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#183105 - 09/09/05 08:08 PM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: je8ki9]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
OK...I'm wading in again.

The issue of fear keeps coming up but it hasn't really been disected. For simplicity's sake, I'll break it down to 2 forms:

A) Fear created by the Instructor/Seniors (External)
B) Fear brought in/created by the student (Internal)

If the Instructors/Seniors create an atmosphere of fear that only the toughest can conquer, what have you really produced - tougher tough guys. That's OK but as I mentioned before, there are a lot more "regular" people out there who could become exceptional.

Supportive (NOT to be interpreted as pampering) instruction addressing the intrinsic fears of a "regular" person will cause that person to overcome more & more of his own fears.

I think most of us had some of this kind of fear the minute we stepped on the floor/mat. I "knew" I'd be hurt (but I wasn't - @ least that day). I don't fight much any more because of the very real possibility I might lose sight in my L eye. Am I afraid because of my opponents? No. I'm afraid of an accident.

Internal fear vs. External fear. Both must be addressed.

#183106 - 09/09/05 09:24 PM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: hedkikr]
je8ki9 Offline

Registered: 08/04/05
Posts: 32
Loc: UK
I do at times think the word FEAR is overused it seems to set alarm bells of in everyones head. Stress ,uneasiness ,uncomfortability , things that we would sooner not do but know we need to !which we could walk away from but dont!!! you tell me why??? My thought would be we want to be more than we are, So we put ourselves under the cosh to achieve and hopefully get our goals both short term and long!!. There many routes up the mountain, hope to see you there!!It takes longer as you get older
John King

#183107 - 09/10/05 09:44 AM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: je8ki9]
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Hi John

I didn't post further on this thread because I thought people were begining to talk at cros purposes and as the posts have progressed this has I believe been the case.

Your last post clarifies a lot and I think represents your thoughts more accurately.

There is nothing wrong with having an "edge" to the training, indeed I believe it is essential. It allows people to stress test what they are learning without the inherent dangers on street or door work. This is a part of the learning curve for martial artists. I further believe that there are far too many Martial Artists that train without this "edge" (What I have decribed previously as pit-a-pat karate) and what they are learning is fundamentally flawed.

For me, the Martial Arts are primarily about self defense. There are other by-products but that is exactly what they are.

If you had said that when you are training students they sometimes feel apprehensive, nervous, or uneasy, then I wouldn't have a poblem. However, I do not believe an instructor should instill fear in a student and it was there that we parted ways. I think you have now clarified that.

As for Martial Artists doing door work. There are benfits such as getting used to an adrenalyne dump, finding out what works in an uncontrolled confrontation etc. There are also down sides. You are putting yourself at risk, the pay's crap, the hours are bad, etc.

In addition, door work does not necessarilly equate to self defence. With door work a lot of the time you deal with minor scuffles, restraint etc. and you are held legally accountable for your actions.

My definition of self defense is as a last resort, my life is in immediate danger and the consequences don't matter any more. That's very different from door work.
John L

#183108 - 09/11/05 05:53 AM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: JohnL]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
I believe that the endproduct of training in the MA is respect. Having respect and giving respect. Our dojo works with youth and adults. The youth kumite (usually up till +-18) is based on WKF point fighting but continous. Depending on their level and the purpose and adversary (technical sparring or free sparring under elevated pressure) contact and concentration varies. The purpose, in my opinion, is to build up confidence eventually overcome fear and ending in respect (having and expecting). The level of fighting and all other training should adjust towards that goal. The going to the edge should come natuarally with alike-minded to give the chance to individual development.
A second category is the +16/18 - 30/35. Primeraly, for me, is the guidance towards shodan. The fighting aspect can go either towards sport karate or towards 'confidence' fighting. (=building confidance in their ability but stay critical by testing it sometimes in free sparring towards the edge) but most of the time it is training to master techniques. Once reaching shodan, self exploration and individual preference (kata - vital points - bunkai - ...) should be encouraged. Sharing their investigations returns value and gives oppertunities for senior grades to be self critical in their teachings.
Another category is +35/40 - .... Here individual development at whatever level is important. The key point again is confidence in oneself.
I believe MA are character builders and ideal teaching starts around 12 years. At the end it is what will one do with fear. Fear in confrontation is good, adequatly assessed it will lead to correct decision making. Also instictive decisions will not lead to panic due to confidence.
But all of this can lead towards a negative side too. An ex-member is convicted for cold blooded murder(not in defence). He was involved into drugs traficing (hard stuff heroin) and did a jail break in Sweden (where sentenced for 10 years imprisonment for smuggling 3kilo of heroin). When he first started training at age 14 he had no confidence. After 5 - 6 years of training he ended a confident young man working with top horses as a trainer/jockey. 5 years later he became was a top gangster.

I train for pleasure. I have fun with it with friends and like-minded. I consider respect the most important product of MA training. SD is not my focus but to understand the several aspects of a technique to be effective is the focus of my training and this goes into the spiritual side as well (the correct mindset to deliver a technique as well as correct attitude towards society). But fighting to test your ability is also fun. I never force these ideas onto others and seldomly talk with students regarding, makes you look like a moral preacher.

Edited by CVV (09/11/05 05:54 AM)

#183109 - 09/12/05 12:25 PM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: je8ki9]
Galen Offline

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 381

Hi Galen,

John King just replying to your post. Wow man it did come across as a bit hostile, but I don't mind I'd sooner be cyberbashed rather than for real!

My sincerest apologies. If I have a failing in my posting habits, it is that I donít take enough time to make sure I put my point across without hostility, so to you and Gavin both, I am most humbly apologetic.


Fear and Respect

I can truly say that over 32 years I have meet Sensei who I've both feared and respected. I have met Sensei whom I've respected their abilities but not liked them that much. When we use the word fear its not a bowl opening, feel of dread, this is the end of my life type of fear, but more a yikes this is a person capable of kicking a$$ if he wanted to type concern. Galen, I'm a qualified Counsellor and one of the ways we help people to reduce their fears and phobia's is by exposure, albeit limited exposure to those very fears, but as always it changes with the individual as to what is Ok and what isn't!

Granted, and happily. Just so you are aware, I have met more than my share of instructors who got off on the fact that their students feared them. They never understood the difference between fear and respect. I had (and have) instructors and peers both whom I respect. Even the one's I know could kick my name out of the phone book I do not fear. Their skill and perspective earns my respect. Fear is a non-issue. I think we are saying pretty much the same thing here, though dancing to a different drummer.


What doesn't kill you

I do think you have missed the point of this quote. Ofcourse there are loads of things that won't kill you or make you stronger (beer comes to mind!). but the quote means that what is capable of killing you, if you survive it makes you stronger from the experience. This has nothing to do with brutalizing anybody for me it would:

mmm....smirnoff's ice....but thats another therapy session :P

Anyway, I do see the point, however the parallel is still valid. You say that if something is capable of killing you, and you survive it, it makes you stronger for the experience. This is not an absolute by any means, and as I stated, this is often used by intimidating instructors who want nothing more than to prove how taught they to justify flagrantly brutal teaching methods. When used judiciously, this maxim is wonderful. When taken literally, it is an invitation for a whole world of poor and harmful teaching practices. I just think its a dangerous quote to take at face value.


Dojo Anvil Sensei Hammer

I am not by any means the first MA to use this quote and is meant to be about the process of forging. Yet again with no ego involved, a being as the teacher went throguh a similar process.

Again, we differ a little here. I donít see the instructorís role as forging anything. (By the way, a billion people could say it and it doesnít make it any more correct). I see an instructor as nothing more than someone who points the way; a sign post. When an instructor starts looking at themselves as more than that, the most dangerous disease an instructor can get beings to take growth. Ego.


Do you not take pleasure in your students achievements?

I absolutely do. I just donít take credit for them. As I stated in my post, my students are responsible for their own learning. I am just someone who offers a direction.


Guiding them through the pitfalls, stand back when they make progress and mentally, emotionally, spiritually and yes even physicallly charge them to push and extend themselves. Not brutalizing them, not terrifying them, but help them to push and extend themselves, that is what is mean by the quote!

I am on board with all of this, but in my estimation, this isnít forging them. This is guiding. This is offering direction. It is all too east for an instructor to over-blow their own sense of import in a students development. No matter what you say or do, you can only affect your students to the degree that they will allow you to. Therefore, there is only one person who can define the role an instructor has on a student's development, and that is the student. For my own piece of mind, I choose to view my role as nothing more than a sign post on their martial arts road. If they choose to perceive me as more than that, that is their call to make, not mine.


99% of learning is self taught

I love it when people quote percentages about. Assuming you wen to school when you were 5 and left at 17, you're saying that out of 12 years only 1% was under tutorship, and the other 99% was self taught? You either an exceptionally gifted individual or the percentages are wrong!

My bad, and you are right, percentages are not accurate. I have no empirical data to back up my comments, but let me say this...

Take any one technique. A punch, for the sake of argument. I can show a student to technically deliver that punch. I can explain speed, power and how to generate them. I can explain and teach the concepts of distance and timing and all the things they need to be able to deliver that punch as it should be delivered. I can lecture on technical mumbo jumbo until I am blue in the face, but its the student who has to take that talk and turn it into something practical. I am not throwing the 1000's of punches - the student is. I am not feeling the pain of missing my target, or the joy of hitting it. I am not suffering the thousands of frustrations along the path to learning that technique - the student is. In all of that, do you really think that an instructor does the lion's share of the work? I surely donít. I show. I demonstrate. I correct. The student does the work, and the student deserves the credit. I will not take credit for anything that my studentís achieve. Yes of course when they succeed, I feel a sense of satisfaction that I might have had some effect on them, but in the end, its their achievement, not mine.

Excellent discussion! And I must again apologize for my earlier post. It was far more adversarial than I had intended it to be. I hope this one is a little more reasonable.

Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything!

#183110 - 09/12/05 12:44 PM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: Gavin]
Galen Offline

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 381

When learning the art of tea making, then the purpose of my art is to make tea. If I learnt the art of archery, then the purpose of my art is to shot arrows. If I learn a fighting art, the purpose of my art is to fight. In order to be true to the original purpose of the art, one has to practice that art to its original purpose to its fullest.

Well said, however, who said that we have to be true to the original purpose? To take a reason for training and make is absolute seemed a wee touch limited to me. Staying true to the original purpose means limited growth; limited evolution.

Let me ask you this, my friend. You say later in your post that you will likely never have to go into battle, so why learn to fight? So many people claim that practicality is the be all and end of the martial arts, but it seems a waste of time to me to learn how to do something that you will likely never have to actually do.


Marcus Garvey said that "Black man will not know himself until his back is against the wall!". I think that this quote has a special message for peole of all colours and creed. Not being pushed and tested does not breed the need to adapt, with out the need to adapt we will never grow. I seek to put myself through hardship at most points of my life, to help me grow as a person.

Absolutely no argument.


I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I see a wisdom inthose who have gone before us, the enlightend souls who truely understood the ways of fighting and the warrior.

I see wisdom there as well. Just not absolute wisdom.

As much as we like to idolize those who went before us, they were no better, no worse, no smarter, no dumber than we. Poor foolish hopeful we. They achieved. They created. And so can we.

Yes, they understood the ways of fighting and the warrior. Is that to say that this is the limit, the extent, the be all and end all of training? When I say the fighting is a by-product of my training, I can hear the snickers and giggles ringing out across the internet. However, I see this perspective as the evolution of the art, not a gap in it. I see this as the higher purpose; the end. To fight is a violent, penetrative act. To understand oneís self, no matter the context; to better yourself as a person; that is the goal. I see fighting as the lowest form of the martial arts. To learn the most efficient way to injure; to harm; to kill another human beingÖis this what you are defending?


Being a firm believer in Yin and Yang, I believe the more we develop and appreciate the ways of violence, the greater our appreciation of the ways of peace becomes. You cannot understand violence unless you have an acquaintance with it. The dojo is a place, under a loving instructor, where you can be introduced gently and caringly into the ways of violence. With an understanding of violence you can than have an understanding of the virtues of peace. This is what I see as being the way of the warrior, and a path that I strive to walk down.

To be perfectly honest my friend, I cannot see how you can utter such philosophical insight (damn, that was good, by the way!!) and still claim fighting as the main goal of your training. They seem contradictory. You speak in your post of learning the ways of violence to better understand peace. This statement alone contradicts your stand that fighting is your main learning objective! Here you state that you only learn to fight so you can know peace! In this, fighting is the means to the end, not the end in itself! Sounds like you are making my argument for me, and donít think I donít appreciate it!!

Gavin, I have apologize to your father and I will to you as well. I re-read my previous post and it did sound adversarial. For that, and for any offense offered, I am sorry.

Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything!

#183111 - 09/12/05 01:03 PM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: Galen]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Ok, now I'm confused as hell! What side of the fence am I on? Erm, err, arrgh, head hurts, Artist, fighter, Warrior, butcher, baker, soldier, salior!

So we're all barking up the same tree? I'm a tree hugging hippy? Daddy help!

Cheers Galen, thats gonna take some digesting!

BTW, no offence taken, my response wasn't exactly the Gandhi route either, so apologies all round!
Gavin King
Follow me on twitter @taichigav

#183112 - 09/12/05 02:00 PM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: Galen]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
More questions:
Can an Art be based on an abstract? or does an Art need to be based on something tangible? doesn't 'Fighting Art' imply the Art is found thru the study of fighting?

if learning how to fight/defend is not central to your Art, couldn't you use ANY movement to accomplish your central goal of making a better citizen?

#183113 - 09/12/05 02:42 PM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: Kintama]
Galen Offline

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 381

More questions:
Can an Art be based on an abstract? or does an Art need to be based on something tangible? doesn't 'Fighting Art' imply the Art is found thru the study of fighting?

Absolutely does. And you made my point for meÖthe art is found through the study of fighting. Fighting is the venue through which the Ďartí is achieved. Fighting is the tool. Not the end goal.


if learning how to fight/defend is not central to your Art, couldn't you use ANY movement to accomplish your central goal of making a better citizen?

First off, I never said that fighting isnít central to my artistic goals. Fighting is absolutely central. It is the means through which I achieve (or attempt to achieve) my ends. It just isnít the main goal.

My central goal is not becoming a better citizen. My goal is not being able to interact with and enhance societal structures and progressions for the betterment of all. My goals are far more selfish, and not nearly as community minded. Now, as to what my goals are, I wont waste space going over that again, especially seeing as that isnít your question.

Yes, any movement could be used to accomplish those goals. The 'art' can be facilitated through any activity. Hockey, football, javelin throwing...

So why do I choose martial arts?

- it is as intellectually challenging as it is physical
- I can function in a non-competitive framework while still working out with others
- its fun

Hope that helps clarify...

Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything!

#183114 - 09/12/05 03:11 PM Re: correct attitude for senior grades [Re: Galen]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
that does clear up where you are coming from...we are talking about the same thing, but looking at it from a different angle 'is all.

this thread was good, and some friends were can we get back to the hurting, so we can learn something?


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