Who are our students?

Contributors offers insight into the non-physical side of the Martial Arts, often ignored when discussing self-defense.

Moderator: gmattson

Postby Deep Sea » Thu Jan 01, 2004 10:37 pm

Hello Paul.

Many reasons. I was one who didn't start to learn how to fight, I figured I was already pretty good in that department. I remember saying to myself "I'm bored, I need something else in my life," Ended up signing up in Uechi without even watching a class and when invited to I declined with a reply to Sensei Eddie DeCosta that "I don't understand what's going on, anyway. But I'll be back next Monday." I returned next Monday and never missed a single class until I was there for over a year and a half.

Looking back, Paul, I think I was looking for something to put some sort of substance back into my life; some sort of meaning; some sort of direction. That substance and meaning turned out NOT to be the karate nor the need for the fighting skills karate would hone and provide. I think that somehow I knew deep-down, maybe subconsiously, that I needed personality development and discipline in my life at that time, plus develop a toughness of the mind and spirit. Perhaps that was what the draw was for me, and perhaps I've stuck with it all these years because it has "shown me the way."



Tomorrow at 10:30 am is the 22nd anniversary of my accident where I was run over by a pickup truck, , dragged 100 feet, briefly died, and woke up from a coma only to discover that I was a paraplegic who was told that I'd never walk again. Tomorrow is a very special day for me. Every year in December I get very depressed, remain that way throughout most of the month and don't even realize it, and as the anniversary date rolls near I snap out of it. Writing the above helped me today; the knowledge and abilities I had then of Uechi helped give me [the mind-body-spirit] strength in those early days, months, and years that followed the accident.
Always with an even keel.
-- Allen
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Postby paul giella » Sat Jan 03, 2004 1:48 pm

You are and always will be the premier example of determination and resolute hard work. While it is understandable that you would be pensive, even depressed, on the anniversary of your accident I hope there is also room for prideful reflection.
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Re: Good observation Candaneh

Postby CANDANeh » Sat Jan 10, 2004 6:19 pm

gmattson wrote:Rick gets us all excited about training, which is the job of a good teacher. I wish more people would purchase his Video or DVD though....
Canadian $$ is quite strong right now, so it was a good time to pop a money order in the mail. For about the same cost of a feeding a couple people at the local "Mc HeartAttack" resturant you can have a couple hours of observing Rick`s training methods gaining more insight of good sound principles and concepts he articulates so well on these forums. Looking forward to mine.
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Read Coach Sonnon's article on stress

Postby gmattson » Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:12 pm

I wanted to push this thread to the front, in the hope that some of Coach's writings pertaining to stressful training might motivate others to contribute to this topic.

I wish to re-emphasize the rules of the forums about sticking to the topic and theme of the individual forum.
"Do or do not. there is no try!"
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Postby Bill Bauknecht » Sat Feb 07, 2004 4:56 am

I am late following this discussion but, in reading the post it really got me thinking about my own experience, why did I begin my Uechi training, how my reasons for training changed over the years. I see the question, why do people choose karate, I think most do so to learn self defense, to able to "take care" of themselves. Why do the majority quit at some point, never reaching that level when they can no longer quit, when it becomes a way of life? My reason was simple, exercise. I had played ball for years but finally gave it up so the younger guys could play. I really didn't care about learning self defense, I had boxed in the service and felt I could handle myself OK. After watching one class I knew this was for me. I liked the spirit and the contact I saw. So I began getting the exercise I wanted. I trained for a year or more and dropped out. It was my business that was growing and I just didn't have time for anything else. It became very stressful and I found myself under so much pressure I was very close to a nervous breakdown. I decided to get back to my karate training. From the first night I knew my stress problem was left outside the door. So now my reason had changed, from just exercise to stress reliever. That reason changed again when I realized that I could teach. I never thought of myself as a teacher, but here out of nowhere it appealed to me. Thanks to my teacher, Art Rabesa, I learned the "karate" way of fighting but other things began to build inside me. Art started me on my own road, always his student but he gave me the opportunity to be myself and teach my way. He taught me to learn from my students and over the years I know that he learned from me. I built my strength, both physically and mentally, something that would be put to use years later when that training saved my life. So for me, in asking myself what else is there? After starting my career in karate, I did it for exercise, changed when I used it as a stress reliever and finally found the real reason, teaching. During all this time I enjoyed the benefits that the training gave me. I was never anything special but I know I became a well rounded karate student. Not only did my body stay in good shape but my mind stayed strong as well. I found my "way of life." I continued my training, teaching for as long as I could until my health went sour and I could no longer stand the physical stress. I have tried to stay mentally strong and all those years of hard work have kept me going. I have been fortunate because I trained long enough to know what Uechi Ryu is about. There is no end, one continues to learn and isn't it ashame that so many train for years only to quit before they see that light go on. I don't know if my story here covers anything that you are looking for George, my intent is only to give my idea that there are many reasons for someone to start training, those reasons for staying can change. Fighting is a very important part of training, after all, this is karate. But there is so much more and I know that absolutely. How many of us have carried this over into our private lives, into our business and how we deal with and handle people. How about the friends, not just in the martial arts, but the ability to make friends because our training has formed a personality that makes people want to be your friend. How often do I find myself being thankful for opening that dojo door for the first time? More than most I'm sure. My ordeal opened my eyes. We should all take the time, especially the seniors, to go back and think of the early years and follow that path to where we are now. Our bodies get older on the outside but inside we are whole and that's what makes us better teachers. Isn't that what's it's all about?
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Postby hoshin » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:51 pm

i remember an old koryu Japanese master (yes one of the real ones :) ) that was asked why study martial arts. after listing all the reasons we normally think he smiled and said
" i continue to study and train because it helps us be human"

cant say i total understand that but i tend to agree.

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Postby Bill Bauknecht » Thu Feb 12, 2004 11:36 pm

Thank you for that. I can't say that I completely understand either but I think at this point, I am close.
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Postby hthom » Mon Mar 01, 2004 1:35 am

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Postby KerryM » Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:51 pm

hmmm- I'm no expert at all. What I "am" is one of the T/U's.

For me, the question became- why "continue" to train- I can't seem to do any of this stuff- which is exactly what "kept" me in the trouble (abuse) I was in, when I started to train.

So I will attempt to answer Allen's questions too- just as a T/U-

[quote]Help me out with the following, George.

How does one reagain interest in the fires of which the embers of excitement and desire hsve been fading and are now dying out?

*find your "doubt" and "depression" within sanchin- stand in our "stance" and check it for yourself- while standing- see what is "out" are your elbows out too much? Stance too wide? Too short? What are the things you could still work on or touch up?

Because each one of those things- has an emotional qualtty attached to them- and even if you don't know which emotional quality is attached to the mis-step in sanchin- working on your sanchin will get your sub conscious working on that emotion as well. You'll find yourself looking at the rest of your life as well as internal life- diffrently again-

and isn't that what happened when you first started?
Do I no longer have anything left in me to offer Uechi-ryu?

Does Uechi-ryu have nothing left in it to offer me?

***is your sanchin stance absolutely perfect? If it is- do the kata with your eyes closed and see if you wind up where you should at the close of the kata- if you don't- refer to answer 1 if you do- end up where you should- check your stance after having done so- if that is where it should be- go to the next kata-

challenge yourself- that is part of the "art" of Uechi- you need to be able to challenge yourself- to do that- espescially for the seniors in the style- keep going back to sanchin- check everything through sanchin-

Is it time for me to move on?


How Perfect is your sanchin? Do you believe it is perfect? Or could this be another speed bump- that Uechi-style already knew would catch you once you got really really good? If that is the case- check answer 1 :)


Am I getting to old to think about fighting anymore and refuse to fantasize what was in my youthen days?

***** Is that what Uechi meant to you? What does it mean to you now? Does practicing Uechi make you think about fighting? Not fighting? DOES it make you fantasize and at this point is that REALLY a bad thing?


Have I passed the stage where I feel the need for Uechi-ryu in my life?

*** what feeling are you missing that you used to get? Is there another feeling you haven't seen yet? Just over the horizon of this speed bump in your training? If you are still breathing and moving- there is still more for Uechi-ryu to give you- do you teach? Is your Sanchin perfect? see answer 1


Has events which have transpired before me over the past year or so worn through a thin facade?

**** was it thin? I'm not clear on the events for sure- but exactly "what is" behind that "facade? I might hesitate before "not" discovering what "is" back there- then I'd see answer 1


Have I tried so hard for so long that there's no spirit left?


In my own non-senior-non-proffessional opinion- (well I teach UEchi- but that's not the right proffession I don't think that Sensei/M- meant- :) ) but in my own view- the fact that you "asked" that- means that yes-

there is still spirit in you-

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Postby KerryM » Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:53 pm


As I student- I continue because it works- :) I used to be a T/U and now I'm not-

so it works and I enjoy it- :) As well as teach it now :)

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Postby Ryokan » Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:06 pm

I just read the original post and I thought I would take a shot at it.

For me, the initial attraction of the martial arts, particularly aikido, was the power. Not "power over" as in the ability to dominate, but "power of" -- martial presence, if you will.

I read George Leonard's book "The Ultimate Athlete", and I fell head over heels for the part where he described a mugging/knifing that was averted simply because the would-be victim centered as he had been taught to do in aikido.

To me, it wasn't so much the fear of physical violence as it was of being verbally picked on. The teen years are awkward for everyone, but some people get picked on, and others don't. The martial arts answered the question of how to become one of the people who don't, without becoming a bully.
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