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 Post subject: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:46 am 
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Location: worcester, ma
with Gushi Sensei passing it makes me think about the future of martial arts. i heard on a radio program the other day that there are now about 2000 languages in the world. in 100 years the number will only be in the hundreds. this is because the older generations will be passing away and the younger generation never learned the old language. so are we on that course now for martial arts? it seems that about 5 years ago many were in denial about the popularity of MMA. this is where the new generation is getting their martial arts from. I personally like MMA it keeps a lot of the theoretical nonsense out of the dojo. but at what cost? i began my training in 1977 as a kid then again as a teen in the early 80"s before the karate kid movie , then there seemed to be a real "bubble" that grew and grew then burst. i have been out of training for some time myself (starting a family) so hello again to those that might remember me. so maybe i am a little out of touch with the current trends. but where do you think martial arts will be in another 40 or 50 years? i am hoping that in time MMA will be very common place and a revitalization of real self defense will begin for those that see MMA as a sport and want something more.

your thoughts....


steve
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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:13 pm 
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I think that people in the West had viewed Martial arts as a kind of magic, and when they realised that it wasn't and in many cases wasn't even very effective that they started to look for more effective means of self defence hence the popularity of MMA.
I've gotten quite deeply into several martial arts, the last being wing chun. and have to say that Wing chun as taught today is either an incredible system with loads of pertinent knowledge to real fighting, or a load of mumbo jumbo that is stupid and ineffective.....you can see it on other martial arts forums, they all hate Wing chun.basically because they got the crap version, or saw the crap version.now I'm thinking that it doesn't just apply to Wing chun, I noticed the same in Aikido. There is a really effective version and a lot of shades of ineffective nonsence. So that to me would explain the difference. My last teacher in Wing chun was a San sou full contact fighter who switched to Mua Thai, and then Wing chun....he has fought Thai boxers using just Wing Chun........his teacher was the same and had many streetfights...........funnily enough he says that the hardest fight he ever had was with an Okinawan Stylist 8)


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:00 pm 
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Quote:
i am hoping that in time MMA will be very common place and a revitalization of real self defense will begin for those that see MMA as a sport and want something more.


I agree , this is what I see happening , but i beleive the arts will all survive in some form , everything goes full circle , MMA hasnt hurt TMA in the long run , but reinvigorated fighting arts , those passionate enough will evolve adapt and propser , just like karate always has , it was the first MMA after all .

I do a very combative and self defense oriented practice but retain the art , I would like to see tma return to a more combative focus , but theres lots of reasons people take MA and thats probably what gives it its longevity.

strength through diversity Uechi sport fighting , Uechi in MMA , Uechi in combatives and RBSD , Uechi as an artfrom , Lifestyle , fitness strengthening conditioning regime ?

I guess our duty is to pass the torch and encourage others to step forward and follow there own paths and do the same.


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:29 am 
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Location: worcester, ma
“Either an incredible system with loads of pertinent knowledge to real fighting, or a load of mumbo jumbo that is stupid and ineffective".

Agreed, yes it’s true in every martial art. Hate to admit here but its true for Uechi-Ryu as well. It all depends on the teacher’s ability. You give two people a rifle and one can shoot out the eye of a bird and the other turns it around and can only think of using it to dig a hole in the ground. This is why I am not a big fan of belts and rank and also how we lost so many students to MMA. I liken it to motorcycles at one time Harley Davidson was the king of cool, then came the customs and having a road king was no longer cool, you had to have the Orange county or West Coast chopper. In the same way "karate" began to be seen as the "karate kid syndrome” all the loser kids who couldn’t fight going to class to try learn to defend themselves. The "cool" aggressive kids who actually could fight would look at them and laugh because it never worked. Then came MMA and the kids who fought all the time had an outlet for their aggression. Now when the wannabes see MMA and join the whole circle will begin again.
I don’t think MMA hurt the popularity of TMA. I think we devalued it ourselves. Thai fighting is a TMA and is more popular now than ever in history, in the USA and back in Thai Land. Just like the American dollar we “printed” so many black belts and “experts” we devalued it. People figured out that it meant nothing. Economics teaches us that when people lose trust in the monetary system the dollar is worthless. When people lose trust in the governing boards of martial arts the ranks lose their value and are worthless.
So.. Have we damaged our reputations so badly that we cannot recover? That people will never see TMA as a real fighting art again no matter how we try to explain? It seems so. We all have to admit that LEO and Military don’t take us serious. Having a black belt would not allow you to teach Law enforcement. They only promote Defensive tactics instructors from within having so many hours in their own training regimen.
Many have tried to “shake off” the stigma of the word karate for this exact reason. If you are a combat oriented art are you calling it karate or something else like combatives, defensive tactics ect.. To differentiate yourself? I have always found it funny when an organizational style “A” says they are not the same as “B” but come from the same source. IN one case the guy looked me right in the eye and said “we are nothing like them”. Reminds me of the Twix commercial. One flows Carmel the other cascades Carmel. Totally different!!!! Lol
My thinking is that when the excitement of MMA fades, people will not come back looking for TMA but will be looking for the next big thing that isn’t around yet. If this happens TMA is dead. When I am gone so is my art if I have no successor.
Sorry if my thoughts seem a little grim , just thinking this though in a public forum kinda way.


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:34 pm 
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I can't speak for Uechi, but for wing chun, I can honestly say that the content varies incredibly and it's not just a question of people being able to fight or not it is the actual teaching. so many people are not being taught the full art. In the full art I would say 90% is drills and two men applications like sticking hands, only a small part is Kata because you are being shown how to apply it rather than how to demonstrate it. i think the same of aikido. When I looked into it's history I think the Iwama version taught by Saito is the version truest to what Ueshiba did.the rest is just people throwing themselves around


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:46 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
I like the post by Marcus. He got here first and posted many of my thoughts.

MMA is a sport. Sport is sport. Self-defense is self-defense. Law enforcement is law enforcement. Combat is combat. Exercise is exercise. Tradition is tradition. Daycare is daycare. Social activities are social activities. Mating rituals are mating rituals. The larger Venn Diagram contains all these circles of activity. They overlap somewhat. But one cannot completely represent the next. And one cannot completely fulfill the needs of the next.

hoshin wrote:
We all have to admit that LEO and Military don’t take us serious.

Says who?

I strongly urge you to check out MCMAP (Marine Corp Martial Arts Program.) Nobody but nobody fights with the attitude and breadth of abilities like the Marines. One of my students was there during the birth of the program, witnessed the TMA origins, became the first civilian MCMAP black belt, and can testify that advanced levels of MCMAP *require* you to study one or more TMAs. What's up with that?

Come to camp and train with Rory Miller. He has a foundation in a very, very old TMA (Sosuishitsu Ryu). And he's now an author, an instructor of LEOs, was an instructor of Iraqi soldiers during the rebuilding of Iraq, and is an international lecturer and martial arts expert. What's up with that?

Rather than follow the fads, take note of what makes them successful. Then get back to basics. Open your mind to the common training fundamentals - physical, mental, and spiritual - that make us all good in our respective life activities. And never, ever forget the niche you *choose* to occupy - no matter the fad du jour.

How a TMA manifests itself was never meant to be fixed in stone. TMAs are suppose to reflect the best of what we know to be, within the parameters which we choose to operate. What "it" will be in the future remains to be seen. Build a good program and they will come.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:46 pm 
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Location: worcester, ma
i dont really want to get into a conversation about LEO credentials and their thoughts on Martail arts but to respond to your comments Bill, I know your examples well. i have been to camp year after year ( with the exception of the last few, like i stated ive been away from this awhile) i Know the people you are thinking of, worked with them many times. my point is that if your backround is only as a martial artist you would not qualify to get a defensive tactics position. your testimony would not stand up in court as "true knowledge" about the subject if called upon. if you were ALSO a verteran officer then yes you have real life experience. but lets stick to the main topic...

Bill you mention not following the fads, in general i would agree. you cant be Bruce Lee and Chuck Norrris then be Mr Miyagi then a ninja then steven segal then an MMA fighter. However i think this is different, i wouldnt call this a fad.

FAD;
Noun
a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group.

Notice the term temporary. i dont think MMA is a fad. i think the truth is that martial arts in general is in the mists of a paradim shift and MMA just happens to be the catalist and currently fills the demand people have. As a whole martial arts will change and grow. i would not however advise to "stick to your guns" and just keep to the way its always been done. That to me sounds like my grandfather saying that rock and roll stuff is just a fad those mop tops will be forgotten in a few weeks. i am not fond of putting my head in the sand and pretend im still in the game.
the name of the game is Evolution. Darwins therory aplies to martiual arts too. if you dont change you will soon die off. so my question is how do you change yet stay the same?

if you call it a fad so be it. but is the fad the sport aspect or is there a demand for a more realistic martial art? i think that is a very important question, it will determine the ways we adapt in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:51 pm 
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since i have been MIA for some time i have a question about student numbers. i do know that the MMA schools are bursting at the seems with students and money. what i dont know is how the TMA schools are doing , is there less demand or has the "fad" of MMA filtered out and is bringing in more students?


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:21 pm 
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hoshin wrote:
Bill you mention not following the fads, in general i would agree. you cant be Bruce Lee and Chuck Norrris then be Mr Miyagi then a ninja then steven segal then an MMA fighter. However i think this is different, i wouldnt call this a fad.

FAD;
Noun
a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group.

Notice the term temporary. i dont think MMA is a fad.

MMA is a martial sport. So is judo. So is point karate. So is Muay Thai. So is TKD. So is wrestling. So is boxing. So is fencing.

MMA isn't really fully defined yet. It's nothing like what it was in the first generation. They've decided that much of what was allowed in the original MMA cannot be any more. Women weren't supposed to be part of it, but now they are.

As for MMA as a participatory fad, well not so much. If a parent is going to put his/her kid in a contact activity, it's more likely to be football. Any activity where you intentionally beat the brains out of your opponent isn't going to be embraced by parents trying to get Johnny to score well on his SATs. Nope... those numbers are going en masse to the dojo daycare places that teach kids "respect", make them do their homework, and give out lots of belts and trophies.

A traditional style like Uechi can choose to have an offshoot in that venue. Or not... Just remember though that schools went through hundreds of 7-year-old kids to get one Bobby Campbell. It's a numbers game. (S)he who gets the most numbers through the front door and can graduate the kids to more mature activities wins.

hoshin wrote:
i think the truth is that martial arts in general is in the mists of a paradim shift

Pray tell - when was martial arts *not* changing? Maybe the fact that you are unaware of this is the problem. *Your* fixed paradigm is passing; another one is arising. And that will evolve into the next ad infinitum.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:21 am 
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Not sure if I can make this apply but here goes.......

I consider Uechi Ryu as a particularly traditional style. Not that some instructors haven't tried to "modernize" learning methods. They have. But you can still find folks who teach in a very strict traditional manner. The philosophy is "you adapt to this method if you like, or you don't". I'm sure that Master Uechi Kanbum didn't ask Shusiwa if he would adjust his method to Kanbum's liking. Master Uechi could either "take it or leave it". That doesn't necessarily work in the good ol' USofA. But we do that with most things we encounter.

One interesting thing I have noticed over my lifetime is this......... At one time many many things were "hand made". Hand crafted. And you could afford them. And those things lasted a lifetime. Then we learned how to "modernize" our methods and much of what is made nowadays is cheaper and not meant to last a lifetime. Now if you want something that is "hand crafted" you can get it but you must pay out the nose. In other words, we made good stuff, changed our methods for a variety of reasons, and then realized that the "old way" was a pretty good quality way of doing things. Maybe I ramble.

My take on MMA and it's popularity is relatively simple. I recall when Bruce Lee was the big thing. Every kid in America wanted to learn "Bruce Lee's way". He could have called it BLA and every kid would have wanted to do it. Much of the hype of MMA has come from the digital age of Cable tv, Youtube and internet access. Another contributing factor (in my humble opinion) is that as each generation goes by less and less folks are amenable to the "old traditional ways". And that can be different depending on each generations definition of "the old ways". To some, CD's are "old" and MP3's and MP4's are more up to date.

But I don't think we are the only ones who deal with this. I think the Okinawans made changes to what they learned from the Chinese. Etc.

I don't think MMA will be a passing fad, I just think it occupies a different place in society. I wager to say, if real TMA got the coverage and hype that say, that hair dressers "martial art" (term used loosely) show got, maybe people would want to get involved in it. But I don't think TMA (at least as I see it) really wants that kind of attention.

I ramble.................probably off point.....I usually am....... :D


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:33 am 
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Bill you say its only my view that was static. i dont agree but i will play along with this thought. i have been around martial arts a solid 30 years now. in the last 30 years how has uechi ryu changed? what has changed in any TMA? specific technique variations maybe but this is more teacher to teacher not the system as a whole and i dont think it should change. in fact most TMA are against change by their very nature. you cant replace movments in kata. you can maybe create your own kata (if you are qualified). kata is ment to be passed on from generation to generation to preserve the "style" . the chinese told George that uechi was like looking into a time machine.

you do make a good point about the one with the most students wins. that is where my original idea started. the way things are going we are losing. to refuse to accept this fact is a folly.

i am not saying we should all abandon ship and jump on the MMA wagon. lets assume that the public at large is looking for more realistic self defense ( i am not sure this is true yet but i am hoping it is, its a much easier problem to handle) if martial arts are always changing then it must be accepted that change is ok. As a system and as a board of directors are you willing to put your little rubber stamp on a version of uechi that drops out all the ineffective baggage in the system?

i would propose the answer is no, as a mode of self perpetuation things must stay the same, if someone wants to change they can go it alone. we do not fit into the nice little boxes that keep the status quo.
this is the problem!!! this is why people are leaving TMA dojos in droves, why particitpation at summer camp is down and why no one comes to these forums anymore.

in contrast MMA is all about beating the other guy. Sport yes, but nothing is off the table when it comes to trying to figure out a better way of doing things. finding out what might work better and learning new things regardless of where or who they come from.

when TMA can accept change, when TMA can be open to idea's other then what has been passed on within their own dogma then it will have a future.


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:02 am 
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steve, good post.
i agree to a point that the "old" is sometimes better quality. i wont mention names here but there is an "american" version of martial art that is known as the Mcdonalds fast food of martial arts and the traditional ways seem to me to be much better. as martial artists one thing we forget is that a big portion of the popularity of MMA is the converted fans from boxing. boxing is also in decline. i know i fit in this catagory myself. the last time i watched boxing was when Tyson was in his prime.
to my original thought lets use my 18 yo nephew as example. on his facebook he says he wants to be an MMA fighter. why because its cool. he has no interest in running around in white pajamas being told what to do by a black belt sempai who he could kick the snot out of in a system that professes "true self defense" when not one person in the dojo including the teacher has ever been in a fight and has no clue whether or not the crap he is teaching would really work.

i feel TMA must embrace the bull that has been put out there and admit the mistakes to ourselves and make corrections. we need to gain back respect and our dignity. as a TMA do not spout off things that are not true like "we are a real self defense system" "we use secret kyusho points that can kill" and the like. dont claim to be an expert in things you have no idea about. if you teach sport then say it, if you teach for health then state that. as a TMA can we do that? is it possible to say yes we are all uechi but if you want to fight go see..XXX if you want more health benifits then go see ,..XXX. the problem could be that the teacher who is really interested and geared toward health benifits also proclaims he can teach you to fight.


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:26 am 
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Steve Hatfield wrote:
Not sure if I can make this apply but here goes.......

You are always welcome here, Steve. I consider you and your teacher "the real deal." Nuff said.

Steve Hatfield wrote:
I think the Okinawans made changes to what they learned from the Chinese. Etc.

Indeed they did.

  • They added to Kanbun's simple system of three forms, training methods, a very special brand of "sparring", and Chinese medicine (along with the knowledge of The Bubishi). Kanei did it big time. So did the Shinjo family. So has Shohei Ryu. And that isn't *all* bad.
    ...
  • IMNSHO they completely missed half the purpose of Kanbun's art. It took a trip of me into aikido with a green beret (who knew Goju and judo) to open my eyes to the grappling half of Uechi. And when I say half, I mean half. For the most part the Okinawans who learned and interpreted Kanbun's art saw it through karate goggles. Go figure... A jujutsu person would have seen something entirely different. Ever wonder why Joey Pomfret did so well as a MMA fighter with his combination of Uechi and BJJ?
    ...
  • It's also worth mentioning that much of Kanbun's "Bubishi knowledge" from Shushiwa was lost. I think oral history has certain documents being lost in a fire.

Steve Hatfield wrote:
I ramble.................probably off point.....I usually am....... :D

Nope... As usual, you bring thought-provoking ideas to the table. Thanks for that.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:48 am 
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hoshin wrote:
Bill you say its only my view that was static. i dont agree but i will play along with this thought. i have been around martial arts a solid 30 years now. in the last 30 years how has uechi ryu changed?

Thirty years isn't long in this system as we know it.

You really owe it to yourself to talk to Tomoyose Ryuko before he passes away - if the opportunity ever presents itself. His father allegedly was Kanbun's first student outside Okinawa. Tommy also started in other Okinawan arts before being taught Uechi Ryu (per oral history).

Tomoyose Ryuko doesn't think much of "the bridge kata" and the yakusoku kumite. And frankly I don't think that much of Seisan Bunkai. There, I said it. But really now... Some days I wonder if they're trying to hide stuff from the gaijin. Some of the best techniques are not in the only Uechi kata bunkai with any amount of history, and frankly that's not long.

hoshin wrote:
what has changed in any TMA?

Since the first fights? A *lot*. They are are too numerous to cite here. Let's just say that they've made it a safer sport, which isn't a bad idea. Otherwise it never would have made it to prime time television. The early MMA fights were a little more authentic, and quite brutal. It almost got banned in a lot of states before the rules were changed to protect the practitioners. And now what do we have? An amalgam of kickboxing and BJJ. MMA has evolved into deja vu. And that isn't all bad.

It's still a sport. Nothing more, and nothing less. It happens between two people in a ring/cage with a referee and time limits and rules. That's not combat. That's not self-defense. It's a sport.

Would I face an NFL lineman on the street? Not so much. Good athletes are good athletes.

hoshin wrote:
you cant replace movments in kata. you can maybe create your own kata (if you are qualified). kata is ment to be passed on from generation to generation to preserve the "style" . the chinese told George that uechi was like looking into a time machine.

You haven't seen the evolution of Uechi kata in this country as I have.

You haven't seen the evolution of understanding of Kanbun's style that I've seen. And for what it's worth, much of my epiphany happened outside New England. I had the curse and blessing of no Uechi senior present on a daily basis for my journey. So I had to seek knowledge elsewhere. Fortunately the combination of people I bumped into (good martial artists and military guys) and my education in systems physiology taught me a lot.

And that's what martial arts is *supposed* to be. It is *not* the formulaic thing you're trying to portray it as being. It is a personal journey that varies by the individual who teaches it. Good teachers don't teach dogma; they teach art. That's why they call it an art.

hoshin wrote:
this is why people are leaving TMA dojos in droves, why particitpation at summer camp is down and why no one comes to these forums anymore.

George has retired to Mt. Dora. It's up to us to take the baton and run with it.

Or not...

*My* forum has waned a bit because I'm busy writing a book. So much for the dialogue waning... ;)

hoshin wrote:
in contrast MMA is all about beating the other guy.

So is chess.

So is basketball.

So is bridge.

So is... sport karate!!!

Meanwhile... traditional martial arts *can* be about many-on-one. Been there, done that. Many times. Gotten my a$$ kicked repeatedly until my instructor at the time (former Green beret) would "tap in" and show us how it's done. Oh... :oops: You don't see anything more than one-on-one in the MMA ring, do you?

Traditional martial arts can also be about weapons. Have you not learned anything from Raffi at camp? I have... I love my Filipino knife instruction. You don't see *any* weapons in the MMA ring, do you?

I'd talk about teaching tonfa and sai at camp, but that would be self-serving. Both these forms I've taught (and learned from Okinawan Uechika) have a "Seisan-ness" about them. Now... take a (single) tonfa to a LEO and ask him what it looks like. ;-)

hoshin wrote:
{In MMA,} nothing is off the table when it comes to trying to figure out a better way of doing things.

Oh ... my ... god ...

Image

Therein lies the essence of your problem. Your brain was frozen by you and/or your teacher(s). If anything, the bounds of MMA are narrowing. TMA is bounded only by the teacher who teaches it and the practitioner who breathes life into it.

You're making me feel better about the book I am in the process of writing. Seriously... thank you for that. ;-)

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:08 am 
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This discussion makes me think about the dilemma we face where I work. More and more, the only people who make it through the interview process where I work (and that I am a part of) are Asians with Ivy League masters degrees or doctorates. Nobody wants to take the time to learn the extensive math, science, and statistics it takes to do my work. I'm surrounded by people who do not have English as a first language. It reminds me of being in engineering graduate school.

Are science and math dieing out? No. Is the education system in the U.S. suffering? Apparently. Are most Americans too lazy to do the work it takes to get most of the available jobs with a future? Apparently.

That doesn't make science, math, and statistics wrong, or dieing. But it does mean job security for yours truly. And it's a ticket to citizenship for a lot of Asians who apparently are willing to do the kind of work needed to qualify for our research unit.

It makes one wonder why TMA has not died in Okinawa, Japan, Korea, and China - countries well represented in my unit. And it makes one wonder why Uechi is growing so rapidly in India - another source of talent for us.

It makes me wonder why my Richmond karate club is now over two thirds Indian. And it makes me wonder why the Mathnasium I take my son to is filled with Asian kids. It makes me wonder why the valedictorian of my older son's high school class was first generation Chinese, and the salutatorian first generation Indian.

Sleep on all that.

- Bill


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