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#130951 - 11/06/04 09:53 PM Evolving Styles

Five years ago, I received my black belt in Tae Kwon Do, only to move out of the city a few week later, and into a small town. There weren't any dojos in my new area, and, because of that, I stopped doing TKD.

But, over the last year, I've rekindled my martial arts training. I began by brushing up on my old moves using what I remembered from my classes and by practicing techniques from my TKD videos.

As I've slipped back into the familiar routine of MA training, however, I've been moving away from the TKD style and have begun to adapt different moves that I've learned from books and videos, developing something more along the lines of Thai Boxing.

Surprisingly, this new style I've adopted seems to fit my personality better than TKD did.

Has anyone else noticed their style evolving as their personality changes? How do you think your additude and mindframe effects the form you chose to train in?

#130952 - 11/07/04 12:19 AM Re: Evolving Styles
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Please understand I am not criticizng you or putting down what you do. It may just seem semantics to you, but I will let you have the benefit of my experience and what my Sensei's have shared with me.

Just because you have created something, doesn't make it a style. A style is something that passes the test of time, and that is recognized as a style. What you have is your interpretation of the information that you have collected. I share this with you, because early on I ran into alot of problems. One of my Sensei said that it is the responsiblity of every Martial Artist to make the art his own. He said its a style of what he taught us. Alot of people had problems with this for several reasons. One who said it was, number 2 who trains in it beside you and your students? So they questioned what I had put together, yet I was told to so by my Sensei. Another Sesnsei shared with me, just because I add something on to a technique(what he called add ons)doesn't make it a style. Just because I twist someone fingers and their wrist doesn't mean its a new lock, it means I adapted it. I still studied the same art, just made modifications. This sounded great to me as I really didn't think what I did was a style(I did it because I was told to)but more a collection of what others did, and accumulated them. So I started to see myself as an editor, vs. an author. I was a "readers digset" versus a novel. This was the approach that I took.

Another Sensei shared the "interpretation" theme to me. You can call what you do, your interpretation of what you learned. Lets face it, not all of us understand the same thing, so when Sensei shares something, we may take something away no one else does. As long as my interpretation doesn't violate principles, concepts or basics of the art, AND you can make what you do work, then your interpretation is fine. If you chose to say your interpretation Muai Tai Kwon Do, thats cool but to say its a style brings up all sorts of questions. Your interpretation could still be Tae Kwon do with a heavy emphasis on Tai Striking, but its still Tae Kwon do if you are using the the techniques of Tae Kwon Do.

I am very careful when I talk about what I have put toghether. I have studied through the years 12 different arts, and have attended so many seminars through the years I can't tell you how many. If I learned something from any system, I catalogued it and when I got around to cataloging all my arts and techniques, I put them to use. Some arts I have trained completley in(going through the ranks) a few I didn't or would just get my Black Belt and see how I could use the art. I am doing this today with the Hawaiian art of Lua, I am seeing what I can use, but have chosen not to test. But its the information, concepts( and Lua is loaded with them)principles and techniques. I call what I do a Family Art as its what I teach at my school and at seminars, I give credit to the art I learned it from and who shared it with me. The conglomeration of all our arts, which we call a "collection of arts" and gave it a name. I am very careful not to say a style or system.

It is ludicrous to study more than 1 art and not use the information you absorb. Its even crazier to deny the fact that you have other influences if you do. But I think its the 'package' that you present to others as to how they will accept it. I have trained in traditonal Shito and Shuri Ryu Karate, traditional Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu and non traditional Sambo and Brazillian Jujutsu to name a few. So I have traditional training and not traditional, to say that my Okinawan Karate includes my Brazillian Jujutsu is wrong. So I teach each separately, but when it comes time to use them, we use anyhting thats available to us.

So what I tell people is that what I teach is my interpretation of the arts I studied, that its a Family Art for my students and family(dojo family as well)and that what we call this is a title for a 'collection of arts'. This way I don't dilute what was passed on to me, but also don't take credit for creating something I stole from another style.

I hope you understand what I am saying, and only tell you this because of the looks, and questions I got when I was a Nidan and proclained my style. It was wrong, and I have apologized as much as I can, so I am very careful how I approach this question.

#130953 - 11/07/04 08:32 AM Re: Evolving Styles

I understand what you're trying to say. But what you'd call a style, I'd call a form.

I realize what I'm doing is my own cobbling together of different MA forms. Karate, JKD, Thai, and TKD. It's not something that would have a place inside a dojo, but it serves my purposes for the moment, though.

I suppose 'Evolving Interpretations' might have been a better title for this thread. [IMG][/IMG]

#130954 - 11/07/04 07:06 PM Re: Evolving Styles
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
I think you're right about evolving interpretations. This is not a value judgement on your working in the different training you've received, it seems you're trying hard to pull that together.

Consider a style as something unique that can pass through generations. Each long term MA will have a different flavor to their shape of a style, but the style still holds its shape in subsequent generations. If it doesn't the style is left behind.

Some times a formal style will evolve/devolve and the resultant shape moves on. Some times the shape holds true and you can see how it has moved through time.

The best example is how Okinawa did both. Styles held true and evolved a the same time. One example is the more than 15 ways Patsai evolved, each holding some of the Patsai original shape, but each becoming unique too.

But in the end, shape will tell out, and styles will come and go. The rest is always up to us.

Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu


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