding in going out there and mixing it up with our dojo partners?

Or are we attempting to acquire all this knowledge by osmosis? "I'll just keep looking at how all the others are doing it and eventually I'll become better than them. No need for ME to get bruised up.

The vast majority of us will never approach the level of intensity in our sparring that you have, because we really don't have the need or desire to do so (I certainly have no expectations of becoming an international level fighter). The same with most boxing students. But still, they (boxers) seem to have a much different outlook on the physical side of their art.

Maybe it is reflective of our times - we don't physically beat it out which each other because we don't want to show up at work the next day black and blue, or broken and bruised.

Maybe we don't want to take the chance of running into some litigation-happy student and/or parent who expects "damages" for spraining an arm - even though they come into the art knowing full well that there is physical contact involved! Or do they really know what is involved?

And I also wouldn't doubt that there are some of us who live vicariously through the art itself - I AM a black belt, therefore, I AM a bad ass. I know a few individuals who have been given their rank and it makes me puke. I am not the best MA around but I did/do work f***ing hard to get where I am and I am damn proud of it.

Maybe we're (instructors) relying too much on the bunkais and kumites to fill the gap of what we really need to be teaching. But then we also fall into the trap of driving off the students who don't want or care about jiyu kumite or anything remotely hardcore.

Then again, we might be better off....

Moe Mensale


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 1999 12:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Anthony,

Sounds like you did well, though you weren't the "winner." Did you learn anything from the experience? Did you feel it was a contest of "egos" with your partner/opponent, or did your partner provided you a mirror to reflect on facets of your karate practice?

The answers aren't important to anyone more than you based on what you want out of your practice.

You don't have to send to me the video, though I never mind watching other people spar. I won't be judging the quality of your practice. I have a hard enough time judging my own.

I'll repeat myself from many other threads past. Like it or not, karate training attracts a broad range of people training for their own purposes/goals. I don't have a problem with that. I also don't expect other people to train for the same reasons I do. Of course, I honestly enjoy training more with people who share my general goals. I can also honestly say I enjoy training in general, even with those who may not share the same goals. It's much much easier though in these situations to mutually understand where each is coming from.

I am pretty easy because I believe to each his/her own and try to act accordingly.

david


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 1999 12:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
FYI,

There is a parallel discussion, politely conducted, going on right now in another cyberuniverse.

Http://www.knifeforums.com/ubb/Forum34/HTML/000150.html

david


[This message has been edited by david (edited 04-30-99).]


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 Post subject: What's "REAL"?
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 1999 5:06 am 
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Gentlemen ,

I feel compelled to enter the fray ___

A few personal opinions :

1] Katas are vital to a study in "body mechanics" as opposed to mindless interpretation! They become pretty much useless unless performed with explosive power and speed of the limbs involved in a particular sequence rather than a rapid blending of successive motions ! The best fighters I have seen are always the ones that can bring their forces into momentary ripping action on phantom targets during kata ! ____ Katas provide a medium for spontaneous avenues of releasing infinite combinations of attacks and blocks ! They program precision of movement , balance, body compression and body torque concepts ! They encourage reflex and coordination ! The ultimate goal of the kata is to develop concentrated maximum physical and mental force !


2] There is point fighting and then there is point fighting ! The way of point fighting with knock down rules requiring economy of simple proven techniques is what the game should be all about ! If you are even thinking self defense applications for your karate , then you must have exposure to this 'less traveled road' to inculcate confidence , accuracy ; develop strategy and tactics , overcome the fear of getting hit and keep some semblance of composure under stress !

3] Unless you combine the above two to a certain extent during your 'programming years ' then you are not a true martial artist in spite of all the rationalization to the contrary ! Most people will always be afraid to enter this ' zone' , and that is okay as long as they understand their limitations in real life to be much more restricting than their 'point sparring' brothers !



4] Bunkais are all right if performed with a certain realism and conviction to reflect workable applications and the explosive power and control concepts the kata has hopefully developed ! But that is not the way we practice them , do we !! And they will never be a good substitute for free fighting ; they must complement each other !


5] Karate v. crime survival ___ again the only worthwhile reason to find yourself in a fight ; the rest you should avoid/walk away from ! Most of you , though very good by accepted standards of performance in today's karate world, are still amateurs in white pajama pants when it comes to crime survival / deadly force encounters ; yet you disdain the teachings of professional deadly force instructors well versed in the force continuum concept adopted by law enforcement personnel and elite response teams ! Lt. Strong , who has accumulated years of police experience with violence , writes that violent criminals are unpredictable and may not react as expected in any given situation ! He goes on to say that martial arts do not work as a crime survival technique ; that the objective of crime survival is to develop split second decisions under the stress of violence and at the time of life or death ! Crime situations and weapons today are very different than martial arts concepts developed in the 17th / 18th centuries ; effective crime defense needs real-life scenarios so that the students will react with realism and simple goals !

6] Clarence Wilder : Lets cut the bull s*** ___
He fell victim to a home intruder as opposed to a burglar …big difference not readily understood by most of you !
Lt. Strong and other police experts indicate that home intruders are the worst of criminals, fond of raping , severe beatings, torture and murder just for kicks ! Clarence found himself in the worst of circumstances , his home having become a crime scene # 2 , i.e., isolation , time , control by the attacker whom he described as a real mean son of a bitch ! A burglar only wants your property and breaks in when you are not home ! The intruder is a terrorist , who wants to confront you , control you and injure you [ read lt. Strong's book ] ! 35% of home intrusion victims are killed as opposed to 10/ % of even armed robberies ! Residents are six times more likely to be killed during a home invasion than a street mugging and robbery !
Clarence is a court officer and he deals with this scum everyday so he has a sense on what is going down ! The intruder is brutal and sadistic , usually a career criminal , and he will put you through a long and horrible ordeal ! Just to pick on A bear of a man like Clarence proves the ass wipe had an agenda !

I am convinced , as Clarence is , that If he had not charged the scum bag punk , he would have been tortured and executed !

Get with it , will you guys !!


------------------
Van Canna


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