Monday, December 26, 2011

What's in a Name? (Personal Perspectives)

  I am continually reading about how prior student's of Taika's (and of RyuTe) are teaching the same thing (as RyuTe). I would have to disagree. Over the years, What Taika has taught has gone through numerous changes. Some of these were ideological, and many were technical (as to how technique's were being shown to be utilized).
  I first met Taika, and began training in his system of Life Protection in the late 70's, early 80's. What was shown to me (by Taika), was completely different from anything that I had been shown prior.
  Originally, Taika (Oyata) was using the name “Ryukyu Kempo” to describe the art that he was teaching. After moving to the U.S., the popularity of what he was teaching exploded upon the martial arts community.
  The more recent (newer) student's of RyuTe (in the past 10 years) don't realize/appreciate the impact that he had upon the martial arts community (of almost every style) at that time. What he proposed, was that 90% of what that community was teaching, was (if not wrong) then being taught under totally misguided/false precepts.
  There had been a few who made similar types of claims (naturally for what-ever they were promoting), but unlike Taika, they couldn't back-up what they were saying with examples and demonstrations of those beliefs, where as Taika could (and did so on a regular basis).
  Taika was providing seminars that were open to all styles, and he would demonstrate the similarities between them all (instead of attempting to prove any superiority of one over another). He praised the value of kata, for which (at the time), it was in vogue to proclaim that your class/style didn't waste student's time with them (courtesy of the misguided fan's of Bruce Lee).
  Taika's contention was that student's hadn't been shown (or figured out) the correct bunkai (for the practiced kata). Everything being shown (at that time), was incorrectly being shown for “sparring” types of situations.
 Sparring became popularized (initially) by Funikoshi's son (in Japan). Though I am not a Fan of (the elder) Funikoshi, I will give him credit for initially NOT being in-favor of the practice of “Sparring”. He initially believed it to be distracting from learning true Life-Protection (and I agree).
  Taika was actually a part of the group which organized the methods/manner of Bogu kumite (upon Okinawa) within the Ryukyu Kempo system. Though still limited in it's realism, it (at least) allows for full-power strikes to be made.
  Though Bogu kumite was (and still is) considered to be different from the more commonly performed manner's of kumite, it wasn't the major difference between Taika's Ryukyu Kempo and what any other Okinawan, or for that matter any other system's were teaching.
  Taika, was also teaching, and demonstrating, His method of Kyusho Jutsu (vital-point technique). Numerous instructor's (both then, and now) have claimed to teach similar technique's, but none have produced results equivalent to his (nor with as great of ease, if having any results at all).
  Both the type, and the manner of strikes that he taught at those early seminars, are now (apparently) being copied and taught by nearly every martial art that's out there. Even when performed sloppily, those strikes can prove to be extremely effective.
  Taika was also demonstrating (again) His, method of Tuite-Jutsu. What was more commonly being taught, was Torite-Jutsu (either of which, translates as Grab-Hand). Though often appearing similar, when placed on the receiving end of Taika's version, student's would immediately be aware of the difference.
  Taika's version, was (of course) his own. He developed it from the guidance he received from his only two instructor's Uhugushigu, and Wakinaguri. Though Taika learned kata from other instructor's on Okinawa, his only (true) instructor's were these two men.
  When Taika presented his seminars in those early years, he allowed student's from any and every style/system to attend. Many (and I mean many) people were in attendance at these seminars. Numerous attendee's would claim to want to study under Taika, and would often do so (for around a year, LOL). The majority would only attend seminars (and then boast about having “trained” under Taika, LOL). Many were even presented complementary/provisional certificates (usually of an equivalent or single level higher than what they had supposedly earned in their previously declared system). These were presented as being compensatory until (or if) they continued their study in Ryukyu Kempo.
  As people began to expect this rank awarding (from merely claiming that they were going to continue their study) the practice was discontinued. As a result, numerous individual's who received these ranks, began to make untrue claims as to their value. Some even went so far as to make claims of special instruction/training and abilities (resultant from these falsified events).
  Some of those same individual's began teaching while using the Ryukyu Kempo title (for what they taught). Being that what they were teaching was not what Taika had taught, he was forced to change the name of what he was teaching. This was done to disassociate himself and what he taught from what these equivocator’s were promoting (which actually worked out quite well for him).
  The name RyuTe, became the title of the art taught by Taika. This time, Taika had the name copy-written (to prevent others from using it falsely). Although now he was (legally) protected, the openness and sharing of information that was once enjoyed, had been stifled (by those few low-life's who sought to capitalize on what little had been shown to them).
  Along with the name change, Taika utilized the opportunity to change the content/direction of what was being taught. Though the kyu level information had (mostly) remained the same, the information shown to yudansha has since been modified greatly.
  It's popularly believed that despite the name change, RyuTe teaches the same curriculum as Ryukyu Kempo. This assumption would only be superficially true. Though many similar technique's are taught, the manner of their execution are often (very) different.
  This is especially true for the tuite/torite technique's. This becomes particularly obvious on U-Tube video example's, LOL. Though the technique's may appear similar (visually). They are more often than not, performed differently (and result in different reactionary results).
  The majority of RyuTe's application methods and technique's have been refined continually since Taika first began teaching them. What is being taught now, is often vastly different from what was taught only 10 years ago.
  To assure that anyone who is offering instruction in Taika's form of RyuTe is legitimate, one need only contact the RyuTe Website and see/ask (all RyuTe association dojo/instructor's are listed).
  There have been numerous association members who have been expelled or have departed on their own from Taika's association. Those who were expelled, hadn't usually trained with Taika for 5 or more years before they were removed (part of the reasoning for their expulsion).
  None of those individual's point out that they were expunged from the association (much less why, LOL). All of which is fine, yet they all still (desperately) claim their association to/with Taika. The material that they teach is valid, It's just not what Taika teaches now, or since (usually before) these individual's left (most had not actually trained with Taika for several years before their leaving/removal).
  The individual's who had trained with Taika in the early years, were shown technique's (specifically Tuite) at a moderate to fast rate of application. When demonstrated, the technique was released and discarded to provide the uke with an escape (for safety reasons). We have since modified that instruction method.
  We now have student's perform all tuite slowly. This allows both parties to recognize any/all relevant details to a technique's application. Technique's are no longer thrown away for completion. We require each technique be applied upon the uke to a position of submission/control.
  Some would believe this to be simpler to cause the techniques to work (they would be wrong). By going slowly, it is far more difficult to cause the technique to work as desired (the uke is being allowed time to react/resist). By going slowly, students are also able to more fully understand the finite details of the technique's application (as well as possible counter's when incorrectly being applied).
  When those other individual's proclaim that “What they teach”(is the same), call them to task. Because it isn't. I'm not claiming better or worse (on either part), only that it isn't the same.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Double Forearm Strike

  This motion is represented in numerous kata (multiple times). It's motion is representative for a plurality of different technique applications. The motion as practiced in formation, is only the most basic of those. To the casual observer, this motion is the combining of the Outside Forearm Strike, and the Downward Forearm Strike.
  When applied in several situations, that would prove to be an accurate assessment. But, the motion can be (and is) varied in several circumstances to modify the recipients response/reaction.
  The motion as practiced, is the basic (most common) manner of utilization. It's from this manner of execution that the alternate application's are derived.
  Practice of the motion begins with the hands at either side of the tori. Both arms/hands motion at the same time (throughout the application). I will describe each individually, beginning with the Left (for this example).
  This hand raises straight up (in-line with the upper-arm and shoulder), bending at the elbow (palm-up). The hand continues up until nearly vertical, then rotates to palm-down and begins to sweep downward (covering the front of the body as it does so). The hand/arm continues downward (covering the abdomen/groin area) and motioning forward, until it is once again in-line with the shoulder (but should now be located to the front of the tori at a 45º angle. Depending upon the individual application, the hand could be open or semi-closed (for practice purposes, we have students perform the motion with the hand closed, and perform the milking-punch action at the arm's motion conclusion).
  In conjunction with the Left hand's motion, the Right hand will also be raised. But it, will raise close to the body, sweeping upward (covering the front of the body while doing so). Both arm's should pass one another when they reach the waist-level (in the opening/first motion, this mandates a timing variance between the two, that should only exist during the first motion). The Right arm continues it's rise until being in-line with it's shoulder, then will motion straight forward (much as the Outside Forearm Strike has been described).
  With both hand/arm's now in position, the individual hand positions should be at (opposite) 45º angles (as if they were clasping a Bo), with the upper-hand being palm-up, and the lower hand palm-down. After this first performance of the application, the hand which is raising, will always motion towards the tori's center-line (inward) when doing so.
  Both hands will then alternate their positions. This is accomplished with both hands motioning inward (towards the bodies center-line), crossing one-another at the waist-level (both moving closer to the body while doing so), then motioning in their respective opposite directions (down/up) and then forward (to end). The arm which will then be raising, should always be on the inner-side (closest to the body). This mandates an alternation of arm positioning during the continuation of this exercise.

  Though seeming to be a simple coordination exercise, this motion has numerous direct technique applications, and should be practiced by student's on a regular basis.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Does your Rank-Level, mean anything?

  Reading over the various websites that offer training in Te, I find it amusing to see the rank level(s) that these people are claiming. Ranks (in general) tend to disgust me anyway, and seeing the blatant exaggeration of rank (if not out-right lying thru self-promotion) only solidifies those feelings. 
 When I first began my own study of the martial arts, there were (maybe) a hand-full of yudansha who even had, much less exceeded the rank of Godan (5th Dan). Now, it seems that your nothing if you haven't received a Hatchidan before you do anything (like, hmmmm write a blog, LOL).
  Rank (in general) hasn't (read NONE) much validity in the real world. Rank is supposed to (at least theoretically) represent a validation of experience, learning and knowledge. Unfortunately, it actually does none of those.
  The supposed validation of those (claimed) ranks, is commonly confirmed by the possession of a certificate (usually brushed/written in Japanese/Chinese). Well, if that's all that's required, then send ME a hundred dollars and I'll brush one up with what-ever rank/system you want on it! LOL. 
 These days, rank (and even having a certificate that lists your name and that rank upon it), means nothing. Well, at least nothing to anyone beyond the person who has been presented with it.
  For all their talk, organizations/associations/clubs, etc. (take your pick) have all been corrupted when it comes to awarding rank. The majority suffer the problem of becoming an inverted pyramid (Lot's of high-ranking members, and comparatively few lower ranked members).
  Equally disgusting (IMO), is the fact that the majority of these supposed higher Dan rank individual's, are under the age of 40?. I suppose most of that goes back to when they earned their Shodan. Again, (IMO) if they received that rank before the age of 16 (minimum), it was a hokey Shodan ranking to begin with.
  But, saying that one did receive their Shodan at a respectable age, ...20 year's old?, then that leaves 20 years to be promoted 4 more Dan grades (5 years apiece). That's not too bad (considering these ranks are only occasionally based upon any required actions done by the recipient before receiving them,....well, other than forking over the required monetary amount).
  Unfortunately, the majority of these yudansha that are higher than Godan, are usually under 25! So, just how the fuck does one justify that kind of rank at the age of 25? IMO, you can't. Basically, your a fraud. You don't have the experience, it's doubtful that you have much of any knowledge, and I could care less what your claiming to have for ability. Your a fraud. The only thing those individual's appear to be interested in, is money.
  And Frankly, therein lies the problem. Martial arts have become a financial career. I've always had a personal distaste for anyone who's sole financial income was based upon teaching a martial art. I have never found those individual's to be trustworthy (or for that matter honest) at all.
  At one time, student's were examples of an instructor's (teaching) abilities, now, they are only examples of their marketing abilities. If my goal had been to be a salesman, I would have taken the appropriate classes in college to do so. That wasn't my goal though, and the career I chose paid very well (when I was doing it).
  By not mandating that my martial art instruction was how I generated my main income, it allowed me to be choosier about who and what I taught. As a consequence, I have had very few yudansha student's (of my own). I also never felt obligated to include irrelevant subject matter in my class curriculum.
  Though I am a firm believer that the student should dictate what they want to learn, that doesn't mean that I have to provide any subject matter that I disagree with (they can no doubt find it elsewhere). By teaching RyuTe, that whole requirement thing (for any higher grading) beyond Shodan, is out of my hands (thankfully, LOL).
  That reinforces the understanding that I am responsible for what, and how the information that I pass on to my student's is done. My only responsibility to them, is that they be knowledgeable of what a beginning instructor/Shodan should know
 The martial arts consist of a wide range of subject matter. I make no claims to be able to fulfill all of those subjects. The one's that I concentrate upon are the ippon kumite, and the instruction of tuite and kyusho. Those subjects (additionally) include uke control and compliance.
 RyuTe offers a wide range of subject instruction, through my affiliation with the RyuTe association, my students have access to those areas of study (just not from me, LOL). As my student's request those area's of instruction, I contact, and arrange for those individual's to meet and they work out the details of that instruction.
  Until one has begun to instruct their own students, and has those student's dependent upon them for answers, their awareness of what an instructor should be knowledgeable about is usually skewed by their own misconceptions. It is at Shodan, that one actually has the time to devote to developing their own personal style of technique execution.
  From my perspective, the only rank of consequence, or substance, is Shodan. It is the only rank that is almost certainly going to be (actually) earned, and it is subject to comparative review by both previous and future yudansha student's. The attainment of Shodan commonly allows one to begin instructing (in some capacity) to students. It's also where/when, that what one has been studying, actually begins to make sense. And if it doesn't, then it's time to make some changes


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


  Although I often state my opinions about something that someone else does or says, I don't usually identify whom that person is. A few months back, I was given a “pod-cast” of a popular seminar instructor (Iain Abernathy). I'd previously seen a few of his opinions, and didn't really have one of my own about him (at least in regards to what he promoted) until I had gotten a chance to listened to it (which is only fair).

  Compared to the majority of idiots out there, he's not that bad. I can agree with a lot of what he says, but I disagree with a lot of how that (at least what I've seen/heard) he's applying it. Going by his statements (not just my opinion), he states that he believes the jaw to be a primary target? From my own view, this is an odd choice (or at the very least, a distinctly male choice and perspective), with little in the way of subjective combative reasoning, or at least from an defensive/instructional point of view.

  The jaw, though having several distinct weaknesses to it's construction, still has numerous strengths to it's defense. #1, it requires a precise strike be made upon it to accomplish the (generally) desired result (a “knock-out”). Though located upon the head (which has numerous inherent weaknesses to it), it also has the ability to absorb (through deflection) any applied force that is subjected upon it (by moving, or “rotating”).

  Additionally, even when one attempts to strike a completely untrained individual (upon their head/jaw), even they will naturally motion it, and/or protect it, to avoid /dissipate that impact. Any action that is made towards an individual's face, will instantly be avoided, most commonly by simply turning their face away from the imminent impact (which in turn dissipates any applied force).

  The striking of the jaw, is a distinctly western trait, most often going back to the Marquess of Queensberry rules. Those “Rules”, were developed to prevent 2 individual's from causing serious harm to one another. When one views fighting methods of most any other culture, face strikes, are being directed towards the nose or eyes. Preferred strikes then migrate downward towards the mid-(body) section & groin areas.

  He states that he advocates neck strikes (which I wholeheartedly agree with). He also dismisses the whole meridian/acupuncture BS avenue of application (again with my agreement). In general, he talks a good-line. The problem (as I'm seeing it), is that what he shows (technique wise), is pretty hokey (if not, down-right amateurish).

  This could very well be the result of teaching and/or focusing upon (lower) kyu-rank students, or possibly because that level of application is all that he is concerned with (for which there is nothing wrong with that effort).

  The purpose of this blog, is to enhance my own instructional content. This information was presented to me in the (honest) effort to assist in that endeavor. Having never previously reviewed it, I felt it only fair to offer it attention and consideration. I have done so.

  For many, I'm sure he offer's a new perspective on kata and/or application. For myself, not so much. Most everything that he promotes is old-hat (been there, done that, and moved-on to better things). Maybe if he ever decides to move on himself, to more involved levels of application (which actually means simplifying what he's attempting to do), I'll become interested in what he has to say.

  Much of what he promotes, is based on what he considers to be obvious and simple interpretation (including application). For introductory study, I have no problem with that. But when one learns the (so-called) advanced methods, one finds that they are often more easily applied (though often requiring more precision in their execution).

  I can recognize and appreciate the probability of a lowered application ability in a (real) situation (compared to when training in a class), but that doesn't mandate that one resign one's self to the inevitability that your skills will deteriorate to those of an untrained oaf when you are (actually) attacked.

  I'm not sure why, but he (still) advocates “sparring”. If nothing else, this would be enough for me not to take what he has to say too seriously. For all his proclaimed research, he still hasn't figured out that sparring has nothing to do with what most people are being taught to do.

  Despite all his claims of applicability, it still hasn't become obvious to him, that sparring bares no relationship to any of it. Until that realization is made, what he teaches/does will be mired in the disillusion of a false premiss and therefor, not worth my attention.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Superficial Training

  When/if the average (sideline) observer of RyuTe is asked about what makes RyuTe distinct from other system's, the most popular response is (either) “Kyusho”, and/or “Tuite”. This isn't to say other systems don't also work on some manner/form of those subjects, only that RyuTe is most known for them.
  Of the two, my own interests have always been slanted towards the study of Tuite. Though the two are interrelated, they are (none-the-less) two distinctly different subjects (despite what numerous blogs and wanna-be experts would attempt to lead you to believe). When I first began my study, it was the tuite that was easier to dissect and understand. And (obviously) with Taika's help/guidance this was made easier, but he certainly didn't “hand-out” anymore additional information than what he thought was necessary.
  In general, Taika's instruction has always been a “here's an example, now (you) figure it out (and then tell me about it)” style of instruction. It seems to have been common for people to say (to Taika) “here's what I've determined it to be” (and yet didn't bothered to ask, whether it was correct or not). Very often, what they come up with, may very well be good for them, but can every one of their students also replicate it? (if/when performed in that manor). I believe that's where Taika's manor of technique execution/application becomes obviously, and demonstrably superior.
  Many techniques and motions will often have several manor's of their application. That doesn't make one or another (necessarily) any better/worse than any other, but the applying principles must be consistent regardless of which manner of application is being utilized. I believe this is where many individual's (and system advocates) get into (unnecessary, if not irrelevant) pissing matches with individual's that may have opposing viewpoints.
  These varied manor's of application, would appear to (each) having been taught as being the (sole) correct manor of a techniques application. What more often is the case, is that those method's were but an individual's manor of application, and had no direct relation to general student instruction. This should have been obvious to the instructor (who provided the initial instruction), and originally may well have been (but was then commandeered by the student in an attempt to illustrate personal knowledge/ability).
  This common tendency, has turned into a generally superficial practice of Tuite techniques. When (or even if ) Tuite is being taught, it is often done in the manor that Taika originally showed it (meaning, one time, hard, fast, and with limited explanation). That's how I was originally taught/shown those beginning techniques. I don't teach them that way now though. I understand why Taika taught them that way, I simply don't agree with using that methodology for my own students.
  If someone wishes to critique me in this regard, feel free. I am not Taika, so why would I attempt to teach in the same manor that he does? There have been numerous occasions, that concepts that he has presented could have (IMO) been presented much simpler and more quickly (for American students). But he teaches the way that he does, and I teach the way that I do. They are different.
  I would like to be able to confer with other RyuTe instructor's and discuss/compare the teaching methods that they utilize (for Tuite instruction). But distance, and a general hesitancy to confer (outside of an association seminar/event) tends to breed unfounded conspiratorial appearances. I do fear that unless/until we (as an association) get past these attitudes, the association as we know it, will fragment.
  It is my own belief, that individual dojo/school's should be exchanging information (which was presented to each by Taika). It is the privileged few, who are able to spend their entire free time on the pursuance of a greater understanding of all of Taika's teachings. The vast majority of RyuTe student's have jobs, families (lives, LOL) and precious little time to spend pondering over often obscure instructions and/or techniques. No, I don't believe that techniques and/or information should just be haphazardly puked upon students, but neither do I believe that information should be restricted until or only if the correct codeword has been uttered either.
  I believe the majority of RyuTe instructor's do a good job of transmitting the information that they (individually) have. Their weakness (IMO) is in admitting when they are lacking in any other individual areas of knowledge (which is probably true in any/every organization, LOL). My own weaknesses are in the weapons field, I have a working ability with a couple of them, but much of that is because of related training in the fields which I have taught over the years (security/Law Enforcement).
  I (personally) have little need/concern for this particular field of interest, hence I refer my own students to known instructor's (within the association) of those abilities (thereby reinforcing the need for an association). With the recent passing of the association's/Taika's highest ranking student/instructor (Tashi Logue), there has been much voiced concern over how the association will continue when Taika passes (which knowing how his lineage tends to run, will most likely be in another 15-20 years). It is my own opinion, that if (or until) the association begins to perform as a single entity (sharing knowledge, and access between each individual dojo/instructor), only then will the association continue (San any individual leader/figurehead).
  I believe it needs to be decided (at some unknown point, LOL) whether the association is/will be based upon the ideas/concepts/teaching methods of an individual, or if it is only based upon the individual, and/or that individual's ability? From what I have always observed from Taika, it is that he has attempted to teach idea's and/or concepts. He has used his techniques to convey those idea's/concepts. The question I ask, is whether we choose (as an association) to continue to pursue those ideals (and therefor grow in knowledge and ability). Or, do we fall into the likes of every other style/system, and let each dojo/school simply promote their own versions of commonly taught techniques, which then become (equally) commonplace, which is then followed by the system stagnating because everyone within the association has become a Judan, then the organization (mercifully) dying from a lack of interest by the general public, and all those Judan's acquiring broken spines from their congratulatory pounding of themselves on their backs).

What?, too cynical?......

Monday, November 14, 2011

What constitutes being a “martial” art

  With the multitude of defensive system's that are being taught to the general public, how many are justified in using the title of martial art? As it has been used over the prior 40 years, it has (IMO) mislead the general public and the majority of those student's who have been training in those various disciplines. I believe first, one has to define the term martial art, and how/why it's being used to define what's being taught.
  Examining the first word (martial), definitions include being inclined or disposed to war; associated with war or the armed forces; characteristic of or befitting a warrior: of, relating to, or characteristic of war, soldiers, or the military life. Not exactly what any self-defense school or system that I'm aware of focuses upon.
The second word “art”, can be defined as any of the following,
1 the creation of works of beauty or other special significance
2 imaginative skill as applied to representations of the natural world
   or figments of the imagination
3 the products of man's creative activities; works of art collectively,
   esp of the visual arts, sometimes also music, drama, dance, and 
4 excellence or aesthetic merit of conception or execution as    
   exemplified by such works
5 any branch of the visual arts, esp painting
6 (modifier) intended to be artistic or decorative
7 any field using the techniques of art to display artistic qualities
8 journalism photographs or other illustrations in a newspaper, etc
9 artfulness; cunning
10 method, facility, or knack
11 the system of rules or principles governing a particular human 
12 the exercise of human skill (as distinguished from nature)
13 to become highly proficient at something through practice
  It's only those few descriptions (towards the end) that would fit into an applicable category for what's being practiced in the majority of these (so-called) martial arts schools. When examined, the weakest word being utilized in relation to what's being taught (between the two) would appear to be martial.
  Art (being more diverse), can represent numerous meanings, martial on the other hand, is pretty limited in it's definition. There have been various systems that have made claim to being practiced and taught by several armies throughout the world. But the truth still remains, that the military forces of the world, focuses their training upon defeating armies, not soldiers. The amount of time/effort spent on hand to hand combat, is extremely limited (when compared to more practical forms of combat). The various forms of self-defense being taught, are designed to defeat individual aggressors. One of the most exaggerated (at least beyond any practical value) is the MMA (manor) of self-defense.
  These two totally different subjects (which they are) have nothing in common, nor of any benefit to either. MMA, is a Miss-Mash of Nonsense (MMN?) designed to be utilized in a sport environment. The rules which it is conducted under, are such that any relation to reality is eliminated (and thus make the techniques being utilized inapplicable/impractical in a real life-protection situation). MMA has nothing to do with, or even relate to either martial or art (thus, at the very least, making it the most inaccurately named sport being followed today). The Mixed-up part is the only accuracy contained in the name/description.
  I believe that the art portion of any form of self-protection instruction is the more relevant part of one's training. The word/term of art, tends to make one think of beauty and/or perfection (which is what we all attempt to attain with our training). As with any art form, beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder. Every system/style has it's own look (to it's execution). When that execution is performed correctly, then the beauty (of that system) becomes more evident.
  What is practiced in dojo's throughout the U.S. (or anywhere else for that manor) Is in only a very small way, any form of what might be considered to be a martial art. The average system/style teaches the student to escape and run away (which, I have no problem with). RyuTe teaches students to disable only after having first caused pain (when that would have been established to be applicable). Any methodology being studied, requires time to be spent practicing doing so. The vast majority of student's have real lives. Because of that fact, we can't spend the majority of our free time on training.
  The nonsense that is MMA, amounts to it being neither a martial pursuit, or an art. The fact that it is a mixed up collection of nonsense is the only part of it's name that makes sense. As a sport, I can see how some may be drawn to it, but that's as far as it goes. When ever I see someone writing about it, I view it like I would anyone writing about any other sport (baseball, football, rugby). It consists of zero interest from myself.
     On another note, I've received several inquiries about some of RyuTe's (version of) techniques. Over the next few month's I thought I'd attempt to put them into a (understandable) written format (to then be posted here). If there are any technique's that someone would like to have explained, just ask, I'll see what I can do.


Sunday, November 6, 2011


  I was reading through a blog's recent “series” of postings (as they were theoretically related). The author does a good job of stating his position (and is a far better writer than I am, LOL), but I've decided that I disagree with damn near every position this guy takes. Not all, but almost all. Those few that I do agree with, I disagree with his reasoning and conclusions (as to their value).
  In one of his blogs, he makes (passing) mention of reaction-time. He states that one's reactions decline after a certain age (early 20's I believe). According to him, after that you only get slower. On the surface, a true statement. In reality though, it's a misleading one. One's reactions can be improved (up to a limited point) from repeated practice of a specific motion. What can be improved, is one's perception of a given situation. Meaning that although you can't (necessarily) move faster, you may perceive an action/situation faster/sooner than when you were younger (thus, making you faster to respond to the situation).
  Although I personally detest the commonly taught practice/manner of “sparring”, that doesn't mean that I don't have student's partake in (different) forms of technique exchange. We occasionally have student's do a form of technique application that we call “complementary” sparring.

  This is a slow-speed standing exchange of aggressive and defensive motions between 2 individual's. It's done without “gear”(as there's no need), and it's done at ½ speed (or less). Participant's are allowed to punch, kick, and grab their opponent (anywhere upon the body/head/legs and/or arms). The practice is not so much to learn to use the technique, as it is to recognize the techniques potential and it's limitations. It's during this type of practice, that the stupid people techniques (arm grab's and such) become more obviously applicable.
  This individual additionally bemoaned his displeasure with standing-start drills, in that they didn't ingrain an ability to develop a pattern recognition trait, well no shit Sherlock....they're not supposed to. Standing start exercises are to develop the aforementioned timing reflex/reaction. They also (when done correctly) train student's in perception/recognition of telegraphed actions.
  His argument being, that in a standing start drill, the defender knows exactly what attack is coming. This is obviously true when the student is first learning the motion, after having done so, the uke should be able to use whatever attack method they choose to. If the technique is unable to respond to different attack types/manner's then it shouldn't be being practiced anyway (meaning it's a worthless technique if it's only good for one manner of attack). My contention being, that if the tori is (always) aware of the uke's intended attack, then the practice is less than productive (and could be argued as being pointless).
  His (so-called) Test, was to have the uke perform one of three types of assaults (randomly) and see if the tori would be able to stop the attack. (His claim) was it couldn't be done, (my claim) is that if it wasn't able to work for all three, then his technique sucked, that doesn't discount the practice, only the (responsive) technique
 He further made the claim that since practiced attacks, most usually (only) consisted of singular attacks (by the uke), then they failed to emulate reality (meaning multiple strike attacks)? Uh, (is it just me?) but couldn't that be rectified by having the uke perform multiple strike attempts? 
  When presented with this query from student's, demonstration would usually illustrate the fact that “multiple” strikes were irrelevant, in that they were either impossible to perform, or that the initially thrown technique (the “first one”) was insufficient to cause/create enough damage to be relevant.
  He further refuted their value, stating that one couldn't develop timing because there existed no “dynamic” to learn the subsequent patterns (WTF?). That the student (also) needed the “rhythm” developed from,... (wait for it)......sparring (?).
  The general implication being that a student (for some reason) needed to be able to develop pattern recognition which would lead to a matching of situational reflex (a separate, but acceptable concept, that I'm not entirely sure has much relevancy to the presented situation). At the end of the articles (within the footnotes... yes, he had to include footnotes..LOL) he mentions including the 5 elements into training methods. As if I really needed to have a completely irrelevant subject interjected into any methodology of training. The mere fact that he even mentioned that nonsense, is enough to convince me that this guy has limited knowledge anyway.
  This same blog had previously touted that deflections were superior to strikes (performed upon an aggressor”s striking limbs). Again, the bias being towards the deflections being the superior option. This subject was also biased by the writer's manner of practicing each, so it became obvious why they would believe this to be true (including the author's additional claim that “he” had never received a strike upon the arm that could incapacitate “Him”. Again, his lack of experience, is not an acceptable excuse for improper practice).
  The author states that he has experience in law enforcement (though I believe he states that he is only a lawyer, which isn't exactly law enforcement), which I have to presume is where he is deriving this experience from. He states that he works with other martial artists (he obviously has the extra money to go to China to study with these guy's that he likes). It's with these other martial artists that he has these theories reinforced (at least to himself).
  From what little I've read from him, his experience (with using what he teaches) would appear to be limited to the “sporting” and class-time arena, which is fine, but he could stand some “real” reality included in his application (theories).
  I hadn't (actually) intended this to turn into a hammer this guy's blog (it just turned out that way, LOL). It's just that many of the theories he's putting forth, have been proven wrong, or are at least being misinterpreted (by him). It isn't my place to correct him, and having read some of the replies to individual's who have contested him, he seems unlikely to care what anyone has to say (“he's” right, and your not).
  Oh well, maybe at some point “I'll” come up with something to write about, but for now I'm just seeing what's out there.