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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:00 am 
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I think this is an excellent way to look at it, Justin.

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:00 am 
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good post Justin I agree


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:46 pm 
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Bill,

Today there is a paradigm shift in the arts. One time karate magazines were the internet of the art. Today most have disappeared. Karate books have become rare at the bookstores they now feature MMA and BJJ texts. They exist to sell what the public will buy after all consider decades of Bruce Lee books and he died in 75,

Many schools have switched to MMA or BJJ. Yet, those sincere arts still remain and those programs continue. Trends and fads have always come and depart, for I can remember many of them.

In the long run what will be will be. Before the war there were mostly just instructors and things still changed in time.

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:02 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Wow, that's pretty generous.

I recall my stipend covering my tuition, and paying me $440 a month. I found a way to survive through graduate school. I supplemented that with loans, but didn't have to pay any of that off until after I graduated.

Again, ancient history. :wink: Gas was also less than $1.00/gallon back then. What counts is how it compares to today when accounting for inflation.

So far we are surviving, helped by supplemental income teaching classes for a community college (which I am not supposed to be doing since grad students on assistantships are expected to focus on their programs and not work additional outside jobs).

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I do not recommend most folks start graduate school after married or starting a family, unless the spouse is on board and can support you financially. The divorce rate at UVa for married grad students was something like 2 out of 3.

She's on board, in fact she was on board before I was. When I was laid off we debated the options and decided that my going back to graduate school full time and getting a PhD was best for us in the long run.

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There is a cure for all that. Due to video game addiction and faltering grades, I have removed the X-box and Macbook from my son. No cable either. I allow doses of time gaming with the Macbook when he reads at least a few chapters.

Parents matter. You cannot let videogames and TV raise your children.

I totally agree, and I think we have done well at that. We have never had a gaming system and we do not allow TVs in any bedrooms, there is only one TV in the living room and watching it is a family activity. The family laptop also stays in the living-room and has to be "checked out" so to speak if they want to us it, and like you we do allow some gaming time on it. Obviously there are occassional exceptions, such as when my middle daughter has friends over for a sleepover we allow them to watch a movie on the laptop in her room if they want. As a result of maintaining this control my kids tend to prefer to physical-play or read rather than watch TV or gaming.

But my point about reduced exposure to science and pressure to go into a science-related field still stands. The elementary school my two youngest have gone to is a good example. It only has a science fair for fifth grade, which means they only get one shot at it and never get the chance to learn and improve by doing it repeatedly, and even that one shot is only voluntary. Think of the message that sends to the kids. So we started a family science fair, with each kid doing a project over their summer break, to try to counter that.

One of the university book stores here has made a practice of putting discontinued, older (but still recent) edition textbooks in a clearance section at $2 for hardcover and $1 for softcover, so I use that to keep a decent reference section of science and other academic books on many topics in our home "library", which has proven to be a handy resource for them for school (and interest) and keeps them adept at finding information in some other way than just Google. My oldest is in her first semester of physics currently and instead of a physical textbook the instructor went with an online code-access option, which is pricey yet has proven to have limited utility. If she gets stuck on a problem she usually goes to the physics textbook that I picked up for two bucks, it's handy and seems to explain things better for her than does the online book or a lot of the Googled info. Probably the best $2 I've ever spent.

But most American kids have parents who do not, or cannot, take these initiatives. Ironically this is at least partly due to our success as a country, both parents have to spend so much time focused on being successful themselves that they have little to no time to help their kids be successful. So they just overall get little exporure to or enthusisam for the sciences, math, engineering, etc. Yet other countries are pushing kids into those fields, making it little wonder that we lag behind.

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:00 pm 
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Valkenar wrote:
While some styles are surely dying out with their last students, others are developing. The branches of Uechi-Ryu, as I understand it, are like dialects of a common language. As time passes, they will become different enough that we'll consider them distinct styles. TMA evolve over time, despite all efforts to go back to a (real or imagined) past state of perfection. And then there's styles like Jeet Kune Do, synthesized by new people from their own ideas and styles they borrowed from.

I think in many ways this boils down to the discussion we have had before of what is meant by "traditional". If by traditional we mean never changing then all we really are doing is preserving a particular historical component of a particular culture, and not even the culture of most of us on this forum at that. That kind of TMA is limited and stands a good chance of dying out, here in the US at least. If by traditional we mean drawing on a heritage developed before us while finding our own way, and helping others find theirs, then I think TMA will survive just fine. That seems to be what our TMA forefathers did back when they were cross-training and figuring out what worked for them to create their own personal MA, before the rigid stylization of TMA occurred and teaching/training became only about rigidly passing on what your teacher taught you. It's like Bill said earlier:
Bill Glasheen wrote:
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.


Consider this. Geography has a rich heritage dating back millenia, with modern academic geography dating back a century or so. As a trained geographer I am following that tradition and drawing on what has come before me, but also adding to it for those who come after me. If I were to try to only do the "traditional" geography of the ancient Greek geographers or even that of American geographers of 1900 or even 1980, I would not have a career. The tradition has to continue to advance or it will die out. Yet all too often in the TMA that is what happens, a style gets "stuck" in a particular time period and the teacher/student relationship becomes only about exact preservation.

Here is a good article related to this topic, and that also ties in the side-bar conversation Bill and I have been having
STEM majors drop due to outdated lecturing

I wonder what the "masters of old" (some of whom were not considered to be very traditional back in their day; it's interesting how hard some TMA teachers today fight to preserve someone else's inventiveness and originality!) would do if they were transported through time and space to the U.S. today . Would they themselves continue to cling to their traditional style (or whatever passes for it today), or would they hit the MMA gym...or the shooting range?

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:34 pm 
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Victor Smith wrote:
Karate books have become rare at the bookstores they now feature MMA and BJJ texts.

Speaking of which, has there been any good karate (or other TMA) books published in recent years? I check periodically but like Victor have noticed the decreasing shelf space devoted to TMA, and have not seen anything new in a long time. The most recent MA books I purchased were the second edition of McCarthy's Bubishi published in 2008 and George's most recent book, which I think was also published in 2008. Has it truly been 5 years without anything new? Other TMA like kung-fu seem to have similarly hit a dry spell, although there was The Power of Shaolin Kung Fu: Harness the Speed and Devastating Force of Southern Shaolin Jow Ga Kung Fu published with an accompanying DVD last year. Is the market so small for TMA books that it is among the first to fall victim to the decline of print?

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:37 pm 
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Excellent point, Glenn. They might wish to combine all.

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:34 pm 
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I am inclined to think they would, many of them at least. They were state of the art in their time and place, that is a mindset so I doubt they would be any different if they were transplanted to today. I think they would soak in whatever they could use, whether it fit their "style" or not.

Actually I think this gets at how two students who trained at different times under the same master could argue about who was preserving the "correct" teachings of the master. If a master never changed what he taught then one of the students must have not paid attention, or was not taught the correct version because he was not worthy. But what if instead the master actually continued to learn and grow as a martial artist throughout his life, then he would also likely be teaching differently at different stages and thus the two students could learn a different version of the same "style".

Revisiting my geographer analogy, if I only used what I learned in college 20 years ago and did not continue to learn and grow as a geographer, I would be greatly limiting myself and my career, and potentially finding my career cut short as a result. Likewise as a teacher I would be doing my students a disservice if all I did was pass on what I learned 20 years ago. I myself have to keep learning and incorporating new material, while tossing out what becomes irrelevant or superceded, so that my students have the opportunity to be current when they leave my class. I am continually modifying my classes from one term to the next as a result.

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:36 am 
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Quote:
Likewise as a teacher I would be doing my students a disservice if all I did was pass on what I learned 20 years ago. I myself have to keep learning and incorporating new material, while tossing out what becomes irrelevant or superceded, so that my students have the opportunity to be current when they leave my class. I am continually modifying my classes from one term to the next as a result.


Right on the money _Glenn.

With the evolution of time and new discoveries, comes new knowledge, and the great masters of the past would take advantage of it.

Take my thread on commotion cordis, do you think that this was well known to old Chinese karate masters? Or would they learn a thing or two from modern medical science advances?

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:18 am 
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Glenn, good stuff and I have to agree with you. One thing that I felt was happening in the karate world was not enough updating in teaching methods, syllabus and rankings. Karate school heads stayed with the winning formula that they used for decades when karate was exotic and without much competition from MMA and just plain other activities that offered the actual benefits students may have been looking for. Guess I could say I'm one of those people.

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While some styles are surely dying out with their last students, others are developing.

Justin, could you give any examples of a growing branch of karate? I've been out of the loop in regards to what is trending (besides with seeing schools close).

Quite a bit late but I'll toss the article below into the mix.

Sadly no hard numbers are provided by the author.
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/na ... 99897.html

Quote:
Tomorrow’s challenges

Taekwondo of the 21st century, like its Asian cousins karate and kung fu, is facing a new challenge in the global arena. Mixed martial arts competition, or MMA, has proven a massive hit with global television audiences, making it the first combat sport since pro boxing to succeed as mass entertainment.

Moreover, the broad technical range and “no-holds-barred” rule-set of MMA arguably makes it more effective as a fighting system than style-specific martial arts such as judo, taekwondo, karate and kung fu, none of which have won significant audiences beyond their own circles of practitioners. How Asian martial arts will be impacted by MMA in the long-term remains unclear.

Although the current WTF president, the respected academic Dr. Choue Chung-won, eagerly promotes the art’s internationalization — he once noted his pleasure at seeing a demonstration mixing taekwondo and tango — South Korean flags continue to be saluted in taekwondo training halls and sewn on taekwondo uniforms worldwide. It is hard to think of another Olympic sport that so closely binds itself to its country of origin.

And at home, its catchment pool may be dwindling. In the 1960s, 70s and early 80s, Korean taekwondo practitioners were hardcore martial artists in an era when few other extra-curricular activities were available. As growing prosperity makes young Koreans less hardy, ever-increasing leisure options create competition for martial arts.

Today, outside the military PT curriculum and pro-athletic training at sports universities, Korean taekwondo is almost exclusively the province of children. And with regular grade tests being taken by thousands, the once-vaunted black belt has lost its mystique.

Moreover, as of this November, Korea’s Cultural Heritage Committee has recommended taekkyun be listed as a UNESCO living cultural heritage. In a truly remarkable renaissance, the ancient martial art survived Song’s death in 1987. His students oversaw the art surging in popularity in the 1990s, mainly on university campuses. Today, even to the layman’s eyes, it is easy to distinguish between it and taekwondo. An official designation recognizing taekkyun, not taekwondo, as Korea’s traditional martial art, drives a further nail into the latter’s dubious history.

So taekwondo stands at a crossroads. Will it secure a full-time Olympic slot or not? Is it a martial art for adults, a combat sport for athletes, or an educational activity for children? Is it traditional or modern? Is it Korean or international?

Arguably, it is now deep and broad enough to be all the above, for the art’s astonishing global popularization mirrors Korea’s astonishing national ascent — the greatest national success story of the 20th century. However — like the peninsula — it remains divided among different governing bodies, with their own forms and competitive systems.

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:11 pm 
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Glenn wrote:
But what if instead the master actually continued to learn and grow as a martial artist throughout his life, then he would also likely be teaching differently at different stages and thus the two students could learn a different version of the same "style".


Or what if the master was also an astute teacher and customized how he taught the different students?

Mike, no I can't cite anything. I meant developing in the sense of the styles changing moreso than than growing in students. My general impression is that there's a generation of martial artists who came in during a bubble and see the current state as a downgrade. In a sense, it is, but I think baseline interest in TMA is lower than the expectation. That doesn't mean it's dying, just that it's returning to a non-fad state of popularity.

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:45 pm 
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Quote:
Or what if the master was also an astute teacher and customized how he taught the different students?


I was fortunate to have someone do that for me. What you also need are a lot of instructors (I hate the term "master") who do that in order to build up a big enough group of practitioners to keep the art growing, but they also have to realize that the end result likely won't be a homogenous martial art (which is a good thing).

I have to disagree with the non-fad state, I think karate is sinking (or already sunk) below that point. It may be one of those times that in order to save karate that traditional karate has to go and we need to re-image it, start again. The techniques are usually fine but lack the proper framework to transmit them in. For example karate techniques are often transmitted by name (shoken, upper block[ugh!], etc) rather than application or even concept.

Another thing, go after your audience. I'm not a big fan of Tony Blauer but one thing that I have to hand to him is that he finds his audience. While karate schools are closing Tony has found an audience in the CrossFit world. A lot of CrossFit gyms and trainees remind me of the old school karate crowd, no frills, sweatin and loving it, and Tony figured out perfectly how his brand of martial art fits into that world. Also he went the opposite of karate, we turned karate into exercise but he's turning exercise into self defense. Brilliant!!!

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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:31 pm 
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I think that it's a generational thing. All my sons lift weights and they all love boxing ........and that is the traditional martial art of my culture , or one of them. They cannot understand karate or kung fu, if I show them a kata then they say it's useless, it's not real, it's not fighting.boxing is, and they are not that taken with boxing, they prefer weight training or running..and their friends are the same ,with an occaisional mixed martial artist amongst their ranks. Although the ylive a less violent life they seem to have a real understanding of violence.


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:26 pm 
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jorvik wrote:
Although [they live] a less violent life they seem to have a real understanding of violence.

When I take this line out of the context of your post, does it not now sound a bit oxymoronic? That being the case, do you really believe what you just said? I'm thinking probably not.

Some of my favorite real-world experienced lecturers (e.g. Dave Grossman, Bruce Siddle, or Rory Miller) might offer a different, more thorough perspective.

Food for thought.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:51 pm 
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Not really bill, if you think about it, it shows how something has developed over time, a generation or more and then probably stagnated or settled at the point it is at now.
When I was young karate men had killer hands, they could break bricks and kill cows, then you had people like Bill Wallace and Joe Lewis challenging this by going into full contact martial arts events, this has progressed and morphed into MMA etc..............and that is probably where it is at now, along the way people who practiced these arts have influenced the young, so that now my kids look at Kata as nothing special, and if you can't show ,explain and prove what you do they won't listen. you can see the same kind of development in other things....when I was young people would try to play guitar fast.but to my kids " Shredding" is the norm......... You end up with a paradigm shift or a cultural backdrop. The things that folks cling to are simple basic truths.punching a bag and lifting weights do not require a belief system......society has changed and moved on.


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