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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:35 am 
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Mike,
It's my belief that for the moves of each kata there might be one or two excellent high percentage technique, 2 or three OK variations and the rest are pure fantasy. Now if someone comes up with a good variation then they should change the kata to reflect that technique.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:19 am 
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In terms of my "leaving," I was speaking more generally about my leaving training - not a specific school. So my goal would be that if I stop training with a certain group of students for some reason, those students would continue to train in some capacity. So that I am not the embodiment of their training, but they've developed their own reasons to train and see themselves as able to continue training what they're interested in.

Part of how I try to foster the idea that students are training for themselves is to ask them before I start class what they are working on and what they'd like to work on that class. Another way is by having coffee or a meal with them after a workout and asking them what they want out of their training right now and what their goals are. A third way is by saying, out loud, in class, regularly, that I am a student just as much as they are and that I'm far from having all the answers to anything. So when we train together, we're training together and we're all improving together. I tell them when they do something better than I do it. And I say that I'm very far from perfect and I don't want them to imitate my karate, because few of them look like me, and that because we are so different -- with different strengths and weaknesses that they are going to make their training their own. Especially because I don't have a magic karate wand to have over their heads and give them special karate powers.

In reading the posts what comes to mind is a math analogy. A math teacher will show you how to do logarithmic equations. They'll show you a general approach and a couple of "watch out for these" variations. However, they do not continue to walk you through examples of every single unique equation of that type that exists.

I see the same in martial arts. How many variations on the concept of balance displacement do you need to be shown before you have grasped the concept (i.e. principle) and can start to work variations out on your own (i.e. techniques)?

But I also think a martial arts teacher must model for and teach students how to stick it out and train. To keep going, the tenacity and courage to find your comfort zone, and then leave it. Self-transformation is never easy and you get out of it what you put into it.

So to borrow an often over used Chinese proverb...
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:27 am 
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Dana Sheets wrote:
In reading the posts what comes to mind is a math analogy. A math teacher will show you how to do logarithmic equations. They'll show you a general approach and a couple of "watch out for these" variations. However, they do not continue to walk you through examples of every single unique equation of that type that exists.


No, but we do walk you through several representative examples, and we establish a clear set of rules for going about solving a problem. One would not, then, show multiple applications of every move, but at least a selection of moves would be thoroughly explored, leaving nothing to the imagination on these examples.

A math analogy on a different level would be what is expected of an undergraduate, masters, and PhD math major. At the undergraduate level we expect students to be able to prove theorems and work problems, but we do not expect them to create original mathematics. At the masters level there would be a bit of this, although not a lot. The masters level is still a practitioner level. It's the PhD level where students are expected to display the capacity for original research, i.e. to expand what is known, not just to retrace the steps of others and to solve practical problems.

Certainly not every student of karate is expected to aspire to the "PhD" level or even the "masters" level, and either way, one does not treat undergraduates the same as PhD students, just as you do not treat a 12 year-old child the same as a 21 year-old. For example, it is my understanding that up through the nidan level in the IUKF, students are required to perform the standard bunkai in dan testing, but at sandan and above, there is latitude. I guess what I'm saying is that brown belt seems a little early to me to be suggesting that students be expected to come up with their own bunkai. As former university math professor, I can tell you that my undergraduate students would have complained loudly if I just quoted theorems, gave them a facile example or two, and then told them they were on their own. No, we would certainly work through a lot of problems completely. Even homework assignments would eventually be completely explained.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:43 pm 
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In my graduate experience, (filmmaking) we watched and deconstructed scenes from films, explored film theory, did a few class projects in video, on film, and digital media that by no means explored the great variety of approaches one can take to filmmaking...and then we were set on our own.

There are some immutable principles in filmmaking and most of those happen to be relatively mechanical. Light reflects and refracts in such a manner, film travels through the camera in such a way, video is created through a capture process involving chips and sensors and magnetic tape that is written at a certain frame rate or another, microphones work in such a way and here's how you plug them in...so the mechanics of making an image on film or video are relatively standard - but there are infinite variations in how they are applied.

And there aren't really PhDs in making movies...there are PhDs in communcations theory...but those folks aren't usually making movies, they're studying them. But there are certainly master filmmakers of every genre.

But a filmmaker varies quite a bit in their knowledge from one to another.

And there are folks who specialize in a detail...those that can make a film camera, engineers who can design and guide the manufacture of mircophones, people who write editing software, etc. But no person is a master of each and every aspect of filmmaking. So if I extend my already over-extended metaphor..

Camera/punching
Lighting/kicking
Sound/locks
directing/throws
producing/takedowns
acting/body shifting
engineer/anatomy
make-up/first aid
music composition/kumite
computer generated graphics/kobudo (because they're both worlds unto themselves)
editor/kata
writing/bubishi
accounting/dojo management
marketing/marketing
distributing/pedagogy & teaching
...and on and on an on...

In the world of filmmkaing I happen to specialize in producing, directing, writing, fundraising, marketing, and distributing. I have some skill in all the other areas...but with varying degress of proficiency.

So I think what I'm trying to say is that martial arts falls someplace between math and filmmaking.

What I often hear expressed by folks training in Okinawan martial arts is that they aren't sure what the fundamental principles are and what the basic rules are. It is during that time of uncertainty that students endlessly ask for examples - because they're not yet able to categorize the other stuff they're learning. Part of this has to do with how Okinawan karate was taught for many years - which is a pretty non-structured apporach.

And I've also noticed that in a dojo, students absorb different things at different points. So I can talk till I'm blue in the face about balance displacement - and have a student tell me they only know one throw...when I can easily tally 20 that have been presented to that student and that they have trained...but for some reason they don't all stick. Lots of that probably has to do with the oral and kinesthetic tradition of teaching Okinawan martial arts. The original practitioners may have been literate - but many of their students might not have been, and publishing a text was a difficult affair.

So now we're got the ability to self-publish texts and books and video...but that knowledge in the dojo is mostly arranged and trained around the traditional training devices of kata and kumite - which were both sort of the end-notes of knowledge...not the learning outline.

What's fun is that now we've got folks upending that model.

One of the ones that comes to mind as someone who's done this in a pretty dramatic way is Pat McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy has really done a heck of a job organizing his massive curriculum around principles first and then having students explore how those common themes manifest in a range of empty-handed kata, weapons kata, and two-person sets.

His was a massive deconstruction and reconstruction effort that took a wide variety of traditional martial arts elements and reorganized them within a model that is more easily gasped by students in the western hemisphere.

So he's got quite a bit of the entire encyclopedia, if you will. And for me Uechi is a volume in it. I've chosen to be a Uechi specialist thus far in my training. Which for me means focusing on the particular movements and principles cataloged in the Uechi kata. And I'm happy doing that. I understand that I'm choosing to ignore quite a lot of material that's out there in the world. And I also know that I'm simply not Pat McCarthy (or someone similar) -- and don't ever want to be. Though those kind of folks have my categorical respect.

So I've (happily) resigned myself to fact that I'm simply not going to know all the joint locks that exist in the world and all their variations...because I don't wanna know them all. But I do know that there are certain kinds of joint locks, and I'm pretty good at using a few of them.

So how much material do we heap onto our kyu ranks? I dunno. What would it mean to deconstruct and reconstruct Uechi by principles that are first taught - and then memorialized by making reference to the uechi kata? I dunno. But boy that'd be fascinating undertaking...wouldn't it?

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Last edited by Dana Sheets on Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:48 pm 
I have always thought that Kata defines the karate, it says what you do and what you don't do. so that in Uechi you don't do high flashy kicks but in Taekwando you do :D ...and the reasoning I suppose would be that what you did would be more effective.....so that as Mike says there are not going to be that many variations in what you do, there is not going to be many deviations from the kata........when there are then you should change the name................as we had with kyokoshinkai developing from Goju and Shotokan...or shotokai from Shotokan. It's the honest thing to do :wink: rather than pretend that there a a million techniques in Uechi, the idea must be to go deep and concentrate on a few


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:17 pm 
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Dana Sheets wrote:
And I also know that I'm simply not Pat McCarthy (or someone similar) -- and don't ever want to be. Though those kind of folks have my categorical respect.


I feel the same way, although if somebody could hook me up to one of those machines in The Matrix and download all that knowledge into my brain in 90 seconds, I'd take it.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:39 am 
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Originally posted by Mike H:

"I feel the same way, although if somebody could hook me up to one of those machines in The Matrix and download all that knowledge into my brain in 90 seconds, I'd take it."

Ah, but someone can, it might take a little more than 90 seconds though. :wink:

You are the person that can hook yourself up to one of those machines in the matrix. The machine is called kata. :wink:

:lol: I know what I said is totally cheesy, and will cause everyone to have a good laugh, but what is all this knowledge anyway? What is a kata, but a way to access the information that is already stored in your DNA, and is just waiting to be opened, like a christmas present?

If this knowledge wasn't in your DNA, you probably wouldn't be here.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:28 am 
I disagree on so many levels , but each there own , interesting to see others perspectives .

it is fascinating from a teaching perspective because I realise the need for a progression to skillset and many do need rote learning before they can become intuitive ,But I do beleive the limitations are more mental than technical .


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:53 am 
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It's interesting to wonder what the purpose of karate or for that matter any discipline is really for.

At base we are all just animals, no different from the squirrel that you see running up the telephone pole in the morning.

We also have intellect, and the capacity to understand, and create in the process of understanding, something that is forever out of reach of our feeble powers of logic.

We see the world through the filter of logic and rationality, the whole time we know intuitively that our intellect is just a filter that protects us from a reality that is infinitely greater than our own perceptions, whatever form they may take at whatever moment in time we may think we are at.

The only constant it seems is the impetus to grow in understanding.

Understanding cannot be achieved through a defensive or reactive mindset.

It seems to me that what we really are afraid of is looking at the separate aspects of our human condition with unflinching honesty, not realizing in our fear that if we actually open our eyes, the mind body and spirit will turn out to be just different ways of looking at the same reality.

So simple and yet so complex, maybe just yin and yang.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:05 am 
Theres a lot in what you say

Quote:
We see the world through the filter of logic and rationality, the whole time we know intuitively that our intellect is just a filter that protects us from a reality that is infinitely greater than our own perceptions, whatever form they may take at whatever moment in time we may think we are at.


I agree . Being aware of the power of the subconcious and learning through feel and intuition(and play) is a usefull tool , when accepted the mind can then become a help and not a hinderence . Mind body spirit 8) :D


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:21 am 
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I used to keep a log of what i learned.

But for the past few months i haven't kept it up at all.


I just can no longer word what i learned properly.


Is this a sign of ''being able to do but not understand?"


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:25 am 
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I (FEEL) :wink: that the subconscious is like a great ocean, that contains the holograph of everything that has ever been, is, and possibly could be.

It can be a terrifying storm or a means of discovery, and if one approaches it with playful and benign intent, one might discover a simply wonderful ally.

Maybe It's the Celtic blood. :? :roll: :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:56 pm 
Or madness :lol: ..you may have a point, but then again 8O .perhaps not, that is the problem, to me at least :cry: .which ever way I look at things it comes down to the basic gratification of basic needs :roll: .even martial arts are pretty basic....i mean the real stuff.what gets you thru wars and terrible real world violence.there is no benevolent God.maybe there isan't even a God :?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:05 am 
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posted by Jorvik:

"Or madness ..you may have a point, but then again .perhaps not"

Yeah, I know. :roll: :lol:

But in a good way. :wink:


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