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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 1:08 am 
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Location: Richmond, VA
Yes, yes, Uechi-ryu is first. So why do I dabble in other areas?

Well, should I ever be faced with a knife, it is best to understand that a circle block into a blade is not a good idea. A little Raffi sensei goes a long way in adding a few elements to my Uechi that might give me a better chance, especially if I can get my hands on a stick. Or an edged weapon of my own.

How about a firearm? Uechi works great if you understand how to get that gun out of the bad guys hand. Where you need to be to be effective. How the thing works if you are fortunate to get it and you yourself need to use it to save your life or your sweethearts. Thank you Van and Evan and Jim Maloney and Roy Bedard and....

I'm not going away from Uechi, just learning ways to adapt the techniques for life in 1999.

BTW, I spent a few hours working with Folta sensei this weekend. Ouch, he is hard. A knife or bullet would be no match for his Uechi conditioning. Unfortunately, we are not all Nestor Foltas.

Regards, Rich


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 5:24 am 
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Posts: 405
Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
Hi folks:

Recently Gary S. wrote in about the limitations of power. Of course, there are limitations in all aspects of our practice. If there were not, a black belt would amount to a red cape, and Lord knows that ain't the case!

So, naturally, what do most of us do when faced with these inherent limitations in our system, our style or our self? We run, we hide, we quit, we change styles, teachers, techniques, philosophies, addresses--ANYTHING to help us believe that the "limitation" we faced was some kind of secret, terminal FLAW that WE just now uncovered. Uncanny!

So what happens?

Wearing a Uechi "gi", we attend a seminar or two on Ling Ding, the new internal warming technique guaranteed to burn all opponents. Or, maybe, we read a book or two by Tennessee tough guy Iron Will and feel that, yes, he has ACTUALLY got it all figured out.

There is danger in this.

The danger is that in a style like Uechi, you've GOT to develop power. The effective implementation of the system depends on it! Yes, there are other "ways" to Uechi, but hard conditioning and knock down power are first on the list!

So don't dabble in self defense! If Kyusho interest you, PLEASE study full time with an expert like Evan Pantazi! If you're going to rely on something to save your life, you better be damn good at it at go time.

And dabbling won't do.

If you've studied Uechi all these years and see nothing but holes, do the honorable thing (for yourself) and move on. Think Sim Dum Bum is a superior fighting system? Go for it, dude! Why waste your time if you feel the secrets lie somewhere else?!

Yes there is ALWAYS more to study, more to know, more to see. But having "all skills [is equivalent to] no skills", as the Japanese say. Personally, I'll be a master of one trade rather than a jack of, say, three.

Get back to the dojo and ask the hard questions. When answers emerge, do the hard training. When obstacles arise, use your newfound power and blast through them!

This is the process of hard martial training. And the TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!!

Keep training,

Gary


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 6:40 am 
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Posts: 405
Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
Gentlemen:

Points well taken. Actually, I took your point well, Rich. Doctor, I'm still trying to decipher YOUR post! (BE NICE! -- Ed.II)

Seriously, I understand dabbling! Hell, don't we all do it?

Simply, my point is not to turn to it as a panacea to cure our Uechi "ills". Lack power? Learn to hit harder! Don't abandon basics because you ****** at them. Heck, I thought this whole karate thing was about MASTERY, no?

Am I alone on my thinking on this?

Secondly, I like to believe that even Raff would agree that confronted with a knife, a great cirlce block would probably be a HELL of a lot better than an OK parry. And here's the rub:

We often run from the pillars of our own system to find comfort in the arms of philosphies and techniques we don't really understand and can't really perform well.

This is the danger! Not that imagined psychopath that's marauding outside your front door!

Get Uechified and then call me. You know, 10 years of hard Uechi before the burning escrima sticks practice. Got it?!

You know it is often said of the JKD that outside of a few very talented individuals, you have an entire system of practitioners who are only OK at a lot of the principles of many different arts. Would being classified that way make YOU feel strong or safe?

I don't ever want to be a mediocre multifacited malcontented martial artist. Make me a master of one art. I'll hang my hat and my chances on the few things I do REALLY well.

Respectfully,

Gary


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 7:20 am 
Gary:

Before I go on let me make it clear that I agree on the following:

"... you've GOT to develop power. The effective implementation of the system depends on it! Yes, there are other "ways" to Uechi, but hard conditioning and knock down power are first on the list!"

"Learn to hit harder!"

"Get Uechified and then call me."

"If you've studied Uechi all these years and see nothing but holes, do the honorable thing (for yourself) and move on."


I don't see Uechi as having holes. I see some of my training as having holes.

My looking at other things takes on different aspects. I will always attend a Tony Blauer seminar whenever I can because what he does is not style specific. I will read Peyton Quinn and Mark MacYoung for the things outside of style. What I DO is how I apply Uechi. What they can teach deals with non-Uechi items.

When I looked at ground grappling, it was not in vast detail, but it was so that I could see what they were doing. The main thing I saw was people getting caught by surprise. Could I take on a BJJ at grappling -- not a chance. Do I think BJJ has it all over Uechi -- not a chance. After I looked at the ground fighting I looked at what Uechi could do while on the ground and found it to be (no surprise) very effective -- let them be the ones surprised.

I also look for ways to generate more power, again this is not a Uechi hole, just me been filling ones of my own.

David Mott Sensei might be said to be a dabbler, as he has certainly investigated other styles, particularly the Chinese ones. He shares part of his Dojo with a FMA and Five Ancestor's master whom he works out with. Bob Campbell Sensei is also another who has gone into other styles in great detail.

However, they both share something in common. They consider themselves Uechi practitioners first. Everything they learn is brought back to Uechi Ryu.

I do not believe that anyone can know all there is about our style or how to perform it to perfection. By looking at other styles we can learn things we did not previously see in Uechi. I have some Uechi friends studying Chen Taiji. What they see is Uechi. Maybe not performed as they first learned it, but Uechi it is.

So how do you know when something you are doing enhances your Uechi or is wrecking it? For me it is in the circle Saturday mornings hitting and being hit by my friends ("hard conditioning and knock down power"). A quick down to earth assessment of whether or not we are generating more power. My rules are few -- it must be simple, direct and effective. Nothing fancy (Uechi is one direct art).

I am a uechi practitioner in my eyes -- nothing else.

Going out of town for a few days, but Gary, could you explain your comment:

"So don't dabble in self defense!"

Personally, I thought working on good Uechi was working on good self defense?

Rick.


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 10:58 am 
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Posts: 2073
Location: Boston, MA
Personally, I believe a "generalist" is better suited to a "survival" mode. Specialist is interested in "mastery", including mastering details that may or not be relevant in changing situations.

Until Uechi folks practice realistically with weapons, I can say honesty that the overwhelming majority will be in deep doodoo facing someone versed in weaponry.

I believe in developing the ability to generate and apply power -- but most styles do. Any variance is usually in when to apply that power.

I guess I do agree by default that one should be "uechified" for ten years before branching out since that is what I did. But, even after branching out, like what Rick said, I know where my martial art roots are.

BTW, Gary, congratulations for getting your new dojo up. I heard it was a major case of trial and tribulation. But now it's onward to bigger and better things. Good for you and students.

david


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 4:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 635
Location: Johnston, RI
Hello to everyone,
Well, this could easily be one of those threads that could get long and heated. For my opinion, I have always preached being a martial artists first, and being a karate, gung fu, or whatever practitioner second.
However, I will totally agree with Gary and others when they say power is key. No surprise to hear that from Gary Khoury, a student of Nakahodo Sensei whose power is legendary.
Good striking ability whether it is punching or kicking is key to fighting. As far as dabbling is concerned, I see nothing wrong with a person expanding their knowledge of the martial arts. If they do nothing but go from seminar to seminar or school to school then will have no foundation to their training. They will know a little about a lot of things, but not probably not enough if they need to defend themselves.
JKD is a blended art of many disiplines. But good JKD has a strong foundation and philosopy of self defense. I have seen lots of good JKD, and lots of bad JKD. I can say the same for Uechi, Kali, Kempo, Kenpo and Ju Jitsu. An art does not have to be traditional to be effective. However, as I was saying to Bill Glasheen during my recent seminar in Va., nothing bothers me more than martial artists with no power. I have noticed that JKD people with a GOOD karate background do tend to understand power more that those who have not studied karate. For example, I see people who are so concerned with having fast hands. Nothing wrong with that per say. But they develop these fast hands and when they hit the focus mitts they have no gas on their punches. Or they block, trap and enter with a punch that their opponet is not affected by and get clobbered. Power is key.
But I no longer agree with studying one art exclusively. The study of other arts can enhance whatever your base art is. The study of sticks and knives is not for the purpose of learning the weapons exclusively. One developes footwork, coordination, speed and timing, just to name a few.
Just my two cents. Thanks for your time.
Raffi


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 4:32 pm 
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Location: Johnston, RI
Ooops, by the way, congrats to Gary on the new dojo! How far are you from RI? I'd love to come up and sweat with you guys. (I promise not to wear that gi that only you ever notice...)
Raffi


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 1999 6:01 am
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Location: Newton, MA
For my part, I've both "dabbled" and "studied" different martial arts, but all for the same purpose: Trying to be a better fighter.

I agree that you can find many, if not all of the answers, that you need if you focus dillegently on one style, but even a brief glance at something else can sometimes teach you something new about your own system.

Rick says he learned that Uechi has some very effective ground techniques by studying BJJ for a time. A perfect example of what I'm talking about.

To be an effective fighter, you certainly must have a strong foundation, but to be truly effective, you must be able to build on that foundation. In the real world, no one cares if you beat the guy with a Uechi technique, or an Five Animals technique, or what have you. The question is...did you make it work?

I agree that too much dabbling with no foundation is a dangerous thing. But done properly, it can be a great learning tool. If nothing else, you'll know one other thing the bad guys might try to do to you.


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 1999 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 28, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2423
Location: MARSHFIELD, MA. USA
Gary et al:

I have studied TC and studied with Sensei Evan only once or twice, but two comments come to mind:

"Being in the Arts is a Process" this agrees with what Gary Sensei is trying to point out. Dabbling is not being "immersed in the Do" by definition.

However Sensei Evan says "Every Uechi Kata is an encyclopedia of Kyusho"-so, we are studying "books" and a bit of translation of same by Kyusho experts such as Sensei Evan is not "dabbling".


To be sure, more translation would be better, and this is Gary Sensei's And Gary SAntienello Sensei's point.

Every art, I suppose, can teach us somthing, but time and "memory space" are subject to limitations that vary from person to person, so it is also true that hard choices as to where to spend these assets will have to be made.

Gary K's sensei's warning no to spread oneself too thin is not the same as saying not to have an open mind.

JT



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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 1999 5:58 am 
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Posts: 288
Location: Randolph Ma USA
I don't recall any implication that "power" is NOT important in karate. If i did, would someone please pull that from my previous post and "show me" where ?
I tried to clearify my meaning after realizing that some "misundertsood" my intent. Obviously not all did. Right Gary ? For some, "power" is all that is needed to destroy an opponent. For others they must be a bit more careful when going against a "worthy opponent."
Gary K. I respect your ability and your success in your "Dojo" along with your fighting reputation. However, as you can see, not all feel that looking into other styles/arts are an attempt to replace uechi-ryu trainning but can help to better understand it. To expand on it.

Rick & Rich point out some benefits to looking into other styles. All is in uechi ? There is more "in it" than many know ! Learning how to continue a waukee block into a wrist lock or arm break is not "dabbling". Nor is learning more precise acuracy in our "kata" by learning where more effective striking parts of the body are, the size of a dime. Is "power" important ? Certainly it is !

Yes Gary, Evan is the one to study "Kyusho" from. Although some do not buy into the "pressure point" practice and theory, it is adding some depth to my uechi. Not replacing it !

For those of you who see the value as to knowledge from other systems and how "many" things relate to uechi, thank you for expressing it.

Certainly locks, chokes, breaking techniques, pressure points, how to fall along with other techniques only help to understand that there is a wide array of knowedge that can be beneficial to the open minded practicioner.

Uechi-ryu is my style! Always has been, and always will be. However, i respect other styles and those that practice them. Effectiveness is in the "individual" not what they study. There are good and bad in all styles. We all believe that what we study is "the best" don't we ?

Gary K. Understand that although i do not have your "fighting" ability and reputation, i have been in uechi for 25 years. Having studied in Brockton under Sensei Bethoney my Godan rank was not given to me for showing up, looking pretty and paying tuition. I have done my share of heavy hitting, conditioning trainning and have had my share of some heavy weight fighters in Clarence Wilders tournaments. Although i am not a "superstar" i am a hard core uechiryu practicioner/instructor and will ot appear to be anything less.

------------------
Gary S.


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 1999 7:40 am 
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Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
John & JD:

Thank you for coming to my -- AHEM -- defense so to speak. And Gary, no disrespect intended! I have seen you train and know your lineage. My point, should I need to state it again, can be summed up in the old "Acres of Diamonds" tale.

In the fable, an African farmer sells his land to prospect for diamonds in (supposedly) richer areas of the country. As you all have heard, he ultimately fails & kills himself in despair To top it off, we learn that the new owner of the farm (you guessed it) finds the original property to contain the richest diamond mines on the continent. Go figure.

Martial arts practice is a lot like this. Don't be the disgruntled worker jumping from job to job looking for the right boss, the right opportunity, the right pay. Mine your job, your farm or your art for the diamonds that exist there TODAY!

My original caveat was not for Gary S. per se. He's got power; I've seen it. No, my warning was for those who would rather move to the next trick, concept, art, WHATEVER in the place of doing the hard practice that would lead to success in whatever techniques they are doing right now.

The basics of Uechi are clear. My theory (and it has been proven in hard practice) is that these basics should be mastered before one investigates and SERIOUSLY STUDIES (e.g. not dabbles) in other concepts, practices or arts.

Send me a mediocre grappler, I will dispatch him. Send me a so-so knife fighter, he will fall, too. Send me and expert in Kyusho, Arnis or sticks and I know it will be a knock down battle of wills!

Do not hang your hat or your safety on skills you do not fully understand! Is it fun to attend seminars, etc.? SURE! I do all the time!

But when the chips are down and it really counts, you won't find me depending on the Larry Lubar EZ 1-2-3 self defense video I bought last week. I'll be running home to "mommy", so to speak! Kanbun, don't fail me now!

Respectfully,

Gary

PS: Rick, let's start another thread regarding karate vs. "self defense"!


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 1999 12:03 pm 
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Posts: 1897
Location: N. Andover, Ma. USA
Khoury Sensei and all,

I dabble in several Arts but not for lack of excitement or belief in Kempo. It is to find different (or similarities, taught differently) methods and ideas to strengthen, and deepen my understanding and appreciation of what I do. One can truly Master only one thing.

I cannot begin to explain how dabbling in Uechi (that little Sanchin just blows my mind it has taught me more about my Kempo than any one person), Wing Chun, Small Circle jujitsu, Arnis and Tai Chi have done for my Nai Han Chi. I keep mentioning this Kata because it is my focus and everthing else is related back to this base.

If I had studied Uechi first I would do the same with Sanchin (which is what I do with my Uechi dabbling anyway)...one must develop a sense of what it is they are in the Arts and then spend the rest of their life solidifying and understanding it. Let's face it physics is physics...or should I cop a quote from Bruce Lee (wow I never thought I would do this)...at first a punch is a punch, then a punch is not a punch, then a punch is a punch...or something like that.

------------------
Evan Pantazi
www.erols.com/kyusho


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 1999 1:40 pm 
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Posts: 288
Location: Randolph Ma USA
Gary K.

Thank you for your clearification as to your original post. I felt that you were directing your generalization towards me.

I understand better your meaning now. I think we all agree that to learn about other systems and how they work will either help us to understand more about what we are doing in our style and possibly give "expansion" to it or at least let us know how others may come at us in a different appraoch.  

Accept my appology if i appeared to be over reactive in my original reply. At the time i felt the need.

Respectfully,




------------------
Gary S.


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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 1999 10:53 pm 
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"Gary of K" Sensei:

Of course, there are few people who need a 'defender' less than you do.

But sometimes one can make a point by amplifying or clarying someone else's.

I think that cross training is a good thing, but I also agree with your original point that "style jumping" can be akin going around the same traffic circle again and again and not ever taking the right turnoff.

However, having said this, Kyusho training "blends" rather well with Uechi and should like "blend well" with any Kata or form that is accurate in its depiction and presentation of striking points and implements.

Having only had time to "study" the Uechi forms and two TC forms to any extent, I must echo Gary S.' thoughts in that they both address "power", but in different accents of the same language, perhaps.

I counsel students, when they ask, not to take the same road twice, and if they wish to cross train to choose something that will enhance their understanding.

I think, for what it is worth, that serious cross training in another system much before Nidan or Sandan might be destabilizing, but Kysuho's explanations of the "whys of Uechi" might be and exception in that it does not appear to detract from the "hows".

Seeing elements of Uechi, Ba Fa and Tc in the "Suparempi" form was neat, for example.

Trying to learn it before attaining Bill Sensei's level of experience might be a bit "destabilizing" perhaps-, maybe not.

What do you think?

JT



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 Post subject: The dangers of dabbling
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 1999 12:23 am 
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Gary K,
I like the idea of a discussion of "karate" vs. "self-defense"... I think there are some significant differences to the way both are studied, the attitude one brings to the study, and the goals and benefits of the study. Both have their value. Most of us probably come down more on one side than the other, because of differences in temperament and different life experiences. One of the great things about having such a huge organization (should I say "family"?) is that we have advanced teachers and practitioners from both ends of the continuum. More power to us! I look forward to a lively discussion.


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