Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Growth in Martial Arts Training

There was a very good post at Okinawan Karate on what constitutes growth in one's training, in the context of the article, for realistic self defense. I believe the post has further implications.

An excerpt is below. The full post may be read here.

In a recent posting on FB by Marc MacYoung he addressed some issues regarding one's training. It is how things differ according to what you do in your training involving what he references as, "Perpetual Students." I can't get to the original at the moment but will add into this post when I find it. 

I quote, "BUT when you move into the 'doing,' your emphasis on training changes. While you return to certain training you do it to fix problems and figure out solutions to issues you didn't know existed while you were originally in training. You also expand your training into different subjects, not just variations of the same type of training over and over again." Then MM goes on to say, "Constantly repeating the same kind of training isn't growing, it's a different form of stagnation while telling yourself you're growing." 

Both of these statements are telling, to my perceptions, of the model that karate uses, mostly, to train and teach students, well, "Karate." What I see herein, until more data changes my perceptions, is in fact a fact about how karate uses "repetitive training" and especially those who are a certain kind of traditionalist where deviating or diverging from the "exact way the master" teaches things like basics, kata, drills, etc., is blasphemy. 

I am an advocate of using the traditional forms as a basic entry level training model and emphasize strongly that once you get to a certain point, especially if for self-protection for self-defense, you have to let that form go in a way somewhat described by MM's quote, you have to use it for change, i.e., "to fix problems and figure out solutions to issues you didn't know existed while you were originally in training." 

Caveat: Listen, karate is a good thing when it emphasizes ONLY sport, competitions and a more philosophical "the way" types of practices and I strongly believe that for self-protection for self-defense you MUST diverge away from the traditional and into a reality-based created model that does what I said in the last paragraph, i.e., you must use it "to fix problems and figure out solutions to issues you didn't know existed while you were originally in training." Especially, in my view, when tested against the reality of violence and conflict with emphasis on any actual experiences you may have had. 

I also agree, in my own way, that the way many practice karate today, and in the past, have created a comfort zone of stagnation, as MM refers to in his quote, that presents and places limits, obstacles and obstructions of both body and mind on the practitioner for efficient and practical use toward conflict and violence… you know, out there, in the streets of life. 

Reading a bit more, I believe the quote in the picture of the FB post was the trigger to MM’s comments. The quote on a picture of Dan Inosanto was, “I train as many arts as possible. I’m constantly learning all the time. Once you stop being a student you stop growing.” Now, I have to do some fact checking because this quote may or may not be from Mr. Inosanto but let’s focus on the quote. 

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