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?......

1 comment:

Man of the West said...

Not too cynical at all. It's exactly the same thing I was worried about the other day, as I'm sure you know. Last time I saw my own teacher, he and I agreed that history and human nature do not bode well. However, he is not without hope; it was he who suggested that Taika may have split up the weapons knowledge on purpose, so as to make it necessary for everyone to hang together.

It's interesting that you talk about people not teaching tuite. I have, of course, not been around that much. Only been to one seminar so far, so I just haven't seen that much of the rest of the association. If it weren't for what you write, I would have just assumed that the way my own teacher teaches was typical. His favorite subject is tuite, and he prefers to teach it nice and slow and get it right.

His approach to teaching new material concepts is more or less like so: I or my son ask a question--any question, even a STUPID question--and we get, in return, "Well, think about this..." and next time we see him, he'll ask us what we came up with. If it's apparent we've at least been thinking about it, we usually get clarification or further suggestions. If we're actually fairly close, we usually get shown just what we're doing wrong. He's trying to make us think but also wants to make sure that we learn the material.

I'm pretty pleased with him. Hope to teach just like that eventually.