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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17040
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

- Mark Twain


Hmm... ;-)

Ray wrote:
punching a bag and lifting weights do not require a belief system.

I have been lifting weights since I got my first Ted Williams endorsed set from Sears for Christmas of 1968. I was trained in weight training (*not* body building) while a track and baseball athlete at Phillips Exeter. I was further trained by John Gamble - former world heavyweight powerlifting champion, who was formerly Varsity Strength Coach at UVa. (Google him. He has an interesting history.) He helped me develop weight training programs for my (ahem) Uechi Ryu students at University of Virginia. He was also my wife's bodybuilding coach back when women didn't bodybuild because they didn't want to look like "Arnold." I *still* do weight training - 45 years later.

What's your point, Ray? It isn't this or that.

I am all about hitting things, whether it be a heavy bag or a makiwara. But as Bruce Lee might have said "heavy bags don't hit back."

Many things can be called "martial." Most of what you talk about are either sport or - to use the label of Rory Miller in Meditations On Violence, monkey dancing. That's not self-defense. That's not combat. That's not the world of law enforcement. That's not the world of lethal force.

Ray wrote:
society has changed and moved on.

"Society" follows fads, and they move on to other fads.

Thomas Jefferson wrote:
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

Traditional martial arts are about incorporating fighting *principles* into your training regimen. You can choose to learn fighting by learning principles, or you can memorize self-defense cookbooks. Your choice.

Traditional martial arts *can* also be about having fun while you work out, and there's nothing wrong with that. Meanwhile... most who are having fun don't understand what they are doing from a martial point of view. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

If someone "has fun" lifting weights, go for it. I walk the talk in that regard. But *I* choose not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:51 am 
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Posts: 3700
Society may follow fads but I think those that would be training karate have found other outlets. Those who want fighting go towards MMA (even if they are bad at it), those that want flexibility and fitness have an incredible amount of choices. TMA, has a very small niche outside of young kids (my theory is TKD is a gateway to MMA).

Weather TMA are practical & effective for self defense is becoming an argument mostly between TMA guys, the MMA guys have moved on and so has the fitness crowd. TMA should really drop the "T" and work at becoming contemporary (CMA?). After all, the principles should be timeless, the tradition not so much.

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I was dreaming of the past...


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:03 am 
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Posts: 17040
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
MikeK wrote:
Society may follow fads but I think those that would be training karate have found other outlets.

So who are my students? Do they not count?

Have you seen the literally thousands of students under Buzz Durkin's liineage in New Hampshire? He's one of the most successful Uechi instructors (or TMA instructors for that matter) in the country. He does well because he's a professional. He comes to it with an MBA and good knowledge of his material. And his students have gone on to be both sport fighting champions (e.g. Gary Khoury) and active members of the military.

What you are familiar with is your own circle of friends who do what they do and prefer what they prefer. I would never presume to speak for them or their preferences.

MikeK wrote:
Those who want fighting go towards MMA (even if they are bad at it),

That is a sport; that is not self-defense. You do not learn many-on-one in the ring. (I did it all the time with Dr. King in his Goju and aikido classes. He taught it in the military.) You do not learn and/or face weapons in MMA. That would include firearms, by the way. (Did you ever train under Rich Castanet?)

MMA is a fantastic SPORT proving ground, but it is not self-defense. The world has learned a lot from it. It got neutered and is now a safe sport. And the inquiring world moved on to the next fad.

Mixing a striking and a grappling style - something I and many Uechika have done - is MMA before MMA was a chiche. But that is outside the ring. That is not sport.

MikeK wrote:
those that want flexibility and fitness have an incredible amount of choices.

As they should. But that has nothing to do with martial arts.

MikeK wrote:
TMA, has a very small niche outside of young kids (my theory is TKD is a gateway to MMA).

Apparently you don't walk the same circles I do, Mike. It's still alive and well.

As I learned from 35 years of teaching, the numbers of students who come in the front door wax and wane with whatever movie or TV show is on. There's a large contingent that follow the fad du jour.

My core has always been the 5 or 10 percent who will always be there - with or without the "pink hat crowd" (a pejorative for a Red Sox fan who came around only when they started winning).

MikeK wrote:
TMA should really drop the "T" and work at becoming contemporary (CMA?). After all, the principles should be timeless, the tradition not so much.

Why would you - someone who is here to tell us that nobody loves us any more - presume to come on here and tell us what we should do? And how would you know what we do? Have you ever been to a George Mattson camp? If you haven't...

Just a single example. Look up Rory Miller. I first met him at a Mattson camp. Now he has 2 books published. Check him out. I will bet $100 that you will not be disappointed. He was a teacher of prison guards in maximum security prisons. He's the real deal. And he's very nice, although I wouldn't gang up on him in a prison. You can tell... ;-)

Oh... and his roots are in Sosuishitsu Ryu Jujutsu. You cannot get any older or more traditional in the JJ world than that. Check that out as well. Interesting stuff... very close to what the Samurai actually did when the art was invented.

Good times, Mike. Remember you are always welcome here. But I will be passionate in my discussions. :-)

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:36 am
Posts: 521
Quote
"What's your point, Ray? It isn't this or that."


my point is that people who are at the age I was at when I started doing martial arts, have grown up with a different culture and belief system than I did and this has affected their choices on what they choose to do.....which is in turn reflected in what martial arts they do, which in turn reflects why karate does seem to be dying, in my area at least.
folks are more concerned with their fitness now than when I was young, I can remember the neighbours laughing at me when I used to go on my morning run, yet everybody does it now.
There is also what you might call a volksgeist, or a tuning in to the remembed history of earlier generations, Tales your Dad told you and stuff like that, as well as popular culture , kung fu movies which morph with bodybuilding stereo types.
I have heard tales recently of Kung Fu masters getting beaten up by MMa guys in streetfights.
Experts? well I don't think most kids choices are based upon what they read, more likely the latest Xbox game. If you want to reach the latest generation then I think you need to speak their language.


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 Post subject: Re: is karate dying out
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17040
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Change happens. Fads come and go; substance remains.

jorvik wrote:
I have heard tales recently of Kung Fu masters getting beaten up by MMa guys in streetfights.

As they say in the legal profession, that's "hearsay." Give a link to an article. I'm sure it's written up somewhere.

MMA schools come and go here faster than the seasons.

The Koreans always manage to keep their schools running with their contracts, summer programs, and bus pick-ups from school. Or as I am want to call such schools, "Dojo daycare." That certainly is a good source of revenue. And your kids don't end up with dislocated shoulders or broken teeth.

I have noted that the schools which last are those run professionally and in a safe manner. There's always a niche for that. The average consumer doesn't much care what label you put on it. They don't know you from Adam's off ox when they walk in the door. The "product" sells itself or they move on.

As for the weight training fad... I have *always* refused to teach martial arts where there isn't a decent gym and good weights (both freeweights and machines). The two activities feed quite nicely off of each other. There is no competition. And in my classes now I quite regularly have them doing my own versions of classic exercises (olympic clean-and-jerks, Turkish get-ups) using dumbbells. That's often mixed in with the traditional jar training in Sanchin, only I found a way to do it with certain types of dumbbells that have the weight amount imprinted in the ends. We don't do heavy stuff in class, but I'm feeding their interest in the outside-of-class conditioning activities.

- Bill


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