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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 8:55 pm 
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From: Jason Bernard
Date: 12 Sep 1998
Time: 08:15:17
Osu!
This has been a very thought provoking set of threads. Thanks to everybody for sharing.
Let me say this. I do feel that every form of martial arts training does have some value (nobody can deny that doing a jumping kick 7' in the air repeatedly doesn't require steady practice and physical conditioning, for example). If a person wants to train in TKD, Uechi Ryu, Kung Fu, Goju Ryu, Jujutsu and not Kyokushin, in my book that is great. As long as they are being objective and getting what
they want, AND getting what the teacher says they are getting! Every art, when properly instructed, can convey the martial arts spirit and develop a martial artist!
Even if a person wants to train in a flashy dance type style, this is okay too (as long as the teacher doesn't say that this is also good street self defense as well, then that is fraud) ... because there is nothing to keep a teacher from keeping tradition in such training. You can still have the cultivation of respect, honor and responsibility while learning to "dance in a martial technique type of way". However, this is not what I am seeing. And your point concerning revolutionary thinking is quite correct and well taken. And perhaps you are right. Perhaps the day of the brand of martial arts that I think of value is at an end. Perhaps so ... but if that is to be, then the new
generation of martial arts will have to defeat the old in whatever way is appropriate (in this day and age, in an economic battle for students no doubt as opposed to a battle to the death!).
Osu! Jason


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 8:58 pm 
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From: Phils
Date: 12 Sep 1998
Time: 11:33:19

Well said Jason.
To add to what you say, Clarence Von Wilder used say years ago "the cream always rises to the top". He was right. I know what you see out there... it has always been there and it's a function of the fascination with the martial arts and the need people have to be a part of it. The trick is not to get caught up in the 'art du jour', maintain composure and an appropriate thankful attitude that we chose a worthy martial art school.

Did you ever watch the thrill an amateur gets performing (say a singer who is badly off key)? They sometimes really don't know how bad or good they are and the audience often ‘hears' it differently. It dawned on me years ago that it's important to celebrate the honest joy people feel... it's not up to me to point out every flaw or the flat note.... It deadens the spirit! also, the flaws exist there for us all.
Best regards... nice work!... phils


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 9:01 pm 
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Tradition, direction, and economics
From: Lori
Date: 12 Sep 1998
Time: 17:53:10

Hear hear on acknowledging honest joy in other people - regardless of flat notes or missteps. I've had to acknowledge that concept in parenting, teaching, (not just karate) and in friendships. Hard to do sometimes - it's easy to be over critical.
As far as the economics and direction of martial arts - Evan Pantazi made a relevant post on the History forum - seems this problem has been around for some time!

It is hard to find a balance between your day job and running a school - as the school grows, even without the commercial trappings that a big "for profit" dojo uses and putting all effort to stay as traditional as possible, it takes quite a bit of time. Full -time day jobs can be difficult for dojo owners or operators with a growing school. And on top of the time constraings, the teachers still must remain students. How else can they grow as teachers? A Sifu I know and highly respect has an incredibly busy and successful school - it is obviously making him some money - when I questioned him some years ago when I was new to teaching, as to why he continues his job as an engineer, he replied to me that his kung fu is his "hobby", one he treasures and enjoys - if he was forced to make a living from his school it would become "work" and he would not want to have the additional pressures affecting the traditional way he runs the school. That spoke volumes to me - I will always remember his philosophy.

Well, please excuse the rambling - tradition and the preservation of it strikes a nerve with me - I really feel that tradition too often takes a back seat in the pursuit of the tuition dollar. Consequently our art gets "watered down" and the sensationalist aspects are exploited and in turn will attract students for what may turn out to be the wrong reasons. This in turn causes an evolution in the art that departs further from the mind-body-spirit connection and focuses on the material.

Wow, I'm really venting now! See what you started? (Good topic!) :-)
Peace, Lori


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 9:03 pm 
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Exactly So
From: Phils
Date: 12 Sep 1998
Time: 21:29:40

Lori: Correct on all point... and you may have hit on the essense of the Funakoshi quote (or at least one aspect of it).
Teaching differs from 'the doing' and running a school differs from teaching and 'the doing! The level of quality of a school may vary wildly from it's success financially. All too often, those interested in success can focus on the business (because they don't have to worry about quality) and their motive isn't altruistic.

Also, there's a need to enjoy what you do,... have fun, and grow, and take part in the pleasure of others. You already understand this implicitly.
Best regards... phils


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 9:05 pm 
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Tradition
From: Steve DiOrio
Date: 10 Sep 1998
Time: 09:28:14

Jason,
I share your concern and as a "Professional Martial Artist" this issue has challenged me. I see Karate schools that are attracting more students that I do.

Often they are the schools that have focused most strongly away from tradition.

To worsen the problem further the trade journals encourage schools to break from Tradition in order to become profitable no one teaches how to increase enrollment and Reshiki together. The final blow comes from my fellow Martial Artists some of whom let me know that, in their eyes, my "Professional" standing lowers me to the bottom of the Martial Arts food chain.

Here is the dilemma, I have a responsibility to my family to make a productive living with the time I spend out of the house. I have a responsibility to my students If I "go out of business" I strand people in the middle of their Karate careers and break the inherent promise of the Sensei /student relationship. The promise is, "If my students work hard and trust me I must coach them to their goals, normally Black Belt rank". I have a responsibility to my teacher and the Art. To represent Uechi-Ryu and Sensei Mattson in a way that brings honor to the art and the man.
I choose to teach in the tradition in which I have been taught. I know that I have fewer students than I might because of it.

I try to live a life centered in values. I value "Warriorship" very highly. To me the
definition of warriorship : A Warrior knows the "right" thing to do and does it even
if it is inconvenient, uncomfortable or even dangerous to do it. This is the tradition
I adhere to and try to teach.
Thank you, Steve


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 9:08 pm 
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Tradition (and money)
From: Jason Bernard
Date: 10 Sep 1998
Time: 14:19:27

Sensei Steve,
I was just discussing this very topic with an instructor friend of mine. We were just thinking about how many good schools went down the "dark path" just to stay
open. Maybe some of the schools out there started with the best of intentions, but
noting a lack of students and perhaps under pressure to simply survive as a school watered things down "just a little". And then later just a little bit more, and then a little bit more, and then a little bit more, until the good intentions were long since washed away. It becomes so easy to step over the "next line" when you have already crossed the line a dozen times. This is why as Phil and yourself state we must stick to our guns! We cannot give in to what we feel is wrong. I
commend you for keeping the tradition of good martial arts alive, as with the other instructors who do so.

A friend of mine was at a tournament a while ago giving a demonstration. He didn't know at the time that the "martial arts" tournament was in fact one of those flashy, dance tournaments. He was very concerned over how his demonstration would be taken since he was doing a very traditional small circle standup jujutsu, hardly very flashy. Well, after the tournament his instructor had many people
asking him about his school, his style, etc. He evened increased enrollment by several students (hooray!). Perhaps, we as non-flashy traditionalists need to make ourselves more visible to the mainstream. At least this way everybody would be able to make a clear choice. I.e. I feel that many students are sucked in the black hole of non-traditional martial arts because they don't know that there really is anything else out there, and certainly know nothing of its power (of heart, mind and body), and their instructor certainly isn't going to tell them any different.

What do you say? How do we solve the problem? As Phil below stated if all traditionalist do is rant, then we lose. We must take action ... so what action should we take? Opinions?
Osu! Jason


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 9:18 pm 
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traditions, etc. vs. modernism
From: John Craig
Date: 12 Sep 1998
Time: 21:45:58

Last spring I entered an open karate tournament on my own on a lark. It was a
pretty small affair, with limited competition. Still, I marveled at so many different styles and approaches. Although but a minnow(kyu), I was able to ascertain the
crisp, powerful, awesome katas that came clearly from centuries of quality tradition, from those that were designed for the "flash" of tournament competition.

At my level at that time, I knew up through Daini Seisan well, Seichin only slightly.
Unfortuntately, Daini Seisan, as well as Kanshiwa are relatively short after I timed
them, so at the suggestion of one of my teachers, I combined these together to get more kata performance time. Daini Kanshiwa?
While lost 1st place to a TKD stylist, the head judge sought me out after my competition to inquire about my kata(s) and to indicate how impressed he was with it and we chatted a minute or two about Uechi. It was a special moment for me, one that sort of reinforced the value of training in a more traditional style, even though I lost to the "flash" of an open tournament type stylist and did the
nontraditional of presenting 2 katas as 1.
John


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 9:20 pm 
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Tradition
From: PhilS
Date: 15 Sep 1998
Time: 18:08:59

In fact, John, you improvised by combining two kata! Also, you stuck your neck out, put yourself on the line by putting what you have learned out there for all to see. It sounds like it was a worthwhile experience.

Sunday, our club did a demonstration on a stage in the middle of Harrison Ave. in Chinatown. I always find these experiences self-revealing, don't you?
phils


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 9:21 pm 
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Re: Tradition
From: John Craig
Date: 16 Sep 1998
Time: 01:02:53

PhilS:
How do you mean self revealing? For me I was stunned that I placed! I think in many ways the self revealing element may not necessarily be a humbler, but can in fact shock us into a notch more self confidence. Learning to become the event, the kata, the performance, to lean into it with body, mind and spirit and to not let the negative mind trip me up!

Improvisation from the "zone" or beginner's luck?
John


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 Post subject: Tradition
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 1998 9:22 pm 
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Re: Tradition
From: Phils
Date: 16 Sep 1998
Time: 13:23:35

John, I;m sorry if I gave the wrong impression. Self-revealing in that it offers a chance to reflect. I'm still not sure how this equates to humbling but that was not
the intent here. I agree that performance pushes one and is exhilarating. Best
regards!


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