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#402764 - 07/21/08 01:50 PM What is really being taught?
everyone Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/02/07
Posts: 597
Loc: USA
Many MA schools have a definite ranking structure reinforced with colored belts, wear uniforms, require bowing and calling “superiors” “sir”. Is all this teaching respect, discipline and leadership? Could it be that the real lessons students are learning are subservience, conformity and obedience? Would students be better served if they weren’t all in uniform and could dress as they pleased (as long as it met utilitarian training standards)? Eliminate “rank” and just treated everyone with equality and respect.

A lot of people like the uniforms and belts and such… If you are one of those people, that’s cool for you. My question isn’t if you like it, my question is does it really teach the qualities that are often cited to validate these traditions. What is really being taught?

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#402765 - 07/21/08 02:02 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: everyone]
Kujaku Offline
Member

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 80
Loc: Rockville, Maryland, USA
Quote:

my question is does it really teach the qualities that are often cited to validate these traditions. What is really being taught?




Well, you said it yourself. Tradition is what is being taught. Most of the arts that incorporate the uniform, the belts, and the so-called "subservience" come from Asia; and in Asian society there is a thing called filial piety. By using all of this and requiring students to show respect to their teachers and to senior students, these arts are staying true to the traditions of the Asian societies from which these styles were born.

Though I suppose I can see where you are coming from. But I do think that through these traditions, these arts are teaching respect for elders and other important qualities. If you are to look at it from a completely Western point of view like you have in your post, you will see these teachings as just forced subservience...just a thought .
_________________________
Proud student of Grandmaster Yong Sung Lee, founder of Hapmudo

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#402766 - 07/21/08 02:21 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: everyone]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Quote:

Many MA schools have a definite ranking structure reinforced with colored belts, wear uniforms, require bowing and calling “superiors” “sir”. Is all this teaching respect, discipline and leadership? Could it be that the real lessons students are learning are subservience, conformity and obedience? Would students be better served if they weren’t all in uniform and could dress as they pleased (as long as it met utilitarian training standards)? Eliminate “rank” and just treated everyone with equality and respect.

A lot of people like the uniforms and belts and such… If you are one of those people, that’s cool for you. My question isn’t if you like it, my question is does it really teach the qualities that are often cited to validate these traditions. What is really being taught?




'Everyone', I dont mind answering your questions, but this is the latest is a string of open questions that seem to come from a somewhat oblique angle. What happens in your training school? Do you feel such structure is good or bad.
To be honest, i am unsure as to how wide your MA experience is, but one of the joys of my status as an MA 'tourist' is that i have experienced on a superficial level, a number of different environments, and have to say that whilst there is formality in such a structure, the human relationships within classes remains unaffected by the formality.
Where I trained longest (and would go back to had i the cash), had no 'uniform' though you were encouraged to wear the club T-shirt (given to you upon joining), and whilst grading is available for those who find it motivating, there is no pressure or necessity to go down that path- you can simply train for the love of it, and improve in performance without an external indicator or experience.
There are many more 'relaxed' clubs/groups out there, the whole 'Han's Island' training camp thing is definately a minority concept outside of the movies- though I would definately train with the Kobra-Kai if i got the chance
_________________________
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'
http://cord.mybrute.com

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#402767 - 07/21/08 02:34 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: Cord]
everyone Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/02/07
Posts: 597
Loc: USA
Coord, I have trained in very regimented schools in the past. My current school is much more informal. I personally don’t feel that uniforms, belts, rank, etc.. teach what some claim they teach. I could be wrong so I phrased my question in the most respectful and non-judgmental way I could think of. I sincerely wish to hear others opinions and their perspectives.

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#402768 - 07/21/08 02:40 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: everyone]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
Let's analyze just about 100% of 1 on 1 confrontations:
Either you have 2 jerks, or 1 jerk and another guy who probably doesn't know how to handle the jerk.

Drills teach you how to handle the jerk better.
The traditional method of manners helps you learn some humility and ego-sublimation. In short, how not to BE the jerk.
_________________________

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#402769 - 07/21/08 02:50 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: everyone]
Zach_Zinn Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Sigh....belts and rank structure don't teach anything.

However as you will know if you ever try to run a school, it is unfortunately a small minority of people (at least in the TMA-oriented world) who will make the initial step to start training in something without some tangible reward to get them through the door. Sad but true.

I wish no one cared about them, but for people just starting off ranks can serve as a motivating factor.

I really don't understand why people make such a big deal about it either way, it's just trappings, and if you focus on the trappings you miss out on the substance, whether you are for or against them.

I'd also like to mention that having a rank structure and belts does not in any way have to imply that your training itself is done in a rigid, unflexible way, and honestly if you think it does that's just lack of experience talking, no offense.

I don't see alot of arguments that rank structure is central to anyone's MA, where are you getting this?


Edited by Zach_Zinn (07/21/08 02:53 PM)

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#402770 - 07/21/08 03:13 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: Zach_Zinn]
everyone Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/02/07
Posts: 597
Loc: USA
Zach, it sounds like your belt ranking system is just a motivator for students and is not associated with other qualities. However, it doesn’t take too much searching to find practitioners who believe that their ranking system, bowing and saying “sir” teaches respect, discipline and leadership. If you never have come across people that come from schools like this, I am very surprised. Maybe it's just mostly a TKD thing.

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#402771 - 07/21/08 03:48 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: everyone]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Quote:

However, it doesn’t take too much searching to find practitioners who believe that their ranking system, bowing and saying “sir” teaches respect, discipline and leadership.




Thats not an MA school, that is my upbringing!
There is huge difference between formal courtesy and 'subservience'. I have been raised to call people 'sir' or 'ma'am' or by 'Mr ***' 'Mrs ***' or 'Ms ***' if I know their surname. I would never presume to call someone by their first name unless invited to do so, or introduced to them by that name; and I cant stand salesmen or others presuming to call me by my given name without asking, and i have been known when asked 'Can I call you David?' to respond 'No' if i dont feel inclined to be on informal terms with them.
Look a person straight in the eye, give a firm even handshake and show respect- that is how you get respect in return. Eastern practice uses bowing instead of a handshake- thats not subservience, thats ettiquette.
If you dont show respect, then who is taking the position of superiority? Surely you are the only one who could be accused of such?
_________________________
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'
http://cord.mybrute.com

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#402772 - 07/21/08 04:20 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: Cord]
TKD_X Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 786
Loc: HERE
I think one thing that gets left out of these discussions is that we are practicing MARTIAL arts here. Martial=military. The military has uniforms. The military has ranks. you are expected to call superiors sir/ma'am in the military. not only is it a tradition to have uniforms, belts, and courtesy towards senior students, it's part of the MARTIAL history of Martial arts. See what happens if you join the army and refuse to call a general "sir."

you could as easily say, the military is too strict and they should be allowed to wear whatever they want. or that they should be rankless and all be equal. would it work out? soldiers are some of the most disciplined, respectful, and loyal people in the world. if it works for them. then why not in Martial Arts?
_________________________
Are you ok!?!? It was an accident! No really! I promise!

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#402773 - 07/21/08 07:04 PM Re: What is really being taught? [Re: TKD_X]
puffadder Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
We don't have belts or uniforms and a minimum of imposed discipline as students are expected to show self-discipline. However, the senior students who have been with me for a long time wear club tshirts to show that they have some seniority and if I'm not available they are the guys to ask for help on movements or techniques. They are then acting as older brothers in the family of the school. I think this is fairly traditional in many chinese systems.

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