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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:17 am 
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Our country has become a very complicated place. Years ago there weren't many dojos. Most of us didn't know anyone (other than our own dojo mates) who trained the Martial Arts. When you saw a technique in class for the first time, you went home and thought about it. You couldn't go on youtube and watch a jillion other people give their opinions on it. Heck, all you could do was go over it in your head and clear a space in your living room so you could go over it again and again, until your next class. You couldn't talk to your friends about it, they didn't know what a side kick was, or a rear naked choke, or a double leg take down. They'd look at you and say, "What the hell are you talking about?"

Do students today, especially new students, love the arts? Are they fascinated by technique as much as we were?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:53 am 
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Hi Otto, this is a good thread if people really care to address it and complex in many ways.

I think Bill Glasheen may have addressed these questions in the past now and then.

Hopefully he will chime in with his thoughts.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:07 pm 
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Does fifties qualify as old fart...or just old fart in training?

I wonder if they train much at all. As a teenager, class time included stretching, strength conditioning and technique drills in a session no shorter than two hours every time, and usually time after to get something just right. Now I see many of the local schools offering one hour classes and classes lasting one and a half hours are rare.

I remember loving training because there was no doubt I'd trained in those classes and I'd practice independently just as hard for it.

Can anyone develop that kind of habit from leisurely one hour strolls???


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:33 pm 
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The novelty has worn off of it all. Lots have been exposed to the basics, but few at an in-depth level. Everyone's an armchair expert, and few are really effective martial artists.

In a way, things aren't all that different. With all the people who studied, there was always a minority who would persevere long enough even to get a shodan.

In a way things are very different. In the past anyone could open a class and get lots to sign up for a fee to learn from someone of questionable abilities. Very few teachers were good, but those coming to class didn't know any better. Now with all the martial venues online and in the sports arena, people have a better idea of what "it" is. There's still some confusion in the packaging. Is it TMA? Sport martial arts? Dojo daycare? Martial fitness? But consumers today are more discriminating. The novelty may be gone, but the quality of available instruction has improved.

Ultimately though it comes down to level of desire and tenacity. Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 hour rule" applies. If your process is good and you put in the time, you get the results. Established schools - either for-profit or not-for-profit - can create the venues to achieve those successes. Online video courses cannot.

Perhaps the one thing we're missing today is the mystique that Hollywood gave us all - for free. Karate movies, kung fu movies, and martial TV shows (Green Hornet, Kung Fu) inflated the interest level and inflated our reputations. Now we're all back down to earth.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:02 pm 
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Otto wrote:
Most of us didn't know anyone (other than our own dojo mates) who trained the Martial Arts. When you saw a technique in class for the first time, you went home and thought about it. You couldn't go on youtube and watch a jillion other people give their opinions on it. Heck, all you could do was go over it in your head and clear a space in your living room so you could go over it again and again, until your next class.

When I think about it, this had an upside and a downside.

The upside is it created a strong bond between teacher and student. Sometimes this was a healthy bond, and sometimes it wasn't. Good teachers developed an army of good students. Teachers with questionable morals and/or serious emotional shortcomings created a mess.

The downside is it sometimes kept us from broadening our training. I actually was without direct Uechi instruction for years, and so was quite creative about my journey. But I wish I had been exposed early on to some of the more old-school methods of Uechi training such as the jar work. Uechi Ryu isn't quite all it can be without the training done with "Uechi toys." I sometimes wonder if the Okinawans once omitted this training for the gaijin. For the Uechika, it's a bit like serving them decaf coffee. Oral history has it that masters often held back some of their training for all but a select few.

In any case, Otto, there's no excuse today. In the information age, people figure things out. Sometimes they figure out a lot of right answers to the wrong questions, but answers can be found.

Maybe because we don't have to work so hard for it, we then value it less. Who knows?

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:34 pm 
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I doubt much has really changed, to be honest. The symptoms might be different, but the results are the same.

At Sityodtong, I see some very, very dedicated young students. They train like maniacs--in the gym 5-6 nights a week, working out on their own, studying video and books when they aren't in the gym--I cannot imagine a more dedicated bunch.

And then, you have the casual ones--they come in once or twice a week, talk more than they train, etc.

Which really, I think is the way it's always been. The martial arts have always had a dedicated minority that really seeks to understand their art. The greater availability of information just means that those dedicated have more ways to learn. Think about it: if you could have studied videos of Kanbun at the time you began training, wouldn't you have been glued to them?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:37 pm 
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Quote:
Do students today, especially new students, love the arts? Are they fascinated by technique as much as we were?


Although each student brings something new to the dojo, I have a student that has been with me about 6 months now, that allows me to answer the question with a resounding yes.

She is genuinely interested, in each move and how she can improve it. If she does a nearly flawless sanchin (for her current level), and I tell her she did very well, she still asks how it can be done better. When I offer her instruction to improve something, she listens intently (or asks more specific / clarifying questions), and then genuinely thanks me. I find this very refreshing for the "average" teenager in today's world.

I'm sure all of you have similar students, as well as many examples that are not so positive. This is just my Positive thought for a great New Year! :D

PS: Jake

Quote:
I see some very, very dedicated young students. They train like maniacs--in the gym 5-6 nights a week, working out on their own, studying video and books when they aren't in the gym--I cannot imagine a more dedicated bunch.


That sounds like my sons, though they often act indifferent in class. :wink:



Bert


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:41 pm 
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KYUechi wrote:

That sounds like my sons, though they often act indifferent in class. :wink:

Bert


Your sons in your class? I think they're REQUIRED to act indifferent. It's in the contract. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:42 am 
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:lol: True. I may need to review that contract with them.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:01 pm 
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Thanks for the input, guys. Great comments.

I still meet some young students who fall in love with the arts much like we all did. There seems to be less of them than before, though, and a higher percentage of them seem to be young women, at least more so than I've seen in the past.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:58 pm 
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I must admit that I have made a terrible student. Not for any fault of my instructors. I started my Uechi training in the late 70's and early 80's. I progressed through ikkyu. Then medical issues prevented me from working out for a time and I never started back up. But that's been my modus operendi (sp?) all my life. I go from hobby to hobby, from guitar to fly fishing, from woodcarving to hiking the AT, etc etc et all. I've never been able to stick to a particular one for a very long time. It took me over 20 years to get my 1st dan. Then I dropped out of sight and got sidetracked for awhile again. I recently started training again but life has even gotten in the way of that. I have to admit my instructors must be dissatisfied with my attendance. Can you imagine where I would have been if I had continued to train since the late 70's? :roll: But I can tell you my instructors have never criticized me or chided me. They've always treated me with understanding. There are many of my former sempei's and teachers that don't train anymore for a variety of reasons. It is a proverbial thorn in my side as I have never felt I've "succeeded" at any of the aforementioned hobbies.

BUT I can say that I have always loved Uechy Ryu and my personal instructors. And WHEN I trained I trained hard and really tried to learn all I could. And I have always been faithful to my style and instructors. Rick and George (and Ernie) are some of the best instructors I have ever seen much less trained under.

I say all that to say that it's really key to get kids when they are young and develop a love for Uechi early on. It's much harder to take old folks like me and make them into Uechika that can take up the mantle and forge into the future.

Steve


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:23 pm 
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KYUechi wrote:
:lol: True. I may need to review that contract with them.


Check it carefully.

@Steve

You really don't sound like a terrible student to me. No, you're probably never going to be a world-beater in Uechi, but clearly, that's not your major goal in life either. You enjoy the training, are improving slowly but surely, and are genuinely interested in learning. What's the issue?

One of the more profound things Tony Blauer once told me was that as an instructor, you cannot expect all of your students to have the same passion for training that you will. While there will be those dedicated few who want to devote themselves, body and soul, to the training, there will be many more who just don't have that level of dedication. Those less dedicated are no less deserving of respect, attention, or instruction than the dedicated few.

Maybe as teachers, we need to revise our expectations of what a good student is, rather than chiding them for their lack of dedication?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:24 am 
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Good points Jake.

There is also 'long dedication' v. 'short dedication' to consider.

Meaning that there are many students who 'mean well' when they first start and workout everyday or 4 or 5 times per week. Then either life gets in the way or they burn out and you never see them again.

It is just about impossible for most people to set aside the hours for karate training that often and still 'have a life' while continuing to find what they do interesting. So they start with a bang then disappear like ghosts.

I'd rather see a student workout a couple of times a week intensely while still having personal time to enjoy other sports/activities/pursuits and family life.

Over the years I have seen these students stick it out for a lifetime of Uechi Ryu, while using a sensible schedule of training, and these people are excellent students and senseis.

So the seemingly 'short dedication' turns out into a lifetime of dedication in the long run. Give me those students.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Excellent advice Van.

I remember many who started out working out every day. . . and disappeared after a few months.

I remember many more who trained regularly and steadily twice a week. . . that are still actively working out.

People who are obsessed with the "latest" workout fad and give it 150%, seldom stay with the program or achieve their goals.

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"Do or do not. there is no try!"


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:58 pm 
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Quote:
I must admit that I have made a terrible student.


This brings up an interesting theory, that I have...... I have noticed a trend (generally, I'm not saying this is always the case). And this trend could apply to myself as well as some of my students.

It seems the talented athletes, or individuals that have it all together, (the most impressive students initially)are not often the ones that stick with it. It seems that the individual's that need karate, for self confidence, to improve co-ordination / athleticism, defend themselves, etc. are the ones you can count on to be there years later.

I may be a good example, I was never a great athlete, and never excelled in team sports. I certainly wasn't my Instructor's "Shining Star", but I never gave up and stuck with it.

Now, when I am praised for my ability, or fitness level, I know that it is because long after everyone else moved on to something else, or a sedentary lifestyle, I was still plugging away in the dojo.

I remember a young student that came into my dojo one time with his Father. The young man was already a veteran of T-ball, and excelling in other youth sports. He was incredible. Everything I showed him how to do, he did precisely, and without further thought. It was unbelievable! 8O I kept asking his Dad if he had previous training, and he said, he had not.
He did things it would take most months or years to master, with ease. I was torn between excitement at having such a gifted student, and feeling useless, because everything was so easy to the child and I failed to challenge him in the least. He came to class once or twice, and that was it. He just did not "need" many of the benefits that most get from Karate, and frankly I think it bored him. I've seen similar examples, before and since, but never such a (dare I say) miraculous example.


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