Thursday, May 23, 2013

The legitimized Prostitution of an Industry

  Over the years, I have often wondered why it was that individual's (Martial arts practitioner's in this case) have found it necessary to study a multitude of systems?
  I realize that to many, the accumulation of numerous “black-belts” is (somehow?) an indicator of acquired knowledge, but it's usually meant the exact opposite to myself.
  Having had experience in several systems myself, it became readily apparent that continuing in that pursuit would be pointless (after having studied with Taika). But then again, not everyone is seeking the same thing (from their studies).
  My only concern/interest was in personal defensive/combative tactics (that were applicable in the situation that I lived within). I was also (only) interested in the “unarmed” aspects of that training (in regards to the “armed” perspective, I utilize a Glock 21).
  I find it difficult to accept the reasons (commonly) given, for the study of multiple systems. The most common, is the perception/belief of additional combative knowledge being acquired. Though for this to be accurate, this would mean that your initial (as well as any subsequent) system/s that were studied, were (in fact) lacking in sufficient information/abilities to fulfill the requirements being sought (when they were supposedly being studied).
  Now if that were the case, then why would one retain any obligation/commitment to those previously studied systems? (seeing that they were lacking in whatever the individual was seeking/requiring). Yet, it seems to be important (to these individual's) that everything they ever studied/attended be listed upon their resume.
  It was in this regard that I abandoned Shito-Ryu, It didn't contain the instruction that I was seeking (nor did I agree with the combative methodology that was being taught/associated with it).
  Over the years we have had numerous individual's who have studied with us for a only short time. Most often their interest was in Tuite. It quickly became obvious that what they had been calling “tuite” (in their previously studied system), in fact wasn't. In (almost) every case, the individual would only study with us for a few months, before disappearing (which in several instances, we would then hear how they were then “teaching” tuite to whomever). A few months of study is entirely insufficient to learn (much less teach) the correct application of Taika's tuite technique's.
  When I see that someone has listed a number of different “systems” (that they have supposedly earned a Yudansha ranking in), the next thing that I note, is their age. I then divide the the age of the practitioner (-10, I don't consider anything learned age 5-10 to be of any practical value) by the number of different systems being claimed as having been studied. This provides me with better idea of how many years have (possibly) been used for the study of those (additionally) claimed arts.
  I know numerous individual's who have (far more) multiple rankings in multiple systems/methodologies. When queried, none could demonstrate or even list the differences between them (except in a very obviously vague way). So why bother? unless you have ton's of time to kill, (not to mention money) the study of multiple systems is a waste of time.
  Additionally, it makes you appear to be a half-ass practitioner. The more certificates and rankings in multiple systems you have, basically displays how big of a douche-bag you are IMO (or how much extra money you have to waste).
  If it were true (that there were only minor differences between styles), then what would be the purpose for having those rankings in different styles/systems? (and wouldn't that be evidence of the hubris of the individual who chose to increase their “certificate count”)
  If/when one (instead) chooses to consider that there are differences, then why would one choose to (attempt to) learn a high number of these different systems? They were developed with the idea that each were superior to the others, they were not intended to be used in unison, yet people are constantly attempting to do so.
  Each was also intended to be learned over a longer period of time (than is apparently being spent on them by those individual's), and with their own motions utilized in conjunction with them.
  It would appear that every Tom, Jane and Herald seems to believe that “they” are going to be able to exceed the results of those systems that have been in place for decades.
  More often than not, All they do is put together a confusing collection of techniques, that rarely work together, and more often only rarely will work for the majority of students. The most common resultant “system” is only applicable for a very select “type/size/situation” (of student).
  That, is the beauty of the “traditional” systems, each is adaptable for the majority of students (regardless of their individual application principles). If those individual's (with the multiple rankings) had actually “studied” (any of) those systems, they would have discovered their own failings (and discontinued any further indulgence in that futile exercise).
  They obviously didn't make any grand “discoveries”, or they would have stopped searching. Yet, they insist on listing every one of those failed/inadequate systems (they had to of been failures, other wise why continue to learn yet another one?).
  Unfortunately, in the case of Ryukyu kempo (the system that Taika used to teach when he first came to the U.S.), Taika often handed out provisional Yudansha Ranks to students who (only) attended “seminars” (in the presumption that they would continue their study with him). Very few actually did so. In fact most only used those certificates/ranking to “Pad” their own resumes.
  One did so to the point of causing Taika to change what he was teaching, and begin to teach his own system/methodology (after that person began also using the “generic” Ryukyu Kempo name). That individual also made numerous (false) claims of having received “personal” instruction (from Taika) to justify his nonsensical teachings.
 For many years it was rare to find Yudansha who had (actually) risen through the entire kyu-rank system before receiving a Yudansha rank from Taika. Most had only been presented with a Yudansha certificate based upon their (supposed) ranking within their prior system. 
 Now, "Dan-Ranks" have very little meaning to them (they seem to be handed out to anyone who can/will pay the extravagant prices that are placed upon them). Looking over the internet, it would appear that having a 7th Dan (or higher) rank is a very commonplace occurrence.
 Having met numerous individual's (who claim these ranks), I take all with (not) a "grain" (but a bucket) of salt. These days the only thing that having a "higher" ranking examples, is that the individual has had the money to blow on purchasing that rank (or they started their own "system", which they then awarded themselves that higher ranking). Unless one is planning on opening a public (store-front) school/dojo, having that higher rank (for "P-R" purposes) amounts to nothing. It's only the illiterate in the subject who are fascinated/impressed by those higher rankings.  
 It used to be that the monthly student attendance fee's were where instructor's made their money, now it's in testing fee's. The average cost of receiving a Shodan rank, is between $150.00-$250.00 (and higher). This often doesn't include the cost of the testing event which the testing is conducted at (an additional $150.00-$250.00+). 
 From everything that I have observed over the years, attaining a higher rank only amounts to how much intimidation one can then wield among those of lower rank (at least within that system, since nobody really has any acknowledgement for any other system's ranking, LOL). 
 When I first began to study from Taika, he would tell us "don't start a (store front) dojo, to make a living". He said that you should (first) have a real job (to pay your bills), only then can you (properly) be able to teach "Te" to students.
  Those who taught on a full-time basis (in lieu of having a real job), were often forced to offer/include nonsensical instruction (i.e. "karate-aerobics", "sparring classes", "TCM" etc.) none of which had any relevance to the learning of "Te", but would generate extra income to pay their bills.
 I understand full and well why they do so, I just don't agree with it.